And you thought we weren't going to get any Mad Men dish before the Season 5 premiere.
So what if only some of it pertains to future episodes? You already know that they don't do spoilers. Does that mean you don't you want to know who series boss Matthew Weiner considers to be the healthiest person at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Not curious about the real basis for Don's diary last season? And what about Kiernan Shipka's take on whether or not little Sally is doomed with parents like hers? Isn't it just fun to hear Weiner and the cast talk about making the show?
Exactly. To further whet your appetite before Mad Men's March 25 return, here are the 10 most important things we learned during Tuesday's PaleyFest event honoring the show, moderated by film critic and KCRW host Elvis Mitchell:
There was a time that Jon Hamm thought the Season 4 finale was just a dream. The actor, too, was surprised by the 11th-hour turn of events, in which Don suddenly proposed to Megan (Jessica Pare). "'Is it a dream sequence, like none of it really happened?'" Hamm recalled thinking. Of course, he eventually came to understand it was all part of Weiner's plan. "The show is very good at seeding clues throughout the season," and Faye (Cara Buono) had said in an earlier episode that newly single guys like Don are usually married within a year. "Sure, as sh--, it happened," Hamm said. "Or, he got engaged that is. He didn't necessarily get married." (Infer from that slip-up what you will.)
It's still sounding like Mad Men will end after seven seasons. "I don't want to overstay our welcome," Weiner said. Remembering life writing for the last three seasons of The Sopranos, he said, "You just start running into places you've been... I don't want to repeat myself." Nothing's a certainty, but Weiner sounded, well, resolute. "It's not like there's some master plan, but seven seems like it would cover it."
Ken Cosgrove is the most well-adjusted person at SCDP. That's the theory Weiner put forth. It's not that Ken (Aaron Stanton) is just happy-go-lucky and oblivious to the fact that the company is struggling and Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) has been promoted over him. Ken, perhaps, has just got "a complete sense of self and his happiness doesn't come from his job," Weiner said. "He's the healthiest person in the office."
January Jones was hoping Don and Betty would reconcile. "I was very choked up when I realized it was really the end of Don and Betty," the actress said of the estranged couple's final scene last season. Like some fans, "I hold out a little bit of hope for them."
Robert Morse really wanted to know why Bertram Cooper doesn't wear shoes in the office. Asked how he gets into character, Morse said he just takes Weiner's direction. "'Do what the f--- I say!'" the actor joked. Weiner later explained that Morse once kept demanding deeper answers as to where Cooper's shoe thing came from, unsatisfied to learn that Cooper's interest in Eastern cultures was just one of the character's quirks.
Remember when Don tried keeping a diary? His was based on two real ones. The journal was inspired by a real one written in 1965 by the father of one of Weiner's friends who had been going through issues similar to what Don faced last season. "Some of it is from my own journal, and some of it is from that man's journal," Weiner said. "That was as close to therapy as Don's going to get."
Rich Sommer was hungover when Harry did his best Roger Sterling and tried to pick up a girl in last season's finale. According to Sommer, who agreed that Harry had turned into something of a "d-----bag," they shot his sleazy scene at 7 a.m. the day after the Emmys. "Also, my son was being born the next day... I was very excited to do something as my last hurrah before fatherhood," he said. And will Harry continue down the d-bag road? Weiner said he will be very important to the firm as the head of TV.
Kiernan Shipka doesn't think Sally Draper is necessarily doomed, even if her parents might be the most messed up people in the world. Asked by Weiner if she thinks Sally is more like Betty or Don, Shipka said, "I think she's her own person." So there.
Speaking of... Wow, you guys really hate Betty! Jones, who gave birth to a baby boy in September, knows it, too. "People run away from me on the street all the time. They're worried about me being a mother now," she said. Even if Betty is that bad, the actress isn't scared for Sally either. "Luckily, like Kiernan said, Sally's her own person and she'll be fine," she deadpanned.
Of course being in blackface was awkward! But John Slattery said there was no getting out of it. When the actor was told that Roger Sterling was going to throw a party in which he'd serenade his new young bride — as well as all the other attendees — with "My Old Kentucky Home" performed completely in blackface, he admitted that he recoiled for a moment. He just couldn't rebel either. "You can't ride the girl in underwear, singing cowboy songs, but say, 'I won't do blackface,'" he said.
Mad Men returns to AMC on Sunday, March 25 at 9/8c with a two-hour premiere. Are you excited, super excited, or passed out from excitement?
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