As the fourth season of “Mad Men” wraps up this weekend, the show seems to only be going stronger. We checked in with Jon Hamm (who we really do prefer to call “Don Draper”) and Elisabeth Moss (who plays Peggy Olson) to see how they feel about the evolution of their characters and their own celebrity — and why we can’t stop watching.
How do you explain the success of “Mad Men”?
Moss: I think it all started with amazing writing and the show’s concept that proved to be very seductive. It then became a more deep and subtle story about the characters themselves. At first, you begin to focus on the differences between the show and real life and then you realize that there are a lot of similarities.
Hamm: The reason the show works is because it is about people. The characters are not defined by the time or space but by their personality and the relationships they have with one another. I think that is what’s keeping people glued to the show.
Are you happy with the evolution of your characters?
Hamm: Tremendously. It’s been a dream role for me. It’s a very natural progression. All the characters move through this world and their lives in a very realistic way — but in a very dramatic manner, too. We hope we are making a show that’s fulfilling and entertaining to watch. Our job is to make this world live.
Moss: Peggy could have easily remained Don’s secretary. It would have still been a great part, but now she has grown so much more interesting than that.
Do you share any traits with your characters?
Moss: As an actor, you can’t help but bring a part of yourself into the character, even if I’m very different from Peggy in real life. Still, there is a lot of me in her. She always has lots of hope in the future, she’s upbeat and positive but sometimes that’s not the best thing to be. She can also be naïve about certain things.
Hamm: I don’t have a tremendous amount of common traits with Don Draper. But I do believe there are similarities between our characters in the show. Peggy and Don both have a lot of ambition. They have a desire to excel, and go above and beyond. In my life I have the desire to succeed and to achieve. That would be the closest thing I have in common with Don. But at the end of the day, when I get home, I’m happy to leave Don on set.
The Season 4 finale of “Mad Men” airs Sunday at 10 p.m. on AMC.