There will be many, many Mad Men pieces in the next few months as the show finally closes. Seven episodes left to finish what Don Draper started years ago when he tried to figure out why that waiter wouldn’t switch to Lucky Strike cigarettes. And I’ll write some, and everyone else will, as we try to figure out why the show resonates so much with so many of us. 

This THR article shows the beginnings. The way things were when absolutely nobody thought there was anything in this idea. Not because the script wasn’t good, but because the scent of AMC was anathema to anyone who cared about drama.  Why would you take it there? A show like that, it’s either on HBO or it’s dead. Maybe FX.  

But Matthew Weiner knew.

They talk about how the choice of Jon Hamm wasn’t a sure thing. How John Slattery was ‘pouty’ because he wanted to be Don and he couldn’t see yet how Roger was going to be a thing (imagine if we’d been deprived of his Roger?). How Peggy looked like a beach bunny in her audition.

But Matthew Weiner knew.

My favourite part of the whole article comes from Weiner fighting with his network exec, Christina Wayne, over whether or not Don and Betty are happy at the end of Season 1. He said yes, she said no, and then after a fight, he realized she was right.   “I just want my characters to be happy” …but that’s not actually what’s best for them. And he knows that. And it was the right thing.

Don’t be scared as we get closer to the end. Don’t worry when things look bad, bleak, cold. He knows what we need. He can get us there. I don’t want to look around at you all afterward and be happy together. I want to hold your hand as we work through the pain of realizing what we all already knew – whatever that turns out to be.

Whatever it is, Matthew Weiner knows what we need.  

Click here to read the THR article.