Can you tell I’m getting more and more excited for the premiere of Mad Men’s Season 5? THREE WEEKS. So NY Mag’s Vulture column sat down with Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm (Peggy and Don) for an interview about their on-screen relationship, which is one of the most compelling friendships on television today. In the Mad Men world, Peggy and Don have been working together for five years – Peggy has gone from Don’s secretary to his protégé to his equal (intellectual) partner. They’ve never had sex. They’ve never kissed. Last season, they spent the night together in the Sterling-Cooper office, and it was AMAZING. They talked about everything, about their lives, about their pasts, they yelled at each other, they cried, and Don ended up curling up on Peggy and falling asleep. It was beautiful. Anyway, you can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights from the conversation:
The Hamm on Season 5 surprises: “There are a lot of things where all of us as a cast were like, Whoa, okay. Uh, all right, so this is happening. It’s a world that’s consistently in a state of flux. There are things done that can’t be undone… Matt has also said it’s every man for himself—that’s obviously not gender specific. Everybody is acting in their own self-interest, and that creates some pretty good dramatic tension.”
The Hamm on Peggy Olsen: “It’s not a mistake that the show starts on Peggy’s first day at work. In many ways, the story of Mad Men is the story of Peggy Olson: a young, ambitious, talented girl finding her way in this crazy world. I think Don and Peggy have a special relationship. They’re unsatisfied with who they are and are willing to do what it takes to become something else.”
Moss on Don & Peggy’s relationship: “People are constantly asking if they’re gonna sleep together. I always get annoyed, because their relationship is more than that. And to keep that going over five years without selling out and having something else happen—that to me is really interesting and rarely done well.”
The Hamm on their relationship: “People want to put us in a “Sam and Diane” box, but it’s about their mutual appreciation for the work. That’s where the material strikes its resonant chord, when it’s ostensibly about one thing and then it becomes about so much more. That’s the fun thing about Don and Peggy, and that’s the deeper thing about Mad Men.”
The Hamm on whether he was worried that Matt Weiner wouldn’t come back: “I was never really worried. Too many people stood to lose too much money.”
The Hamm on the last two seasons: “I think Matt has a very clear, very beautiful ending for this story, and I look forward to telling that story and arriving at that ending.” Does he know the ending? “I know exactly what it is.”
Moss on Peggy’s coming-of-age: “When I made the pilot, I was 23. I’m 29 now. You change and grow and become an adult, and I’ve learned a lot in the past six years, professionally and personally. It’s definitely informed who Peggy is.”
I never get tired of listening to Jon Hamm discuss the world of Mad Men, and gender and feminism and the strength of the Mad Men writing. I just feel like… The Hamm is a very intelligent, thoughtful, interesting man who really thinks about this stuff. He loves his job and he loves the opportunities he’s been given, but most of all, it seems like he’s just really proud to be working on a show with such strong writing and such interesting female characters. Plus, I think The Hamm and Lizzie Moss just really like each other. Sigh… three more weeks.
Photos courtesy of WENN.