Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner Explains Why Megan Matters So Much
Season 5 of Mad Men has left audiences polarized, divided between those that like Megan Draper (Jessica Paré), and those who wish she didn’t take up so much screen time. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner opened up to Vulture about why Megan’s story is important, and why he chose the little-known Jessica for the crucial role.
Let’s start with some good news for viewers who wish Mad Men hadn’t turned into The Megan Show. Matthew says, “I will be honest with you, every story that I tell that involves Megan is about Don (Jon Hamm). Megan versus work, Megan at work, and what it means to have a second wife — which he is taking very seriously as his last wife. That is the story.” So at least we can rest assured that Megan serves a larger purpose than simply being the “Zou Bisou Bisou” sex kitten.
Matthew continues, “How is Don dealing with this younger, enthusiastic, hopeful, and very honest person who is accepting of the kind of person that he is, but is slowly expressing her independence? I found it to be a fascinating thing to say, How does Don deal with this successful relationship, and how much change can he tolerate?”
Strangely, he also reveals, “I will not lie, though. I didn’t realize until deep into this season how important her story was to Don.” With only three more episodes left in Season 5, we think now qualifies as “deep into” the season, right? Then it seems fair to judge Megan and Don’s tense interactions on last night’s episode (Season 5, Episode 10: “Christmas Waltz”), and where they led him (to a dark bar with Joan in the middle of a work day) as foreshadowing where Don’s story leads heading into the finale.
Now about Jessica and her teeth. Matthew simply says that he cast Jessica after she was a strong contender for the prostitute who slaps Don in the middle of sex (halfway through Season 4). “Iloved her face and her energy, and she’s got this slightly tomboy thing. And at the same time, she looks like a French movie star from that era, exotic and intriguing.”
So whether you like Megan or not, in the end it doesn’t matter as much as we thought. She is only as important as how she affects our main guy: Don Draper.
Watch the next episode of Mad Men on Sunday, May 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.