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Old 03-21-2012, 09:30 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,307
Plot Holes in World War II

Someone has finally pointed up some of the biggest failings in a very popular episode in the history of "The Universe" and we certainly can't miss out on that, can we? Especially when it's so incisive:
Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil. And that's not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.
Indeed; you can't make some trait a defining feature of a character and then throw it out entirely when you get a new idea. Or, if you do, be sure to actually throw it out; maybe then the audience won't remember the nasty trick you just played on them. Flipping back and forth just doesn't go.

So it's pretty standard "shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong" versus "evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide" stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics. The actual strategy of the war is barely any better. Just to give one example, in the Battle of the Bulge, a vastly larger force of Germans surround a small Allied battalion and demand they surrender or be killed. The Allied general sends back a single-word reply: "Nuts!". The Germans attack, and, miraculously, the tiny Allied force holds them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn the tide of battle. Whoever wrote this episode obviously had never been within a thousand miles of an actual military.
Admittedly, it's possible to retcon your way out of a bad spot, as has happened in this case regarding the worst of the black-and-white morality. However, it doesn't count in some sense: The work is done, it's finished, and if you wanted to have said something different you're too late. Especially when it's obviously a different author writing the later episodes; going from this episode to the bigger-budget episodes in the "Cold War" plot arc is like Stan Lee handing off to Alan Moore or, in some regrettable cases, Frank Miller.

Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read. He doesn't touch on some of the other absurdities, like how Germany's anti-Semitic policy just happens to force out enough of the scientists working on the A-bomb miracle weapon (a largely unheralded deus ex machina, something one of the characters even remarked on in-story) so the Americans have it and the Germans never even come close, except for some espionage subplot fodder. All this after building up Germany and Austria as a wonderful place for science and culture, and giving the Germans (largely ineffective) wonder-weapons like the early jets and ballistic missiles. Again, inconsistency just doesn't go.

(And don't even get me started on some of the characters. Patton would never be allowed within spitting range of a real tank, let alone be allowed to rise all the way up to umpty-star general so he could gallivant around and fulfill a delusional reincarnation fantasy. It's like they didn't even care that the whole Theosophy plot was largely done with decades' worth of story time before this whole mess began.)
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.

Last edited by Derleth; 03-21-2012 at 09:31 PM.