For the past few weeks, Mad Men has been all about Roger Sterling. From his and Jane’s fateful acid trip to the amicable end of their marriage that followed to Roger’s subsequent re-evaluation of his life, Matthew Weiner is showing us yet another middle-aged man in a transition that may well build into a crisis. In the most recent episode, we saw the full range of Roger’s good and bad qualities: One minute, he was charmingly entertaining Sally Draper at her dad’s awards banquet, and the next he was inadvertently corrupting the poor kid by slipping off for some illicit sexual contact with her step-grandmother. Among other things, the moment got us thinking about TV characters we love and hate in equal measure, from the lotharios of advertising to pawns in Game of Thrones.
Roger Sterling, Mad Men
He’s slick, he’s decadent, and he’s full of pithy quips — Roger is basically a party in a three-piece suit. But, like Don Draper, he’s always hopping from wife to mistress to new wife, with little regard for the emotional wreckage he leaves behind. What makes Roger a bit more irritating is that he doesn’t even seem particularly talented at his job; as he reminded us this week, he’s never earned a single thing he’s gotten, and without the Lucky Strike account, he’s basically dead weight at the office. Then again, after spending last season dictating his self-satisfied memoirs, his experimentation with LSD seems to have woken him up to his general uselessness. Plus, he’s still so charming. Sigh.