Apr 162012
 

Having watched the first three episodes of the long-awaited fifth season of my favorite televised drama ever–namely, AMC’s extraordinary Mad Men–I’m reminded of the timeless wisdom within that French phrase Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more it’s the same thing.  The “thing” I’m interested in exploring today–given that I’m more inspired than ever to write about the ongoing War On Women–is misogyny. Hatred of women, and how it we can see it manifested in attitudes toward, and treatment of, the character of Megan Draper–now as well as then.

With a big thank-you to Deborah for inviting me to publish my thoughts here at Basket of Kisses, I’d like to look at misogyny’s ugly underpinnings.  Which, once you peel back the bright and shiny (albeit terribly lovely) surface of 1960′s culture, are all right there, waiting to be studied, much the way a design student might examine the parts of a deconstructed couture gown to better understand how the final creation came to be.

This is a television program that engenders fierce debate–surely a reason to love it all the more–but I’ve noticed an unsettling trend in the online discussions about Megan. Now, we’ve all got our favorite heroes and villains in Mad Men; the fact that a single character can inhabit both roles, sometimes in the space of an episode, is one of the reasons it makes for such engrossing theater.  Megan is no different, and fans and foes of Megan, The Character are of course entitled to their opinions. What I’m referring to here, though, are some of the nasty, tinged-with-misogyny accusations that even otherwise fair-minded folks are leveling at Megan, in comments as well as in blog posts around the Internet.  For example:

She’s a gold-digger.

She’s a “great actress” who got where she is by faking it (“it” being whatever was called-for in the moment) and manipulating men.

She literally slept her way into that copywriting position.

She’s a shameless hussy–a wanton exhibitionist–and that whole Zou Bisou Bisou episode at Don’s party was embarrassing and cringe-worthy.

She stole Don away from other, worthier women he had bedded or with whom he had otherwise been connected.

Let’s do something radical: let’s look at the character Megan as an individual, as a discrete person in her own right, with her own history, traits, motivations, and tendencies.

We know that Megan is from Québec, the French-speaking Canadian province; that she is well-educated and ambitious–no less so than any young woman brave, confident, and talented enough to move to New York City and land a job in a Madison Avenue shop during the 1960s. By any standard–that of the 1960s or the present day–Megan is a physically attractive woman. She is the youngest in what we gather is a large (or largish) family, with many nieces and nephews to whom she gives credit for her Maria Von Trapp-like way with kids.

Like The Sound of Music heroine–though in bolder ways–Megan is not exactly nun material: It is she who makes the first move on Don, right there in his office, in the episode Chinese Wall (4.11): I want you, Megan says. Followed thereafter by the almost-as-shocking in its boldness, considering that she’s the employee, still: I don’t want you drinking any more tonight.  Sexual agency! A woman giving an order to a man! Bring out the smelling salts, we’ve got a skirt-wearing woman stating what she wants, and then declaring the obvious: Watch the excessive drinking–it’s not good for you.

Negative reactions to Megan began there and then. She was a minx (definition: A pert, impudent, or flirtatious girl). She was cunning, she was devious, she had “designs” on Don. One has to wonder what reactions to Megan would have been if she had not been assertive about her desire. If, instead, she’d been clingy, needy, subservient, or coy.

Then there was the fateful trip to California, during which Don impulsively asks Megan to marry him.  The man whose take-control manner and confidence Mad Men fans have grown accustomed to is now, in the minds of some, the one who’s somehow being “controlled”, and it feels…unfamiliar and flipped-around. That minx!

In Season 5, we first see Megan as Sally sees her: a nude figure, back turned, still asleep. Puritan buttons are duly pushed: She sleeps naked! She sleeps next to Don with nary a scrap of proper, motherly nightdress or even coquettish negligée between that skin (in which she seems so annoyingly comfortable) and the world that whizzes by.

And oh dear, if there was a hint of anti-Meganism last season, we saw an explosion of it the Monday after her Zou Bisou Bisou performance. Megan went from being Don’s Suspicious New Squeeze to Exhibitionist Seductress Without A Clue. (Aside: There’s a fair bit of cultural clash going on, too: though Megan is Canadian, she is French-Canadian. She dresses beautifully, but with an unstudied and terribly European flair: we don’t see Megan with her hair painstakingly rollered or pin-curled; we don’t see her wearing restrictive corsetry beneath her clothes; we don’t, in fact, witness much of her getting-ready routine at all. She’s a far freer spirit–a truly modern model–more so than any woman we’ve seen on Mad Men to date, in fact.)

Then there was that scene the following day–the black-lace-undies scene–wherein Megan takes control of our tough guy Don. She understands his sexuality (he sometimes enjoys being bossed around and even dominated) in ways we have not seen a previous lover “get,” and rather than shy away from it, she embraces it and incorporates it into a wonderfully erotic encounter in the middle of the afternoon, right there on the once-pristine white carpet.

So now we have: A beautiful and stylish woman who, like Betty before her, speaks a foreign language. Who is intelligent, worldly, sophisticated, musically talented, and sexually adventurous.

And I have to ask: what on earth is the problem, O American Viewing Public? What is it about Megan that inspires so much vitriol and harsh criticism? If she was Opposite Megan, do you think she’d be any less despised?

It doesn’t seem to matter what characteristic we isolate and flip around; indeed, it wouldn’t matter if Megan herself were to change everything about her personality, behavior, and looks: Women can’t win.

Megan is beautiful, so people accuse her of using her looks–whether they feel those looks are too contrived and Maria Von Trapp-ish, or too Swinging-Sixties-sexy, as with the outfit she chose to wear to Whisky a Go Go. And if Megan were not so obviously sexy, but were instead more quietly attractive–more “midwestern pretty”, like Teacher Suzanne, say–people’s complaints, as with Suzanne, would be along the lines of Surely Don can do better, that this plain-Jane was not “up to his usual standard” or that he was “marrying down”.

Megan is foreign–she’s not American!--and as such, the other characters, along with Mad Men‘s audience, display no small amount of animosity and suspicion toward her as they continually misinterpret her motives, her style, and her sunny nature. (Disclaimer: being British-born, I’ve experienced firsthand this xenophobia and misinterpretation-of-motive more often than I want to think about.) And yet, her foreign-ness is also charming, refreshing, and of course alluring to men–the guys at the office can’t stop talking about her. Which is it, then? Different-sounding foreign woman whom everyone mocks and disdains?  Or delightful, exotic foreign woman whom everyone fears will steal their man?

Megan is sexually confident. She not only knows how to handle Don, she appears rather adept at managing her own emotions: witness her expression when Don’s former lover steps into the elevator in Mystery Date, and the straightforward, no-nonsense way she discusses it with him that very day (as opposed to sitting on the whole thing, fuming silently, and saving it up to throw in his face some other time). It was embarrassing, she says.  Now, imagine if Megan had broken down and cried later–or if she’d had a big argument with Don and demanded to know who all these women were and where they lived; if she’d extracted a solemn promise from him that she was The One forever and ever–Mad Men fans would be calling her weepy, clingy, old-fashioned, and over-emotional–just like a woman. Again, she can’t win.

Megan is too optimistic; Megan is too deviant and dark in her sexual tastes. She’s too young; she’s too sophisticated. She’s inexperienced and naïve; she’s cunning and manipulative.

Let’s face it, Megan–like the modern, “liberated” young woman of the 1960′s (and beyond) that her character represents, and sadly, like women in 2012–cannot win.

Because that, in a nutshell, is what misogyny is all about: a bitter, prevalent, and long-established disdain for women that can only be sustained by an ongoing and culture-wide campaign of goalpost-moving.

Women, be they beautiful or plain; rail-thin, voluptuous, or something in-between; brilliant, witty, and worldly or quiet, self-sacrificing, and Sunday-school prim like schoolteacher Suzanne Farrell, simply cannot win.

Until and unless women are simply regarded as the human beings we are, replete with the talents and flaws unique to each of us and capable of feeling–and causing–both pleasure and pain, we will know neither equality nor liberty.

Sunny Megan Draper shows us that, one bout of sturm und drang after another.

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  279 Responses to “Misogyny means Women Can Never Win–not even Thoroughly Modern Megan”

  1. Really good insights here. I think you’re right about a lot of things. Personally, I can’t understand all of the vitriol constantly aimed at Megan. She’s smart, beautiful, and outspoken and she’s a woman to whom Don (whether he can maintain it or not) wants to remain sexually faithful. When have we seen that? I suppose there will always be naysayers.

  2. “…a bitter, prevalent, and long-established disdain for women that can only be sustained by an ongoing and culture-wide campaign of goalpost-moving.”

    Yes. Every time we get there, or close, it gets moved. Back, forward, sideways, off the field entirely. Look at male politicians and their issues with BIRTH CONTROL just last month. Birth control was fairly newly legal for unmarried women in 1966 (in some places).

    I still think Megan is a dark horse; that is, I don’t really understand her wanting to be with Don. If she’s so with-it and mature, why did she not see through him? But I don’t think of her as a Trojan horse, bearing horrors within.

    But I don’t DISLIKE her the way others have, and I don’t read female malevolence in her every move. Just waiting to find out more about her and if she can sustain interest in Don when he reveals his distasteful and duplicitous side. Megan won’t be the first second wife to realize, with dawning dismay, why the first marriage failed. I’d like to see her come out a winner from whatever happens.

    Maybe the dislike is how unBetty she is? But people loved to hate her, too. Why does everyone love Joan and Peggy? Because Joan is a victim and Peggy is plucky and fundamentally nice/not threatening? More sexism.

    • oh no…politics.

    • Now that is something I would really like to see…! a comparison of the way fans treat Joan Betty and Peggy vs. how they treat Megan.

      • People don’t like Megan because she doesn’t have any flaws. Joan and Peggy have flaws but Megan seems to be perfect.

  3. Great piece of writing! I really don’t understand the backlash against Megan, seems quite irrational.

    Thank you for the commentary about Megan being foreign ~ I to have experienced the same amount of suspicion regarding my own foreign-ity. The added factor of her being French, is I think what gives a lot of men (hello Harry!) licence to demean and sexualize her even more because of their perception of French women, and not just foreigners.

    It’s interesting how often she needs to correct people, she is in fact Canadian and not French.

    • The moment at dinner when Megan asserts that she is Canadian and not French is really rich in the context of Canadian history. Self-recognition as Québécois is starting to become dominant in the 1960s, prior to this the Francophone people of Quebec identified themselves as French Canadians, or, as she did — just Canadian. A running parallel to all that is happening in the US during 1966 is that in neighbouring Canada things are also heating up. In 1966 the province of Quebec changed government and the official start of the Quiet Revolution began — eventually leading to the tumult of the War Measures Act of 1970.

    • I don’t have an issue with people confusing French and French Canadian. You need more than a little familiarity with those accents and idioms to tell the difference. I have confused the accents of various British Commonwealth countries, for example. They aren’t the same but to my American ear they aren’t that different either. At least I know they’re some kind of Brit, and what French sounds like. There are some people who can’t even guess that much.

      I am always impressed by people who don’t take offense and just tell you where they’re from without taking it personally.

      • For sure, if I heard someone speaking French my mind would also assume s/he is French. I was trying to point out that being French and being Canadian are VERY different in terms of culture, society and so on.

        No matter how different Megan is perceived to be, growing up Canadian makes you MUCH closer to the US culture and way of life that growing up in France would. By identifying her as French, people are automatically assuming there is much more difference to Megan than there really is.

        • True enough for English-speaking Canadians, including Montrealers. (I am one.) Maybe not so for francophone Québecois. I don’t know that it makes them French or European, true enough (and the real French are extremely eager to affirm that), but they sure are a great distance away from being American.

    • Yet “Megan” has stated during MM episodes that her mother is a native of Paris while her father is a native on Montreal. This is also true of Jessica Paré who plays “Megan”

      Maybe characters on Mad men and also fans, believe Megan is French because whenever she speaks more than a few words in French she uses her Parisian French.

      There is a theory that MW decided on that after discussing it with the sales force of LionsGate. It well could be that in France, a massive market for Mad Men, Parisian French is an easier sell. Hardly ever in Canadian produced films even supposed to take place in Montreal does any character speak Quebecois, because sad experience has show that few people outside Quebec can understand it. So Canadian producers tend to use a generic French Canadian, or do as Mad men and have characters use Parisian French, which confuses a lot of folks.

      • CCA, you’ve said this several times about Megan’s background: Any chance you’d be able to dig up exact quotes? It would be nice to have them on hand.

      • Hate to tell you, but probably the majority of MM viewers/Megan lovers/haters (including me) wouldn’t know the difference between Parisian French and Canadian French.

        • I studied French for 10 years, and I know the difference! The accents are completely different!

      • I’ve read the same as CCA says, that Jessica Pare’s mother is French from France, in several articles about her, mostly Canadian, that were linked from this very site.

        “Québecois accent” runs quite a gamut. What is spoken out in the countryside, and on the back streets of Montreal (with several more additions from English) is known as “joual”, from the local pronunciation of “cheval” – and indeed would be mostly unintelligible to those not familiar with it. It’s more of a patois, or dialect, than simply an accent. But there has always been an “educated Québecois” accent, as spoken on Radio Canada (French CBC) to this day, which is perfectly clear and understandable to anyone reasonably fluent in French. It’s just an accent. With her father a university professor, you’d expect Jessica Paré to speak this version of French, and in fact I have heard her do so on the CBC (English) interview linked from here last week, when using French phrases. Since her mother is French, she would have heard Parisian French all her life and quite possibly used it to when speaking to her mother, and with her actress training she has no problem whatsoever using Parisian French.

        The same evidently goes for the character Megan, who uses it when speaking a few words of French from time to time to New Yorkers (who could be expected to know only that French), in teaching a French French song to the children, and in speaking to her mother on the phone. I’ll be all ears to pick up even the slightest change in accent if we ever hear her speaking to her father. But I suspect that CCA is correct in that she was asked t use her Parisian French at all times, which is not quite right for verisimilitude but increases intelligibility. I suppose you could make a case out that she just sticks with it out in the big world. We’ll see in time, perhaps.

        • I may have misunderstood you, but surely Quebecois film speak Quebecois. There’s everything from to . This is probably irrelevant to most readers, just a side discussion among Canadians. Megan would be interested.

          • Yes, they do. Most characters in the films of Denys Arcand, for example, (Decline of the American Empire, Jesus of Montreal, The Barbarian Invasions) are from the same educated, intellectual middle class, as Jessica Pare and Megan, and speak clear enough Quebecois accent, while other characters speak joual, and there is quite a range in between that might have varying degrees of difficulty for non-French speakers to follow. I’m not clear on what you think I said, though, that you’re querying.

          • Thanks for clarifying. I had thought you were saying they spoke continental French rather than educated Quebecois. And I certainly agree about the work of Denys Arcand.

            Still they’re are many and great other movies: My Oncle Antoine through Bon Cop.

          • Most Quebecois movies are aimed primarily at the Quebecois market. For other markets, be it English Canadian, American, or world, there will be subtitles (meaning they will be considered art-house movies even if they are really more general-audience than that at heart). TV doesn’t have that “luxury” (though it could). So MM might possibly, as CCA assumes, go for Megan’s speaking with a Parisian accent all the time to make her more accessible to people with some French who have never heard Quebecois even of the “intellectual” variety. It’s believable because of her French French mother. But I’ll still be waiting to hear what she sounds like if she ever speaks to her father.

          • Ann, how many films were made in Quebec over the past 80 years in any form of Québecois?

            When I was first hired into the executive training program of my studio in 1948, the top exec who hired me noted that I had studied French from grade school through graduation from prep school. Therefore on of my duties while still assigned to the NYC financial office was to track every film made in Canada. The vast majority were made by studios based in Toronto. Per Canadian law all films released in English had to be simultaneously released in French Canadian.

            There were a handful of films only released in French Canadian. Listening to those I believed them to be a mixture of “educated” Québecois and Parisian French. I was transferred to our Southern California main studio in 1950. For many years I lost track of films released in Canada. I do remember vaguely 2 films made in Quebec only for the local market, so they had no English dubbed tracks or even subtitles. I had no trouble understanding all of one, so that must have been in educated Québecois. In the other several rural characters I could not understand. When I asked someone from the Canadian Film Commission they called that “rural Québecois” which must be more correctly termed Joual.

            I have made many American films in Montreal which has a very talented collection of film makers. The pace is less “Hollywood” as in Toronto, so in many ways I enjoyed the beauty of Montreal and surrounding countryside, all of which was less familiar to film goers. However, in all my time there I never heard any form of French I could not understand, so perhaps those who use Joual away from American strangers use Québecois in public.

            I also am sorry I cannot find links to all the Jessica Paré interviews about her languages. In at least one she remarked that when she told Matt Weiner that her mom only wanted Parisian French spoken in their home, Matt’s ears perked up. The handful of times I have heard her dad being interviewed he said that he prefers to speak English, which to me sounds more East Coast American than stereotypical Canadian English. As far as I know I have never heard Jessica’s mom speak. I have read that she is a much in demand simultaneous translator for meetings, so I assume she had excellent English.

  4. I like Megan. I really like how she holds her own with Don – keeping him from reverting to his old (non) social ways with her friends and his “work friends”.

    Yes, Megan is still largely a cipher; the writers have not as yet plumbed the depths with her. But old time Mad Man followers should have faith about this, I except that all will be revealed in due course.

    It has only been eight episodes since Mrs. Blankenship left us and Megan became more than a bit player, and only five this season as Megan Draper, Jr. Copywriter.

    Give her some time

    I like Joan and Peggy because both are exceptional women who are becoming modern before our eyes.

    OK, I admit, as Don said, Peggy is “cute as hell”. But Peggy is also bold enough to call BS on Stan in that hotel room last season, stylish enough to look fabulous at the Kellogg bash (where she met Abe), self-assured enough to bring Abe home, ambitious enough to go get Topaz on the fly….. (I could go on)

    Joan has, on occasion, been a victim. She was cast aside by Harry as his script reader and raped by G##g – but this is not her usual lot.

    We know all the ways Joan is fabulous. Things will get worse for Lane, Pete, and Roger before they get better – Joan will help Lane and Roger pick up and go on.

    She may even help Pete – she’s that fabulous.

  5. I don’t get the Megan hate or the Betty hate or the Joan love. (That said, I’m not sure what Megan does at work anymore.) One thing I thing may be a contributing factor to the hate of Betty and Megan– love for Don. Most viewers seem to ready to point out the ways that Don is a jerk. And then just as ready to point to the ways in which he is also a good man. And then attribute much of negative qualities to his loveless childhood. The core of him is good so he needs to be someone perfect to bring out the goodness and help him realize that he is deserving of the love he never got as a child. Jon Hamm is a good looking guy, so I think some viewers are drawn to him, want to be with him or be him so the measuring stick they use for whom he should be with is huge… and no one could ever really measure up to the fantasy.

    What makes this all interesting too is the 2 women in Don’s past viewers seemed to like with him best are 2 of the least likely to succeed matches– Rachel Mencken and Faye Miller. Both Jews. And in the ’60s, intermarriage was just starting to gain ground. Rachel was an unlikely too because he was married at the time. It is hard to imagine how she could’ve sold her father of marrying a divorced man who was a Gentile. I have a harder time seeing the religious issue as so crucial to Faye, but we never met her family or even heard much about them so who knows how they would have reacted. And I also think a lot of people assumed that was a short-term thing– his transitional one before moving on. In other words, the logistics spelled out temporary, and the religious difference seemed to be a wall so these characters didn’t challenge the attachment to Don in ways that Betty did and Megan does.

    The 2 woman who seem to get the most love then from viewers– Peggy and Joan– are 2 that we’ve never seen even a hint of a romantic relationship with him so they don’t challenge those attachments.

    It will be interesting to watch developments with Peggy. After the season opener, I have seen comments that she may be a problem for Don, not just because she doesn’t know how to navigate her relationship with her junior Megan, but because she may not like Don if he isn’t miserable. Or she may have problems not being the queen bee of copywriting. In other words, if she challenges Don’s happiness or turns into a catty competitive female, she too will fall from grace.

    • Good points.

      On the Charlie Rose show, Jon Hamm was asked about viewers’ reactions to Don Draper. He said that he is most surprised by the fact that so many viewers stubbornly believe that Don is deep down a good man.

      • Me too. I have never thought of him as a good person or a mentally healthy person for that matter. He’s really messed up and he’s not a good person. He’s not a good father, he was a lousy husband to Betty and he’s not much of a co-worker most of the time either. Plus he’s a drunk.

        • Don Draper is multi dimensional: lies of omission, lies of commission, infidelity, desertion and homicide.

          That said, I believe in redemption. And the gate is strait…

        • I especially don’t understand the Don love when compared to Betty hate. Certainly, they have both made some questionable choices and yet the reaction is utterly different to the two of them.

        • Which of the main characters on this show IS a “good” person?

          • I think the real question is: why do fans root for some characters and seem to rage against others –and then pretend to themselves and others that the characters they like are “deep down” actually good people? And the ones they don’t like are “really bad.”

            All the main characters have serious flaws. What’s interesting is the way people want the characters they like to be good, and they want the characters they dislike to be bad. But whether the audience likes or dislikes the characters to begin with doesn’t seem closely tied to an objective measure of the character’s goodness or badness.

  6. Thank you for this. It had to be said.

  7. People love Peggy because she is the underdog who fights and fights, and her determination just draws you to her. She has taken all manner of abuse, and through talent and sheer perseverance she rises and rises. Joanie is not a victim in anyone’s eyes. She was victimized once. The smart girl, who makes bad choices. Who came along before the women’s movement gained traction and silently accepts whatever opportunity or lack thereof, exist at work. She proudly displays her sexuality and I haven’t heard any woman hating, I want her punished for being so open, comments EVER.
    Joan and Peggy have had 4 seasons to accumulate scenes where they deliver great lines, drama, pathos, humanity. We the audience feel we know them as whole human beings. Megan is so thinly written. She has zero life outside of Don. We are not shown her friends in conversation, any samples of her writing. When Peggy said “basket of kisses”, it gave a little insight into he she was. Nothing from Megan.
    Don proposes without knowing much about her, that would be disconcerting if a person in your life made that decision. We who love the show, and Don, know that if he marries her we go along on this new uncertain ride. Megan did not seem like a compelling character last season, and has confirmed the assumption this season. You either find a character interesting or you don’t. The women bashers can sit this one out on the sidelines. Megan has helped turn Don into a character who does not say anything that reminds you of the genius he is. He’s been dulled. That’s where the so-called Megan bashing/ woman heaters chime in.

    • From my blogpost
      And now, the question of the season thus far– Does Megan work? We see her at Don’s desk typing or looking at papers. She did some coupons. But she leaves early and arrives late. We never see her in the creative lounge with the others. Does she spend her time in Don’s office because she is uncomfortable with the others? Given her conversation with Peggy and the way Ginzo chastised everyone for poring over the Speck photos, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did feel uncomfortable. And of course, most everyone else must also feel uncomfortable. She is much junior to everyone except Michael on the creative staff, but as Don’s wife, her status is unclear. What has she worked on? Has she had an idea? Put together a campaign? Done a pitch? Michael’s brand new at he agency (though he has experience), and he had the room enrapt– much like Don did in his Kodak Carousel pitch– with his vision of “Cinderella.” Peggy “was discovered” by coming up with the idea for Belle Jolie, then hit another slam with the “reducing belt,” both while she was still a secretary. And Megan makes a coupon? Really?

      But the issue with the Megan is NOT that the comments are about that we don’t know her or what she does. The comments are about her teeth, her sexiness, the way she dresses, her performance. It seems everytime we get more insight into how she is, she gets more criticism for being a “hussy,” “pushy,” “too sexy,” “too exotic.”

