Did Matthew Weiner Break His Own Spoiler Code?

Slate's Culture Blog
April 29 2013 9:22 AM

Did Matthew Weiner Break His Own Spoiler Code?

apespaper
Fake newspaper promoting Planet of the Apes.

Via Sean Howe.

Mad Men creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner is famously spoiler-phobic. Only the season premiere episodes are made available to critics in advance, and even then Weiner makes unusually specific requests about plot points he would prefer them not to disclose in reviews. Nevertheless, last night, in an episode co-written by Weiner, the twist ending of Planet of the Apes was revealed in all its smashed-statue glory. As Don Draper and his older son Bobby sat in the movie theater, the camera showed Charlton Heston’s impassioned “God damn you, God damn you all to hell” speech as he gazed upon the fallen remains of the Statue of Liberty.

Forty-five years after the movie appeared, this might not, strictly speaking, qualify as a spoiler, especially since an image of the big twist graced the cover of the VHS box. But it’s surely a prima facie contravention of the Weiner code.

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This isn’t the first time this season that the Mad Men writing team has explored the topic of creative secret-keeping. A couple of episodes ago, loose-lipped Stan Rizzo told his former Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce* colleague Peggy Olson that Heinz Ketchup was looking for a new agency. Armed with Stan’s intel, her new agency pitched against SCDP for the ketchup account, and in the process Peggy alienated her best pal. The message was clear: Writers, keep your lips sealed, or you’ll lose your best friend.

But if Weiner was making a point about spoilers last night, it was an odd one. Knowing the film’s ending only added to Bobby’s enjoyment of the film. When Don asked if he wanted to see it again, Bobby replied, “Could we?” with more enthusiasm than we’ve ever heard from that strange little boy. And then, armed with fresh Milk Duds, the two of them enjoyed the movie one more time.

Correction, April 29, 2013: This entry originally misordered the partner names in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce/SCDP.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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