Full of Awesome: Ericka Alexander's 'Mad Men' Script About Race
Last week's Mad Men season premiere prompted two questions: What year would it be? And would the show tackle issues of race? So far, we know two things: 1968 and not yet.
Well, actress Ericka Alexander (who played Pam on The Cosby Show, among other things) isn't waiting. This week on her blog, she shared a spec script for Mad Men Season Six that brings Don Draper to Harlem to talk business:
I have only one issue with Mad Men (ok, with a bunch of shows, but let’s stick with this one): I’d love to see more diversity. I’m a black actress, so diversity is an issue that comes up for me. A lot. Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Girls, Veep, these are cool shows, except for the fact that they would really rock with more people of color, series regulars or otherwise. I complain, wtf?.. and bemoan, WTF! … but alas, for all my years in TV, I’m not able to make a difference in my own living room. Or am I?
I love that she did this -- it's fan fiction as cultural critique, and the script itself is FLAWLESS. It's got brilliant parallels between Don and the head of the Harlem agency he meets with. It's got incredible visuals, true-to-character dialogue and believable plot points, and several other story arcs that also blew my mind. (Roger Sterling's mind, too, apparently.)
But the episode is at its best when dealing with race. After Pete’s renegade pitch, the partners call in Don’s secretary, Dawn, to ask her opinion of Seven Crown Whiskey. She doesn’t have one, she’s a Jehovah’s Witness; this renders Pete briefly mute. When Don asks Pete whether he even knows any Negroes, Pete replies, “Market research will tell me everything I need to know.”
That is so Pete Campbell.
Go read the full script on her blog, and tell me: What do you think? And what do you think we have to do to get this script in production?
(In unrelated Sterling Draper Pryce Cooper awesomeness: I give you the Mad Men Rewrite Machine.)