Posted by Kathy Lyford
Being a “Mad Men” obsessive, I've read a lot of interviews of the show’s creator Matthew Weiner over the last couple of years. So when I sat down to breakfast with him last week to go over readers’ questions, I expected someone a little uptight, single-minded, perhaps a control freak. This is what many of the profiles had led me to believe of the man. What I discovered was, as you would expect if you watch the show, a man who is incredibly intelligent, passionate about 1960s America and fascinated with human behavior. He also has many traits you might not expect: he’s very funny, extremely sweet and surprisingly soft spoken. He’s somebody I’d love to hang out with more. I found him endlessly fascinating and entertaining. And, although the interview was all about him, he spent a lot of time asking about me, my background and my family and my parents’ experiences growing up. I suspect he does this with everyone he meets and I’m sure the information he learns informs his writing.
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that Weiner wrote the “Mad Men” pilot eight years ago, before his stint as a writer-producer on David Chase’s HBO masterpiece “The Sopranos.” Earlier in his career he was also a writer on the Ted Danson comedy “Becker.” As “The Sopranos” was coming to a close, Weiner shopped the “Mad Men” pilot around town, was famously turned down by HBO, and eventually sold it to AMC, which was just wading into the original series waters. What a way for the network to start!
He speaks quickly and in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way, which I’ve tried to capture in transcribing his answers. I hope that will give you an essence of what it’s like to have a conversation with him. You’ll find that he not only answered the questions completely but he went above and beyond, often exploring tangents that were not part of the original question. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck in this Q&A, I promise. (Although there is one question that gets a one word answer!)
As I write this, AMC has exercised its option for a third season of “Mad Men,” the show that has captured the imagination of the country. Weiner and Lionsgate, which owns and produces the show, are still negotiating his deal. So, our show will return. Let’s just hope it still has its genius at the helm.
And with just one show left to air this season – Sunday’s season 2 finale – here is what Weiner had to say:
Q. How much of the Don Draper story did you have in mind when you wrote that spec script? And do you know now how the series ends? — Cynthia
A. I sort of know how the series ends. I don’t know if I have a very good ending to it yet but I sort of know how it ends. In terms of Don’s backstory, I had all of it. Here’s the interesting thing: I had written a movie about this character. I’d gotten to page 80 and I’d only covered a fraction of his life. It was called “The Horseshoe.” Actually the hobo story was in there, and the thing with him bringing his own body home (from the war) and a lot of his childhood and things that you’re still going to see (in the last two episodes of season 2) were in there, things you’ll find out about. And there’s way more to be mined. And on some level it was a story that imitated writers that I love - Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Irving.
And I had all of that. And when I wrote “Mad Men,” and AMC said “Where does the series go?” I went home and looked for my notes about “Mad Men” and I came across the script (for “The Horseshoe”) and started leafing through it. Now this was a script I wrote – “Mad Men” is eight years ago – this is a script I wrote eight years before that. I wrote it before I had my first job. After I got married this is what I worked on for a year. And I got to the last page of the script and it said “Ossining, 1960” and I said “Oh my God. That’s who he is.” I loved John Cheever and those writers and that’s why I picked Ossining.
I told Jon (Hamm, pictured with Weiner above) the whole story before last year started. He was the only one I told, except for the producers, of course. And I told Jon about the brother and how the genealogy works and what kind of childhood it was and where he was from. There were a lot of these people. It’s an American story. You know mountain (folks), or whatever it is, coming to New York and shedding the whole thing. That’s the American dream on some level. Even though I didn’t finish the movie I did know where it was going. And I feel lucky to have that consistency and the audience can see that it’s not just being spun as it goes along.
Q.What will be the date on Don Draper’s desk calendar when season
three begins? Will we miss seeing Peggy’s reaction to the Kennedy
assassination or The Beatles’ arrival in New York ? — Hercules T. Strong
A. I’m going to say that I don’t know, because it’s really true. And I love that they’re excited about another season because I don’t even know what it is yet. But I know one thing, which is that I think everybody’s seen enough of the Kennedy assassination. I know I have. It’s certainly going to affect the show and their lives and I guess we’ll see their reaction. But I definitely don’t want to go through that dramatically. It’s probably the most dramatized event that I’ve experienced in my life, at least for my age. It’s something I’ve seen over and over and over and over again. As I writer, I don’t really know what I could add to it. But it will affect these people’s lives; you know I’m going to take it seriously. I just don’t really see us coming up on that.
