My wife watches a number of police procedural/adventure shows like “NCIS”, “Criminal Minds” and once had a love of “CSI”.  This mean that I’ve seen literally hundreds of wacky murder mysteries solved by square-jawed heroes and their peculiar teams of specialists.  The repeated plot elements of these shows can be really annoying, but the one that always leaves me driven to rage is their treatment of computers as a magical tool to enter any database, enhance any photograph, and collate information from all corners of the globe into a pinpoint profile that will identify any “unsub” with only three pieces of information and some dirt from their shoes.  It’s quite insulting, really.  Then again, the fact that so many alien races are just humans with rubber foreheads can likewise be maddening, leading to today’s infuriating query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t have to remind Faithful Spoilerites that our complaints are about the work and not the creators involved, ’cause we’re not big jerkfaces, asking: Which nonsensical plot points in your favorite fictions leave you most driven to rage?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

13 Comments

  1. Every time a character (Most notably repeated in recent memory by the TV incarnation of Oliver Queen) lies for a thinly justifiable reason just to service the plot when telling the truth would have solved everything immediately.

    Really any time a character has to take the idiot ball and do something obviously wrong because the writer couldn’t figure out a better way to make the plot go where he/she wanted it to.

    • I mean, seriously, how many times each season does Oliver have to re-learn the “Don’t keep important secrets from your friends an allies, dingus” lesson?

    • I think you just described dozens of episodes of Supernatural. I don’t know that those boys have the ability to tell the truth to each other at all until after calamity.

      And yet…I watch…

  2. When someone learns the secret of the hero of the story, but then something conveniently causes them to forget the whole thing. Most recently I saw it in the end of the first season of Trollhunters, where Jim’s mom learned he was the Trollhunter (and about the existence of trolls and all that), but then after she was made well again, she forgot the whole thing.

    I don’t care how you slice it. Time travel, amnesia, drugs, magic or whatever, it is a very crummy story device, and only on very rare occasions is it ever pulled off in a way that works without feeling like a cheat.

    • Agreed, especially when, like in your Trollhunters example, the reveal is accompanied by a weighty emotional moment. Then the reversal undermines the power and significance of that scene.

    • Agreed. It’s a cheesy way to keep a plot going. Even the beloved Phineas and Ferb did this in their movie when Isabella finally told Phineas how she felt the moment before their memories were wiped. (Yes, I’m a grown woman, and I love Phineas and Ferb)

  3. The inability for people who are around both the superhero and their alter ego enough that they should be able to tell it’s the same person. I mean, Superman and Spiderman especially.
    Superman and Supergirl take off their glasses and suddenly nobody recognizes them? I take off my glasses at work all the time and not once has someone said “Oh, are you new? Never seen you before.”
    And Spiderman doesn’t even attempt to speak in a different voice and nobody can hear that? Have they never spoken to Peter Parker on the phone and been like, “Wow, you sound just like…hey!” At least most of the Batman’s try to throw their voices a little.
    Maybe it’s just me, but that seems so annoyingly lame and makes those around said superhero seem extraordinarily inept.

  4. I don’t know how Lena Luthor – who is supposed to be super smart – hasn’t put two and two together yet with her best friend Kara Danvers on Supergirl.

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