We have searched promo photos hither and yon for clues, we have closed our eyes and listened intently to the music, we have stood hushed in the shadow of Jon Hamm’s enormous penis, but no Mad Men pre-season ritual is complete until Matthew Weiner deflects his way through another interview. Today it was with the Wall Street Journal, who profiled the show’s creator in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed—recounting the difficulties in getting the series made, naming the mid-century movies and icons that inspired him (Cash McCall, Gregory Peck), allowing some similarities between Pete and Trudy Campbell and his own parents, between Betty Draper and himself. And, as always, talking only in the vaguest terms about the next round of episodes, declaring, “There should be a climax every season,” and confirming that he sets out to “try to make the end of every season feel like it's the end of the show”—so expect more of that sensation this year (followed by it not being the end of the show yet).
But Weiner does briefly open up on one aspect: He’s well aware many of you begin each season demanding, “Where’s Sal?” and hoping to see a return from everyone’s favorite closeted homosexual art director. “More than with any other character, I've had lots of conversations about that,” Weiner says. “I wanted to tell the story of how incredibly unfair it was for Sal, and that's the sacrifice I made. It's a gigantic moment in the series.” And if you have a problem with that, go eat bacon until you die, or something: “If you liked the first season so much, go watch it again," Weiner says. "You cannot have bacon at every meal. I got that from David Chase. You'll burn out that way.” But what if, like my grandfather, every now and then you just sort of chewed on Sal for a little bit and spit him out, just to get the flavor? Would Matthew Weiner get off our damn backs and let us enjoy some Sal in peace then?