By ANGELA DAWSON and JUDY SLOANE
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—They say all good things must come to an end, and so it is with AMC’s award-winning drama series “Mad Men,” which began airing the last seven episodes of the seventh—and final—season last Sunday night.
The brainchild of writer-director-producer Matthew Weiner, the weekly hour-long episodic drama tells the fictional story of an ambitious and attractive New York advertising executive named Don Draper who, despite the façade of having achieved the American dream—a fat paycheck, a beautiful wife, three healthy children, a spacious house in the suburbs—harbors a dark secret. Set against the backdrop of the go-go 1960s, a period when almost anything was possible, or at least appeared achievable with the purchase of the right cigarette brand, car model or appliance, “Mad Men” takes an unfiltered look at a bygone era.
Though viewers eventually discovered Don’s secret, he continued to be an enigma throughout the course of the series. He drank. He philandered. He divorced. He dabbled in drugs. He married his secretary. He cheated again. He lost accounts. He won accounts. He smoked. And smoked. And smoked.
As the series winds to a close, Jon Hamm (who plays Draper), along with his co-stars Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser and John Slattery, along with Weiner got together at the U.S. Television Critics Association meeting to reminisce about the beloved TV series in which they worked together for so many years, garnering awards, fame and fans from around the world.
When “Mad Men” premiered in 2007, it marked little-known AMC’s push into original scripted dramas. It has since become one of the most iconic shows in television history. Like “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under” and “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” has unfolded at its own leisurely pace (seven seasons over nine years) and through excellent writing, supurb production values and a stellar cast, has established a benchmark for quality television.
Weiner, 49, recalled that when he wrote the pilot nearly a decade ago, consumer portable electronics were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today. Since he was only a toddler during the era in which the show is set, he would often extrapolate from modern world anxieties how people coped with their changing world 50 years ago.