      Also, I think that few commentors questioned Joan’s comments about Peggy’s weight gain (season 1) also substantiate the misogyny of that period and our own. Peggy was a good secretary, by most standards and starting to make waves as a copywriter, yet her value was limited by weight problem. And no one really seemed bothered by the nasty way that Joan spoke to her, suggesting that yeah, it’s fine for Joan to say what many people thought– Peggy got fat, and someone needed to tell her to get control. Fat-phobic? Sure. But noone made similar comments to Harry or Paul about their weight, so let’s not kid ourselves that size and appearance in general are still tools used against women.

      I’m not sure we know as yet that Don has been dulled in the ways that made him a genius– his ad pitches. The pitches we’ve seen this season weren’t his, and Peggy’s beans campaign– he rightfully realized the mistake that would be. And he also rightly realized that Cinderella would be a cliche, a cliche that will seem outmoded soon, I should think, as the women’s movement gains ground later in the decade.

      • “I’m not sure we know as yet that Don has been dulled in the ways that made him a genius– his ad pitches.”

        Well, he did make the Jaguar pitch over dinner about the car being “pornographic”, which dovetailed nicely with Jaguar’s rep’s desires and the evening’s hijinks, but seems startling bad and un-Draper like in its word choice.

        • Yeah, that turned out to be an accurate fail. Because as randy and nasty as Mr Jaguar Sales Director actually is, in his work he is Mr Buttoned Up. Shouldn’t “Brilliant” Don have recognized that this is how it would work? They all seem completely off their game right now.

        • Don’s “pornographic” pitch was way off. It really grossed me out. Are there really people who want to buy a car that is pornographic? I just said “eww” when I heard it. He’s just seems to have a totally one track mind at the moment.

          Sexy yes, but porno just sounds dirty.

          • That was a teaser, Joanne. The purpose was not to give the guy a final pitch, the purpose was to give him a direction, and to entice him and pique his interest. And Don got it 100% right; he read that guy, and his interests, with perfect accuracy.

    • tilden katz– agree with you on peggy and joan.

      the don thing is close to how i see it, but without the admiration; i see him as an empty suit– the perfect ad man– if megan gets him to domesticate himself, hell , maybe he’ll be a better father, but just like roger, he can be replaced, so i’m not worried about the decline in his quality of work.

      and this is about the article:
      the critcism of megan’s appearance is written into the show– just like peggy’s ears, joan’s “pen”– so when something is in the writing, i don’t expect the online community to ignore it. moreover, when a character is, in fact, doing the very thing of which she is being accused– sleeping her way into the job (written into dialog between joan and peggy)– embarassing don with her exhibitionism (written into dialog between joan and lane)– don’t expect people to ignore that either. clearly the writers see it. hell, they *wrote* it.

      megan, just like the other characters, is no victim, no hero. nobody’s as bad a pete, but just like pete, megan has both boosters and detractors. the misogyny, as i see it, is coming from the sexualized flavor of the people who claim to like her ironically enough. megan hatred is probably, therefore, the less misogynist choice, as she is being judged for her actions. the appearance of her gums and teeth is written into the show.

      p.s. if you want to talk about glenn “pugsly addams” bishop, or hairy don, sit next to me!

  8. So if one dislikes/distrusts Megan he or she is a misogynist? Ummmmm … okay.

    My own belief is that many of the MM characters are personal and polarizing to a variety of viewers for a variety of reasons. Hence, someone who dislikes Megan might like Joan or Peggy or Betty or Trudy, etc., which kinda throws the misogyny charge out the window. (And for the record, I think the misogyny charge would carry more weight when it comes to viewers thoughts on Betty than Megan.)

    Megan seems pretty well liked, far as I can tell. I’ve never been a fan of her but I feel in the minority when reading most reviews and blogs in terms of individual opinions. And sorry, I’m not going to change my opinion of her because of some silly presumption that I’m a misogynist if I don’t like her. To me that is just a cheap ploy to shut down opposition to a character — i.e., a form of censorship.

    • Perhaps you missed this part of the post (emphasis added:

      This is a television program that engenders fierce debate–surely a reason to love it all the more–but I’ve noticed an unsettling trend in the online discussions about Megan. Now, we’ve all got our favorite heroes and villains in Mad Men; the fact that a single character can inhabit both roles, sometimes in the space of an episode, is one of the reasons it makes for such engrossing theater. Megan is no different, and fans and foes of Megan, The Character are of course entitled to their opinions.

      I would also remind you that we censor this blog. We do not censor opinions, but since the Lipp Sisters aren’t a government, no free speech is guaranteed in our playground. Please review the comment policy for clarification.

      • Actually I didn’t but it hardly seemed the point. Just disagreeing with the post and writer. Thanks for the tip regarding your comment policies.

        • I also think that the misogyny charge applies much more to viewer/commenter treatment of Betty the character and January Jones as an actress than to Megan.

          • The hatedom for Betty is ridiculous, especially after she got her cancer scare and had the NERVE to think about possible mortality before she thought of her kids. We’re so conditioned as women to put ourselves last that we aren’t even allowed to think of ourselves when we have a potential death sentence hanging over our heads (and the Big C was pretty much a death sentence back then).

            Season 4 really messed up as far as writing her went. They took an unlikeable, yet fascinating and complex character, and turned her into a cackling 2-dimensional villain. I about expected her to grow a Snidely Whiplash mustache just so she could twirl it as she tied Sally to the railroad tracks.

          • I simply don’t see the hype regarding Megan. I don’t hate her, I just don’t get her. She has all the elements of an interesting character, but onscreen, I don’t see the magic. I agree that she gets a lot of misogynistic vitriol aimed her way, and I also agree that needs to stop, but I can’t say that I find her that interesting or fully-realized a character.

            Sometimes I feel guilty for not liking her, because like I said, she has all the elements of an interesting character. I like that she’s modern, optimistic, sexually open, and assertive, but the parts aren’t coming together during the execution for me. It’s the execution of her character that bugs me and I can’t even articulate why.

            But your point about the misogyny regarding her looks and sexuality is spot-on.

      • Okay, I read the comment policies. Apologies to you and Ms. Tornello if I stepped over the line there.

        • 2BG, you didn’t step over the line at all. I just wanted to make a preemptive strike because the word “censorship” tends to be a hot button for me; it’s out of place here. You’re welcome to disagree with the post.

    • 2BG,
      I consider Megan, the character a puzzle. I can see Joan, Betty or Peggy as fully fleshed out characters. I can understand how they got where they are and why they do what they do. Even Jane, you can see what she wanted and what her motivations were.

      With Megan, it’s unclear to me but that hardly makes me a misogynist.

      I have understood the article as more of: no matter what Megan, the character does she is attacked in a negative fashion based on unrelated factors.

      For example, you could say:
      - Megan and Don marriage happened so fast, what is Don thinking…. OR
      - Megan and Don marriage happened so fast, Megan must have tricked/trapped him.

      I may or may not be making any sense :)

  9. Frankly, I think its insulting that the MM audience is assumed to fit all the xenophobic stereotypes of the American public at large. Megan is not interesting. Period. But, hey I’m a guy I can handle being insulted, as easy as flicking dirt off my shoulder. That misogynistic enough for ya?

    • So, tilden, you’re saying that the Mad Men audience is free of the “xenophobic stereotypes of the American public at large”? I find that implausible.

  10. I’m a women’s historian so it does color how I see these characters and how I view the comments about them.
    I could care less if anyone likes or dislikes any of these characters. What I find interesting is HOW some people frame their comments. Megan does a sexy performance? Slut! Betty expresses how she thinks about Don all day? Pathetic and clingy! Cynthia’s “marry early and often” comment about Jane? Catty!
    In other words, many of the comments about the women fall into negative female stereotypes and the various dichotomous roles we still hold regarding what women are supposed to be. With the exception of Pete and possibly of Roger, when people criticize the males they often make excuses for them– didn’t have enough love as a child, overbearing father, was a scholarship student in the Ivy League… in other words, comments often cut them slack for their failings, which seldom happens for the women.

    • Excellant point. Couldn’t agree with you more. The Drapers’ parenting is a good example. While Betty is just a horrible mom, Don is a loving father who occasionally makes mistakes ( never there, dissapears during his daughter’s birthday party, strikes up a romance with his daughter’s teacher, can’t handle his baby son on his own). Imagine Betty getting involved with a child’s teacher- the viewers would go berserk. Betty is so easily labeled the witch mother, no one making allowence for her- and she was in a tough spot. Don, on the other hand is so easily labeled a good dad for no apparant reason.

    • I agree with you both Linda and Diana.

  11. Deborah Newell Tornello,

    “Sólo odiamos, lo mismo que sólo amamos, lo que en algo, y de una o de otra manera, se nos parece; lo absolutamente contrario en absoluto indiferente de nosotros no nos merece ni amor ni odio, sino indiferencia.” — Unamuno

    thanks for joining the community of posters and for this insightful piece. I’ve been remarking for some time now that the BoK and Mad Men seem to attract a number of people who identify strongly with the characters. This is do doubt partly due to the detail in which they are presented to us, they seem so lifelike and three-dimensional that we as viewers develop strong emotional ties.

    I often read a comment here and step back thinking “that told me a lot more about the poster than the show.” And Megan serving as a lightning-rod for people’s distrust, jealousy and envy comprises a great example.

    Is it misogynistic? More than people who dislike Pete are misanthropic? Possibly, as Megan is presented against the backdrop of the incipient “Women’s Lib” movement, and there are theme of how women are limited in their choices throughout the series. But as seen in “Signal 30″ men do not get a free skate here either.

    I like your post because I’m not sure what I think of it, whether I agree or disagree. It’s thought-provoking.

    (translation: we only hate, as we only love, that which we see resemblance in ourselves. the complete opposite does not merit love nor hate but rather indifference.)

  12. Interesting you saw that as a real pitch. I saw it as a suggestion with guys at dinner and a smart one at that. How are cars often sold? Sex on wheels… Don tapped into the idea that cars are to get women, and to get women hot. Especially with all the rhetoric in the ’60s about car safety, to reset that discussion back to the freedom and sexiness of a hot vehicle… people still want their hot cars.

    • I agree with that but I guess it was the use of the word “pornographic”. I would imagine it would make many an executive wince, espeically in the ’60s. But who knows, maybe Don had already sized the guy up and that’s what the off-the-cuff pitch was meant to suggest.

    • maybe don used the word “pornographic” because he was recalling how he felt after his last car trip on the way home from the campbell’s dinner party.

  13. Touche Deb. I was referring to the bloggers on BoK. I think you’ve let me get away with some gentle sarcasm, parody of mysogyny comments, and those comments are kind compared to private conversations I’ve had. The critiques of Megan have not slid into the childish, petty realm of her dress, teeth, sexuality, and all the things that can be used to objectify and diminish women, because looks are the prime value a woman has to offer. They’ve been, for the most part, fair.

  14. Wow. As a woman who in 1963, at 16, started working on Wall Street/lower Broadway and worked all over Manhattan from then until 1975 when I moved to NJ, I’ve lived these 1960s years and worked in these types of offices, as a secretary and beyond. I remember these times, through the rose-colored glasses we all use sometimes when viewing the times/experiences/people we want to remember well — and also as a woman who very much lived and worked in what I’ve always considered a “man’s world.” I did my best to live and work in that world, in those times, with humor, with integrity and with love and passion and lots of life. (After, as I still consider myself, I was/am a Brooklyn Italian/Russian scorpio :).)

    My first reaction to this post was outrage. Pure outrage. Because I don’t like Megan, haven’t liked her from the beginning, and don’t like her any more know. And I think the reasons I don’t like her have nothing to do with misogyny. And yet, because this is a BIG topic and one close to my heart, I am going to reflect on this before posting anything more. I don’t want to “re-act” — instead I want to intentionally respond, in a way that does service to the Jan who was born in Manhattan, raised in Brooklyn, and lives these years and these times. And despite my often choosing to don my rose-colored glasses when looking back at my past, they aren’t all good memories, by any means.

    And I am a product of growing up during the late 40′s and the 50′s and early 60′s and entering adulthood during the mid 60′s during those years — and living in the world that held the attitudes we are seeing towards women in this wonderful TV show — so I hold some of those attitudes as part of my mental/emotional makeup, in ways that maybe even I don’t realize, even today. Even now, after having seen Episode 1 of Season 1 more times than I can count, I practically go catatonic watching the first scenes with Peggy in the office amongst the MM men, and later during the gyn exam. Those things really happened, and they are sometimes still so real for me in life today and I’m not always sure if I’m reacting to the 20 year old on Madison avenue that I was or the Jan of today who is living such a different life.

    I’ll be back with more later, after work is done. Wow, is all I can say again. What a trip this thread is going to be!

  15. Re Megan and her job : without saying contemptuously that she slept her way to a copywriting position, I think it is fair to say that she became a copywriter only because she married Don. And Joan has predicted it minutes after the announcement, telling Peggy: “He will make her a copywriter, he does not want to be married to a mere secretary”. I do think that to pretend that her promotion is a result of her talent or intelligence is pure nonsense. It is however a sign of her ambition, that she has expressed more than once (including at the Campbell’s dinner).

    • …and she always references peggy when she speaks of her ambitions.

    • She may have talent. We haven’t seen it yet except in the arena of relationships, which she handles with skill, kindness and maturity. That’s a pretty important kind of talent, actually. But it’s not the talent she’s trying to develop.

    • Bling……very true….Megan is a copywriter because she’s married to Don.

      Jazzy55….right! She is talented in ways that really count in business.

      I DON’t like her yet, but I don’t begrudge her climb. I am open to knowing who she really is.

      Also, I am not a misoginist.

  16. I just don’t think Megan is an interesting character. She isn’t full fleshed out and comes off rather one dimensional. She serves no purpose other than being Don’s hot new young wife. Separate Don from Megan and the character is nothing. At least for now, and I don’t see that likely changing.I don’t think she’s a goldigger, a whore, a liar or anything of the sort, in fact,in real life I would probably get along with her pretty well. I just think MM is so ripe with characters that have given so much more to the show with their nuances, flaws,virtues and quirks, and have been so much more insightfull than Megan ever has.

    You don’t have to be mysognistic to dislike Megan. I would know.I’m a woman and I like myself and my sex just fine.

    Interestingly enough, I have heard plenty of similar mysoginistic statements coming from Megan fans against Betty.We all like, or dislike, who we like, and in my experience no group is exempt from the nastiness that ensues.

  17. I will make my comments based on the context of the misogyny as it relates to the 1960′s where Mad Men is set and my general feeling on misogyny in 2012.

    First I would like to congratulate you Deborah on your brilliant piece which covers a lot of the ground that I had reflected on since Megan was unveiled as a lead character on MM.

    So instead I want to focus on Megan’s timeline in terms of her own biography (speculative I know) and the time that she spent in SCDP in her lead-up to being the main woman in Don Draper’s life to perhaps clarify why I believe the misogynistic comments directed at Megan are unjustified.

    Let’s start with Megan’s heritage and childhood. She is a French-Canadian from Montreal, Quebec and was born about 1940 as her age in 1965 was supposedly 25 (Joan’s conversation with Greg in the last episode of season 4). Many Americans wouldn’t know this but Quebec was undergoing something called The Quiet Revolution in the early 1960′s and Megan’s father being a professor and Megan herself as a college student in Quebec would have participated in it being Francophones. There were many aspects of this “revolution” but one of the main focus of it was to break the hold the Roman Catholic church had on the people of Quebec and to make Quebec a more secular province. And by doing so it would make Quebec more secular in outlook as well.

    And with the advent of the birth control pill in 1960 and 1961, Megan would imho have become more secular in the sense of adopting the use of birth control as she lived life as a young independent woman.

    In relation to her talents and inclinations, at the time Quebec or Canada did NOT have a flourishing film industry and the market or opportunities for show business or theatrical performers was limited. Megan calls NYC a mecca for “artistic people.” She tells Don she majored in literature and dabbled in writing and acting in college.

    Was it that unusual for a young French-Canadian woman to move to NYC and live on her own to pursue an artistic career? Perhaps so. Then ask yourself how rare it would for a girl from Ohio to move to NYC to pursue the same kind of career? I would answer different strokes for different folks.

    We find out from Megan that she has a problem with her teeth and why her friend doesn’t think she would make it as an actress and in yesterday’s episode Don comments that Megan was studying acting but again she claims she would not have been very good. And in between we find out from one of Megan’s girlfriends at the party in Season 5 episode 1 that Megan was a better actress that she is giving herself credit for being.

    Bottom line: Megan Draper went to work at SCDP. Unless she really had sinister ulterior motives, one would have to assume a young woman of Megan’s age right out of college realized at this time she was NOT going to make it in acting at that time or her interests lie more in writing or creating works of art, such as what advertising copywriters do. Remember when she entered Don’s office late at night in Chinese Wall, she was open with Don in that she would be eventually interested to do what Don did or what Peggy does.

    In other words even without marrying DD, Megan was ambitious. Where the misogyny comes into the picture imho is offered by folks who believe Megan has a hidden agenda. My question is what hidden agenda? She told Don what she wanted to become or do eventually.

    Of course, then people will then focus on Megan’s hidden agenda to winning the heart of Don Draper and marrying him. Now to assert that argument one would have to believe that:

    a) Megan joined the firm as a young woman NOT to pay her rent and basically survive but to somehow cozy up to DD over time and really believe that someone so low on the totem pole would attract the likes of power player Don Draper.

    If you go back over season 4 to when Megan was introduced in the second episode and had one line, “Yes Joan” and trace her development on MM you will see Don gave her little notice until she picked up Sally after she had fallen at the office.

    b) When Ida Blankenship died at her desk. Unless Megan killed Ida, you have to assume Megan is NOT clairvoyant and could NOT have foreseen getting the job as Don’s executive secretary afterwards.

    Even then until Megan entered Don’s office in Chinese Wall we saw no indication that Don paid much attention to her except in passing.

    c) And finally we come to Don’s relation with Faye Miller. In the beginning episode of Season 5 Megan remarks she knows Don slept with Alison the former secretary and Dr. Faye. It was understood Faye could come into Don’s office anytime she wanted to and Megan obviously would have known about Don and Faye having a relationship.

    And Megan had no way of knowing if Don and Faye were contemplating marriage or not or that Faye had slept with Don at his apartment after he had sex with Megan at the office.

    And we all know from Tomorrowland that Don asked Megan to accompany him to CA to be nanny to his kids because of Betty firing Carla. How could Megan have known that Betty would make such a hasty decision? Even Betty didn’t know it herself until she discovered Glen had said goodbye to Sally.

    Now to the first night Don and Megan had sex in CA. Yes Megan stopped in for a few seconds with her friend to ask if Don needed anything else from her. Critics of Megan claim she was seducing Don at the time. But honestly I saw nothing seductive about that black dress.

    Anyway after Don heard Megan open her hotel room door that lay next door to Don’s room, it was Don who took the initiative to knock on Megan’s door and not vice versa. Yes once Don entered the room, Megan knew what was going to happen or at least had a strong suspicion it would happen but what was Megan supposed to do–turn Don away and tell him she had a headache. Remember Don was also Megan’s boss at work and had the power to fire her. And she would also feel grateful to him for a free trip to CA.

    Having said that on the balcony, Megan did little to rebuff Don’s advances and to not encourage him. The next scene we see Don and Megan in bed and the dialogue starts off with this question from Don:

    “Were you thinking about this when I asked you to come?

    Now if Megan wanted to be coy or had a hidden agenda I don’t think she would have answered in this manner:

    “It was the first thought that went through my head. I was gonna miss you so much anyway.”

    Then Don says, “You don’t anything about me.”

    I believe Don said this because he was taken by surprise at this point in life that any woman would love him this much, especially a much younger woman. As a older man Don did something unusual for him; he tried to talk Megan out of loving him by further saying in rebuttal to Megan’s response of “But I do. I know that you have a good heart and I know that you’re always trying to be better.”

    Did Megan just describe Don Draper?

    So this was Don’s response; “We all try. We don’t always make it. I’ve done a lot of things.”

    In other words Don is trying his level best to disabuse or dispel these notions this young woman has about him. In other words he is trying to talk Megan out of how she feels about him. And for folks on the hidden agenda theme, I don’t think Don was using reverse psychology on Megan. Remember Betty’s response to Don after he told her he was really Dick Whitman–”I don’t love you anymore.” So Don expected the same thing from Megan. Instead she said;

    “I know who you are now,.” which indicated to Don that she didn’t care about Don’s past affairs or what he had done in his past life which prompted Don to say this:

    “I want to know if I can knock on this door again tomorrow night or this is just what it is, like that night in the office. I need to know; I don’t know why.”

    Obviously Don had not thought about going to bed with Megan again until they arrived in CA and after his visit with Stephanie at Anna’s house where he was presented with Anna’s engagement ring from the real Don. But once he had sex with Megan again that all changed. His view of Megan completely changed. Call it the passion of the moment; call it being turned on or call it being in love because Don Draper left Megan’s room a changed man.

    And when he noticed how competent Megan was around his children and how calm she was in cleaning up the mess on the table from the spilled milkshake, Don knew he had a keeper. And by the way for you conspiracy theorists it was Sally who spilled the milkshake and not Megan.

    Now for the proposal itself, was Megan clairvoyant to know Don was going to propose to her in his apartment in NYC as she was waking up. Yes, she may have figured out that Don may have to re-evaluate his relationship with Faye Miller but Megan would not have known about Anna’s ring or Don’s true intentions. After all he was man who had affairs on the side and had for awhile and Megan knew that. At 25, Megan was not stupid.

    In other words the proposal came to her as a bolt from the blue and I believe Megan was pleasantly shocked at first with Don’s profession of love for her and then asking her to marry him. Was she “acting” by showing her surprise of Don asking her?

    Well this was Megan’s response, “I don’t know what to say. It’s all so fast.”

    In other words Megan had finally fully awakened from her sleep and realized what was happening.

    And after a comment by Don that fate brought them together, Megan says yes.

    Now did Megan manipulate Don to propose to her? Frankly I don’t see it.

    But what I do see is Megan manipulating Don to break it off with Faye Miler. But again Don would NOT have done this if he were not going to marry Megan.

    Now to season 5, we see Don and Megan did get married, that Megan works as a junior copywriter at the firm and Don and Megan are totally in love with each other.

    And evidence of that are comments from posters how “boring” Don has become because he is now happy. Tell me how does one manipulate someone to being happy. Usually manipulation causes one pain and distress.

    And when Don told Pete in the back of the cab that if he had met Megan first “he would have known enough not to throw it away” he was telling Pete his innermost feelings which he would NOT have revealed to him previously.

    But back to Megan. She is NOT perfect. But she is a perfect woman for Don Draper. And she makes him extremely happy. The misogyny comes into play from women who do NOT have the same influence on their men and men whose wives do not have the same influence on them. And that goes for real-life posters as well. Many women would love to turn their husbands on like Megan turns Don on and many husbands would love it if their wives were more like Megan.

    In addition there is a perception Megan got her job through nepotism (which is true) and that she doesn’t deserve it or is unworthy of it. In other words she married Don Draper to advance her career and to enjoy a lavish lifestyle that Don can provide. Why should she get all the perks and we get peanuts is the thinking?

    And finally many women tend to be catty and get upset that Megan is also very beautiful and charismatc while they are not. Jealousy and envy are definitely part and parcel of misogyny. And especially if the woman is not only beautiful but smart and eloquent as well.

    And regards to 2012, has very much changed?

    An interesting question to ask posters who practice misogyny–are they criticizing Megan for how she is acting in the mid 1960′s in relation to Don Draper or are they criticizing Megan based on the cultural values of the 2012 Zeitgeist as they now see it?

