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Cool and Clever American Mad Men and Women

Updated on August 27, 2012

Mad Men caught my eye at first when I heard that Mad Men was the new endeavor for Mathew Weiner, the producer of The Sopranos. As a fan of the excellent writing and production of The Sopranos, I was interested in Mathew Weiner's new creation.  I was hooked after the first episode. It captured my interest and I've been a rabid fan ever since. Unraveling the mystery of this era in the history of the United States has helped me understand myself as the product of the cultural changes that occurred during this time.

Created by Emmy and Golden Globe winning producer Matthew Weiner, Mad Men has an outstanding cast, including Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Robert Morse and Kiernan Shipka.

I have been guilty of romanticizing the American era of the 1950s and 1960s. Akin to the glory days of the Roman or the British Empires, the strength and power of American society was at it's peak. The generation coming out of the horror of World War II relished in the glory of freedom and aphrodisiac of life. But, underneath the facade of American success engineered by the creative genius that was the advertising world on Madison Avenue in the island of Manhattan in the 1960s lived the post-traumatic stress of war-veterans, depression-era veterans, and the unrelenting pressure of living the American dream. And boy did they live the dream. Sure, it was complicated and messy. The mess of life, love, sex, death and cruelty were styled in the most elegant facades.

The Man Behind Mad Men

Devilishly Dashing Don Draper

Don Draper

Don Draper was the Creative Director at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency, where his ad campaigns and client relations earned him a partnership. He's now a Founding Partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

The Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency is a petri-dish of scrambling ambition. The roles of men and women in this era are explored both in the boardroom, in the secretary pool, the bedroom and the living-room. The facade that was 1960s traditional values is examined with subtle success. Don exudes sex-appeal in the boardroom and the bedroom. His conquests, however, are deeply rooted in his search for meaning.

The character of Don Draper is the glue that holds this series together. Don is the hottest ad-man in the business. He is intuitive and creative. Always trying to stay one step ahead of the rapid cultural changes in the United States at the time, he successfully taps into the psyche of the American consumer. Deeply troubled by his past, he exemplifies the rags to riches success story of the time. Becoming a "someone" out of a past filled with abuse, deceit, dishonesty and poverty is the quintessential story of the American dream. To live an upper-middle class lifestyle with a beautiful wife, children, and lovely suburban dream-home, while also climbing the ladder further upward to success on Madison Avenue, is a surrealistic dream for Don Draper, a.k.a. Dick Whitman.

The Hottest Quotes of Don Draper:

  • "Advertising is based on happiness. We make the lie, we invent want."

  • "I'm living like there's no tomorrow, because there isn't one."

  • "It wasn't a lie, it was ineptitude with insufficient cover."

  • "Mourning is just extended self-pity."

  • "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent."

  • "The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.'"

  • "Just think about it deeply, then forget it...then an idea will jump up in your face.'"

  • "You don’t cover for me. You manage people's expectations."

  • "Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened."

  • "There will be fat years and there will be lean years, but it is going to rain."

  • "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."

  • "Change isn't good or bad. It just is."

  • "Why does everybody need to talk about everything?"

  • "Peggy, I'm glad this is an environment where you feel free to fail."

  • "I should’ve finished high school. Everything could’ve been different."

  • "You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself."

  • "People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be."

  • "We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what we had."

  • "We’re gonna sit at our desks typing while the walls fall down around us. Because we’re the least important, most important thing there is."

Betty the Beautiful

Betty Draper Francis

Betty Francis is divorced from Don Draper. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a former model, Betty moved to Ossining, New York, an affluent suburb of the city, after marrying Don. Don and Betty have three children: Sally, Bobby and Gene. After divorcing Don, she marries Henry Francis, the head of public relations for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Betty's beauty reminds me of the ravishing Grace Kelly.

Betty's character has been criticized for her child-rearing. However, her character accurately portrays the common practices at the time. Children were seen and not heard. Their feelings were not allowed expression. Essentially, the wife's job was to have the house under control and to also look beautiful for their husband. The power-structure in the home was not to be questioned. If it was, then the entire structure would disintegrate. Control in the home was a sign of success by the mother and wife. Adult-time was paramount. We may find this difficult to believe in today's child-centered world. But, it was common practice in the early 1960s.

Beneath Betty's subservience rumbles an anger that is palpable. She is a college-educated woman who is spending her days as a homemaker and long-suffering wife. Only when she discovered Don's identity theft did she ask for a divorce. And this only when she had already received another marriage proposal. The repercussions of her divorce are still being examined in the series. Her cold and bitter exterior is waiting to be thawed.

Hottest Quotes from Betty:

  • "If the clothes from that dry cleaning bag are on the floor of my closet, you're going to be a very sorry young lady."

  • "Honestly, I think she's jealous of me. I've seen it before, I was in a sorority."

  • "My mother always said, 'You're painting a masterpiece, make sure to hide the brush strokes.'"

  • "As far as I’m concerned, as long as men look at me that way, I’m earning my keep."

  • "Still, I can't help but think that I'd be happy if my husband was faithful to me." "The way he makes love -- sometimes its what I want and sometimes, its obivously what someone else wants."

  • "I know people say life goes on, and it does, and no one tells you that’s not a good thing. Why is that?"

  • "Somewhere there’s a pregnant girl floating in a lake."

  • Arthur: "You're so profoundly sad." Betty: "No, it's just that my people are Nordic."

  • "I'm here all day alone with them. Out-numbered!"

  • "I would never do this to you. How could you do this to me?"

