Oct 22 2010

Glen, We Hardly Knew Ye


Pic shamelessly stolen from itslikethiscat.tumblr.com

Well, that’s about it, I’m betting.  Mad Men delivered its season finale last Sunday and I’m willing to guess it was the swan song for our favorite li’l psychopath Glen Bishop.

Last time on GlenWatch, I regaled you with the tale of Glen and Sally’s secret meetings.  When Betty discovered the two, she decided it was finally time for the family to move.  I thought this might be the cue for Glen to go full-on bonkers, but it turns out he’s handling it pretty well.  He showed up to the house when Betty was out and said goodbye to Sally who promised to send him postcards.  Betty came back just in time to be furious that he was there, and for Glen to wisely point out “Just because you’re sad, doesn’t mean everybody has to be.”  Then he walked out the door and out of the series.

He could be back, I suppose.  I’d certainly love it.  But if I know this show, he won’t be.  I see now that Glen existed to show us how crazy-go-nuts Betty is (she fired Carla the kindly housekeeper for letting Glen in) and now he’s off to return to his home planet.  It was a good run of creepiness, kids, but we’re going to have to do without Glen for now.

Feel free to post your favorite Glen moments in the comments.  And let’s cross our fingers that Don’s secretary-turned-wife will fill the awkwardness gap next season.

Oct 13 2010

GlenWatch ’97 Continues!


"Oh, hey, by the way, MURDER!"

Perhaps you thought I forgot about the promise I made to keep you abreast of any and all activities related to Glen Bishop of Mad Men fame.  Not so!  He just hasn’t shown up for ages, having disappeared into the B character wormhole I mentioned in my last post.  But he was back this week with a vengeance.

Well, not a vengeance so much.  Actually the creepiness quotient was pretty tame.  To be fair, it’d be hard to top the knife-waving, house-trashing, awkward-phone-calling antics that he’s already brought this season.  They probably should have spread that out a little.  But that’s not to say it was a total wash.

Apparently, Glen’s a chunky football player now.  He spends the whole episode hanging out in his jersey like a big shot.  I presume his mom finally got him into sports to teach him social skills, which is too bad because it’s severely mellowed his serial killer vibe.  The good news?  He spends the whole episode hanging out with Sally!  It appears that this disturbing relationship is totally on!  He offers her cigarettes as well as the “backwash” of his Coke!  Their chats focus mostly on Sally (Fun Fact: Sally Draper does not believe in heaven), but Glen does let his true colors shine through with more than a few catty remarks about how much he hates Betty.

I couldn't find any pics from the episode. So, here's Joan. Because I love you all.

Just to reiterate, Glen is putting the moves on the daughter of the woman he was dangerously obsessed with.  By way of regular picnics on an eerie dead lawn.  He’s still in the game, folks.  The climax occurs when Betty catches them together.  Sadly, Glen doesn’t demand that Sally run away with him, or light anyone on fire, as I was hoping.  He just runs off crying.

Back at the house, Sally tries to convince Betty that Glen’s not so bad.  She responds “I know him better than you do” which I think officially makes Betty more unhinged than Glen.  The whole thing ends with Betty telling the new husband that she wants to move, causing Sally to run upstairs and cry into the little braided knife decoration thing that Glen gave her.

We are at a critical point here, folks.  Things are coming to a head.  Glen’s next appearance will either escalate him to new levels of glorious insanity (Poisoning the dog?  Kidnapping Sally?  Menacing Betty with a gun he found under his mom’s pillow?) or see his character fizzle away like so many others have on this show just before they would have become really interesting.  I DEMAND SATISFACTION!  Write your congressmen, people.  MORE CRAZY GLEN!

Aug 23 2010

The Creepy Loves of Mad Men’s Glen Bishop


I don’t think I’ve talked about Mad Men on the blog before, primarily due to my unspoken agreement with Logan to deny the existence of any television show that doesn’t feature Chevy Chase.  I’m breaking that streak today to discuss the most surprisingly compelling character of this season: Glen Bishop.

I enjoy Mad Men, but it’s frustratingly disorganized in its storytelling.  It doesn’t really have story arcs, so much as vague themes.  Characters may get tons of screen time for several episodes, only to disappear completely without warning.  Whatever happened to Joan’s closeted lesbian roommate?  Are we ever going to see Sal again?  And where the hell has Betty Draper been this season?  Until recently, I thought Glen Bishop had evaporated as well.  But before we discuss the present, let’s take a look back to when we first met the little scamp:

Glen is the young son of Helen Bishop, a divorced single mother who lives in the Draper’s neighborhood.  When Helen’s babysitter falls through, she guilts Betty into watching Glen for the evening.  While Betty is using the bathroom, Glen walks in on her (quite on purpose) and proceeds to stare at her until she’s able to get the door closed.  Betty confronts him about it.  He cries and apologizes.  So far, Glen’s kinda weird.  But, hey, he’s a lonely, sexually curious nine-year-old.  Give him a break.

Then he asks for a lock of Betty’s hair.  So, ya know…we’re getting into creepy town now.  He tells her that he wants it because she’s like a princess.  Of course, because Betty Draper is pretty unhinged herself, she ends up giving it to him.  It’s a neat scene because not only do you get to watch this really messed up little kid, you also realize how lonely Betty herself must be to oblige him.

Glen disappears for a bit after that, then shows up again when his mother finds the lock of hair and tells Betty to keep away from her son.  Later, the two meet by chance in a parking lot where Betty breaks down and admits how isolated she is, causing Glen to tenderly (and SUPER creepily) comfort her by saying that he wishes he were older.

Eventually, he runs away from home and hides in the Draper’s doghouse, explaining to Betty that he’s come to rescue her, and that the two can run away together.  It’s clear now, even to Betty, that this kid is damaged.  She calls his mom.  He views it as the ultimate betrayal, and tells Betty he hates her.  So ends their affair.  Glen fades into the ether, never to be seen or mentioned again.

Until now!  Oh yes, friends.  This season opened with the Draper kids (now the Francis kids after Betty’s divorce) bumping into Glen while Christmas tree shopping.  But this time he’s only got stalker-eyes for young Sally.  In a way this is a step up, since she’s actually his age.  In another way, it’s kind of like a psycho ex-lover showing up to menace the family of the one who spurned him.

And we’re in luck, Glen fans.  Our boy has discovered exciting new ways to be unnerving.  Every scene he’s in explodes with awkwardness!  He shows Sally his menacing pocket knife, chats about divorce in a detached monotone,  calls her up in the middle of the night, and–in his Glenniest move yet–breaks into the Francis home and wrecks the shit out of it,  leaving only Sally’s room intact.

And then…nothing again.  He’s been absent for the last three episodes.  C’mon, Mad Men, what’s up with this kid?  Is he using Sally as a creepy surrogate for her mom?  Is he a serial killer in the making?  Is he going to have a seen with Don where the two hash things out over scotch?  What is Glen’s deal!

To make matters weirder, Glen is played by Marten Weiner, son of the show’s creator, who presumably looked at his son one day and said “This kid is so quietly shudder-inducing, America will be helpless to look away!”  Maybe that at least means he won’t be forgotten like all those other great side characters.

Either way, you guys can count on me to keep you updated on the creepy exploits of Glen Bishop from here on out.  Unless those exploits involve him appearing outside my bedroom window with his father’s hunting rifle.  By the time I learn of that exploit, it will be far too late for me.

Thanks to the Mad Men Wiki for jogging my memory.  Also check AMC’s blog for an interview with the surprisingly well-adjusted Marten Weiner.