I asked the following question because I had met Weiner and his wife
at an Emmy party where they held hands like teenagers. I have also
heard him speak many times of her as a great inspiration to him and an
uncredited writer on the series. Plus he was rushing off after breakfast to buy his wife jewelry, so there you go.
Q. For someone who’s so obviously happily married, how do you write a show where the institution is absolutely untenable? — Kathy
A. It’s a fantasy. But part of the period thing to me is that these people got married and did not know each other. And I guess everybody looks back and sees that, but it was actually part of the time - that Betty could marry Don and really not know him. It was so good on paper. People still do that, obviously. Part of it is I’m not Don Draper or Peggy Olson, you know? Drama is not based on contentment, so maybe it’s artificial. But I do take things from my own marriage. I do take every sort of insecurity and weakness that I can and put it in. There’s a lot of my life in there. I don’t think marriage is untenable. What’s the old joke? Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and the other 50% end in death. (Laughs)
Q. Now that we’re in season two, is it difficult to deliver more of those interesting factoids during each commercial break? — Bashirah
A. I have nothing to do with those. As the sponsors (come in), whatever sponsors they get, it’s their problem. I love them. They are Tivo stoppers. It was a really brilliant idea; I had nothing to do with them. If it was up to me I would do things the way they did in 1960. I would have a single sponsor doing the whole show and tie them to the show. But because this is the way it’s done and they’re selling minutes, I think it’s the most palatable and innovative thing I’ve seen, especially considering what’s happened with TV advertising. I’ve been very impressed by it. I think it looks like something Don Draper would have thought of.
Q. Is your art director alone responsible for the great look of things? — Big Bomb
A. First of all what (this questioner) is calling the art director job is actually the production designer and he’s the head of that department. That’s Dan Bishop. No one is responsible alone for anything on the show. I get a lot of credit for things because of my taste and because of the attitude and because I sort of had a very specific focus about how to do period that no one had really done before. I mean, someone must have done it but it was certainly new on some level. And then you just get incredible people – there’s like 80 people in that department, and we’ll just talk about the four at the top: the property master, Gay Perello; Amy Wells, who’s the decorator; we’ve got Janie Bryant, the costume designer; Dan Bishop, he’s the production designer; and Chris Brown is actually the art director; but it’s all under Dan’s department – that’s sort of everything that you’re basically seeing onscreen. And of course, there’s the cinematography; people don’t talk about that. That’s another department; that’s another 60 people. And the camera department and all of the color timing and everything that goes down the line. There are so many people responsible for the look of the show and what’s amazing is almost all of them are functioning in a creative capacity and working together and there’s a lot of expression. But really it’s about getting things right. I’ve walked onto set and have seen a grip with a razor blade working it up along the side to scrape a piece of glue from an old piece of tape that could never, ever read, even in HD. And I just look at that and say “Look at who I’m working with. How lucky am I?”
Q. Music informs so many of the scenes in the show. I was wondering
why you chose to use a contemporary song in the opening segment of
“Maidenform” when in all other cases (I think) you've used period
tunes? — Kat
A. I actually used a song by The Cardigans last season to end the very first episode after the pilot, that’s contemporary. And of course David Carbonara writes a lot of music (for the show) and that’s contemporary. I feel like some of the music is source, and it’s coming out of radios and TVs and things like that and being played by orchestras - and that should be period. But music is one of your tools. I try to keep you in the period, but that song, I was doing a montage there and that song is so… (I almost used it last year, it’s by The Decemberists, and I almost used it last year when Betty was shooting the pigeons.) I want to have the freedom to use something that gives an emotion. I don’t think people felt it was particularly contemporary, all they felt was the incredible energy. And of course the words to the song, which is about this princess who’s both powerful and a princess and that whole kind of conflict - it just set up the show so well and just gave it this huge kick in the ass.
In terms of the artistic expression of the story, I always want to have the freedom to have contemporary music in there and I always want to have the freedom to put songs like that Bob Dylan song that I used at the end of the first season finale. To me, that song was not playing in Don’s house. That was a commentary I was making, which is "look at this man in this suit and imagine him in two years." That’s where we were going, which I knew and the audience didn’t – in two years, that music is going to be playing for this man and you just get this sense of “Oh right, it’s coming. It’s all coming.” That’s why I picked it. That’s part of it. The other part is the song completely emotionally and lyrically embodied his situation.
