“Mad Men” was designed to self-destruct
“Now that the subtext is the text,” says Sean T. Collins, "now that 'Mad Men’s' storyline has caught up to the countercultural moment that would eventually lead to works like, well, 'Mad Men,' the show's original aesthetic appeal has been tossed out the window like so much suicide foreshadowing. If you were the kind of Don-bro able to turn off your brain and just enjoy early 'Mad Men' for its lush portrayal of a jocularly misogynist time when men were men, women were women, and everyone looked amazing (even if they smelled like ashtrays), brother, you're out of luck now.” PLUS: Play the “Mad Men” drinking game for Season 7, recalling 7 seasons of “Mad Men” promos, 14-year-old Kiernan Shipka poses for Vanity Fair, how “Mad Men’s” style evolved, ranking Don’s women, the final season will look stylistically ugly, and a refresher for where "Mad Men" left off.
Why it’s OK that “Mad Men” characters never change
"We’ve invested in them, and sometimes the dividends seem puny,” Matt Zoller Seitz says of the final season. "But still we watch. At least, we masochists who don’t care about likability or happy endings watch. It’s not a self-help guide. But there is some value in Mad Men’s spectacle of misbehavior. The show has nothing to teach us. It’s just being honest about the truths people discover and then disregard, and the lies they tell themselves, as history moves around them. They’re doing the best they can.”
“Mad Men” is simpler in Season 7, like its earlier seasons
"Everyone’s where we’ve always known them to be,” says Richard Lawson, "and in that vein, the season premiere plays as straightforwardly as this show gets. Which comes as both a disappointment and a relief. The past few seasons of Mad Men have been so laden with symbolism and metaphor and all kinds of allusions that it’s been hard to find the point.”
Jon Hamm is taken aback when “Mad Men” fans tell him they want to be Don Draper
"I’m like, 'You want to be a miserable drunk?,’” he says. "I don’t think you want to be anything like that guy. You want to be like the guy on a poster maybe but not the actual guy. The actual guy’s rotting from the inside out and has to pull it together.” PLUS: Hamm hopes that an 88-year-old Don Draper would still be alive, and at peace, and Vincent Kartheiser on splitting the seasons.
“Mad Men’s” season premiere feels as exhausted as the ‘60s
“Many of the characters are repeating themselves or pedaling in place, and the historic underlay that was once so piquant is now dreary: This season it’s the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon,” says Alessandra Stanley. "That sagging of energy happens to any long-lasting series, but it’s oddly apt in the case of 'Mad Men,' because the show’s trajectory so closely follows the era it portrays.”
Matthew Weiner answers the question: Is “Mad Men” Peggy’s story?
"It's very interesting to me,” he tells Rolling Stone. "She's a very important character. She's introduced in the pilot as "the new girl," and is sort of there to bring the audience into this world. She's so important, and so much of Don's story and her story are told in parallel to each other. But the story derives from Don, for me, still. I mean, her growth has been incredible, and I love that she's become a symbol, in a way. Because I don't see her like that – she's a person and a character."