Let’s face it – Mad Men’s return hasn’t got off to a great start.  Quite the opposite, really.  I took a quick poll around the office the day after the show’s two-hour season debut and I think I got more thumbs-downs than I did thumbs-ups.  Which was weird considering how the interwebs seemed to explode with delight at Megan’s “Zou Bisou Bisou” performance (totally thumbs-up, amirite?)

Then two lazy, rather inconsequential episodes snoozed by.  Draper dreaming about banging the girl from Twin Peaks – really?  Betty (puke) getting fat and having a tumor scare – who gives a shit?  The show was starting to look pretty fucking grim.  Not the sort of series I was looking forward to.  This was turning into a downward spiral of pointless bullshit.

But then again, each season starts with a massive amount of hype, and it’s damn near impossible for any show to live up to that type of hype.  Which means each season I go through the same roller coaster ride – I’m pumped for the show, then I feel let down, which leads me to contemplate walking away from it, and before you know it, I’ve gobbled up another season.

Part of the reason I stick with the show is because it is so entirely self-indulgent for me.  I work in advertising.  With TV being completely overrun by cop shows and/or medical dramas, I like having one show that puts a spotlight on what I do for a living and what I love doing.  Not that Mad Men has any real sense of accurate representation of what I do on a daily basis.  It doesn’t really dive too deeply into the advertising side.  Like any good series on TV, it’s a show about flawed people behaving badly and making poor decisions.  This one just happens to use an agency as its canvas.

But self-indulgence aside, the true magnet of the show for me is the one character who is persistently under-appreciated in favor of Dapper Don.  Everyone – EVERYONE – loves Draper.  They love Jon Hamm.  Most people can’t pull the two apart.  They love Draper, they love his hair, his big arms, his chest fur, his swagger, his gaze, everything.  Fuck that.  Sure, he’s become the quintessential anti-hero in today’s TV, but four seasons in, we’re left with a hollow shell of what Draper used to be, and frankly, I’m tired of his shit.  I can hear the objections to this allegation already.  “He’s so dreamy” is no basis to worship a character on TV – that were the case, Draper’s become the Maroon 5 of Mad Men.

I’d be perfectly fine if Draper was written off the show.  Honestly, I would.

(from: LostInMyOwnAtmosphere)

Instead, I think most people are missing out on the genius of ROGER STERLING.  That guy fucking MAKES the show.  Sure, my fandom may have a generous slice of vicarious living involved, given that Sterling is an account guy and all, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he is easily one of the two best characters on TV today (the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey is the other, duh – and no sooner had I written that had I discovered that the Huffington Post drew a deserving comparison between the two).

Don’t get me wrong: Sterling is every bit as fucked up as everyone else on that show.  His sense of entitlement – having inherited the original Sterling Cooper from his father – matched with his brazen cockiness make for many, many cringetastic moments.  He’s put blackface on, had a heart attack, fathered Joan’s baby (we guess), wrote a memoir, married then quickly grew tired of his secretary, the list goes on and on.  And then there’s his dreading of age and irrelevance.

But as much as Sterling’s adventures are brilliant, his electric tongue is what makes him pure fucking gold.  Face it, Sterling’s lines are among the best on TV.  In last week’s episode, Signal 30, the absolute highlight of what was easily the best episode of Mad Men in ages was when Sterling advised Pryce on how to romance a client as they prepare to respond to an RFP for Jaguar.  It was mesmerizing.  The thought, the lines, the attitude, the delivery.  By the time Sterling walked out of Pryce’s office, I literally shot up and exclaimed to the missus, “ROGER STERLING IS A KILLER ACCOUNT GUY!!”  Whether or not that’s true is immaterial, Sterling’s scene was masterful.

Roger Sterling is single-handedly the most exciting personality on TV.  At the moment, he is the ONLY reason I watch Mad Men.  So if you haven’t been paying enough attention to him – and you know you haven’t  – it’s high time you became a Roger Sterling slut like me.