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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Goodbye, Mad Men (and Groovy Gals): My 10 Favorite Episodes

To celebrate the 92nd and final episode of AMC's Mad Men, which airs tonight, here are my 10 favorite episodes from its seven-season run (in chronological order):

1) "Shoot" (Episode 9, Season 1, on September 13, 2007)
Betty Draper was my favorite character during the first few seasons because you never knew what she was going to say or do. And the last scene of this episode is one of her best bad-ass moments as she shoots her neighbor's pet pigeons with her son's BB gun (the neighbor had threatened to shoot Sally's dog for attacking one of his birds). The video is in French, but you can still appreciate the scene.

2) "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" (Episode 32, Season 3, on September 20, 2009)
I love dark comedy, and the highlight of this memorably twisted episode is when office secretary Lois runs over a young executive's foot with a John Deere riding lawnmower during Joan's surprise party (she was leaving the ad agency to be a doctor's wife).

3) "The Gypsy and the Hobo" (Episode 37, Season 3, on October 25, 2009)
This dramatic episode features Betty's confrontation with Don over his true identity (which she discovered in the previous episode). Meanwhile, Joan gets fed up with Greg (her cute asshole of a husband) and bashes his head with a vase (he recovers and joins the army).

4) "The Suitcase" (Episode 46, Season 4, on September 5, 2010)
My favorite Mad Men non-couple has always been Don and his former secretary/current colleague Peggy Olson, whose rocky relationship has evolved over the years. This episode focuses almost entirely on them as they work together on a campaign for the suitcase manufacturer Samsonite.

5) "The Beautiful Girls" (Episode 48, Season 4, on September 19, 2010)
Actress Randee Heller deservedly received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for this episode, in which her character, Don's secretary Miss Blankenship, dies at her desk. Meanwhile, Roger and Joan have sex after they are mugged at gunpoint.

6) "A Little Kiss" (Episodes 53-54, Season 5, on March 25, 2012)
This two-part fifth season premiere is centered around Don's 40th birthday, and his new wife Megan sings the French song, "Zou Bisou Bisou", to him during his surprise party.

7) "The Other Woman" (Episode 63, Season 5, on May 27, 2012)
Joan sleeps with an important client in exchange for a partnership with voting rights. Meanwhile, Peggy accepts a job with another agency and says goodbye to Don.

8) "Favors" (Episode 76, Season 6, on June 9, 2013)
One of my favorite characters was the gorgeous and gay Bob Benson (played by James Wolk), who makes a subtle romantic advance (with his knee) at Pete in this episode. Meanwhile, Don's daughter Sally sees him having sex with Sylvia Rosen.

9) "The Strategy" (Episode 84, Season 7, on May 18, 2014)
Bob Benson proposes to Joan, who rejects him. Meanwhile, Don and Peggy have one of their best scenes during which they dance to Frank Sinatra's "My Way".

10) "Lost Horizon" (Episode 90, Season 7, on May 3, 2015)
Both Joan and Don leave McCann Erickson for different reasons, but Peggy steals the episode with her drunken roller-skating scene and later her fabulous hungover entrance to the McCann offices, sporting sunglasses and a cigarette. I think I'm going to miss Ms. Olson the most.


MrVaritek said...

Great tribute to a great show! Though on my list of 10 best I'd include 'Souvenir' from season 3 and 'Far Away Places' from season 5. Though, not too sure what episodes I'd remove from your 10.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Glad you liked my tribute, MrVaritek! "Far Away Places" almost made my list - another great episode.