It's not very often we at SheKnows blast anyone. We genuinely try to be more uplifting and less hateful than that. After spending seven years with Mad Men, though, a lot of tension has built up and, as the show comes to a close, I've finally been unleashed. So, here it goes. I'm going to say what plenty of TV writers and entertainment reporters are thinking:
I'm so relieved to be done with Matthew Weiner.
There's no denying the man is a genius. Despite my contempt, I've tuned into Mad Men episode after episode. Within the very first 50 minutes of the show, he had me on his hook and plopped me right into the midst of Don Draper's exceedingly complicated life.
Over the years, as most shows do, Mad Men has certainly taken a more soap operalike turn. With less time spent in-office and more time spent on Don's secrets and lies, there's no denying that it lost a bit of its edge. But, I kept watching. And so did everyone else. We needed to know where he would take us next.
We quickly learned we couldn't count on Don's fidelity. Nor could we rely on Peggy to remain a strong female businesswoman for more than a handful of episodes at a time. And viewers knew better than to ever expect Roger to take anything seriously. One thing we could always expect, though, was that end-of-episode promo for next week... just like on every other television show. The difference: Mad Men's promos were all entirely useless.
What's that? You wanted just a hint of something to let you know everything would work out between Don and his daughter? Nope. Oh, were you hoping for a glimpse of Pete getting what he deserves? Sorry! At best, littered between 1- to 3-word snippets from past episodes, you might catch a glimpse of a scene that is so short and so without background knowledge that you couldn't even begin to fathom the context in which it sits. And it was frustrating. So frustrating.
I get the overwhelming hatred for spoilers. Nothing makes my blood simmer more than an editor requesting a roundup of spoilers. (Though, if everyone hates them so much, why do they perform so well?) But, why can't we have a real, honest-to-goodness tease? I'll never understand the harm of offering up a taste of what's to come. And I've always blamed the nonexistence of these on Mad Men's showrunner, Weiner, and his tyrannical grip on the show.
No, I'm not just bitter when I say "tyrannical." He keeps his thumb on every aspect of the show and the promotion that goes into it. If you need proof, look no further than the letter that accompanied the Season 6 preview discs sent to the press. While it's virtually impossible to gain access to Mad Men screeners, they will occasionally appear in the mail for certain writers and editors.
While they were often treated like a precious stone and coveted by less fortunate critics, the big news surrounding the Season 6 promos was the letter from Weiner that accompanied the disc. In it, the showrunner stipulated several aspects of the premiere that he wanted writers not to mention in previews or reviews. Embargoed information is par for the course in our line of work. But this letter, which Maureen Ryan at Huffington Post boldly published online, was so beyond specific that it bordered on OCD and truly highlighted Weiner's controlling nature.
It was insane. For seven years, it's felt like AMC has been ruled by the Weiner dictatorship and all of the peasants in the press have been forced to smile and play along because we liked the show enough, and our readers ate it up. So, excuse me while I rejoice at the end of an era: The Weiner Era, shrouded in secrecy and contempt. And finally, on Sunday, it is over. At least until he strikes — again.
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