Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

Inept TV


Have you ever noticed that in TV shows the characters walk rapidly through the hallways of (schools, office buildings, courts, police stations, hospitals, congress and the white house, casinos, etc.) talking to each other? They turn lots of corners left and right, and although there are lots of people moving around and doing things, the characters usually walk three abreast, but never have to stop or step around someone coming from the opposite direction (except, of course on ER). Makes me dizzy. I wish they'd stop once in while and lean against the walls for a bit.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows set indoors such as an office (or hallway - see above) there are dozens of people walking around, carrying files and things? I wonder how anybody gets any work done, with all the opportunities to for everyone to stop and BS with each other and bitch about their work?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows characters often have a bottle of booze in their desk drawer at work? Some of the characters are "troubled" and drink surreptitiously - like the morgue boss Dr. Macy, on Crossing Jordan, after which Lily comes into his office and he breathes directly into her face and then they both walk out the door and continue their discussion as they walk down the hall. Often the characters just pull out the bottle to toast births, engagements, succesful resolution of a case, sometimes just at the end of the day, etc., quite openly, with their coworkers.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows when one of the ensemble characters gets injured (from an accident, or shooting), they always get addicted to painkillers? And one of their coworkers or the boss eventually has to step in and talk them into "seeking help". But they never get disciplined for abusing painkillers on the job.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows set in mental hospitals, the inmate extras all move some parts of their bodies in a rhythmic motion? One or two will be sitting at tables, rocking back and forth. Another stands by the window, swaying back and forth. Another group watches TV, but each one has some twitch. There are some playing cards - usually one will throw down the cards and shout something predictably "crazy-angry" and maybe even get "helped" by one or more attendants (usually black males). There's often a woman dressed up with high heels, makeup, sunglasses, and a scarf, smoking - rhythmically swinging her crossed leg. And someone else has their hat and coat on - with a suitcase - waiting at the door as if to go home.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows when the characters are handed a cup of coffee or water or whatever, you know the cups are always empty, by the way they handle them? So fake!

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows when the character is in a city and needs a cab, one pulls over immediately, no matter what the weather or time of night? Unless of course the plot (lamely) depends on no taxi being around.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows where they use surveillance photos or satellite images, the initial image is heavily blurred and grainy (about as good as you can get on your home computer), but they always have some sort of super high tech program (which takes only a few keystrokes - and only one screenshot) that resolves the license number or face and then immediately locates that face out of some national database using facial recognition software. The most outlandish are on Las Vegas, such as the time one of the cameras in the valet area picked up a guy's eyes in a rear view mirror through the back window of a car pulling out of their drive onto the Strip. Then, using facial recognition software (where at some point someone remembers you have to reverse the image since it was in a mirror) they identified the person, and saw from his expression that he was in trouble.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows bartenders and cop bosses are usually sardonic and bitter?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows which include scenes of cars on the road - especially chase scenes - they seldom get caught in traffic jams, or long waits at stoplights or left turns?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows where the bad guys are driving away in a car, and the good guy cop empties his revolver at the fleeing vehicle (with lots of bystanders present) he never even comes close to hitting it, nor does he hit any bystanders?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows the teenage characters always "lose their virginity" in high school?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows when the computer geek is asked to find some information from someone's phone records, it only takes six or seven keystrokes to link to the right company's home page, find the database, and break the password protection, and then call up the required data?

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows where the characters are working an accident or crime scene, they over-instruct each other about how to handle a sample or who to send it to or what specific procedure to use to analyze something. They always tell each other to do things that are so obvious - as if the over-instructed subordinate wouldn't normally do it as part of his job anyway.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows where they are discussing an autopsy, they almost always say "petichial hemorraging".

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows the plots for each follow a rigid formula, week after week, where the answer is usually obvious within 20 minutes? Y gets pissed at me for announcing the perpetrator, or the final plot twist within the first half hour.

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows where they purposely don't follow the above Standards for Inept Television, they don't survive very long. The network moves it around randomly, inexplicably airs a repeat, takes it off the air for a few weeks, etc., then cancels it because of low ratings.

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