Vincent Kartheiser Talks ‘Mad Men,’ Pete Campbell’s Latent Homosexuality

Alright, so Megan Draper is going to make it after all. What about Mad Men‘s other fan theories this season, like the many regarding Pete Campbell and what appears to be a developing homosexual relationship with the character Bob Benson? There might actually be something to that one.

Eyebrows collectively furrowed when the mysterious Benson rubbed knees with Pete Campbell in “Favors” last week, and though the latter was visibly disgusted, he allowed it to happen. Does this mean that Campbell is a latent homosexual?

Vincent Kartheiser (Campbell) spoke about the leg rub in an interview with Vulture, and while he didn’t give anything away about his character’s story arc, he teased what we should be watching for.

“This is not something that [Pete] foresaw. It’s not an ongoing issue. This is a moment that happened out of the blue, and if it’s ever happened to you, and I don’t know if it has, but if it’s ever happened to you, if someone of the same sex that you didn’t recognize had those feelings toward you, and then all of a sudden that happens, there’s just a moment where it sets in.

Now, you also have to understand the reason he didn’t explode is because Bob is bigger than him and stronger than him, and Pete last season got his ass kicked by someone who wasn’t as big or as strong as Bob. Matthew’s allowed his characters to learn… To scream at or attack someone like Bob, who has a lot to lose in this situation, may open Pete Campbell up to a broken jaw or a black eye.

Also, Pete’s not quite aware when it first happens that that’s what it is. It’s not like Bob tried to kiss him, so he’s being subtle. He’s being slight with it, you know, because he doesn’t quite know that that’s what it means.”

Mad Men creator Matt Weiner has also talked a bit about the scene, suggesting that the sexual tension has more to do with Benson’s ambition and Campbell’s loneliness creating the perfect storm of confusion.


“Bob Benson is an ambitious person that we’ve seen, to comic effect, using everything he can to climb. But one of the things we know is that he has gone out of his way to take care of Pete. I don’t know that Bob is necessarily gay, but I think he is infatuated with Pete and wants to be Pete and I don’t think Pete is horrified or shocked, but he’s now in a situation in business where someone has really infiltrated his life … What I wanted to say was there’s this pure expression of love and who doesn’t need love and Bob is offering that to Pete and Pete is so needy at this point, so alone, but I think we get a sense of catastrophic results of expressing your real feelings.”

So we’re probably not going to see a full-on hook-up anytime soon, if at all. But the sexual tension between Pete Campbell and Bob Benson is there, even if it is more the result of confusion between the two men than anything else.

Still, do you think Pete Campbell and Bob Benson should hook up on Mad Men?