Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

chat room

Mad Men’s Kevin Rahm on a Pete-and-Ted Spinoff and Jon Hamm’s ‘Wah! Wah! Wah!’

[Finale spoilers ahead.] Ted! How could you? But also: Good for you, Ted. Don’t abandon your wife and kids. But, gah! What about Peggy? Obviously, we’ve got many feelings about how Ted left things on Sunday’s season-six finale of Mad Men. As does Kevin Rahm, whom we last spoke to about getting to show Don up in that plane and Ted’s love of the turtleneck. Vulture got him back on the phone Monday morning to talk about our mixed emotions and whether even a short-sleeved mock turtleneck would work on the Pete-Ted comedy spinoff — set in Los Angeles — that we’re now lobbying for. (Or will it be the Pete-Ted-Megan show?) Rahm also tells us which of his family members had the best reaction to watching Ted hook up with Peggy.

Kevin! Good morning! I don’t know how to feel about Ted!
I still love Ted. I think he’s doing the best he can. He’s doing what he thinks is right.

When you read the finale, were you worried fans might turn on him for breaking Peggy's heart?
I was interested to see how they would react more than anything. We keep learning more and more about him as we go. What I loved about what they did in the finale is [that they showed] that he’s human. He’s been kind of this super boss for a while, and I like that he’s human.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from friends and family since last night? I assume you spoiled nothing since wrapping.
No one knew. The thing I kept getting since the first kiss was “When are they gonna hook up?” and I just wouldn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything. The funniest response was from my brother-in-law, who watches Mad Men with his wife, my sister. During the make-out scenes, he told me she’d go, “Gross. Weird. Gross.” It’s a little weird! My sister watching me make out with someone on-camera.

Don told Peggy that Ted’s “not that virtuous” in the episode prior to the finale. Do you ultimately think that he’s right?
Uh, I would have disagreed with it when he said it. I mean, it depends on how you define virtuous. Ted made a mistake, obviously. But it depends. We don’t have a lot of information about his marriage.

Do you think Ted and Peggy would have been good together?
I think it would have been interesting. Under the circumstances, we don’t know. Had they both been single, it would have been an interesting relationship to see progress. But I think any workplace relationship is dangerous. That’s been my personal experience. They haven’t always worked out the best. But I know other people for whom it worked out great.

One of the many surprises in the finale is Pete going to L.A.
I know, right? My wife goes, “What? How did that happen?” and I go, “Just now.” [Laughs.]

Surely, that has a Pete-Ted spinoff set in the seventies written all over it.
I immediately saw The Odd Couple. There’s the sitcom on Fox next year. Pete Campbell and Ted Chaough, livin’ it up. They have to dress up like women to live in the right apartment building. Bosom Buddies.

Does Pete going to California give you any reassurance that Ted won’t just disappear next season?
I hope so. I can’t imagine the main five or six [characters], I can’t imagine them going anywhere. So that does give me hope for Ted coming back.

Megan might go to California as well. She has those meetings her agent lined up.
[Laughs.] Maybe Pete and I have to move in with Megan and live in her all-women’s building?

It could be Three’s Company.
Ooooh! They’d have to act gay! No, she has to act gay! There it is. She’s the Ritter character. There’s a Tumblr for you.

Ted would have to lose the turtlenecks. We don’t need them in L.A.
I don’t know. I mean, are short-sleeved turtlenecks a thing? Maybe Ted starts it! In a nice, light cotton … Maybe he goes to the mock. The short-sleeved mock turtleneck, right? It means I gotta go to the gym.

I’m not sure a short-sleeved mock would look good on anyone.
Channing Tatum could pull it off.

Too much bulk! Going back to the finale, I’m still reeling from Don’s Hershey’s pitch. You were there, looking just so defeated — tell me about the filming of that scene.
Well, any time we’re in the conference room, you’re looking at seven to ten hours ... you’re talking fifteen to twenty setups, and every time they have to redo the lights and everything. Wide shots, close-ups ... So it takes it out of you, and you’re already going through whatever your character is going through in the scene. In the one where Don threw Ted under the bus with the St. Joseph’s, that was a long day, and you’re in that panicked head space for a long time. You definitely need a cocktail after those days.

Don’s speech-confession was a long one, too.
How good was Jon? And every take, man, it’s gold. His first version of the pitch, about his dad tousling his hair and stuff, it reminds everyone of the carousel pitch. It’s genius, it’s perfect, they’re gonna buy it, and then something happens to Don. I found it unbelievably interesting.

You had to look puzzled and awful the whole time.
You just kind of live in the moment. Again, when Jon is giving the pitch, it kind of makes it easy in a weird way. You just listen to him telling this horrific story. It’s the shock of him telling it and then wondering if it’s true. And also, Ted doesn’t hate Don on any level. He’s confused by Don, but he respects him, he wanted to work side-by-side with him and hasn’t really had a chance to.

My most important question: How many times did you get to watch Jon Hamm go, “Wah! Wah! Wah!”?
[Laughs.] That may be the best question I’ve been asked all year. Again, it was a conference room scene, so they were shooting 360, all around us, so [I saw him do it] quite a few times. It was done a lot of different ways. I got to see a lot more versions of it than you guys did.

So there was a range of wah wahs.
Every time we did a take he did a little different version of it. I figure I saw him do it 50, 60 times, and not one of them was exactly the same. There was a really waaaaaaah, waaaaaaah version, and there were the really high-pitched versions, and then there was everything in between. We laughed a lot during that scene.

Blooper reel.
I’m sure some editor somewhere has copies of all of those. For any time we get too high on ourselves. I know one of the sound guys made it into a ringtone.

Photo: Ron Jaffe/AMC