matthew weiner

‘Mad Men’ Season 7, Episode 8 Recap: “Severance”

Don Draper’s first job as Don Draper was selling furs. It’s how he met Betty, who was modeling them; it’s how he met Roger, who was buying one for Joan, and thus got his start at Sterling Cooper. And so the final season, or rather the second half of the final season, of the show that’s fundamentally Don Draper’s story takes us full circle. It’s more than fifteen years later, the spring of 1970, and Don is once again selling furs—a $15,000 chinchilla, to be exact—as the co-head of creative at a (semi-)independent subsidiary of McCann Erickson. How he feels about it is summed up by the episode’s opening and closing song, a choice that’ would be on the nose if it weren’t so beautiful: Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” … Read More

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Pete Campbell Is the Worst — And That’s Why We Love Him

More than even Don Draper, Pete Campbell represents the worst of the Mad Men universe, the part we as an audience are happiest to see dead and gone. Dick Whitman, at least, had to claw his way into privilege, and lives with the burden of maintaining it. Pete, on the other hand, was born with all the WASPy entitlement in the world and without the charm to pull it off. He is purely, nakedly awful, the man with the figurative and literal most punchable face of all Sterling Cooper’s employees. Oddly, he’s also one of the easiest to identify with. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Fashion: Joan Holloway’s Most Iconic Style Moments

It would require two hands to count how many Joan Holloways I’ve encountered on Halloween over the years. Her look is iconic: red hair in an up-do; a curve-hugging, short-sleeved, gem-toned ponte dress with a pencil skirt and a cinched waist; a gold brooch; her signature pencil necklace; and a fierce strut through the halls of Sterling Cooper. … Read More

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Work Won’t Save You: The New Season of ‘Mad Men’ Changes Everything

I am not supposed to reveal the specifics of Don Draper’s “romantic life” in the second half of Mad Men Season 7, as per creator Matthew Weiner’s notoriously rigid instructions to critics. And that’s just as well, because what’s more important is the less literal way in which Sunday night’s mid-season premiere conflates Don’s women with his work. Women, we’re given to understand, drift in and out of his life like actresses at a casting session. Or ghosts. These metaphors aren’t shocking, or even necessarily new; what’s surprising is that they say more about Don’s relationship to work than his relationships with his wives, girlfriends, and one-night stands. … Read More

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Why ‘Mad Men’ Is Comfort-Food TV for Viewers Who Didn’t Live Through the ’60s

Mad Men is, at its essence, a show about terrible things happening to occasionally terrible people. Its characters are adulterers, careerists, alcoholics, and liars; they’re prone to selfishness, sexism, racism, and exploitation. Set in a period of massive social shift, they’re often (and often proudly) on the wrong side of history. The country’s in a shambles, relationships are falling apart, children are being damaged, lives are being destroyed. Even in this antihero-friendly pop culture environment, such grim goings-on risk alienating even the most intellectual audience — and yet Mad Men has done anything but that, drawing a viewership that ravenously consumes the bad behavior of its subjects. What pulls them to the show? Here’s one theory: in an odd, schadenfreude-tinged way, Mad Men is comfort television. … Read More

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Stop Blaming Megan for Don Draper’s Mistakes

Perfection is a terrible premise for a character. But in the charred emotional landscape of Sterling Cooper & Partners (& spouses), Megan Draper is as close to it as one gets. Beautiful, talented, and self-assured, Megan seems devoid of the tension that creates dynamic, believable fiction in the abstract and fan favorites like ambitious, unsatisified Peggy Olson in particular. On the surface, in fact, the only thing she appears to share with the other women at the center of the Mad Men universe — Peggy, her former colleague; Joan, her onetime boss; and Betty, her bitter predecessor — is the man who’s impacted their lives in various, mostly negative ways. But over the last three seasons, Megan has slowly grown into a figure almost as compelling as she is underrated. … Read More

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“It’s About Class”: Matthew Weiner and ‘Mad Men’s’ Cast on the Show’s Final Episodes

“It’s about the malleability of American culture,” said Mad Men creator, writer, and showrunner Matthew Weiner on Saturday night. Weiner was at a sold-out Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center to toast “Mad Men: The End of an Era,” a special panel celebrating the show in its final season. The event was set up like a clip show, with Weiner joined by Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slatter. The actors introduced their favorite clips featuring their Mad Men characters — Don Draper, Betty Draper, Joan Holloway, and Roger Sterling, respectively — and reminisced over how these scenes came to be and what they learned from them. It was a night of celebration and remembrance — there was nothing as close to a hint about what will happen when Mad Men‘s final seven episodes start next Sunday on April 5, but still plenty to learn about one of finest shows of our time. … Read More

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Jon Hamm Was Almost Too Hot to Be Don Draper, and More From ‘THR’s’ Oral History of ‘Mad Men’

It’s hard to believe, but Mad Men and its sexy world of advertising pricks (and Peggy Olson), has been… Read More

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How Much Do ‘Mad Men’s’ Enigmatic Posters Really Reveal?

Last week, the final Mad Men promotional poster was released into the world, and we got to see just what symbol may be driving the final half of Season 7: Don’s Cadillac Coup de Ville, setting off from (or beyond) New York into (or away from) the setting sun. Don is well dressed, with a loosened tie, looking into his rearview mirror. … Read More

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Museums Nationwide Are Devoting Their Walls to ‘Mad Men’ in the Coming Months

If you’ve ever felt walled-in by monolithic discussions of Mad Men, finding yourself jumping from friend group to friend… Read More

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