Now that Season 5 of "Mad Men" is off to its liquor-soaked start, I hope to see a burning question answered: How is it that Peggy Olson is Catholic?
It's been so long since Season 4 ended (about 18 months) that I have forgotten most of my other pressing concerns about the show, which is set in a 1960s advertising firm. But Olson's Catholicism is simply too much of an oddity.
Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss, is the show's rising star copywriter, who, it has been established, is Norwegian-American; and Catholic. As if.
Far be it from me to nitpick, but no Norwegian (or Norwegian-Canadian) worth her weight in gravlaks could let this slip by without comment. It's not that such a thing does not exist. It does, but in such small numbers that introducing a character with this demographic peculiarity without explanation would be akin to having a member of the Corleone family in some future "Godfather" sequel announce -- without any back story -- that he is Lutheran.
Perhaps I shouldn't care, but like Betty Draper, another "Mad Men" woman, my people are Nordic. So here I stand. I can do no other.
Catholics make up somewhere between 1 percent and 5 percent of Norway's 2012 population. About 70 percent of Norway's current Catholics are the result of immigration -- much less common when Olson's family would have still been in Norway, prior to 1960 -- or have a non-Norwegian parent or are converts.
Previously on "Mad Men," Peggy was joined in the Madison Avenue fray by another Norwegian-Catholic, Conrad Hilton. But cursory research shows us that the real Hilton got his religion from his German mother. We don't know where Peggy's fictional family got their religion.
In some ways, Peggy is a true Norwegian. She is from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn -- a neighborhood with so many Norwegians that there is still a Norwegian Constitution Day Parade. She has a great pessimistic streak and takes digs at Swedes. She, like Norway, is an isolationist.
She can be sanctimonious (think Nobel Peace Prize), in spite of her own checkered past (hello Quisling). She has to work at having fun and often looks awkward doing so. She has a lugubrious sense of humor. She is tougher than her doughy, mild countenance might suggest (Karl Rove, I'm looking at you).
In other ways, she is not convincingly Norwegian. I see no trolls in her home. I have yet to see her wearing a Norwegian sweater. And then there's the Catholicism. Listening to Peggy's mother wax adoring about "the Holy Father" in previous seasons seemed more like watching Rose Kennedy lecturing her progeny in yet another miniseries about the Kennedys. My Norwegian mother reminded me, on more than one Halloween, that Oct. 31 was also Reformation Day.
There have been mistakes on "Mad Men," and Peggy's Norwegian-Catholicism could be one of those. But we know that the forces behind the show pay exquisite attention to detail and that Sunday nights can be spent Twittering about the authenticity of a lamp or a headline.
Given that attention to minutia, it seems hard to believe that having both Peggy and Hilton -- two, count 'em, two Norwegian-Catholics -- around was a fluke. Does the show's creator, Matt Weiner, have a plan?
If he clears up this mystery up before the end of Season 5, I'll offer my most sincere "mange takk" and throw in a hardy "skoal" for good measure.
Rondi Adamson is a teacher and writer in Toronto.