Monday, May 16, 2016

Why do TV characters who love coffee not actually drink coffee?

Want to ruin every television show you'll watch for the next week? Look at the cups people drink coffee from.

Critic Myles McNutt has noticed the prevalence of people drinking coffee on TV. It's an easy way to make characters seem relatable and gives them a reason to stand around or meet together. But something has been bugging him for years: their cups are almost always empty. Actors gesture around with cups that should be splashing around or at least have a little weight.

This is a common production flaw, but rather than mock it, McNutt uses it to make a point about the challenging nature of film production. Filling prop cups with liquid could be a nightmare if they spill, especially if they contain real coffee. In the often tightly budgeted world of television especially, having a realistic Starbucks cup is the lowest priority item.

If you want to play along at home, McNutt started #EmptyCupAwards for people similarly annoyed by this. Just don't get sucked down a black hole of noticing every production shortcut.

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