Weiner had an on-stage chat with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Jeff Garlin at Largo in Los Angeles Friday night (Nov. 11), and Garlin asked if he had an ending in mind for “Mad Men.” “I do know how the show ends,” Weiner replied.
Then, remarkably, he told the audience — or at least told them how he wants the finale to feel. A writer for Grantland was there and relays Weiner’s comments as follows:
“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, 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.”
Weiner also adds, “I just want it to be entertaining and I want people to remember it fondly and not think it ended in a fart.”
Now, we don’t know if Weiner literally meant that “Mad Men” will end with Jon Hamm in old-age makeup. In re-reading what he said, we’d place more emphasis on the “you have an idea of what it’s meant” part of his comment than “Don Draper would be 84.” We also don’t think Weiner would even consider revealing actual story points from the show, regardless of how free-wheeling his talk with Garlin was. But we’re now even more curious to see how the show gets to the place Weiner wants it to get in the next few seasons.
The Grantland story, by the way, also contains amusing anecdotes about Alex Trebek, Conan O’Brien and Weiner’s time in the sitcom trenches. It’s worth a read.