The last time we heard from Macaulay Culkin was nearly eight months ago, doing the talk show rounds to promote his comedy site and podcast, Bunny Ears (the site is ongoing and mostly funny, the first iteration of the podcast has ended). More recently, Culkin has been appearing on YouTube shows like Red Letter Media and Cinemassacre. And now, just in time for the holidays, Culkin is starring in an ad for the Google assistant. He’s playing an adult Kevin McAllister, using Google Assistant to do all the hard work of being a budding psychopath who traps and tortures people in his basement. (I love Home Alone, but there is no way Kevin McAllister was a normal kid.) This is the most visible Culkin has been in a while, making multiple appearances in a year and even doing a commercial. We’ve always been careful about Macaulay Culkin, but maybe we don’t need to be anymore. Or, we don’t need to be as careful anymore. He’s never seemed better, and he’s smartly and actively using his child-star past to benefit his current projects.

I just wonder if he’s building up to something. Mac is “retired”, but he’s never really stopped working. He just doesn’t have to work for his living, so he’s free to pop in wherever he pleases and go away again when he wants. He can do a few episodes of The Jim Gaffigan Show, and then do nothing but shorts for the next couple of years. There is absolutely no pressure. Which is why it feels like his recent output is working up to something. Maybe it’s all just to build up Bunny Ears. Or maybe it’s a steady process of stepping further and further back into the spotlight, to see what happens and what opportunities come up.