Christine Garver on Playing Teddy Chaough’s Secretary on ‘Mad Men’ This Season
Sure, secretaries come and go in the Mad Men office. But some also wind up marrying their boss like in Megan’s case.
Christine Garver is currently playing Moira, Teddy Chaough’s secretary on this season of Mad Men, and with the new merger, one would have to assume she’ll be around a bit more.
Since spoilers are hard to come by on Mad Men, Christine couldn’t give us any teases. But, here’s what Christine did have to say about her character, working on the show in general and more via a recent interview over email.
Tell me about your character Moira on Mad Men.
Moira is Ted Chaough's secretary and moved to the SCDP offices after the merger. I think of her as earnest, loyal, efficient and professional. Matthew Weiner once described her to me the Joan of the CGC office. She knows everything that goes on and tries to keep the goofballs in line. She's a great secretary because she supports her boss and always looks out for him. It's understandably a little threatening for her to move offices because she'll need to reestablish her authority.
How did you first get the role of Moira?
I've always been a big fan of the show and wanted to be on it for a long time. I'd previously auditioned for Kendra Clark, the casting associate, on a film. I reached out to her and asked if I could come in for the part. When I was first cast, I had no idea the offices were going to merge. I found out at the table read and was immediately excited because it meant my character would have an opportunity to grow and face some struggles of her own.
I know you can't get into spoilers too much, but how many episodes are you in this season? How many are you for what's left of the season?
On Mad Men anything can be a spoiler. I wasn't even allowed to tell anyone I was on the show until it aired. You'll have to watch to find out. My lips are sealed. (Now if only Don Draper would stop staring at them!)
Who have been some of the actors and actresses you've most enjoyed working with so far?
I love working with Kevin Rahm, who plays my boss. He was always very warm and inclusive, which I especially appreciated before I got to know everyone. I also think Christina Hendricks is such a sweet, generous person and admirable actress. Moira may not want to be Joan's friend, but I sure want to be Christina's. I particularly enjoyed the days I got to work with my on-set besties, Clara (Alexandra Ella) and Meredith (Stephanie Drake). Us secretaries have to stick together!
Any fun stories from on-set?
I think one of my most intense days was when I shot The Crash, which was a pretty intense episode in general. I shot all my scenes in one 14 hour day. I spent about 5 hours crying in the hallway in the scene right before I worked with Jon Hamm. I was supposed to look like I'd been crying, but I was such a wreck at that point that I think it was decided I looked too awful. My makeup artist had to clean me up a little. It was not quite as glamorous as I had hoped my first scene with the sexiest man on TV would be, but I'll take it!
Some secretaries have disappeared over the years, while others like Megan—well, they had larger roles. What would be your pitch to keep Moira on the show into next season?
From a story perspective, I think Moira is an important ally for Ted Chaough. In the fraught world of SCDP-CGC office politics, Ted needs someone who is unambiguously in his corner.
From a thematic perspective, perhaps even more importantly, Moira represents a growing trend. If Peggy and Joan were trailblazers, Moira represents the next generation of women coming of age in the 1960s who are ready and eager to follow in their footsteps. Moira takes pride in her work and does it well. More and more, women are seeing secretarial jobs as a long-term profession rather than a short-term gig.
Where else can we see you besides on Mad Men?
I'll be on Dexter later this summer and you can see some videos I've made with my comedy group at www.halfdaytoday.com.
If you want to catch up on my previous work, I recommend watching me play a young Sally Field on Brothers & Sisters. Or you could watch me get victimized on a number of crime shows. My episode of Criminal Minds was so hilariously gruesome that Jon Stewart featured it on a Daily Show segment about violence on TV.
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