At this moment, HBO’s prestige crime procedural (full disclosure: I copied those last three words from this Jezebel story because I don’t entirely understand what they all mean) is a gritty Kate Winslet-led show called Mare of Easttown, which takes place in a depressing Pennsylvania town full of what appear to be low incomes and unhappy people. Oh, and murder. It’s a pretty great show, with one notable exception: the car casting is terrible, because of one really glaring mis-casting.
We’ve actually featured car-casting from a number of series on here, but almost always from a positive standpoint, because modern car casting has been so damn good lately. HBO’s other series have been no exception, even with extremely challenging cases like casting all those old Soviet cars for Chernobyl, which was a real car-casting triumph.
That’s what was so surprising about what I saw in Mare of Easttown—I know HBO has done so much better.
Most of the cars of the show are pretty unremarkable, which is what they’re supposed to be; just everyday, mostly recent-ish model cars that you’d see driving around a smallish Pennsylvania township. All of those are generally fine.
The problem car is also easily the most memorable car on the show, because it’s a fantastic car. Which is also why it’s so absolutely wrong. Let me explain.
Without revealing too many spoilers, the problem car is that perfectly-restored blue 1973 to 1976 (it’s hard to tell exactly; it seems to be an auto, so that’s at least ‘73, and the exposed fuel cap means pre-’77) Ford Bronco up there. It’s owned by a 17-year-old boy in the show who appears to come from a lower-to-middle-class family, and part of the plot revolves around his inability to come up with about $1,800 for a medical procedure.
The issue isn’t that a 17-year old kid wouldn’t absolutely love that car—of course they would—but that an absolutely top-notch restored Bronco like that is an absurdly expensive vehicle, especially for some high school kid in Pennsylvania.
On the lower end, good examples of these have been selling at auction for around $50,000, and ones that look as good as the one in the show can be seen selling for over $150,000 or even more, sometimes much more.
This is very much the wrong car for this character.
It feels like the car-caster here made the classic mistake of putting in the car they wanted, rather than the car the character actually would have, given the context of the story.
There’s nothing to suggest that Mare of Easttown takes place in some alternate reality exactly like ours except for that perfect, classic Broncos get sold dirt cheap.
It’s a huge failure on the car casting here to put such an obviously valuable and desirable car in here and just expect that somehow the audience wouldn’t notice it as odd.
This kid, from his background and socio-economic environment should have been driving some hand-me-down early ‘90s Ford F150 or maybe a crappy Mercury Mountaineer or a Corolla. If they absolutely had to have something vintage-ish and cool for this kid, maybe—maybe an old rusty Jeep Cherokee XJ like our own David Tracy might have in his yard or possibly an El Camino, but even that’s pushing it.
The show is great, and I would suggest you watch it, but just prepare yourself if you give a brace of BMs about cars to be ready for the incongruity of that Bronco. Just pretend it’s some other old shitbox that doesn’t cost more than a brand-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and get past it.
If it helps, this Subaru is well-cast in the show, so maybe pay more attention to that. Though the driver does turn it off and walk away with the lights left on, which nobody in reality ever does.