Q. The above question dovetailed wonderfully into an entertaining discussion of the accuracy depicted on the show. As I typed Weiner’s comments in this next segment, I realized he may come off as a bit defensive. That wasn’t actually the case at all. It was more protective of the show, bemused by level of interest with which fans respond to the show and maybe a bit of self-deprecation.
A. You know this whole concept about anachronisms… I know it’s a game people like to play. And they know I’m working my ass off to keep it from happening. Someone sent me something about how the font at the end of the show was Arial and was not period. I was like “The show’s over, go home. I’m allowed to do whatever I want” (laughs). By the way, I’m allowed to do whatever I want anyway. Don could pull a cell phone out at some time. I don’t do that stuff because I don’t want the reality broken.
But if you’re person who loves fonts, fantastic. I’m sure there are some mistakes in there about when these fonts
came out but for the most part… and, by the way, people were arguing
about the fact that Don wouldn’t buy a Cadillac. I love that people
have a stake in it. But I can tell you that almost everything you see
in that show, especially the artwork, is cut and pasted out of old ads.
Those fonts may not have existed on a computer or couldn’t be typeset
yet, but they were cut and pasted from old ads, so maybe they were hand
drawn or something. The American Airlines ad, that they were most
critical of, had this very famous lettering and it was used by DDB
about six months after the crash and we put it in our pitch and I was
thinking “I’m sorry, I don’t have the freedom to do that with my
fictitious ad agency? To have them get there before DDB did?” (laughs) Maybe American Airlines saw it and told
DDB they wanted it. Who knows?
I try not to read anything I'm not going to be able to stomach, but this is Hollywood and "friends" send me this stuff - I guess to bring me down a peg (laughs). I love that people are invested enough that they’re fighting about it getting into it and doing that. I put so much ambiguity into the show if you say something about it that I didn’t think of I don’t say “You’re wrong.” I’m just saying that’s not what I meant or whatever. But I’m fascinated that people get so much out of it.
The whole thing about Betty being molested – that story was drawn from my great grandfather. I heard this story about them riding on a bus and him introducing my grandmother (his daughter) as his wife and some inappropriate behavior on a bus – they had a big fight and were kicked off a bus. Big brouhaha. And I’d heard this story from my grandmother. To me this was just a symbol of someone who had no touch with reality. They (dementia patients) become hyper-sexual, angry, belligerent, overconfident and they cofabulate.
Anyway, what I was saying is people bring that to it. And I say “Fantastic. That doesn’t hurt anything!” (laughs)
Q. One of the primary themes of this season seems to be what will
women do when given an opportunity to step out of their prescribed
roles. Is this something that is planned in advance, or does it emerge
as the stories are mapped out week-to-week? — Quinton
A. It’s always been part of the story. Peggy’s ascension has been an essential part of the story; and Joan’s ceiling has always been a part of the story. And Betty’s awakening. I always saw last year as her childhood and this year as her adolescence. They’re all sort of growing up as the world is growing up. But what I really wanted to show was how much (people from that era) are like us. How much their lives are like ours. And how we can not pretend that even though the world was like that and everybody knew it, that it wasn’t absolutely infuriating and humiliating.
A lot of those stories in there come from people that I know or that I’ve met. Or they have a grain of truth in them that’s pretty big. And I love that you can look at it and get outraged or angry.
(The episode) “Maidenform” was about men selling things to women, who are the biggest market, and involving women very peripherally and saying things very clearly, which are true, like a woman cares about what a man thinks and that’s how the advertising was designed. The beginning of that show was Betty in her prescribed lingerie and Joan in hers and Peggy putting on pantyhose because pantyhose didn’t catch on for a long time because men hate them and women love them. And that whole episode was literally about how you are perceived. Like the bikini scene with Don and Betty and meanwhile Don is the one with the reputation, which is what’s so great about it. But a woman with children is not sexy. You’re either a Jackie or a Marilyn. But where does that leave actual women? Peggy says “Well what am I?” She’s right. What is she? Irene Dunn. (Her colleagues) can’t even figure out what to say about her, right? When Joan is passed over for the job, they did not even think of her. It was literally like, "Oh there's a temp." It happened all the time. People who had families get paid more. What is it (that women make)? Sixty cents on the dollar? There was just a thing about this on NPR. The starting salary for banking – of course this was five months ago (laughs) – is $150,000. But for women it’s $90,000.
So, yeah, that’s totally conscious and it’s part of the period but it’s also part of right now. And it’s always been a part of the story since the very, very first episode of the show.
