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October 10, 2015

Emmy-winning writer let go from Mad Men

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 12th 2009 1:38PM
matthew_weiner_AMCLast month, Mad Men was celebrating winning a slew of Emmys. One of them was for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, the episode entitled "Meditations In An Emergency." When creator Matthew Weiner went onto the stage to grab the Emmy, with him was Kater Gordon, the co-writer of that episode. Today, Kater Gordon was let go from Mad Men.

Are you shocked? Apparently, the industry press is. Gordon had risen from personal assistant to writer's assistant to member of the writing staff. After the Emmy, you would think that she was in like Flynn.

However, something must have gone awry or why has she been given her walking papers? And if you think it's not a dismissal, listen to this announcement from the show:

"We think [Kater's] done a great job, particularly for someone whose career has progressed so quickly. Now, however, Matt has reluctantly decided that their relationship has reached its full potential. She'll be missed, but the series has consistently benefited from the influx of new writer talent, and there's absolutely no doubt that Kater will continue to have unprecedented success in her career as she spreads her wings. She leaves Mad Men with our love and respect and a well-deserved Emmy."

I don't pretend to know what happened and it would be wrong to speculate something underhanded. It might just be that Weiner has a vision for the future of Mad Men and Gordon didn't fit into his plans for how to bring it to fruition. Ultimately, this is his show and he's got to bring in the writers he thinks can realize his Mad Men. It's as simple as that to me. If something else was going on with Kater Gordon, that's pure speculation at this point.

I've read it spun in a number of ways, painting Weiner as a jerk for letting her go or a prince for giving her the opportunity. People are analyzing their Emmy appearance like the Zapruder film, looking for clues to understand today's action.

Here's one observation, for what it's worth: if they really wished had their love and respect, why didn't they let her spin this so that she left the show on her own terms? That would have been kinder... and might have helped her get whatever her next writing gig will be.

On the other hand, is it possible that once she got her half of the Emmy, she was expecting a big raise to go with it... and the show wasn't ready to comply? Hmm... you gotta wonder.

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Oops! Typo -need,not neede!

October 13 2009 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mistress Lenore

I also see similarities to Peggy's situation. After her boss Don Draper was harsh with her, she ended up in bed with Duck from a rival agency. Ah, the intrigue. Perhaps this is Kater Gordon's "time" and Matthew Weiner is too controlling or jealous to share the stage. Whatever the case, the show has taken a turn for the stiff, fragmented and bizarre this season. I'll still be tuning in this Sunday, but I hope to see more of Peggy's struggle and less of the caustic, antiseptic mood that has been predominating.

October 13 2009 at 6:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mistress Lenore's comment

You make some interesting observations. I was thinking that we neede to see where Peggy's affair? fling? whatever with Duck was headed and what, if any impact that was having on her career. For the moment I'm over Don and Betty!

October 13 2009 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Heltsley

I dunno, this season has been so ... bizarre and weird that maybe he's cleaning house to get the writing back to where it should have been.

I'm a huge fan of the show, but this season has been all over the place, out of character and random that I have no idea what they're doing or where they're going with it.

October 12 2009 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm seeing an "X-Files" parallel, where Chris Carter drove the writers who helped get the series off the ground away.

October 12 2009 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm seeing a Grad Student / Faculty kinda parallel. She probably was irritated that he received top billing. After all, she did all the real work and all he did was the final clean-up and some minor rewrites.

Initially she was OK with it so long as it was an opportunity for her to earn a solo credit on future episodes. But well into Season 3 He "still didn't feel she was ready" to tackle a whole episode on her own.

In the end she became disenfranchised with the process and quit to find something "more gratifying." Problem is, producers know how co-authorship works. You pay your dues for YEARS, until you earn lead authorship.

I doubt an Emmy will mean anything.

October 12 2009 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone else see a parallel here with the show?

October 12 2009 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff's comment

I was thinking the same thing! Perhaps Peggy Olsen's next.

October 12 2009 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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