Matt Weiner Interview, Part 7

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Mary:  Right, but that was more paternal.

Matt:  True. 

Mary:  But I remember men talking like that. Very paternalistic.  I was talked to like that as a teenager by my uncles.  And the show is authentic to me and obviously you couldn’t do the show unless you dealt with the overt sexism.

Matt:  And you know, Betty also – the wife.  This is not a symbol.  This woman is vain.  She’s complicit.  She has an incredibly luxurious life.  She has chosen to have the coolest job that any friend of hers could have.  She got into Bryn Mawr and married this guy who on some level we know that she knows nothing about.  But he’s the whole package.  So she’s not a symbol.  It’s not The Hours, this poor woman languishing in the suburbs. 

She has everything.  She is the envy of everyone she knows.  I try to take it out of the politics.  Peggy lets Pete into her place not because she’s climbing the ladder but because she can’t believe he noticed her.  And Betty says, we’re all so lucky to be here because it’s the statement of the most profoundly depressed person which is: god I wish I was appreciating life. 

Mary:  Robert Bly..

Matt: yeah – there’s this Bly poem…where this guy drags his father by his ankles through the orchard. And then the father said, that’s funny – I only dragged my father to that tree.  There’s a LOT of that.  There’s a lot of men kicking each other in the balls in the show. 

Btw – I hope this doesn’t all sound intellectual because I’m really trying to be entertaining..

Mary:  No, no…the question for me was where is all this coming from, because it’s sort of like your channeling…

Matt:  Did I tell you the story about Bob Levinson from ICM?  Who said to me, "in 1960 I was at BBDO on the Lucky Strike account."   And I said, “do I want to hear the rest of this?” and he said, “do you have a time machine?”   He thought I was like 75.  I don’t want to question it.  I don’t want to lose it.

Mary:  Was that an old Bob Newhart album playing in episode three or four.

Matt:  That is the original bob Newhart album.  It was his first thing and he was an accountant.  Very symbolic to a lot of these guys. 

Mary:  My uncle had that album. I remember that album.

Matt:  It was HUGE.  It was him talking on the phone and it was really funny.  The idea that these guys were at work listening to it, I just thought it was fantastic.  The episode is about “I have ideas” and here is this accountant who has become a great comedian.  And Don fails in that meeting.  Which you never see ina television show.  Jon Hamm [Draper] is trying to sell to Bethlehem steel and it falls apart.  And you never see that on television.  NEVER.

Mary:  Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.  I was cringing.  So going forward into next season, if there is one, which I think there will be…

Matt:  I’m scared of that.  I’m putting everything I’ve ever had in this first season.  I’ve not held anything back.

Mary:  If you could project, I can see these characters – they’re so interesting, so complex, I can see them going on and on and on…and I thought, well, would Draper end up at Esalen, in a hot tub?

Matt:  Absolutely.  That’s the story.  That’s the original thing.  You walk around and look at these people, especially the people who run the country.  You read Lee Iacocca’s biography there’s nothing about his childhood.  Or Sam Walton.    And if you were to live through this period.  That’s what I wanted to do, if there is more, is come back in 1962, and then 1964.

Mary:  Yeah – I wondered if you were going to time jump. 
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