The cast of Mad Men appeared at PaleyFest last Friday for a panel discussion about the past, present, and future of the show as it prepares for its final season. Prior to the event, on the red carpet, which I want you to keep in mind, Melinda Newman from Hitfix wrangled Vincent Kartheiser to ask him a few questions about his character, Pete Campbell. I have transcribed part of their conversation below, but I really, really must insist that you watch the video at the top of the page, because words on a screen do not do justice to how awkward and weird this is. He’s like a real-life version of Rust Cohle from that True Detective Conversations Tumblr, but bearded and slightly less infatuated with horrifying ritualistic murders. Probably
Do you think [Pete] is constitutionally capable of being happy?
No. Do you think anyone is?
Maybe. I wouldn’t know. I mean, I think happy comes from the word “hap,” right? Happenchance. Which happens for no reason. We didn’t really think about “happy” as something you could “be” until, in America, we said “the pursuit of happiness,” which made it feel like something we could “achieve.” You can’t achieve it. You can be content. You can feel secure. You can be at peace. But happy? Happy is a giddiness. It’s a frivolous emotion, really. Not to say it’s worthless or I don’t enjoy it, because I do, but … it’s not something that you can really achieve.
Jesus. Someone get Vincent Kartheiser a pack of Camels and a sixer of Lone Star pounders. I don’t know if it’ll help, but it sure as hell couldn’t hurt.