As the sixth season of Mad Men made it’s debut last week, it is apparent that world and perspective of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDB) remains lily-white. A fascinating script has surfaced of an alternate episode of the award-winning show with an African-American storyline courtesy of . . . Erika Alexander!
Alexander, known as Maxine Shaw from the popular 1990s’ show, Living Single and was also a member of the Cosby Show ensemble, penned a wonderful episode titled, Uptown Saturday Night. In the episode, SCDB partner Pete Campbell causes plenty of consternation when he pitches to the owners of Seagrams that the company wants to secure their minority business in the Black community. When Campbell offers to double their share within a quarter, the Brofmans relent and ask these Mad Man for a campaign.
With no knowledge or even affiliation with any Black people, both Don Draper and Burt Cooper are skeptical but Roger Sterling pulls a rabbit out of his hat by finding the one Black person that he knows but can also help provide entre into a world most of the partners are very unfamiliar. Soon Draper is off to Harlem to meet with the head of the Black-owned Early Agency run by his mirror-image, Leon Early.
While Draper is trying to make a deal uptown, his in-laws have invaded his home and his wife Megan is contemplating the future of her relationship to the successful ad executive. If all of these events aren’t enough, there is also a major storm wrecking havoc on the area knocking out power.
Alexander’s script seamlessly incorporates the elements that have made the show so popular while creating a plotline that is not only plausible for where the show is currently but would expertly expand the audience of fans who frequent the show. Alexander also smartly captures the rise of popular Black advertisement, which was just beginning it’s genesis around the time period of Mad Men’s season six. In addition, her guest characters are written with intelligence, awareness and dignity enough to even impress Draper himself.
All of those years of working on sets with smart writers has clearly rubbed off on Alexander, who is also married to writer Tony Puryear (Eraser). Here’s hoping Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner takes a shot on Alexander’s script, we would LOVE to see this episode!!!