by Amber Meier
It’s 1966. The civil rights movement is taking national prominence. Thousands of young men are drafted into the Vietnam War. Pete Campbell now owns a red checkered suit. Welcome to a new season of Mad Men!
After a 17-month (!) hiatus, Mad Men returned on Sunday, March 25, with a two hour long episode titled “A Little Kiss.” As usual, some time has lapsed between the end of the last season (fall 1965) and the beginning of this season (summer 1966), and it was great to see what had changed since we last checked in with the suits and skirts of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: Don really went through with marrying Megan, who now works in creative. Pete has a new baby and a house in the suburbs. Joan has a new baby and one really overbearing mother. Peggy seems to have gained a bit more power in the office, but now must tip-toe around the new Mrs. Draper. Inexplicably, Roger has not yet died of a heart attack, stroke, or alcohol poisoning. Betty, um, still exists. She is not seen, but we can presume she spent the duration of the episode smoking cigarettes on her fainting couch, distracting herself from a gnawing sense of ennui and dissatisfaction by dreaming up new ways to damage Sally.
There was a lot to unpack in this episode, including pointed commentaries on race, class, and gender. And yet, there’s one particular element that I just can’t get out of my head: “zoobie zoobie zoooo…..”
Alright, so the lyrics from Megan’s racy serenade are actually “zou bisou bisou,” and the song was recorded in 1961 by yé yé girl Gillian Hill. For those not familiar, yé yé was a European style of pop music whose name came as a translation of “yeah! yeah!” Most yé yé songs were simple and catchy with innocent-sounding, almost childlike lyrics. In this case:
Kiss kiss kiss etc.
My God, how soft they are!
But tell me, do you know
What that means, between us,
What does “zou bisou” mean?
It means, I confess to you,
But yes, I love only you!
As readily demonstrated by Megan, however, yé yé ‘s surface naivety belied an undercurrent of sexuality. In her lovely song Tous les Garçons, famous yé yé girl Françoise Hardy may have been only been singing about a pining, hand-holding sort of love, but there’s an unmistakable something more just below the surface. Don may not have appreciated the performance, but love Megan or hate her, you’ve got to admit the lady has moxie.
All in all, Don’s surprise party was kind of fantastic – that band! Those dresses! Not to mention watching the socially conservative SDCP gang being forced to mingle with Megan’s younger, hipper friends. (I loved the way that, unlike some of his younger cohorts, Bert Cooper adapted and fit right in, arguing politics with Abe. The man’s got style.)
Odds and Ends:
– What I’m coveting this week: Megan’s swinging mini-dress. Très jolie!
– Roger’s secretary Caroline is hilarious. I’m going to assume that, like Ms. Blankenship (R.I.P.), she was hired by Joan in an attempt to keep Don from dipping his pen into the company inkwell. Again.
– I used to like Harry Crane. I think he’s now officially made the transition to “unsympathetic jerk.”
– Still, I laughed out loud during Harry’s conversation with Roger. “You’re going to owe me.” “No I’m not. I just gave you a lot of money.”
– Joan’s chat with Lane was sweet, but after his little stunt with the wallet, I was afraid he was going to hit on Joan. Please Lane, don’t hit on Joan.
– I loved Peggy and Abe’s little dance together.
– Does anyone really think Don and Megan’s marriage can work?
– Pete and Trudy are adorable. They want a beagle to chase the gophers!
– Speaking of whom, does anyone else think the new Campbell residence looks eerily similar to the old Draper house? Hopefully Pete and Trudy aren’t doomed to become the new Don and Betty. I just want those two crazy kids and their baby and their beagle and their gophers to live happily ever after.
Are you a fan of Mad Men? Any predictions for the new season?