Season 4’s ‘The Suitcase’ was instantly deemed a classic hour of TV. Show creator Matthew Weiner and star Jon Hamm offer an oral history of the gut-wrenching, Emmy-nominated episode.

The insight offered here is neat, but it strikes me as one in an increasingly long line of recent pieces playing pretty fast and loose with the idea of an “oral history,” which seems more and more to mean, like, “I just transcribed the A part of this Q&A (and then my editor paginated the shit out of it).” Which is a great move for time-crunched writers who hate the sound of their own voices and would prefer to dwell on them as little as possible, to be sure! But can we please reserve the tag of “oral history” for something a little more time- and effort-intensive than a partial transcript of a publicist-orchestrated phoner with the famous creator and star of a current and massively popular TV show, and meanwhile not be ashamed to embrace these wonderful little cogs in the entertainment-industrial complex for what they are?


Potentially unpopular opinion: I would be okay with Mad Men just ending.

I think I would be, too. Part of it is that I am so used to good shows getting canceled that I’ve been bracing myself for that as an eventuality for this show, too. It’s sad to see great shows die before their time, but also? It’s sad watching great shows turn to absolute shit just because they’re widely beloved cash-cows. I’d rather see Mad Men get Freaks & Geeks-ed than The Office-ed.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I would love it if you would put this in your magazine. I realize that my career is 99 percent luck, if not 99.9 percent luck. The fact that I’m born in America, and America has control over all these other colonies, and enslaved all these other countries — I mean, there are so many things that have happened in my life that make me so lucky. And one of them is that I’m an actor, somewhat of a public figure. But if there’s anything I can do to say one thing that might change one person’s mind, that will have some sort of value, my thing would be, you know: maybe take the bus once in a while. And I don’t think I’m saving the world by saying this — billions of people do it every day. Like I said, I don’t think it’s amazing. But if it does something, then maybe I’m not the biggest asshole in the world.”