Childhood 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?