    What is most fascinating is that Megan Draper is a fictional character. Perhaps the misogynistic comments should be directed at Jessica Pare who is doing much too good a job of playing Megan.

    No woman should have that kind of power over Don Draper. The hate leveled at Megan Draper is clearly irrational. But the power that Megan has over Don is just as irrational. In other words the practice of misogyny is not only irrational but it is also most often based on irrational premises and ideas about women whose appeal to men cannot be explained rationally.

    • “But back to Megan. She is NOT perfect. But she is a perfect woman for Don Draper. And she makes him extremely happy. The misogyny comes into play from women who do NOT have the same influence on their men and men whose wives do not have the same influence on them. And that goes for real-life posters as well. Many women would love to turn their husbands on like Megan turns Don on and many husbands would love it if their wives were more like Megan.”

      Seriously? People don’t like the character of Megan because they are frustrated that they can’t turn their spouses on like she can? That is a simplistic, not to say insulting, explanation.

    • First of all, techno, I appreciate that you pour a lot into your comment essays, but I confess I must skim because of the demand to moderate so many comments. I didn’t see some quotes in here until another Basketcase mentioned them, and I apologize.

      The misogyny comes into play from women who do NOT have the same influence on their men and men whose wives do not have the same influence on them.

      No, indeed. Pitting women against each other and defining women as seeing themselves in competition for men is misogyny. Many women are simply not about “influence on their men.” Framing Megan as a person defined by her influence on her husband is misogynistic.

      And that goes for real-life posters as well.

      It is deeply offensive to accuse Basketcases who disagree with you of having problems in their lives, and it is also against our comment policy. Talk about the show, not the other Basketcases. This is an official warning.

  18. Thanks, Techno, for laying out the French-Canadian backstory. 1966 coincides with Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s first run for Parliament. He’s elected PM in 1968 and became a celebrity of rock star proportions. MW is genius to tap into that with Megan: in just a few years, she’s going to be considered very chic, and DD in his usual way saw something in advance of everyone else.

    I am in the pro-Megan camp, and here’s why. The other characters at SCDP are settled in. We know what to expect from Roger, Joan, Pete, Lane, Peggy. Megan is a bundle of surprises. She’s the new woman, confident in her sexuality, not at all guilty about her professional ambitions, and yet full of empathy. I like seeing what she says and does, and I like how she exemplifies late-60s women. Of all the Mad Men characters, she’s the most contemporary without it seeming calculating, like Dr. Faye.

    People don’t like her because she swooped in out of nowhere and captured our hero. Well, Don couldn’t have been captured unless he wanted to be — or unless MW wanted him to be. We don’t get to write the show, he does, and he’s clearly making a point with this relationship.

  19. Just saw Babylon again and every word Rachel utters carries weight. She was such a full character, you couldn’t wait to see her again. Mama Francis had ONE SCENE in S4 and she was a riot. I find her somewhat repellant but she fills the screen (not like that, get your minds outta the gutter) with presence, tottally compelling. Megan comes on screen, and you do not anticipate she’ll say anything memorable, hell viable, to move the story forward, or develop her character. Where is the supposed hatred? This is much ado……….
    I fail to see resentment against Megan for getting with DD. What I see is that MM is a serious show where the script is so elegantly, precisely written, that you don’t want anyone to muck it up or lower the dialogue. This viewer resents a character that he feels compromises that. Megan, lacks the gravitas to hang in this hood. Her giggly quality is there for contrast, breath of fresh air thing. We know that’s what Don likes. Its jarring to the show.

    • I couldnt agree more.You put that much more eloquently than I ever could.

    • If you want to be cynical regarding the scriptwriters, how much more unsavory or despicable a character can they make Don or how long can he be in psychological pain before he feels like killing himself?

      Honestly, an older woman would prefer NOT to marry anybody like Don because he has so much baggage. How could they trust such a philanderer? Plus he smokes and drinks too much.

      Imagine what most women would think when they found out he was born in a whorehouse to a 22 year old prostitute.

      Who’s left who is also marriage material? Young women who in Jessica Pare’s words in an interview are “hopefully idealistic” and who are able to see beyond Don Draper’s faults and despite them love him anyway.

      I know this is only a TV show but imagine you are a man who is 40 or approaching 40, you are divorced and your ex-wife has custody of the children and you are a complete mess in your private life. Would an older women be more likely to succumb to his animal-like charm? Or would they be like Dr. Faye and insist “that Don be like everyone else” implying they would NOT consider him marriage material until he “reformed.”

      But here is a woman who is 25, bright, articulate and beautiful “who has Don Draper in her head while at work and when she gets home at night. And then you find this is a woman who gets along with your children very well. And you also discover that she is not interested in your past affairs, that she loves you for who you are now. And finally you find this is a woman who is as sexually intense as you are and way more than any of your mistresses or ex-wife were.

      And I beg to disagree with you, an older debauched man seeks personal redemption by marrying a younger woman. That is about as serious you can get.

      If Don Draper “getting religion” is trivial then so is Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

      In other words Don’s efforts to gain personal redemption is the most important theme explored MM this season or any season or on any TV program ever.

      Bottom line: Was Henry Francis right when he told Betty “there is no fresh start” or is it possible for an apparently unredeemable character to be redeemed through the love of a woman?

      “Megan, lacks the gravitas to hang in this hood.”

      Not to be too graphic but Megan can look under Don’s hood anytime she wants and even more important he is constantly encouraging her to do so and doesn’t want her to stop.

      The line of the night yesterday from Don Draper:

      “I am who I am; I’ve been there where I’ve been; if I had met her (Megan) first, I would have known enough to not have thrown it away.”

      Gee, what am I missing here?

      • The fact that most, if not all the reasons you use to defend Megan have the name “Don” in them pretty much sums up why I dislike the character. She doesn’t seem to have a life of her own, and the character seems little less than a plot point to serve the “can the love of a good woman redeem him?” question.

        When the show starts dealing not just with the question of how Megan is good for Don, but how Don is good for Megan, then my view on the character will change. Until then, I will enjoy the other fully fleshed out characters that are able to stand on their own without having to serve another one for purpose.

        • Don is good for Megan because he is an older, powerful man who knows his way around the world and gives her confidence. To 25 year old Megan that is sexy.

          Can you really say that Don is bad for Megan? Has he mistreated her or cheated on her or slandered her? Instead she is now a junior copywriter and has the ear of one of the most powerful men in the advertising industry. And she lives in an elegant apartment and wears nice and expensive clothes.

          She tells him how she loves it that he could fix that faucet last time. Don makes Megan feel good.

          In the case of my parents, my father was twenty years older than my mother and one of the reasons she married him was because he knew what he was doing and she felt confident in his presence and she wasn’t that confident in her abilities as young girl of 22.

          I love this line from Barbara Stanwyck in the 1952 movie Clash of Night:

          “I want a man to give me CONFIDENCE, somebody off the blizzards and the floods and somebody to beat off the world when it tries to swallow you up.”

          Remember the current season of MM is set in 1966 not 2012. This idea proposed by Stanwyck in the movie would not have been so far removed from this era.

          • Again, you fail to give any particular characteristics that make up the Megan character, other than the fact that “she lives in an elegant apartment and wears nice and expensive clothes.” and that she is turned on by Don’s power and confidence. What women wouldn’t be? The only particular characteristic she seems to have is that she represents the millions of women that would likewise feel that same way about someone like Don.

        • Actually Megan has more of an “outside” life than most of the characters on the show. She appears to have a group of friends and likes to get out and do things.
          Kenny writes, Roger does the country club things like golf, Bert has his art and Japanese collections. What do the rest of them care about? Friends? Hobbies? Passions (not involving flesh or booze)? Volunteering? Church? Higher education? I mean, one thing about those old days, people got out and DID stuff. Even if it was just the work bowling team.
          If I’m supposed to feel like I really, really know these people, why are there so many things I don’t know? And I don’t want to read about it outside the show. I want to see it ON THE SHOW.

        • Well put.

        • The writers have gone out of their way to show that Megan DOES have a life and friends outside of Don and outside of the office. Yes, she likes them to mix occasionally, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t exist: they clearly do.

          It’s *Don* who doesn’t have a social life outside of Megan and work. And I am not impugning that at all — he’s obviously a loner and prefers to compartmentalize his life that way, and it’s a perfectly okay way to be, but I think this is an excellent example of sexism/misogyny associated directed Megan for no good reason.

    • tilden, it can be almost impossible to see all the comments here (as well as the smaller number on my Indiewire column). I have seen dozens and dozens of comments stating that Megan was manipulative, dishonest, had “designs,” that the whole thing was planned, that everything we see is a false front, that she is evil to have maneuvered Don into bed, that she is a slattern who stole him away from Faye (okay, “slattern” is my own embellishment). And that is only this season. Last season, the Team Faye versus Team Megan comments were so heated that moderation became an almost impossible task.

      And here’s the truth: NO male character has ever caused the moderators headaches. None. Don puking on his shirt, Duck attempting to defecate on a chair, Roger seducing teenage twins–none of this created the vitriol that female characters associated with Don have created. The moderation nightmares have, 100%, been about Betty, Suzanne, Faye, and Megan.

      That’s a fact. I have over 75,000 comments on this site and have read virtually every one of them. The only time a male has sparked any real out-of-control outrage on this blog is when Duck abandoned Chauncey. But women? All they have to do is exist.

      • “And here’s the truth: NO male character has ever caused the moderators headaches. None…. The moderation nightmares have, 100%, been about Betty, Suzanne, Faye, and Megan.”

        I believe white T Jim B nailed it saying the comments reveal more about the author than the character discussed.

        “We see things not as they are. We see things as we are.”
        Talmud

        • Hawk, Frank

          My comrades in arms. I hope you don’t mind if I take cover here between you two. Hawk thank you for the positive comment here as well as on the earlier “Shadow” post. In our household you are considered a high-value target for our writing, we hold your opinion in high esteem.

          And Frank Bullitt, ditto for you and Birdie.

          Deborah Newell Tornello, congrats on grabbing the third rail with your first post. I think many comments here are proving your point instead of responding to your thesis. We’re almost a case study here at the BoK.

          • Thank you, white T Jim B. I am kind of in awe, to be honest–everyone has such smart, well-informed opinions, be they in agreement with my thoughts or in opposition to them. And to read them all, and find Unamuno quotes and thoughts from the Talmud…well, I’m overjoyed.

            As Deborah Lipp will confirm, I’m not one to shy away from difficult, sticky things, ha!

      • Deborah: Before I discovered the Basket, I wrote a lenghty post about Dick Whitman and his brother Adam. Of all of Don Draper’s transgressions, abandoning Adam for a second time is a sin that he must atone. Of all of the characters in MM, only Sally (for now) and Adam are the only innocents. I can only imagine Adam’s heartbreak after being rejected by Don/Dick after years of insisting that he was alive. The only way Don’s character can redeem himself in my eyes is if he honors Adam and asks for his forgiveness. Until he does, Don will always be haunted by his conscience. I wonder if he’s a fan of Ricard III?

  20. 1. Megan DID sleep her way into the copywriting position. Nothing admirable about that.

    2. Why would I want to watch a show where Megan “wins” every week? Do you really think that’s a show the creators want to make? If and when she has a downfall, will you claim that represents “misogyny?” Or are you just using the desire of television audiences to have conflict to grind your axe?

  21. I love Megan and have thought she was great from the beginning. Her “sex kitten” quality is attractive to Don and many others including the ladies.I think her sexual openness is what is making people react negatively towards her, it’s that American Puritanism. To see her sexual openess with
    Don – Thank god! Finally, there is some other truth, some other side to women, they can have sex and actually enjoy it! I think that secret “sex kitten” characteristic was more prevalent than people percieve.

    She is far from a simple character, she is ALIVE. Compared to Peggy, Betty, Faye et.al. she is the MOST ALIVE, she loves herself and she loves her man. Perfect
    Now that is gravitas.
    Don’s a better man with Megan, and that doesn’t make him boring, it makes him more interesting.

  22. My problem with Megan is I don’t know her. We saw Betty having scenes without Don or the other major characters, but Mrs. Draper 2.0 is thus far in Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory as far as real character development is concerned. She seems to be there as Don’s Dream Wife who molded Don into the perfect husband, unlike That Mean Ol’ Betty Who Couldn’t Love. It lets Don off the hook much too easily for my taste.

    Now, I do realize that this is honeymoon time and all that, and Roger was equally smitten with Jane, who he now hates, for that first year. But if Megan is supposed to be a real person and not just Don’s fantasy sex puppet/watchdog combination, couldn’t we have a scene now and then with Megan on her own?

    • Hi Meowser. But…Manic Pixie Girl? She doesn’t seem manic or pixie-like to me, and I don’t see her as a girl either. She seems very womanly, in a youthful-ish way.

      I agree that she is almost entirely drawn as Mrs Don Draper, and given that limitation, we really don’t know HER. Like I said above in #2, she’s a dark horse, not a Trojan horse. What I don’t get is why, if she’s such a great, together person, she is with…Don. Who’s not great or together.

      I wonder if what makes people assume she’s “up to no good” is because only someone who’s got an agenda would chose Don, and overlook all the obvious red flags about him, starting with his womanizing, continuing with his drinking, and moving over into his lack of friends and relations?

      • I think people initially thought she was up to no good because she was drawn as this perfect idealized character with no real flaws to speak of. Since nobody’s perfect, they’re looking for the catch, whether she’s up to no good or if she’ll simply tire of him once the honeymoon phase wears off.

      • Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a trope. Explanation is here (warning: link is TV Tropes, beware of time-suck potential).

        • Ha! Very amusing. She sort of fits/doesn’t. She’s almost more like a Magical Negro — a wise one from another culture (French Canadian, in this case), in touch with authentic and healing elemental forces, who helps free Our Hero from his bad side.

          Or not.

          Thanks for the link. I will avoid on your good advice.

    • Just saw this after I commented!

      One thing I’m holding out hope for is that this will be a Mad Men version of the MPDG stock character, meaning they’ll let the audience think Megan is just a MPDG and the – Bam! – she turns around and does something unexpected. In Weiner we trust, I guess is what I’m saying.

      • Well, in an interview with Matt Weiner on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, he said after the first two episodes this season we’ve already been told what’s wrong with Megan and Don, but “It’s not what you think”. So, I do have faith that something extraordinary will happen. MW & Co have never let us down, right?

  23. Can only speak for myself Deb. I love my boyo Don more than any other blotter, and I’ve laid into him plenty. I do nothing but praise beloved Pegs, our Joanie, and darling Sally because they are all admirable characters in my mind. Don’s paramours inspire the lunatic fringe? Well…..
    I was not aware of BoK during S1, but I would’ve written SONNETS about Rachel. I was absolutely smitten with Suzanne. That was the modern girl for Don. And everyone here hated her. Which makes my contrarian self smile. I was hoping DD would run away with her. I thought Bobbie was interesting, with her manipulative manner. Very wry. Elizabeth Hofstadt? Um………….
    Betty is a frozen in position child who does not move forward. That’s my reason for disliking her character. Not because she stood in the way of ol’ Don and his good times. Don’s lovers don’t drive me batshit.

    • People hated Suzanne partly because it was Just Wrong for her to have an affair with the father of one of her students. But did those same people also hold it against Don for having an affair with the teacher of one of his children? (They may have held off until Sally was no longer in her classroom — I honestly don’t recall now — but that only makes it a little less wrong, IMO).

      I’d like to think I was mad at both of them for that.

      • Like I said, 75,000 comments. No one ever had to be moderated for getting mad at Don.

        • i don’t doubt that.

          but maybe it’s because it goes without saying. the foregone conclusion is that don is a cad, as the sky is blue– all other factors seem mutable by comparison.

          • I’d add that people have also been moderating for praising women, but not men. And by “praising” I mean becoming so obsessed with defending their beloved character that they become insulting towards other Basketcases. I think it’s part of a piece: Women are objects in a patriarchy, whether objects of love or hate.

  24. Sex puppet/ Watchdog!?!? Meowser I haven’t laughed this hard at a post in a long time.

    One more thing: Way too much about Megan already. She’s a minor character. The more we mention her, the. more the Megan camp is deluded into thinking how much she’s hated. It ain’t that serious.

  25. Now let’s flip the misogyny argument around. Why aren’t there more adverse comments on Don proposing to Megan without knowing her very long?

    10 possibilities:

    1) Don is a known quantity and the audience is comfortable or used to what DD will probably do? Thus Don can be excused for acting like himself.

    2) Why is there more talk or ridicule about Don robbing the cradle? In 1965-1966 that was still a very common expression.

    Having said that Joan did refer to the age difference in a conversation with her husband.

    3) Don is jeopardizing his position in the firm to allow nepotism to occur.

    4) Could Don have gone off the deep end in marrying Megan?

    5) Don betrayed Faye by proposing to Megan while he knew Faye would be waiting for his phone call after he got back to NYC.

    6) All Don wants is a young sex partner in a very, very selfish way.

    7) Don is at lower intellectual level than Megan–never graduated high school

    8) Don is intrigued by a woman who doesn’t want to know about his past. Buyer beware.

    9) Don needs to be married with what happened in season 4. He will continue to be unfaithful.

    10) Don wants a mother for his children in case Betty should die.

    In other words why aren’t posters more cynical about Don’s decision to propose to Megan? Why is there instead a boatload of criticism leveled at Megan for accepting his proposal?

    • Actually, I thought one of the crappiest things Don’s ever done on the show (which is saying a lot) was pulling the trap door on Faye like that. And though I never cared for Megan, I never blamed her for accepting his proposal. Obviously, the girl was majorly into him.

      Is her perfection for real? We’ll see. What would be Swiss-chocolate rich with irony is if it is Megan who ends up cheating on Don given his behavior the first four seasons and this new-found commitment to fidelity of his. That irony might be too broad for Weiner’s taste but it would be a doozy of a development.

  26. It was irrelevant that Suzanne was darling Sally’s teacher. She was mature, intelligent, worldly, ahead of her time, woman. Sigh.

    • Not to me. I thought it was gross, but I’m a teacher (or was, at the time of that episode). Such a no-no. Oh. Whoops. THERE’S a good example of projecting one’s own stuff onto a TV show.

    • I was unkind regarding Suzanne, and those who wrote her. In public. On this blog.

      Three years later, I am all about Megan Draper (even before she WAS Mrs. Draper). Again: in public, on this blog.

      I could argue that Megan is a character who is written no differently than Suzanne Farrell. In fact, for the sake of playing devil’s-advocate with my 2009 self, I will argue that: there is little, if any, difference between the two.

      What has changed? Is it the women I saw on the screen, is it the writers … or is it me?

      • I remember what Hawk posted. . .

      • OOOOOO! This has much potential! Get that spin-off post ready!

        I’m conflicted. My 2009 self argued enthusiastically against your 2009 Anne B about this person Suzanne as you may remember. And the current LOM very much also likes Megan for many of the same reasons 2009 LOM very much liked Suzanne. Which side do I thrash at? What team am I on? (lol)

        More seriously, I personally believe the main difference between the two women is that Suzanne infringed upon Betty’s marital property, whereas Megan moved under a state-sanctioned, legally available Donald and is therefore not as open to scorn.

        Suzanne’s transgression against proper property rights was perceived as unseemly, tawdry and I believe even possibly anti-sisterhood by some viewers (I know better than to speak for you though Anne. :) ) Megan’s maneuver wronged only the single Faye who possessed no sanctioned claims on The Donald. Thus the economic principles of the Free Market of Sex and the Law of the Survival of the Sexiest seemed to prevail more fairly, and Megan is not judged as definitively as a destroyer of a well-accepted societal institution. To sum up, I think it has a lot to do with a sanctity of marriage bias. I am almost entirely serious about this.

        That’s just my theory though. I don’t know how to test it. I liked Faye a lot, but I still am very happy with Megan being around also. Maybe it comes down to whom is blamed for wronging Faye more, Don or Megan?

        • It’s such a good topic I can’t believe it.

          These two (Suzanne and Megan) have so much in common:
          * Both warm and accessible people
          * Both presented first in a professional capacity
          * Both great with kids
          * Both sexy and creative (Suzanne with the baking and cooking, Megan with the performing arts)
          * Both sexually liberated

          The differences are just as interesting:
          * Suzanne: Don pursued her
          * Megan: she pursued Don
          * Suzanne: teacher (I too am a former teacher), living above a garage
          * Megan: hints of family money (“It’s my money,” she said, when Don chastised her for throwing the party)

          But none of those, neither similarities nor differences, gets to why I feel what I do about them. I refused to understand Don’s choice of Suzanne, but I was, and am, all greenlight with Don and Megan. And I truly identified with Faye (a consultant, like me; closer to my age than Megan; big on the insights), so it’s doubly weird.

          The only thing I can think of is that, in the time between Suzanne-and-Don and Don-and-Megan, I began to identify more with the children on the show. In Mad-Men-Season-Five time, I am a few months old right now (I was born in 1966). I think this perpective helps me see all the adult characters on their own merits, and thus more clearly.

          With the exception of Pauline Francis, who is a monster. Obviously. :)

          • Suzanne drunk-dialed Don before he ever made a move, so that’s not a contrast. Also, I assumed that the “my money” meant what she earned at SCDP–which she’s obviously free to burn since Don’s salary covers their luxurious lifestyle.

        • Your Devil’s Advocate is essentially correct I think. Walk through the Suzanne and Megan time-lines with respect to the story and the revelation of pieces their personalities and notice the parallels.

          To answer the question, I believe it is . . . you.

          I’m unplugging until tomorrow, and I anticipate catching up on a lively thread.

      • I was pretty public about my dislike of Suzanne too. To be fair, a lot of it is dislike of Abigail Spencer’s skill as an actor. I haven’t liked her in anything, even her commercials irritate me. I am rarely irritated by actors–I know a lot of people with long lists of actors they refuse to see, but I have a very short list. But this woman just rubs me the wrong way; I find her flat and her acting choices obvious and irritating.

        I also didn’t like the combative dialogue in Seven Twenty Three, the way she flirted with Don by picking a fight. Too close to home? Perhaps.

        • True. Suzanne was assertive there, and not in a way I remember liking.

          I do think Jessica Pare is the superior actress, but I’m aware that my distaste for Suzanne as a character challenged my ability to see her clearly.

          All of which is making me wonder exactly who it is I enjoy watching: Don Draper the con artist and control freak, or Jon Hamm the terrific actor? Pete Campbell the creep and civil-rights advocate, or Vincent Kartheiser, underrated performer?

          Betty Draper, introverted, childish, and wounded woman of privilege, or January Jones, quietly excellent interpreter of grief?

          I love these questions.

      • Why Megan is not like Suzanne: she wasn’t Sally’s teacher, and Don wasn’t married when he met her. Seeing someone, yes. But it wasn’t clear (to me anyway) what level of commitment there was between him and Faye.

        Also, I perceived Suzanne as a troubled, unhappy person (she drank, and flirted with the parent of one of her students, which as I have stated, is NOT professionally OK), and Megan is not. When children are involved I don’t give people a pass for “kick out the jams” behavior.

        Less of Me, I personally have low regard for women who sleep with married men for no other reason than they’re lonely and they find the guy hot. I also dislike when married men fool around. If you have marital problems, DEAL WITH THEM. Then find someone new. In that order. The Suzanne affair was one of Don’s more tawdry episodes.

  27. This page exploded when DD proposed. Most of which were along the lines of: Oh no, Don. No, no, no, no, no, no!!!!!!! We still feel like that.

