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Mad Men Character Quotes

Updated on August 17, 2014
Mad Men Characters
Mad Men Characters | Source

Mad Men is a superbly written show and all the characters are given great dialogue, monologues and quotable lines about life, love, society and advertising.

This article covers some of the many memorable quotes from season 2 through 6.

Quotes from season 1 and 7 can be found above to the right.

Don Draper thinking
Don Draper thinking | Source

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Don Draper

"I have been watching my life. It’s right there. I keep scratching at it, trying to get into it. I can’t." (S02E12)

"If you don't like what is being said, change the conversation." (S03E02)

"Now that I can finally understand you, I am less impressed with what you have to say." (S03E09)

"The truth is people may see things differently, but they don’t really want to." (S03E10)

"I want to work. I want to build something of my own." (S03E13)

"Well, gentlemen, you were wondering what a creative agency looks like? There you have it. Hope you enjoyed looking in the window." (S04E01)

[To Peggy] "It's your job. I give you money, you give me ideas." (S04E07)

(Peggy: "You never say thank you.") "That's what the money is for!" (S04E07)

"When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he'll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he'll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. And then he'll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn't perfect. We're flawed, because we want so much more. We're ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had." (S04E08)

"You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself." (S04E08)

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it - because we want them to be who we want them to be." (S04E08)

"They say as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem." (S04E08)

"I'd have my secretary do it, but she's dead." (S04E09)

"Why I'm quitting tobacco. Recently my advertising agency ended a long relationship with Lucky Strike cigarettes, and I'm relieved. For over 25 years we devoted ourselves to peddling a product for which good work is irrelevant, because people can't stop themselves from buying it. A product that never improves, that causes illness, and makes people unhappy. But there was money in it. A lot of money. In fact, our entire business depended on it. We knew it wasn't good for us, but we couldn't stop. And then, when Lucky Strike moved their business elsewhere, I realized, here was my chance to be someone who could sleep at night, because I know what I'm selling doesn't kill my customers. So as of today, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will no longer take tobacco accounts. We know it's going to be hard. If you're interested in cigarette work, here's a list of agencies that do it well: BBDO, Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson, Cutler Gleason & Chaough, and Benton & Bowles. As for us, we welcome all other business because we're certain that our best work is still ahead of us." (S04E12)

"Sometimes we don’t get to choose where our talents lie." (S05E08)

"He doesn't know what he wants, but he's wanting." (S05E10)

"I know you’re all feeling the darkness here today. But there’s no reason to give in. No matter what you’ve heard, this process will not take years. In my heart, I know we cannot be defeated, because there is an answer that will open the door. There is a way around this system. This is a test of our patience and commitment. One great idea can win someone over." (S06E08)

"Why is sex the definition of being close to someone." (S06E09)

Roger Sterling drinking
Roger Sterling drinking | Source

Roger Sterling

"Not to get too deep before the cocktail hour, but do I need to remind you of the finite nature of life?" (S02E07)

"It's a mistake to be conspicuously happy. Some people don't like it." (S03E03)

(Paul Kinsey: “He might lose his foot.”) "Right when he got it in the door." (S03E06)

[To Don] "What do you think Accounts does, besides limit your brilliance?" (S03E09)

"Well, it's official. Friday, December 13, 1963: Four guys shot their own legs off." (S03E13)

"My father used to say this is the greatest job in the world except for one thing: the clients." (S04E02)

"I told him to be himself. That was pretty mean I guess." (S04E06)

"Dammit, I don't want to die in this office … If it looks like I'm going, open a window. I'd rather flatten the top of a cab." (S04E09)

"She died like she lived. Surrounded by the people she answered phones for." (S04E09)

"Well, I've got to go learn a bunch of people's names before I fire them." (S04E12)

[To Don] "Somebody used your name to end our business in the newspaper. It's not you is it?" (S04E12)

[About Don's meeting with the American Cancer Society] "Did you get cancer? (S04E13)

"As a wise man once said, the only thing worse than not getting what you want is someone else getting it." (S05E01)

"Is it just me or is the lobby full of Negros?" (S05E02)

