Spoiler Alert! Q&A with Natasha Vargas-Cooper, author of Mad Men Unbuttoned

By • Nov 11th, 2009 • Category: 26th Story, Entertainment

Mad Men Season 31) Was the finale surprising in any way? And, if not, did that diminish the episode?

I think so! It was an elegant capstone that encompassed the themes (particularly, Footnotes favorite: stubborn individualism!) of the season. It also packed the wallop we’ve been all waiting for — who knew that a dreary old business deal would have more verisimilitude than the Kennedy’s assassination this season!

2) Were there really no non-compete clauses in the early 60s?

With McCann-Erickson, essentially, no. In the early 1960’s they gobbled up a mid-sized shops and retained them under one umbrella, but still forced them the compete for clients. This had an upside: two agencies could be under the McCann-Erickson parent with one shop servicing American Airlines and the other shop servicing TWA. And a downside: the fear, at the time, was there would be leaks and betrayals between agencies.

3) Is the last shot of Don Draper meant to signal a kind of re-birth?

Goodness no! That’s Don at work. Don with his team. It’s just Don doing what he does with all that charisma: lead. Don’s far too restless and caught up in his own melodrama (divine though it is) to reform himself into being any kind of consistent, deferential personality. He’s a powder keg of emotion in a very tidy hat!

4) Was Don full of horseshit when he told Pete that Pete has always been one step ahead?

I think Pete is one step ahead purely by virtue of being young. And Don was right, Pete is the one pushing Sterling Cooper (RIP) into aerospace space and black magazines. While Peggy has been great in the clutch for copy, it’s been Pete and Harry who have tried to pioneer into new markets. I think that’s why Kinsey and Kenny were left behind because they seem endlessly complacent.

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