Dead Blogging Matthew Weiner At The MFA

Being out on unpaid furlough and all, the hardworking staff has lots of time on its hands. So Wednesday night we trundled over to the MFA, where Mad Men man Matthew Weiner appeared at a banged-out Remis Auditorium.

It was the latest installment of the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lectures, although – not to get technical about it – Weiner didn’t actually deliver a lecture. Instead, he was interviewed by Joyce Kulhawik, late of WBZ-TV, now of Community Auditions.

(Check out her blog – Spontaneous Acts of Joyce – here.)

Kulhawik clearly relished her role, running the gamut from schoolgirlish to hair-flippy to all atwitter. Not to mention more mugging than Central Park in the ’70s.

Regardless . . .

The evening began with this Mad Men clip:

Kulhawik and Weiner then deconstructed the clip scene-by-scene. What we learned:

• Several of the slides in the knockout Kodak carousel scene reproduced snapshots of Weiner’s parents.

• The Greek derivation of nostalgia is “pain from an old wound.”

• “Behaving normally is a big twist in the story.” (Weiner)

• Weiner’s son plays the creepy kid Glenn in the show.

Other Mad Men fun facts to know and tell:

• The Beatles “didn’t want to participate” in last Sunday’s episode so Weiner had to go with Santo & Johnny’s version of “Do You Want to Know a Secret” to end it.

• Weiner chose Jon Hamm for the role of Don Draper in large part because viewers wouldn’t hate him at the end of the show’s pilot when they find out he’s married.

• Weiner’s objective in the series: “I’m interested in the roles assigned to each of us . . . and the stakes of everyday life, where everyone has a reason for what they do – even the bad ones.”

• More Weiner: “Every season is the last season of the show for me” – partly because of his “exhaustion” at the end of the run, partly because “it’s a commercial venture. [The cable network] AMC has never said in advance they want more.”

• Concerning rumors that Mel Gibson will join Mad Men next season: “I don’t want anyone that famous on the show.”

One bright spot: the audience questions were short, sharp, and specific – the exact opposite of the Franzenfools at the Boston Public Library two weeks ago.

Mad props to the MFA audience.

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