"She's a great girl. They're all great girls. At least until they want something." (S05E02)

"Who knows why people in history did good things? For all we know, Jesus was trying to get the loaves and fishes account." (S05E07)

"Jane wanted a baby but I thought, “Why do that to somebody?” (S05E08)

[About Hawaii] "Hello, Don Ho. You have a blue drink in the white sand? Ernest Borgnine chase you down the alleyway with a switchblade?" (S06E01)

[To a psychiatrist] "I'm just acknowledging that life, unlike this analysis, will eventually end, and someone else will get the bill." (S06E01)

"What are the events in life? It's like, you see a door. The first time you come to it, you say, 'Oh, what’s on the other side of the door?' Then you open a few doors and then you say, 'I think I want to go over a bridge this time. I’m tired of doors.' Finally you go through one of these things, and you come out the other side, and you realize that’s all there are: doors! And windows and bridges and gates. And they all open the same way. And they all close behind you. Look, life is supposed to be a path, and you go along, and these things happen to you, and they’re supposed to change your direction, but it turns out that’s not true. Turns out the experiences are nothing. They’re just some pennies you pick up off the floor, stick in your pocket, and you’re just going in a straight line to you-know-where." (S06E01)

[About Don vomiting] "He was just saying what everybody else was thinking." (S06E02)

"Are you tripping? I've done it five times. So if you're trying to see through me, just know that I am this handsome and this rich." (S06E11)

[About his trip to California] "It was a series of busts, and not the kind I like." (S06E11)

"Well, you know what they say about Detroit. It’s all fun and games till they shoot you in the face." (S06E13)

(Bob Benson: I assure you I'm not involved with Joan. We're just buddies.) “Joan's known for having a lot of buddies. They go fishing together.” (S06E13)

Peggy Olson smiling
Peggy Olson smiling | Source

Peggy Olson

"Well, one day you’re there and then all of a sudden there’s less of you. And you wonder where that part went, if it’s living somewhere outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize, it’s just gone." (S02E13)

"I'm Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana." (S03E03)

[To Don] "I look at you and I think, 'I want what he has'. You have everything. And so much of it." (S03E05)

[Answering the phone] "Pizza House!" (S05E08)

"Am I the only one who can work and drink at the same time?" (S05E09)

Joan Holloway smoking
Joan Holloway smoking | Source

Joan Holloway/Harris

[To Peggy] "You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl." (S02E06)

"But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawn mower." (S03E06)

[To Roger] "You've crossed the border from lubricated to morose. Good night." (S04E06)

"I'm not a solution to your problem. I'm another problem." (S04E11)

"Men don’t take the time to end things. They ignore you until you insist on a declaration of hate." (S05E07)

Pete Campbell laughing
Pete Campbell laughing | Source

Pete Campbell

[About not wanting to adopt a baby] "Hell's bells, Trudy! That's final!" (S02E12)

"This is ridiculous. If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan." (S02E13)

[After the JFK assassination] "The whole country's drinking!" (S03E12)

[To Don about the New York Times ad] "You did what was best for you. Because you're impatient and childish." (S04E12)

[To Don] "As usual, you have acted impulsively and harmed the company irreparably!" (S06E06)

"My mother can go to hell! I'll have Ted Chaough fly her there!" (S06E07)

(Bob Benson: "How are you?") "Not great, Bob" (S06E13)

Honourable Mentions

"What? I’ve got nothing interesting to say because I’m not on drugs?" (Michael Ginsberg)

"The drunker you are, the funnier I become. ABC did research." (Jimmy Barrett)

[About Miss Blankenship] "She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the thirty-seventh floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut." (Bert Cooper)

[To Don about Megan] "That poor girl. She doesn’t know that loving you is the worst way to get to you." (Betty Draper/Francis)

[To Don] "I love the way you look at me when you're like this. But then I watch it decay. I can only hold your attention so long." (Betty Draper/Francis)

[To Don about Megan] "I hope she knows you only like the beginnings of things." (Faye Miller)

Favourite Mad Men character?

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