“Mad Men” concluded this past weekend with a worthy send-off, one in which land-speed records, meditation and classic Coca-Cola ads were all involved. As we’ll never get to see our favorite ad men (and women) throw a couple back during work again, we’ve hand-picked the AMC hit’s most intoxicated moments throughout its seven seasons. So grab those fancy, wide glasses and poor one out for Burt Cooper, just for old time’s sake.
Runner-up: Don’s Revenge in “Red in the Face” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Don invites Roger back to dinner with the Drapers after he complains of the lack of home-cooked meals in his life. After dinner, Roger starts getting a little too frisky with Betty. This creates a fight between Don and Betty, after Don accuses Betty of leading Roger on. Roger apologizes the next day, saying “a man gets to a point in his life when his name’s on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement.” Don, however, gets the last laugh when Roger vomits in front of Richard Nixon’s brain trust, having just climbed 23 flights of stairs with the elevator broken after a boozy lunch.
Roger rarely loses his coolness throughout the show, but when he is vulnerable, you can’t help but enjoy it a bit.
5. Meet … the Mets! in “The Monolith” (S7, E4)
As Don is allowed back at SDCP after the partners asked him to take a leave of absence, Peggy gives him an assignment. Don tries to win back his colleague’s respect by pitching a new client to Burt, who won’t hear any of it. Don grabs bottle of vodka and starts doing what he does best. He calls Freddy Rumsen, who shows up for one of Don’s more humorous scenes: His drunken singalong to the Mets song after he finds Lane Pryce’s old New York pennant (a more haunting reminder of the character’s demise). Fortunately, Freddy, who knows a thing about embarrassing himself at the office, escorts Don back home. After a pep talk, we see Don show up at the office ready to put in some work with his swagger back. What is it about a non-miserable Don that gives people hope?
4. Office Bonding in “Nixon vs. Kennedy” (S1, E12)
After the partners head home on election night 1960, many of the younger faces at Sterling Cooper pull an all-nighter, during which a few debauched antics are committed. Ken hikes up a secretary’s skirt while yelling who had correct bets on the color of her undergarments, while Harry Crane cheats on his wife for the first time. Although this episode heavily involves our supporting cast, it’s still serves as a reminder of the type of office we were dealing with. One in which Peggy Olsen has to walk into work and find vomit in her trashcan.
3. The Real Meaning of Life in “Waldorf Stories” (S4, E6)
Following his receiving a prestigious Clio Award for his work, Don drunkenly stumbles into a pitch meeting for Life cereal. Don attempts to speak with a big dose of drunken confidence, but it’s obvious what he’s been doing with his afternoon. As Don speaks, some of the most cringe-worthy moments on the show occur, including his suggesting the awful tagline “Enjoy the rest of your Life … cereal.” It all falls flat, and we get to see that Don Draper isn’t as immortal as he, or we, thought he was.
2. Don and Duck Duke It Out in “The Suitcase” (S4, E7)
The showdown we all had been waiting for finally happened in this episode, and it’s funny to think that it happened in what is considered one, if not the best, episode of “Mad Men.” Don starts downing drinks since he knows the news of his fake wife Anna’s death will be brought to him soon. Duck, having recently ended a relationship with Peggy, wishes to defecate in Don’s office. Mistakenly, he attempts to do the deed in Roger’s office, but Peggy finds him and informs him of his mistake. As she tries to walk him out, they run into Don, and before we know it, Duck has Don calling uncle. Although Duck may have not gotten what he deserved, the skirmish serves as small comedic relief in a serious episode and was made much better with the boozing of its participants.
1. Freddy’s Accident in “Six Month Leave” (S2, E9)
This is one of those lists that you hope you’re not No. 1. For poor Freddy Rumsen, his little accident has him in the “Mad Men” Drunkest Hall of Fame. Freddy’s career in advertising is put on hold when Peggy finds him with wet pants before a client pitch. Management knows they can’t keep him on board after a stunt like this and take him out on a final send off. Although this may mark the end of Freddy’s employment at Sterling Cooper, his absence allows Peggy Olson to be promoted. There’s also the happy ending: The next time we see Freddy, he’s clean and sober and helped to get Don Draper back on track. You fall down just to pull yourself up. You go Freddy Rumsen!
Reflecting on the drunkest moments of “Mad Men” reminds me of how long of a befuddled journey we were able to witness. If there’s anything I learned, it’s that there will always be a place in my heart for Don Draper’s drunk smile.
Now I feel much better.
E.J. Spangler is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.