Mad Men, Season 5

The Hidden Depths of Stan Rizzo
Talking television.
May 15 2012 10:56 AM

Mad Men, Season 5


The hidden depths of Stan Rizzo.

Stan Rizzo, the barrel-chested art director

Photograph courtesy AMC.

John, I think you’re right about the rapport between Sally and Megan. Sally sees her young stepmom as an ally, someone who buys her go-go boots and takes her to balls and sees her as a budding grown-up rather than a bratty child. That’s why she was so peeved that Megan was keeping secrets from her.

Julia Turner Julia Turner

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

Speaking of secrets, how much do we think Jane Sterling knows about Roger’s relationship with Joan? Before she acquiesced to the apartment-dinner date swap, she pouted to Roger: “Why don’t you ask Joanie? She’s a professional something.” Perhaps Jane was just channeling the office scuttlebutt she picked up in her few months at the old Sterling Cooper. Or perhaps she has an inkling that more has transpired. We haven’t really seen Joan and Roger interact since the disintegration of their marriages.

Though to be fair, we haven’t seen much of Joan at all. She’s been lurking around the edges, giving Peggy romantic advice and shoring up Don’s ego and generally taking care of things. Much more present has been Stan Rizzo, the barrel-chested art director whose affable wit now carbonates most of the scenes at the office. The show rarely presents us with glimpses of Stan’s inner life (all we’ve learned this season is that he has a cousin in the Navy). A few commenters around the internet have complained that his “Ozymandias” joke was unlikely. (When a Snoball-drunk Ginsberg gloats “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair,” Rizzo retorts, “You should really read the rest of that poem, you boob.”) But Stan contains multitudes; why shouldn’t he read Shelley? As Slate commenter dylan111 noted:


Once when I was waitressing, a whole table of very educated, erudite folk were trying to think of the name of an Ayn Rand novel; it wasn't Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead ... but what was it? They were stumped. "Are you thinking of We the Living?" I asked, as I cleared the soup bowls. The looks of astonishment on their faces was both gratifying and rather insulting. My point is that we can't really know the depth of another person's knowledge on short or limited acquaintance. I personally loved Stan's retort; it was one of the highlights of the show for me. I am growing rather fond of him.

(“By the way,”—dylan111 adds—“before any of you comment, I hate Ayn Rand and used the word novel very loosely.”) 

I’m growing rather fond of Stan, too.

One last question for you, John. Did you notice Roger asked Ginsberg for an “impactful” idea for the Manishewitz folks? That sounds to me like a modern Madison Avenueism. Calling Ben Zimmer!

Gone to get bagels,




Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.