Don Draper may be TV's most complex character since Tony Soprano, but his emotional baggage doesn't seem to include a secret compartment for a sense of humor.
Perhaps that's part of the reason why the tightly wound "Mad Men" character's stunning crying jag last season spurred Internet spoofs showing Draper weeping at everything from the Hindenburg disaster to the "Double Rainbow" video. Draper's repression also appears to be at the heart of the appeal of the latest "Mad Men" mash-up meme: parodies of Sunday's much talked about sex-kitten song-and-dance act by the ad man's new young wife, Megan.
The spectacle of Draper squirming in front of his co-workers as Megan shimmies and coos her way through a version of the bouncy 1960s French tune "Zou Bisou Bisou" gave fans plenty of fodder for discussion following a 17-month absence of perhaps television's most over-analyzed show.
We're not above playing TV Freud: The song established what may turn out to be the emotional soundtrack for Season 5, underscoring the generation gap between former secretary and her husband, furious over the surprise within his unwelcome surprise 40th birthday party. It also set the stage for what appears to be a marital power struggle between a deceivingly strong-willed young woman and a rigid man whose life is based on controlling his image.
Actress Jessica Paré’s catchy rendition of the ear-worm of "Zou Bisou Bisou," now selling on iTunes and in a vintage vinyl version, provided fans an opportunity to respond to the key, uncomfortable scene with humor.
Videos on Funny or Die, YouTube and elsewhere mash-up Megan's big number with Jean Claude Van Damme's infamous "Kickboxer" dance scene, the "Trololo” song meme and "The Shining," in which “Zou Bisou Bisou” drives Jack Nicholson’s writer character to a different kind of madness than the pathology that afflicts Draper and his fellow creative types on Madison Avenue in 1966.
The parodies are funny, but perhaps more significantly serve as fan-made mini-ads for the AMC show's hold on us. Check out some of the videos below and get some laughs at Don Draper's expense:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, milt-media NY City News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.