Matthew Weiner has been likening the inevitable series finale of Mad Men to the sort of “great ending” encapsulated by The Beatles’ Abbey Road for a while now, promising a similar “culmination of an experience of people working at their highest level,” a satisfying thematic resolution, and maybe a drum solo. But he got slightly more specific—while still remaining perfectly vague—in a recent Q&A conducted by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin, telling a Los Angeles audience, “I do know how the whole show ends. It came to me in the middle of last season. I always felt like it would be the experience of human life. And human life has a destination.” So the show, like human life, is headed inexorably to Knott’s Berry Farm? That sounds weird, Matthew Weiner, but okay.
Actually, no, not Knott’s Berry Farm—and also, “It doesn't mean Don's gonna die. What I'm looking for, and how I hope to end the show, is like ... It's 2011. Don Draper would be 84 right now. I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it's related to you.” Naturally, some have already taken this comment literally and, as with so many intentionally open-ended Mad Men exchanges, drawn their own conclusions that this means the show will wrap up in modern times, with an 84-year-old Don Draper maybe breathing his last through a tracheotomy tube while Sally and her live-in “friend” Charlene look on bitterly. But really, this is probably just Weiner’s way of saying, as always, that he wants there to be a meaningful through-line from Draper’s era to now. And most importantly, “I just want it to be entertaining and I want people to remember it fondly and not think it ended in a fart.” Even though we can think of no better commentary on the relative meaningfulness of one’s life experience than an elderly man cutting a fart.
But then, Weiner’s not really interested in our suggestions: While discussing some of the online feedback he received over last year’s controversial “voice-over” episode, where Don Draper read to us from his diary, Weiner said, “Some people were like, 'You're not allowed to do that. There's no voice-over on the show.' And I'm like, 'Go fuck yourself. Go get your own fucking show. Don't write on the Internet what I'm allowed to fucking do.'” I AM WRITING ON THE INTERNET THAT MATTHEW WEINER IS ALLOWED TO MAKE JON HAMM FART.
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