1. She’s more than just a pretty face.
Being married to Don Draper is the easiest job in the world — well, provided you can deal with all the infidelity. Megan could sit back and enjoy the luxuries of getting to sleep with Jon Hamm, but instead she pushes herself to keep working. And when she realizes that she’s being treated unfairly as the boss’s wife, she returns to her first love, acting.
2. She’s good with the kids.
While Sally, Bobby, and Gene’s mother is busy giving them complexes that will last well into adulthood, Megan is proving herself to be a pretty awesome stepmother. She’s not perfect, but she’s trying. This is her first time being maternal, and while she’s rather young and inexperienced, she seems committed to being a positive force in these kids’ lives.
3. She’s fun.
Don may have been embarrassed when Megan serenaded him at his birthday party, but that’s totally on him. She was delightful. More to the point, she brought joy and light into otherwise drab proceedings. Just as Megan has been a breath of fresh air in Don’s life, she’s brought something special to Mad Men as a whole. The ’60s were occasionally fun, right?
4. She has a great sense of style.
Megan’s fun personality also translates into her attire, which has brought Mad Men into the swinging ’60s more than anything else. (Well, that and Don listening to a trippy Beatles song.) Betty’s conservative clothes were always lovely, but there’s a real joy in seeing Don walk arm-in-arm with a groovy floral print. And those earrings! Live out loud, Megan.
5. She upstages all the other wives.
Oh, sure, they’re nice. But that’s just it: They’re nice and not much else. Megan is a fully realized character, and that’s never more apparent than when she’s standing next to someone as bland as Cynthia Cosgrove. (Sorry, Cynthia.) Her desire to have a life outside of Don makes her that much more interesting — and appealing to those of us grossed out by submissiveness.
6. She won’t put up with Don’s crap.
Few of the women in Don’s life have stood up to him the way that Megan does. Their relationship is very dysfunctional at times, and often hard to watch, but you have to appreciate the way Megan stands up for herself and otherwise calls Don on his bullshit. She’s not the “perfect wife” by ’60s standards, which just makes her a more interesting character to follow.
7. She’s thrived despite her awful parents.
Ugh, Megan’s parents. They’re total assholes, right? Megan’s relationship with her mother and father has obviously had a negative effect, so it’s extra impressive that she’s managed to step out from under them. With their comments undercutting her at every turn, she has continued to pursue her dreams, while others would have conceded defeat.
8. She’s civil with Betty.
Can you imagine having to deal with Betty Francis without tearing your hair out? Or hers? I know Betty has her defenders, but she’s been kind of awful to everyone for the past couple seasons of Mad Men, and it’s a testament to Megan’s grace and class that she doesn’t completely lay into her husband’s ex. I mean, look, they’re not BFFs — I’m just saying this could have gone way worse.
9. She gets Don out of his comfort zone.
Betty never felt like a challenge to Don: She was the life he knew, and she never did much to push him in any particular direction. Megan keeps Don young — or at least reminds him of how old he’s gotten. It’s not always pleasant to see our leading man so out of touch, but it’s important for Mad Men not to let Don off easy. Megan is the perfect catalyst for change.
10. She treats Sally like an equal.
We’ve covered Megan’s relationship with Don’s kids, but there’s something particularly great about her bond with Sally. With a mother like Betty, Sally has very few positive female role models in her life. Megan doesn’t necessarily represent the ideal path to follow, but she’s independent, resourceful, and compassionate, qualities a young person like Sally would do well to adopt.
11. She’s going places.
Whether or not she remains with Don, Megan has a future. Like Peggy and Joan, she’s a woman who isn’t defined by the man in her life. Sure, initially, we knew Megan only as Don’s latest fling, but by the end of Season 5, she was thoroughly her own person. As we enter Mad Men’s sixth season, we can look forward to seeing Megan go off on her own path, Don Draper be damned.