    • That is because women want Don to want them, most of the people who contribute to these blogs are women, right? So if who he chooses acts/looks like what we think we act/look like, then we are happy. If he chooses someone different from us, we hate them.

  28. I just figured it out!

    Megan is goin to leave Don. Torridly!!!!

  29. I think it would be interesting if she was his karmic retribution for all his cheating on Betty. She gets tired of him and steps out with guys her own age. Taste the payback, Don!

    • Exactly! That would make the whole Megan storyline worth it for this viewer.

    • Cheers to this. :)

      I subscribe to the theory that Megan at least had a tiny idea of Don and Faye (at least I think she did). So when she stated she was into him, she was going after another woman’s guy (Faye). Don cheated on his own, and you could argue that if it wouldn’t have been Megan it would have been someone else, but I don’t see Megan innocent here. I see her as one of those popular ‘mean girls’ who can be very calculating, very direct, knows how to get what she wants, willing to take action, and literally doesn’t care about the feelings of others.

  30. If Snow White left him, it would at least present him with a dilemma. Where is he in that office? Dawn must be breaking some sort of world’s record writing while-you-were-out notices. Arrives at 11, lunch at 12, leaves for home at 3. Let Peggy and the punk Pete do all the work.
    The office is where MM shines, because its where DD shines. He ‘s happy–cool. But please don’t kill of the man who thrills with the next Big Idea. I think I saw him on my milk carton this morning.

    • DD sure hasn’t thrilled with any “Big Ideas” lately. Pornographic cars? Eww. For some reason he’s off his game.

  31. Donna, I respectfully ask, who among our bloggers looks like Jessica Pare?

    • Well, who knows? The point being, they think they are like her or look like her, or identify with her in some way. How many people look like Dr Faye? Again who knows? But there are a ton of well educated women commenting on this post and remember how much support she had for becoming wife #2.

    • i don’t, but i don’t want don, either. actually, jon hamm reminds me of my dad at that age, and if jessica paré had hidden gums and a bubble butt, and better fitting bras (i know 32 C is hard to find, but i wonder if this was intentional on bryant’s part as to megan’s bohemian characterization), she’d remind me of my mom.

      so my gestalt says i’m supposed to be attracted to both of them. but not so much. i don’t look like anybody on this show– unless baby girl campbell counts.

  32. I would like to know what Megan’s converstations with her parents are about and anything else she says in French. Does anyone know if that’s posted anywhere? Maybe Megan is looking for another job and that’s why she is in Don’s office.

    • I’d love to see her look for another job, Anna. I don’t really feel her ambition at SCDP, and think she’s there just because Don wants her there. She’s confessed to being a dabbler last season, and hasn’t quite found her bliss yet. Judging by the swankiness of her and Don’s pad, I’d love to see her as an interior designer. What would Don think of her finding something that fulfills her that requires her to be away from him? That would raise the stakes on their happy marriage.

  33. You think their pad is swanky? I think it looks like a motel. Chacun a son gout.

    • It was swanky for the times. Decorating changes just like clothes do.

      • Oh, I totally agree. The Draper’s apartment is utterly gorgeous, very Scandinavian/American Mid-Century Modern, but with more subdued and tasteful tones. Roger’s office, on the other hand, is over-the-top ’60′s Italian and Scandinavian Mid-Century Modern, with the Saarienen pedestal table, the silvery Castiglioni arching lamp, the black-and-white Op-arty decor. I love them both, in fact. Those are classic pieces of furniture, some of which I own–I purchased them in the 80′s when they were available in abundance at Florida garage sales and second-hand shops and were considered “old fashioned and weird”, shortly before they became trendy and prices shot through the roof. For example, a decent original Saarinen table today costs many thousands. Knoll still makes a lot of those pieces, as does Herman Miller.

        • I love Roger’s sterile white office but the oranges, golds and browns of the 60s were never my favorites. To me they scream MOTEL ROOM. Always will.

          • Jzzy, I totally agee. It looks like an alien environment, very cold and barren. I don’t think I could ever feel at home there.

          • The furniture in the Draper pad is not across the board modern for the time (check out that armchair in the bedroom), only the colors. Roger’s office is super-mod in every way. Both are collectible now, but honestly, the Draper furnishings looks just like what my husband’s grandmother had in her 1960s-vintage apartment in Hollywood, Florida. Right down to the flocked gold bedding et cetera. She had zero taste.

  34. I liked Suzanne, and I’m a teacher. I admired her passion for civil rights and the way she cared for her brother.

    I thought Joy was waaaay more free-spirited than Megan.

    Women are held to a much harsher standard. Ya’ll are right, we can’t win, which is freeing, because we don’t have to worry about “doing what we want versus what’s expected of us”.

  35. What I find amazing about misogyny is how blanket a criticism there is of a woman who marries a prominent man but over time the critics offer no specific reason for the criticism to be leveled.

    And why is the man’s happiness questioned even though a clear pattern has been set? And what kind of logic is it that a woman can manipulate a man to be happy? A 40 year old ad exec is not that stupid.

    And finally when a man who was in the habit of cheating on his wife frequently, abstains from having sex in a whorehouse somehow critics doubt that he will remain faithful to his new wife in the future.

    Why isn’t there more criticism or scrutiny on Jane Sterling and her inability to make Roger happy? After all Roger did cheat on her and she was once his secretary.

    • I don’t believe it’s any woman’s job to “make” her husband happy. Roger, like Pete, like Don, cannot be “made” happy.

      And as a point of trivia, Jane was not Roger’s secretary, she was Don’s.

    • I can only speak for myself but: I don’t feel scrutiny for Jane is needed. I may not agree with her goals and motives but she was honest about what they were from the start. It was clear to anyone with eyes that she was there to catch a husband, and if that is your goal why not go for the richest one?

      Do I agree with Jane? No Do I respect her based on what I have seen of her behavior? No, not really.

      But she came in with a mission and she got what she wanted, Roger’s the fool who didn’t see past the wool she was putting in his eyes.

      I have the same attitude towards Megan. I don’t understand the scrutiny because just like Jane, Megan was honest about her motives. She was NOT there to catch a husband, things just played out in a way where she ended up getting married. Megan may be a bit of a floater in terms of not knowing what she wants to do with herself, but she was never dishonest. She put herself and her opinions out there, you can’t blame her for Don’s actions or choices.

  36. I think that from the beginning Megan’s character seemed clunky and poorly developed–she sort of came from nowhere and felt forced upon us in S4. Most of the women that Don had been involved with were complex to a degree, but Megan was not. There’s something about her that just does not ring true to me–even her name! Honestly, Megan was not a ’60s name, and the chances of a French Canadian baby girl being named Megan in the 1940s? (Fwiw, I’m French Canadian. Haven’t met me a Megan once.) On the one hand, who cares; it’s just a name. On the other hand, it’s things like that that matter–were the writers being sloppy? Is there a story there? Did she change her name to something more contemporary, because she’s such a modern girl? If so, they haven’t told us yet.

    I appreciate that in S5 Megan has been portrayed in a more rounded manner. But here’s my theory as to why she’s not top on my list–she’s just not relatable to me. I relate to Peggy because I’m an introvert who was raised Catholic and who started out in a competitive, creative career having no idea what the heck was going on around me. I care about Peggy, and I want her to be happy! I want her to be free from her guilt-ridden upbringing and to outsmart the boys and to have good sex with her boyfriend, because it feels like a real success to me–a kind of success that I rarely see portrayed anywhere else.

    As for Megan, I know she’ll be fine. She’s independent and confident and modern. But she doesn’t seem to have any flaws or need anyone else, so maybe that’s why I’m not all that concerned about what happens to her.

    Your perspective as an outsider is interesting. Misogyny rears its head in different ways. Perhaps Americans prefer flawed characters, but I can only speak for myself.

    • Oh, not the Megan name controversy again. This went about 20 rounds last season. I’m with you. Megan sounds like someone born in the 90s. Not French, not 40s. You say you are French-Canadian and have never met a Megan.

      i was told that not every detail has to be “exact” but we’re talking MM here. Of course they have to be exact. Thus, “Megan” is a very strange name for this particular character’s backstory.

      I rest my case.

  37. The only thing strikes me about their pad is that its gigantic. 20 million easy for today’s midtown market.

    Peg4Prez, men are just happy when a woman gives us the time of day. Seinfeld: we men are unsure about everything except one thing. We want women. End of story.

  38. I can only speak for my own feelings about Megan. It’s basically that she’s wife #2 and will be compared to Betty. She’s modern, easy going, but not a society girl, not an experienced exec wife. Don’s final line to Pete in the cab that, had he met Megan first, he wouldn’t have thrown it away is hard to hear. Megan makes Don happy in ways Betty never could. Does Megan control Don? I thought he seemed more like a man in love happy to please his wife. In his marriage w/Betty he controlled her. I don’t know the chicken and egg scenario there, but we see this paralyzed Betty. She came to life to end her farcical marriage w/Don. But now, she’s still in the same dance with Old Man Francis. That marriage doesn’t look promising. The Draper children are suffering from the divorce and remarriages. Had the Francis marriage failed and Don remained free, perhaps Don and Betty could have reconciled in some way down the road. (I wonder why MW had them divorce while he kept Tony and Carmella in the dance of their crazy marriage through to the end.) But now, there’s no turning back. Megan is his love unlike Betty ever was. I think that’s hard to take. We saw the first Draper marriage, with its joys and sorrows, beauty and flaws. There was something between the two, but it is now passed. Done. Gone. Their poor kids.

    And January Jones is displaced as a leading lady in the show it seems to me. Second to Elizabeth Moss, who as Peggy, I think is the primary female character of MM.

    And Megan also displaced Peggy. While she and Don were not romantically involved, recall they had just developed a deep bond and confided in unique ways to one another when Don proudly announces the engagement. Don doesn’t need her. He’s come clean w/Megan. Peggy earned her copyright job. I have seen little indication as to whether Megan really has that skill for the job she married into.

    See Peggy respond to the new office situation by entering into a pact with Ken to leave together. That was pretty big news to me last night.

    I don’t think Megan scouted out SCDP to catch herself a man, Don in particular. She seemed to get ambitious about it as time went on. And some other ladies have been displaced by her success. That may be part of the rub here…?

    Will another shoe drop? It always does, doesn’t it?

    • I’m still holding on judgement on ‘Megan as the love of Don’s life’. He was drunk when he said it, and they really are in that honeymoon phase, or lavender haze as one Anna Draper called it. If Don can still call Megan the ‘love of his life’ after ten years of marriage and ups and downs, that might mean something,

      Sadly I could see Megan displacing Betty. Others have said, outside of the kids she doesn’t really function on the show. If anything were to happen to Betty, they kids would go to Don and Megan.

      I don’t see Megan displacing Peggy though at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Peggy is an original, she’s one of the hardest working employees at the agency, and I would have thrown in loyal too if she hadn’t of mentioned jumping ship whenever Kenny leaves. I don’t see Megan being able to do half the things Peggy can do (even being married to one of the head guys). I don’t see Don wanting to lose his relationship to Peggy – she is his ‘go to girl’, he shared things with her that he told no one else (before Megan anyway).

      Interestingly enough when one of the episodes mentioned finding a model for their product (it might have had something to do with the ‘Cinderella shoe’ concept, I imagined Megan as the model).

      • I agree that Peggy’s skills cannot be replaced by Megan–unless she suddenly becomes endowed with great skills by the writers. But, I was primarily thinking about the close bond and trust between Peggy and Don that had developed to an even deeper level, though not romantic (Suitcase episode?) soon before Don falls for and proposes to Megan. It broke the bond between D & P. And P has to have the indignity of supervising her boss’ (professionally) inexperienced wife. Megan says she wants to do what Peggy and Don do. Perhaps she does intend to displace Peggy at SCDP. Will Don really do that for “the love of his life”? I’d think if he did try it, the partners would draw the line. Recall, Peggy is willing to leave with Ken if needed. It all remains to be seen…

        For the Don-Megan marriage, yeah, I’d have to agree we’d have to see down the road whether his feelings remain constant. As some one else noted somewhere on this thread, it is illogical that Don could have met Megan before Betty. Megan would have been a child. Thinking about the romantic role playing of Don and Betty in Italy, I can’t help but wonder whether D&B’s relationship before life in the suburbs and kids might have been as romantic/sexually satisfying, happy, etc.

  39. Really interesting post and thread! I never looked at the Megan Hate Phenomenon through this lens, but it certainly rings true (to clarify: I’m referring specifically to the accusations that Megan is a slut, gold-digger, etc; not other non-gendered criticisms of her character).

    I’ve looked at Megan through a different lens, and she strikes me simply as the dramatic equivalent of every comedic character Zooey Deschanel has ever played. That is, she’s flawed, but only superficially and in ways that endear her to the audience. I agree that Megan has not shown herself to be conniving or too sexy or naïve or greedy or too careerist or too nurturing or too…anything. She’s perfectly balanced with no extremes or real foibles, and that’s the point of her character so far. In fact, the only flaws I can consistently find are:

    1. Some kind of gap or something in her teeth (Tomorrowland).
    2. She occasionally says something slightly (but always endearingly) impolite in social situations. I’m thinking of when she made it clear that Don was divorced when they started dating while at dinner (I think it was in Tea Leaves) and when she conspicuously forgot Ken’s wife’s name (Signal 30).

    Bam. Two flaws. And they’re adorable. So I agree that she’s not a gold-digger, slut or careerist: That would require 3-demnsions and sharp edges – traits her character has not been shown to possess.
    As the season progresses, I really hope they take her character down a darker path and away from Deschanel or – God forbid – Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory. When one thinks about it, her similarities to this stock character are too close for comfort already: She’s bubbly , cute, spontaneous and she’s trying to teach brooding, damaged Don how to cut loose and embrace life. The main difference is that she doesn’t appear to be doing it at the expense of pursuing her own happiness, but time will tell…

  40. I apologize in advance for this long post. Please skip it if you prefer one liners or paragraphs instead of chapters.

    Wow and wow again. There is real heat being generated here. IMO this reaction to Megan as a character is not being driven by misogyny, though it may be that some people are reacting to her via that particular lens. Many others are responding to her without that lens, and some are using that language.

    I’ve said before that I don’t like Megan. Principally because Idon’t like the persona it feels like we’re being hard sold without much character written to back it up.

    The only things we absolutely KNOW about Megan are what Matt and his writers have written in the scripts as her lines (I imagine with directions on how to portray the lines she says) and what the character of Megan SHOWS about herself in actions. Everything else — EVERYTHING else — is just supposition and coming from our own desire to see her in a certain way OR our own life experience.

    So what do we know about Megan as viewed through the lens of Megan’s own words versus her (scripted) actions — versus what we’re being told by Matt in interviews and by some posters who view the show (and who like Megan) are saying are “facts” about her:

    “Megan is smart.” All I’ve seen Megan do so far is do the work of a secretary, and I did not see her do anything exemplary as a secretary. And yes, I know from personal experience that secretaries often are, and have to be, very intelligent to do the jobs they do. I worked as an executive secretary during some of those years for the vice president of a multi-billion dollar (in sales) company on “peacock alley” (as it was called then) in the worldwide headquarters of a huge international company. And I started in that company as a “girl friday” and worked my way up through many promotions and going to school at night. But not every secretary is “smart” or intelligent. Like a lot of women before and after me, I went to college at night, after working a 40+ hours work week, to get beyond secretarial work. And yes, I don’t like to see any woman get ahead by what is, yes, essentially, sleeping her way up.

    And I’ve seen nothing to prove, to me at least, that Megan is in any way out of the ordinary in her mental capacity or in any way “witty.” What we did see her do is fill in an important form and have Don sign it without bringing it to his attention and getting his permission to fill it out and send it in – with huge repercussions for Don. We’ve seen her be awkward in conversation, seen her make faux pas and see her fumble for words and make outlandish statements.

    Megan’s desire to be a writer/actor/”do the work that Peggy and Don do”: We don’t know what her desire to be (or do) were before she came to work at this agency. We don’t even know what she actually did for work before, other than we can assume (if we chose to) that she had a resume that led to her being hired as Joan’s assistant. She came to be a secretary because of Miss Blankenship’s sudden death.

    She came to her job as junior copywriter because she married Don — and for no other reason at that time deserved or would have gotten that promotion. Since then, she’s written some coupons — that’s all that we’ve seen or that has been talked about on the show.

    We’ve seen her sit at Peggy’s desk. It took absolute gall for her to do this and in most places, especially with a woman boss who had worked her own way up to her job, she would never have gotten away with that for one minute. She only got away with it with Peggy because she’s married to the boss.

    She’s sat at Don’s desk twice now. Does she like people to see her sitting where she hopes they will think she belongs? Does she not have a place to sit with a typewriter to do her job? Or for another reason? We don’t know, because we haven’t been told by Matt, the creator of Megan.

    So we have no real knowledge or experience of Megan being especially good at anything she’s done at her jobs so far.

    She’s downplayed her own (unwittnessed and unknown) abilities to act and write twice now. She says she’s dabbled in writing and art, but we haven’t seen anything particularly creative coming from her yet. In “Chinese Wall” we hear her say to Don: “…I think I’d like eventually to do what you do or Miss Olsen does…” and Don replies “I didn’t know that” and his eyes did light up at that. He asks her why she moved “here” and she replies “…it’s NY and for an artist it’s mecca” (he’s asking HER why SHE moved here and anyone would assume she would respond about HERSELF) and when Don asks if she’s an artist she immediately steps back and says “…well I wouldn’t say I’m an artist. I’m an artistic person and I majored in literature, and I dabbled in painting and writing and a little bit of acting…” and giggled. She “dabbled”? Is Megan putting herself down because women did that then or is she backing down because she truly can’t claim to be any of those things for herself? We don’t know.

    She said also “you judge people on their work, I’m the same way, everything else is just sentimental…” She makes lots of large grandiose statements that sound good maybe on first hearing but that really are not backed up by any of her actions or anything we see her being or doing on screen.

    What I can and do see constantly is Megan posing. She doesn’t act, so much as she poses. She “makes faces.” Once you see that, it’s distracting. My son is 34 and just recently started watched MM. My daughter watched it with me last night for the first time. It’s interesting that their view of Megan isn’t much different than mine – and believe me they are vocal about all the things they disagree about with me! My daughter was annoyed at how much Megan posed last night, instead of acting. And yes, of course, I had mentioned this to her before she watched the show but she seldom agrees with me about TV shows or actors.

    Is Jessica a mediocre actress or has Matt written her part (up until now) for Jessica to play as someone average or mediocre? I don’t know. Time will tell. BUT we’re being told in many ways that she’s extraordinary. Again, not proven.

    Megan is chic and dresses fashionably – or so it is claimed by some. Personally I like her dresses. I owned many of the types of outfits we’ve seen on her, and I shopped at Jill’s Dress Shop on a side street near Wall & Broad, not in Paris or Fifth Avenue. Were they copies of couture fashions of the time? Maybe — but if so, I was unaware of it. Were her clothes and fashion sense out of the ordinary? Again, no, IMO. The types of clothes she wore were worn then by many women, and it was common for women then, and after, to spend a large % of their salary on clothes, as I did.

    **The biggest claim that I have the most issue with is that Don has changed because of her and her love. I do believe that people can, and do, change. I’m a counselor and I see people make true, deep and lasting changes in themselves and their lives. And change comes about because people make decisions to change. And yes, we could certainly say that Don has made that decision to change. And usually that decision is reached because of work done in therapy or counseling over time or because of a traumatic situation or event, and that decision is then followed up by consistent actions backing up the decision to change.

    People DON’T change for the long term because of someone else. Nor because of how that person’s “love” changed them. If they do, the changes are momentary, especially if not backed up, again, by consistent action. Don did not do any therapy or counseling. He swam mornings and wrote in his journal – for a short period of time. These are great beginning actions to help create awareness of who we are and what we want. And it usually takes help to create change after that. To our knowledge Don did not take any further steps. What we saw him do is tear the pages out of his journal to take the action to write the letter to the NY Times taking his new “position” about cigarette advertising. Did he continue looking at himself and working to make changes? We don’t know. What we did see if Don jump into a relationship and a quick marriage to the first young woman who came along who seemed to exhibit youth and life and change. Again, did Don really change? Or did he look for, and immediately find, someone he thought would create change for him?

    I believe that Don wants to change, and sees being with Megan as a way to do that. Someone else said he’s using Megan as sort of a sedative (my word), and I agree with that. It’s great to be with someone new, someone who only knows what we’ve chosen to share about our past, usually far from the whole story. Someone who we think will bring new and exciting things into our life. This is a shortcut that many try, and it usually doesn’t lead to long-term change but instead to disappointment and rejection of the person who didn’t, in the end, “change us” or our lives. This “story” that some chose to believe that Megan loves Don just the way he is and that she accepts him doesn’t wash IMO. She knows only what he’s told her. And we don’t know what he’s told her.

    From Deborah: “So now we have: A beautiful and stylish woman who, like Betty before her, speaks a foreign language. Who is intelligent, worldly, sophisticated, musically talented, and sexually adventurous.” For “stylish” – please see above. “Intelligent,” see above also. “Sexually adventurous” I’ll give you. And yet we don’t know if she’s any more sexually adventurous than many of the other women Don has been with. What we DO know is that it’s all still new. Making love in a car on the side of the road, on the carpet, in an office, etc. – been there, done that. And so have many, many other women, in 1966, before that and since then.

    “Musically talented”? By what proof? What I heard was average singing and very awkward attempts at dance steps that were consistently off tempo. And a song that titillated and shocked most people there, and IMO that was her intention. Was it for Don’s pleasure or for her own? We don’t know.

    And I’ll touch that most “misogynic” thing (in some people views). We’re told, over and over, that Megan is beautiful. To use that old chestnut, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my view, she’s average pretty. Far from beautiful. I could list all the ways I see her as not beautiful, but chose not to. Suffice it to say, again, what each of us sees as beautiful is personal. There is no one definition of a beautiful woman, and there are probably as many, or more, people that don’t think Megan is beautiful as there are who do think she is. What I resent here is the hardsell we’re being given that “Megan is beautiful” as a statement of fact, rather than Matt’s or any particular viewer’s opinion. Enough said.

    Again, Matt has given us very little information. Megan is a huge puzzle, as most of us are, and so far Matt has given us only a few of the puzzles pieces that are Megan. So it’s no wonder that opinions about her are all over the place. We’re being TOLD that she is beautiful, talented, witty, worldly and many other big and wonderful things that we still have very little proof of — but that we all view through the lens of our own experience. To call anyone’s view as being “misogynistic” is, in my view, coming more from someone’s own experience and says more about who they are than about the people they’re writing about as being miogynistic.

    Was there a lot of women hating going on then? Is there a “war on women” and was it going in 1966 and is it still going on now? It still makes me sick to think about some of the things I experienced, or saw and heard happen to other women I knew then, and in all the years since then. That’s a much bigger conversation that I’d love to be part of. But starting that conversation by stating that people who may have used dramatic language to express their dislike of Megan does not begin that conversation in an open way, IMO, that opens the door for anything more than people hardening their positions on Megan.

    Quoting you, Deborah: “Let’s do something radical: let’s look at the character Megan as an individual, as a discrete person in her own right, with her own history, traits, motivations, and tendencies.” Great! But let’s please look at her through what we KNOW for sure about her, not what we want to assume or presume.
    Because we haven’t seen “Megan with her hair painstakingly rollered or pin-curled; we don’t see her wearing restrictive corsetry beneath her clothes; we don’t, in fact, witness much of her getting-ready routine at all” and because maybe that’s more than we can say of any “woman on Mad Men to date” does NOT prove that she “dresses with an unstudied and terribly European flair.” It does not prove that “she’s a far freer spirit–a truly modern model.”

