Ready for a huge understatement? Things can get pretty bleak on Mad Men. Suicide, alcoholism, adultery, prostitution, divorce, you name it—it’s not exactly a laugh riot week in and week out.
But, peppered in with all the compelling drama, there are the occasional lighthearted scenes. To get ready for the sixth season premiere tonight (9 p.m. EST on AMC)—and to cheer ourselves up from the final few episodes of season five (we’ll miss you, Lane!)—we’re counting down some of the show’s funniest moments.
14. Fun with dry-cleaning bags
A lot of Mad Men’s humor in season one came from establishing its 1960 setting. Doctors smoking! Men drinking cream and eating butter to prevent heart attacks! We’re not sure, however, if Betty’s reaction to her daughter running around with a plastic bag over her head says more about the ignorance of the era or her own parenting skills.
13. Harry knocking back sliders in the car
After he and Don fail to meet up with the Rolling Stones, Harry inhales a bag of White Castle in the car. He offers Don the last one to be polite, and Don becomes aghast in that hilarious way only Don Draper can: “There were 20 in there! I thought you were bringing it home to your family!”
12. Peggy spying on Don
Most of this scene is heartbreaking, as Allison realizes Don will never acknowledge that they slept together, resigns and—after flinging a paperweight at him—runs out of the office. But the mood lightens as the dust settles, Don pours himself a drink and we see Peggy’s head slowly rise above the wall between their offices. She lingers there, snooping, for a comically long time before ducking down when he turns in her direction.
11. Pete and Trudy’s Charleston
While the dance itself is kind of amusing, what really makes this scene funny is the reaction of everyone else to it. As Pete and Trudy’s moves become more and more elaborate, it becomes clear they’ve choreographed the whole thing. Harry and Jennifer struggle to keep up before Harry finally gives up and guides his wife off the floor. Ken declares “I have got to bring a date next time.” Roger seems entertained, and though he occasionally remembers to smile while he’s performing, Pete—always desperate to impress—is serious as a heart attack, unable to stop making eye contact with his boss to see his reaction.
10. Peggy’s pizza house
After Don won’t stop calling the office looking for Megan, an exasperated Peggy adopts a weird accent and delivers this season-five gem before hanging up: “PIZZA HOUSE.”
9. “I just wanted to say happy birthday.”
We knew Bert Cooper was disconnected to his underlings, but in this case, he commits a gaffe so bad he might as well have popped into the conference room, farted and left. He sees everyone gathered there for Harry’s baby shower, and—despite obvious visual clues like Harry wearing a baby bonnet—announces “I just wanted to say happy birthday” and departs. It’s a perfectly delivered line by Robert Morse, full of good intentions and naïveté.
8. Don’s drunken Life pitch
Don’s given a lot of eloquent pitches in his day, but this one—delivered drunkenly after the Clios—begins with a handclap and “OK! Everybody ready?” Don even hilariously attempts to recycle his famous “nostalgia” Kodak pitch, only this time it comes out “how you remember something in the past but it’s a little bit painful, like when you were a kid.” He burps before summing up the visual with “little kid, big bowl, big spoon” and closing with “that’s all I have.” Boom. Sold.
7. “Surprise! There’s an airplane here to see you!”
After Joan gets served with divorce papers, she’s incredulous that the receptionist could be so inept as to let a stranger in to see her without asking what it was regarding. “Do you understand having you out here is the same as having no one?” she screams, before the dim-witted receptionist makes the mistake of saying “He said it was a surprise,” causing Joan to completely lose her cool and deliver one of the best lines of the season.
6. Lane’s steak
We rarely got to see poor old Lane Pryce unwind on Mad Men, but when we did, it was truly a sight to behold. After drinking all day with Don in season four, Lane has a little trouble keeping his steak on his plate, yelling, “I’ve got a big Texas belt buckle! Yee-ha!”
5. Roger sings “Frere Jacques”
Megan’s Zou Bisou Bisou performance is hilarious in its own right, but Roger’s impression of the whole thing at work the next day blows it out of the water.
4. “I am so high”
After smoking weed in the office for inspiration, Paul finds himself smack-dab in the middle of a sing-off with his former college buddy/current drug dealer before Peggy perfectly sums up the whole scene with one line.
3. The lawnmower incident
Now, let’s be clear: in real life, a guy getting his foot mangled by a lawnmower would be no laughing matter. But on Mad Men, it’s just unexpected and slapstick-y enough to be comical, especially when you factor in the hospital scene where lines like “The doctor said he’ll never golf again” are delivered completely deadpan.
2. Roger Sterling’s many one-liners
It’s impossible to whittle everything Roger’s said on Mad Men down to a favorite line; Sterling’s Gold alone warrants its own list. Instead, check out a supercut of some of his best moments, or click below to watch one of our favorites (“What is Regina?”) from last season.
1. Everything Miss Blankenship ever did
Season four was especially dark, as Don had to deal with the aftermath of his divorce and the loss of Anna, turned to the bottle and hit rock bottom. Thankfully, that beautiful ray of sunshine Miss Blankenship was there to lighten the mood. Whether she was asking Don if he was going to the toilet, having problems with the buzzer or being revealed as one of Roger’s former conquests, she brought some much-needed comic relief to the show. Even in death, she remained funny, as Pete struggled to wheel her past a room full of clients and Harry lamented the use of his blanket as a temporary funeral shroud.