Vincent Kartheiser: Audiences ‘yearned’ to see Pete punched on ‘Mad Men’
“It’s something the audience has been yearning for for five seasons,” said Vincent Kartheiser of the two face punches his character Pete Campbell received this year on the drama “Mad Men.” “Pete has kind of weaseled himself out of most situations that probably should have given him a black eye.”
The AMC show is four-time reigning champ at the Emmy Awards for Best Drama Series. On the period drama, Pete started out with a New York advertising agency as an account executive and is now a junior partner bringing in many of the firm’s biggest clients. In the recently-concluded fifth season, the character has been on somewhat of a downward spiral with depression, outbursts, and an affair with a young woman (Alexis Bledel) in the suburbs.
In a video chat with Gold Derby, Kartheiser said, “For Pete, especially, he’s the kind of ambitious person that success can kind of leave a little bit unfulfilled. It’s an interesting story about success in America that it isn’t easy and isn’t necessarily happy and can be quite depressing to reach goals in your life and realize that those aren’t going to complete you.”
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The only cast member to have received Emmy nominations as Best Drama Supporting Actor has been John Slattery. If Kartheiser earns his first nod in that category, he will submit the episode “Signal 30,” which was directed by Slattery and features Pete taking a driving course at a high school, hosting a dinner party with his wife (Alison Brie) and having the infamous fistfight with partner Lane Pryce (Jared Harris).
As Kartheiser explained his choice: “That episode is a pivotal moment for Pete. It’s the moment in a lot of mens’ lives in their early thirties where they realize they’re not 15 years old any more. They’re not a young man with their whole life ahead of them. They can’t hide the wounds on their face. They can’t pretend that they have hope or automatic joy at the drop of a hat. It’s an early mid-life crisis for him, and that’s the beginning of it.”