Mad Men‘s seventh and final season premiered on Sunday night, and despite not so great ratings, it still managed to pull out a few tricks from its sleeve. The most talked about moment? That scene on the plane between Jon Hamm and Neve Cambpell, a surprise appearance that fans of hers were excited to see. It was tense and flirty and sexy, alive with the “will they or won’t they?” question. (Spoiler: They didn’t.)
The internet is reacting so greatly to Neve’s presence on Mad Men for several reasons: One, it’s hard these days to keep anything a secret from the internet, which Mad Men was able to do. “I did have to sign a waiver, and I got the Super Secrecy Speech on my first day on set,” Neve says. But keeping secrets is one of the many things the hit AMC show is good at. “I think it’s great that [they’re] diligent about keeping things secret because the audience gets to just go along for the ride and enjoy it, as opposed to hearing about everything that happens before it happens and not being surprised in any way.”
Two, it’s Neve Campbell, who we all had a crush on in the 90s, whether it be from the Scream movies or from Party of Five. The paradox of seeing a 90s actress in the 60s seemed to please many fans, who took to social media to delight in the revelry.
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Third, Neve’s cameo falls in a long line of the show’s tradition of celebrity cameos, which is sort of done on purpose – well, at least saving famous faces for guest roles, and not as principal characters. Matthew Weiner has said that he purposely avoided established stars for main characters, taking from a lesson he learned from working on The Sopranos. Also, Weiner’s been outspoken against recognizable faces planted back into the 60s. “Sometimes I’m, like, ‘Uch, it’s him? It’s her? I know them so well,’ It’s not that I don’t like them. A lot of the times I love them. I just don’t want to tear the fabric of the show.”
Yet sometimes, those guest stars are too good to pass up. “I want to give people the chance to be seen in a new light,” he said. “It’s part of the story of the show, right?” That “seen in a new light” aspect was also what drew Neve to the guest role:
“Any character I play, any new job I do, I hope that I’ll transform in some way and people will see me in a different light. Mad Men, with its retro setting and stylistic details, can bring about metamorphoses on a level that would not happen anywhere else.”
The New York Times adds that Mad Men “gives familiar actors a chance to explore a 1960s setting and create a new identity. For established TV stars who spend years in a single role, constant reinvention helps avoid typecasting or obsolescence.” Those TV stars include L.A Law vet Harry Hamlin, Girlmore Girl‘s Alexis Biedel, and Freaks and Geeks‘ Linda Cardellini (the latter who’ve both appeared as cheating housewives).
It not only works to keep the actors fresh, but the show as well. In a series that’s often described as slow and lingering, seeing these familiar faces appear to stir up the drama keeps the plot interesting. And for Neve? She’s just as interested in seeing where the final season takes us.
“Listen, I think the final season of such an amazing show is going to be a big challenge for them to get right, and it feels with this premiere as though they’re going in the right direction. I know that they’re going to treat it with kid gloves, and they’re taking that hiatus in the middle of the season in order to really focus on not disappointing the audience, so I’m just as excited to see the end.”
Image via Official Website