I was watching Quantum of Solace with my husband and there came a scene where M told her assistant to restrict James Bond’s movement by cutting off his credit card. As a twenty-year administrative assistant, my first thought was, “So when does 007 take the time to submit expense reports? Does he do that himself when he’s not killing people? Or maybe he flirts/sleeps with the admin on the lower floor so that she does this all for him. Does he miss deadlines? Does he carry receipts in his pocket and have to sort them out when he gets home at night? Does he sometimes forget to get an itemized receipt and then have to call for it or sign an affidavit saying the charge was, in fact, work-related? Does he have to use MI-6 approved websites to make reservations? Does he get nasty emails reminding him his expense report is due? Does M ever talk to him about going over budget?”
Being an admin has ruined television and films for me, if only in the area of administrative responsibilities. I think that’s why the assistant in Ocean’s 13 bothered me so much. She wasn’t very good at her job: she kept saying, “I can’t,” and “I don’t know.” That’s what you’re there for. If you don’t know, you find out. If you can’t, you find a way to do. If I had told my boss half the things she said, I wouldn’t have had a job, and at the time, I worked for a managing partner of a landscape architecture firm, not a multi-billion dollar, award-winning casino developer.
Of course, when I’ve mentioned all this, I was told that I take things too seriously. But I am not the only one with this reaction.
My husband, as a twenty-plus year veteran news photographer (he’s the man behind the camera), can’t watch the news without commenting on the lighting, story, etc.
My son, a digital filmmaker, cannot watch movies without dissecting the process. I enjoyed the first Sharknado movie, if only for the absurdity of it. But when he had to watch for class, he nearly pulled his hair out, trying to keep up with all the things they did wrong.
My daughter, dually-licensed as a cosmetologist and barber, cannot watch television without noticing hair. She was catching up on the Starz show Power and the first comment she made was on about an actress’ weave.
I imagine doctors do the same thing with shows like Grey’s Anatomy. As do police officers, lawyers, and military personnel, as those are the more popular themes in television today. Regardless of the show, my guess is that there is someone out there asking questions and making observations based on their chosen interest or career. It does take away some of the magic out of film making, but as the same time, I think it grounds you, giving you something to relate to/think about… that is, as long as the mistakes are not too egregious. Because that is another discussion all together–just ask my husband, when he sees news reporters in film flippantly cross police tape and not get arrested or shot. Ohmigosh, if you think I’m taking things too seriously when I wonder if the world’s greatest spy does his own expense reports, you show hear what he has to say about that!