Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zou Bisou Bongo

During the season premiere of Mad Men there was what proved to be a much commented-on scene where Don Draper's new wife, in the middle of throwing him a surprise birthday party he didn't want, performs a seductive French pop number of the day, "Zou Bisou Bisou", in front of all their co-worker guests. The scene's drama stemmed from how inappropriate it was to do publicly, but a big part of the post-show internet buzz was due to how insanely catchy the tune was. It proved to be the easy meme to cull from the episode.
For me there was something else about the scene that jumped out at me which I doubt was noticed by others—nor should it have. It was entirely an egad-could-Doug-be-more-of-a-dork moment.

For the party the wife had hired a band complete with guitarist, bassist, saxophonist, and drummer. During the number where the wife sings the percussion is clearly bongo drums, and dutifully the actor who was playing the drummer can be seen in the background with bongos between his knees. However, a careful listen to the music to which she's singing also reveals the sound of a closed high-hat being struck with a drumstick, and there's clearly no one playing that in the scene.

Again, I concede that the show should be commended for the fealty to the song they showed by having the drummer actor pretend to play the bongos, and had he not and played the full kit then it probably would have elicited more notice from others; they weren't going to hire someone else to be sitting at the drum kit tapping away on the high-hat just to appease the likes of me, especially given how little the drummer is seen. They went farther than most shows would have gone in that same situation, and I sincerely commend the efforts they did make at verisimilitude.

But there's no way that band could have pulled off the full sound (were they really playing) with the ostensible musicians in the scene.

Egad, yes I am enough of a dork (and one who played the drums years ago in a garage band and thus has experience with what making that particular sound would take) that I noticed.


As always the point here: Be glad you don't have my brain, and that at worst you only had that catchy song stuck in yours.

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