Is there a creepier kid on TV than Glen Bishop, the morose, manipulative little boy who lives down the street from the Drapers in ‘Mad Men‘? How about in the whole history of TV? I mean, this kid is creepier than Pugsley Addams.
Glen was back last night for the second episode of the recently begun fourth season of the critically acclaimed AMC series about New York ad men in the 1960s. It was an episode (titled “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”) for which the word “creepy” could have been coined. Glen – who is played by Marten Holden Weiner, son of ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner, believe it or not – was seen last night making weirdly inappropriate phone calls to vulnerable Sally Draper, Don’s daughter who’s about 10 years-old (Kiernan Shipka, the actress who plays her, is 10).
And Sally, who’s built up a load of internal anger over her parents’ divorce, seemed willing to play along with Glen’s flirtations, which last night included breaking into the Drapers’ home with a friend, ransacking and vandalizing the kitchen, and then leaving Sally a present on her pillow, one of those arts-and-crafts “lanyards” you weave in summer camp. She knew it was him and she told no one.
So what’s so creepy? Just this: Glen’s phone call to Sally last night was vaguely sexually suggestive, an off-putting thing to consider since these two kids are so young. Moreover, it wasn’t that long ago, in the first season of ‘Mad Men,’ that creepy Glen – who’s the gloomy product of his own parents’ divorce – was carrying on an icky flirtation with lonely Betty Draper. Remember that subplot? How old was he then? Eight? Nine? That whole “relationship,” which stretched over a couple of episodes, made you wince when you watched it.
With a whole storyline all her own, the Sally character is getting more attention so far this season than her mother, Betty. For that matter, ‘Mad Men’ fans might be wondering what has become of a whole raft of characters, particularly the Sterling Cooper ad agency employees who didn’t move to the new agency this season, Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce. We especially miss copywriters Ken Cosgrove and Paul Kinsey, though last night’s return of boozehound Freddy Rumsen gave some hope that a way can be found to bring some other old characters back into the fold. Freddy, now clean and sober, came bearing a new client, Pond’s Cold Cream.
Besides Glen, the award for Biggest Creep of the Evening goes to Don Draper, who drunkenly had meaningless sex with his secretary, Allison, when she did him the favor of delivering his housekeys to his Greenwich Village apartment. She came from midtown, where he left them in his office (it was on her way though – she was due to meet co-workers at Chumley’s, a real West Village bar not far from Don’s home).
At work the next day, Don coldly presented Allison with her Christmas bonus, an envelope containing $100 cash – which made her feel like a prostitute when she evidently had hopes of striking up a real relationship with Don.
As for Don Draper, he once again comes across like this show’s Tony Soprano, a leading man/hero we want desperately to like, even though his antisocial behavior keeps getting in the way – though, secretly, we kind of still love him anyway. (There is a creative connection between the two characters, of course – Matthew Weiner wrote and produced episodes of ‘The Sopranos.’)
What did you think of Don’s behavior last night? Are you falling out of love with this guy? And what about Glen? Is he the creepiest kid in the history of TV or what?