    I dressed very similarly (and so did a lot of other women in 1966) with clothes from Jill’s Dress Shop, not from Europe; and because we haven’t seen a girdle or rollers doesn’t mean she never wears or uses either. Still a lot of assumptions being made here, and the only difference is that these assumptions are being made FOR Megan and not against her. Are they coming from “anti” misogyny and if so, aren’t they still a reaction to misogyny, but just a different reaction?

    I’d love to focus a conversation on the bigger subject: the ongoing war on women. A great book on the subject, that relates to advertising especially, is “Backlash: An Undeclared War Against American Women” by Susan Faludi. This book was written in 1991 and updated in 2006 and still speaks to conditions today.

    • well put.

      the empress wears no clothes.

    • Excellent rebuttal, Brooklyn Jan. Enjoyed reading it.

    • So many good points here — especially your point that we know very little about Megan. Last season I felt that she was not really a character at all and was disgusted that the writers married Don off to her. This season is a little better thus far. We know a little about her, but she is still written very, very thinly. Not sure yet whether that means that she really is a superficial person, or whether it means that she has depth but the writers have not yet shown it to us. And if the latter, is that because they are saving it up as a strategy because they want to show us her depth later, when it will make the plot more interesting to do so? Or simply because the writing is not very good this season? Again, I can’t yet tell. However, I can’t help comparing the writing for Megan to the writing for Rachel, who was a three-dimensional person in my mind after one episode — one scene, even! I also think that Peggy, Joan, and Betty were written as three-dimensional characters much earlier in their arcs.

      I also second your annoyance with the comments that have been made on BoK about how deeply Don has been transformed and changed by his love for Megan. I don’t think we have any concrete evidence that he has truly changed. We have evidence that he wants to change, which is a completely different thing. Your point that he wrote in a journal for a little while and then apparently stopped is well-taken.

    • Wordy McWord to your entire post.

    • You really are spot on – perfect. And it really wasn’t too long. :)

    • Nice post.

      I think there is some misogyny by some people, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons for not being sold on Megan, yet. Just as there are plenty of reasons for not liking any particular character.

      What I do notice over the years, though, is that the women on the show can get ripped apart pretty quickly for things that seem relatively minor when compared to what the men are doing. If people are equally hard on all characters–or equally willing to forgive and overlook–it seems less problematic.

  41. Deborah:
    I disagree with several points you make about Thoroughly Modern Megan.

    First, her nude scene in bed with Don at the beginning of Season 5. “Puritan buttons ore duly pushed.” Modern, sexually confident, worldly, whatever. I interpreted that as just purely selfish. Three young children were in new surroundings at their father’s home overnight. I was in that EXACT same position, same scene as Megan in my marriage, and I would put on something to go to sleep in, out of consideration for my husband, and his children. Kids get up in the night for all different reasons. It is the same careless and irresponsible behavior regarding the kids as we’ve seen with Don and Betty.

    Second, “He sometimes enjoys getting bossed around a bit, even dominated in ways we have not seen lovers get.” We all saw him pay for that sexual behavior in Season 4 with the hooker, so that was no surprise to me that he shared it with Megan.

    Thirdly, I am not buying that a well-educated, modern, confident, liberated, very ambitious, sophisticated, and worldly 25 yr old girl is going to marry a 40 yr old divorced man with three young children and be content in the long term. No matter the decade. Great sex does not a marriage make.
    I am suspicious of her “ambition” as well. Her office hours do no reflect any career drive. Faye Miller and Rachel you could say were ambitious. Not Megan, not now anyway.

    I probably disagree with “She’s Canadian, she’s French-Canadian.” French-Canadian is not French either. Parisian style and elegance is a stretch.

    I do not like or dislike Megan. No one has the ability to change Don but himself. Time will tell. However, to be honest….I have not rewatched the last few episodes like I usually do in seasons past. There is not the depth there used to be. It’s a shame.

  42. My last 2 cents on Mrs. Draper. David Mamet once wrote, and I paraphrase: ‘Watching something titillating like pornography is like eating fast food, you are hungry again in no time. You want more. It is not fulfilling. After watching something like Hamlet, you are satisfied. Full.’ Ask yourself under which category Megan falls, and which would apply to Rachel. Nuff said. Good night.

  43. In real life most people marry the person they don’t end up with.

    When Don married Betty, he never envisioned he would eventually be divorced and not end up spending the rest of his life with her. But Don never thought of the consequences of not spending the rest of his life with Betty.

    Now Don Draper has ended up with Megan who he did NOT initially want to end up with. He is 40; she is now about 26. With Megan he told her in Mystery Date, “I’ll be with you until I die.” In sporting terms, Don has signed a long-term ironclad contract with a no-trade clause. Don is prepared to remain with Megan for the duration. He is fully aware of the consequences of not living the rest of his life with her–being eternally lonely and without love.

    And Don Draper is going to allow that to slip out of his fingers. Don is a survivor. He will do whatever is necessary to maintain his marriage to Megan. In his own words, “he will not throw his marriage away.” He knows what he has and will NOT mess up. If he does, he knows the dire consequences.

    And Megan is vilified for bringing joy and sunshine into DD’s life, for giving him unconditional love, and being in his corner through thick or thin. Isn’t that what a wife is supposed to do for her husband?

    Is Megan a bitch, does she spread gossip, has she cheated on Don, has she been mean to Don’s children, and has she talked negatively about Don or belittled him behind his back?

    Where’s the beef?

    • Megan does actually spread gossip. She told Peggy that Don (a partner) does not like Harry. Horrible office behavior, and careless.

      Sleeping openly nude with his young children there might not be “mean” to the children, but it was inconsiderate and careless

      She gave a party for her husband that he clearly did not want, and made him go to Fire Island with her friends when he clearly said “I can’t.” No joy or sunshine there.

      Where’s the perfection?

      Their marriage/relationship is just ordinary, which translates into boring TV. She is either in the office in everyone’s way, or pulled over on the side of the road having sex with Don. Great story line. I’m disappointed after a 17 month wait for this show.

      • She also trivialized Betty’s legitimate cancer scare. And if it’s not scene on camera, I see Megan as the type to bad-mouth others behind their back (Harry at the office, Betty at home, maybe Peggy evantually).

        • Remember that backhanded dig she made about Allison? About how she wouldn’t run away crying if she and Don were to have sex? She does tend to make insensitive comments, but she might not be malicious so much as oblivious in doing so.

  44. Here’s something to chew on: Don says to Pete (paraphrasing): “If I’d met [Megan] first, I’d have known better than to throw it all away.” In other words, a) he still blames Betty’s inadequacies for the marriage going kablooey, and b) if he’d met Megan before he knew Betty, Megan would have been no older than Sally is now. So he’s putting an awful lot of pressure on Megan to save him by staying young and beautiful and vivacious forever. It would be nice to see some evidence of an inner life responding to that pressure, and the fact that we haven’t makes me wonder if they intend to keep her around long-term.

  45. She’s just boring. No conflict: everything has been going pretty smoothly for her so far. She’s probably a nice person who would be a pleasure to hang out with in real life, but for a TV show, you want to see a character who experiences some drama, otherwise… duh. Maybe it’s just a matter of time.

  46. Ten reasons for misogyny from both women and men directed at Megan Draper:

    1) Fear that your significant other or mate is NOT as interested in you as much anymore (mostly women)

    2) From males who do not receive as much sexual attention or satisfaction from their wives or significant others

    3) A female who is perceived to be successful in public and on top of her game (I asked this question yesterday–why is there not more venom directed at Jane Sterling?)

    Example Zou bisou bisou

    4) A woman who is self-confident, self-assured, strong-willed and independent (many women would like to be this way but fall short)

    5) The power to redeem their husband or significant other. So many women are locked up with men who will never change and they don’t have the influence or power to convince them to turn over a new leaf or to pursue a course of PERSONAL REDEMPTION.

    I believe a lot of the misogyny is based on the idea that Don Draper cannot change (Henry Francis comment of “there is no fresh start”) or should not change (I like the old Don). Who is Megan Draper to come out of left field and cast a spell over Don?

    6) Jealousy or envy of Megan’s beauty and personality (this type of misogyny has been around for centuries). Women may be more liberated but when it comes to their appearance vs. the appearance of another woman, the cattiness of women is nowhere close to being eliminated.

    7) The youthful energy and optimism of women like Megan. Women feel over the hill or not as attractive to men anymore. But men also feel the same way about the young buck who is striving to make his way up the food chain. Jaded people don’t like people who are NOT jaded like themselves. Birds of a feather flock together.

    8) The unfairness in life that a scoundrel like Don Draper should bond with a hopeful idealistic person like Megan. DD should be condemned to a living hell forever like he was in season 4 because of how he has treated Betty or his kids or lived his life in such a promiscuous fashion, so the feeling goes. Don doesn’t deserve to be loved like he is from Megan.

    9) A feeling that Megan is not on par with Don although we know Don never graduated high school and Megan graduated college. On the surface Megan is more intellectually gifted than Don. Could misogyny towards Megan be based on the fact Megan is NOT a dumb cluck and that she knows the lay of the land very well?

    10) Misogyny is often fostered through nepotism. Yes, it isn’t fair that Megan should marry her boss and then be given a job as a junior copywriter. Pete hints at that in Signal 30 after Megan explains to the gathering at Pete’s house that she originally joined the firm “to do what Don does or what Peggy does”. And the feeling is that Megan slept her way to the top, which objectively is pretty hard to deny.

    In other words, misogyny can be based on a real event that impacts one’s own standing in the workplace or personally. But in actual fact the greater majority of misogynistic offerings are based on the emotions of fear and jealousy.

    But what is even more startling is the high degree of misogyny leveled at a fictional character who is a creation of Mad Men scriptwriters. Why isn’t there more attention paid to them and attacks and criticism leveled at them (both men and women write for MM) for bringing a character like Megan “into the game.”

    And finally could this misogyny against Megan be really an attempt to discredit Jessica Pare who plays Megan? Is she simply too good in performing the role and is her performance triggering deep-seated emotions in real-life people? Or is there a feeling that she as a well-known actress, does not deserve this plum role as Don Draper’s wife on MM? Is this a case where real-life posters vent and rage against a fictional character, Megan Draper, who after singing Zou bisou bisou (a fictional situation) had it released as a single in real-life and became a hot property but actually disguising their feelings for Pare sudden rise to fame? Where does fiction end and reality begin?

    • I’m sorry, but arguments predicated on “you’re just jealous” tend to be formulated to shut down discussion from woman. A woman can be critical of another woman without jealousy being an issue.

      • Thank you! I totally agree. I’m getting really tired of the “you’re just jealous of Megan” because she is more/has more/Don loves her and not you, and on and on, refrain.

    • Techno, this is just an FYI. Not a criticism or a put-down. I find I’m not reading your posts because they are unusually long. Just saying so you know. Others may have different feelings.

  47. Does disliking an individual female make one a misogynist?

  48. P.S. Did anyone call “Betty-haters” misogynists?

    • Yes. Often.

      • And I believe it was truer and happened more often in Betty’s case than in Megan’s. And yet dislike, or even actual hatred, of Betty seemed to be more accepted.

        I don’t recall as much vehement, unrelenting defense of Betty as there appears to be, from a few at least, about Megan. Interesting…

        • I do. There was a lot of Betty hating going on. Betty blaming too.

        • But this whole post so far is full of Betty defenders? Which is fine, I mean, virtually every post is. There are very few people who really hate Betty and spend whole threads discussing it. Has there been plenty of criticism directed at the character (and yes, those of us who don’t hold her on a pedestal have been called misogynistic for it), sure, but that is different from a mass of people coming in to say that Betty is ruining Don and the whole show. But this implication that this site, or any other Mad Men one I browse for that matter, is full of passionate Megan defenders and Betty haters and that Betty fans are just this tiny little faction fighting to be heard or respected over useless/slutty/too perfect/hateful/vapid/conniving Megan’s lovers, is more than a little absurd.

          • I truly don’t see these two women standing in opposition to each other. I think in a Jen-versus-Brangelina time, that’s what some people will want, but I don’t see a need for the binary view.

            We’re not in grade school anymore. Nobody can make me pick a team and do their kicking for them, you know?

          • And again, Taylor, I’m going to assert (for the last time, because I’m becoming dull) that I have read just about every one of the over 75,000 comments published on this site, and also all the ones which have been moderated out of existence. So, while you may claim not to have noticed droves of Betty-haters, they are the reality.

  49. Definitely not a Betty fan. Not a mysoginist. Betty is a child and unbelievably irritating to me. If I get into a huge argument with someone of a different background than me does make me anti-( fill in the blank)? Where is the logic in that?

    • As I said about racism when discussing Mystery Date, misogynist is an adjective, not a noun. It’s not that “you are a…” it’s that “this behavior is…” We live in a patriarchal culture and we all partake of its misogyny sometimes. We can all benefit from examining our behavior and feelings in that light, and asking ourselves, does this come from my misogynist culture? It’s an uncomfortable thing to do, but a powerful one.

      Do I find emotionless women cold, but emotionless men “cool”? Do I find strong women bitchy and strong men commanding? Do I find childlike women irritating and childlike men playful?

      It is illogical to believe that you can be raised in a culture yet not subconsciously influenced by its attitudes and prejudices.

      • Those are great questions, Deborah, and exactly why I stopped myself yesterday from reacting and replying quickly from my reaction, but rather spending some time thinking about this first. After all, I did grow up in those years and I did come to adulthood in the mid 1960′s and I had a father who believed all kinds of things about women that fall under the “misogyny” label. So how much was I effected by this, how much of who I am and how I respond to the world and people around me still comes from that place within me and those times? I’d like to think that I am immune today but is there really such a thing as “immunity” from a condition or a way of thinking that still exists in the world? I think not.

      • Do I find emotionless women cold, but emotionless men “cool”? Do I find strong women bitchy and strong men commanding? Do I find childlike women irritating and childlike men playful?

        Yes! Here we go. I will admit to having held those seemingly inconsistent thoughts in my own head, especially when I was younger and less inclined to examine my own attitudes.

  50. No one should hate Betty as no one should hate Megan either.

    But as there is a persistent belief that youngest child always has it better than the oldest child (perhaps because parents have matured and learned the lessons of the past), there is a belief that the second wife is also treated better than the first wife by the man.

    And in the case of many relationships including Don and Betty vs Don and Megan, I believe that argument is valid.

    But because the argument is valid it doesn’t make it fair or just. I do think a lot of the misogyny should be focused not on Megan but deal with Don and the ability to rise from the ashes and have his cake and eat it too. We all know who Don was in the first four seasons and how terrible he was in his treatment of Betty. I know this is only a TV series but if you notice, there is a lack of genuine warmth and affection shown by Don to Betty and a big part of it is that Don and Betty are raising two young children (Gene came along almost at the end of their marriage) who throw their relationship off kilter as young children tend to do and create more chaos in the home.

    But bottom line, Don is NOT turned on by Betty nearly enough and Betty in turn does not seek to do so. But the opposite is also true. Betty is not turned on by Don nearly enough and Don does not seek nearly enough to fulfill her needs.

    This does not make either Don or Betty a bad person or a person worthy of hate. But it does make Don and Betty incompatible. Yes Don cheats way too much on Betty but as the old saying goes, “If he doesn’t get what he wants at home, he’s going to look elsewhere.” Yes Don is psychologically damaged from his childhood, that his mother was a prostitute, and by taking another man’s identity but one would have to be totally naive to think if Betty was pleasing him to the max, he would be looking elsewhere for sexual pleasure and satisfaction so frequently.

    So we come to the second marriage for Don with Megan. Don is like a parent who does a better job raising his youngest child. He has made mistakes, he knows the mistakes he has made and realizes he has a chance to reform and to do a better job of being a parent (more tolerant, less authoritarian, more understanding, more patient, better listener etc.) the next time around.

    And in this vein, Don as a man of 40 has had time to reflect in season 4 (Betty and Don were divorced) on the mistakes he has made in his life and his marriage and if he ever got another chance of being married he would do things differently. And in Megan he found someone with which he could change his game plan within the marriage relationship. And here are a number of things he has changed up:

    a) No longer separating his business life from his personal life. Megan is NOT only a life partner but a business partner and sounding board. Although this is NOT shown in detail, one would have to be extremely naive that a couple who work at the same office do not bring their work home with them.

    You could compare that with an actor married to an actress in real life never discussing scripts with each other at home. That would be ludicrous.

    b) Don is no longer as aloof as he once was in social situations. Because of Megan he is more comfortable socially and no longer thinks of a social meeting as an opportunity to go to bed with a total stranger. Don will never be totally comfortable in social settings but he is getting better.

    c) That he will be faithful in his marriage. Yes, an argument can be made in season 4 that his relationship with Dr. Faye Miller was an example of Don being the old Don. But remember Don was divorced in season 4 and like man divorced men was on the look for the next Mrs. Draper so he could have access to his children.

    I think Don saw the possibility of marrying Faye eventually but that came to an end when Faye told him she was not comfortable around children and that a Chinese wall existed between Don’s business and her clients (later she did a 180 degree turn on this issue).

    In turn Don psychologically told himself he needed to continue his search for a mate but never expected it would be Megan that would fulfill his needs.

    And if there is one main advantage Megan had over Betty it was her knowledge of Don’s womanizing past and that Don did not have to hide it with her as he did with Betty, which I think you will agree with the revelation he is Dick Whitman, broke up their marriage. In other words Megan put Don on a short leash; if he strayed it would be over with Megan. And Don has NOT as a consequence strayed so far in season five.

    But again I believe Don in season four came to the realization of what broke up his marriage again and resolved not to make the same mistake again. Of course the best laid plans of mice and men…

    d) And now we come to Megan herself. Don could have resolved all he wanted to become a faithful husband but he would have eventually strayed (he still could) if Megan did NOT fulfill all of Don’s needs sexually. And this is nothing Don could have planned for. It simply happened and Don knows now what he has in Megan and in his own words to Pete “I know enough not to throw it away.”

    e) And Don I believe wanted less chaos and more calmness in his life and that is a place he is now with Megan. The milkshake incident shows Don flying off the handle temporarily after the drink is spilt on the restaurant table and how calm and collected Megan is as she wipes up the mess.

    Notice their short conversation before leaving their apartment to head over to Pete’s place. He tells Megan he needs a drink before leaving–she re-assures him he will have a good time and then kisses him to confirm that she is sincere–she tells him to put on the new jacket she bought for him–he departs for the bedroom to change in the jacket and she takes the drink from his hand. These are little things in marriage but these little things all add up in the long run.

    And after the get-together at Pete’s house, and the knowledge he had a good time there despite his previous reservations, Don is told by his wife that she loved the way he fixed the faucet, and they then make love in the car. Is any marriage this perfect?

    And with reference to Betty, misogyny comes into play because Don doesn’t deserve to be in this kind of marriage and blissfully happy after how he treated his first wife and there is no way Megan should have taken “this imperfect work of art” and turned it into a masterpiece and also when Don’s kids visit become the ideal stepmother while Betty is gaining weight and indulging in self-loathing.

    I would say this MM storyline hits home with too many viewers especially members of ‘the first wives club.”

    I have never hated a member of that club, but having said that I have never hated the second wife either. People learn; they get older; they don’t make the same mistakes they did when they were younger. The second wife benefits greatly while the first wife tries her best just to make do and move past the baggage from her first marriage.

    But who said life was fair?

    • techno, I feel like, as a writing exercise, you should try to execute a comment that isn’t a numbered (or lettered) list. ;)

    • In this post you are blaming Betty for the fact that Don cheated on her — you say (with no actual evidence) that he cheated on her because she didn’t fulfill him sexually. Excuse me, but I think that’s BS. Don cheated because he was screwed up inside due to his childhood, and because he felt lonely in his marriage because he didn’t try to truly know Betty and he never let Betty know him. There’s four seasons worth of evidence of that, and no evidence that they didn’t have a good sex life (in fact, there is evidence they did). Even if he had felt “unfulfilled” sexually by Betty — and again, there’s no evidence of that — how is that Betty’s responsiblity? People who aren’t getting what they want in a sexual relationship the responsibility to talk to their spouse or SO and try to work it out. Don never tried to work anything out with Betty, as far as I have seen in the series.

      I don’t like this blaming of Betty or the suggestion, also in the post, that Megan “fulfills her man” sexually and therefore “makes Don happier” (I’m not quoting your exact words, but the gist). A sexual relationship is not a performance but a two-way street.

      • This is the 1960′s and not the 1990′s or later. Marital counseling was not in vogue. Couples were supposed to work out their own problems themselves although some people made use of the church to help them out.

        Yes folks went to psychiatrists individually as is shown in the series but I grew up in this era and I don’t remember hearing anything about marital sessions for couples. And even if that were the case Don probably would have balked at the idea anyway.

        If you notice I did not blame either Don or Betty for the break-up of their marriage but I did say they were incompatible. You can blame Don more than Betty for this situation but it is what it is.

        After witnessing three seasons of Don and Betty under the same proof it is obvious that this was the case.

        In addition by watching Don and Megan together for only 7 episodes you can see the difference in how he treats Megan and how sexually compatible they are.

        Again this is no slam at Betty. If we lived in an ideal world there would be no only “first wives”. Unfortunately divorce is common and men do remarry. The point I tried to make is that as people age, many get smarter, wiser and simply better aware of what they should look for in a life partner.

        Did Don think when he was divorced that he would ever hook up with a 25 year old French-Canadian who studied literature, writing and acting in college? No way. Notice the disdain for Roger Sterling when a much younger Jane hooked up with him.

        I guess you can make a case that Don is a hypocrite.

        And when Megan came into his office in Chinese Wall and initiated the kiss with Don, he was caught off guard and initially wanted nothing to do with Megan. We know Don succumbed.

        The point is Betty fired Carla which triggered Don’s decision to bring Megan with him to CA to take care of his kids.

        In other words circumstances brought them together again. Don slept with Megan in CA and then we find them in Don’s apartment in NYC. Don proposed marriage. Why did he do so? Sex and his kids. Enlightened self-interest. I never claimed Don was a saint.

        And by the way on screen it is quite obvious that Megan fulfills her man sexually. After all we are all adults here. Don told Pete that he is not going to throw away what he now has.

        Sure Don should have made a better effort to patch it up with Betty. But the facts are the facts. After Don told Betty his real name was Dick Whitman and that he was the son of a prostitute, Betty stopped loving Don which she told him in the next episode. Remember in the last episode of season 3 it was Betty who asked Don for a divorce and Don who tried to talk her out of it.

        Again this is no slam Betty. Betty did what she had to and Don eventually moved on and did what he had to do. That’s called life.

        And finally in regards to Don cheating on Betty because she did not satisfy him, let me put it this way, Don will cheat on Megan as well eventually if she does not satisfy him. But Don also knows if he does cheat on her, their marriage will be over because Megan knows Don cheated on Betty.

        Why didn’t Don cheat on Megan in the NYC whorehouse? That is the gist of my argument.

        • Techno, I find your whole approach here to be *so* mysogynistic. You keep saying that Don cheated on Betty because she did not “satisfy” him and that he will or won’t cheat on Megan depending on whether she “satisfies” him. Women are not performing dogs or restaurants who need to satisfy a customer. It is not a wife’s “job” in her marriage to “satisfy” her husband or get “fired” from the wife job. If Don thinks it is, then he is a misogynist. I don’t actually think that Don does think that is a wife’s job — I think he cheated on Betty for other reasons (as I noted in my previous comment).

          But what really bothers me is that *you* seem to think it is a wife’s job. Or at least that is the way your attitude has come across in multiple comments. You seem to be saying not just that this was the attitude in 1966, but that this is the “way things are” in the universe.

