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?

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.


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. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.