What's the Meaning of Don Draper? 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Explains

'Is He a Criticism of the American Male?' Stephen Colbert Asks

By Published on .

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner showed up on "The Colbert Report" last night, and after Colbert attempted a sweeping summary of the show's entire run to date -- "Don smoked, banged everything on the Eastern Seaboard … and California, sold some soap … was grim about it, and smoked some more" -- he asked, "Is he a criticism of the American male?"

"I don't think it's meant as a negative thing," Weiner answered. "I think -- I always sort of saw it that he was about the sort of split message that the American male gets. That you are told that you, to be attractive, on the one hand you have to be, like, you know, Little League coach, and PTA guy, great husband, great dad; on the other hand, you are supposed to smoke as much, drink as much and get laid as much as possible. Those two messages are being sent at the same time."

Weiner added of Don Draper, "I don't judge him at all," before going on something of a rant about baby boomers and their distorted view of the '60s. "I don't have a judgment on it, necessarily," he said, before interrupting himself (to laughter from the audience) with, "That sounded really judgmental. It did. I don't know!"

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.