Ah, Mad Men. You never cease to amaze me.
Last night’s season premiere (a full two hours!) was everything I wanted and more. Unlike AMC’s other runaway hit, “The Walking Dead,” — a personal favorite — I don’t need much to fulfill my desires (no zombies, no guns and no heart-attack inducing surprises). All I need is really good set design, some culturally-relevant references circa 1966, and a wise-cracking Roger Sterling.
Oh…and the new Mrs. Draper.
Megan Draper is the quintessential 60s woman but with a semi-European twist — she’s French Canadian. This gives her the leg-up (pun totally intended) on the competition and a considerable advantage on the liberated female front. She’s fashionable, beautiful, smart, and has a heart the size of
Texas The Northwest Territories.
Compared to Betty, she’s like…far out, man. While there’s no denying that Betty is lovely to look at and charming eye candy at country clubs and social soirees, she lacks the nurturing and empathy that Megan instinctively possesses. She is selfish and self-obsessed, childish and impulsive. Megan teaches the Draper children to sing “Alouette” while Betty would prefer to lock them in their rooms until they reach puberty. Megan is bright and cheerful and optimistic while Betty is clearly unhappy and the victim of life itself. Megan works and has ambitions and goals completely unrelated to motherhood and suburban living. Betty just wants a new house so she can have a fresh start and continue living the life of a pampered princess. Megan brings out a more calm and more relaxed side of Don whereas Betty’s constant bitterness only encouraged the same in her husband. Even Sally Draper would admittedly like to punch her in the face.
My favorite juxtaposition of the two women is from the finale of season four (“Tomorrowland”) where Megan accompanies Don to California to look after the children. While dining out Sally spills a milkshake all over the table while arguing with her brother Bobby. Don and the kids, who are so used to Betty flying off the hook at every mishap, are taken aback by Megan’s calm approach to a typical situation: keep calm and carry on (you’d think she were British).
And to put the proverbial nail in the coffin of my support for Team Megan, I present to you in poorly-recorded video straight off the television: Megan Draper’s coquettish little version of “Zou Bisou Bisou” (I love this song). Megan is playful, fun and a total sex kitten, but not so offensive that she alienates herself from the wives and girlfriends of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce men (except for Roger’s young wife, Jane, who is equally attractive but a heartless gold digger). Even Peggy seemed intrigued by her little number.
Don Draper may not like surprises but I sure do!
Work that mini-dress, girl (Betty would be appalled).
Interested in the history of “Zou Bisou Bisou”? There’s a short yet informative article over at The Daily Beast.
If you want to see the original video and lyrics en Français (mon Dieu!) click here.