After long and arduous negotiations with AMC, Matthew Weiner struck a deal back in March that will bring "Mad Men" back for both a fifth season and a sixth, with a seventh season highly likely to wrap up the entire series. And while the end may be years away, Weiner seems to know how his story will come to a close.
During a live event at Largo in Los Angeles (via Grantland), Weiner spoke candidly with comedian Jeff Garlin about some of his history in Hollywood and more specifically about how "Mad Men" will finish… in the year 2011.
"I do know how the whole show ends," related Weiner. "It came to me in the middle of last season. I always felt like it would be the experience of human life. And human life has a destination. It doesn't mean Don's gonna die. What I'm looking for, and how I hope to end the show, is like … It's 2011. Don Draper would be 84 right now. I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it's related to you."
"It's a very tall order," continued Weiner. "But I always talk about Abbey Road. What's the song at the end of Abbey Road? It's called 'The End.' There is a culmination of an experience of people working at their highest level. And all I want to do is not wear out the welcome. I was 35 when I wrote the 'Mad Men' pilot, 42 when I got to make it, and I'll be 50 when it goes off the air. So that's what you're gonna get. Do I know everything that's gonna happen? No, I don't. But I just want it to be entertaining, and I want people to remember it fondly and not think it ended in a fart."
The full report at Grantland is well worth reading for Weiner's awkward encounter with Alex Trebek after winning on "Jeopardy" and for the account about AMC's attempt to radically change "Mad Men" after the first season during a focus group testing that was undone by the network's inability to keep a secret.
"Mad Men" will return to AMC for its fifth season in March 2012.