Tomorrow night is a sad day for “Mad Men” addicts everywhere. It’s a death knell to a season of scotch-swilling, skirt chasing, cigarette-smoking, Man/Dame bantering, lawn-mowering, and what’s- wrong-with-Betty-Draper wondering. Yes. It’s the season finale of “Mad Men.” I, for one, may have to drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine and borrow some valium from a nervous friend.
I love “30 Rock.” “The Office” always makes me laugh. I’m a CNN addict. Oh who is kidding who? It’s not just the season finale of “Mad Men.” It’s the season end of the best TV there is. Now I’m going to have read a book if I want this level of great writing.
Until I figure out my next step post “Mad Men,” I’m going to ponder the following piece of advice given by Matthew Weiner, the Creator/Producer/Writer of the show. On Wednesday night I saw a Q&A at the Writer’s Bloc with Mr. Weiner. A woman asked him what advice he had for struggling actors/writer/etc. In LA, anyone with artistic pursuits is often classified as an “etc.,” as they are hoping to hedge their bets on fame. Anyway, after sighing that he got asked this question again, Matthew said, “Just pursue your craft and don’t worry about the rules people tell you exist, like you are too old to make it, or too this or too that, or too anything. You just have to be the one who breaks the rules and you have to think about how sweet the vengeance will be.”
That got a round of applause.
A young man then asked him how he overcame writer’s block. I leaned forward in my seat for this one. “I don’t have writer’s block,” he said. He then added, “Oh, but that might be because I dictate into a recorder. I talk the idea through. I can get through a whole script in a day that way. And if I can say it and it sounds good, then I know I have good dialogue.”
I thought it was a clever idea, and one I’ve considered trying myself. Since the man is responsible for the most brilliant writing on TV, I am not going to doubt him.
One other note about that night: Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan, was in the audience. Joan is my favorite character on the show, and if you have watched it, you understand why. She’s a complex personality who plays her full-throttle sexuality with uber-confidence, and sometimes smugness. Often this strategy has let her down; rarely has it gotten the results that she believes it will. That’s one reason why fans love her. Underneath her calm exterior she’s smoldering with disappointment at how life has turned out so far, but damn if she’ll let that keep her down.
Hendricks must be one incredible actress because to see her you can’t believe she and Joan are one and the same. The attractive actress looks ten years younger than her character, and she’s all baby-faced and sweet. She could be the poster-woman for the Girl Next Door. Maybe she was trying to down-play the glam that night because she had to sit in the middle of an audience of some scary-looking writers, myself included, but seriously, I was struck by how innocent she looks. And really, maybe that’s Joan’s appeal. There is, after all, something very innocent about the way Joan oozes sexuality like a child working it in a candy store. This season, she’s certainly matured, and she’s a little road weary from her loser husband.
One more Weiner story: He was talking about script notes he gets from studio executives, and how hard criticism can be to take. He said he sometimes reads these notes and thinks about the VP writing it, and wants to tell them, “What have you ever written besides this f@#$&! note?”