What Your Favorite Mad Men Character Says About You

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We all love Mad Men. (Don’t debate with me, Game of Thrones people, there can only be one Best Show Ever, and it clearly takes place at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.) There is at least one character for each of us that attains the perfect combination of despicable, self-loathing, sexually deviant, and cruelly witty to make our hearts melt. “It’s me,” we think, “if I lived in 60’s Manhattan and had limitless access to workplace booze and bored housewife panties.” But what does your favorite character actually say about you — the real you, living in boring old 2012? Let’s find out.

Don Draper

First and foremost, you look good. Or, at least, you want to look good. You probably read a decent amount of GQ, Magnificent Bastard, and The Sartorialist, even if you don’t always follow their rules to the letter. Because Don Draper is no longer a person — even on the show, really — and is more a cultural statement, or a collective wish for society to return to the days when men cared only about themselves and the cut of their suit jacket, you’re probably not the nicest guy in your group. If you idolize DD, there is a good chance it’s not just his nice Cadillac and spacious loft you’re lusting after. You probably wouldn’t mind stepping back in time before your significant other could metaphorically chain a cell phone to your ankle and follow you around electronically at any and all times. “Where are you?” “Why did you get home so late?” “Who was that girl?” are probably not music to your ears. You are trying to bring back the fedora, though, and that is an uphill battle if I’ve ever seen one. You fight the Good Fight, guys, and take it back from the awkward nerds at prom.

Peggy Olson

Oh, girl. You keep working, you keep that nose to the grindstone, and you chip away at that patriarchy with The Chisel of the Working Woman. We believe in you. If I had to guess, people who idolize Peggy are likely to be the permanently exasperated girl in the office or in class. She is (rightfully) convinced that she’s far more competent than any of the dolts surrounding her, but as she is neither in possession of a) a penis or b) the capacity to tell people to go f-ck themselves, she’s going to be stuck climbing that ladder the unsexy, slow way. But she’s going to be the girl you go to in moments of crisis, because she’s the only one who legitimately takes notes when the professor is rambling on and everyone else is cruising Facebook, or she’s actually stayed on top of the big project and has copies of all the important emails no one bothered to read. We need you, Peggy people, don’t let your lack of a promotion convince you otherwise.

Joan Harris

Perhaps the polar opposite of Peggy people, you are likely the kind of person who isn’t afraid to use your charms to get you what you want. There are two kinds of positions usually taken on Joan and those like her:

  1. How dare that floozy sleep with married men and climb the corporate ladder by being a self-important jerk to the rest of the women in the office, she is horrible.
  2. She climbs the corporate ladder by being the best of the best, not taking sh-t from anyone, putting secretaries in their places, and knowing how to play by the Men’s Rules. Her boning married men is just a side effect of her awesome IDGAF attitude.

If you’re a part of the second group, you’re probably sweet as hell at parties. Let’s be honest, if a character like Joan is the one you would look up to out of this bunch, you know how to work a room and make everyone simultaneously fear you and want to please you at all costs. People become masochists for your hypnotic, whip-sharp abuse. And if you think it’s more than a little awesome that she has no problem going through men the way men go through women in her world, you can probably hold your liquor like a champ. Just a hunch.

Roger Sterling

You are an enormous ass hat in every way.

Pete Cambell

The perpetual goodie-goodie, you know what it means to put in the hard work but be just 3 percent too much of a push over to actually reap the full benefits. You’re kind of an underdog, but you do what it takes to climb the ranks and make people notice you. Perhaps you spent a few years being kind of a toad and trying to manipulate your way to the top, but let’s be honest, you’re not nearly clever or evil-hearted to make that work. It’s probably for the best if you just do 90 percent serious, thoughtful work, and just a sprinkling of conniving and cold-blooded manipulation on top. Also, if you dig his style, you probably don’t like leaving the house unless the insignia on your blazer matches the color of your Sperrys, as your khakis are rolled up just enough to really show them off. You’re a fierce proponent of sweaters tied loosely around the neck, and any and everything mallard-themed. There is no such a thing as too many mallards.

Megan Draper

You’re too cool for these people, man, they don’t even know. You represent all that is new and exciting about your generation, and all that is therefore terrifying to the old guard that simultaneously fears and wants to bang you. A party kid who is “hip” and “gets it,” and who today would likely be super social-media savvy and really aware of all the new music coming out of the underground jazz scene in Berlin. You’re super good-looking, though, so no one cares how irritating or irrelevant you are. You go, Megan lover! Enjoy that youth!

