Set in the 1960s and the 1970s, Mad Men is a period drama that covers the personal and working lives of the employees of Sterling Cooper, an advertising agency in New York City. Across seven seasons the show has received plenty of accolades (including 15 Emmys and four Golden Globes) for its costume design, the stellar acting from its cast (which includes Jon Hamm and January Jones), its directing and its historical authenticity with the show often tackling the social issues of the times.
What Mad Men hasn’t been praised for, however, is its LGBT representation. During its seven seasons on our televisions there have only been two lesbian characters: Joyce Ramsay was a photographer for Life magazine who licked Peggy’s face and told her that “He doesn’t own your vagina” when Peggy turned her down because she had a boyfriend and there was also Carol who fell in love with Joan (something which she confessed to her) when the two women were roommates in season one.
It was quite a surprise then, when a recent episode of the show introduced another queer lady; a bisexual photographer named Pima Ryan. Pima, in all of her pantsuited glory, waltzes onto the scene after Peggy is accused of “digging deep” for her because she wants a woman on her ad campaign. Like a scene right out of our dreams, Pima starts flirting with Peggy straight away and even compliments her on being in charge of the shoot.
After their exchange, Pima ends up having sex with Stan, one of Peggy’s coworkers. Not that it’s particularly romantic as Stan has a girlfriend named Elaine (Pima and Stan were actually waiting for photos of Elaine to develop when they decided to hook up) and he also seems to be intimidated by Pima, so it’s more of a power struggle situation.
Peggy, meanwhile, is less attracted and intimidated by Pima’s demeanour. Pima asks her if she’d been married and says that she’d love to take her picture and although for a split second it seems like Peggy’s going to go for it…she doesn’t, much to our disappointment. Moreover, Peggy is actually furious at Pima when she finds out about her and Stan.
Is it likely that Pima will return in a future episode and try and charm the pants off of Peggy again? Probably not as this seventh season of Mad Men is also its last and the final episode will air mid-May, so the show’s writers are unlikely to devote much time to a side character that they’ve only just introduced. It was nice to have another queer woman on our screens though, even if it was just for one episode.