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Mad Men Season 1 Quotes

Updated on April 7, 2020

Like a good cocktail, every episode of Mad Men (2007) has the right mixture of ingredients including great drama, moments of humour, multi-layered storytelling and satisfying character development. The writing is always superb, and mixed with the look of the show, makes the 60s feel authentic as well as like a distant fantasy of a re-imagined past.

Whether it's through Don's reflections on life, love and advertising, Roger's quick quips and witty one-liners (and essentially anything else he has ever said), Pete's indignation and enduring entitlement, Peggy's earnestness and journey to success, or Joan's wisdom and sass, the men and women in the world of 60s advertising always have something interesting and memorable to say.

This article attempts to cover all the memorable quotes from Season 1 of Mad Men.

Quotes from the other seasons can be found below.

Mad Men Poster
Mad Men Poster | Source

"When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him" - Don Draper

Season 1

S01E01 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Ken Cosgrove: "You gotta let them know what kind of guy you are, then they'll know what kind of girl to be."

Pete Campbell: [To his new wife] "Of course, I love you. I’m giving up my life to be with you, aren’t I?"

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

Joan Holloway: [About the typewriter] "It looks complicated, but the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use."

Salvatore Romano: "Should we drink before the meeting or after? Or both?"

Dr. Greta Guttman: "What Freud called 'the death wish' is as powerful a drive as those for sexual reproduction and physical sustenance."
Don Draper: "Freud you say, what agency is he with?"

Don Draper: "The issue here isn't, why should people smoke, it's why should people smoke Lucky Strike?"

Rachel Menken: [To Don] "You were expecting me to be a man. My father was too."

Don Draper: [To Pete] "Let's take it a little slower. I don't want to wake up pregnant."

Don Draper: "Fear stimulates my imagination."

Don Draper: "This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal."

Don Draper: "Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing is OK. You are OK."

Don Draper: [About love] "The reason you haven't felt it is because it doesn't exist. What you call "love" was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons."

Don Draper: "You're born alone and you die alone, and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I'm living like there's no tomorrow, because there isn't one."

Rachel Menken: "I don't think I realised it until this moment, but it must be hard being a man, too."

Don Draper in "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
Don Draper in "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" | Source

S01E02 Ladies Room

Roger Sterling: "An ad man who doesn't like to talk about himself? I think I may cry."

Betty Draper: [After dinner with the Sterlings] "I loved seeing you like that."
Don Draper: "Well, you were sitting on my good side."

Don Draper: [About the Nixon campaign] "Why chase a girl that doesn't want to get caught?"

Ken Cosgrove: "So Pegs, you part of our nation's military-industrial-girlfriend-boyfriend complex."

Don Draper: "We should be asking ourselves, what do women want?"
Salvatore Romano: "I don't know but I wish I had it."

Don Draper: "Let me ask you something: what do women want?"
Roger Sterling: "Who cares?"

Roger Sterling: "I think it behooves any man to toss all female troubles into the hands of a stranger."

Roger Sterling: [About women] "You know what they want? Everything. Especially if the other girls have it. Trust me, psychiatry is just this year's candy-pink stove. It's just more happiness"

Don Draper: "I can't decide... if you have everything... or nothing."
Midge Daniels: "I live in the moment. Nothing 'is' everything."

Peggy Olson: "Why is it that every time a man takes you out to lunch around here, you’re the dessert?"

Don Draper: "What do women want?"
Midge Daniels: "Well, one of the things has to be not being asked something like that."

Don Draper: "What do women want? You know better than to ask."

Don Draper: "What do women want? Any excuse to get closer."

Joan Holloway in "Ladies Room"
Joan Holloway in "Ladies Room" | Source

S01E03 Marriage of Figaro

Peggy Olson: "They paid an oriental family to be in Mr. Campbell's office."
Don Draper: "Someone will finally be working in there."

Roger Sterling: "I want the Chinamen out of the building by lunch."

Roger Sterling: "I'll tell you what brilliance in advertising is: 99 cents. Somebody thought of that."

Rachel Menken: "It's hard to get caught in a lie."
Don Draper: "Well, it wasn't a lie. It was ineptitude with insufficient cover."

Harry Crane: "Draper? Who knows anything about that guy. No one's ever lifted that rock. He could be Batman for all we know."