Q. So far the series’ storylines have explored the burgeoning
emancipation of women in 1950/60s America, and whilst the plight of
non-white people of that time have, at times, been mentioned, their
situations have not been explored to the extent that you have with
women. Is there any particular reason for this? — Ruaridh
A. They’re not in the world that I am in and I’m not prepared to make the television leap of making Sterling-Cooper the first place to hire a black executive. There were African-Americans (in advertising). They had their own agencies. But I didn’t want to do that sort of pandering revision of history. Don mentioned that BBDO had just hired their first African-American - “colored” is what I think Roger says. But Sterling-Cooper would not be the place for that. What I’ve tried to do is have some honesty about it, show the jobs that they were in and show my world, which is white. It’s the story of the show.
And these people are not glorified but (I’ve tried to) show the parallel universe of it all. And the idea of following one of those characters home is a possibility. I’ve slowly been trying to integrate these worlds together the way it actually happened. There’s no enmity. There’s no blatant racism. You never hear anybody say anything about black people that’s like Jim Crow or anything. It’s New York City. But it was segregated and it was two parallel universes and rather than do the television thing of “Hey they’re best buddies”... Don is a fair person but "Everybody's good buddies and here's my black friend" was not the world of the '60s.
And you have Paul who’s making an effort and that was my way to sort of ease us into that. Even the reaction of the James Meredith thing, you could see, as far as I’m concerned, the truth in what happened. People are not blanketly intolerant but they’re in a parallel universe. I’ve tried to avoid all the eye rolling and the hostility between the two of them and everything like that. It’s coming. I just wanted to do it in an honest way. I hate seeing movies that are flashbacks to the '60s where they’re like let’s go back to high school in the '60s and you see an integrated high school. Where was that? Did people forget? These (characters) are flawed and I didn’t want to make it phony. Believe me, I am interested in that story and I will tell it.
Q. I loved a couple episodes back when Joan was a script reader and
felt disappointed right along with her when she lost that position. Is
Joan's career going to get a jump-start so we'll possibly have some
competition with Peggy as to which femme fatale will make it higher in
Sterling-Cooper? Please? — Peter
A. I’m not going to answer that. But Joan’s career is, uh… Joan has to figure out what Joan wants first, right? I’m not going to artificially create that. We all know the woman like Joan and we all know our mom’s friend who’s like Joan and her career is very different than Peggy’s.
Q. What, if any, were the resources that were particularly important in terms of informing the direction the show takes in its design, storylines, or shooting style? (i.e. novels, movies, etc.) — Adam
Q. With its reserved characters, mounds of subtext, and occasionally ambiguous dialogue, Mad Men reminds me so much of the writing of Raymond Carver, both in terms of themes and style. Has Carver been an influence on the series at all? What other works — if any — have had an impact on the uniquely honest way Mad Men tells its stories? — Aaron
A. You know, I've listed off a lot of what my influences are. Great literature of the American culture going back as far back as Hawthorne and Melville.
I spent a lot of my childhood watching opera, believe it or not. My father likes opera. I’m happy to never see another one as long as I live. But I have ironically seen probably 30 of them. And when you’re a kid and you don’t understand the language and the words are printed up there, the stories are very influential. There’s a lot of them about identity, believe it or not. It's a 19th century theme.
I love John Cheever.
There’s no one working in television or theater today who's not influenced by... the fountainhead of this whole thing, which is “Death of a Salesman.” That's it. And you never have to see it, just read the play and you’re like “This is it. This is everything. This is the truth about human behavior.” And it’s earlier than the show but it’s everything that I am interested in. And anybody who I know that I admire, and all the people I admire were influenced by it. Paddy Cheyefsky and Rod Serling - they're all part of that.
There’s a lot of movies. There’s a movie called "The Best Years of Our Lives," which was made in 1946, about the reality of soldiers. It won the Oscar that year. It’s a very unflinching look. The audience had just come out of the war and so had the characters in the movie. I love "The Apartment," obviously, very important. It was very much of its time – very topical, trying to get it right. Not a period piece but trying to make it seem exactly as people’s lives were at that time.
And then just stylistically I cannot pretend that working on “The Sopranos” all that time did not influence the series, even though I wrote the (“Mad Men”) pilot first. Making sure everyone has a reason for doing what they’re doing and not letting the characters help each other solve their problems - actually making them impediments.
I’ve answered this question before. There’s probably a lot out there online or whatever. A lot of times if you think it’s influenced the show, it has. A lot of it is just that life is so similar now.
I read "Catch -22." That's definitely part of it. I tried to get into that psychology. And also, this was my parents' milieu and those were the books that I was told to read. It's also part of my education.
