BREAKING MAD: Screenwriter Robert Towne Joins Writing Staff of ‘Mad Men’


A sign of confidence? Or uncertainty? Mad Men hits the final stretch.

Cynthia Littleton writes:

“Veteran screenwriter Robert Towne (pictured) is among Matthew Weiner’s new recruits to “Mad Men’s” writing staff for the upcoming seventh and final season, which AMC announced Monday will unfold in two seven-episode batches in spring 2014 and spring 2015.”

I question the decision to break up the final season into a two-year boutique-sized spread. Is this a creative decision? Or is AMC milking the popularity of the series for additional commercial or prestige reasons Or is the Mad Men staff pressed to conclude the series to Matthew Weiner’s satisfaction, and AMC is giving him more time? Let’s hear what you guys think. — The Butcher

“Towne is serving as a consulting producer…. He won an original screenplay Oscar for 1974′s “Chinatown” (a source of many oft-quoted lines including: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”). He earned three other Oscar screenwriting noms, for 1973′s “The Last Detail,” 1975′s “Shampoo” … Recent credits include “Mission: Impossible II…”

Towne is best-known, really, for Chinatown, a masterpiece. I’m happy to see Towne’s unexpected union with Mad Men’s top-notch crew, but puzzled at the decision to break up one season’s worth of episodes into two years. Is this a good thing? I personally don’t think so.

Weiner’s stated mission, from the beginning (and based on his experiences writing for The Sopranos, arguably the best dramatic series in modern television history) to not fall into the same trap other A+ dramatic series’ have fallen victim to, suffer creative decline, leadership problems, or scheduling problems in the final stretch. Is this a sign of problems? (for as good as it was, The Sopranos faltered in the final stretch, it took 8 years to produce 6 seasons) Or an effort to hold true to his goal? Up until now, Mad Men has stayed on a strong course, with its creator fully engaged. This strikes me as a curious decision, a punt.

“Another film vet, Patricia Resnick (“Nine to Five”), is also on board as a consulting producer. Comedy scribe David Iserson, an alum of “Saturday Night Live” and laffers including “New Girl” and “United States of Tara,” has signed on as a co-producer. And writers’ assistant Carly Wray has been upped to staff writer from writers assistant last season.”

Bringing in big-name offscreen talent for the last season is either a sign of easy confidence, Weiner doing a victory lap. Or, a sign of uncertainty.

I’m a pessimist, I think it’s the latter.

But, bravo on bringing Towne into the mix. I’d be happy to see Towne’s signature on one of the scripts.

— The Butcher

 Source: (EXCLUSIVE) Variety 

One Comment on “BREAKING MAD: Screenwriter Robert Towne Joins Writing Staff of ‘Mad Men’”

  1. Thanks for sharing – this is an interesting development in Weiner’s world.

    I feel like the Mad Men writing staff are coming up a bit short on ideas. The show’s not as compelling for me as it used to be.

    Here’s to hoping they have an ambitious ending in mind.

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