Mad Men, the show that glorified and examined the everyman struggle for happiness that’s sneakily tucked away in the indefinitely prophesied “American Dream,” was a fascinating addition to television. Its quiet surveying of work-life balance came at a time when dramas notable for violence (The Sopranos), adventure (Lost), and politics (The West Wing) were winding down or already wrapped. In a world of precise, minute character development, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner gave us a character to root for and against: Don Draper, a pensive husband-father with hard-edged dedication in certain realms and a tremendous lack of faith in others, ultimately searching out his own “truth.” And it’s been hard for TV junkies to really let go since the series finale in May, which is why everyone keeps asking Weiner about a spin-off.
But as Weiner politely, yet definitely, explained to E!’s senior editor Marc Malkin this weekend, there’s no spin-off coming.
“I’m not judging people who do spin-offs, but despite the temptation and I love these characters and love working with these people, I’d like to leave the show the way it is.”
Weiner explained further.
“There was sort of a demand during one of my contract negotiations that along with a lot of other things that I do a spin-off as well. I just said no to all of it because I was trying to fight for keeping the cast that I had and keeping the length of the show, so after that I never heard another word. They’ve been so respectful and such great partners creatively that there’s never been any discussion or overture for future work or for a spin-off.”
Instead, Weiner wrote and directed an immaculate final episode about everyone’s favorite senior partner and creative director finding peace. In the closing minutes, Draper comes up with the 20th Century’s most beloved ad, the infamous “Buy the World a Coke” spot. This was in sharp contrast to the many who assumed the slick-haired tortured soul would plummet to his death, ultimately becoming the falling man from the opening credits, sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. That wasn’t the only theory either.
I nearly whole-heartedly agree that Mad Men, in all its illustrative and detailed beauty, should end the way it did, with no revival to try and squeeze more juice from the glorious fruit it was. But I do throw “nearly” in there, because a small part of me reeeaaally wants to see Stan barrel his way through the 1970s. Oh man.