No makeup

 Posted by on May 16, 2012 at 6:50 am  Characters, Season 5
May 162012

Prior to Megan waking Don in Lady Lazarus, we had never seen this character without makeup.

Back at work the next day, she had a full face on. Mid-sixties makeup is elaborate, there were false eyelashes and everything. Subsequent to quitting though, we never saw her in makeup again. We saw her at home twice, both times bare-faced, including on her way out to acting class. The casual clothes for an acting class where you lay on the floor make sense, but most people want to look great in their acting personas, so the choice is striking.

It seems to me we’re seeing a Megan who has stripped away her inauthentic, false face, and is now showing the face that is truly hers.


  23 Responses to “No makeup”

  1. That makes me think of the original season poster with the two mannequins–one fully dressed and formal and the other naked, undressed. Maybe Don, passing by, is choosing between being covered up and hidden (his life up until now) and open and real–which mirrors society in general in the 60s.

  2. I immediately noticed in “Lady Lazarus” that, when Megan finally told the truth to Don about her goals and aspiration, she wasn’t wearing any make up, as if she was showing her true self: I can’t decide if I like this choice or not, because, whereas I appreciate the realism (women in TV always wear make up, even while sleeping in bed! But one does not wear make up in the middle of the night), at the same time I found it a bit too much “obviously” metaphoric.

    • Do women normally go to bed with makeup on? My ex-wife never did. But I can’t speak to all women.

      What I did find interesting was how Don responded to Megan without her makeup on, that he spoke to her in a very rational manner without letting his sexual emotions get in the way.

      And later in the episode Don tells Roger that Megan was “very sincere”. Megan finally took her mask off and told Don how she truly felt about pursuing her dreams.

      This is a couple that is on the same wavelength emotionally as well as rationally.

  3. I think that is a great corollary to the poster Barbara. The artifice of many of the characters is stripped away this season, a la the mannequin who’s standing bare in the window. Don’s past is almost fully integrated with his present day self, minus him changing his name back to Dick Whitman. Roger is dropping his dead weight of a wife and admitting maybe he married her just to let himself ‘blow his life up.” Peggy is outwardly criticizing most of the men in the office, (Don, Roger, the boys) – and Megan. A far cry from the girl who was all big blue stares and smiles in season 1. Pete openly tells Howard, “maybe I’ll sleep with your wife” and then dresses down Roger on a regular basis. Everyone is being very, very honest, but perhaps we’ll see that honesty has its pitfalls as well, and that too much of it can erode relationships. There is always a time and place for artifice and a ‘made up face’.

  4. I find it interesting in real life Jessica Pare is rarely recognized in public. I have never seen one actress adopt so many different looks as Pare when it comes to Megan.

    Compare her look when she entered the series with an upswept hair-do to when she had sex with Don in his office in episode 11 (an odd look), to her look in episode 12 Blowing Smoke with hair down, to her look in the hotel room singing the French ditty, to her look when she knocked on the Draper hotel door and came in with her friend Camille and asked if the Drapers needed anything before she left for the nightclub, to the scene in bed with Don in CA, to her look when the milkshake was spilled, when Don proposed to her in bed and finally to Megan at the office being congratulated for the engagement. And that was only season 4.

    And then in season 5 we see Pare with Zou Bisou Bisou with a lot of makeup, in episode 3 Tea Leaves she looks stylish having dinner with the Geigers, in Mystery Date we see Megan with less make-up, in Signal 30 a more mature look, in Faraway Places a much older look, At the Codfish Bowl a more sophisticated look, with Lady Lazurus as noted above less or no makeup and finally in the past episode in jeans and not going intending to going out in public.

    How many looks is that? Almost 20.

  5. It will be interesting to see if Megan really is the shape-shifter most people are predicting she is. If acting fails, I wonder what her next incarnation will be.

  6. That makes sense given how much secrecy played throughout the episode. Awesome catch.

  7. I did notice Megan wearing makeup at home in Dark Shadows… just not the more elaborate makeup she wore for her client dinners, balls, etc.

  8. I sense that “le no makeup look” is yet another costume.

    I just finished reading “Dress for Success” by Edith Head. (ca. 1967) Full of Joan and Bobbie wisdom. The “put a bag over your head” advice is there. Complete with illustration and checklist.
    “Pick you job you want and dress for it.”
    “Pick the man you want and dress for him.”
    “Don’t wear a housecoat and curlers once you get to the country”.

    It’s a interesting intersection of new prosperity, ie identity as a series of consumer choices and Greatest Generation austerity and stoicism. “Don’t buy or wear anything that is not on message.”

