When you watch shows like Prison Break, no matter how enjoyable they might be there are always little things that will annoy you; things what will make you say “That just wouldn’t happen”.
And that got me thinking about the many things that happen in TV and Film that just aren’t realistic or annoy me. And I don’t mean stuff like ‘People Who Can Fly’ or the like, because that’s not the sort of thing I’m talking about. I’m talking about things that happen often in TV & Film that are supposed to be ‘normal’ or are just plain old overused and ridiculous.
Prison Break had my list at about 10 different things, but for those of you who read my Week In Entertainment articles, you’ll know that I’ve also been watching One Tree Hill and Neighbours recently, and so that list has more than doubled…and of now it’s still rising.
So here is Part One of a list that may never actually end.
1. People’s Appearance Changing Between TV Seasons That Are Supposed To Be In Real Time
In America, a TV Season usually ends in May and starts again in October. In that time an actor or actress might put on weight or have some sort of accident and so when the show resumes, people can look a bit different; I can accept that.
But sometimes things just get a bit sloppy. Take Prison Break as an example (and I feel we might be using this a lot). Season 2 ends with a bunch of the escapees finding themselves locked up in a Panamanian prison. That’s the cliffhanger. Season 3 picks up directly from that on the same day, and yet one of the main characters no longer has bleached hair.
Where is the attention to detail there? Why could he not have just bleached his hair for at least the first episode before deciding to dye it back or cut it off.
It’s a small issue but it bugs me.
2. People Order Food and Never Eat It
This could be almost any show. How often do you see people order food or drink on a TV show or a film and then either not bother to eat it, or leave and pay before they’ve even seen served?
That just doesn’t happen.
Well…it might if it was something serious, but in a show like Neighbours, people leave their food uneaten for reasons like ‘Come and have a look…there’s a toddler eating a banana outside!‘. In reality, unless something major has come up, you don’t just leave cafes or restaurants until you are finished eating.
3. People Never Seem to Discuss Things While Travelling
How often do you see people start a conversation while leaving one place (e.g. the pub) and then seemingly not advance their conversation at all until they have reached their destination (e.g. their house). What happens while they are travelling to the other place? Do they just blank each other?
4. The Way That Some TV Shows Can’t Distinguish Between Real Time and Transmission Time
There are an abundance of shows that are guilty of this, but three good examples would be Prison Break, 24 and Doctor Who.
Let’s take 24 as the prime example, especially as it’s a show that prides itself on being set realistically within real-time to the point where they cut the cast’s hair every couple of days to ensure it stays the same length.
It’s all well and good doing that for appearances sake, but stop and think about the sort of thing that happens in the average ’24’ day. Jack Bauer will get beaten up to the point of being almost literally dead and yet ‘Two Hours’ later, he’ll be fine. And that’s ok because that happened a fortnight ago in our eyes. Or indeed the series where a nuclear bomb went off in Los Angeles in hour 7 and by hour 13 nobody was even mentioning it. Yes, months had passed in transmission time, but if a nuclear bomb went off in LA in reality, I think people might still be talking about it later in the afternoon.
The idea for this came up when I was watching Prison Break though. There was a scene in a later episode of Season 2 where Link the Sink is talking on the phone to his son, who we’ve not seen for about 11 or 12 episodes. His son tells him that in the time they’ve been apart he has settled and is now happy and going to a new school, and that’s fine, but in ‘real-time’, Link saw his son earlier that week. He must settle bloody quickly.
And why mention Doctor Who? Because when you take a moment to think about it, the entire ‘life’ of Peter Davison’s 5th Doctor takes places over about a fortnight in real time.
5. The Reveal of Secrets
People have secrets. People keep secrets. They don’t always come out.
Unless it’s on a TV Show.
Now I can understand that for the sake of drama, if you’re going to have someone with a deep dark secret, it makes sense for it to come out in the end. That’s fine.
But it’s how it comes out that often bugs me.
Now I’ve never killed someone, but if I had done, I wouldn’t keep a piece of highly incriminating evidence in a box under my bed and occasionally – for no purpose other than exposition for the viewer – take it out just to look at it. And then leave it there until someone else inevitably finds it while doing something otherwise innocent.
It’s just pointless, weak storytelling
Next time I’ll discuss things like the way illness, lead villains and reset switches are used in TV