Don Draper has had a rough old life, and things didn't exactly improve for him in Season 6 of AMC's Mad Men. The sixth season of the critically acclaimed show recently ended with yesterday's finale episode, and now creator is here to discuss it. Obviously, if you have not seen the final episode of Mad Men Season 6 yet, I would advise against reading on.
EW recently chatted to creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner about the events of the tumultuous season 6, what's next for Don Draper and how the story will continue in Mad Men's final seventh season.
On this season's story for Don Draper:
The story was about Don in crisis saying, 'I don't want to do this again,' the idea of the society being in revolution, him trying to find a solution to his anxiety and the outside doesn't look like the inside. It's a simple thing but what is causing him to repeat this problem over and over and over again? His relationship with his downstairs neighbor (Sylvia, played by )-there's so much self-destructive behavior. And what I really wanted to do was get him to a place where he would look himself in the mirror and see all those things about himself. When I brought this up in the writer's room at the beginning of the season, everybody got this nauseous look on their faces. I mean, no one ever does that. Let's see if we can make Don confront who he is.
On Don choosing to confessing his past in the Hersey meeting and whether his line "If I had my way, you would never advertise," was an expression of contempt for his industry
His personal relationship with Hershey is something that I knew, and that the audience didn't necessarily know. They knew when he was telling the truth because they'd seen his background. And what I wanted was for him to have that drink, and go in there and do what he always does, which was give a very convincing and beautiful speech about what it would mean to a person. It's Don's gift that he can create this persona and that it feels so personal, and that it was a lie and that Hershey doesn't advertise and it is a form of self-hatred for him to say, 'You don't need someone like me, you shouldn't advertise, you should stay pure.' And that was definitely his relationship with the chocolate bar and his horrible childhood that he can't undo.
On this season's increasingly frustrating Don Draper
I think people are always frustrated with Don. And when Sally catches him they felt badly for him. I have no control over any of that. When the premiere episode ends with 'I don't want to do this anymore,' they know there is change afoot or at least an attempt at change. And I hope that they are always shocked and excited about it. When you find out in "The Crash" that he is actually working on winning Sylvia back — and not Chevy the entire episode? That's the great gift of having these writers and these actors to be able to tell a story like that. I want people to be interested in Don. I can't define what is positive or negative about that because I do not judge him or any of the other characters.
On whether Weiner is setting up a "Can Don redeem himself" for the final season
I'm not lying when I tell you all I have is an image for the very end of the show, and I really use everything that myself and the writers can think of for this season. We painted ourselves into a corner but I always want the season finale to feel like the end of the show. So, can Don redeem himself? I'm not going to say if that's even an issue. But I hope people feel a sense of joy or hope at that last moment because that's what the season was working toward. And I'm not kidding: That event in itself, just looking in the mirror and saying that is a big deal for that guy. And for any of us... I live with each season as it is. I started this season saying, "We should save that," "We should save that," "We should save that"” and Maria and Andre Jacquemetton basically had an intervention with me - they're the executive producers, second-in-charge here. They're like, "Why are you doing this different than you've done it before? You should just use everything and we'll deal with it later." And that's what we did.
On approaching season 7
It's going to be a new experience for me and I'm as usual terrified and excited by it but I'm trying not to think about it for a couple weeks. I can tell you we will continue to make the show the way we always have but there's extra stakes and extra pressure and an emotional process for myself and the writers who have been here.
What do you think? Where do you want to see Don's story go in the final season of Mad Men? Drop your suggestions in the comment box below.