‘Mad Men’ Creator, Cast Take #TCA15 Victory Lap

Weiner says final season was designed to be split in two
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The final episode of Mad Men has wrapped and will be broadcast this spring. Jon Hamm has feelings about it.

“I’m thrilled that it's ending,” Hamm, the show’s star, said Saturday during a TCA winter press tour panel for the show. “I’m so looking forward to being unemployed. I’m so happy to not see any of these people ever again. All of that is really great. Hashtag sarcasm.”

Hamm was joined onstage by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and the five other members of the show’s original cast — Christina Hendricks, January Jones, John Slattery, Elizabeth Moss and Vincent Kartheiser. AMC announced prior to the session that the first of the show’s last seven episodes, the second part of its final season, will premiere April 5.

Weiner said he never intended for the final season to run without a break in the middle.

“There was a discussion, when we all signed up for the last 36 episodes, there was a discussion that things might be spread out in a different way or whatever,” Weiner said. He asked for an extra episode when he realized that the last season would be split, realizing that six would not be enough. “I loved the opportunity to basically treat it like thematically it’s going to be one season, but in terms of its airing I will acknowledge the fact that there are two premieres and two finales, and take it as an opportunity, no spoilers, to advance the story in a different way.”

Weiner, who wrote the pilot for Mad Menwhile working as a writer on CBS’ Becker in the mid-90s, also told a story about seeing Hendricks and Moss shoot their first scene together on the pilot. “I saw them walking next to each other, which was in my mind when I did the casting — ‘What are these two women going to look like watching next to each other?’ — and all the sets and all the extras, and you’re having just a psychotic experience of something being realized,” he said. “You guys know how long this existed. I carried this thing around for so long. And I’ve never gotten over that, never, ever, ever gotten over that.”

Other highlights from the panel included:

• Responding to a question about whether a spinoff may be possible, Hamm turned toward Kartheiser and shouted, “Better call Pete!” (Earlier in the day, AMC presented a panel for its Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul.)

• The script for the final episode was delivered to the actors at their homes. “By the way, the script was delivered incomplete,” Jones said. “The last 10 pages weren’t there—which was really effed.”

• Weiner sees historic parallels between the present and the 1960s, when the show takes place. “To see the turning away at the end of 1968, the defeat of whatever revolutionary impetus there was, all of these movements for change being squelched, all of these people being assassinated, all of that happening, you sort of say, at a certain point, everyone’s like, ‘Enough already,’” Weiner said. “’I can’t do anything about the world, it’s time to turn inward.’ That what I felt about the end of the decade, and I do feel that’s going on right now.”

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