Sunday, 24 February 2013

10 Things People in TV & Film Never Do

Sunday, 24 February 2013

They may look like you and I, but characters on TV and at the movies are a very different species. Below are 10 things fictional people never do, which flies in the face of normal everyday experiences.

1. Get snagged on a door handle when leaving a room.
How many times have you caught your pocket on a door handle as you leave a room, or suddenly found yourself snagged by a bit of jacket or errant toggle? The folks who exist in your TV and at the movies don't suffer this embarrassment... ever. They can walk through doors willy-nilly without any incident. They're professionals. However, they do tend to have major problems with revolving doors if they're in a comedy.

2. Say "goodbye" to end a phone call.
People on TV/film are bloody rude, plain and simple. It's just bad manners to end a phone call by suddenly hanging up. How do they know the other person wants to end the conversation? Are they telepathic? Or maybe they have more phone conversations than real people, but half are from annoyed folk they hung up on mid-conversation the previous day, calling back to demand an apology?

3. Use electric toothbrushes.
It's 2013. We may not have flying cars and roast dinners in pill form, but we have motorized the modest toothbrush. This invention has yet to take-off in the world of TV/film, however, because almost everyone still uses a manual brush. Why is this? The answer's simple: you can't be heard with a brush buzzing in your mouth, so dialogue's easier to add to a bathroom scene where the brusher's still kicking it old school. But something has to be done, because pretty soon we'll all have upgraded to electric toothbrushes and NOT using one will be as weird as seeing someone walking around with a ghettoblaster perched on their shoulder.

4. Walk into a room and forget what they came in for.
If anybody on TV/film did this, we'd assume it was foreshadowing some kind of dementia... not just part of normal life, from time to time. We all do this, right? Do I need to call a doctor?

5. Dial a wrong number.
Admittedly the classic faux pas of a wrong number is less common now most people have mobile phones that store all your numbers, but there's still occasions to dial a new number... where you sometimes mis-dial and have to explain yourself to an unsettled 80-year-old lady. This has never* happened in the history of TV/film. They love worrying old ladies. (*Unless for comic effect.)

6. Struggle to find money to pay for a taxi.
It's three in the morning and a grumpy cab driver's asked for £12 for driving you a few miles up the road, but you're drunk and your pockets are full of loose change that can't be identified in the dim lighting. And you can't just hand a pocketful of coins to the driver hand and make him count it himself. He would definitely take more than is owed, or else think you're a simpleton who can't even count. But in the world of TV/film, paying for a taxi never takes more than a few seconds. The correct amount can always be paid with a handy banknote, and you rarely even have to say "keep the change" as you get out.

7. Pour milk into a glass rather than chug from a carton.
If I want to to drink milk, I pour it into a glass. I know people do indeed chug it direct from the bottle or carton (cuh, teenagers), but this is the de facto way of going about it in TV/film-land... especially if you're down on your luck. Only kids get their milk handed to them in glasses in fiction, usually with a cookie.

8. Sneeze while driving.
Similar to forgetfulness, people in TV/film only sneeze if they have a cold that's relevant to the plot. Or there's pepper about, weirdly. Nobody sneezes just for the sake of it, but especially never at the wheel. You'd just expect an accident if they did that.

9. Use a self-checkout machine at the supermarket.
This is another piece of modernity that people in TV/film are curiously slow to embrace, because almost everyone still insists on purchasing groceries from a manned checkout. Why? It's because there's always the opportunity for sparkling dialogue with another human being that way, or perhaps an important chance encounter with a particularly attractive checkout girl. The chance of romance blossoming with a machine repeating "unexpected item in the bagging area" several times, before stubbornly refusing to accept your coins, is far less likely. Although perhaps not impossible. Hmm, idea for a movie: Unexpected Item in the Loving Area.

10. Suddenly get a bad haircut.
We've all been given a bad haircut. Some of us even have one permanently. This isn't true of lead actors in TV/film, unless their character actually demands one (i.e. they're idiots, crazy, eccentrics, or come from a poor background). But you won't catch Tom Cruise going to the barber halfway through Jerry Maguire, only to spend the rest of the movie looking like the class dunce because his regular hairdresser was on holiday and her replacement is overzealous with clippers. No way. Besides, how would the Hair & Make-up team ever hope to win an Oscar if they had to intentionally do bad work that makes them look inconsistent?