Mad Men’s Bob Benson: Liar, Liar.

We don’t know much about Mad Men’s Bob Benson. Most of the show’s characters are similarly in the dark as demonstrated by their need for second introductions and frequent name-butchering (Roger Sterling jokingly refers to him as “Bob Bun-son”).

Here are some things we do know:

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  1. His weapon of choice at the office is coffee. An extra cup of caffeine is his strategy to get closer to the partners.
  2. He shares a name with Don’s son (as does most of Bobby’s camp).
  3. People on Twitter are really into his short shorts.

That’s about it.

The mystery of Benson’s character has caused many viewers to become suspicious of his intentions. Where did he come from? What does he want and why is he so darn helpful? Is he trying to get ahead at work or is there something else motivating him? Could he really just be a genuinely nice guy?

During last night’s episode of Mad Men, we learned something new about Bob Benson. He is too good to be true. He told a pretty significant lie.  Benson reveals this aspect of his character upon recommending a nurse to Pete Campbell; one who supposedly, and rather conveniently, has just become available after having helped restore Benson’s father back to full health from some unknown ailment.  The timing is oddly perfect and even more unbelievable is that fact that the nurse has a miraculous power: the ability to bring people back to life.

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BENSON: I’ve really debated whether to bring this up to you because I don’t want to put you in a strange position… and in the end it’s probably just gossip. It has come to my attention that you may be in need of a nurse for your mother.

CAMPBELL: Joan had no right to tell you that.

BENSON: His name is Manolo Cologne. He’s an army trained, registered nurse and available now only because he’s brought my father back to full health.

CAMPBELL: Is he Spanish from Spain? Because otherwise, mother will refuse.

BENSON: He’s very well bred. And don’t blame Joan, she was concerned about you and had exhausted her resources and is well aware your wellbeing is also an interest of mine.

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In an earlier episode this season (The Doorway Part 2), we’re told that Benson’s father is dead. Roger Sterlings’ mother has passed and a food platter from Benson arrives at the funeral.  There, Ken Cosgrove (Mad Men’s original Mr. Nice Guy) notices the somewhat inappropriate gesture. Cosgrove confronts Benson about the gift at work the next day:

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COSGROVE: What are you doing out here? You have a meeting with someone important?

BENSON: No, but are you looking for me? I’ll drop everything. I just came out here to enjoy the light.

COSGROVE: I thought maybe you were out here greeting customers for your catering business.

BENSON: What are you talking about?

COSGROVE: You know exactly.

BENSON: I’m sorry, are you cross with me?

COSGROVE: Someone sent a royal spread to Sterlings’. It had a card on it with your name.

BENSON: Oh that. It just seemed the thing to do.

COSGROVE: Well it was too much. It was almost like you were invited. But you weren’t.

BENSON: I guess I was just remembering when my father died. Any gesture meant something to me. There wasn’t supposed to be a card.

Why did Benson admit his father was dead in 6.02 but later claim him as healthy in 6.09? Discuss.