Plot devices are a necessary evil. Without them, how would conflict occur in a television series? Viewers have come to expect a character's sudden inability to start their car or or an elevator that barely moves from floor to floor forcing the hero or heroine of the story to run up or down flights of stairs in order to save another character.
But what happens when a plot device is so forced that it takes you, the viewer, out of the story?
Most viewers have had that sensation. Whether it's a pattern of speech that makes a person want to pull out their hair or a tiny, insignificant action that makes you, the viewer, see red, it all ends the same: it pulls the viewer from the story and irritates them to no end.
There are several ways this can occur, but here are five repeat offenders.
1.Yelling "Freeze!" while still still a distance away from the villain. The cops are closing in on the perp but (s)he hasn't seen them yet. One of the cops (or agents) gets a bit antsy and yells "Freeze" roughly half a block from the perp, giving them ample time to run and get away.
2. Throwing objects in the path of the pursuer to slow them down. Unfortunately, in this scenario, the perp's aware that the cops are chasing them down. In order to slow the cops down, they take a detour through the kitchen - and then proceed to toss anything they can find on the floor behind them to slow the cops down enough to escape.
3. The character ignores valuable advice... and winds up dead. The main character's been told to stay in the house and lock the door. Instead, they walk outside, calling for the cop/detective, etc, and end up a victim.
4.) Using a song that's "current" at the moment, but dated when the episode actually airs. Top 40 radio stations repeat the same songs over and over until they run them into the ground. Once the episodes airs with a then "popular" song prominently playing in a key scene, the song has worn out its welcome.
5. The unrealistic "perfect" appearance of a character who has, literally, just given birth. Real women get sweaty. Their hair is mussed up. TV characters, somehow, never have a lock of hair out of place and their makeup is still perfect.
So what is your biggest pet peeve while watching television? Is it the sudden removal of sunglasses while spouting a quippy one-liner? A person pretending to drink coffee from an empty cup? Comment below with your opinion.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
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