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Here's why Roger Sterling is the best character on 'Mad Men'

Mad Men is a show built almost entirely on the solid concrete foundation of its stellar character work. Sure, the dialogue is as sharp as a man in a grey flannel suit, and the metaphorical portents thrum like elevator winches—but when it comes down to it, Matthew Weiner’s dense, literary series rises and falls on the strength of the people inhabiting its world, particularly those scuttling down the corridors of Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

So naturally, when you see a headline like the one above, you might think, “No, dummy, obviously Don/Peggy/Sally/Joan/California Pete/Ginsberg’s nipple is the best character of Mad Men!” You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But while Ms. Olsen will always be series MVP to me, this past season belonged to Roger Sterling, SCDP’s preening cock-of-the-walk.

Roger has always been one of the show’s brightest spots, sashaying in with his half-inebriated insouciance and a fistful of sardonic one-liners. Roger’s self-ascribed lot in life is to stay on the sidelines, skating through in the wake of his father’s influence and looking at the world as one big variety show he can have fun watching, even if he never feels the need to jump onstage. READ FULL STORY

Matthew Weiner on 'Mad Men' theories: 'There's nothing obvious about the show'

Mad Men‘s absence is never so strongly felt as the first Sunday after a finale — even when it’s technically a mid-season one.

Languishing with the often troubled, occasionally hilarious, but always devastatingly human characters of creator Matthew Weiner’s world becomes an indispensable ritual for devoted viewers while the show is on, making its unceremoniously extended leaves between seasons (and now half-seasons) all the more difficult to bear.

While we wait for the second batch of episodes to air in 2015, Weiner spoke to EW about things to think about in preparation for the end of Mad Men.

READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men's Robert Morse on Bert Cooper's exit: 'It's an absolute love letter'

If you thought Bert Cooper’s sweet song-and-dance farewell on Sunday’s episode of Mad Men was a tribute to actor Robert Morse’s decades on Broadway, you would be correct. Creator Matthew Weiner originally cast Morse in part because of his reputation on the stage, which includes a Tony-winning turn as J. Pierrepont Finch in 1962’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And when it was finally time for Bert to go into the great beyond, following Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969, Weiner thought there might be a way to serve both story and actor.

Morse’s initial reaction to wrapping the final scene of his seven-year run was one of relief and elation. “You’re just thrilled that you got through, that you’re still walking, that you still did it,” he says. “It’s what I love, and it was great to have a taste of singing and dancing at the end. And my respect to Luigi’s Jazz Class in New York 40 years ago. I wouldn’t be where I was today [without him], so shout out to Luigi — and thank him for all my movement and style.”

Morse, who is heading back to the stage to star in In Your Arms at Vassar College next month, talked to EW about Bert Cooper’s fond farewell. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men's Ben Feldman on the nip-snip heard 'round the world

Non-Mad Men watchers at NBC’s upfronts presentation for A to Z this week may have been a little baffled by all the nipple talk surrounding clean-shaven star Ben Feldman. But for fans of AMC’s prestige drama, on which Feldman has played the squirrelly Michael Ginsberg for the past three seasons, a shocking bloody nipple was all anyone could talk about.

Ginsberg had always been a little off, mentally; it was part of his unique charm. But the agency’s installation of a giant IBM computer represented an existential threat to him, professionally and psychologically, and he began to believe that the computer’s subversive waves were turning the office’s men into homosexuals. His efforts to fight back by impregnating Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) were rebuffed, so he did the next best thing: remove the “valve” that conducted the “waves of data” into his brain. The “valve”? His right nipple, which he thoughtfully insanely placed in a gift box and presented to his boss, Peggy. The last we saw of Ginsberg in Sunday’s episode, he was handcuffed to a gurney and presumably destined for the psych ward. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men': Neve Campbell on her plane ride with Don Draper

In season 5 of Mad Men, Gilmore Girls‘s Alexis Bledel played a sad suburban housewife that Pete Campbell couldn’t resist. Last season, Don Draper had an affair with his neighbor’s wife, played by Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini. So it made some sense that last night, during the season premiere of Mad Men, the mysterious beauty who shared a red-eye flight with Don was played by none other than Neve Campbell — also known as the star of Party of Five. If Don Draper doesn’t have a specific type, Matthew Weiner does. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men' teaser: Time for a 'Breakdown'? -- VIDEO

Not everything about Mad Men is retro in the latest teaser for the first part of season 7. The clip shows the Mad crew slo-moing through an airport in an era where air-travel still represented a certain amount of luxury — but the accompanying song comes from British soul singer Alice Russell, who hadn’t even been born when Don and Roger were still ogling stewardesses flight attendants. The song, “Let Go (Breakdown),” is hardly a year old. (Will it irk Matthew Weiner that Russell’s tune was already co-opted by The Blacklist? Yes. Yes it will.)

Still, “Let Go” does capture a certain vibe that suits AMC’s drama, and its cryptic lyrics evoke possible themes as the show enters a crucial season of change: “I’m familiar Jenny / Missed them signs / I bare my positions / Flip over time.”

Watch it below, and make of it what you will. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men' season 7 photo: Groovy at 30,000 feet -- EXCLUSIVE

Another day, another peek at season 7 of Mad Men. Like the first images we saw of Don Draper stepping off a plane, or the subsequent shots thoroughly analyzed by EW’s Darren Franich, this photo keeps with the aviation theme. It also indicates that as the ’60s are closing out, the gang is getting into the groovy, and they appear to be taking their show on the road. (To Los Angeles, home of their satellite office?)

