Waldorf Stories

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"Waldorf Stories"
Mad Men episode
Mad Men - Waldorf Stories - Young Joan and Roger.jpg
"Waldorf Stories" features flashback sequences to the 1950s, and further expands on the past affair between a young Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery).
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 6
Directed byScott Hornbacher
Written byBrett Johnson
Matthew Weiner
Original air dateAugust 29, 2010
Running time48 minutes
Episode chronology
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Mad Men (season 4)
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"Waldorf Stories" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the American television drama series Mad Men, and the 45th overall episode of the series. It was written by Brett Johnson and series creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner, and directed by Scott Hornbacher. The episode originally aired on the AMC channel in the United States on August 29, 2010. This was the same evening that Mad Men received the award for Outstanding Drama Series at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards.[1]


It is now April, 1965. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) wins a CLIO Award for television advertising, but the celebration is cut short when the team has to return to the office for a meeting with clients from Life cereal. Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) is upset that Don has not acknowledged her contribution to the award-winning ad. Intoxicated and empowered by the win, Don responds to the client's desire for an accessible slogan by bouncing several spontaneous, mediocre ideas off his potential clients. The clients like one slogan, which Don has inadvertently stolen from Danny Siegel (Danny Strong), a dim-witted applicant for a job at the firm and Roger's wife's cousin. After returning to the celebration, Don loses an entire weekend to debauchery. He leaves the party with a brunette jingle-writer (who also won an award), only to awaken two days later in bed with a blonde waitress whom he has no recollection of. To his dismay, the waitress refers to him as Dick.

Peggy is having problems working with the new art director Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson). As they spend a weekend together working in a hotel room (where Don admonished them to stay until they came up with an ad, by Monday), she finds a way to counter Stan's accusations that she is uptight. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), meanwhile, is not pleased that Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) is trying to hire Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) to join the firm.

On Sunday, an angry Betty Francis (January Jones) telephones and awakens Don; he has forgotten to pick up his children, thus ruining Betty and Henry's plans to attend an important brunch event. Until then, Don did not even realize it was Sunday. Peggy visits Don to advise him the slogan he successfully pitched to Life was Danny's, and to insist that he make it right. On Monday, Don enters his office and is surprised to see Danny is waiting for him. Don attempts to buy the slogan, but Danny refuses the offer of money, insisting he wants a job. Don gives in to the younger man's demands, not bothering to hide his disgust, as he is unable to otherwise correct his mistake.

Lane explains the firm's need for Ken to help increase sales (as Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is a "child" and Pete cannot shoulder all the rainmaking responsibility himself), apologizes for not previously telling him of the firm's plans to rehire Pete's old rival Ken Cosgrove (without first consulting him, much less keeping him in the loop), and invites Pete to a lunch meeting with Ken. Pete, instead, insists Ken first meet with him, privately. At the meeting, Pete agrees to accept Ken, on the condition that Ken accepts and pays due respect to Campbell's rank in SCDP. Ken agrees, and the two then convivially discuss Ken's wedding plans.

In flashbacks, Roger (who is writing a memoir), remembers how he met Don as a fur salesman in 1953. During that time, Roger was involved with Joan Holloway, for whom he sought to buy a fur coat. When Don learns the older man works in advertising, he tries to include his resume and portfolio in the box containing the coat, but Roger throws them out. Later, while heading to work, he runs into Don, who is hounding him for a job at Sterling Cooper. Despite trying to blow him off, Roger agrees to go out with him for drinks. The next day, Don shows up in the lobby and claims Roger hired him after saying "Welcome aboard." As they enter the elevator, a puzzled Roger has no memory of what really happened, but Don smiles to himself, having successfully hustled his way into Sterling Cooper.


On its original American broadcast on August 29, 2010, on AMC, the episode was viewed by 2.04 million people.[2]

The episode received very positive reviews from most critics. John Swansburg, reviewing the episode for Slate, appreciated the episode as an opportunity to "explore in greater detail a series of related questions" the season had presented so far. This included the relation between the old, experienced employees at the firm and the younger, more ambitious ones. He also highlighted the scene where Peggy chastises Don for his misappropriation of the slogan, as an example of how reduced Don has become as a man.[1] Walter Dellinger of The Wall Street Journal wondered whether Weiner had "lost control of this show", with Don's dramatic emotional swings. He did, however, enjoy Peggy's redeeming herself by humiliating Stan, after initially feeling under-appreciated at the firm.[3] TIME's James Poniewozik gave the episode a generally good review, praising the "small details in the flashback scenes". On the other hand, he did find some of the "lighter elements", such as the challenging secretary Mrs. Blankenship, somewhat out of place in the show.[4]


  1. ^ a b Swansburg, John (August 30, 2010). "Mad Men Week 6: When Roger met Don". Slate. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  2. ^ August 31, 2010. "Sunday Cable Ratings: More Records for True Blood + The Glades, Rubicon, Mad Men & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  3. ^ Dellinger, Walter (August 30, 2010). "'Mad Men': A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 6)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  4. ^ Poniewozik, James (August 30, 2010). "Mad Men Watch: I'd Like to Thank the Academy". Time. Retrieved August 31, 2010.

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