Mad Men's Teyonah Parris on her character's evolving role.
There were some hard, heartbreaking moments on last night’s Valentine’s Day–set episode of Mad Men. Sally Draper, especially, went through some stuff, but so did office secretaries Dawn and Shirley, who were nearly fired three times between them, merely for being kind. Dawn got dressed down by her new boss, Lou Avery, for seeming to care too much about having missed Sally’s unexpected visit, which occurred only because she’d spent her lunch hour shopping for perfume for Lou’s wife. And Shirley’s attempt to clue Peggy in on the fairly obvious reality that those roses didn’t come from Ted and weren’t, in fact, even meant for her backfired on her. Luckily, they will both be sticking around, with Dawn installed in her new, elevated position as head of personnel in the wake of Joan’s promotion. So what’s next? This morning, Vulture spoke with Teyonah Parris, who also stars in the Sundance breakout Dear White People, about Dawn’s future, not hating her character’s now former boss Lou Avery (!), and how much she’d love a Dawn and Shirley spinoff.
Shirley and Dawn call each other by the other’s name — a mistake I assume their bosses make all the time.
Yeah, I took it as “All Black people look the same.” That’s Shirley and Dawn’s joke. Constantly throughout the day, we’re called by the other’s name. And we look nothing alike! Shirley’s so cute and fashionable, and Dawn’s covered up from chin to ankle. Really, people? Really? I loved that scene.
They put up with so much in the episode.
We were treated very badly, but we’re still standing at the end. Dawn’s promoted, Shirley’s not fired — it was pretty awesome. It was just fun to see what us secretaries go through. On Twitter, everyone was like “We need a Dawn and Shirley spinoff!” Yes! Yes! Absolutely, we’ll take that spinoff, thank you.
But, gah. Lou.
Actually, I was very surprised watching it back, probably because I’m influenced by the actor [Allan Havey] himself. I did not think he was that bad. [Laughs.] I did not.