Enough speculating. Behold Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) in his fringe jacket! Michael (Ben Feldman) in a bolo tie, which accessorizes nicely with his ‘stache! Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) giving us the white-glove treatment! Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) putting the ass in ascot! And Ken (Aaron Staton) with seemingly functional eyes and limbs! It’s all happening! READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men' season 7 teaser: Don Draper leaves us wanting more -- VIDEO

In typical Mad Men fashion, this just-released first-look teaser of the Madison Avenue drama’s upcoming seventh season is purposefully, extremely vague.

The clip — which lasts a mere 15 seconds — shows Don Draper (Jon Hamm), looking his usual dapper self in suit and hat, disembarking a TWA jet in slow-mo, while Wax Tailor’s jazzy version of “Que Sera” plays in the background.

Inevitably, we’re still left with questions. Where has Don landed? Where did he come from? Has he returned to Sterling Cooper & Partners after being ousted in the season finale? Where’s Megan?

We’ll have to speculate until Mad Men returns April 13 on AMC. READ FULL STORY

'New Girl': Linda Cardellini to guest as Jess' sister

Linda Cardellini is going to play a bad girl on New Girl. The Freaks and Geeks vet — who received an Emmy nomination for her role last season on Mad Men — has taken a recurring role as Abby, the out-of-control sister of Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Fox has confirmed. READ FULL STORY

SAG Award TV nominations: Snubs and surprises

During an awards season that’s dominated by talk of movies — all a gradual buildup to the biggest awards show of them all — it’s easy to forget that some winter prize distributors recognize TV shows as well. And once you remember that TV shows are also being lauded, your thoughts naturally turn to which nominations seem like a surprise, pleasant or otherwise — as well as the deserving series that have been overlooked.

And for today’s SAG Award nominations, each of these qualifies for one of those categories:

Snub: Mad Men
Matthew Weiner’s seminal series was passed over completely, even though it’s won two SAG ensemble awards before. What will it take to get Jon Hamm some individual recognition at an awards show? (After playing Don Draper for six seasons, he’s won a grand total of one TCA Award and one Golden Globe for the role, not counting the SAG Awards he shared with the show’s cast. That ain’t right.)
READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' and the problem of too much good TV

The moment I finally became a fan of The Good Wife occurred just about three weeks ago. It came in the current season’s widely praised fifth episode, “Hitting The Fan.” This was the one where Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski) fired Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) for plotting to start their own firm. As Will progressed from betrayal (his reaction, a symphonically-performed shock-face culminating in a downbeat “what?!”, was priceless) to “commando mode” (rallying emergency quorums; hustling clients to keep them from bolting), and as Alicia progressed from resolute yet regretful to full-on “Oh, it’s so on!” (countering Will’s counter-attacks; wooing Chum Hum; an adrenaline rush quickie with Governor Hubby), it was thrilling to watch them find new energy and purpose in their lives amid the crisis, if slightly heartbreaking to watch the former lovers, now former colleagues, become enemies. It was impossible to take a side; I wanted both to win. In a story full of such grand drama and significant developments, it was a smaller, funnier exchange between Alicia and Will that grabbed me. As a contentious phone conversation came to a close (“Go to hell!” “No, you go to hell!”), Will remembered something very important. “Oh, your daughter called,” he said, suddenly civil. “She needs you to call her school to let her go on a field trip.” “Oh. When was this?” Alicia asked, equally pleasant. “About 40 minutes ago.”  “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Click. And then war resumed.

Not a terribly ingenious scene, I grant you. It hewed to a familiar screwball comedic structure. The whiplash tonal shift; two rivals abruptly making nice or banal in a way that almost feels out of character. Except here, the moment felt true to the characters, at least as I understand them so far. It was an effective way to dramatize that their relationship was more complex than their current conflict, to show that neither of them should be defined by the crisis/concerns consuming them at present; and it was a moment that was representative of all of everything else in the show that was converting me to rabid Good Wife fandom. READ FULL STORY

Elisabeth Moss on her 'Simpsons' guest spot -- and the final season of 'Mad Men'

Before Elisabeth Moss returns to Manhattan, she’s making a pit stop in Springfield: The actress who stars as Peggy Olson on Mad Men is lending her voice to Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons (Fox, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.). Moss will play a pregnant woman named Gretchen whose baby Homer winds up delivering in an elevator. (Spoiler: It’s not Pete’s.) But when she names the baby Homer Jr. to recognize his good deed, Homer gets a little too attached to the little tyke. EW asked this unabashed Simpsons fan all about her big guest spot — and tossed in few Mad Men questions as well.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is this your animated debut?
ELISABETH MOSS:
I have done a few things, but when I was really young. There was a Batman show. And I did a Hanna-Barbera film called Once Upon a Forest.

Was this something that you’d been hoping they’d ask you to do for awhile? How would you assess your level of Simpsons fandom?
I’m 31. It’s been on for 25 years. It’s been on for most of my life. It’s so a part of my world that I don’t remember a time when The Simpsons wasn’t on television. For my generation, it’s a huge part of our upbringing. It’s just a staple. [Being asked to guest-star] is not even something I would necessarily even dream of. Obviously that’s something you’d love to do but you think, “Oh, that’s really cool and important. Nobody’s ever going to ask you to do it.” I couldn’t have been more excited. You would have thought I had won an award or something. It really was such a honor, honestly, and it was one of those moments in your career, like being on Saturday Night Live and those things that aren’t technically a part of your day job that are such a stamp of approval, you know? It’s just one of those legendary things that I’ll be able to show to my kids. READ FULL STORY

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