Last year, when we spotted Megan Draper wearing a t-shirt on Mad Men that resembled a t-shirt made famous by Sharon Tate, we thought we had something. We really thought there was something there, and we all became so convinced that Megan Draper was connected to Sharon Tate — who was murdered along with several others by Charles Manson in August of 1969 — that for a few weeks, it was the central conversation when it came to Mad Men. It got so big that Jessica Pare was answering questions about it, and eventually, Matthew Weiner himself broke his rule about discussing ongoing developments to dismiss the possibility that Megan Draper would die in the sixth season.
But here’s the thing about that theory: From the moment it began until the end of season six, interest in Mad Men was at an all time high. When a show airs on the same night as Game of Thrones, it needs something like the Sharon Tate theory to compete in the Internet’s water cooler.
I don’t think that Matthew Weiner ever expected so much conversation would center on a t-shirt Megan Draper was wearing. I also no longer believe that Megan Draper is going to die in a manner similar to Sharon Tate (and I sure as hell don’t think she’s actually Sharon Tate, nor did I ever). But I do think that Weiner is playing with that theory now. I think he’s exploiting it. I think he’s f**king with us. Despite the fact that Weiner dismissed the Sharon Tate connections last season, nearly every recap on the internet yesterday mentioned the connections in this season’s premiere episode. Even Tom & Lorenzo, a site that was annoyed by all the Sharon Tate theories last season, couldn’t help but to bring them up this season.
I think that’s by design. Maybe it’s misdirection. Maybe Weiner is winking at us. Or maybe Weiner is just straight-up trolling us. If he is, he’s doing a damn fine job of it. Ultimately, I think it helps to keep that theory alive in some way, because it continues the Mad Men conversation.
Below are 15 connections between Sharon Tate and Megan Draper, some of them better than others. You might find this aggregated evidence bolsters the theory, but at this point, I actually think it works against it. It is now TOO obvious, and that’s sly genius of Weiner. Lead us into one direction, and the Mack truck broadsides us from the other. We may be able to dismiss the possibility that Megan Draper is going to die a grisly death, but there’s too many connections now to dismiss it as coincidence. At this point, I don’t think the question is whether Weiner is drawing these connections, but why is Weiner drawing these connections?
1. The original Mad Men season six promo photos, in which Megan Draper is looking very much like Sharon Tate, fashion-wise (a point Tom & Lorenzo made before any of this theory stuff broke out).
2. The original inspiration for the theory: The T-shirt worn by Megan Draper was also a t-shirt popularly worn by Sharon Tate.
3. In one episode, Sally is reading Rosemary’s Baby, which was adapted into a movie that was directed by Roman Polanski, who was Sharon Tate’s husband when she was killed.
4. The photograph above of Sharon Tate wearing the t-shirt with the star on it was taken on the set of Rosemary’s Baby.
5. Like Sharon Tate, Megan is married to an older, philandering husband.
6. Like Sharon Tate, Megan’s acting career is on the rise.
7. In fact, Megan Draper is auditioning for the pilot for NBC’s Bracken’s World, which was created by Dorothy Kingsley, who wrote Valley of the Dolls, which was the film that jumpstarted Sharon Tate’s career.
8. Sharon Tate was killed in August 1969. She was eight months pregnant. Megan had a miscarriage last season, but in the premiere episode — in which it was clear that Megan was trying to hang on to Don — the two had sex. If she conceived, she would be about eight months pregnant in August 1969.
9. Sharon Tate was murdered while living in Benedict Canyon. Megan Draper now lives in a creepy apartment Don calls “Dracula’s Castle” in the canyons of Los Angeles. In the premiere episode, Megan says of the creepy coyote howls, “It’s just what happens to the sound in the canyons.” Tom&Lorenzo draw parallels from the sound to the opening lines of Helter Skelter, Charles Manson’s book about the murders.
“It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.
The canyons above Hollywood and Beverly hills play tricks with sounds. A noise clearly audible a mile away may be indistinguishable at a few hundred feet.”
Megan also mentions that her “next house will have a pool.” The house Sharon Tate was renting also had a pool, which is where the body of Abigail Folger was found (more on her below).
10. Roman Polanski was not around when Sharon Tate was murdered (he was in London shooting a film). Likewise, Don could easily not be around in August 1969 (because he’s bicoastal, and he’s rarely around long enough to even have an argument with Megan, according to the premiere episode).
11. Sharon Tate was murdered in a home invasion, and season six of Mad Men normalized the idea of home invasions with a break-in into Don’s apartment, and another incident in which Peggy stabbed Abe, fearing he was a burglar (and some have argued that the blood in Abe’s stab would resembled the star on Sharon Tate’s shirt).
13. In an episode last season, “Favors,” Sally’s friend makes a comment about “‘Mark Lindsay living in your building.’ Mark Lindsay was a singer who had rented the same house where Sharon Tate was murdered.
14. In this season’s premiere, Peggy is holding a can of Folger’s coffee. Abigail Folger — a prominent member of the Folger family — was one of the Manson victims.
15. In this season premiere, Don briefly checks out the short-lived Joey Bishop Show. Joey Bishop was also in Valley of the Dolls with … you guessed it, Sharon Tate. The last line that his guest says in the clip from the show is, “He’s a very bad man.”
Bonus: Not for nothing, but in this interview with Jessica Pare, she says that the “violence and despair” is getting closer and closer to the characters in season seven.