Matt Weiner Interview, Part 8

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Matt:  Yeah – and just see where they are.  You know that Betty Draper is going to get a copy of Our Bodies/Ourselves at some point.  It’s going to happen. 

Mary:  and someone is going to get a hold of Maslow

Matt:  The Maslow thing is actually funny!!  It’s one of those things that’s so organic to American culture.  You see it everywhere.  It’s a reaction to materialism.  On top of my pyramid of needs is a stiff drink and an umbrella. 

[laughter]

If you read John Cheever - there’s no one who charts the inner workings of the male mind.  And the women are amazing in his books too.  They’re AMAZING.  Every once in awhile there’s this current of selfishness and deep want and need and he’s just amazing. 

At a certain point his characters – they keep changing and they leave Shady Hill – and end up in Rome, then back in NY, and then in Los Angeles, in the 70’s and then he basically stopped writing.  I always felt that that journey, that is Don [Draper]. 

I wouldn’t blow it but I always said that this man in 1966 probably will be in an ashram.  Or something like that.  He will be expanding his mind.  How could you NOT see this man needs meaning?  The whole thing about existentialism - you can say whatever you want – that it’s an excuse for bad behavior, it’s an easy way to live but the truth ….

Mary: There is just such LONGING in all these characters, I just want to see where they take that longing.

Matt: Right!  It’s taken very seriously.  I take it very seriously.  There are some parts that are more dramatic than you can possibly imagine because they’re bigger than you think they’re going to be.  And there are some things that are that big [hold thumb forefiner up] that I make like two hours out of.  Tiny things.  There’s a lot of comedy, some debauchery that will repulse you.  But it’s not cruel and not unreal.

Linda [his wife] reads everything.  She went to Harvard.  She’s an architect and she worked for Charles Moore.  On Sea Ranch…early projects.  We have discussions.  We’re both very honest about our feelings as human beings – about the moments of indifference towards our children. 

You know, these horrible things.  I’ve made a living out of admitting that I am a horrible person on some level.  And then people come to it and say, “oh I have those feelings too.”  And that’s wonderful.  I always said this about The Sopranos. When I first started watching The Sopranos, Linda made me watch it.  And I’m so competitive and I saw all the hype and I hate Quentin Tarantino and I hate all that torture and all that “isn’t it funny, I get to kill you and I get to say whatever I want to you.” 

I said, I’ve seen that scene a million times and I don’t want to write it and I don’t want to watch it.  And then we saw the college episode and Linda said, “you HAVE to watch this.”  And I watched it and I almost cried at the end.  Because I said, oh my god, this is successful and I’m not alone.  As a human being, I do not feel as alone any more because someone else is at least thinking about this. 

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