When Mad Men returned on March 25 after a 17-month hiatus, there was bound to be some excited discussion on the Internet. After all, Season 4 closed with myriad questions that lingered in the back of viewers’ minds as they made do with other forms of entertainment.
Most of those questions saw resolution fairly early in the Season 5 premiers. Don and Megan did indeed get married, and they’re living in a ’60s swank pad straight out of Austin Powers’ imagination. Joan kept her baby and the agency is afloat. So about half way through the episode, the subject of “Zoo Be Zoo” started popping up on Twitter, and an early ’60s song I’m willing to bet few Mad Men fans had ever heard of suddenly became the topic of discussion.
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The tune in question is actually called “Zou Bisou Bisou”, first sung by Gillian Hills in 1960 when she was only 16. Sophia Loren then sang an English cover of the song for the film The Millionairess.
When Mrs. Megan Draper (played by Jessica Paré) took to the stage at Don’s surprise party, she treated hubby Don and pretty much everyone she works with to a light, but suggestive burlesque:
And suddenly, any producer’s cross-promotional dreams became a reality. “It’s been gathering a lot of really great attention,” Paré said to reporters in a conference call the day after the show aired. “I can’t believe I’m new on the show and one of the first things I have to do is an entire song and dance routine for the entire cast of Mad Men.”
Pare explained that she worked with a choreographer for three six-hour sessions to get the dance down, but that the song was a recording she had done in a studio. It’s a good thing she can sing, because AMC began offering the single in retro 7-inch vinyl in either red or black.
The episode was a coming out party of sorts for Paré, whose character Megan was a small role last season when she was simply Don’s secretary/love interest. Now that Megan and Don are married and she’s been promoted to a junior copywriter, there are plenty of opportunities for tension: Don could, for instance, request she open her blouse in his office (not exactly the most professional behavior, even if the employee in question is your wife). The tension came to a head when Don is unhappy with his surprise party. Megan stormed home from the office early and began cleaning in her underwear, only to have a rough tryst with Don on the dirty carpet.
In addition to “Zou Bisou,” Don’s party and its the aftermath — when Don tells Megan he doesn’t want her opening up their home and their happiness to their co-workers — was the premiere’s large topic of discussion. “That scene was a beautifully written, beautifully crafted piece of work,” Paré said. “It’s an interesting choice Megan makes that has a lot of power.” If the 3.5 million viewers — a 21 percent jump over the season 4 premiere — is any indication, Mad Men‘s fans seem to have taken a liking to Megan. And if creator Matthew Weiner can give them more catchy, obscure ’60s pop tunes, this season’s love affair with the show has only begun.