The 17-months'-long-awaited Season Five premiere of AMC's Mad Men finally happened last night. Reactions have been varied, but people tend to agree that the song they can't get out of their heads today (unfortunately or not) is the one that Don Draper's new wife, Megan, sang to him in front of a crowd at his surprise 40th birthday party. The lyrics of "Zou Bisou Bisou," Lauren Streib writes in the Daily Beast, are roughly translated as "Oh! Kiss kiss / My God, they are sweet! / …Oh! Kiss kiss / the sound of kisses /…Oh! Kiss kiss /…That means, I confess / But yes, I love only you!"
A woman performing for her husband in front of everyone as a birthday "gift," promising kisses and love, sashaying in a sexy dress, seems to underscore traditional gender roles and a sense of subservience. And yet, the irony is that throughout the song we're uncomfortably aware of how uncomfortable it is making Don, who never wanted the party in the first place—a fact that Peggy attempts to convey to Megan, though Megan goes ahead with it anyway. After the party, when Don withholds sex from Megan to express his displeasure over the party, he seems to come out the winner, at least temporarily. But Megan gets him back later by going home sick from work -- he comes chasing after her -- and then, when he arrives, stripping to her black lace bra and underwear to clean the apartment, something she knows he won't be able to resist. Megan is hiding something behind her doe-like eyelashes. How much more we will see as the season progresses? What's clear, at least in this first episode, is that there's a definite push-pull dynamic between genders over power and sexuality, and it plays out with other characters as well.