The Best of Ken Cosgrove on "Mad Men"
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A Delivery System for Some Filthy Stuff: The Best of Ken Cosgrove on “Mad Men”

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | May 8, 2013 | Comments ()


In the weeks leading up to the newest season of AMC’s modest financial hit (but cultural zeitgeist machine) “Mad Men,” its sixth and penultimate, I marathon-watched the first five seasons on Netflix. Now that season six is at its halfway point, I’ve definitely found the show’s slow burn somewhat less enthralling week-to-week compared to episode-to-episode, but maybe that’s just what happens when you follow “Game of Thrones.” (Granted, this week I watched “Mad Men” first and then “GoT”; the experience was much more satisfying.) Despite that somewhat discombobulated reaction, I might actually enjoy spending time with the characters more now than in the earlier episodes, and simply because I can’t just immediately watch what happens next and therefore need to savor every moment my favorites have on screen. Sadly, this season hasn’t been great for my top three characters: Dick Whitman seems even further removed from Don Draper than ever before, Sally Draper did have one great episode but has since receded back to the shadows, and Kenny Cosgrove just seems happy to still be around, reflecting my thoughts on the matter entirely.

Oh, sure, there’s always Don acting like the Guy-in-the-Rated-R-Movie and Roger Sterling’s one-liners or pathetic attempts at intimacy with the wrong woman. Who can’t get enough of Pete Campbell’s tantrums and meltdowns or Peggy winning at life while everyone else around her flails miserably? Every scene with Joan is sure to be satisfying, on talent and aesthetics levels, and any sequence involving Betty and her new-ish family is rife with schadenfreude delights. And, at the end of a long week when you feel the desperate urge to punch someone, anyone, in the ear - there’s always Harry, just waiting for a chance to say or do the most cringe-worthy thing imaginable. But the character that makes me smile and damn glad I tuned in every single episode, even if (at most times) he only merits a scene or two, and often nary a line, is Aaron Staton as “Ken Cosgrove, Accounts.”

In my cursory research, I don’t think I’m alone in my abiding affection for this bit player at Sterling Cooper Draper Price (or, is it Sterling Cooper Draper Chaough now?), but finding any sort of decent collection of Ken Cosgrove moments is damn hard. So hard that this list won’t properly serve die hard Cosgrovites, either, but I did my best and at least found sound clips when video wasn’t available. And, hey, in the end, the biggest reason we love Kenny is all in his delivery, anyway. This week’s explanation to Pete of “mutually assured destruction” (and his aside about a teacher working his slide rule) is no exception, but, sadly, doesn’t seem to have hit the Interwebs yet. Still, it and the scenes below prove just how delightful, and irreplaceable, the least insane character on this woefully maladjusted show really is.

Fair Earbud/Headphone Warning: Clicking on images may cause autoplay. Enjoy!

He’s Ken! Cosgrove. Accounts…

He’s a real go-getter, especially with John Deere tractors…

Even when bragging about a new watch, he’s easily humbled…

And it’s possible he smells and has no basketball skillz…

But his wife was Alex Mack!

And he refuses to participate in hate…

Even when he completely doesn’t understand something…

Ken Cosgrove, accounts, is never malicious.

Finally, we can’t forget about his undoubtedly brilliant work under the pseudonym of “Ben Hargrove” Dave Algonquin:


Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He hopes the last episode of “Mad Men” reveals the new ad agency of Olson Draper Cosgrove in 2007, the year the show premiered.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • prince_of_montagu

    Anyone here played L.A. Noire for the PS3? Anyways, i appreciated the Ken Cosgroviness of Aaron in that game.

    He's pretty underrated and underused in Mad Men but i guess that it is why it's always a delight to see him.

    I don't there's a character on Mad Men that i hate or don't like seeing even though 90% of them are TERRIBLE people. I even like Betty. I was totally in Betty's corner through seasons 1-3. Season 4 onwards turned her into this complete monster but i now find her awfulness to be amusing.

  • Playing L.A. Noire just made me like Ken even more.

  • Ken is one of my favorite characters. He's one of the few characters who actually likes his life and doesn't take himself quite so seriously. I think that's because writing is his true passion and the ad work is just something that came natural to him. Love when Pete got so worked up about Ken getting the best accounts while Ken was all like "Sure, whatever, sounds great." I think Ken will be out of the ad game by the end of the series or maybe he'll just be excelling at everything with a smile like usual.

  • You're doing God's work, Rob. Love good guy Ken.

  • IngridToday

    Where's the clip from the episode they have the twins auditioning for vinyl siding or something.

    Ken tells them he grew up on a farm and one time they had two cows born fused together, even after they were apartment, they missed each other. He asked if they ever felt that way. It's such an innocent and weird way to try to pick someone up.

  • It is shockingly hard to find good Ken Cosgrove clips, this is far, far from exhaustive.

  • Melissa D

    That first video is one of my favourite quips from the show. :)

  • toblerone

    Huge +1. As per my comment on the last episode I love Ken Cosgrove / Aaron Staton. He is probably the only decent, likable and damage free (other than Peggy who definitely isn't damage free) character on the show.

  • Yea his best character trait is that he's not always wanting to reach for the stars and have it all like Don and Pete. He's happily married, good at his job, loves to write, and has family dinners with the in-laws every weekend.

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