    I bet Janie had to have read this book a few times. And so must have Megan, or some of Head’s prior works. Or maybe this stuff was everywhere. Like the midcentury version of “10 Sex Tips to Try at Work!”

    • “I sense that ‘le no makeup look’ is yet another costume.” LOL, you are most probably right about this!

    • Her mom, Marie”, “Only water pats to the face.”

    • Oh lordy, Edith Head! Bangs and big glasses – a la Edna Mode, the fashion designer to the Supers (from the movie The Incredibles, a deliberate spoof.) She would have been 70 when that book was published. I remember it and found it hilarious (of course, I was 15) and found it about as useful as Marabel Morgan’s The Total Woman – they were fighting a losing battle for my generation, I’m afraid. My favorite blog title on this was “Saran Wrap Isn’t Cheap and I’m a Size Twelve,” lol. Anybody know if there was a blip in sales of plastic wrap in 1974 when that hit the shelves?

      • Blip in plastic wrap? I don’t know. But I do remember my first boss at a job in a mall toy store (1976) bringing The Total Woman into work. He was engaged and totally into it. He was sort of a rube. Wonder how that worked out for him?

    • Apparently Trudy hasn’t read the part about housecosts and curlers in the country.

  9. Love this post, Deb. Much to think about here.

    I’ve been reading Tom & Lorenzo a lot this season; I find that their scene-by-scene analyses of the characters’ clothing and makeup make me think of things that would not have occurred to me before. A couple of things I noticed with their analysis of Dark Shadows today:

    Megan is not wearing makeup when she rehearses with Julia in her home during the day. But she is wearing a little when she’s home on the weekend with Don and the kids. I think this may indicate the newness of her role: the way a new girlfriend or wife is more likely to apply makeup for the eyes of the man she loves. She wants him to “see” her in certain ways, and those ways include makeup.

    Also, I loved the scene between Betty and Henry at the kitchen table with the steak. Betty is in her nightgown, it’s late — and this is likely the only situation in which we’ll ever see her without makeup this season, given the care she takes to present herself otherwise. I think Betty’s bare face and tousled hair is lovely, and a nice match for her tenderness with her husband in this scene.

    Also, both Megan and Betty made me think of Sally in this episode: Megan with her haircut and clothing (sweaters and pants), and Betty in that late-night scene with Henry. Betty looks strikingly like her daughter in this scene; her look here reminds me of the Don-and-Sally scrambled-eggs scene, right around the time Gene was born in Season 3.

    Nice work, Deb. <3

  10. This reminds of Don’s comment to Sally, that what makes him happy is this young girl (or woman) who will one day wear make up but not today.

    • Betty had made a similar comment to Sally in a prior season. Sally is 7, 8, 9, 10 and now 12, but allways going on 16. She is a budding beauty with wisdom beyond her age.

    • However, I thought Sally was definitely wearing makeup in her last scene with Betty, and I wonder about the significance of that.

  11. Actresses often wear little to no make-up to auditions. You want the director to see what he’s working with, and not put any ideas into his head if your “look” is different from the character he has in his head 🙂

  12. Honestly, I think that Jessica Pare probably was wearing some makeup. I know for me there are times I’ve just put on a little bit of foundation/concealer and brown mascara, and people didn’t realize that I had some makeup on. (Having good skin helps–my skin tone needs a little bit of evening out, but overall it’s very good skin that doesn’t need much.)

    I’m sure for Megan, she was supposed to be no-makeup, of course. I just think that Jessica was wearing a little bit of subtle makeup.

    The overall effect made her look younger and more fresh-faced, which helps since she was very vulnerable in her first scene (waking Don up to confess her true desires) and in later scenes (happily cooking dinner or going off to acting class–no longer anchored to the advertising job she found so cumbersome). Off to start her new life.

    • As a producer of both features and TV shows, my experience has been that it can take the makeup department longer to achieve a “no-makeup” look than a far less subtle effect.

      Think back to “Codfish Ball” after Don ordered Sally to remove her boots and makeup? The next time we saw Sally she was still made up, but in a less obvious way.

      • Absolutely true. I didn’t intend to imply that Jessica Pare had no makeup, merely that Megan Draper did.

  13. Makeup is usually designed to conceal, disguise, deceive, and cover up blemishes. But what if the reverse is true.

    Could the producers and writers have decided to lay the makeup on thick in earlier episodes to hide the sincerity of Megan or to perhaps make her appear to be more a woman of mystery so that her sincerity in contrast rings more true in LL and future episodes with the use of much less makeup?

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