The amount of attention focused on all things Mad Men is extraordinary. All of a sudden these “nobody” actors appeared on a little watched network to be the stars of a period drama that was vastly different from the popular shows on television, and we just can not get enough. Their faces cover magazines; they receive awards and nominations; and they inspired a recurrence of 1960s fashion. But with all this hype about Mad Men, I can not help but wonder about the man behind it all.
As I was skimming through the September issue of Rolling Stone plastered with the faces of some of the Mad Men characters I have come to know, I was surprised to find that the article within was actually focused on the creator of the show Matthew Weiner rather than the famous stars we tune into each week. Interestingly though, the separate characters we see on screen comprise the full person of Matthew Weiner: “In his head, the characters on the show are all reflections of himself. Not just Don Draper - every single part” (Konigsberg 46). Mad Men serves as a form of therapy that enables him to release everything he feels as well as talk about his family, parents, fantasies, enemies, and fears (Konigsberg 46).
So who is Matthew Weiner? Well, he wishes he had the sexual confidence of Joan, refers to himself as a mini-Pete Campbell during his high school years, and painfully admits that he was once a jealous and cruel person (Konigsberg 46). Also, he is no Don Draper, at least personality-wise. Where Don would handle any situation with ease, Weiner finds himself uncomfortable in such situations, evidenced by his obvious fidgeting (Konigsberg 43). However, both Draper and Weiner are constantly dealing with the question of who they are, a question that all of us have asked a some point or another. In a sense, Matthew Weiner is Mad Men.
So, while you get to know Don, Peggy, Joan, Pete, Betty, and the other characters, realize too that you are ultimately getting to know Matthew Weiner. It turns out that we are paying more attention to the man behind the curtain than we thought.
Links referenced: Konigsberg, Eric. “A Fine Madness.” Rolling Stone 16 Sept. 2010: 43-49. Print.