Friday, March 1, 2013


Strangely enough, I have only one pet Unbelieva-peeve. Actually, it's a whole host of them, but they all come under one heading - I hate the stupidly unrealistic things that occur in detective/cop/superhero movies and TV shows. It makes us look kinda stupid, right? However, by the same token, it does give us Unbelievables an advantage over criminals because it can make them feel somewhat complacent and therefore a little lax. It lulls them into a false sense of security. 

"Hey boss, shouldn't we have locked that door behind us?"
"Relax, youse guys. Dey'll NEVER think of looking in here!"

See what I mean? So I shall list here a few good examples of the kind of thing that really tweaks my melon.

Hint: Not actual cops.
  • In Law & Order, homicide detectives investigating murders always 
  • talk to people who are too busy to stop what they are doing and talk to 
  • them. The people aren't necessarily being shifty (although it certainly sometimes seems that way), they just don't 
  • consider the gumshoes important enough to stop work for a minute. 
  • They just keep on loading trucks or trying to get to class or telling 
  • other people what to do or fixing whatever they are fixing, 
  • all the while talking off-handedly to 
  • the detectives as if someone is just nodding to them as they pass by. I mean h
  • ow often do average people get questioned by homicide detectives that 
  • they can't be bothered to stop what they are 
  • doing to answer questions?
  • In disaster situations, land vehicles and airplanes continue to function at full speed, despite volcanic eruptions and the world in general exploding and crumbling all around them. Does anybody remember Mt. St. Helens?
  • Computer programs showing characters in 1" in size, and programs that do image searches flashing every image they find until the computer comes to the one it's looking for. And software so sophisticated it can take a blurry photograph, magnify it 10 times in the lab, and then clearly see the numbers on a license plate that was 100 feet away in the photo.
  • Car keys kept in the visor of a conveniently-placed get-away car. Who does that?
  • Bullets that never ever ever ever EVER seem to find the good guy. Seriously, if bad guys were such crappy shots, there'd be no such thing as gun crime.
  • Guns with perpetual bullets. Guy has a six shot revolver, fires 32 shots with out re-loading and then moves on to the next shootout with nary a pause.
  • Scenes in a moving car where the driver turns to the passenger, makes full eye contact and carries on a three minute conversation with them without even once looking at the road. Apparently Hollywood cars come equipped with magic auto pilot.
  • Some character finds themselves on foot on a road with a car following them. The car speeds up with the obvious intent of running over the pedestrian. The pedestrian inevitably tries to outrun the car, fails, and is hit by the car. I don't think I've ever seen a case where the pedestrian gets off the road where the car can't follow him.
  • Even during widespread natural disasters, cell phones and land phones still work and people get through right away to say goodbye or pass along vital information.
  • The sound effect of chambering a round when someone points a 
  • gun. 
  • People in a standoff lowering their weapons,and the chambering sound effect being used AGAIN if they raise the guns again!
  • Screeching car tires on dirt road.
  • Modern cars equipped with Anti-Lock Brakes, whose tires still screech.
  • Perfectly neat-as-a-pin and perfectly-decorated houses/apartments. I'm sorry - the hot maverick misunderstood bachelor FBI agent with perfect cheekbones, great car, and upwardly-mobile career, (who mysteriously remains single) DOES NOT live in a perfectly-clean, tidy and professionally-decorated condo. His real condo looks like a frat house on Sunday morning and smells of pee. Let's just keep it real here.
  • Actors walking around with take-out coffee cups that are so clearly empty they scream "I’m a prop! I’m a prop! What you’re watching is a TV show, not reality!" I mean, we all know what a cup filled with a hot liquid looks like. It has a certain weight and heft, and anyone who handles it does so gingerly, for obvious reasons. Yet on the big and small screens, characters continue to sip from receptacles whose absurdly obvious emptiness shatters our belief in the fictional world we’re beholding and forces us back to stale reality. It’s the proverbial "exit sign" in a movie theater: You’re enjoying a juicy moment of drama or whatnot, then happen to glance at the bright red letters near the door and remember you’re in a room with a bunch of strangers, staring at a piece of celluloid.
  • Detectives who can travel from Sacramento to other cities in California and back in ridiculous amounts of time. Leave Sacramento by car around 10:00 am, go to San Francisco, find a guy and interview him, then get back to Sacramento in time for lunch. 
  • San Francisco is about 90 miles away and not an easy city to move around in. Add to that that you have to find the guy. Then there's the interview. Then the trip back. You'd be lucky to get back by 4:00 pm, and that's if you managed to avoid the horrendous afternoon traffic.
  • The pile of empty cardboard boxes on the street corner. What are they doing there? I mean, why bother doing detective work if all you really need to do is park a squad car near a pile of boxes and wait?
  • And lastly, the obligatory car chase. Like any city center is so devoid of other cars that two vehicles can zoom around willy-nilly at 60mph?

So now you know the sort of thing I mean, you'll probably be watching out for it the next time you turn on NCIS or The Mentalist. But don't spread it around - the bad guys might find out. And our job sure doesn't get any easier.

1 comment:

  1. Along the same lines, and not just pertaining to cop shows (although they do this a lot), I hate it when a show relies on food and scattering sports memorabilia all over the place to establish where it takes place. "In case you didn't already know, since 99% of cop shows always take place in New York, this autographed Joe Torre ball prominently displayed on my desk should tell you that New York's finest will solve this case by the time I finish eating this slice of pizza!"