AMC’s Mad Men is the greatest show on television (at least since The Wire, The Sopranos, and Seinfeld). But if ratings are any indication, many of you haven’t actually seen it. Here’s the gist: Mad Men’s anti-hero is Don Draper, a cynical Superman in a suit. He taps into the consumer’s subconscious as the ace idea guy at Sterling Cooper, a middlebrow Madison Avenue advertising agency where bespoke, Brylcreemed men drink and smoke to excess while ogling the secretaries. Now read on.
Season One, Episode 1 1960: Sexy Don sells cigs by day, beds beatnik at night, then (oops!) goes home to suburban family. Junior exec Pete beds new girl, Peggy. All photographs courtesy of AMC
Season One, Episode 3 Anti-Semitic Don fixates on exotic Jewish client; bails on his kid’s birthday, then buys her golden retriever to atone.
Season One, Episode 4 A petulant Pete takes cash from in-laws when wife wants luxe pad. Betty’s creepy kid neighbor hits on her.
Season One, Episode 5 Don pays long-lost brother to scram. (What’s he hiding?) Pete’s jealous of rival who publishes in The Atlantic Monthly.
Season One, Episode 6 Whoa! Secretary Peggy has a brain! Supervising hottie Joan not amused.
Season One, Episode 7 Don’s boss Roger hits on Betty; Don tricks him into drunken stupor; Rog vomits on client’s shoes.
Season One, Episode 8 Don not Don (real name Dick Whitman); flashback to mean dad; wants to run away with beatnik, who then dumps him.
Season One, Episode 9 A rival wants Don, so he offers former model Betty a gig; Don says no. Frustrated Betty blasts birds with BB gun.
Season One, Episode 10 Roger’s smoking, boozing, and cheating triggers heart attack; midlife crisis ensues.
Season One, Episode 11 Don’s brother kills himself; Don briefly sad. Chubbier Peggy now Don’s most promising protégée.
Season One, Episode 12 Turns out Don stole dead guy’s I.D. during Korean War; Pete finds out, tries to expose him; agency owner doesn’t care.
Season One, Episode 13 Peggy promoted”and preggers! Pete’s wife: not preggers. Betty finds out her shrink’s spying for Don, quietly panics.
Season Two, Episode 1 1962: Older Don is stressed by new guy, Duck. Joan forgets Roger, dates doctor. Where’s Peggy’s baby?
Season Two, Episode 2 Pete’s belittling dad dies. Peggy’s Catholic family is suffocating her. Agency guy dates black woman; Joan (31!) unamused.
Season Two, Episode 3 For business, Don lets himself be molested by nasty comedian-client’s sexy wife, Bobbie, then molests her right back.
Season Two, Episode 4 Betty, disappointed by Don, becomes negligent mom; asks daughter to mix cocktails. Duck’s biz deal is a dead duck.
Season Two, Episode 5 Joan engaged; Don and Bobbie have drinks, crash car; Peggy covers it up. Pete’s wife turns up baby heat.
Season Two, Episode 6 Peggy tries to be one of the guys at a strip club. Duck’s kids ditch him, he ditches family dog. Don ashamed over Bobbie.
Season Two, Episode 7 Closeted agency artist Sal flirts with male co-worker. Comedian tells Betty about Don’s affair. New girl Jane one-ups Joan.
Season Two, Episode 8 Joan tries ad work, proves herself”only to lose job to a man. Betty kicks lying, cheating Don out of house.
Season Two, Episode 9 Marilyn Monroe dies. Roger leaves wife for Jane, fires drunk writer, toasts end of an era. Don socks comedian.
Season Two, Episode 10 Don and Pete fly to L.A. to drum up work. Betty’s addled dad grabs her breast”plus, creepy kid still obsessing over her.
Season Two, Episode 11 Don has lost weekend with L.A. bohemian. Peggy gets barely noticeable makeover. Duck plots takeover.
Season Two, Episode 12 Don visits real Mrs. Draper in L.A. Firm okays Duck’s Brit merger (unbeknownst to Don). Joan raped by fiancé!
Season Two, Episode 13 Don returns to Betty, crushes Duck. Pete romances unmoved Peggy; she tells him about baby. Firm’s fate unclear.
Season Three Can Don and Betty make peace? Will Pete meet Peggy’s kid (or produce one of his own)? Will Salvatore come out? What year will it be?