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Zou Bisou Bisou: 1960s teen hit resurrected on Mad Men

by Photo of Kelly Shea

The shiny new Mrs. Draper brings a racy performance to her living room stage

Zou Bisou Bisou: 1960s  teen hit resurrected on Mad Men

Last night on the long-waited season premiere of “Mad Men”, we got a lesson in how to publicly humiliate your stoic husband, turn on co-workers, and generally provoke sexual harassment by the new and improved (?) Mrs. Donald Draper.  This expert tutelage came in the form of a little French tune called “Zou Bisou Bisou.”

When Megan, young, starry-eyed, smart-but-stupid Megan, revealed her surprise party plan for Don, audiences collectively recoiled.  Everyone knew that Don Draper would rather vacation with Pete Campbell than be the center of attention at a happy occasion – except for his young, foreign wife.  

Hadn’t she exhibited more intuition than that in the last season?  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if her Draper-meter has diminished, along with her front-tooth gap.  

The party really got swingin’ when Megan announced that she was drunk enough to give Don his birthday present.  We all expected a nice little toast, or maybe a seductive, Monroe-esque Happy Birthday classic.  But, no.  Don sat front-row, center and got a song, complete with shimmies, shakes, skirt-raises and hip-pops.

Matthew Weiner has executed flawless song selection on the show, and this episode proved no different.  Mrs. Draper crooned the words “Zoobie, Zoobie Zoo,” a bastardized English version of the French “Zou Bisou Bisou,” meaning “oh, sweet kiss.”  

We were about as confused as Trudy Campbell.  What the hell is a zoobie zoo?!  

The tune was a teen confection, originally sung by 16-year-old Gillian Hills at the height of the 60’s international yé-yé movement.  The puppy-love song served as a brilliant way to showcase Meghan’s youth and flair for the dramatic at her much-older husband’s 40th birthday.  

After the cookie-cutter Connecticut beauty of Betty Draper, Don would find a dichotomous love in a raven-haired young thing from the most exotic of the world’s exotic places – Canada.  

Canada is a far-away land where secretive and debonair middle-aged men enjoy being sexily sung to in front of all manner of friend, co-worker, and accountant.  It’s a place where everyone can sing and dance a little burlesque without inhibition or rehearsal.  

Sure, Betty was a marvel at throwing 5-year-old’s birthday parties with the neighborhood kids, but her idea of a wild sexual exhibition involved a couple of gimlets and a nightie.  Every Mad. ad man gaped and gawked at the sultry performance, of which Don was beyond mortified.  In the end, however, we see that Meghan and her hot bod can zoobie zoo their way out of anything – including work and cleaning the carpet.

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