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Zou Bisou Bisou: Mad Men Returns for Its Fifth Season

Some thoughts:

  • Pete is is all itch; Don is all scratch. Roger is bored and amusing. Bert is old. Lane is struggling to repress buried thoughts of strange women’s ankles. Peggy is an unknowable chunk. Joan has had a sass infusion. Don’s daughter is growing up to sound like Rose Marie. Life goes on, except now the colors are different and the dresses are made of a single regrettable pattern.

  • It did not begin promisingly: Young & Rubicam copywriters who have a Goldwater sign in their office throw water bombs on the heads of civil rights protestors. Did this happen? While Matthew Weiner, the show’s auteur, says it’s based on this incident, you wonder if the miscreants at Y&R really did have a “Goldwater ’68” sign in their office, or if that’s just to underscore some meta-truth about Those People.

  • It’s nice to be back in the office, but it sounds like they hooked up all the typewriters to amplifiers.

  • Peggy has a disastrous pitch about a bean ballet:  “There’s a splash of mouth-watering sauce as each one lands. It puts beans on their mind.” Absurd as it sounds, this is where TV would go. But not yet. The Heinz exec replies: “(Beans) look like bloody organs, and not just to guys like me who served in Korea.” A line no one ever spoke.

  • Half an hour in, you think: Pete cares too much. Don cares too little. Together, they solve crimes! That would be the network version, perhaps.

  • The Birthday Party scene will be picked over and frame-grabbed for a week; you can bet someone’s already turned Peggy’s little dance into an animated gif. (Update: didn’t take long; said animated gif appears above.) It needs Henry Gibson in a clerical collar to be a complete nod to Laugh-In, but not even Goldie Hawn did anything as cringey as the “Zou Bisou Bisou” number. At this point you expect Fonzie on water-skis to fly through the apartment window, but hello: Don’s embarrassed too. So it’s supposed to be something we can enjoy for its badness, its Laura-Petrie-Gone-Wild vibe, its sign of changing times, and all that. This show works on so many levels! So does an elevator operator, but never mind.

  • Roger Sterling smokes like he thinks the cigarette is holding something back from him.