"Catcher in The Rye" has got to be at the bottom of the entire show. It's the first book I ever completed reading. I read it many times. I fantasized about living in New York. I loved the WASP-iness of it even though it’s got these Jewish undertones to it. I love the loneliness of it. Love the language in it - the frank language.
The other books I've always talked about are "The Feminine Mystique" and "Sex and The Single Girl." Huge part of the show. I read
them before I wrote the pilot. Just to catch up and see "what were the names of these secretaries again?" And I realized "Oh my God. This is the whole series. This is more than 50% of the show." And how the
men react to this is also just as interesting. It's such a huge change coming. And
then it changes back (laughs).
Q. How much did the Richard Yates novel “ Revolutionary Road ” inspire or influence Mad Men? — Anne
A. I had not even heard of “Revolutionary Road” when I wrote (the pilot). It was given to me by the people at AMC. So I read it in between writing the pilot and starting the series. My reaction to it was “If I had read this book before I wrote the show, I never would have written the show.” I would not compete with that. I don’t have the balls (laughs). It was so much exactly what I wanted to do and the guy was there. And it’s very internal. In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. As a writer, I’m curious to see how they did it.
Q. Since the show is so often infused with the real-world events and
conflicts of the 1960s, do you have an end vision for the series in
terms of where these characters might end up beyond that period? — Brian
A.I could lie and say I’ve got it all mapped out. On an instinctive level I know what’s happening. The truth is, and I'm proud of this fact, I have identified (which is very unusual on TV) the ages of all the characters. I’ve actually said how old they are. To me, part of it was the irony. Betty is the 28-year-old mother of two and I always thought part of her story was that she’s too young for that job, as a lot of them were. The other part of it is that Don is 36 this year and he’s having a midlife crisis. That was what it was back then and now it's not. Now it would be 46 or 50.
But the other part of it is that’s the stage in your life that you're at. And the humanity of the characters in their life, unrelated to historic events, is what I’m most fascinated by. And so to ask if I’m going to end the show when Don is 50, that's what you should be thinking about and not if I’m going to end it with Don in a disco. The whole purpose of doing this was to show how it happened and how on some leveI it must have affected regular people and how history does affect regular people.
But the other thing was to chase a man’s life and see if we could see him grow and age and have his... I wrote the pilot when I was 36 and now I’m 43 and I think Don’s problems the first season were very much those of a 35-year-old and now they were a probably a 37 or 38 or 39 or 40-year-old man’s problems and I assume when he hits 40 he’ll have a similar experience to what I had, which is there’s a certain sense of clarity and wisdom. Cooper said that - when you hit 40 you realize you’ve met every kind of person that there is. It’s really true. I think that's part of the reason when you're 40 you want to mentor younger people. You meet younger people and it’s like they’re somebody completely new. You think "I wish I was like that when I was 18." Sometimes I think If I was 18 I might hate that 18 year old.
That whole story with Peggy denying her pregnancy. I always say she’s 22. years. old. And that was never old. And her earnestness, she’s not educated really, but she’s obviously such a hard worker. She’s instinctively very much like Don about her work but a lot of her behavior at work is so great and her work is so good and her ambition's so clear but she said it (in episode 11): “Why do I always pick the wrong boys?" She’s 22 years old. And people want to know why she was in denial about the pregnancy? Her life would have been over if she’d accepted that. And she just put it out of her mind. And women do it all the time, especially young women. Google it.
In my research with Catholic priests ... I spent a lot of time talking to the clergy about what happened to the church and about human behavior, because the good ones, they're really psychologists on some level. None of them had a problem with that storyline..
Q. How much of the show's take on gender roles is rooted in your own upbringing as someone born in 1965? Did the changes taking place in that period resonate with you personally and channel into the characters of "Mad Men"? — BC
A.Yes. My mother went back to law school in 1972. We were latchkey for a while. And my father was very supportive of this. Then my mother’s career didn’t really go anywhere, which I think also was a product of that period. She used to talk about going to job interviews and being asked how she was going to work and have four kids. And that’s illegal. They're not allowed to do that anymore.
I think what’s more interesting is that the most exciting idea going on intellectually when I was in college was feminism. And it had overtaken every single aspect - feminism and semiotics. They went together. And both of them had a huge ring of bullshit and both of them had a big PC element to it, which made people like me, who were slightly subversive and anti-authoritarian, kind of hurt because those were my politics and the people who had my politics were constantly rejecting me.
