Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 6, Episode 3 of AMC's "Mad Men," titled "The Collaborators."
"Mad Men" specializes in surprising, nostalgic guest-casting. After "Freaks & Geeks" alum Linda Cardellini stole the show in the AMC drama's Season 6 premiere, another early 2000s favorite had a guest appearance in the show's third episode: Kip Pardue, who is fondly remembered as Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass, the long-haired, left-handed California quarterback in Denzel Washington's high-school football film "Remember The Titans."
Pardue's "Mad Men" guest spot had him playing a hot shot Heinz ketchup executive, who stopped by Sterling Cooper in a blue suit for an unofficial visit. While Don (Jon Hamm) and Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) were excited to vie for his business, Heinz beans executive Raymond Geiger (John Sloman) made it clear that the visit was just for show. Still, word got back to Peggy that Heinz was potentially up for his grabs, and her new boss Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) pushed her to compete for the business, so Pardue could very well turn up again later this season.
Interestingly, Pardue and Cardellini played love interests on "ER" in 2006. Matt Weiner must have really loved that season.
Pardue's guest spot is just the latest example of a "Remember the Titans" alum making his/her mark on the small screen. Wood Harris went on to star as Avon Barksdale on "The Wire," Ryan Hurst played as Opie on "Sons Of Anarchy," Donald Fasion starred in "Scrubs," while a very young Hayden Panetierre would grow up to star in "Heroes" and "Nashville." Not to mention Ryan Gosling, who went on to become the biggest movie star of them all.
Check out Pardue's cameo at 4:35 in the video below:
And here's Pardue as Sunshine in "Remember the Titans":
"Mad Men" airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.