'Mad Men' now employing your favorite old TV characters

Larisa-Oleynik-mad-menChildhood nostalgia was alive and well last night as Larisa Oleynik, star of Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack and 10 Things I Hate About You, appeared on Mad Men, in a brief yet memorable scene as Ken Cosgrove’s fiance Cynthia. Sadly, she wasn’t morphing into cool silver liquid, or explaining the differences between Sketchers and a Prada backpack, but instead happily rambling on about Trudy Campbell’s pregnancy. Fair enough, but still, you guys, this was Alex Mack on Mad Men. Didn’t it blow your pop culture minds?

Of course, if you’ve been watching carefully, you’ll know Oleynik isn’t the first recognizable star to cross paths with the employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce this season. (In fact, someone should have already created a drinking game for all of the “Where do I know this person from?” characters that appear on the show. Consider that your assignment for next week, PopWatchers.). First there was Matt Long as Joey, the unruly freelance copywriter, who you’ll recognize from the late Jack & Bobby (along with Jessica Paré, who plays Don’s new secretary Megan), then came Danny Strong (better known as Paris Geller’s boyfriend Doyle from Gilmore Girls) as clueless aspiring copywriter/Jane Sterling’s cousin Danny Siegel. And last week’s look into Lane 2.0 introduced his new girlfriend, Toni, a Playboy Club waitress who is played by Naturi Naughton, former member of the girl group 3LW. (Their moment in the spotlight may have been a brief one, but how could anyone forget this mark of lyrical genius: “You promised me Kate Spade/But that was last year, boy in the 8th grade.”)

Add these to the running list of characters over the course of Mad Men‘s four seasons, and the show might just be considered the next Law & Order: SVU. Have you been spotting all of these characters, PopWatchers? With two episodes left in season four, will Oleynik be back for Ken and Cynthia’s wedding? Which of your favorite TV characters has had the best appearance on the show to date? (Don’t forget The Nanny‘s Charles Shaughnessy as St. John Powell of the evil Putnam, Powell, and Lowe, or Colin Hanks as Father Gill!) And did anyone catch Peggy’s Life magazine friend Joyce (Zosia Mamet — yep, that would be David Mamet’s daughter) on Parenthood last week?

Read more:
Mad Men recap: Gold Mettle

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    Ken is marrying Alex Mack? Alex Mack’s dad is Leland Palmer? AWWESSSSSSOOMMEEEEEE!!!!!!

  • Glenn

    Ummm…..TV shows use actors and actresses who’ve appeared on other TV shows – This is a new revelation?

    • Brian

      Wow, Glenn, it’s so awesome how you are!

      • Mary


    • LibbyP

      I’m with Glenn. It took me several episodes of Parenthood to stop seeing Lorelai, Nate Fisher, Mrs. McClane (ok, that’s from a movie), Coach, and even the pseudo-girl-scout from Friends.

      And those are main characters, not guests.

      • LibbyP

        I think Emily is young and maybe this is the first time it has happened to her? I can’t find her bio on EW.com to confirm. If so, welcome, Emily! Best wishes for a long life full of recognizing your favorite actors in lots of different roles! This sounds snarky but I don’t mean it that way – I love seeing my old favorites again.

  • wooster182

    Danny Strong is better known as Paris’ boyfriend?!?! What kind of pop culture junkie are you purporting yourself to be! He’s Jonathan from Buffy! He’s been on Buffy since S1 when the Mummy girl was about to suck the energy out of him at the Halloween costume party at the Bronze. Phew. That is all.

    • Jackie

      Actually, “Inca Mummy Girl” was season two, but you’re right – when I think of Danny Strong, I think “Buffy” before “Gilmore Girls” (although he was excellent on “GG”).

    • exactly

      Exactly my first thought when I saw him. How anyone can thing about “GG” before “BTVS” is beyond me! :)

    • Lois

      I think Danny Strong was in the pilot of BtVS. He’ll always be Jonathan to me.

  • RK

    Did someone get bored at work and hit up IMDB?

  • DT

    Granted, this is not a teeny-bopper thing, but how could you forget Ray Wise, a.k.a. Leland Palmer from TWIN PEAKS, as her dad?

    • jcarla

      When I saw Ray Wise I said “Ken, you’re going to have the devil as your father-in-law’!

      • Dede

        Reaper was the best. I miss Sock and the Devil.

    • tracy bluth

      SERIOUSLY!!!! Let’s hope we don’t find out he is actually possessed by an evil spirit named Bob…Cynthia doesn’t have a cousin named Maddie, does she????

      • therebelprince

        Have to just chime in and agree: Alex Mack is small-time compared to Leland Freaking Palmer!

  • Katy

    Actually, there are those of us who remember Danny Strong as Jonathon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    • Julius

      I know right?? I saw him at a bar a few weeks ago, & the first thing I thought was… IT’S FREAKIN JONATHAN

  • Alice

    My personal favourite: Betty’s friend Francine was ‘Cutthroat B***’ on ‘House’.

