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The Seven Best Moments from Seven Seasons of Mad Men

By: Rick Mele|April 2, 2015

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Blankenship

Season 7: What’s In the Box?!

With an approach that’s famously meticulous (if you’re being charitable – obsessive, if you’re not), it’s become increasingly en vogue to compare Matthew Weiner to Stanley Kubrick these days. And it’s a comparison the Mad Men creator likely encouraged with Season 7’s “The Monolith,” an entire episode dedicated to the legendary filmmaker’s sci-fi opus 2001: A Space Odyssey, that culminated in Peggy receiving probably the worst on-screen “present” since Seven. And while Bert Cooper’s Broadway-style musical send-off from the mid-season finale may have gotten more publicity initially, you’d be hard-pressed to say that Ginsberg’s big exit hasn’t stuck with us for longer. Granted, because it’s haunting our dreams, but still.

Season 1: The Kodak Carousel Pitch

By the end of Season 1, we still weren’t entirely sure who the real Don Draper was: a loving father/husband, a con man, Dick Whitman, an alcoholic womanizer, an advertising prodigy (before eventually realizing he was actually all of those things at once.) But then we watched him work his magic during a pitch to Kodak in the Season 1 finale, and it was clear that whatever you want to call him, he’s every bit as good as advertised. Like the best Mad Men moments, Don’s speech works on multiple levels: he’s clearly talking about so much more than just a slide projector. And that’s largely why we’ve been willing to go on this ride with Don all these years; no matter who he is, the guy knows how to command an audience.

Season 3: The Lawnmower Scene

Mad Men has had its fair share of deaths for a serious drama, but the show’s not exactly Game of Thrones. Even so, our pick from Season 3 is so shocking and gory, it’d make George R.R. Martin jealous. A moment that’s become so iconic, all you need is three little words to describe it: “the lawnmower scene.” It’s the perfect example of the show’s sometimes pitch-black sense of humor (see also: Peggy and Abe’s stabbing-induced break-up). The scene didn’t have a huge effect on the show’s ultimate arc – the offices formerly known as Sterling Cooper have gone through too many management changes since – but thanks to a drunk secretary and a runaway lawnmower, a man lost a foot and we got to see just how twisted the Mad Men writers could get.

Season 6: Ken Cosgrove Can Dance

Season 6 gave us the introduction of the mysterious Bob Benson (and all those brilliantly demented fan conspiracy theories), the teaming of former nemeses Don and Ted, Peggy and Abe breaking up in an ambulance, along with Sally’s heartbreaking discovery of her dad “comforting” Mrs. Rosen. But for our money, the season’s most enduring image boils down to a more simple pleasure: seeing a tap-dancing Ken Cosgrove lay out his job description for Don while high on “B vitamins.” We’re still not entirely clear on who taught Ken how to dance, we’re just glad someone did.

Season 2: “Hell’s Bells, Trudy!”

There are few things more consistently enjoyable than watching an exasperated Pete Campbell blow up – given the frequency with which it happens on the show, Weiner clearly agrees – and over the years, Vincent Kartheiser has been able to elevate Pete’s outbursts into a genuine art form (see: “Not great, Bob!”). His move to LA has resulted in a mellower ad man, but for vintage Pete, it doesn’t get much better than Season 2, when Pete explodes at Trudy using some of the strongest language he can muster, before sending a roast chicken flying. The series would take another season before it turned into the pop culture juggernaut it is today, but thanks to Pete and “Hell’s bells, Trudy!,” the show landed its first truly meme-worthy catchphrase.

Season 5: “Zou Bisou Bisou”

After being off the air for 17 months after Season 4 wrapped up, Weiner wanted to bring the show back in a big, intentionally showy way for the Season 5 premiere. And we’d say he definitely succeeded. Because while Megan’s mesmerizing rendition of Gillian Hills’ 1960 hit may have mortified her new husband, it also practically broke the Internet after it aired – and the French single was still trending for weeks afterwards. Or in other words, Harry Crane wasn’t the only one who was a big fan of Jessica Paré’s “Zou Bisou Bisou” performance.

Season 4: Miss Blankenship’s Grand Finale

Don’s gone through a fair number of secretaries over the show’s six and a half seasons, but with her cranky retorts and total lack of professional decorum, the crotchety Miss Blankenship was a fan favorite until the end. And while her death came far too soon, at least Randee Heller’s veteran assistant was given a fitting send-off by Weiner and the writers; according to Roger, she died the way she lived: “surrounded by people she answered phones for.” But not before inspiring her own Facebook page and Twitter parody account, ensuring that even though Miss Blankenship had gone to that great secretarial pool in the sky, her memory would live on forever.

Check out her ignominious death over at AMC.

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