SSN is talking to talent who may very well be waking up early the morning of July 18th to news of an Emmy nomination. We adore Kevin Rahm, Mad Men’s Ted Chaough, and are sure he’s a front-runner candidate for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Kevin dishes to SSN about the Ted/Don Draper relationship, the agency merger, and if Ted still has feelings for Peggy Olson.
SSN: You were on Desperate Housewives and now you’re on Mad Men. Though the shows are tonally different, did you notice any similarities?
Rahm: They both deal with human drama. They’re both soap operas, and it’s just about how deep they go into the human psyche. HOUSEWIVES was pretty dark though, there was a lot of death in that show. Anytime you do 22-24 episodes a year, that’s twice as many as Mad Men. I think Housewives got to 200 episodes, Mad Men is at 70-something. Having to produce that much more content, it’s just harder.
SSN: Watching Ted vs. Don, now with the merger, can they work together or is it hopeless? Did Ted get through to Don when he told him “Look, we’re on the same side.”?
Rahm: I think it’s been a thing since the merger. From Ted’s point of view, they’re literally on the same team, so there shouldn’t be any of this nonsense, not from Peter, or Cutler (Harry Hamlin), from Don. Everybody should just grow up and do your job.
SSN: Ted is very professional that way. Is Ted what Don Draper would be if Don didn’t drink to excess and cheat on his wife?
Rahm: That’s a good question. I don’t know that it’s that simple. They’re both ego-driven in the sense that they both want to be the best. More of it has to do with where they came from: Don having to hide his identity, running away from who he was originally and then having to re-define himself repeatedly. Ted has not needed to do that in his life so it’s easier for him to concentrate on his work as opposed to his personal turmoil.
SSN: We got to see Ted’s home life in this week’s “Favors” episode and how different it was from Don’s. Is Ted still thinking about Peggy?
Rahm: I cannot answer that but I will say that Ted absolutely loves his wife and they have a really good marriage. You see that in their ability to have that conversation where he admits that she’s right about him being around his female copywriter (Peggy) and facing Don Draper every day.
SSN: That scene was very tense.
Rahm: Yes, it was tense. He has to talk about her all the time. She was his go-to for the last while, til the merger.
SSN: In the “Favors” episode this week, we have to tell you, you killed it on the line, “I bet you don’t have a lot of friends, Don, so I’m going to assume it’s important.”
Rahm: I loved that line! I love that scene between them; someone finally standing up to Don and telling him to cut it out. He gets away with a lot. The other line I loved was, “This is not a handshake of gratitude, it’s a binding contract.” What Don gets away with repeatedly is he gives a little, then goes right back to his same behavior. He does it to Peggy repeatedly, he does it to everyone. I love that someone was able to say no to him.
SSN: Let’s talk about Ted Chaough’s fashion style. It’s so completely different from Don Draper.
Rahm: Janie (Bryant, the show’s costume designer) is amazing. She makes us look better than we are. I’ve been wearing the boots for awhile but they were hidden til this episode when Ted was lying on his office couch.
SSN: Is Cutler Ted’s Roger Sterling?
Rahm: Absolutely! And I love how different and how similar they are? They both think they’re in charge in a way that they’re not. They’re both the business guys, they both see themselves running the ship in ways I think Don and Ted would disagree.
SSN: What are your favorite things about playing Ted Chaough?
Rahm: The writing is number one; to say the words Matt and the writers write is a dream. Anytime the writing is that good, you just get out of the way. A lot of work in TV and film, you have to fill in the gaps. Here, you just have to get out of the way. It’s a different process. Two is working with the cast. The whole ship there is run so well. Lizzie and John are great scene partners and most of my scenes are with them. That makes life a lot easier. Then, it’s got to be wardrobe.
SSN: Can you tease anything coming up in the remaining two episodes of the season?
Rahm: Oh god no! For fear of loss of life or limb, no!
Rahm ended our chat by sharing that he loved watching this week’s episode with an audience at a TV Academy panel this past weekend, “It’s so much fun watching the show with the cast. We enjoy each other’s work so much and getting to see the scenes that I read at a table read and to see them fully realized is great. I’m a real fan of the show.”