In my second blog of the day from a new series titled "Things I Saw on Social Media 12 hours ago" it is time to wish the great Peggy Olson a Happy 81st Birthday.
Mad Men is one of my all-time favorite shows and Peggy is on the Mount Rushmore of Mad Men with Don, Roger and Joan. In a show full of great characters, Peggy's growth with the changes of the 60's may be one of the most important and memorable.
During her 81 years (and counting) on this planet Peggy was responsible for some of my personal favorite moments on Mad Men. In honor of Peggy's 81st birthday here are my Top 8.1 Favorite Peggy Olson Moments. In case you have 1/81st of a brain...SPOILER ALERT
8.1. Peggy's Walk Into McCann Erickson (Season 7, Episode 12 "Lost Horizon")
Sporting a cigarette, Ray Bans and Bert Cooper's 150 year old painting of an octopus eating some pu... Peggy shows up with some SWAG. This spot could've easily been the scene before it; when Peggy and Roger have some fun in the final hours of the old office.
8. Peggy Shows She's More Than Just a Secretary with "Basket of Kisses" (Season 1, Episode 6: "Babylon")
(what you really need to see starts 5 minutes in)
This is the first moment on Mad Men where a man at Sterling Cooper takes in interest in Peggy in a professional sense. After helping conduct the lipstick test, Peggy hands Freddy the trash and calls it his "basket of kisses". Freddy loves this line and takes an immediate interest in Peggy after realizing she came up with it herself. You can see the anger in Joan's eyes when another female is treated with respect by man at the company.
7. It Will Shock You How Much This Didn't Happen (Season 2, Episode 5: "The New Girl")
This scene is a flashback to advice Don gave Peggy when she was pregnant with Pete's baby. Earlier in the episode, Don was out with one of his mistresses and crashes his car while getting some neck play. Luckily he was at the legal limit of .15% BAC so he just has to pay a $150 fine. The problem is he only has $63 and some bus tokens. That simply will not do; not even in 1960's America. He offers to come back with $500 the next day, but the officer is not cutting Don any slack. He suggests calling one of his wife's friends and Don calls the only person he can trust in a time like this; Peggy.
His biggest concern is keeping this news a secret from his real wife. Peggy let's Don's friend (the wife of one his clients) stay at her place as she handles everything.
Late in the episode we flashback to a conversation Don and Peggy have while she's at the hospital. Peggy didn't even realize she was pregnant until she was about to pop. She was that career driven! Right as she's finally starting to gain some momentum (she's writing a little copy) this could be the end for her.
This the moment where we really see that Don has a dark past. He see's something in Peggy and doesn't treat her like everybody else. I'd argue there's a lot of moments in the show where he treats her like a man. This is one of them. This scene gives me goosebumps to this day. Don tells Peggy to do whatever the Doctors say and forget this ever happened. Move forward. This never happened. Aaannnd then Donny drops the famous "it'll shock you how much it never happened" tying this episode together like a bow in Peggy's hair pre-make over.
6. Peggy Leaves for CGC (Season 5, Episode 11: "The Other Woman")
This scene takes place in 1967, seven years after Peggy got her start as a secretary at Sterling Cooper at a party celebrating the Jaguar account. During these years Peggy has battled sexism and disrespect as she has advanced in her career. After feeling like she's never going to get the respect she deserves (despite her relationship with Don) with the blessing of her mentor, Freddy Rumsen, she tells Don she's leaving. In one of the most raw scenes from the entire series; we see a side of both Don and Peggy (but especially Don) that wasn't shown much during Mad Men. Don is actually impressed with her forthrightness, but quickly realizes this is not a negotiation. Peggy chugging her drink before breaking the news makes it all the more real. In this moment we Peggy's growth throughout the series to this point and the true vulnerability of Don underneath it all.
5. I'm Peggy Olson and I Want to Smoke Some Marijuana (Season 3, Episode 3: "My Old Kentucky Home")
This scene is so perfectly Peggy (sorry the quality is so shitty). Working OT on a Saturday with Paul Kinsey and others; she smells some reefer coming out of Paul's office. Peggy doesn't narc like other female characters on the show would. Instead she plays it cool AF AND calls out Paul for not taking her opinions outside of stereotypical female products seriously; before uttering perhaps her most memorable line of the show.
4. Peggy's Birthday (Season 4, Episode 7: "The Suitcase")
After missing her birthday dinner to stay working late with Don, Peggy stands up to him. After the fighting he treats her to a birthday dinner, showing there is a human inside of Don after all.
3. Peggy Finds Miss. Blankenship (Season 4, Episode 9: "The Beautiful Girls")
Ida Blankenship was hired for one reason and one reason only. To be a secretary that Don Draper doesn't want to sleep with. She's actually Bert Cooper's former secretary. He described her as a "hell cat". Despite her advanced age and ineptitude, Mrs. Blankenship brings a lot of laughs to the show in her brief time on it. Guess who realized she was dead and not taking a nap?? (You already know from the heading)
2. Don and Peggy's Final Phone Call (Season 7, Episode 14: "Person to Person")
Don and Peggy's final goodbye. There's so much emotion in the scene. It starts with Peggy reprimanding Don for ditching down again only to quickly realize this is not her average conversation with Don. She wants him to come home back to McCann. On the pay phone Don says he can't while admitting his deepest secrets to Peggy; saying he's not the man she thinks he is. After Peggy tells him those things aren't true, Don admits he only called because he never got to say goodbye. At this point you can tell the fear in Peggy's voice. She's worried this could be the end for Don. So overwhelmed with emotions from his reveal, Don collapses to the ground. This is some straight up full circle shit and while the romantic in me wishes Don would say he loves her like a daughter/sister; we get closure.
1. Peggy and Stan Realize They're In Love (Season 7, Episode 14 "Person to Person")
Speaking of romance!!! Peggy always put her life on hold for her career. It doesn't mean she didn't get dicked down along the way, because she certainly did, but that was the 60's baby. As the 1970's went into full swing in Season 7 there was some serious will they or won't they vibes between Peggy and Stan Rizzo. Most notably their nude brainstorming session earlier in the series.
Peggy broke down barriers on Mad Men, showing a woman can compete in the man's world and is so much more than just a home-maker...but at the end of the day, we're all human and want love. Peggy may have barked up some of the wrong trees throughout the series, but in Stan she found her better half. She deserves it more than anybody on the show. The speech on the phone turns Ole Dozo into the Mayor of Waterworks City. This whole scene is sooo Peggy. When she figures out she loves Stan and he comes in running...how does that not make you melt?
Dozo is a happy ending guy and while Mad Men did a great job wrapping things up... I'd argue that Peggy's ending was the best of them all. At 81 years old Peggy has lived quite the life. Stan is getting up there, but their 13 grandchildren keep them young at heart. Happy Birthday, Peggy.