Rachel Menken & Don Draper in "Marriage of Figaro"
Rachel Menken & Don Draper in "Marriage of Figaro" | Source

S01E04 New Amsterdam

Don Draper: "I bet daily friendship with that bottle attracts more people to advertising than any salary you could dream of."

Roger Sterling: "You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink, because it's what men do."

Don Draper: "Sterling Cooper has more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich."

Don Draper: "Listen Pete. I need you to go get a cardboard box, and put your things in it. Okay?"

Bert Cooper: "There's a Pete Campbell at every agency out here."
Don Draper: "Well, let's get one of the other ones."

Roger Sterling: "Maybe every generation thinks the next one is the end of it all. Bet there are people in the Bible walking around, complaining about kids today."

Pete's view of Manhattan in "New Amsterdam"
Pete's view of Manhattan in "New Amsterdam" | Source

S01E05 5G

Don Draper [To Adam]: "I have a life. And it only goes in one direction. Forward."

Don Draper [To Adam]: "You thought I was dead. Just go back to thinking that."

Betty Draper: [To Peggy about Don] "You probably know more about him than I do."

Betty Draper: "I really expect the royal treatment when I go to Don's office and I seldom get it. It's like walking into another country where I don't speak the language."

Roger Sterling: "I'm glad everybody can make it sound like they're working so hard."

Don Draper & Adam Whitman in "5G"
Don Draper & Adam Whitman in "5G" | Source

S01E06 Babylon

Freddy Rumsen: "I'll be honest, I don't speak moron. Do either of you speak moron?"

Peggy Olson: "I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box."

Don Draper: "People want to be told what to do so badly, that they'll listen to anyone."

Roger Sterling: "The one's with the best product make the worst clients."

Roger Sterling: "Look, we’ve got Oysters Rockefeller, Beef Wellington, Napoleons. We leave this lunch alone, it’ll take over Europe."

Bert Cooper: "Stop smoking so much. It's a sign of weakness. You know how Hitler got Neville Chamberlain to give him everything at Munich. He held the conference at an old palace that forbids smoking. And after an hour and a half of not smoking, Neville Chamberlain would have given Hitler his mother as a dance partner."

Don Draper: [After being asked what he does for a living] "I blow up bridges."

Roy Hazelitt: [About being in advertising] "How do you sleep at night?"
Don Draper: "On a bed made of money."

Peggy Olson in "Babylon"
Peggy Olson in "Babylon" | Source

S01E07 Red in the Face

Roger Sterling: "Reservations at home. I've had those. Easiest ones to break."

Pete Campbell: "You ever been hunting, Peggy?"

Don Draper: "Let's say we go to a commercial break, brought to you by more liquor."

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

Roger Sterling: "I like redheads. Their mouths are like a drop of strawberry jam in a glass of milk."

Roger Sterling: [About women] "At some point they lose that. That glow of pure youth. It's like they hit 30 and somebody puts out a light."

Roger Sterling: [Talking about making a pass at Betty] "I guess what I'm saying is, at some point, we've all parked in the wrong garage."

Don Draper: "Drinking milk... I never liked it. I hate cows."

Roger is invited to dinner in "Red in the Face"
Roger is invited to dinner in "Red in the Face" | Source

S01E08 The Hobo Code

Pete Campbell: "Peggy, do you know how hard it is to see you walking around here every day?"

Don Draper: "You're a non-believer. Why should we waste time on kabuki?"

Don Draper: "Listen, I'm not here to tell you about Jesus. You already know about Jesus. Either he lives in your heart or he doesn't. Every woman wants choices. But in the end none wants to be one of a hundred in a box. She's unique. She makes the choices and she's chosen him. She wants to tell the world, He's mine. He belongs to me, not you. She marks her man with her lips. He is her possession. You've given every girl that wears your lipstick the gift of total ownership."

Abigail Whitman: "My mum always said that life is like a horseshoe. It's fat in the middle, open on both ends and hard all the way through."

Don Draper: "Every day I make pictures where people appear to be in love. I know what it looks like."

Roy Hazelitt: "Love is bourgeois."

Judd: [About advertising] "Toothpaste doesn't solve anything. Dakron sure as hell won't bring back those ten dead kids in Biloxi."

Judd: "I wipe my ass with the Wall Street Journal."

