I already tackled Megan (now) Draper’s (winning) French-Canadianness when she sang “Il était un petit navire” to the Draperinos back at the end of season 4 of Mad Men. Further, the internet already melted down over the subsequent French song Jessica Paré chose to sing for the show, so I don’t need to touch on that. I will plug, however, this brief moment when she utters a “sacre” after Don’s surprise party is ruined.
What I would rather discuss here, briefly, is how bizarre I continue to find it that the character is named “Megan” in the first place. In my head, I imagine they named her before deciding she would become a main character complete with her own French-Canadian identity mirroring Paré’s own. I lie to myself in this way since the idea of a French-Canadian born around 1940 named “Megan” is, simply put, really unexpected.
During the 2000s, the French form of “Megan”—”Mégane”—was, in fact, one of the most popular names for newborn girls in Québec. As Louis Duchesne notes, “Megan” became a popular name in the 1970s in the US before fading away in the 1990s. About a generation later, the French form became popular in both France and Québec, though the French popularity cratered once Renault introduced the “Mégane” in 1995. The car is unavailable in Québec, and the popularity of the name continued to climb, reaching heights its American counterpart never enjoyed.
Yet no matter how popular “Mégane” has been in Québec over the past 15 years, it was not on the map as a name in 1940. Hence, I would surmise, its English version, and the name of Don Draper’s new wife, was completely unheard of. Maybe she really is as good an actor as her waitress friends suggest, having invented the whole québécois backstory as part of her long con of Don Draper. (Relax, Mad Men fanatics, I don’t believe in the Megan Draper long con conspiracy.)