It's finale day for "Mad Men," and show creator Matthew Weiner, trying to sum it up, says it feels awfully reminiscent of Thanksgiving. The 49-year-old writer — along with the main cast and selected crew — was on hand for a "Mad Men" Q&A presented Sunday afternoon by the Television Academy at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood. The event was the pre-show of sorts to the night's main attraction for the show's elite — a screening of the finale at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. — but Weiner was already feeling that twinge in his heart.
"My son came home from college last night.... My family is here, and this is my family," he told those at the Hollywood event. "It feels like Thanksgiving. It feels like we're getting dressed up, going to have a drink around 3 p.m., open the door to let the relatives in, and not forget why the day is about, which is being grateful for having this incredible experience. The fact the [the show] meant anything to anyone else enough to let us keep doing it.… I feel so blessed, so grateful."
And still so … tight-lipped.
With mere hours before the finale, Weiner was amused that the moderator was trying to get details about the finale from the man so notoriously secretive about his show.
"I love that you're still asking, because tomorrow morning you're going to be like, "Who are you? I don't care who you are. Didn't you used to date Jon Hamm?"
In true Weiner form, what he offered was this: "It's true to the show."
Much of the Q&A involved the cast and crew selecting favorite scenes from the show's seven-season run — which included "The Other Woman" (Moss) to "The Hobo Code" (Kartheiser) to "Severance" (Hendricks) — and reflecting on the process.
Moss, who has racked up numerous awards nominations for her portrayal of secretary-turned-copy chief Peggy Olson, said she's put in as much into Peggy as she's drawn from the character through the years.
"When you do something for nine years, you sort of lose track of what's you and what's her. It becomes this very fluid relationship. If anything, I feel like I've drawn form her strength at times, her ability to focus on her work, which is also a negative quality she has. But I also feel like I put things into her … I think she's become a person I'm proud of."
The drama not only put cable network AMC on the map but it made stars out of its cast of relative unknowns — Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks and Vincent Kartheiser.
"I've learned so much," Hendricks said. "It's been like the best school you could possibly go to."
But graduation has to happen at some point. And Hamm, ever the jokey guy, had fun about what his post-"Mad Men" career might be like.
"I'm going to be an astronaut … and that starts Monday," he said.
Then: "I don't know, it's very, very difficult because I can't compare this work experience to anything else in my professional career.… Conceptually what's next for me is that I will fade into nothingness. No one will remember me. I'll walk around Hollywood and people will go, ‘Hey, isn't that the guy that dates Sofia Vergara, and I'll go, ‘Nooo. That' the guy from ‘True Blood, who is way bigger than me.' I hope to get another experience that comes anywhere near this on a professional capacity."
And as people gear up to see whether their expectations are met, whether all the think pieces were right or whether the conspiracy theories came to fruition, Hamm thinks the "Mad Men" book — and all its characters — should end with Sunday night's episode.
"I think a big part of what I appreciated about the show, and what people will find when they watch tonight's episode, is the story is complete. And so I think the idea of a spinoff or a sequel or a prequel or origin story or whatever longer time to spend with these characters, i think it would be less fulfilling somehow."
"But that said, [a spin-off] would be Sally. We'd watch Sally grow up and cruise through the '70s and turn into a rock star. Turn into Joan Jett or something. Ride a motorcycle and kill a guy … become Oliver Stone in the ‘80s and then date Kurt Cobain in the ‘90s. She's cool, she's just a touchstone for every generation, I don't know. Yeah, I'd watch that show."