I have two older sisters who are both professionals, my mom is a professional, my dad is as liberated as someone could be from that era although it’s still very "us/them" to him, which is magnanimous and paternalistic. Meanwhile he has two daughters who are a doctor and a lawyer and he’s very supportive of this.
It was just fascinating to me and I have a big interest in the underdog. And the gender roles were so fascinating to me, especially as a guy who wasn't trying to use politics to get girls to look at me. I was literally looking and saying "It’s true. It doesn’t make any sense."
And the big intellectual skirmish going on was “Is it great that we’re so different, men and women, or is there no difference at all?" No difference at all is where is started. Let’s have equality and legistlate it like that. And then it became so much more complicated when you added sex to it and biologically the relationship is always sexist in some way. What's sexist in the office is fuel in the bedroom. We’re wired that way to some extent. Women become more aggressive and it becomes strange for men. The Girls Gone Wild generation - I was not a part of that. Men had to work very hard to get women into bed and we had to be charming. I’m sure there were still plenty of guys who were like Don Draper who had women throwing themselves at them. I did not have that.
All of this is just saying that the gender roles were both an intellectual and personal interest of mine because the ideals about - I'm a human being and I've been poured into this body, so who am I? Am I really wired differently? Why do I have such different expectations for my life than a woman has? Why should I? Why should I have a different expectation? I shouldn’t. I feel like we're back in college and we could have a rap session about this. You know, are you born this way? Is it nature/nurture?...
Living in an environment now where they use the word "post-feminism" is kind of shocking to me. I don't understand. Part of it is the same
conflict going back to Helen Gurley Brown and Betty Friedan. I mean Betty Friedan would probably be shocked that she'd even be put diametrically opposed to this woman. And Helen Gurley Brown, the end
game of all that success she talks about - and she’s an amazing writer and she's so entertaining - is empowering in many ways. But her end game is: use your
sexuality to get everything you can, don’t deny it and what you’re
trying to get is a husband (Joan). And in the end Helen Gurley Brown became this business magnate. She did not practice what she preached. She got married and everything but she was giving out a lot of advice that she wasn't taking. She was this
very aggressive, driven, focused person who created this gigantic
business. And at the same time all Betty Friedan was writing about was the reality of all these women, and I do identify
my mother as one of these people, with this incredible education, incredible potential, incredible intelligence, who were in co-ed education, and on some level did not get to fulfill their destiny because it was just not in the cards.
And I was interested in the the flip side as I read more about it as I became older, which was the housewife with the car and the house in the country. That was your coolest friend. They had the best job. And you were jealous of that. The whole idea of being taken care of, which is the big part of this season, is a devil’s bargain. Betty doesn’t want to be in charge. And who does?
That was a very long answer to that question. By the way, that period is over. I don't think that's a major focus anymore, but it was at that time (when I was in college). Computer science, math, every class - it was all something related to this feminine dynamic, which is all just intellectually fascinating.
Other tidbits from our interview:
- Weiner told me that sometimes there is so much crinoline under January Jones’ (Betty’s) skirts that they have to remove some of it because the noise interferes with the mic picking up the dialogue.
- Weiner says that his entire cast has great comic timing and that many of them are among the funniest people he’s ever met.
- As we were talking, Alexa Alemanni, who plays the secretary named Allison, jogged by and popped in to say hello.
- Costume designer Janie Bryant calls the dress Betty wore (and wore and wore) in "A Night to Remember" the "sad clown dress." I like to call it the "Wonder Bread dress."
- Betty's brother climbing in the window in "The Inheritance" was borrowed from "Rebecca" and has always been one of Weiner's favorite cinematic moments.
- I prodded him about my theory that the address Freddy Rumson gave the cab driver had some significance. He denied it but did say that he had Freddy give the cabbie his apartment number because he thought it was funny and showed how drunk Freddy was. "I mean, what was the cab driver going to do, drive him to the sixth floor?" He did find it funny, however, that when I Googled 150 Riverside Drive what came up was a nursing/rehabilitation center in New York.
- As far as our other theories he said the blue dress Betty wears when Jimmy Barrett tells her about the affair, was not the same one she was wearing in the "Carousel" slide show in the season 1 finale. But the scene where she's trying to get Sarah Beth to take the pink halter dress she was wearing when she first met Jimmy Barrett was intentional - she wanted to be rid of the dress and its bad memories.
By the way, while you're here, let Matt know which episode was your favorite in season 2. Leave a comment.