Trudy Campbell

You realize that a traditional housewife can be just as sharp, thoughtful, and competitive as her executive husband. You believe in the adage “Behind every great man is an even greater woman,” and you appreciate the little high-fives/hugs the couple gives each other as they scheme to succeed. You’re a blend of the old and the new, and don’t mind that sometimes ladies have to go through a frumptastic house-coat phase to get back into the swing of things after having a kid.

Betty Francis

Do people who idolize Betty Draper even exist anymore? I mean, I’m all for women who want to stay home to raise her children, but you’d have to pretty much prefer all of the most negative qualities associated with housewives to pick Betty out of the bunch. If she’s your favorite in a legitimate, “I identify with her” kind of way, yikes. You’re probably not too invested in who exactly your spouse is, what they do, or anything about them, as long as they provide you with a big-ass house in which you shuffle around eating Bugles. You like taking out your own insecurities and regrets on your awesome daughter who manages to be totally sweet in spite of you, and are about the most catty person in the neighborhood, which is impressive considering you’re surrounded with nothing but racist, gold-digging housewives like yourself. You’re basically a living doll who spent so much time married to a heartless cad that whatever trace amounts of self-awareness or personality weren’t erased by your overbearing mother were wiped out in the first 15 years of adulthood. You’re probably a good host, though. I would attend the hell out of your dinner parties.

Bertram Cooper

Socks and pudding! What are all these whippersnappers doing in your office? (Also, all real Bert fans should do themselves an enormous service and youtube “I Believe In You” from the film version of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and enjoy the majesty. Robert Morse is a golden god.)

Lane Pryce

You foppish, flustered, dapper son of a bitch! You just embody all the charmingly befuddled British mannerisms, manage to make adultery endearing, and do a huge amount of work but would never be rude enough to make people acknowledge that. You work the hell out of a tweed three-piece suit and, though there is a huge amount of stuffy propriety about you, are capable of forming a sweet relationship with people like Joan. Maybe they embody all of the things you wish you could be, or maybe once were, but either way — you find yourself drawn to the “bad” lifestyle that you’re just too much of a lady/gentleman to actually pursue. At the end of the day, you’re just a relatively good person living in a bad time, in a bad environment, and in a virtual black hole of moral responsibility or ethics. But you stay strong, things usually work out for people like you in the end.

Ken Cosgrove

Your favorite character is awesome, and we don’t see nearly enough of him. Aside from being married to Alex Mack (!), you are just the genuinely good-natured, funny, likable, successful guy that more or less everyone enjoys being around. You’re appealing and charming in a completely un-forced way, and you have the most endearingly earnest side-projects and hobbies. You are terrifying to people like Pete because you represent all of the easy success and happiness that comes with being just a natural people-person. You’ll only have to do half the work of people like Pete or Peggy and get twice as far, because you come across as the guy everyone wants to hang out with and trust. You are awesome, could we have a beer together or something? If you’re not busy.

Harry Crane

I don’t want to accuse you of anything, but you are kind of a hugely unlikeable sycophant. Okay, no, that’s mean. You’re actually a relatively nice person deep down, I think, and probably start with something resembling good intentions, but you’re just so eager to please and fit in at every turn that you end up turning into an egotistical monster by taking the worst qualities of everyone around you and making them your own. Someone gives you a little power, a title, an office, and you becoming a name-dropping, misogynistic, resentful slime ball who clearly hates his family life and basically walks around the office massaging the jewels of anyone slightly more important than you. You’re kind of the cautionary tale of what Pete people could turn into if they didn’t have even the smallest moral compass or a desire to achieve through honest, hard work.

Stan Rizzo

You adorable, overgrown frat boy, you. Don’t ever change. Also, keep being sweetly kind and brotherly towards people like Peggy, they need people like you.

Henry Francis

What are you even doing amongst the rest of these people? You seem kind of misplaced in an environment like this, and clearly do not come from the same planet as all of the incompetent, philandering people you find yourself around. You are a deeply good person who truly loves your spouse even through difficult moments, treats everyone in your life with respect and love, and accepts responsibilities like a god damned adult — something that can’t be said for most of the people around you. All you have to do is cut the cord a little bit from your evil, terrifying, overbearing mom, and you’ll be golden.

