Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Mad Mensches

“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner dishes on the show’s Jewish characters

Print Email

What do The Great Gatsby, Al Jolson, and Italian mobsters have to do with the hottest show on cable?

The AMC drama Mad Men is set at the dawn of the 1960s in the fictional Madison Avenue advertising agency Sterling Cooper—an old-guard bastion of hard-drinking WASP executives. But orbiting Mad Men’s lily-white center are a number of ethnic characters, including a series of indelible Jewish personalities, who, though ancillary, may in fact offer a key to understanding the show’s overriding theme.

A week before Mad Men’s second-season finale, series creator Matthew Weiner invited Nextbook into his home to explore the show’s Jewish voices. Weiner—who was born in Baltimore and raised in Los Angeles, where he lives today with his wife and four sons—is a veteran TV writer who previously worked on sit-coms and spent four years as a producer and writer on The Sopranos. In the living room of his home in L.A.’s Fairfax District, the historic center of the city’s Jewish community, he explained how his show fits into the cultural history of the American Dream.

For those listeners who haven’t seen the show, a word of warning: This podcast includes several spoilers.

Photos from 'Mad Men' season 2
From Mad Men season 2: Left, Jimmy Barrett (Patrick Fischler) in episode 3. Right, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Bobbie Barret (Melinda McGraw), Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff), and Tilden Katz (Nick Toren) in episode 5.
Photos: Carin Baer.
Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Mad Mensches

“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner dishes on the show’s Jewish characters

More on Tablet:

How To Make Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables

By Joan Nathan — Video: Filled with warm rice and unexpected spices, they’re perfect for a cool autumn night—as a side dish or vegetarian entree