        • I just don’t think it’s quite as simple as that–especially with the Jaguar deal “party” girls.

          First, if your new wife came to work every single day and knew all of your colleagues well, would you publically visit prostitutes with your colleagues? Megan works with all of those people! And she knows he cheated on Betty. And she told him last episode that it wasn’t okay with her if he had affairs. Would you trust Pete or Roger to indefinitely honor a “gentleman’s agreement” indefinitely?

          Next–some men feel that these visits show off their masuclinity, but I’ve often thought that Don sees prostitutes as a last resort that publically signals unhappiness and dissatisfaction. And does he think of his MOM and his conception and her death everytime some guy tries to drag him into a place like that? What would be fun for Don about THAT?

          When Don has his mojo, he doesn’t seem interested in prostitutes. The only time we saw Don with an actual prostitute was in Season 4 when he seemed really messed up. He was a mess because of the divorce, drinking, and he was messing things up with women right and left. He seemed miserable at the time, and he seems happy that brief phase is behind him. He seemed to go to Candace for chastising more than for pleasure.

          Even old Don didn’t regulary and openly cheat on Betty in front of colleagues or take pleasure in “having girls” at the same time the other guys did. Don didn’t cheat with the twins when Roger invited him to (and they weren’t prostitutes and were free of charge). Don didn’t take up with girls when he was out with Roger in bars. Until Peggy asked Joan for help about Midge’s phone call, Joan wasn’t aware of Don actively cheating on Betty (and Joan knew a lot). Don wasn’t in the habit of bedding women–paid or unpaid–in front of people from work. The two exceptions I can think of are Shelley (out of town with Sal, not sure how obvious it was to Sal that Don was bringing Shelley back to his room, fire alarm gave him away) and the prostitutes with Lane (but Don was divorced, Lane thought he was getting divorced, and Don seemed to be doing it to help buck up Lane, not because he typically enjoyed getting girls with other men.)

          As for Don’s level of satisfication with his wives–I got the impression from “The Wheel” that Don was suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with nostalgia when he saw the slides of his early years with Betty. True, his sexual activity with Betty late in their marriage did not seem to be as frequent as the activity currently is with Megan, but we never got to see Don and Betty in their first years together–when they were newlyweds free of children and they hadn’t developed years of conflict. I don’t remember that we were ever given the impression that Don felt the sex he had with Betty was a let-down.

          I agree that Betty and Don’s marriage seemed to have hit a dead end and the two did not seem compatible. However, I really don’t think the CAUSE of the falling off was that Betty failed to please Don in bed.

          Your original post mentioned many points that I can agree with. But I do not think there is adequate support for your position when you say: “But bottom line, Don is NOT turned on by Betty nearly enough and Betty in turn does not seek to do so. But the opposite is also true. Betty is not turned on by Don nearly enough and Don does not seek nearly enough to fulfill her needs.”

          While I do not have conclusive proof, I think there is some evidence that Don and Betty had a pretty good sex life in the beginning, but there were years and years of unresolved conflicts, lonliness, tempattons, and suspicion that weighed down heavily on their general relationship and bogged down their sex life. I don’t think the sex life started out poorly.

          • I agree. I do think Don and Betty were compatible in their first few years of marriage but as you can see they drifted apart. If I left the impression that I believed they were never compatible, I apologize. But somewhere along the way that changed. Notice in Season 1 episode 1 how soon the idea of Don cheating on Betty (with Midge) is introduced. In other words, Mad Men wanted to clearly show that Don was leading a double life and was not at that time being sexually fulfilled within his marriage.

          • What I was always struck by is that we met Don with Midge. We didn’t even know he had a wife until the end of episode 1, if I’m remembering correctly. I thought that was an interesting way of introducing us to him. His wife was a complete “afterthought” to the episode–as if to illustrate that that’s the way Don thought of her. And afterthought. Something to take for granted.

            I think there is an assumption you make that Don was cheating BECAUSE he was sexually unfulfilled, and that the only possibility that would lead to him being sexually unfulfilled is that Betty let him down.

            Is that really the only possibility? I’m not convinced it is.

            I think that some men (certainly not all) cheat just because they can, not because their partners or wives “must have failed them.”

            For some of them, they cheat like it is some sort of badge of honor–out of ego that has little to do with the wife or the girls on the side.

            Others like power and or freedom, and they cheat to feel their own power over the women around them–or to assert their own idependence against a spouse.

            Some men cheat because it is easier than not cheating and they think they are infallible.

            Some men aren’t dissatisfied at home and don’t want a divorce, but they cannot resist a provacative hottie giving them the come hither look. It doesn’t have to MEAN anything.

            Other men develop real fealings for women who are not their wives, perhaps because they married the wrong woman from the beginning, perhaps because they have neglected their marriages and grown apart.

            Some men probably felt pressured into “adventures” like the Jaguar man wanted–pressured by the other men or by work. It might not have been their original idea to cheat, but circumstances spun out of control and they made a bad decision and then regretted it.

            Others –like Harry–got really, really drunk and woke up with Hildy. Was that any reflection at all of the state of his marriage? Or was he simply drunk?

            When Pete cheated with the au pair girl, I don’t think that was because Trudy had somehow failed him.

            I think Roger cheated for fun and saw it as his due–didn’t even feel guilt.

            But for men unlike Roger– the guilt may impact his relationship with his wife–for better or for worse. With Pete, the guilt over the au pair girl drove him back to Trudy (at least initially).

            But sometimes the guilt drives men away and makes them feel less sexually attracted to their wives.

            If the man copes with the guilt, he may be able to resume almost as usual with the marriage.

            But if he feels some guilt but doesn’t really process the guilt, own it, cope with it-that can really, really be a huge downer on the marriage. It can lead to avoiding eye contact, lonliness, a withdrawal, a sense of living a lie, etc. Guilt is a huge intimacy killer.

            I am not saying that Betty was great. Maybe she did things that drove him away. Totally possible.

            But maybe Don was unable to relax with her, open up with her, and properly respect her because he was carrying around the guilty knowledge that he was cheating on her right and left and that he had been lying to her about his identity from day one.

            If their marriage was a lie–a lot of the day-to-day lies were told by Don.

            I think it is too simplistic to say “Don cheated because Betty wasn’t turning him on anymore.” I think that completely sidesteps the real questions I have about Don:

            When did he first cheat on Betty and why? Did he think it mattered? Had he ever had a real friendship with a woman before he met Betty, or we he so caught up with her looks that he chose someone highly incompatible? When he did first cheat–was it someone important, or a random girl? Did he bed a woman the night before his wedding–like Pete? Did he even try to stay faithful to Betty like he is trying to stay faithful to Megan? Were his lies preventing him from having a real relationship with Betty? Was Betty’s nagging suspicion that he was cheating a major downer–and a partial cause of his loss of attraction?

            And so many more…

            This matters because IF he cheats just because he can, or he gets off on the sneaking around, or he has no willpower to resist women, or because he’s a sex addict, or because it’s a way of self-medicating depression, or whatever — all of those issues could come up again with Megan.

            If, however, his marriage to Betty was mostly a “bad match” from the beginning, he was horribly lonely, he didn’t know how to undo the damage of his identity, and he was so unhappy and lost that he fell into relationships outside the marriage because he was deeply miserable and those relationships gave him something meaningful he needed–then perhaps he can overcome those hurdles by improving on his previous decisions and choices.

            I don’t think it is obvious at all that Don cheated “because of his wife.” I think time will show us, and I’m hoping we will get to know Don a little better this season.

            At the end of Season 1, I felt fairly certain the marriage to Betty was doomed. There was some suspense in Seasons 2 and 3 regarding how Betty and Don were going to deal with the horrible state of their marriage.

            The suspense caused by the precarious state of their marriage ended at the end of season 3.

            The suspense of season 4 was: how will Don cope, and who will be a serious love interest forDon? It was answered in the very last episode.

            So what is the suspense of season 5?

            Because of Don’s past, a source of suspense for me is: Will Don and Megan transition happily into marriage, and will Don cheat on Megan or not–and why–and how?

            Since Matt and Co had to know many of us would be wondering about this, I think he’s going to milk it for a season or two.

            IF Don cheats—I will be very, very, very curious about the why and how. Will the writers make Megan look bad first? Will they show Don falling out of love with her first? Will the audience blame Megan like they blamed Betty?

            Or will everything continue to be really good with Megan–and will Don just mess it up?

            Sometimes I want Megan to be great with almost no major faults–so that if Don cheats it will be obvious that he wasn’t “driven to it by his horrible wife”.

            If they stay happily married and faithful all the way to the end of season 5, I will want to know why and how. Will they still be together and faithful–but will there be cracks? Or will we simply see that Betty was always the villain, and now that Megan is here Don can be decent?

            Sometimes I wonder if Megan will cheat first—just to throw us all.

            Sorry this is so long.

          • I don’t think Megan would cheat. I think she would LEAVE. Cheating is the weak way out. Is Megan weak?

            Notice I said, “would,” not “will.” Because I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not saying this is what she is going to do. I’m saying that, given what we know of her personality, if she’s done with Don, she’ll know it and she’ll move on.

            But — MW has a way of making things turn on their heads. And we don’t know the effect that being married to Don may have on her. It sure wasn’t good for Betty.

      • Hear, hear!

  51. MY APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE. Its a good thing to know that as a society attitudes do evolve, and people can make better choices for themselves. I have always sensed an arrogance of married people that they know ‘better’ than others who choose to stay single. Don is ooooooold school. Joan said, “They’re all between marriages, anyway”. Guys like him think that ‘s the only hope for happiness. My 2012 eyes see that and think, ‘Sad’. That’s what was expected back then. Affluence for women has made the age of a first marriage for females go from 22 in the 50′ s, to 29 in the 90′s. Its probably 30 or more now. Kate Hepburn was really courageous, she never married. In spite of what was expected of her, in the face of derision, and dire predictions of pathetic spinsterhood.
    Don and Pete can only saved if they put their very lives in their wives hands? Only women can redeem men? Is there a word that means the female equivalent of misogyny?
    People are busy. No one has time to save anyone. What happened to being a self-contained unit? Being in a relationship with guilt filled sex is NOT my, or millions of other people’s idea of bliss. Why is that seen as the only road to Damascus?
    If you’re married, and you’re happy clap your hands. Glad for you. Truly. Do not be under the mistaken impression that you are in on the only good thing. That is haughty Imho.

    • Correction: Kate Hepburn was married once in early 20′s. It was a short marriage and she never married again.

      • Not only that, but many sources I’ve read indicate that Ms. Hepburn was bisexual — not that this is always a reason for remaining single and unmarried, of course.

    • No apologies necessary. I loved your post and totally agree!

  52. “I’m glad the Army makes you feel like a man. Because, I’m tired of trying to do it”. Genius.

    • Yes, I thought that was a tremendous line, very cutting.

      Also it shows unlike Don, Greg is not capable of personal redemption.

      Greg needs to find a second wife who really is into army life as Don found as wife who is really interested in SCDP.

  53. Thank you for the correction, techno. However, I think Greg needs to correct his arrogant, aggressive behavior A LOT more than he needs a second bride.
    Thank you kindly, Brooklyn Jan. I admire your contributions.
    Brooklyn is my hometown :).

    • I guess what I am saying is that Greg should find a wife who will put with his BS about how wonderful army life is and is supportive of him in that lifestyle.

      There is no way Joan would have grown accustomed to that lifestyle, not in a hundred years. She is much too independent and a free-spirit to be constrained in that manner.

      Yes, Greg needs to correct his behavior but could his aberrant behavior with Joan also be a function of not feeling as comfortable in civilian surroundings. Could his anger at Joan not only be a product of her rejecting him but also rejecting his newfound lifestyle? I think Greg is a “wither thou goest, I will go” kind of guy.

      • Is Techno watching the same show as I do on Sunday nights? Your character summations are completely different from what I see on screen. There is so much more depth to all these characters than you are giving them credit for.

        • Obviously, the characters are multi-layered and the writing staff of MM have done a wonderful job fleshing out the characters, male and female.

          And perhaps what makes MM a work of genius is how the scenes can be interpreted on various levels as well as having a different level of understanding or interpretation on what the motivations of the characters are at any given moment in time.

          For me, the last scene of Greg with Joan was more Greg being happy to get back to the security and comfort zone of his army life rather than Joan deciding to move on without Greg. But I understand if many fans of the show focus more on Joan’s dismissal of Greg.

          Take Jon Hamm who plays Don Draper. He recently told Charlie Rose that he is constantly surprised at how many fans of the show feel that DD is a good guy.

          When an actor on the show questions what fans are seeing on the screen you know the writing is brilliant and the actors although performing a role project through their dialogue an image they might NOT be aware they are displaying at the time.

        • 1) was an answer to StephanieP. Reply button FAIL.

      • I keep being too late to ask a question about Greg. when everyone has moved on. I’ll try it here.

        It has never made sense to me that he had to give up so completely on being a surgeon just because he wasn’t made Chief Resident. That implies that only one surgical resident – whoever is appointed Chief Resident – has a chance of success as a surgeon. Just one? Did we ever get the idea that the guy who got the post instead of Greg was going to have to give up surgery if Greg was made Chief as planned? No.

        OK, let’s assume then that he was worse than that, really bad at surgery. His professor’s comment that he “had no brains in his fingers” implies as much. So why in the world did he – and all the other surgical residents who were at dinner at their house – ever think he was going to get the post in the first place? If he was that bad, there’s no chance he would have been given the impression that he was in the “lead”.

        It makes no sense to me. If he was OK, just not the best, then why couldn’t he move on anyway into surgery? If he was really terrible, why was he ever given the indication that he was going to become Chief Resident?

        • The idea is basically that in the civilian world, the bar was set higher for proficiency than in the military who needed doctors in the worst way.

          And Greg does mention that he now has 20 doctors under him which could imply he is only serving mainly in an administrative capacity while the doctors under him are doing the actual surgery.

          Now you might then ask how did Greg get from incompetent private surgeon to administrative head?

          Again probably based on need. Or because Greg was made a captain.

          • Sure. But that’s not at all what I was asking. Please re-read my post.

          • All doctors enter their military service as 03′s, and promoted on a very rapid course. So do lawyers for the most part.

          • Greg Harris was commissioned an “O-3″ or captain, when he joined the US Amy as a licensed physician. In the US Navy an “O-3″ is a Lieutenant.

            I do not entirely agree that US Army physicians are promoted an an exceptionally rapid rate. Par for all officers is 5 to 7 years as an O-# before promotion to 0-4 or major. In no event would an Army physician be considered for promotion until the conclusion of a second deployment.

            While as an O-3 Greg might have supervised some enlisted medics and RNs (who are commissioned O-1 or 2nd Lt in the Army and ensign in the Navy. However, what is not military policy is for one O-3 to be assigned to supervise another O-3. The US military does not have medical students, meaning all physicians were qualified to be licensed before being commissioned. Greg was just an Army surgeon, not some kind of chief resident. All his fellow physicians and dentists were O-3. In addition to attorneys, veterinarians are commissioned as O-3.

            So this is another example of Greg inflating his importance.

        • I wondered that too. Only one person gets to be Chief Resident, but all the others get to be Surgical Residents and go on to nice careers afterwards. I don’t think his career as a civilian surgeon was over — he was in a pout over being denied the plum he felt was his due.

          We’ve seen how he acts when he doesn’t immediately get what he thinks he deserves.

          • Of course to get a job as a staff or attending chest surgeon anywhere else Greg Harris would need a glowing recommendation from his former Chief of Surgery, the same man who said that Greg “has no brains in his fingers”

            Perhaps Greg realized that he would never become an attending thoracic surgeon in the NYC area. Also, he might have accepted that he did not have what it takes to be a chest surgeon in a civilian hospital, where he would constantly need to impress cardiovascular surgeons.

          • That’s the only thing that would make sense. But we sure didn’t get that impression. Seen through Greg’s eyes – the only eyes we, and Joan, were able to – his civilian career as a surgeon was over. He could try to become a psychiatrist, or some other “lesser” sort of doctor. I suppose it’s possible that his professor may have suggested he really should look elsewhere because “he has no brains in his fingers”, but not as a direct logical consequence of not becoming Chief, just because it was the right time to finally have “that talk” and let Greg know this was not the field for him.

            • They did discuss that he could leave New York, get away from the bad reputation he had there, but he rejected that.

  54. Sometimes I think the world would be a happier place if more men had paid a visit to Dr. Lyle Evans.

  55. The backlash is that Megan appeared to everybody as just the next one in line for Don to cruise through, and because she is beautiful, she was able to land a new job out of nowhere, marry the boss, and has already gotten everything all the other characters have worked so hard for, seemingly undeserved.

  56. Real lightbulb moment berkowit. Yeah, does ONLY one doctor make it in a residency team, or not? I understand the need for surgeons who won’t get their hospitals sued, but only absolute brilliance qualifies? That story thread was conveniently cast aside. Like they were in a such a hurry to set Greg up as the doofus, that couldn’t they tell us if he was no. 2, or 3,4,5? Would that matter? Could he have attained a level of proficiency later on, to make a respectable career? The bum’s gone so its moot. But it might have been different. Thanks again berk28.

    • Depending on the size of the residency program, you can have any number of surgical residents, but assuming a rather small program of 10 residents a year (4 plus years depending on specia
      Ity) , there is one Chief resident a year, who directs, serves as a supervisor of other residents. There is a greater responsibility but the other residents are certainly not looked down upon, in fact some I have worked with don’t want to be CR because of all the extra work. However, occasionally MD’s are dropped from a program usually after repeating a year of their residency. This is what I think Greg was facing,,, being cut from the program.

      • As I recall the episode, Greg was told that he didn’t get the Chief Resident spot because of his lack of surgical skill. In other words, the decision for Chief Resident was the moment to have the heart-to-heart about Greg’s future–not just about that one slot, but about his future as a whole.

        • Bingo – I hadn’t yet seen this comment, Deborah, when I wrote something similar a few minutes ago as a late addend to no. 53 above.

  57. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t find Megan beautiful. Betty? Ooooff!! Fuhgeddaboutit. I find her stunning. Marrying the boss, figuratively skipping in line to get all the perks that others deserve is not a crime. It is not ‘honorable’, or worthy of merit either. Not in the slightest.

  58. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and comment boards about MAD MEN and haven’t perceived much if any animosity towards Megan. The writers and audience seem to like her a lot, I know I do. Now some of the characters may harbor misogynistic feelings about her, but that’s really the point of the show.
    Betty Draper is the only main female character that’s negatively portrayed, whereas all of the men are creeps, cads, smug, vain, alcoholics, and or weak. Joan, Peggy, Trudy, and Megan are beacons of virtue IMO, angels from the present, sent to a show about the 60′s, to warn viewers not to vote for a dumbass like Mitt Romney

    • I think some of the Betty hating may stem from her lousy mothering. Slapping the kids, ignoring them, belittling, failing to understand their needs. Lousy mothers are not looked kindly upon in any culture.

      Lousy (as in disinterested, disengaged, long-hours-working, clueless) fathers, as long as they kept food on the table and a roof over the family’s head, were perhaps the norm and certainly acceptable in the old days.

      Nowadays middle class men are expected to be involved, hands-on fathers. Involvement was a nice thing back in the day, but not expected from white-collar dads (my recollection is that blue-collar dads were around and more involved, but correct me if I’m wrong). If your dad was always “at work” nobody thought it was weird. My father left the house at 7:15 am and got home around 7 pm. He was uninvolved in our weekday routines, hobbies, chauffeuring, school needs, shopping, medical, extra-curriculars, et cetera. Nobody though that was at all strange. But in hindsight, although I love my dad and don’t harbor a grudge, he wasn’t an involved father and didn’t think to be one. My husband had a more involved father because his work schedule was more flexible, and definitely benefitted from his father’s involvement and attention.

      We know Don had super-crappy fathering, but aside from not being abusive, he never did much with his kids before they got divorced and he has to entertain them during his visits. Before the divorce, you can bet that if Carla hadn’t been around to help out, Don wouldn’t have known where the kids’ clean underwear was or which friend would be suitable to call at the last minute. Dads weren’t expected to know that stuff. Some did anyway, but many did not and didn’t think they should have to.

  59. Don fell in love with Megan over a spilled milk shake, if you remember the scene, it was not that late night at the office. It was the fact that Megan had siblings she loved and cared for…something lacking in his ice princess wife: empathy.

    • Actually, I find Betty very empathetic. She took sugar away from her diabetic father and during season 1, she was often seen playing with Sally even as Don was out sleeping with Midge or Rachel.

      From my blog:
      And a week later, we get to revisit Betty Francis, now fat. There is obviously a medical component– nodules on her thyroid– though her couch sessions with the Bugles aren’t helping her keep her svelte figure that once made her a muse in Italy. Fat Betty and the re-use of the fat suit (retired after Peggy’s surprise pregnancy in season 1) have been the obsession of many commenters and critics for a week. Will Betty become a pill-addicted housewife to lose weight? Will she let go even more and just give in to Bugle-dom, leaving behind decades of being concerned with “earning her keep” by getting looks from men based on her beauty? And what about Sally? Will Sally grow even more distant and repulsed by her mother? Obviously, story and character possibilities abound, but my question is this: why did they go there? Mad Men had the “fat story” back in season 1, through Peggy’s weight gain. Turns out, she was pregnant with Pete’s baby, and no one, not even Peggy herself, knew she was “with child.” All the while, she was the butt of jokes by the men in the office and the object of catty comments from Joan. Do we need another story line that reasserts a fat woman is unattractive? That a fat woman has little value? Even Betty’s new mother in law, a large woman herself, tells her to drop the pounds and get “back in that wonderful closet of hers.” Some of the comments out there have indicated that Betty has started to earn back some sympathy after last season’s Sally-slapping, Carla-firing bitch-a-mania. The cancer scare and the gentle moments that followed seemed to take us back to the Betty of yore. The young mother who played dress-up with Sally while Don sat in a club listening to “Water of Babylon” with his mistress and her friends. The woman who stayed up late fretting over Don, whom she envisioned was at the hospital with Roger after his heart attack, while he was pounding on Rachel Mencken’s door and then seducing the department store heiress. She seemed more like the worried wife who tucked the salt shaker away when drunk Don got into a car accident while heading to the beach with yet another woman, an accident he explained away with his blood pressure. Will this health scare bring back this Betty?

      • Oh god, please don’t remind me that Peggy wasn’t aware that she was pregnant. That was so unbelievable to me that it put a blot on this spectacular television show.
        There were some women you’d hear about who didn’t know they with child, but they were either morbidly obese or mentally very slow or both.
        It was before abortion was legal and any sexually active young woman of that era who were not married would obsessively watch for her period. She didn’t notice she hadn’t been having her period? I don’t buy it. Kind of ridiculous actually.

        • First, she may not have been sexually active, she may indeed have been a virgin. Second, she probably continued to have her period. Many women spot during pregnancy, and spotting, when it occurs, usually coincide with when the period would have been. I know two women who didn’t realize they were pregnant until they were showing for this exact reason–they kept having periods. Third, Peggy was on the pill and thought she was safe. The pill would have made it more likely for her to continue having periods, and Peggy had no reason to believe she’d ever had unprotected sex.

  60. To the idea that it is not the wife’s job to make her husband happy I agree. But these ideas must also be taken into consideration by the wife as well:

    1) Do you want to see your husband miserable within the marriage so that he poisons the entire marriage, yourself as the wife and your children if you have any living under your roof?

    2) Should or does a man marry in order to be redeemed by his wife? How often do you hear men say that they are better men because of who they married or simply being married?

