Yes, somebody left a Starbucks cup on the set of last night’s much ballyhooed “Game of Thrones” episode on HBO.
It would be a good exercise to list all the rationalizations one could access to try to minimize such a massive botch, and avoid the likely consequences of making it. Without breaking an ethics sweat, I came up with…
- 6. The Biblical Rationalizations, “Judge not, lest ye not be judged,” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
- 8. The Trivial Trap (“No harm no foul!”)
- 19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”
- 20. The “Just one mistake!” Fantasy
- 22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
- 38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
- 50. The Apathy Defense, or “Nobody Cares.”
- 64A. Bluto’s Mistake or “I said I was sorry!”
As silly as that “one mistake” seems, a head, or many heads, should roll. This tweet from an annoyed fan nicely sums the situation up: “You’re telling me they had TWO YEARS to put together a decent show and they couldn’t even spot the goddamn Starbucks cup in Winterfell??!”
On a major production like “Game of Thrones,” at least one production staff member, sometimes more, has no other duties but to make sure such things do not happen, not even once. Usually the kind of errors you see involve missed continuity, like Judy Garland’s braids getting longer and shorter throughout the “Wizard of Oz.” Those are bad, but the Starbucks cup is infinitely worse. Moreover, there were probably dozens of people on the set and in the editing process that should have caught that one. They weren’t paying attention, and it is their job to pay attention. In other fields, mass carelessness, incompetence and negligence like that can and do get people killed.
The “Game of Thrones” scandal—yes, the production should be ashamed —struck me particularly hard because a similar experience occurred in a production by my now defunct theater company. We were presenting “MacBird!”, the 1967 political satire on “MacBeth” that is a true period piece. Here I am sitting in the audience, and one of the “witches” (they were hippies in “MacBird!”) walks on stage with a Diet Coke in his hand!
I nearly fired him after the show. I should have. I nearly fired the director and stage manager who defended him too. (“He was dehydrated!”) The other actors and everyone who saw him with that bottle also got hell from me. They had a duty to stop him, or blow the whistle. Professionals must always be professional, and when they are not, those who rely on them lose trust, and ought to.
I don’t give a dragon’s ass about “Game of Thrones,” but if I did, I wouldn’t put any more energy or commitment into the show after the Starbucks cup cameo. If the artists creating the show don’t care any more than that about what they give the public, then the whole enterprise is tainted and cynical.
That was a demonstration of inexcusable disrespect towards the show’s audience.