Fans of the popular AMC period drama “Mad Men” were pleasantly surprised Sunday night upon the appearance of character Glen Bishop, whose questionable inclusion in the show’s final string of episodes marks a return to the show’s nepotistic roots.
Portrayed by actor Marten Weiner, son of “Mad Men” creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner, Glen first appeared all the way back in season 1, sharing substantial screen time with similarly spiritless cast member January Jones, who began the series as Betty Draper, the soon-to-be ex-wife of troubled advertising executive Don Draper.
“Thanks to the handful of scenes we’ve had with Betty this season, I already had enough to satisfy my jones for wooden, expressionless acting,” “Mad Men” devotee Glen Dendy said. “But one good turn deserves another, so I was pumped when Matt Weiner decided to give us another unnecessary dose or two of his son’s dead-eyed, affectless performance on Sunday night.”
In this week’s episode, titled “The Forecast,” now 18-year-old Glen returns to visit childhood friend Sally Draper, soon informing Sally and Betty that he has enlisted in the Army, a potentially fatal decision in light of the ongoing Vietnam War. But in spite of the sensitive, potentially heartbreaking nature of such news, Glen remains as monotone and emotionless as ever, a testament to the younger Weiner’s ability to go round-for-round with the veteran Jones, whose dry, stiff performance as Betty has been greeted with derision from audiences and critics alike since the show premiered in 2007.
Though some took to social media to voice their displeasure at the sight of Glen, others were quick to credit the elder Weiner with sticking to the pattern of nepotism he first established back in the critically acclaimed show’s inaugural season, somehow casting his own son despite Marten Weiner’s lack of experience, magnetism and ability.
“Professional integrity, schmofessional integrity,” said actor Daniel Baldwin, brother of more successful actor Alec Baldwin and equally less successful actors Stephen and William Baldwin. “Integrity doesn’t pay your oldest brother’s rent, y’know? Speaking of which …”
But while supporters such as the bloated Baldwin, who acknowledged he has never seen “Mad Men” in part because it’s on “pay TV, and that stuff doesn’t pay for itself,” focus on the financial benefits of rewarding undeserving family members with roles in successful films and television shows, others note the relative rarity of seeing shows as esteemed as “Mad Men” sacrifice some of that acclaim in shameless attempts to pass off untalented kinsfolk as accomplished actors.
“Rarely do fans of shows as successful as ‘Mad Men’ get to indulge in the vacant looks of a single untalented actor, much less two such performers,” wrote New York Times television critic Rex Foxwood. “So while we can all sit here and wonder why on Earth a show with such limited time left to tell its story would devote such a substantial amount of that time to an actor who is no more deserving of his platform today than he was when the show began eight years ago, perhaps we should just appreciate this nepotistic nectar for the unaccomplished and disturbingly poor vintage it really is. Because soon the young Weiner will join Miss Jones and ride off into the sunset, or wherever it is unskilled actors go when their characters’ storylines mercifully end.”