If you're not a TV geek such as myself then you're probably unaware that Mad Men, AMC's critical darling about 1960s ad executives is undergoing major behind the scenes negotiations. They've already pushed the fifth season to 2012, when the show normally resumes late summer. Fail. Now, in return for the $30 million for three seasons creator Matt Weiner is asking for (You can't blame the guy for asking for a raise after his show won Best Series three years in a row.) AMC is requesting some ludicrous shit from their end too, including and most notably the axing of TWO main cast members. For a show so specific in its vision, this has many fans worried. Let's examine who the series might be able to afford to lose, paper scissors rock. Rock is an undeniable no, Paper maybe, and well, you know what that makes scissors. *Mild spoilers follow*
Don - Duh. Unless you'd prefer Henry Francis. Yea, Didn't think so.
Peggy - Not a chance. Don's our guy but while he drinks and bad-decisions himself into antihero oblivion, season 4 more than any other saw the Peg rise up as the de facto heroine of the show, smoking weed, busting balls and straight killing it in the office. Plus she's a necessary mirror for Don to look into.
Roger - You mean, the guy who routinely walks away with the line of the episode?
Joan - Nope. Just as heroine-ish as Peggy, just as boardroom-badass as Don. And way too easy on the eyes. Roger wouldn't allow it.
Betty - If you've seen season 4 you might disagree. But I think she's necessary. We can't stay in the office all episode, and not one of Betty's upstate NY C-story detours was wasted. And for the first three years, we spent so much time with Betty that we can easily say we're watching her story just as much as Peggy's. Plus, s4 seemed like just the tip (II) of a very huge and dramatically entertaining mother vs. daughter iceberg. Team Sally, in case you were wondering.
Pete - Not for my money. Necessary foil to Don, Peggy, and Roger, and just like Betty, we've spent enough time away from the office with him that we're just as invested in where he's going as the others.
Ken - On the surface, he may not appear to add much. But his early s4 absence was definitely noticeable.
Harry - On the flipside, this guy is purely atmospheric at this point. He's gotten really unlikeable, personally. Although his continued presence would be a nice nod to the whole concept of stumbling upwards in corporate America [he's head of TV, before agencies like this really had heads of TV], he's a far cry away from the guy who ran out of Don's classic slide carousel pitch...crying.
Bert Cooper - Much as I love the guy, he doesn't add much significance these days. And that's by design. They pretty much paved the way for an easy exit last year anyways.
Lane Pryce - I mean I guess. But not so fast. First, s4 highlights like "The Good News" and "Hands and Knees" made him an audience favorite. Not only that, but in-show his job as CFO is revered on an episodic basis, with Don himself remarking that no one can quite crunch the numbers like he does. Personally, I wouldn't wanna see him go.
Well thats it for the main cast. By my count, I don't see this as a very easily solved problem. There isn't much fat to cut. Who could you stand to lose?