Abe Drexler

You work for a lot of underground papers, other people have probably never heard of them. I mean, you’re just pretty aware of what’s going on right now, and you’re pretty sure the squares all around you are comfortable in their warm cocoons of privilege and salaried positions, not that you’re judging them or anything. It’s just that, yeah, there’s so much crazy sh-t going on right now, and it’s really a shame that people aren’t more aware of it. But you know, the sheeple aren’t really expected to “get it,” you can’t just unplug them from the Matrix that quickly. Whatever, man, you just gotta keep putting the good word out there, eventually people will listen. You’re probably late for a protest right now. We can’t let The Man win!

Sally Draper

You are awesome, despite the massive, massive toolbags you have for parents. We believe in you. TC mark

images – AMC
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WQXSSKAMOU4WCHKCWYMUKKKNU Aladin Sane

    Who the fuck actually has Trudy Campbell as a favorite character. Is that even real?

    • Anonymous

      How dare you say something like that about Alison Brie. Were you raised by wolves?

      • Zara

        What does Alison Brie have to do with that comment? I’m pretty sure that its not offensive to an actor if you dislike a character they play on a TV show. We all love Alison Brie, that’s a given, but Trudy is really not enough of a major character to be thought of as a favorite. Especially when she’s part of a such a large cast of more interesting characters.

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    Those pictures are legit.

    ..and the Roger Sterling bit was hilarious.

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      Love that Roger is the only one that gets a prop in the pictures.

  • Nobody

    These are just descriptions of the characters. I don’t think these are accurate reasons as to why audience members prefer specific characters. 

    • Guestropod

      it’s true though, I am an enormous ass hat

  • Maybeemily

    This was the article I needed to read today, let me tell you.

  • Michaelwg

    “Don’t debate with me, Game of Thrones people”
    There’s no debate. It’s far superior. Not only that,  but an HBO writer shooting off a drunk-text at 3:00 a.m would have better material.
    Rome, Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death, I mean…there is just an endless list of shows under the heading: “Better than Mad Men” That you propelled this crap show past everything else up into the Game of Thrones realm is actually kind of funny. I love me some hour long drama, but this show is wretched.

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      I like Mad Men better because, unlike Game of Thrones, I can tell which characters are banging/plotting against each other at any given time. 

  • Melissa

    Um, Michael Ginsberg?!

  • Trey Laramore

    Interesting to me how other people perceive these characters so differently. I like reading your Mad Men article each week because your viewpoint is just so far from how I see the show, yet always so well thought out (for the most part)…

  • _____

    Hahaha Roger Sterling. Hell yeah.

  • Stu

    haha i love this article. my three faves are don, roger and ken. on point on all three. 

  • Ali

    Better than Game of Thrones? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s funny.

    No, I’m sorry, GoT wins everything.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/engleprunt engleprunt

    What about Sal? I’m not even gay and he’s probably my favorite. Ken is up there too.

    • Anonymous

      They really need to bring Sal back. There should be a viral campaign by fans on a mass scale!

  • Anonymous

    Fuck I love Peggy. Bitches get shit done.

  • Guest

     CHELSEA! bring us the recap! it’s hilarious, and though it, get to relive the show.

    also, roger sterling is kind of awesome – he is such a dick! and doesn’t care! he made a speech about how he doesn’t love his wife!

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    I only like Pete because I wish to do him.

  • Oliver Miller

    • Guest


  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.laguirre Laura Frances Aguirre

    Cool, but this is basically just a description of the character. 

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux


  • Stan

    if I ever go to Hell (which I probably most definitely will) I hope Roger Sterling is Satan.

    man I bet Hell is awesome.

  • A-W

    I like a character, therefore I must relate to them?  Favorite characters are often favorite because they are in direct contrast to a viewer’s personality.  Or they are fucking hilarious.

    i.e  April or Ron Swanson


    No Glen? In case you missed it, Glen has the kind of weird background and disposition that make him the highly-sought-after guitar player in a proto-punk a decade later. You’re all missing out.

  • Bawoman

    Stan and Trudy are my faves.How can I be a housewife AND a frat boy?

  • Guest

    What if your favorite character is not who you most relate to, but who you are inexplicably attracted to even though they look like a cross between Pee-wee Herman and Steve Buscemi…

    • http://twitter.com/laurahtfraser Laura Fraser

      this one’s going to bother me…

  • Anomnomnonymous

    That awkward moment when you scroll straight to Betty and Harry…

  • http://twitter.com/Dr_Straker Derek Straker

    Am I the only one who thought these photos (save Abe Drexler) were awesome?! I’m about to collect them all and make a bad-ass wallpaper!

  • Anonymous

    Hm! I would have never described Pete as a goodie two shoes………yellow-bellied and conniving more like. also brown-nosing. and a dick to his poor saint of a wife.

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