    In an interview with AMC John Slattery who plays Roger Sterling. commented that Don’s marriage will bring structure to his life which he did not have after Betty divorced Don.

    3) Can the husband be happy within his marriage by simply the wife being herself and not having to bend over backwards to cater to his needs. Is Don really happy within his marriage because Megan is catering to Don’s every need? From what I am seeing so far it is more the other way around.

    In other words by Megan waking up beside every morning (remember within Don’s proposal to Megan he told her he couldn’t imagine not waking up with her each day), Megan is helping to make Don happy.

    The point about Betty and Don I wanted to make is no matter what efforts Betty might have tried to make Don happy after he started cheating on her, those efforts were going to be of no avail.

    And to show you how much of a bastard Don was, he was at a point in his life that he didn’t care if Betty was happy or not and you saw how Betty was in Season 2 and Season 3. Refer back to point 1.

  61. Lady K at 3:55 PM:

    You make extremely valid points about various reasons men cheat on their wives. With respect to Don Draper (Dick Whitman), he clearly developed a warp sense of sex due to knowing his mother being a prostitute and conceived as an illegitimate child. And that warped sense of sex led him to believe it was all right (ethically) to pursue liaisons outside of marriage.

    Yes, many men engage in extra-marital relationships because they can and get away with it (power), they may feel they need a diversion from what they are getting at home (seven year itch), some men don’t feel right about having intense sex with their wife because of their upbringing, some men find it a boost to their ego (you are my king), some men feel peer pressure to engage in such a lifestyle. Yes, that is all true but there is a clear difference between a man who has infrequent one night stands and a man like Don Draper who carried on a series of affairs with many women over extended periods of time. In other words, from what we see on screen, DD’s normal modus operandi is NOT love them and leave them but to engage in sex with one partner consistently (remember Faye said Don is only interested in the beginnings of relationships) but in the back of his mind realize the affair will eventually come to an end. This is NOT a simple diversion.

    But I do think it is delusional to think that Betty’s lack of sexual responsiveness to Don or her lack of ability to please him had absolutely nothing to do with his many affairs. This is not to say that Don and Betty did not early in their marriage have a great sex life but things change. Rewatch seasons 1 through season 3 and you will see many occasions where Don was not turned on by Betty or Betty did not turn Don on. I am not laying any blame or fault here but just calling a spade a spade.

    Now you might say what evidence do you have that Don might not have strayed so much on Betty if she had performed better in bed. Answer: Don’s current marriage to Megan.

    I grant you that may change in future episodes and if it does it will show that Don probably cannot remain faithful to any woman and beyond redemption regardless of the efforts his wife makes to please him. But until now, Don has turned over a new leaf and one would have to be totally oblivious not to realize that Don is getting terrific sex from Megan and she is treating him as if he were her king.

    Don now has no inclination or desire to look for sex outside of his marriage. And that fact alone imho invokes some of the misogyny heaped onto Megan.

    • I don’t deny Megan and Don are enjoying one another right now. They are newlyweds! :) It is what I would expect early in their marriage.

      I just think that it is way too soon –and we have far too little information– to conclusively declare Megan the eternal goddess of sex and love. She knows how to turn him on–for now–and she seems interested in keeping things exciting as long as possible for as long as possible. Great–but they are newlyweds. This is the easy part. They haven’t hit the bumps, yet.

      Nor do I really think anyone has enough information to even begin to evaluate why Don initially started seeking sex outside of his marriage to Betty. It happened well before the series started, and that has been kept secret from us. There are too many possible reasons to make a blanket assertion about the cause.

      Finally–relationships are two-way streets, and sex just can’t magically fix everything indefinitely. In Don’s first marriage, both the relationship and the sex were just as much Don’s responsibility as they were Betty’s. And the relationship and the sex with Megan will be just as much Don’s responsibility as it will be Megan’s.

      The very fact that you place Don in the “person to be pleased” category and set Betty and Megan up as rivals in their ability to sexually please Don is very uncomfortable for me. It reminds me of the Mad Men poster with the two mannequins. The elegantly robed man with no face sitting calmly in his chair –evaluating the woman while the faceless woman drops her dress for him. In your mind– is that all a marriage is? A shallow marriage, perhaps– but a lasting one?

      I don’t doubt that there are many marriages like that, but there are many marriages that are much, much more than that. I think that marriages have better chances of succeeding if both the man and the woman take responsibility for the partnership. If one of the two is just sitting in the chair saying “please me” there isn’t a solid foundation.

      I actually think Don really is trying to do better this time. He started out being far more honest with Megan. Perhaps he is happier with Megan because he is not living a double-life to the same degree he did with Betty?

      I don’t think it is fair to compare Don’s marriages and draw sweeping conclusions about the wives’ sexual performance. Don and Megan started out very differently. Megan and Don haven’t hit serious challenges. Don hasn’t been seriously tempted, yet. The girls at the concert and the prostitutes weren’t the least bit interesting to him. Old Don didn’t leap at anything female that moved. He waited until a very private situation organically presented itself, and often he let the woman move things along. I don’t think we should be handing out gold medals to Don and Megan just yet (Don for his fidelity or Megan for her prowess).

      • This is an obviously a sensitive topic to discuss in public or any blog,whether a man chooses to be with another woman because in a competitive sense that she performs better.

        I am an adult. There is much more to the sex act or to sexual pleasure than the completion of the act. Because it is a cable TV program, the producers of MM have to leave a lot to the imagination. But I think from season 1 through season 3 we see evidence that neither Don nor Betty are fulfilling each other’s needs. And again I am not laying the blame on either party.

        As for comparing marriages, I am only pointing out Don is at a much different place in his life with Megan when he married her as opposed to when he married Betty. This makes it neither right or wrong. It simply is. And my comparison to Betty is more focused on what Don feels that he needs from Megan rather than what Megan brings to the table specifically in the sexual arena that Betty doesn’t. And clearly Megan offers up to Don what he likes and is extremely pleased so far in his marriage.

        And yes they are still in the honeymoon stage of their marriage. Does than mean we should discount what we have seen so far? That would be like watching Cam Newton his honeymoon phase as the QB of the Carolina Panthers then thinking he is going to crash and burn in year two or subsequent years. Could the Draper marriage hit its normal bumps in the road but remain in the ascendancy?

        And finally let me dwell on two very sexy scenes is Signal 30 that many have overlooked.

        Don has just gotten a drink at his apartment and continues to voice his displeasure to Megan about having to attend the get-together at Pete’s house. Megan re-assures Don he will have a good time smiling as she is saying this; then she kisses him and tells him to put on the jacket she has bought for him. As he begins to walk away, she takes the liquor class away from and puts it back on the counter and tells him he is driving.

        And then after the party, Megan again reminds Don he had a good time which he concedes. And then she then tells him she was turned on by his ability to fix the faucet. And then finally they embrace passionately in the car and we are left to imagine the extent of their passion for each other.

        Here’s the bottom line: Don was clearly uncomfortable in going to Pete’s house and Megan re-assured him he would have a good time. The fact that Don did have a good time gives Megan even more credibility in Don’s eyes than he had for her before. In addition she gave him something you cannot quantify–an instant reward for sucking it up to please her.

        And we then hear Don tell Pete he is not going to throw his marriage to Megan away. Gee, I wonder why.

        • This is reminding me of Don’s talk with Anna at Christmastime when Don was telling Anna that he had met a girl, Betty, and how wonderful Betty was and how much in love Don was. It seems that early Don and Betty was very sweet, loving, and all good things. Just as early Don and Megan are sweet, loving, and all good things. Don and Megan have the advantage of Don being older and wiser. We can hope for the best that wisdom and experience is enough for Don to overcome the behavior that was largely responsible for destroying his first marriage and that caused so much harm to his children.

        • techno – you use, what seems to me at least to be some distinctive phrasing.

          “whether a man chooses to be with another woman because in a competitive sense that she performs better”

          “Megan brings to the table specifically in the sexual arena that Betty doesn’t”

          “an instant reward for sucking it up to please her.”

          I’m curious. Have you read The Game by Neil Strauss?

      • Hear, hear!! Very well said. So glad you took this on :). I suggest a moratorium on anyone “conclusively declaring Megan the eternal goddess of sex and love” for all the reasons you so well stated. I’ll go a little further and also suggest a moratium on anyone making any of the many assumptions about marriage, love, desire, faithfulness (or lack thereof) made in the post you’re replying to — better yet, I’ll reply directly to that myself later.

        Well done!

  62. I 100% agree with this premise and I have been dying for someone else to acknowledge it, but without having gotten to the comments yet but based solely on my experiences trying to make the same argument to Mad Men fans, I predict a lot of defensiveness and lying from a lot of people after they read this. :/

  63. I was helpfully reminded that we got us a full-fledged misogyny thread going on over here.

    A delightful cartoon cross-posted from another part of the Basket. Enjoy!

  64. One irritation I have with Megan really has nothing at all to do with her character. It isn’t Megan– it is what the writers are choosing to show and not show about Megan. We are being shown over and over that Don really enjoys making love to Megan. And she sings, and she throws parties, and she dresses Don, and she gets him to go to dinner parties. I get it already.

    But there are so many other things I am really curious about that I have to wait for. How is Megan really getting along with Peggy? How is Megan really getting along with the kids? How good is Megan–really–at ad work? How serious is Megan about wanting to work in advertising? How happy is Megan with Don as her husband? Does she miss her family? Has her marriage crimped her friendships? What do HER friends and family think and feel about Don? Where did they have the wedding–Canada or NYC? Have Don and the kids spent any time in Quebec? What did Don actually tell her about Dick Whitman? How bothered is she by the knowledge that Don cheated on Betty? Was she able to let it go? Or does she put on a happy face but worry about it on the inside? Does she have just as much fun as Don does with the lovemaking, or is she doing some of it to “keep her man happy?” Is she capable of having children? If not, is it something easily reversed like BC, or did she have a botched abortion, a disease, or a natural problem –something that let her know she can’? Does she not want children? I’m sure we’ll get more info, but I’m having to wait longer for it than I thought I would have to wait.

    Also–Peggy was one of the characters I really enjoyed following closely, and I feel like she’s been placed on the back burner. She’s not Don’s work wife anymore–and I miss the scenes they shared. Her time so far has shown her hiring Ginsburg (more about Ginsburg than Peggy), getting to know Dawn, working late, thinking up questionable bean slogans, hanging out briefly with Abe, and attempting to manage working with Megan. Oh–and getting a huge bonus out of Roger, and sharing pacts with Ken. Of course, none of this is trivial–but it all ads up to lots of little snippets. I’m not sure it adds up to a lot of real story, yet. Joan and Peggy’s reaction to Don’s engagement last season was interesting and fun. I was hoping to see more drama and struggle as Peggy adjusted to working with Megan–in scenes between Peggy and Megan and also in scenes between Peggy and Joan and in scenes between Peggy and Don. So far, that story hasn’t been told. We’ve been teased with it–but we still don’t even know if Peggy really thinks Megan is any good at work. We still don’t know if Peggy is furiously going nuts or accepting the situation. We still don’t know if Don thinks Megan’s work is any good. Has he really stopped caring entirely about work? What does Stan think?

    Also–how is Peggy’s career progressing? How is her relationship with Abe?

    I also have been very curious to see how Sally and the kids (and Betty?) are really reacting to Megan. We’ve barely seen the kids with Megan. Being a stepmom myself, I was hoping we might actually see some of the many challenges step parents face. In real life, there is usually some serious adjustment that needs to be done–even with nice new step parents. We are left to assume –from one milkshake incident a long time ago–that everything is rainbows and moonbeams between the kids and Megan. But we’ve been shown almost nothing. Sally sees Megan’s nude back. Megan skips breakfast with the kids for black coffee. Almost nothing. I have been very curious about this side of the story, and I feel like I am having to wait longer than I thought I would.

    I think most of my questions will be answered eventually, but I guess I feel like I don’t need to be shown again and again that Don finds Megan sexy—I’d like to get a better glimpse into what Megan really thinks about work, babies, step children, NYC, her family, her choice…

    • As we all know principal photography for Season 5 ended around last Thanksgiving and MW finished post production several weeks ago. So no changes to the Season 5 episodes we have not seen are going to be made.

      Apparently Matt Weiner has not completed staffing his Season 6 writing staff, although probably most from Season 5 are returning. Given that MW is directing his movie until the end of June, chances are good that he is using his spare time to write his usual story arc outlines. It is anticipated MW will start meeting with the writers around early July.

      So, there is still time for anyone to apply as a MM writer or researcher. If Season 6 is staffed, there almost certainly will be Season 7.

      • Season 7 is built into Matt’s contract.

        • With respect, the option for Season 7 is part of the contract with Matt Weiner and Jon Hamm. All the news articles made it clear that at an appropriate time all the involved parties, Lionsgate, AMC, Matt Weiner, Jon Hamm and probably financial executives of foreign broadcasters, would decide if Season 7 made economic sense.

          Of course my hope is for a Season 7 if MW and JH want. Several times a day I double check all the leading trade websites for a status up-date about Season 7 being a firm done deal. So far no news, but it could be they want to hold off on an announcement until Season 6 is at least in production.

    • I am most interested in knowing more about Megan’s job performance, because what we know does not yet provide a coherent picture : she only got her copywriting position as a wedding present from her husband so to speak, not because she had shown any specific talent; she is ambitious, and had expressed so just before sleeping with Don; we have seen her work with Peggy and Stan, but she also goes to Don’s office when he is not there, maybe to isolate herself from the others; we have never seen her talk about work with Don (it’s only sex between them, as far as we can see); nobody has made any assessment of her job as of yet – however we know that for people in the office she only is the Canadian sexpot who married one of the bosses (see the parody of Zou Bisou performed by Roger, Harry, Lane); despite that, she wants very much to establish social relationships with the people in the office, against Don’s wishes.

      I think that how she fits in the office might be one of the great questions that S5 will have to answer.

      • Megan majored in literature in college with her focus being on writing, painting and acting.

        When you think about it what is advertising copy-writing all about? It incorporates what she would have learned in college: writing copy, understanding artwork that accompanies ads, and understanding what is required to put an ad on TV in terms of the actor/actresses hired.

        • No. Wrong.

          I majored in English lit in college and then went on (immediately thereafter) to be a copywriter and advertising project manager for the next 12 years (n NYC and Boston). Be assured that NOTHING I learned in college had ANY BEARING whatsoever on writing ad copy, public relations materials, corporate reports, employee profiles, corporate communications, sales materials, catalog copy, direct marketing or any other form of advertising/marketing communications pre-Internet.

          I learned 99% of my work skills on the job. Developing appropriate visuals to go with ad text — one does not learn that writing papers for, say, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, American Lit 1840-1910, or Women Novelists of the Twentieth Century. I learned that at work.

          The only thing I learned in college as an English that applied to my work in advertising was a) grammar, punctuation and copyediting, and b) researching a topic. And I would have learned those as a History, Political Science, Anthro or Psych major. And actually I learned more about researching a topic in order to write short, punchy text during my summer internship at a nonprofit where I wrote for their monthly newsletter.

          • Would the average person know that? I sure didn’t.

            But playing devil’s advocate what college major would be more suitable in better preparing someone to do be a copywriter in an ad agency if it is not literature, writing, painting and acting?

            Or is it a skill that college cannot prepare one for?

          • Top copywriters come from many backgrounds, including being English lit majors.

            Obviously your mileage varied.

          • Techno, remember that Peggy didn’t go to college. Neither did Don. College might or might not forge and polish the skill set involved in advertising writing. Most copywriters I’ve known like to read and talk, but that isn’t what it’s all about. And their reading is not necessarily in literature or even fiction. Many like history and biography, for example, because they are interested in big ideas and the people behind them.

            You also have to like to write, but not in the “literary” sense. I have never written fiction nor particularly wanted to.

            A theater background could be helpful to a copywriter because actors are used to thinking about how to project meaning out to an unseen audience. Not true for English lit types. But many actors aren’t especially cerebral, AND they don’t write their own material.

            Facility with words and the ability to put yourself into the mind of your audience are key skills, as well as a talent for honing in on hidden, ephemeral features and benefits of a product. That’s all about pinning down and exploiting needs and wants people don’t know they have. (As seen in the focus group scenes.)

            Think of the Kodak Carousel pitch that made people stand up and take notice of MM and Don. I don’t think the process is quite as “alchemical” as MW made it out to be, especially in the early episodes when there was a lot of woo-woo going on. OTOH, I have worked with creatives who thought they were in touch with the muses, tapping into a lot of deep stuff. I don’t know, that’s not how it worked for me.

            I’ll bet Megan could learn to be a copywriter, but it’s unclear if she has any of the magic fairy dust that would make her a good one. She does understand people, though, and that’s a good place to start.

            Finally, there is a big difference between a copywriter and someone who manages entire projects — Peggy has moved on to project management, creative directing, where she supervises the development of whole campaigns including the artwork. The ability to put together both is beyond the abilities of many writers, who are not necessarily visual people (although the best ones do it all).

            That’s a big jump that hasn’t really been discussed on the show. She should be wearing the title of Associate Creative Director by this point. She’s far more than a copywriter. I’ve been waiting for her to talk about this — that she’s under-recognized and underpaid. That if she were a man she might have that title and salary already.

            I was an English major but I am also a visual thinker and have some art training/interests. At my first jobs in advertising I actually did both writing and design. I worked in a huge advertising department at a large corporation. Most of my co-workers were either art/graphic design types who could manage simple writing (some were very good at writing) or writer types who could do simple design (some were very good at that).

            I have worked with creative people from all backgrounds, including a small ad agency where the owner had not attended college either. But like Don, he had a flair for recognizing what people wanted before they knew themselves.

            I know there are programs that turn out marketing creatives. I expect if someone starts with some innate ability they will come out ready to do a decent job, but as we have seen on MM, you also don’t need any special kind of education to do it, either. Or you didn’t used to, anyway.

            • According to The Good News, Don went to City College, at night, in non-consecutive years.

      • I agree! Matt, that cute trickster, is keeping all the really interesting info for himself. :)

    • Lady K, you are my hero(ine)!! You put into words so much better than I have done for myself even, my biggest issue with Megan, the character — and with people’s responses to Megan, whether love or hate, like or dislike, neutrality or something else.

      Megan is pretty much still a one dimensional character. And yet all of us, in one way or another, have made up so many stories in our minds about Megan. It amazes me. And actually, this is what we all do, day in and day out, in our lives. Things happen every day, people come into or leave our lives — and we draw conclusions about what these things, these people mean about who we are, and who they are. We drawn conclusions, create “beliefs,” about what these events mean about our life, about life itself. We are all belief creating all the time, 24/7, day in and day out. And these beliefs — that we so often treat as FACTS — are more about us than they are about the events or the other people! (Which is, of course, what many people have been saying about how people are reacting to Megan.)

      So what we’ve all been doing around Megan is really what we all do around everything else in our lives. Someone does something or something happens and we decide what it means. And that is our belief about what it is or means. Yet we treat that belief, that conclusion, as it if were an irrefutable fact. I love watching myself, and others, do this!

      And Matt, who I like to believe spends his days chuckling at all the stuff MM fans make up about his characters, must be rolling on the floor laughing at how people are responding to Megan, the character. It’s amusing (at least to me :)) to contemplate the idea that Matt may be giving us so very little to know about Megan purposely JUST to see how much we’ll dance circles around her! Just imagine for a moment the possibility that Megan was created simply as a character meant to distract us from everything else that is going on. The really big things that are happening in MM this season in the background — so very quietly, almost unnoticed — that are going to make the biggest difference for the people on MM. I love that idea! Is it possible? Yes. Probable? No. But hysterical to think about! (For those who may enjoy thinking about things like this lol!)

      So here’s a interesting idea to throw around: what else is happening in MM this season that we may be missing simply because we’re paying so much attention to Megan, the one dimensional character, and all the things we are making up about her?! Is Matt throwing us a distraction in Megan? Is so, why? And what are we being distracted from?

      (Not that I think the people here on BofK miss much!) :)

      • I have always taken the idea that one qualifies as a one-dimensional character because one has not shown yet to bleed or has fallen on hard times, in other words to be removed from living a charmed life and undergoing pain, suffering and distress like most people do.

        I would submit however that the misogyny directed towards Megan is a sign that Megan is just as vulnerable to criticism and being hurt as anybody else and could be an effort to make Megan more than a one-dimensional character. For example the sight of Harry Crane making fun of her in the coffee area while Megan was standing behind him showed how pissed off Megan was and how hurt she was by the ridicule. And Don throwing cold water on the surprise party caused Megan anxiety and mental anguish.

        Objectively Megan is like any other young woman after 1960: healthy, full of youthful energy, on the pill or adequate substitute and looking to advance her career or personal interests. If anything Megan’s problem at this stage in her life assuming she was not married to Don would have been paying the rent and surviving on her own. That Megan does NOT have this problem at age 25-26 is much a product of having married Don and imho the impetus for some of the misogyny directed at her that she does not have to go through hard times as single women do.

        In other words, you take the financial bugaboo away from a woman in her mid-twenties what do you have left, barring some catastrophic illness or accident? Answer: A one -dimensional character whose life is generally on the upswing. Folks, that’s life for a 25 year old woman in 1966 or 2012. Why do so many older people wish they could buy back their youth? To return to the life of being a one-dimensional character.

        In other words, notice how multi-dimensional older characters are vs. younger characters. The older folks have had ample opportunity to become jaded and jaundiced while the younger characters are just starting out on their journey. You can’t expect Megan at her age to be as multi-dimensional as someone for example like Joan but eventually Megan will turn 30 and then 35 and you will begin to see the impact life has on her and how it has made her more than a one-dimensional character.

        • And in reference to Don and the idea of Megan being a one-dimensional character, could one of the factors that led Don to make Megan his wife be his feeling or belief is that Megan is indeed a one-dimensional character, what you see is what you get, and that by being one-dimensional, unlike Faye, she would contribute more to his peace of mind and his overall stability that he felt he needed at this point in his life.

          Let’s face it: Don has so many dimensions to his own persona that he has enough for both him and Megan combined. Don was the agent of his own chaos before he met Megan. He doesn’t need any more chaos in his life. The milkshake scene is a prime example of what Megan brings to the table, a consistent calming influence to his internal powder keg which is likely to blow up at any second or over any event.

          Finally Don appears to like and appreciate Megan’s one-dimension, even though many onlookers don’t. But Don has never been one to seek the approval of his colleagues or the public. He is not Pete. And that is why Don couldn’t care who is not attracted to Megan’s one dimension. He is and that is the only thing that matters in his opinion.

        • I think your definition of one-dimensional characters is faulty. As a writer, it is not my job to make characters suffer (necessarily). Rather, it is my job to make characters independent. Megan has so far shown only hints of who she is, not in relation to other characters, but as herself.

          I don’t personally find the character one-dimensional, because I think there’s subtle stuff going on between the lines, but I understand the objection. We see much more of her affect on other characters than her independent self.

          Harry mocking her was the set-up for the scene between Harry and Roger. In other words, the pay-off for the scene was entirely about Harry and not about Megan. Peggy and Megan have interacted in a way that allows us to see her affect on Peggy. The marriage shows us stuff about Don. We’ve seen very, very little of who Megan is in her own eyes.

          Now, again, I’m content to wait and see, because I think she’s very specific and we’re just learning who she is. I think Don saying “You don’t know her at all” in 5.02 was directed not just to Peggy, but to the audience, and was a hint of what’s coming. So, I don’t see her as one-dimensional. But the perception has to do with agency, with subject versus object. We’ve yet to see Megan as the subject.

          Consider Roger. We knew Roger as a specific individual, as the subject of his own life, long before his heart attack (which was his first wound such as you describe in your definition of dimensionality). It has to do with being specific, with being a subject, with being given scenes that are about that character and not simply devices that benefit other characters’ development.

