40 of Don Draper’s Best Lines


In just two days we can wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite television ad executive, Don Draper — or at least the talented actor that plays AMC’s handsome boozer, Jon Hamm. While we wait to catch up with Mad Men during season five, which premieres on March 25, we thought we’d host a little party to celebrate the passing of Hamm’s 40th year. We imagine that the dapper Don would celebrate his own birthday by nursing an Old Fashioned in the wee hours of the morning, but instead of joining him we’re content to let the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partner have all the fun. (He still has a lot of suburban malaise to work through.) Instead, we’re taking a look at 40 of Don Draper’s best lines from the television series — quotes that impart a special brand of wisdom that only the deeply flawed and utterly charming bastard can deliver. Read on to relive your favorite Don Draper quips, and tell us which ones we missed in the comments below.

“Maybe I’m not as comfortable being powerless as you are.” Season one, New Amsterdam

“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Season four, The Summer Man

“I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I’ve already been.” Season three, Out of Town

“Change is neither good or bad, it simply is.” Season three, Love Among the Ruins

“People were buying cigarettes before Freud was born.” Season one, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“Is this a substance much like bullshit?” Season four, The Suitcase

“I blow up bridges.” Season one, Babylon

“I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie, there is no system, the universe is indifferent.” Season one, The Hobo Code

“What you call love was invented by guys like me … to sell nylons.” Season one, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“I can’t decide … if you have everything … or nothing.” Season one, Ladies Room

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Season three, Love Among the Ruins

“Why is this empty?” Season four, The Rejected (about his empty bottle of booze)

“I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.” Season one, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“You don’t cover for me. You manage people’s expectations.” Season two, The Benefactor

“It wasn’t a lie, it was ineptitude with insufficient cover.” Season one, Marriage of Figaro

“Sterling Cooper has more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich.” Season one, New Amsterdam

“Is that what you want, or is that what people expect of you?” Season four, The Good News

“Let’s take it a little slower. I don’t want to wake up pregnant.” Season one, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“Why does everybody need to talk about everything?” Season four, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

“You’ll realize in your private life that at a certain point seduction is over and force is actually being requested.” Season one, The Hobo Code

“It’s your life. You don’t know how long it’s gonna last, but you know it doesn’t end well. You’ve gotta move forward … as soon as you can figure out what that means.” Season two, Six Month Leave

“There will be fat years, and there will be lean years, but it is going to rain.” Season three, Out of Town

“We’re flawed because we want so much more. We’re ruined because we get these things and wish for what he had.” Season four, The Summer Man

“I’m glad that this is an environment where you feel free to fail.” Season four, The Suitcase

“This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” Season two, New Girl

“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.” Season four, The Summer Man

“People want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone.” Season one, Babylon

“I eat a lot of apples.” Season three, For Those Who Think Young

“You are the product. You feeling something. That’s what sells. Not them. Not sex. They can’t do what we do, and they hate us for it.” Season two, For Those Who Think Young

“You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.” Season four, The Summer Man

“We’re gonna sit at our desks typing while the walls fall down around us. Because we’re the least important, most important thing there is.” Season four, Blowing Smoke

“I would have my secretary do it, but she’s dead.” Season four, The Beautiful Girls

“Every day I tried not to think about what would happen if this happened.” Season four, Chinese Wall

“That is a roach. Let’s go someplace darker.” Season four, The Suitcase

“I don’t hate Christmas, I just hate this Christmas.” Season four, Christmas Comes But Once a Year

” … Nostalgia: it’s delicate, but potent … In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards … it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels — around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.” Season one, The Wheel

“I’m late, but you’re not. Good work so far.” Season four, The Suitcase

“Mourning is just extended self-pity.” Season one, Babylon

“I’ll probably fall asleep on you.” Season four, Chinese Wall

“Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.” Season one, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes