Category: Mad Men

The Note That Lingers: 'Mad Men' and Sonny & Cher

Getprev The Internets have been buzzing about the shocking Season 4 finale of "Mad Men" -- shocking, I guess, if you don't think corporate types (even "creatives") still married their secretaries in 1965, three years before New York's radical women threw their bras into trash cans and really set off feminism's Second Wave. Many recaps mention the epi's fade-out music: "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, a No. 1  hit for that unlikely pair in the year that Don and  Megan begin their own off-kilter duet.

Some pundits have called the song choice ironic; several have noted it as a precursor of doom for the SCDP office lovebirds that America's already begun to hate. After all, Sonny Bono, another older man who sought salvation in a younger woman, lost his wife in the chaos of the mid-1970s. (Cher gained a successful solo career.) Sonny & Cher divorced in 1975, a decade after his showbiz smarts and her comedic flair -- not to mention the undervalued contralto that, decades later, would make the world "Believe" in computerized voice manipulation -- made them a kind of ideal couple, both on the pop charts and on television.

The fantasy they embodied, especially on "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour," is what makes that song choice more than just a cute little season-ending joke. Famous for their bickering -- and particularly for Cher's knack of making Sonny seem like a schmuck -- Sonny & Cher recast a very old joke about power within marriage for an era when women really did start wearing pants en masse.

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