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

By Rob Payne | Lists | May 8, 2013 |

By Rob Payne | Lists | May 8, 2013 |

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.