The second half of the split final season of Mad Men is still months away for viewers, but the cast and crew wrapped production on the series a few weeks back. This means that, save the editing and the actual slapping together of the parts, the series finale is in the books. Done. Finito. All written and shot and everything. Esquire sat down with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner recently to ask him about it, and it seems like he has a pretty healthy perspective on things.
The road has been paved for a mixed review, no matter what. I do what I’ve always done on the show and rely on the people around me. The actors, the writers, and my wife all liked it, so that’s all I can go on at this point. I hate to say this — obviously ending the entire series is significantly more pressure — but it’s been that way every year. I never knew if the show was coming back for most of the series, so we treated every episode 13 like it was the end. It’s very bittersweet and high pressure. “Did we stick the landing?”
Let’s be clear about something here: Yes, the reviews of the series finale are definitely going to be mixed, and you can guarantee this without having any idea how it will actually end. We are squarely within something historians will eventually refer to as The Age of the Think Piece, which means people are going to pick and pull at this from every direction for a week or two (opinion, backlash, backlash to the backlash) until there is no meat left on the bone. “It was the best finale ever,” “it ruined the entire show,” “WHY DIDN’T PETE CAMPBELL GET EATEN BY A BEAR THIS IS BULLSH*T” (this last one will be me), etc. It’s going to be excruciating. Destroy the Internet.
On another note, later in the interview, Weiner revealed which items he took with him from the set before locking the doors behind him on the way out. Mostly notably, he grabbed Don’s Clio award and Roger’s bar, which he described as “the happiest bar on the show.” This is all well and good, but it leaves one very important question unanswered: Who got Bob Benson’s swim trunks? I guess the smart money is on the man who made them famous, actor James Wolk, but a part of me kinda hopes Jon Hamm claimed them. Given what we know from paparazzi photos, it would be borderline obscene.