25th Jul2017

Culture Dump #1: But what I really want to do is… Act?!

by Simon Bland

Why are Hollywood Blockbusters and Telly’s Biggest Shows Pandering to Musicians?


If you’re watching Game of Thrones then you’ll know it’s a jam packed return to Westeros. With just a handful of episodes left to wrap up a pretty epic and sometimes downright confusing show (Who’s that beardy one again? Oh yeah, they ALL have beards), creators David Benioff and D.B Weiss have a proper job on their hands tying up loose ends and making good on that never ending promise that winter is indeed coming.

With dragon queens, ice blokes and revenge-riddled Southerners to sort, you’d think time would be precious – and it is. Us loyal viewers have stuck about for six long and complex seasons and this week we were all ready to settle in and be transported back to a fantastical land of big boats and unnecessarily long sex scenes for the final slog. We’ve waited patiently. We’re ready. Let’s do thi- wait, is that Ed Sheeran? Nope, your eyes didn’t deceive you. It wasn’t some new character; a King of the Satsuma people or an ancient lord descended from a tribe of apricot yoghurts, it was actually him: beady-eyed string plucker Ed Sheeran and boom, just like that you’re back in reality.

I mean, we get it. Game of Thrones is perhaps the biggest show of them all. It’s broken records, redefined water cooler chat and helped you figure out who the worst dickhead in the office is when it comes to new episode spoilers but surely that doesn’t mean it should pander to trends or its famous-faced fans. The inclusion of Sheeran’s mug did wonders for breaking suspension of disbelief, like some sort of big dinner plate with features, determined to remind you that dragons aren’t real and you’ll probably never own a really cool sword. Shows like this spend a lot of time building worlds; worlds that are strange yet believable and full of characters that compliment them, and with a subtle fantasy like Game of Thrones, this world building is even more crucial. Couple Sheeran’s cameo with The Hound’s top knot zinger and you’re zapped back into dreary 2017 in record time.

It makes you wonder why the show’s creatives pander to these cameos in the first place. It’s something even proper-posh filmmaker and professional mind-boggler Christopher Nolan is guilty of too. Don’t think we’re letting you off the hook for plonking floppy haired STI machine Harry Styles in Dunkirk, Nolan. You know full well that X Factor contestants would be the worst people possible to defend our shores in a beach assault scenario. You wouldn’t rely on Pudsey the Dog to protect us from certain doom, would you? Although admittedly, that would be a good Nolan plot-twist.

With the kind of worldwide praise that Sheeran and Styles enjoy, you’d think they’d just be happy with what they’ve got: money, fame, success, never having to queue up at Alton Towers. It’s miles more than the rest of us have and yet it’s rarely enough for those in the limelight, is it? When it comes to musicians, it always seems to come back to that old Hollywood cliché, “but what I really want to do is act!” That’s fine, mate. Just leave our shows and movies out of it.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? Let me know in the comments below!

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