The good news for Mad Men‘s Megan, played by Jessica Paré, is that the onetime Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce secretary is now Don’s wife. The bad news for Megan… is that she is now Don’s wife, meaning she is wed to a man who sometimes has trouble knowing exactly what (or who) it is that he wants.
And if the Season 5 opener was any indication, Mr. and Mrs. Draper’s newlywed phase is not without its hiccups. So what sort of obstacles will be thrown their way that might not be able to be solved with angry floor sex?
“Is there really any problem that can’t be solved that way?” Paré said with a laugh when presented with just that question.
Turning serious, Mad Men‘s relative newcomer points out that since this “is not a show about people that have everything they want and are just happy, obviously there will be some friction between [Don and Megan]. I think the seeds are … pretty well-sown in the first episode.”
Case in point: In the drama’s two-hour opener, Megan (Mistake No. 1!) surprised her husband with a 40th birthday party, at which she (Mistake No. 2!) serenaded him with a sexy rendition of a song, while his many “intimates” watched on with degrees of bemusement, astonishment or, yes, even arousal. (Hi, Harry.)
Megan saw the gesture as romantic; Don declared it an embarrassment.
“She’s definitely a lighter person,” Paré observes of her alter ego, who elsewhere in the premiere likened herself to a smiler adrift in SCDP’s sea of smirkers. “She has more light to her than most of the characters, while there’s a lot of sarcasm and darkness in [Don]. So we’ll definitely see more of that [sort of conflict], I’m sure.”
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
Paré was handed no less than two show-stopping scenes in the Season 5 premiere, both of which had the proverbial watercooler (read: Twitter) buzzing on Monday morning. For starters, there was Megan’s coquettish cover of “Zou Bisou Bisou” — not Paré’s first singing performance on Mad Men (she had a kid-friendly ditty in the Season 4 finale), but far and away the most provocative.
“It’s a very gutsy move,” she says of Megan’s semi-public presentation to Don. And she’s not so sure she could pull off such a performance herself. “Certainly a lot of the awkwardness and embarrassment was felt, so… I don’t know,” she laughs. “It takes a lot of courage to do something like that!”
Then, after the newlyweds quarreled some over the display — even moving Megan to leave work early days later — there was the “makeup” sex scene staged on the impractically white living room rug of the Drapers’ mod digs. We asked Paré about the direction for that intense encounter. Was it positioned to her as a seduction? A challenge of sorts to alpha male Don?
“One of the ways that [Megan] has some kind of power over [Don] is that they are such a great match sexually, and physically,” she answered. “And this was her trying to regain her upper hand in that sense.”