It’s overwhelming how much ground Mad Men has covered over its run, transforming Don Draper from “a tortured soul thriving in an industry devoted to psychological manipulation” to… “a tortured soul thriving in an industry devoted to psychological manipulation, but with a brunette wife.” Mysteriously, it’s a hell of an arc.
Thinking of this show’s gorgeous history, it’s only right we count up the most killer, fabulous characters ever to spruce up the ’60s with good looks, charm, and stark unhappiness. Here are the 10 most fabulous characters in Mad Men history.
10. Jimmy Barrett
When we met Jimmy Barrett, we learned he was a cocky TV comedian and a terrible, blatant misogynist. He hit on Betty a bit, establishing himself as a bastard with Rod Serling‘s eyebrows. But soon, after Don began an affair with Jimmy’s tragic-in-her-own-miserable-way wife Bobbi, Jimmy did something that few do on Mad Men: call out Don on his awful, awful behavior. “You don’t screw another man’s wife,” he bellowed at Don, adding, “You’re garbage and you know it.” He’s a flawed character, but Jimmy’s Rat Pack-worthy confidence did turn out one kickass moment.
9. Joyce Ramsay
Joyce may never have garnered a significant storyline, but no matter: She was a swingin’, sneerin’ lesbian who showed Peggy how to have a good time, even in the midst of a blackout. Her suits were a little ridiculous, but her bohemian savoir-faire was a much-needed respite from the white-collar bleakness of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
8. Megan Draper
Don and his soap star wife seem to be pulling away from each other at an increasing rate, but Megan Draper will always be superfab for three reasons: 1) her gorgeous Barbara Feldon flair, which often veers into Genevieve Bujold-in-Anne of the Thousand Days territory; 2) the bizarre spectacle (and superfly dress!) of her “Zou Bisou Bisou” performance; 3) that time she basically threw a tantrum about orange sherbet.
7. Michael Ginsberg
Sweaty, underdressed, neurotic, and sexy as hell, Michael Ginsberg is the wisecracking mensch of seasons five and six. As the new copywriter at the firm, he may seem a bit brusque at first, but he’s got a conscience and intelligence that define his true character. He’s the opposite of Don: guileless (despite himself) and unconcerned with appearances. Wish he’d ditch the slickster, car salesmen neckwear though.
6. Trudy Campbell
For years, Trudy Campbell was a glowing portrait of the perfect wife. Even her voice, in its mayonnaise-lite smoothness and comfort, felt like home. But since Pete’s unhappiness has become a longterm storyline, Trudy’s voice has grown, toughened, and utterly decimated Peter on certain occasions (like last week’s episode when Trudy found out about Pete’s affair and said, “I’m drawing a 50 mile radius around this house and if you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you.” I used to hate the way Alison Brie played the character as a two-dimensional apple-pie-serving hostess, but now I realize she was saving her sweetest moments for now.