    Also, the infamous ‘Guy’ from ‘Guy Walks into and Advertising Agency’ played Sir Thomas Wyatt on ‘The Tudors’. His character fared better there as he was one of the few male characters to survive Season 2 with head intact.

  • Julius

    Aaaaaand also, how Pete Campbell is REALLY Angel’s whiny son in…. “Angel.” Prick.

    • erin

      And Christina Hendricks was Yo Saf Bridge from Firefly.

      • Richard

        Ah <3 ! C'est mieux Melekchou! Je t'aime de tout mon coeur aussi <3 Et tout les dessin ils sont trop ge9niaux lala (Frane7ois, waw quel boasgesue de beau pe8re, serieux.)

  • Trixie

    In that scene with Ken and his fiancee, I definitely thought, “Alex Mack and Leland Palmer, together in the same room–WEIRD.”

  • Melanie

    And let’s not forget that the mom in the abortion clinic last week was also in 10 Things I Hate About You.

    • lefty

      Yep! Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t recognize Alex Mack..I’m so ashamed. I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the episode.

    • Mary

      Yes! I remembered her bad acting from from Center Stage. “I am the BEST go*damn dancer at the American Ballet Academy WHO the HELL are YOU!:

      • Diana

        That’s where she was from! I was like, oh my god where do I know her from :)

      • Dede

        My husband was watching Mad Men at lunch today and the first thing he said is “Isn’t that the chick with beer flavored nipples?” I told him “yeah” and appreciated the 10 Things I Hate About You reference.

  • Mole

    Isn’t Betty’s friend from season 1 the Progressive Auto Insurance girl?

    Also, Jimmy Barrett in season 2 was played by Patrick “I was on every show in the 2008 TV season” Fischler.

    • Viv

      The Progressive lady was a switchboard operator. Betty’s friend was Amber on House/Alby’s awesome wife on Big Love. And Betty’s nemesis (Glen’s mom) was on Jericho.

    • Gorbery

      Bien entendu, il y a ne9cessairement un peu de since9rite9 des deux cf4te9s de la table, faute de quoi rien ne maihrecart. Mais l’essentiel est calcul, me9diocre, comme tout ce que touche ce pouvoir. Une association comme la Ligue Roc, pour cause de bonne conduite, a de9sormais toutes ses entre9es dans les ministe8res, et jusqu’e0 l’c9lyse9e. Pensez ! Quel tableau de chasse ! La Ligue Roc e0 fond dans le jeu pre9sidentiel, mais cela vaut de l’or. Pendant ce temps, l’association a e9te9 soigneusement vide9e de toute substance. Elle n’est meame plus l’ombre de ce qu’elle fut. Elle en serait plutf4t le fantf4me, et je n’exclus pas que le grand Monod revienne un jour secouer ces lamentables joueurs de bonneteau. Car il y a du bonneteau, dans cette fae7on de parler de biodiversite9 et de nature sans que jamais aucune vraie victoire contre la destruction ne soit annonce9e.

  • annie

    trudy’s dad will always be clarissa’s dad to me.

    • Juan

      YES! How was THAT not mentioned in the article!?

    • jackJack

      YES OMG YES the first thing I thought was, “Alex Mack and Clarissa’s dad on one show?? where’s Ferguson and Sam???”

    • laylagalise

      Yes! That’s the first person I thought of when I read this!

  • Bobby’s Robot

    Last season David Selby from Falcon Crest and Dark Shadows was the jai alai’s guy’s father. And of course, this season’s Miss Blankenship was Randee Heller from Karate Kid and Soap.

  • David Good

    Don’t forget that “Duck” (Mark Moses) is “Paul” from “Desperate Housewives”, “Ted Chaough”(Kevin Rahm) is “Lee” from “Desperate Housewives”, and “Tom Vogel” (Joe O’Connor) was “Clarissa’s” dad on “Clarissa Explains it All”. Whew.

    • lefty

      Clarissa’s dad is also creepin’ it up on Weeds.

    • wizard62

      Not to mention that John Slattery was also Gaby’s short-lived politician husband Victor Lang on Desperate Housewives.

  • Mole

    This post wouldn’t be completely without someone mentioning that Betty Draper did it in a bar with CAPTAIN AWESOME.

    • Kiki

      Yes! I’m glad someone mentioned Awesome from Chuck!

    • Jonathan

      Bonjour,je voudrai que vous prier pour moi pour que je pssiue trouve de l’argent pour achetter un camera professionnel et de commence mon projet d’ouvrir un stidio de video montage. Merci

    • Ion

      De9sole9e mais je mangerais quand meame un peu de foie gras aux feates mais peut eatre n’aura t il pas la meame suvaer cette anne9e.Jeanne, c’est troublant les coeencidences, votre citation que je ne connaissais pas: c’est e0 peu pre9s ce que je viens d’e9crire e0 un ami e0 propos d’un salarie9 que je connaissais et qui s’est suicide9 il a 3 ans e0 cette pe9riode, e0 35 ans pour des raisons e0 la fois personnelle et professionnelle, laissant un petit gare7on, marque9 e0 vie. Je ne peux m’empeacher de penser e0 eux dans cette pe9riode qui devrait une feate pour tous.

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