The creators of HBO's "True Blood" used masks of President Barack Obama in an intense scene Sunday night. In the episode, a group of thugs shot at some main characters, reminiscent of the movie "Point Break" where a bunch of bank robbers commit crimes wearing masks of several former presidents.
What's the big deal?
The big deal is that just a few weeks ago HBO apologized for using a mask of George W. Bush as a head on a pike in a first season episode of "Game of Thrones." The creators used DVD commentary to say it wasn't a political statement, but just what the costume department had on hand. The head wasn't even seen in its entirety, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Yet HBO apologized, saying "we meant no disrespect to the former president... we are deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful, and in bad very bad taste."
Perhaps the production crew on "True Blood" didn't get the memo. Although it was a total coincidence the episode aired nearly a month following the Bush head controversy, it does make HBO seem like a vortex of presidential criminals. The production companies are different for both shows, but HBO is in control of their own content.
Where does the buck stop? The show's creators can only use what they have been given. Perhaps using Obama masks truly is a political statement, as a ski mask would be cheaper for hiding someone's identity. Making a realistic head is far more labor intensive and pricey. Unfortunately, the Bush prop was too realistic.
The scene in "True Blood" shouldn't be nearly as controversial as the one in "Game of Thrones." First, a mask is a mask. When thugs want to pull off a cheap prank with whatever Halloween masks they can find, it would add realism that they couldn't afford something else.
Having a Bush mask in a medieval show would be somewhat creepy. The connotation may be Bush is an immortal or even a time traveler. The other insinuation is that humans aren't as genetically diverse as other animals on Earth, so a person looking like Bush from more than 500 years ago may not be out of the realm of possibility. Back in September, it was noted by ABC News that a Civil War-era photograph looks eerily like contemporary actor Nicolas Cage.