          • In Brooklyn Jan’s words:

            MEGAN IS PRETTY MUCH STILL A ONE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER.

            There are two directions the writers could go with Megan:

            a) Keep her a one-dimensional character basically because of her place in life

            b) Reveal more dimensions to Megan’s persona in future episodes

            What I have tried to do is make the argument for (a) and you have made the argument very well for (b) to emerge.

            But I was responding to what Brooklyn Jan wrote above. I know the scriptwriters at any time could offer up a storyline that shows “another side of Megan.”

            In response to your claim as a writer your job is not to necessarily make people suffer, I would agree. But I think you would also agree any writer would be remiss not to address pain and suffering if it does appear to emerge naturally in the script that lays out another dimension.

            But I stand by my assertion that Megan’s life experience at 25 gives the writers fewer options to explore if they consider creating more dimensions for Megan as opposed to Don, Roger, Pete or Joan.

            And finally to your assertion that a writer’s job is to make characters independent, I would argue that goes to the heart of one’s personal philosophy, whether one favors or agrees with a deterministic view of people’s actions caused by other people or events and thus rejecting the idea of free will or if one believes humans are free agents who are capable of acting independently and exercising free will and to pursue their own happiness regardless of their existing relationships and the forces mounted against them providing obstacles and roadblocks along the way.

            Could an argument be made that Megan Draper is not capable of free will at her age of 25 or doesn’t want to exercise it, that her entire future is wrapped up in the success of her husband and that she may believe at this time that her fate will be determined by his fate? Thus she may decide it is not in her best interests to act independently apart from Don, and thus remain a one-dimensional character?

            But the scriptwriters will have the final say, won’t they?

          • Don’s “You don’t know her” comment seemed definitely addressed to MM viewers. I felt like he was looking right at me when he said it. I don’t recall (because I never re-watch episodes) where his eyes were focused, if he was looking at Peggy or somewhere else, but it doesn’t matter because he was so clearly talking to everyone. Maybe even himself?

            OK, Don and MW, so noted. Let’s see what we find out, then.

          • I like Megan. I think the reason I like her is the reason people see her as one-dimensional. I think that Megan is comfortable in her own skin. She knows she has some flaws, but she doesn’t obsess over them, and they don’t destroy her sense of self-worth. I think she knows Don has flaws, but she isn’t obsessing over those, either. Nothing shakes her very much, because, unlike a lot of other characters on the show (Don, Pete, and Betty could be prime examples), she doesn’t need people outside herself to tell her what she’s supposed to do or think, or that she needs to be someone other than she is.

            Of all the women we’ve seen on the show who are, in one way or another, important to Don, the one that Megan most reminds me of is Anna. Anna knew who she was, and she was comfortable with that. Don loved her wholeheartedly.

            I have no way of knowing if Don sees something of what he loved in Anna in Megan. I know that he gave Megan the ring that had been Anna’s.

            I could be totally wrong – and if someone already made this point, because I was skimming some of the earlier posts, I apologize. But it really does make some sense to me.

          • To tease a point in Deborah’s comment out a bit:

            The assessment that Megan is a “one-dimensional” character, whatever one’s definition may be, is a miscategorization.

            Megan is utilized within the story so far in a limited way. She is a supporting character.

            As viewers we may be spoiled by the fact that supporting characters in MM have been consistently distinctive and at times vivid with minimal screen time. We perhaps expect more so-called “dimension” or depth of all characters because of this.

            But it’s not realistic to expect the writers to service all the characters to everyone’s liking within everyone’s time-frame. It’s their production, not ours. And it seems their story is still primarily Don, Peggy, Pete, and Joan. That may change as the episodes play out. It may not. We’ll know when we know.

            I interpret the knocks on Megan, from the dimension angle, as mostly being manifestations of viewer expectations not being met. Perhaps if these expectations were re-examined, they would no longer be much of an issue of contention.

          • less of me–I agree it has to do with my expectations, and some of them are very personal and it isn’t the writers’ job to specifically cater to me.

            However, I actually think the writers have set up some of these expectations.

            They spent years showing Peggy’s struggles to make it in her new job. Now –are we not even supposed to ASK or WONDER how Megan is coping? And how Peggy is coping with her? And they’ve teased us about the issue–the scene between Joan and Peggy last season, the little hints about Megan sitting in Peggy’s desk, Megan complaining to Don about the people at work. I think they will eventually get there, but it is one of the big reasons I still feel like we haven’t really gotten to know Megan. So far, we really haven’t seen work from Megan’s perspective.

            The MM writers dealt with Sally’s adjustment to Betty’s marriage to Henry right away. We saw an awkward Thanksgiving, we saw Glen befriending Sally, we saw the ransacked home and Sally keeping Glen’s secret. We say enough of Henry to realize “hey, this guy has both dad experience and divorce experience–he’s doing his best to manage this challenging situation.”

            This season, the writers have teased us about “how Sally and Megan are reacting to the new situation” They showed Sally’s surreal walk down the hall and her glimpse of Megan’s naked back. The coffee moment. They showed Megan staring off the balcony after the party. Now we’ve waited through multiple hours and episodes and the issue of Betty/Sally has not really been addressed at all. Becoming a stepmom has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life, so I can’t help but be curious about the transition.

            And I have wondered since the end of last season if Don would eventually make Megan feel very, very lonely. Megan seems to like to have friends, to be close with her family, to go out… We’ve seen Don making a lot of changes. But are they enough, and is it going to finally overwhelm him when she wants normal pleasant chit-chat at dinner and he doesn’t feel like talking?

            I am not criticizing the writers–yet. They may have a master plan, and this could all be part of the master plan.

            But these are major reasons why I still really don’t feel like I’ve gotten to know Megan as a real person. We don’t see her perspective, we don’t see her struggles

    • I am not sure if I am actually critical of the writers, yet. Part of building suspense, part of setting up future surprises, part of developing themes within episodes, part of keeping it interesting is heavily linked to what is revealed to us when.

      It may be a very intentional choice to keep us uncertain and up in the air and unsure. Or it could be that someone thought it would be fun to have gum on a jaguar exec’s pubis, to show Lane and Pete in a fist-fight, to have an awkward dinner party in funny jackets, a party scene with a song, a fever dream murder, creepy scary grandma, and to have some racy scentes between Don and Megan. And that might be a very conscious choice to attract certain viewers.

      I don’t hate any of those choices (yet). In the end, I may look back and say “I’m glad they teased those issues of Megan/Peggy and Megan/Sally the way they did–it added to the overall work of art.” I may look back and appreciate all of the details that are being put in place before some of this other story is revealed.

      Or I may look back and think “they totally dropped an important thread from previous seasons in order to add some titilating scenes with new characters I haven’t grown to care about, yet.” It’s all a balance, it’s a large work told in separate episodes, and I can’t really critique fully until I see all of the pieces of the puzzle.

      The fact that I’m (mildly) irritated with what we have been shown (and have not been shown) about Megan is not meant as a deep criticism of the show or Megan–and the mild irritation could easily be something necessary and temporary that melts away into great pleasure (on my part) with the season as a whole.

      But Brooklyn Jan makes some great points about how the viewers project so much on to Megan (and other characters and other people) to fill in the gaps.

      It is actually fun to see all the debate about Megan, and it is intersting to see how we can all watch the exact same show and come away with different impressions and interpretations. That fascinates me.

      And when Basketcasers say “I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing that …X…may happen based on my intuition about that brief scent between Y and Z,” that is fun for me, even if I might not have the same intuition or agree with the prediction or assessment. That’s interesting.

      But I don’t think we’ve been SHOWN even half as much as many people think we’ve been shown, and when people get over-certain about positions that do not seem heavily supported — I want to point that out. I am still at sea about Megan because I don’t know enough about what I want to know. Other people may be perfectly content and feel satisfied, and they are perfectly entitled to their own reactions.

      I am just one impatient viewer who has to wait, wonder, and hope that enough of my big questions will be answered.

    • Thank you Lady K, I very much agree.

  65. Marylou April 19, 2012 at 9:17 PM:

    Think about it from Don’s point of view. He has so many dimensions to his personality and has even developed new ones over the seasons that because of age and his inability to rebound as he did in the past from the physical, mental and psychological toll of his lifestyle that he may have in season 4 had a “come to Jesus moment” and realized he could not continue down the same path and not pay a huge price. Don is no longer a spring chicken at 40. Remember this is 1966 where men did not live as long as they do now on average.

    I am NOT saying Don has become soft although he doesn’t seem as committed to business success as he once was but that in real life using a football analogy, one’s body doesn’t quite recover as fast at 40 as it did when it was only 25 after a game. That is very difficult to show on TV, the process of self-realization that one goes through over an extended period of time that he is NOT as young as one once was.

    And I will further say when Don was 25, if he had met a 25 year old Megan then, he may not have been attracted to her. In real life look at the marriages of older men to younger women. For example would a young Frank Sinatra have married Mia Farrow when he had Ava Gardner in the wings? I really don’t think so. The timing of when the couple meet or when they marry imho tell us a lot about the man now sees himself in the scheme of things.

    Don is season 4 re-evaluated his life, decided that neither Bethany Van Nuys or Faye Miller was not the answer and came to the conclusion at 40 he needed to on a permanent basis to have the one dimension of Megan Calvet in his life to create an environment where a minimum of chaos or tension existed.

    I have gone back and re-watched the episodes from season 1 to season 3 paying special attention to how Don and Betty interacted in various settings. Yes the children caused some of the chaos and tension between Don and Betty, there is no denying that, but Don clearly talked to Betty or treated Betty differently or with a different tone in his voice than he does Megan.

    For example Don never talks down to Megan and treats her like a kid while often he would do that with Betty, even accusing her of not knowing what she was doing when she asked him for a divorce.

    Notice when Don and Megan speak to each other it is one adult talking to another adult.

    And you might ask why Don doesn’t act in a supercilious manner with Megan who is 14 years younger than he is the same way he did with Betty? Megan won’t allow Don to get away with that kind of behavior with her. As she told Don in CA: “I know who you are now.”

    • Too late to digest all of this tonight, but one thing pops to mind. Don has tried to treat Megan in a similar dismissive way that he used with Betty. For example, the day after the Rollinig Stones fiasco, Don tried to get out of the planned trip to Fire Island and he said to Megan with quite a tone “Megan, your 25″ But Megan called him on it immediately and pointed out that he was fine to go to the Rolling Stones event the night before but when it comes to a day on Fire Island with Megan’s friends suddenly it (Betty’s health scare) is all too overwhelming. Megan will certainly try not to allow others to disrespect her and I give Megan much credit. Although Megan is a product of a different upbringing and different life experiences so she hasn’t had the spunk beaten or gaslighted out of her. I am a Megan fan although Betty is my favorite. We’ll see where it goes. Also, Don Hamm said in some interview that we have been shown in the first two episodes of this season what the problem is with Don and Megan and it is not what we think. Would love to hear what the Basketcases make of that. I can’t figure it out beside the obvious age difference issues.

      • I can only speculate of course on what “the problem is” but here are several possibilities:

        1) The potential for Megan to embarrass Don in public. Look for Megan to be too honest about her relationship with Don to a colleague at work or with a client which gets back to Don. Remember Don is secretive about everything in his life.

        2) Megan’s acting friends that encourage her again take acting seriously and to consider leaving SCDP.

        3) Don being jealous because Megan dresses too sexy in public which attracts the ogles of young males. This is standard in any script when a man marries a much younger woman.

        The jealousy then turns to suspicion Megan is cheating on him. Right out of Othello.

        Would Megan cheat on Don given the apparently blissful state of their marriage. Do the scriptwriters want to jump the shark?

        4) Don is placed in a delicate situation at work where many of his colleagues consider him a hypocrite for marrying Megan but not being seen as giving her preferential treatment. I could see this leading to a huge argument to the point where Megan decides to go to work for another ad agency.

        Don said to Megan: “I want you at work because I want you.” What if Megan takes advantage of Don and asks him for a promotion.

        5) The problem is NOT Megan but with Don facing possible criminal charges for being an impostor. Pete tells on Don.

        6) Don could become impotent. Not likely but this is 1966. There was no Viagra back then. Imagine a Don Draper who no longer had the capacity to make love anytime he wanted to.

        7) As another poster suggested, Don may have had a child out of the many liaisons he had over the years. Don’s suggestion that Megan have another child may come true for Don in a way he never expected.

        8) Business difficulties prompt Don to tells Megan he has to focus more on work and does not have as much time to spend with her at home.

        9) Don decides to make an effort to get custody of his kids once he finds out how Betty now is.

        10) Don falls off the wagon and cheats again. You don’t have to be a brain scientist to come up with that possibility.

  66. Pele April 20 12:39 AM:

    I agree completely on the connection between Anna and Megan and I have even gone so far to suggest that if Don did NOT have that ring in his possession he might NOT have asked Megan to marry him at the moment that he did.

    The ring symbolized his link to past he wanted to remember (Anna’s love for him (but not sexual) and Don’s bridge to the future (Megan wearing the ring) through Megan’s love for him.

    • And the more I think about it, which, of course, I have been doing, the more I think that the concept of self-worth is a subtext of this season. From the first episode, when the protesting African-American man said something like, “And they call US animals,” with the dignity of someone who knows himself (and his people), through Joan recognizing her own value and throwing out the man who didn’t, through everything Pete is experiencing, through Michael’s whole shtick, through Roger having to redefine where his worth is going to come from, I see a theme building. Who gets his/her strength and fulfillment from within the self, rather than from the outside, and who is shaky about where they can find self-actualization? Anna was the epitome of the self-actualized and self-strong, despite a physical flaw that the whole world could see. That, for me, is the starting point on the spectrum.

      • I know there is a negative connotation of “every man for himself” (Matt Weiner himself proclaiming this the theme of season five) that the characters are going to become more selfish, self-serving, Narcissistic and more ego driven but when I hear that expression the first thing I think of is a cast of characters on a life raft and over time who ends up dying of starvation or thirst and who ends up surviving the ordeal and is eventually rescued.

        And this is where the concept of the lifeline comes into play. There are three types of people: Those who reject the idea that they need a lifeline, those who seek a lifeline but never find one and finally those who seek one and find it.

        Imho, Roger Sterling is a character who because of his dissipation has rejected the idea of a lifeline to save him.

        Pete Campbell is a character who needs a lifeline but at present (Signal 30) no one will throw him one.

        And Don Draper represents a character who recognized his need for a lifeline in season four and had the presence of mind to grab hold of it once it was thrown to him (Megan).

        Now could Roger alter his life course and reach out for a lifeline and could Pete eventually find someone to throw him a lifeline which he would then have the good sense to latch on to? Sure anything is possible. But is it likely?

        As for Don, I think he knows if he falls off the wagon with Megan he may find himself in a situation where he needs another lifeline but finds like Pete nobody at that time would be willing to throw him one. Could that looming fear stop Don from cheating on Megan? Stay tuned.

  67. I think a good part of the reason for the misogyny directed at Megan is based on the proposition held by many people in real life that people don’t change their stripes and that such a drastic personality change by Don Draper as depicted in season five of MM as a result of his marriage to Megan just isn’t believable, justified or considered abominable.

    And the basis of this sentiment can be summed up by two scenes in MM, one including Don Draper talking to Anna and the other Henry Francis in talking to Betty.

    Anna: “The only thing keeping you from being happy is your belief you are alone.”

    DD: “What if that is true?”

    Anna: “You can change.”

    DD; “People don’t change.”

    Henry Francis: “There is no fresh start. Lives carry on.”

    Imho, the view of HF is the majority viewpoint on blogs and in real life. But what apparently brought Don Draper around to changing his views on the subject?

    I would argue it was the process of self-evaluation or re-evaluation that Don went through in season four and the daily journal he kept which he revealed to the audience and to himself his deepest, innermost thoughts. And I would further argue if Don were NOT in the process of being close to hitting rock-bottom he would have not entertained such a move. And in real life, if you take your own personal survey of folks who have turned around their lives in a major way, they will invariably cite the fact that they had hit rock-bottom or were very close to hitting it.

    And in Don’s case because he was heading into the abyss with only a one-way ticket and no way out, he was forced to change his ways despite his own personal belief expressed to Anna that people don’t change. And over time as season four unfolded I further believe Don gradually began to see the potential for change although I think he still remained skeptical that he could go all the way and transform himself completely, left up to his own devices. Realistically he believed he would continue to struggle with his demons (his upbringing, casual sex) for the remainder of his life and that it could be a case of two steps forward and one step back.

    Enter the love of Megan into the picture. Don had already imho made great strides in season four to become a better human being compared to where he was in life but it was the love of Megan that allowed Don to accelerate the process of becoming a better man and to come closer to reaching a state of personal redemption. And herein lies the rub: Can any man (or woman) be personally redeemed period or is the exercise considered futile and if he can be, can the love of a woman facilitate that redemption?

    Those are two notions that strike at the philosophy, values and beliefs of every fan of Mad Men and every poster. If you don’t believe in the concept of permanent personal redemption or if you believe that it is hypocritical for one to attempt to change his stripes and/or you believe that a love of a woman for a man cannot directly influence or impact the journey towards personal redemption, you will hate the season five storyline with a passion, feel that you have been betrayed by the writers of MM for coming up with such lunacy, and then in a lot of cases direct your hate at the individual you feel most contributed to this injustice or travesty, the character of Megan Calvet. To many of these folks, the character of Megan should not exist at all.

    And to add insult to injury, after 5 episodes in season five, we see for the most part Don and Megan extremely happy with each other and that Don’s journey towards personal redemption has continued.

    And for posters who have given the thumbs down on the storyline, they want the “old Don” back. The new Don is boring as hell and they simply don’t like him.

    Don’s proclamation at the end of Signal 30 that if he had met Megan first “that he would known enough not to throw it away” angered many fans of MM. And the basis for that anger can be summarized by two words, hypocrisy and misogyny: Hypocrisy in the sense that Don has “gotten religion” given he was such a despicable character for most of the series up to the beginning of season five and misogyny towards Megan in the sense that Don was betraying Betty’s memory by comparing Megan to Betty and not accounting for the fact that he contributed to the break-up of his marriage in the minds of the posters much more than Betty did.

    And yes in some of my posts I have compared Betty to Megan, I don’t deny that but I think the door was opened to that because of what Don told Pete in the back of the cab. He was making a direct comparison of Megan to Betty. You may not agree with the comparison but you cannot deny he made it.

    But as I have suggested before, the anger directed at Megan should instead be directed at Don. But he seems to have gotten off almost scot-free for this comment and instead the misogyny directed at Megan has become even more intense than it was when Don first proposed to her at the end of season four.

  68. This has been such an interesting thread, thanks for posing the question Lippsisters!

    I think Matthew Weiner has explained that Don, when faced with someone who said “accept who you are” (Faye) vs. a woman who said, “you can be anything you want to be” (Megan) he chose the Megan side of the coin. If I also remember, Weiner said that’s the choice Don would make and that most men would make. I just get confused because all of Don’s women have not been that way. They’ve all been challenging women who he’s really bared parts of his inner life to, and seemed to have a need to bare his old life and reconcile that with his current one. And the women he befriends in life are no slouches either, (Anna, Peggy). There aren’t too many carefree dames that he likes to spend time with for more than a night or two. I just feel confusion as to this new way of thinking by Don. It’s a valid way to want to live, but not quite the Don of yesterday.

    I also sometimes feel Megan is this blatant construct of the perfect woman. She’s french, she’s alluring, she’s exotic, but she also works and lives in America and is very of the American times and fashion. She likes to work but she doesn’t like to work TOO much, she’s not going to need to be Peggy any time soon, even if she keeps saying that. She likes to be around people, but she she’s also fine with Don who can’t stand being around people. She likes kids and is wonderful with kids, but doesn’t bug Don at all with that “motherhood/pregnancy” stuff in their own life. Megan also is easy going and fun with Don, but knows exactly how stern to be to make him a better, more social, more easygoing person. She’s artsy, but not kooky artsy. She has family, but they won’t bug them because they’re far away, and they just seem like nice people she talks to on the phone once in awhile. She loves sex and sex games, but would never flirt with anyone besides Don and chafes when men make sexual comments about her in the office (that one actually isn’t that weird but I’ll add it to the list).

    If this girl exists in real life, god bless them. I’m a girl and I’d like to marry you, Megan. It’s just hard to accept a person on Mad Men who doesn’t really have one negative quality to them. Especially married to one of the darkest, most enigmatic, most complex men on the planet, Don Draper. How does a person so light not become scared of his darkness? Or, does her lightness just immediately negate all of his darkness? Guess that’s what episodes 6-13 are for!

    • My feeling so far is not that Megan is perfect, but that the character has been so thinly drawn that we don’t know much about her. Any real person would have many other sides, but we haven’t been shown those other sides in Megan’s character.

      I hope we are shown them in the rest of the season. If not, I will feel that the writing of Megan and her relationship with Don has been a giant writing fail. Ironically, though, so far the writers haven’t given me enough knowledge of Megan for me to care to learn much more about her. I’d much rather get back to Betty, Pete, Peggy, Ginsburg, and Joyce. I find each of them more interesing than Megan. I’m hoping that tomorrow is going to really start presenting Megan as a real character. If not, then I’d prefer the character gone (which of course isn’t going to happen).

      I also am not very interested in Don this season. He seems mostly to be sleepwalking. The only thing I’ve found interesting about him so far is his dream about Andrea. I hope they go somewhere with his inner struggle.

      • During Season 1 we slowly learned as much about Peggy, except the pregnancy, as we did about Betty.

        So much of Joan’s backstory remains a mystery half way into Season 5.

        By episode 206 when we knew much less about Joan then than we know about Megan now, did you consider Joan to be “underwritten”?

        Clearly you need to help Matt Weiner write Season 6, so he can stop all this “underwritting” of which you complain.

        • Joan’s background might be a mystery, but unlike Megan, she’s written to have flaws and foibles (like a real human being!), and not just “cute” non-flaws that illustrate how “adorable” and “perfect” she is. It’s like the writers are afraid to give Megan real flaws for fear that the audience won’t love their perfect dream girl anymore.

    • Good post. One of the more insightful about Megan that certainly rings true for me. You did a good job massaging the info we have instead of making stuff up and then analyzing your own made up insights.

  69. This may appear extremely old-fashioned now but for a woman born in 1940 as Megan was it would have been unusual if she had not been raised by her parents that one of her life goals when she became a female adult was to marry and to also support “her man” in his career.

    Having said that Megan would have been fully aware of Enovid (birth control pill) and that she had the power to control when she had children.

    And finally as a 25 year old woman she had one major problem in her life before she met Don or Don took serious notice of her–lack of job status and lack of income. By marrying Don Draper she solved both her problems.

    Now am I being cynical? Not at all. Megan clearly loves Don, but one would be extremely naive to think she does not see being in Don’s corner business-wise as a major steppingstone to becoming successful in business herself. And Megan on a number of occasions, the last being at Pete’s house, has proclaimed she is ambitious and wants to become a full-fledged copywriter at SCDP.

    So Megan married her boss to become financially secure, to achieve her business goals but is also able to stave off having children. And Don is fantastic in bed as well and loves her. Gee, what more could a young woman ask for?

  70. http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/04/22/what-mad-men-means-to-me/

    Based on the volume and passion of the comments on this post, the above link to an article and forthcoming book by Ms Barnes might be of interest.

    Respectfully,
    Hawk

  71. [...] Well, the second Mrs. Draper, Megan, is deliberately characterized as Betty’s opposite, but the fan vitriol just switched to her. [...]

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