Real People Don't Do That

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 16th Jan 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Humor

An observation of the way Hollywood writes characters to act in a different way to how people normally would

Things that people do in movies that people don’t actually do

Like many people, I watch a lot of film and television. Like many people, I have characters I relate to. Like many people, I enjoy seeing characters go through things that I’ve experienced in my personal life. Like many people, I’m willing to suspend logical thinking if the show is entertaining enough.

But there is a thin line between making your audience suspend their disbelief and outright undermining their intelligence.

Chasing your dreams recklessly

Also known as the “you only live once” syndrome.

We see it all the time, some guy/girl gives up everything to chase their dreams or pursue their passion in a heartwarming tale about perseverance and the human spirit with people saying enabling things like “Wow, you’re so brave” and “I think it's so great that you’re pursuing your passion.”

No it's not.

The situation is even worse now that we are smothered with messages that life could only be meaningful if we do what we love.

Folks, this isn’t the movies.

It isn’t that people don’t want to chase their dreams; it’s just that they are realistic about life. While most people won’t be in a position to attempt this, they do understand that they have responsibilities to take care of.

In any case, say you were to do this. What if things didn’t go according to plan? Surely, you couldn't expect to go back to the way things were, especially now that in a moment of madness, you abandoned your maturity to go gallivanting about.

Please. Don’t. Do. This.

Hiring people who have no idea what they are doing.

T.V shows like Suits are guilty of perpetuating this idea.

A character in the show (usually a graduate) is hired on the basis that he/she can “think outside the box”, which will help solve tough issues in the industry.

By some miracle, the main character can do the job better than a guy who’s been at it for a while…

I get that people can be naturally talented. I can’t get over the idea that someone who has JUST entered an industry can do a job better than someone who has been at it for years.

I can only imagine what runs through a recruiter's mind whenever they see a sentence like this in a candidate's resume:

"Will bring a fresh perspective to longstanding problems in the field."

Falling in love with someone immediately after meeting them.

Another thing that seems to happen in damn near every movie/show.

A character meets a particular character, the scene slows down, the mood shifts, and the music becomes soft.

The character then has an internal monologue saying some BS to the effect of:

“When I looked at her, I felt it. I knew it”

“I’ve been told that love is found when you least expect it. I guess they were right.”

“The way she carried herself/ the way he made his presence felt; I knew I needed him/her in my life.”

As soon as that happens, you know you’ve just met the character's “special someone”.

I have a friend who seems to suffer from this. As soon as any girl flashes a smile at him, he’s head over heels. Then he’d come meet up with the rest of us and tell us everything about their potential love and how it all began from a smile.

The way he makes it sound, you would think that in his mind; they’d gotten married, and lived happily ever after.

The rest of the gang would collectively groan whenever he mentioned his soul mate of the week.

I’m sorry my friend:
You don't love her; you’ve only just met her!

Not try and solve a misunderstanding

The character that misunderstands won't even entertain an explanation, and the person being misunderstood doesn't even try to clear the air.

It wouldn’t take more than five minutes for the characters to resolve their issues and talk things out, but for some reason, writers love making their characters act irrationally.

If anyone is caught in a situation like that (e.g. couples that fight), they are going to make sure their point is heard. If it’s a lady, she’ll follow you to the ends of the earth to make sure her point is heard, whereas if it’s a guy, he’ll just shout at the top of his lungs to make sure his point is heard.

To be fair to producers and writers, they only include these character traits to build drama/tension for the sake of the viewer’s entertainment.

Hopefully, soon enough, they start portraying how people actually react in situations.


Character Development, Characterisation, Film, Humour, Tv Shows

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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author avatar Retired
1st Jul 2018 (#)

I have to agree with you Memba Ben. As an avid soap opera watcher, rarely do you see characters do what is common sense in the real world. But then if they started acting the way it is suppose to be in reality, would people watch the show?

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