Jon Hamm’s Finest Moment

 Posted by on August 27, 2014 at 9:27 am  Actors & Crew, Awards
Aug 272014

Jon Hamm in character as Don Draper (James Minchin, Rolling Stone)

Photo credit: James Minchin, Rolling Stone

As we discussed yesterday, Jon Hamm is the Susan Lucci of the Primetime Emmys.

So here’s our topic for discussion: If there’s one Don Draper moment that is beyond compare, what do you think it is? What episode and scene would you ask an Emmy voter to sit down and watch?


  37 Responses to “Jon Hamm’s Finest Moment”

  1. “The Suitcase”
    Hands-down, the most finely acted episode of TV I have ever seen. Hamm (and Moss as well) is absolutely flawless in this episode, navigating Draper’s dark night of the soul while becoming progressively more drunk and maudlin. His breakdown after the call with Stephanie is so believable, so touching. Neither Hamm nor Moss make one wrong move in this episode– a crowning moment of the series.

    • This is the episode that I thought would win him his first Emmy. I loved “Friday Night Lights” and Kyle Chandler was great, but that was a going away party vote if there ever was one. This is why I’m hopeful that Jon will win one next year – maybe then the voters will realize it’s the last chance they have to reward him for his stellar work.

    • THIS!

    • I don’t know if anything can top “The Suitcase”, but everything after Don closes the front door and sees Betty waiting there in “The Gypsy and the Hobo” and the Hershey’s meltdown in “In Care Of” come awfully close.

      • If anything comes close to “The Suitcase” it’s “The Strategy.” Don and Peggy dancing to “My Way” is like their version of the father-daughter dance a wedding.

  2. i had to cull through a few, then narrowed it down to these top five scenes with my nomination as number one at the end, so indulge me my countdown:

    #5 the Dick Whitman/Anna Draper scene in the Moutain King “i’ve been watching my life from the outside”

    #4 from the Hobo Code: “I’m not here to tell you about Jesus” (that was my first Mad Men show and at the time i couldn’t believe there was (or had ever been) a character like Don draper on TV. I still think that, btw)

    #3 from the Wheel :”It’s not called “The Wheel,” it’s called “The Carousel.””

    #2 from the Suitcase: “that’s what the money is for!”

    and my number favorite Jon Hamm scene:
    from In Care Of (sort of the anti-Carousel): “You shouldn’t have someone like me telling that boy what a Hershey bar is. He already knows.”

    • Shut the Door, Have a Seat – Peggy’s apartment, Don’s appeal to get her to join up. Peggy says “If I don’t go, you’ll never speak to me again.” Don’s retort:

      “No, I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to hire you”

      Don and Sally in diner (en route her boarding school). Don conspiratorially says:

      “We’re not going to pay….”

      Don and Roger – cold call at Dow Chemical. Don says (something like):

      “Happiness is what you have when you want more happiness”

      “I AM the DANGER!”

      (wait, wrong show)

      ; – }

      • From your list, my favorites are the Don and Peggy scene from “Shut the Door, Have a Seat,” and the scene with Don and Sally in the diner.

        • For the 7-episode countdown, I pray that Matt and writers have given us several great Don and (our/his) girls moments.

          (There are a lot of girls – it’s almost gotta be a lineup, doesn’t it?)

          (all of us can fill in that blanks on that list)

          Don’t we always feel possessive like that?

  3. Aaaaahhhhhh, jahngahlt. …… YOU are Mad Men to me.
    Can never get enough of your comments.

    The entirety of The Summer Man, which I’m convinced is the most underrated episode by far of the series.
    The series of movements during the ‘When a man walks into a room’ dialogue, concluding with Don pouring himself that hesistant drink, with all of the weariness behind it. That was a quiet masterpiece.
    The Man (subtly), in Full.

    THE MOMENT: The Grownups. Betty has lowered the boom, Don goes into that room, hands folded, ever-diminishing in the autumn gloom backdrop. The Don is dead.
    You actually ‘see’ Jon Hamm making himself physically smaller in that scene.

    • “When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and then he woke up. If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel and dreamt of being perfect. And then he’ll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn’t perfect. We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what we had.”

    • It is VERY HARD to watch – or remember – that Betty scene. I have a similarly hard time with BB S2 – where Walt contiunously lies to Skyler – and finally she freezes him out.

      I don’t think drama will get under a man’s skin like that often. At least a married man’s.

  4. I completely agree with all of you.
    I just wish one of his Saturday Night Live Skits could be added to show his hilarious side. Did you guys see this one with Michael Bubble’?

  5. My first thought was The Suitcase, but I love all of these choices. I’ll just add a couple more that I think of as linked: In The Flood, after Bobby’s lovely moment in the movie theater with the usher (“Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.”), Don says to Megan:

    ” I don’t think I ever wanted to be the man who loves children. But from the moment they’re born, that baby comes out and you act proud and excited, hand out cigars, but you don’t feel anything. Especially if you had a difficult childhood. You want to love them but you don’t, and the fact that you’re faking that feeling makes you wonder if your own father had the same problem. Then one day they get older and you see them do something and you feel that feeling that you were pretending to have. And it feels like your heart is going to explode.”

    Beautiful. Then, at the end of A Day’s Work, after Sally says to Don “I love you,” then leaves. He sits alone in the car, and we can see his heart explode inside him, actually SEE it! How does he do that???

    Interesting that almost all of the choices we made show Don not in his moments of mastery, but at his most exposed and vulnerable.

  6. I expected there would be a lot of votes for The Suitcase, and I agree it’s pure genius. However, I keep going back to the Whitman Sampler Box, to everything between Don and Betty in The Gypsy and the Hobo. His inability to open the drawer. His sitting with Betty showing her the photos. In the morning, going to hide the photos and realizing he doesn’t have to. You see this huge realization just in body language. WHO DOES THAT?