Roy Hazelitt: "You make the lie. You invent want. You're for them, not us."

Don Draper: "Well, I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent."

Hobo in "The Hobo Code"
Hobo in "The Hobo Code" | Source

S01E09 Shoot

Peggy Olson: "I know what men think of you: That you're looking for a husband, and you're fun. And not in that order."
Joan Holloway: "Peggy, this isn't China. There's no money in virginity."

Roger Sterling: "You hear Pan Am, you imagine London, holed up at the Dorchester with three stewardesses. The truth is it's more like a twenty-hour boomerang flight so you can make a coupon sing in Spanish."

Roger Sterling: "I've worked with a lot of men like you, and if you had to choose a place to die, it would be in the middle of a pitch."

Betty takes aim in "Shoot"
Betty takes aim in "Shoot" | Source

S01E10 Long Weekend

Roger Sterling: "The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them."

Roger Sterling: "Remember Don. When God closes a door, he opens a dress."

Roger Sterling: "You know, Mona had a dream once where I hit the dog with the car. She was mad at me all day, and I never hit the dog. We don't even have a dog."

Roger Sterling: "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."

Roger entertains the twins in "Long Weekend"
Roger entertains the twins in "Long Weekend" | Source

S01E11 Indian Summer

Roger Sterling: [To Joan] "Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me. And I hope you understand that 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 that I got to roam those hillsides."

Roger Sterling: "I feel like I should make a speech: Get back to work."

Roger Sterling: [Back at work] "I shall be both dog and pony."

Don Draper: "Peggy, just think about it deeply. Then forget it. And an idea will jump up in your face."

A creative meeting in "Indian Summer"
A creative meeting in "Indian Summer" | Source

S01E12 Nixon vs. Kennedy

Don Draper: [To Pete] "When you threaten someone in this manner, you should be aware of the fact that if your information is powerful enough to make them do what you want, what else can it make them do?"

Peggy Olson: “I don’t understand. I try to do my job. I follow the rules. And people hate me. Innocent people get hurt, and, and other people, people who are not good, get to walk around doing whatever they want. It’s not fair.”

Don Draper: [To Pete] "You haven't thought this through."

Pete Campbell: [To Don] "Is this some sort of thing like in the movies where I have a gun and you don't think I'm gonna shoot you? I will shoot you."

Pete Campbell: "Why can't you give me what I want? I've earned this job, I deserve it.
Don Draper: "Why, because your parents are rich? Because you went to prep school and have a five dollar haircut? You've been given everything. You've never worked for anything in your life."

Bert Cooper: [To Pete about Don's past] "Mr. Campbell, Who cares?"

Bert Cooper: "The Japanese have a saying, 'A man is whatever room he is in.' And right now, Donald Draper is in this room."

Bert Cooper: "One never knows how loyalty is born."

Woman on train: "You got your whole life ahead of you. Forget that boy in the box."

Don Draper vs. Pete Campbell in "Nixon vs. Kennedy"
Don Draper vs. Pete Campbell in "Nixon vs. Kennedy" | Source

S01E13 The Wheel

Betty Draper: [About Carlton cheating on Francine] "How could someone do that to the person that they love, that they have children with? Doesn't this all mean anything?
Don Draper: "Who knows why people do what they do."

Don Draper: "Well, technology is a glittering lure. But there's the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job, I was in-house at a fur company, with this old pro copywriter. Greek, named Teddy. And Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is "new". Creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of... calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond with the product: nostalgia. It's delicate... but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means, "the pain from an old wound". It's a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship. It's a time machine. It goes backwards... forwards... It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the Wheel. It's called the Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around, and back home again... to a place where we know we are loved."

Joan Holloway: [To Peggy] "I said congratulations didn't I? Although, sometimes when people get what they want, they realise how limited their goals were."

Best episode of Season 1?

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    • charliecrews38 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @Joel Diffendarfer thanks for visiting, there's so much wisdom and wit in the show, i love the writing, looking forward to the final episodes

    • Joel Diffendarfer profile image

      Joel Diffendarfer 

      5 years ago from Jonesville

      This is great! I know it took a lot of work to put together. Love the show and this format brings back some memorible moments. I think 'Mad Men' is a great historical reference and beautifully illustrates the culture and transformation of the era. Thanks!


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