The Six Best Moments on Mad Men

We’re a few episodes away from wrapping up yet another season of Mad Men and this season has provided no shortage of fantastic moments. Not unlike the show’s AMC brethren Breaking Bad, Mad Men has a panache for jaw-dropping dark humor moments. Here are my six favorite, ranked in no particular order (after #1, which was definitely my favorite):

1. Season 3, Episode 6: Guy Walks Into an Ad Agency
But he doesn’t walk out. Jump to about 1:05 here.

2. Season 4, Episode 9: The Beautiful Girls
Ida Blankenship goes to the Big Break Room in the Sky. We should’ve all seen this coming, what with her being so old that she owed Jesus $3 at time of death. Given that she was only in a handful of episodes, what a hell of a character. The highjinx start at 1:00.

3. Season 2, Episode 9: Six Month Leave
The Freddy Rumsen weather report: humid with a chance of years of A.A. meetings. It was so funny to me that I almost pissed… ah, never mind. You get the point. Embedding is disabled but you can follow this link to the clip from the official AMC Youtube channel.

4. Season 4, Episode 7: The Suitcase

"Don Draper, you're shit out of luck."

Again, I’m having a bit of trouble finding the clip, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know which clip I’m referring to. It’s when Peggy hears a noise in her office, late at night while drinking/working with Don, and discovers Duck Phillips squatting, on the verge of leaving Don a very special present in his chair. It was so funny that I almost shi… ah, you get the point again. And then, he fights a vomit-covered Don, whoops him, and makes him literally cry “Uncle”. Spectacular.

5. Season 2, Episode 7: The Gold Violin
I’m foiled once again by embedding, but the clip is found here. Don and Betty go to Central Park for a picnic. It’s an almost Rockwellian moment- father, beautiful wife, son, daughter, Central Park… and then at the end, they dump all their garbage on the ground, a perfect illustration of how great the show is in terms of its ability to tap into the time period. The irony of the clip? Little Sally Draper asking about her parents’ wealth and Betty replying that it’s impolite to talk about money. If you’re scoring at home, talking about money: bad. Dumping your garbage on the ground at Central Park: good.

6. Season 3, Episode 4: The Arrangements
Sal Romano is a gay man, having all sorts of trouble at home because he won’t have sex with his beautiful wife. “Let’s talk about something else”, he says (or so I paraphrase). “Have I told you about the Bye Bye Birdie ad I’m working on for Patio Cola?”. His wife arches an eyebrow- “No, Sal, you haven’t. What is it?”. And then this happened.

Bye bye!


23 Comments

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23 responses to “The Six Best Moments on Mad Men

  1. heyzeus

    Excellent list. I’d like to add one of my favorite moments from early in the series, back (sadly) when Betty Draper was a much more interesting character.

    I believe it’s known as “Betty v. the Pigeons.”

  2. Zero

    “I need you to go get a cardboard box and…put your things in there”

  3. Brodie

    My all time favourite Mad Men moment comes from Season 1, Episode 8 “The Hobo Code.”

    Don visits Midge at her apartment, and smokes pot with her and her beatnick friends. The cops show up at the apartment down the hall for domestic abuse, and they’re still there when Don gets up to leave. One of the stoned friends says “You can’t go out there.” To which Don replies, “No, YOU can’t go out there.” He puts on his hat and calmly walks out of the apartment.

    Classic.

  4. Randall

    I would have to add two moments to this list:

    The first is from season 1, “Nixon vs. Kennedy” where Ken and the guys play the “what color is your underwear” game and chase down the secretary, tackle her and lift up her skirt to find out. It made me laugh out loud, not because I condone that kind of thing, but because it was so shockingly hilarious and outrageous that I could not believe it was allowed in offices.

    The second is from season 2, “The New Girl” where Ken (again, but he has some great moments) tries to hit on Jane (the new secretary) with a great line of “I’m Ken…Cosgrove…accounts” with a flair of sheer arrogance. When his come on totally fails with her, Freddy comes in, in what might be the best comedically timed joke in the series, and starts playing Mozart on his pants zipper.

  5. Mary Ann

    Sorry people. I am about Sally’s age and we grew up having it drummed into us that littering was very, very bad. I always thought that scene was glaringly false and an indication of how while they may often get it right, just as often its a revisionist view by people who don’t remember and are looking back from a self-consciously morally superior vantage point.
    Still love the show.

  6. martini

    you might have the coolest masthead in the history of mastheads.

  7. Dave

    I think Peggy has had some of the show’s greatest moments:

    The scene where she admits to Pete that she had his baby is probably my all-time favourite Mad Men scene.

    In the third season where she gets high for the first time and Kinsey has a sing-off with his adversary.

    This season where she peeks her head over the wall to see Don’s secretary confront him.

    There is also a moment early in the series where some of the men in the office discuss who in the office is a Jackie or a Marilyn. They then state that Marilyn is a Joan. Awesome.

  8. FYC: Betty having an interesting laundry day at Season 1.

  9. Lisa

    I can’t believe this scene wasn’t mentioned.
    When Don punches Jimmy Barrett at the bar after he finds out Jimmy told Betty that he was cheating on her.
    One of my favourite scenes behind the tractor one, but my all time favourite Don moment.

  10. JC

    Season 4, Episode 4: The Rejected

    Pete tells Peggy his wife is pregnant. Later, they exchange a knowing look while she’s waiting for the elevator and he’s in the reception area. Elisabeth Moss and Vincent Kartheiser should both win an Emmy for that look alone.

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  12. johandav

    Maybe I misunderstood what the list was (looking for black humor?), but if this was literally supposed to be The Six Best Moments of the series I cannot believe that you didn’t have “The Wheel”, from near the end of the last episode of the first season, as Don is pitching Kodak “The Carousel” and looking on the screen at all that he is risking losing by having his affairs. Chilling and heartbreaking at the same time, and still the best scene I’ve seen on the show.

  13. Dan Aleman

    Season 3, Episode 13: “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” In the finale, at Peggy’s apartment, Don asks her to come work for him – the best scene on television in twenty years (even the director and actors knew it at the time):

    Peggy: “You just assume I’ll do whatever you say. Just follow you, like some nervous poodle.”

    Don: “I’m not gonna beg you.”

    Peggy: “Beg me? You didn’t even ask me. … I’ve had other offers, you know. I came with a sales pitch about opportunity. Everyone thinks you do all my work. Even you.”

    Don: “I’ve taken you for granted and I’ve been hard on you, but only because I think I see you as an extension of myself. And you’re not.”

    Peggy, “Well thank you for stopping by.”

    After a silent pause, Don asked if she knew why he didn’t want to work for McCann.

    “Because you can’t work for anyone else”, she said.

    “No”, he said.

    Don: “Because there are people out there who buy things, people like you and me. And something happened. Something terrible. And the way that they saw themselves is gone. And nobody understands that. But you do. And that’s very valuable.”

    Peggy: “Is it?”

    Don: “With you or without you, I’m moving on. And I don’t know if I can do it alone. Will you help me?”

    Peggy: “What if I say no? You’ll never speak to me again.”

    Don: “No. I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you.”

  14. i see what you did there

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