The Greatest Monologues In TV History

Set in the mid-20th century, AMC’s “Mad Men” follows advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a magnetic character based on several real-life advertising execs. The show frequently investigates the idea of perception versus reality. Draper is a severely damaged individual, but he puts on a front to advance in his profession.

Part of what makes the show so brilliant is that it never shies away from being subtle, even if that means being opaque at times. This technique led to some of the most rewarding sequences in the history of the show. Perhaps the best example of this is the Season 1 finale “The Wheel.” Kodak is attempting to market a new method for viewing images, and Draper delivers a monologue that is clearly alluding to his personal life as much as it is the product.

“In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound,’” he says as he flicks through old pictures of his family. “It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards, takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel. It’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.”

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