There’s that old joke about how “the curtains are blue” in a work of fiction. The English teacher will attempt to analyze the heck out of these curtains, saying how it represents depression and the lack of will to move on. Of course, it’s more than likely that the curtains were just, you know, blue. I’d like to begin here by saying that I am that English teacher.
And that English teacher trait of me has led to many a sleepless night. This is all entertainment in the end, but my mind seems to have no choice but to scan and analyze all of these pieces of fiction to find a greater meaning. With The Defenders in particular, there’s a lot to parse through—the ending of Sigourney Weaver’s character, Matthew Murdock’s ultimate fate, etc., etc. But all of that is child’s play compared to the real mystery at hand.
What the fuck is up with this apple core in episode six?
I could not keep my eyes off of it during that entire scene. Yes, we were given a pretty essential character relationship-building scene between Danny Rand and Luke Cage, but this chewed-on apple core ended up chewing the scenery. Every frame in film and television is well thought out and carefully constructed, so I thought that this could be no mistake.
But what does it mean? The machine that is my analytical mind could only come to three different conclusions.
- A practical, in-universe explanation: Luke, bored and hungry on duty babysitting whiny Danny Rand, found an apple (still with the sticker on it, as you can see) and ate it as a snack. Luke, not wanting to keep his eye off Danny, just sticks the core into the wall behind him.
- The artsy-fartsy English teacher explanation: This is a show that very much loves to use certain colors for characters; it’s not exactly a subtle thing. We know that Danny’s color is green, so perhaps the mostly-eaten apple represents Danny’s current state, stripped of his strength but still strong to the core. Eh? Eh?
- Some production assistant is stupid: Look, I get that being a PA on set, even for a cool Marvel show, isn’t exactly the most fun and glitzy job of all time. But come on, are you really going to eat it on set and stick the trash where the damn cameras are pointing?
More than a month passed, and I still had no way of knowing the true answer. Life went on, but this mysterious apple core still lingered in my mind.
Last week, an angel floated down from the heavens, and his name is Loren Weeks. He is the production designer of all of the Marvel/Netflix shows, The Defenders included. All of the visual elements that you see on screen are under this craftsman’s jurisdiction.
The good folks at Defenders Podcast were engaged in a conversation with Weeks, and mentioned a certain something:
Also noticed an apple core in a hole in the wall!
— Defenders Podcast (@DefendersPod) September 24, 2017
Our own Rhiannon Kincaid heroically jumped onto the scene, giving me a namedrop:
@Compenderizer has spent a long while wondering about that apple core.
— Rhiannon (@ShotofPatron) September 24, 2017
And of course, I see my opportunity.
It’s true, I have lost sleep over it
— Chris Compendio (@Compenderizer) September 24, 2017
I was not disappointed.
Wish I had something smart to say about it but I credit it to a crew member too lazy to walk to the garbage can. It bugs the shit out of me! https://t.co/sW5ZxZMCyZ
— Loren Weeks (@lweeksdesign) September 24, 2017
Loren, you beautiful human being. Finally, some internal peace. Yes, it was indeed, a stupid production assistant of some sort. I did have my doubts; I was dubious that the camera operator, cinematographer, director, and ultimately the editor didn’t notice this mistake that stuck out like a sore apple core. But sometimes—just sometimes, something silly falls through the cracks.
Hopefully, this insane ordeal and my inner turmoil will help us all learn an essential lesson in viewing art. Sometimes, the English teacher in our soul just has to learn that sometimes the curtains are just blue, and crew members can be idiots.
As Loren Weeks points out here, it was a bit premature and mean-spirited to blame production assistants:
Dont blame PAs. Its usually some other crew member 2 lazy or thinks its cute. No one questions it but assumes its there 'cause i directed it https://t.co/WxvviPyM3i
— Loren Weeks (@lweeksdesign) October 3, 2017
My sincerest apologies to all of the hard-working PAs out there in the industry.