Bob Benson Can Do Way Better Than Pete Campbell
Much of the Mad Men blogosphere is talking about the surprising move that Bob Benson (James Wolk) made on Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in this weeks episode, rubbing knees and speaking gently of love. Critics can’t even agree that this definitely proves Benson is gay, with some suggesting it’s just office manipulation- while others wonder if Benson could connect the show to the upcoming Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969. But everyone is missing the most important question: why the heck would handsome, polite, helpful Bob Benson (Beloit, Wharton, accounts upstairs) go after the living embodiment of the word “weasel?”
Here is a partial list of guys in the office who are better than a balding, self-centered rapist: Ken Cosgrove. Stan Rizzo. Michael… I mean, Ginsburg. Those two nameless creative guys from CGC. Sal Romano in the Central Park bramble. Hell, Burt Cooper. I have to assume that Bob Benson made a pass at each of these guys, or at least sussed out the odds, before resorting to Pete; or that the times being what they were, men of that nature had to make do with what seemed available.
Then again, Trudy can also do a lot better than Pete (which she finally seems to have realized). And so can Peggy (but she seems about to backslide).
And then again, a lot of Don’s women have deserved a lot better. Megan, and that poor Faye. But I’m getting away from my point.
According to The Wrap, secretive showrunner Matthew Weiner last week offered the surprisingly forthcoming (for him) admission that Benson is “definitely a liar,” and that he appreciated actor Wolk being “mysterious.” I don’t think this is the lie that Weiner was talking about; I think Benson still has plenty of good old-fashioned ruthless climbing to do.
I may be wrong about Benson, and his good guy stuff may be a complete act hiding something terrible. But until that’s confirmed, I have to wonder: just how deep do his secrets go, and what does his terrible taste in men tells us about what will happen?