9 TV and Movie Cliches We’ve Never Seen in Real Life

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

Okay, we all, every one of us, have been raised on television and the movies. And while a truly original movie or TV show is very rare, the reverse is true: cliches abound. There are dozens and dozens of movie and television cliches we have all seen and all now come to expect.

Now, let's take a movie and TV cliches we are all familiar with: the bad (disastrous) first date which leads to a future great relationship. I think we have all actually seen this cliche happen: a couple go out on their first date, do not hit it off, but later go out again and find they really like each other. This leads to an actual relationship.

Sure, this one is real life material. But what about the ones that only seem to happen in the movies or on TV? Below is a list of nine all-too-familiar TV and movie cliches we've all seen a million times, a majority of which we never see in real life!!!

1) The bad guy with perfect teeth.

Am I the only one that notices this one? It usually occurs in Westerns, i.e. there is an outlaw or a desperado, he is unshaven, grizzled, has gnarly, dirty features and a mean personality. But his teeth are always pearly white, as if he had just flossed and double-brushed with a Colgate or Crest. You see this routinely on Bonanza and other Westerns (it is much easier to discern in color).

2) The surprised two-timing lover scene.

Have you seen this one- a couple has a fight or disagreement, then the guy or the girl feels bad and decides to make amends and goes to surprise his or her counterpart at their apartment. Either the girl will answer, wearing a man's shirt, or the guy will answer shirtless, or a strange girl or guy will answer. They see the startled former lover -with a new lover- and hear them mutter, “I really wish you'd called first.” The crushed ex-lover runs or stumbles off, with no more illusions.

How about this: you're having an illicit affair or rendezvous, don't just open the door, try saying “Who is it?"

3) The gun butt knockout.

With every criminal, we are all accustomed to seeing them sneak up on the good guy and smash a gun butt on the back of their head and knock them out.

The truth is, a sharp gun butt smashing you on your skull can easily cause a concussion or more severe damage to the skull, maybe even fatal. And it will not routinely knock anyone unconscious. (The same goes for the bottle being smashed on the back of the skull- very dangerous and uncertain.)

4) The “I know it's you" to the psychotic.

How often have we seen the intrepid reporter or detective finally get clued in and figure out who the real criminal is. This is all fine and good, except he (or she) will often discover the truth when he/she is right on the killer psycho's home turf. So, instead of figuring it out, leaving and getting guns or reinforcements, the person accuses the criminal right to their face.

“Aha", says the hero/heroine, “So, it's you who killed the victims and murdered the women and strangled the babies!" The criminal then (obviously) grabs the character and ties them up, overpowers them, or whatever.

Can't they be a bit smart and say something like, “You know, i really don't know who did this nefarious crime, but I know for sure it wasn't you!" Then go and run for help.

5) The gang-up with large numbers on one one guy who beats them one-at-a-time.

How often have we seen this one: six or seven guys against one "good guy" in a fight, and they just line up and get beaten, one by one.

Why don't they just all gang up and overpower the good guy? This doesn't occur in every film or TV show, but it happens a lot.

6) The chick punching out a guy.

Okay, this one is not a long-accustomed one like all the previous ones. This one is entirely recent, like in the last few years. The chick punching a guy out.

It is almost explainable in good old very politically correct Hollywood that they just got sick of women being overpowered by guys in every film, so women now fight back. That sounds fair enough, women do not have to be complete 100% victims.

But now in almost any film of the past five years or so, a girl will fight a guy and punch him, much like John Wayne or even Bruce Lee, and knock him out. I’m not saying it couldn't ever happen, but has anyone ever seen this happen in real life?

7) The no-can-talk gag in the mouth.

Yes, yes, every gangster film, or movie with a nefarious criminal, has the scene where they capture their helpless and hapless victim and bound and gag them.

Okay, the bound part I understand, you can easily tie up someone and they will be fairly helpless. It's the additional gag, obviously to keep them from yelling for help, that is not workable. Almost always, a simple white rag or cloth is used, and is wrapped around the victim's gob, like a single ribbon on a present. But it is so easy to yell or scream or at least make loud noises with this ineffectual thing in your mouth. I’ve even seen some films where the villain just crumples up the rag and forces it into the victim's mouth.

Uh, duuuuuuhhh, spit it out!!!

8) The “He's coming to get you, so take some time off" to a cop or lawyer.

Now this one may not be seen so much in real life, simply because most of us are not well acquainted with murderers, killers, homicidal maniacs or perpetrators of other heinous crimes.

How many times have you seen this one? The cop (or the lawyer) has sent the killer to jail, but somehow, he's out now and has vowed revenge. Cut to the Captain's office (or the head lawyer's office) and the following dialogue inevitably takes place:

Captain: “He's coming to get you. look, you have some time off. Why not take a vacation?"

Cop: “Look Captain, if you think I’m going to run and hide from this guy, you're wrong!"

Captain: “You don't understand. This isn't an offer, it's an order.”

So the cop will be seen, lying on the couch in his apartment, listening to Mozart and drinking a beer, when a strange noise is heard. Said noise will inevitably be the vengeance-seeking perp. A scuffle ensues, and the killer is either killed or subdued by the cop.

9) Amnesia.

‘Nuf said (well, almost). This one may be the reverse of #7 on this list, a bit trite, a bit more of the old days.

The star gets a blow to the head and loses all recollection of their family, friends and job. Their memory is later restored, usually by a second (usually unintentional) blow to the head- and all is again well.

Has anyone ever seen an actual victim of amnesia in their life?

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Hollywood has no idea how brains work. Characters are knocked unconscious, stay that way for minutes or hours, then wake up with a mild headache.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"9 TV and Movie Cliches We’ve Never Seen in Real Life"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More