  • "Go bang your head against the wall. Only boring people are bored."

  • "What's the matter Don? Don't know where you will be in three years?"

  • "You don't kiss boys, boys kiss you."

  • "I hate this place. I hate our friends. I hate this town."

Roger Sterling's Hottest Pics

Roger Sterling

Roger Sterling is a Partner at the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency. His father founded the original Sterling Cooper in the 1920s with Bertram Cooper. He is a World War II verteran and has suffered two heart attacks. He has tried to change his ways, but continues to smoke, drink, and live the good life. Divorced, he married his much-younger secretary. He continues to have an on-again, off-again affair with Joan Holloway. He is witty, charming, handsome and disarming.

Coolest Quotes from Roger Sterling:

  • "Look, we've got oysters rockefeller! Beef Wellington! Napoleons! We leave this lunch alone, it'll take over Europe."

  • "I guess what I'm saying is at some point we've all parked in the wrong garage."

  • "When a man gets to a point in his life when his name's on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement."

  • "You know what my father used to say? 'Being with a client is like being in a marriage. Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons, and eventually they hit you in the face.'"

  • "When God closes a door, he opens a dress."

  • "I shall be both dog and pony."

  • "Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me, and I hope you understand it comes from the bottom of my damaged, damaged heart: you are the finest piece of ass I ever had, and I don't care who knows it. I am so glad I got to roam those hillsides."

  • "Can I just fire everyone?"

  • "Don't you love the chase? Sometimes it doesn't work out; those are the stakes. But when it does work out, it's like having that first cigarette: your head gets all dizzy, your heart pounds, your knees go weak. Remember that? Old business is just old business."

  • "I'll tell you the same thing I told my daughter: if you put a penny in a jar every time you make love in the first year of marriage, and then you take a penny out of the jar every time you make love in the second year, you know what you have? A jar full of pennies."

  • "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?"

  • "It's easy adjusting to happiness."

  • "This is the office and that’s life, and this is good and that’s life."

  • "Have a drink. It'll make me look younger."

  • "They won’t know it’s over until you drop the big one. Twice."

  • "Since when is forgiveness a better quality than loyalty?"

  • "Garcon! Je m’appelle Rojaire. Je suis un taxi, s’il vous plait!"

  • "We can solve this problem with a flask."

  • "I’m going to go to my favorite restaurant and have a glass of cyanide, or you could join me."

  • "I could tell I was rubbing you the wrong way so I thought, why not have someone rub you the right way?"

  • "I've got to go learn a bunch of people's names before I fire them."

Red Hot Joanie

Joan Holloway Harris

Joan Harris is the Office Manager at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency. Joan held a similar position at the original Sterling Cooper, where for a brief period she also worked as a script reader with Harry Crane in the TV Department.

She gained recognition for her contributions, but a new male employee was hired when a full-time position opened up. She was given a promotion in management, but still wrestles with getting respected by the male-dominated office structure. As a woman who used her sexuality to intimidate men, she is challenged by the new role that women have in the workplace.

Wise and Witty Quotes from Joanie:

  • "Go home, take a paper bag, cut some eyeholes out of it. Put it over your head, get undressed and look at yourself in the mirror. Really evaluate where your strengths and weaknesses are. And be honest."

  • "He may act like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they're looking for something between a mother and a waitress."

  • "This is why I don’t allow crying in the break room. It erodes morale. There’s a place to do that, like you’re apartment."

  • "Your decolletage is distracting."

  • "What on God's green earth are you doing here?"

  • "Stop dressing like a little girl."

  • "Fun-loving girl, responsible sometimes. Likes to laugh, lives to love seeks size six for city living and general galavanting. No dull moments or dull men tolerated."

  • "When you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what you forgot, don't call me."

  • "That's life. One minute, you're on top of the world. The next, some secretary is running over your foot with a lawn motor."

  • "I thought American men were bad enough, but none of them has ever so consistently made me feel like a helpless, stupid little girl."

  • "I'm not a solution to your problems. I'm another problem."

  • "I was just made Director of Agency Operations. A title, no money of course. And if they poured champagne, it must have been while I was pushing the mailcart."

  • "Yes, honey, they're bigger."

Let Joanie Give You a "Fever"...

Mad Men on Amazon

Let me know what you think!

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    • Cailin Gallagher profile imageAUTHOR

      Cailin Gallagher 

      6 years ago from New England

      Thank you Kenneth for your gracious comments.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Cailin, I got to tell you that, THIS WAS, IN ALL SINCERITY, THE BEST HUB Ive read in weeks. Jon Hamm is perfect for the part. This show has to be an icon and not just a series for the great writing, acting, and just plain good lines like you presented. I voted up and away. With honor to you too. Kenneth Avery, from a rural town, Hamilton, in northwest Alabama that reminds people of that sweet little town, Mayberry, on the Andy Griffith Show. Peace and Highest Regards to YOU!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      i still haven't gotten to watch mad men yet...but i am aching to do so. thanks for the hub! voted up!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I still need to check out this series!

    • Cailin Gallagher profile imageAUTHOR

      Cailin Gallagher 

      8 years ago from New England

      Thanks Gracenotes! I haven't written in a while. Life just gets too busy sometimes and you have to take a break sometimes. I'm hoping to be more consistent now!

    • gracenotes profile image


      8 years ago from North Texas

      Nice to see that you are back writing again!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      Nice Hub on my favourite TV programme ( along with Sopranos and of late Boardwalk EMpire) well written - I especially like the quotes..


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