Cliches that you can't believe are still used

I’ve been watching the 3rd season of 24 and one thing bugged me as I’ve neared the end. I love the show, which is why I’m so disappointed when they do stuff like this.

This season alone, they’ve used the mother of all plot cliches three times. That plot cliche?

Character(often a good guy) is in a cell, being held prisoner. Character pretends to be sick. Character is only watched by a single guard. Guard has cauliflower for brains and decides to open the cell. And as everyone expects, guard is immediatly knocked out or beaten to death, has his gun stolen and is sometimes locked in the cell as the character escapes.

No guard ever thinks “Hmm…maybe I should tell my supervisor/superior/officer” or “Why do I care if he’s sick? He can rot in there for all I care”

My question is: Why the hell is this cliche still used? I would think that everyone would realize what’s going to happen in this situation. It’s almost as if the guards have never actualled watched a movie or seen a TV show before where this has happened. So they keep falling for it. But even worse,writers keep using it. Writers who should know better.

Feel free to add your own rant here.

I guess it’s difficult to come up with plausible ways to get out of jail.

There’s always the sexy woman prisoner who makes a pass at the guard and knocks him out after he unchains her/ opens the door/ turns off the force field.

Random, unnamed guard (RUG) gets in a fight with our Hero. We know Hero is going to win, and that’s fine – those are the rules, and the point is seeing the fight. But the fight goes badly for Hero, and it ends up with Hero disarmed and RUG pointing a gun directly at Hero’s head. There is a weighted pause, the music swells, possibly we cut to a commercial… and then some noise or other character momentarily distracts RUG, allowing Hero to knock the gun out of his hand and win the fight.

For all I know, that’s how it really happens in real life. I don’t care. For movies and TV, they need to cut it out. Don’t pause and act like there’s any tension there, because we all know there’s not. You’re just embarrassing yourself and insulting our intelligence. Either come up with a genuinely clever way to have Hero turn the tables, or else just have Hero knock the gun out of RUG’s hand immediately and then go on to save the day.

The gunshot we hear as the hero is about to get shot. A momentary pause, and then we pan out to see a secondary good character (who usually hates or has a severe phobia regarding guns) holding the gun which fired the unexpected bullet.

I quit watching 24 in the first season when the car fell down a steep cliff (for no real reason) and burst into a fireball. At this point they had used 4,926 cliches and I had my fill. And by that I mean the car bursting into a ball of fire cliche.

The one that I hate is the “I’m so mad I could kiss you…” cliche. Basically two characters hate each other all through the episode, culminating in a big screaming fight that, in the end, has them kissing. It is revealed that the anger was really a cover for sexual tension. Has this ever happened to anyone in real life?

Scared female creeps through house/jungle/woods.
Music builds.
Suddenly…a cat jumps out, or some other equally inane and innocuous occurrence transpires.
Scared female is relieved.
Music mellows.
Then the real killer/maniac leaps out when you “least” expect it.

That’s one of the reason I so love Firefly. It was always turning those cliches on their heads.

Bad guy beats the crap out of helpless passengers, and holds a gun to the head of the girl. The Captain enters the hold. (Normally, this is where you have the confrontation, with threats and posturing, until someone does something to distract/cripple/stun the Bad Guy so the Captain may save the Girl) The Captain draws and shoots the Bad Guy in the face without breaking stride. End of confrontation. :smiley:

Some more:

  • Veteran good-guy cop is killed unexpectedly, 12 seconds away from retirement.

  • 2 police partners, one is old-school, by-the-book veteran, the other is straight out of the academy, not as street smart, but somehow in his reckless abandon he makes up for it. Of course the two partners compliment each other perfectly and together they make a perfect team.

  • Thunder and lightening always occur simultaneously. (Except, of course in Poltergeist).

  • Cars squeal tires at every turn, even on gravel roads.

  • OK, CSI is a fairly decent show - by today’s standards - but what is it with the CSIs fighting/arresting/interrogating the defendants? Ahh, isn’t this the job of the actual police officers and detectives, not the guys who pull fingerprints and do DNA sampling?

The one that bugged me the most this past summer was seeing the previews for Stealth.
Three ace fighter pilots who are the best of the best. Now the government/company is replacing them with…wait… machines!
(Can you guess what happens next?)
Machines go bad. Their evil. But who’s gonna stop em? Huh? Tell me who?
Oh yeah! Now the plotline pays off. Cause now the government/company bigwig who replaced the pilots with the machines has egg on his face. Now he has to beg the ace pilots to come back and help him. Let the action begin!!

Baseball/Football/Hockey team is comprised of a bunch of untalented goofballs and hasn’t won a game all year. Then, for some community service reason, a new coach is assigned. What could possibly happen next? Do they continue to wallow in their misery? No! The new coach pulls them all together and in the final game of the season they manage to mount a comeback. With zero time left on the clock the final goal/point is scored by none other than the wimpiest kid on the team. The short fat one with the glasses. You know who he is.

“This is something the captain has to do for himself”
“No, it isn’t!”

Mal talking to bad guy: “Now you go give your boss this message. He can have his money back and I don’t want to cause any fuss.”

Bad guy: “F*** you. I’ll track you down no matter how long it takes. Then I’ll do nasty things to you until you beg for death.”

Mal: “Well, if that’s the way you feel…”
Pushes bad guy into spaceship engine. Moves on to the next guy who is * very * cooperative.
My most hated cliche is the omniscient, brilliant serial killer. He knows everything, can track our heros’ (including the vulnerable female detective) every movement, and has the ability to penetrate buildings that he’s never been in with perfect stealth, commit murders in utter silence, and artfully display the bodies in less time than it would take most people to set a table.


Well, you’ve got to at least concede that such a quality is based in the real-life serial killer archetype, Jack the Ripper. So it may be a hackneyed cliche, but at least it’s drawn from history rather than previous fiction.

Yeah, except the movies take it to supernatural extremes. For example, the killer in Copycat who manages to waltz into Sigourney Weaver’s high security apartment. Or the killer in almost all of James Patterson’s books (e.g. Kiss the Girls) or Patricia Cornwell’s books. It presupposes a level of organization, knowledge and luck that no human being could possess.

The ugly duckling who takes off the eyeglasses, lets the hair down, puts on new clothes, and becomes a beautiful swan, complete with new personality.

TV version: Hero and BadGuy struggle on top of gantry/water tower/catwalk/whatever. BadGuy ends up hanging over the edge. Hero seriously considers stomping on BadGuy’s hand, but get talked out of it by secondary Hero/Damsel with “You’ll be as bad as he is.” Hero pulls BadGuy up, places him under arrest.

PG Movie version: Same as above, except after BadGuy is pulled up, he tries to backstab Hero and ends up accidentally falling over the railing again, this time for keeps.

R Movie version: Same as above, except Hero makes snappy one-liner and drops BadGuy to his death.

Well this is just a line, not a plot element but when:

“I could tell you but I’d have to kill you” is used as supposedly witty banter I want to flay a cat.

So… basically, no one can ever hang from anything…? :smiley: