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Recommended Re-Viewing: Mad Men's Tap-Dancing Ken Cosgrove Is All Of Us On The Edge

The speed-induced episode is one of the show's most brilliantly surreal moments

mad men
Esquire

Recommended Re-Viewing is a series in which we make the case for re-watching an old film or TV series which you can stream without leaving your house. It might be a plot that's so bad it's good, a scene which deserves more interrogation or a director's underrated gem.

In this instalment, Esquire's senior writer Olivia Ovenden picks her highlight from binge watching Mad Men in lockdown: a surreal tap dance number from a man on the edge.


One of the good things about being in a lockdown is that you get the chance to catch up on television which for whatever reason you missed out on the first time around. One of the bad things about this is that nobody cares once you finish said series because they saw it five years ago.

Last night I pressed play on the final episode of Mad Men, a journey which has given me something truly joyful to experience every evening of lockdown. For weeks I've gazed longingly at the highs and lows at Sterling Cooper, SCDP, SCDPCGC, SC&P and finally, begrudgingly, McCann Erickson.

mad men
AMC

I have hated Pete Campbell and then from nowhere felt sorry for him, adored Roger Sterling and then felt bad about myself for going weak-kneed for a playboy. I have stared into the mirror practising Don Draper's lightbulb moment face while muttering, "It's toasted".

OK, I haven't done that but I have definitely fantasised about being considered such a genius that you could walk into a meeting off a 12-hour bender, pull an idea from thin air and have it met with rapture. "It's toasted, guys!!" – see, not sure I can pull it off.

Of all the motel sex, double ryes and crisp white shirts, the one moment that will stay with me forever is one I have already revisited multiple times, a scene which on first seeing I laughed so much I couldn't breathe. It is, of course, the unhinged tap dance of Ken Cosgrove.

Ken's musical number comes during season six episode eight, 'The Crash', when certain members of the agency have taken speed in order to cope with the demands of new account Chevrolet. It is one of the moments where the show slips into the surreal, a holiday from reality like Bert Cooper's musical number after his death, or the dream sequence where Don murders one of his mistresses which feels worryingly plausible.

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The episode reaches its bizarre peak when Ken Cosgrove breaks out in a dance while speaking to Draper about the Chevy clients. "Oh, they like me, all right," Ken says, his feet starting to tap as though he's winding up, "I'm their favourite toy."

im电竞官网-He then delivers a sublime monologue with his voice matching his rapid-fire feet:

"It’s my job to take them to dinner at 80 miles an hour. It’s my job to stop a mile from the restaurant so they can have five pounds of crab legs and three bottles of beer apiece and then go get prime rib. It’s my job to go hunting so they can fire off their guns an inch from my ear and laugh when I get startled because it's, my, job."

im电竞官网-Ken's words end up foreshadowing what is to come as he ends up shot in the eye by the aforementioned crazed clients, leading him down a path of bitter rage that sees him wreak revenge on the agency for firing him by himself becoming a nightmare client.

This moment as a tap-dancing monkey trying to appease all the demands being made on him is the moment where he starts to lose it, a maniacal show-tune which signals Ken is on the brink.

In truth, haven't we all at some point felt like we're doing a manic tap dance trying to hold it all together? Just be grateful you're not doing so while on speed and trying to avoid being shot by Chevy.

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