  7. The Don/Sally scene would be much better if it was shot differently or edited differently. I’m not sure which failed it. It is awkward in the way it goes back and forth between actors because of the split-second too long edits after each line. It’s not fluid at all. You can really feel the “Don say a line. cut. space. Sally say a line. cut. space.” etc. After watching it several times, I still believe a profile shot of the entire table, and thus a real-time conversation, would have felt stronger and more natural. But I feel that way about the entire episode. A lot of it was one actor on screen at a time.

  8. I don’t remember the title of the episode. Betty calls Don at work to ask him why he didn’t warn her about a visit from the Feds. Don is INSTANLY panicked and begins to sweat, on cue. ” What did you tell them?” You can see his blood pressure going up. Same goes for when he and Dr. Fae go to his place and, upon seeing fedora’d men in the hallway, he barely represses a full blown panic attack until he gets inside. It’s like you can almost hear a kettle whistling it he background. It was so real, I found myself worrying about Hamm’s health.

  9. The Gypsy and The Hobo. Draper crumbles. JH is so freaking good at conveying the difference in personalities with the tiniest actions and movements.

    • Agreed. That guy says more with one cocked eyebrow than most actors can with their whole being.

    • – So many good moments, but yes, him and Betty at the desk, and him crumbling as he realizes she knows about Dick Whitman is just brilliance. The hand going down, his energy just falling out of him when he realizes she knows his secret. There have been so many amazing moments by all of the actors on there, but my Lord, that moment is just galvanizing to watch the depth in that performance. I have a feeling even if he never wins an Emmy, Jon will go down as one of the most well respected actors on the strength of work like that.

  10. Gosh, there are so many. A few of my favorites:

    “Hands and Knees” – When Don and Dr. Faye come back to the apartment and see the G-Men in the hall. Don goes into his unit, rips off his shirt, and throws up.

    “Time Zones” – At the very end when Don slumps on his patio, all alone and broken.

    “Red in the Face” – The last scene, where a smug Don saunters toward the camera, leaving a defeated Roger behind.

  11. The very end of season 6 when he takes his kids to the house he grew up in. I burst out crying. I can’t really explain why.

  12. Of course–“That’s what the money is for.” (Suitcase)

    But also: “Let’s pretend that I’m not responsible for every good thing that has ever happened to you and give me a number.” “There is no number.” (When Peggy gives notice.) I can not watch this without tears, no matter how many times I see it.)

    “I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you.” (Shut the door)

    “You’ll be amazed at how much this didn’t happen.” (Don to Peggy in the hospital after the birth of her baby)

    Dancing to My Way with Peggy in the Strategy.

    The heart and soul of the show has always been Don and Peggy and that’s why the “My Way dance” was so magical and why everything was so out of whack when they were separated and why the Burger Chef presentation was so wonderful and the whole episode leading up to it with him giving her the chance and doing what would be best for her, not himself. That’s the definition of love. That is why even Megan had to go to Peggy to find out who to invite to the surprise party (because Peggy knows him better) and why Peggy knew he would hate having a surprise party.
    Don tells Peggy that Megan reminds him of her when they announce they are getting married.
    Who does Don call when he gets into a car accident with Bobby Barret? The one person he can full trust. When Anna dies and Peggy asks who died he said “the only person who truly knew me.” Peggy says “That’s not true.”
    This has always been a love story. I never thought it until I rewatched the whole series this summer and saw it all a whole.
    Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally” about two platonic friends who after about ten or more years realize that they love each other. This show could be called “When Don Met Peggy.” In fact the very first show is when they meet as Peggy’s first day of work. I never thought it before and I was of the mind that it was a brother/sister relationship and “no way” anything romantic. The more I rewatched the more I saw it. Of course I’m probably completely wrong and Matt Weiner will have a much better ending. This has just been a “theory” for the last few months.
    Anyway, back to the topic: Walter White was also amazing but 5 emmys and Don Draper Zero???!!! That’s as insane as my Don/Peggy prediction!

    • I disliked Bobbie Barrett but then again, most of Don’s mistresses were not that likeable. That would be a great topic for a blog: Who was your favorite among all the women Don had extramarital relations with and why? Or if not “favorite,” then least offensive.

      • Lovely Suzanne.
        Shoulda married her.

        Rachel doesn’t count. She was the one, much too perfect to DD. In every way.

        • Tilden,
          You crack me up!
          Suzanne was a nut job!
          Remember the night Gene was born she drunk dialed Don? He was not impressed…however the early morning jog when he picks her up was something he wanted to have happen.
          Before the MLK speech came on the radio he was listening to what sounded like a country and western song.
          Wish we knew what Don/Dick’s favorite music was…I think Dick would love the wail of old time country music from the Grand Ol’ Oprey.
          What do you think?

      • I liked Faye. Self-assured, beautiful, competent. Tried to get Don to face his past. Didn’t emerge as a nemesis after Don married Megan.

        • Faye doesn’t count because Don was divorced when he was with her. 🙂

          In terms of the qualities that make a good mistress — i.e., not wanting you to divorce your wife and marry you and a nonchalant personality — his first mistress, Midge, was best.

  13. Gosh, there are so many memorable Jon Hamm moments. I am particularly fond of a few of the scenes with a Ms Bobbie Barrett. How about the scene with Bobbie in the restaurant hallway when he insisted on getting his way? “Here’s what’s going to happen…” Oh my. And then there was the scene where he ties her up for talking about him with others. “I told you to stop talking…” And how could I forget that scene with the lovely Rachel…”I won’t do anything unless you want me to…” “Yes, please,” says Rachel.

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