Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Mad Men: Who Is Bob Benson?"

The truth of who Bob Benson is was finally revealed on Sunday’s episode of Mad Men. My take on the revelation and how it connects to Don Draper. Warning: spoilers ahead!

At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Mad Men: Who Is Bob Benson?" in which I offer my take on this week's episode of AMC's Mad Men and what the true identity of Bob Benson (James Wolk) means for the show and Don Draper.

“I used to wonder how you were so expertly servile.”

On Mad Men, James Wolk’s eager-to-please ad man Bob Benson—a sort of golden retriever in an impeccably preppy suit who was always ready with an extra cup of coffee or a deli platter for a funeral—offered one of the season’s most hotly discussed mysteries, second only to whether Jessica ParĂ©’s Megan Draper would be murdered. Theories were rampant. Was the perpetually chipper up-and-comer, who inexplicably seemed to materialize at SCDP (later renamed SC&P), a spy from a rival agency, an undercover reporter, Don’s love child, or a government agent?

Last week’s episode, “Favors,” seemed to indicate that Bob was gay, as he appeared to make an advance at Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) by gently touching his boss’s leg with his own and seemingly making a declaration of his love. When I asked Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences panel I moderated last weekend whether Bob Benson was gay, he demurred, saying what passed between Bob and Pete didn’t necessarily indicate that. So, then, the question hovers in the air like smoke from one of Don’s cigarettes: just who is Bob Benson?

But Bob Benson isn’t a spy, an undercover reporter, or a G-man. (Nor is he Don Draper himself, as some have confusingly guessed.) The truth is far more mundane, in a way: Bob Benson is anyone he needs to be.

In this week’s episode of Mad Men, “The Quality of Mercy,” Bob’s secret history came tumbling out from a most unexpected source. Headhunter Duck Phillips (Mark Moses) discovered, when tasked by Pete with finding leads for Bob, that Bob’s personnel file “might as well be written in steam.” Every bit of information we’ve learned this season about Bob—the blue-blood connections, the dead father, his work experience, etc.—was a fiction cleverly created by a cunning social climber, one who wanted to leave his West Virginia roots behind and reinvent himself as a slick go-getter.

Does that sound like anyone else we know?

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas