Let us now praise Megan (Calvet) Draper (Jessica Paré). She’s taken a lot of heat from the Mad Men community on both sides of the camera, and it’s time for it to stop.
Yes, she a shade more than half her husband’s age, and yes, a bit of premarital counseling and a longer courtship might have been wise. But let’s first place this in context. It was the ’60s, and marriage, especially to a handsome, wealthy man, was considered a desirable outcome for a young lady, and 20-something was not considered too young to marry then. Taking a dim view of her choice through gimlet-colored glasses does a disservice to her character.
Absent the helter skelter courtship, upon what charges should we condemn her?
Her song at his birthday party? Brave.
Her youth? Not quite her fault.
Her jumping into the stepmother role enthusiastically? She’s good with kids. Someone in their lives should be. The way she cheerfully made Don’s children pasta when they unexpectedly crashed her dinner party demonstrated a natural aptitude for her role as stepmother.
Her not knowing her husband as well as others? She asked. She’s interested.
A critic could highlight her difficulty in navigating the territory of being the boss’ wife while finding her own professional sea legs, but she’s working at it and avoids pulling rank. She consciously acts as part of her creative team, has her husband’s back at a dinner meeting, and while the conflict might register on her face, it’s not an internal conflict she subsumes with alcohol or sex.
As she told her judgmental father, her marriage is not an end, but a beginning. She sees her marriage as a place in which she can grow. She shows her husband sincere affection, shares his sexual interest and does not appear to be using him for his money.
She’s not acting like a young girl in over her head. She’s acting married, and considering the train wreck that her parents showed themselves to be, Megan’s a bit of a marriage savant. At some point, can we just accept that Megan is the dream wife? At this point, even Matt Stiles should be getting jealous.
((Submitted by MadMenConvo reader Jason S.))