Nice little touches in TV shows/films

You know how we post about the little things that we hate in TV shows like clearly empty coffee cups? Well, how about the things that are done right.

I like when characters wear the same clothes over again on TV shows. It makes it seem like the characters are real, like they have a closet, not like they’re wearing the trendy clothes to impress the viewers at home. Freaks and Geeks did this a lot and so did My So Called Life. It felt really authentic. Dawson’s Creek, on the other hand, had Joey Potter, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, on scholarship, sporting three different coats in one season. Ugh.

What are some others?

The bank robbers in Heat hitting the bolt release catch on the side of their M16 carbines to release the bolt on a new magazine the way actual professionals do it, rather than pulling back on the charging handle.

The Heat DVD extras show the actors being trained to use weapons. I’m glad they got it right. It’s clear Michael Mann was going for his gritty realism instead of the gun ballet of John Woo.

In Chinatown, when Jakes flips through the contents of a wallet, we get a very brief glimpse of a $2 bill.

They had to do this with It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia. Becuase of some contract stuff with Danny DeVito they had to file all of his scenes in 20 days (I think it spanned two seasons). To do that, they had to have like 4 or 5 of each outfit, each one in different states of wear so they could go back and forth (in time, while filming out of order) and have continuity.

I always like looking at the names of soda in The Big Bang Theory. Totally recognizable can, with usually a one or two letter difference.

The plastic covering on Marie Barone’s sofa on Everybody Loves Raymond. So typical, and dated, as are the big wooden fork and spoon decorations hanging on the wall. I’ve seen these things in more homes than I’ve seen flowers in a vase.

…and the episode were they got in a fight and she ripped them off the wall and there was an outline where the wallpaper was all dirty and you could see where they’d been hanging there forever - lol!

I also like that show and shows like Roseanne where there’s kids and the house is actually MESSY sometimes (a basket of laundry on the couch and toys on the stairs) unlike, say, The Cosby Show where the house looks like nobody actually lives there.

I’m unsure whether this fits here, but I have personal reasons for enjoying The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986).

Seth Brundle had 5 identical sets of clothing in his closet, in order not to be mentally taxed by deciding what he should wear every day. I’ve been doing this for years, and pretty much for the same reason, although I do confess to having just a little more variety in my wardrobe than Brundle.

More importantly perhaps, with Seth being so clever and everything, his clothing philosopy was borrowed from Albert Einstein, who allegedly but maybe apocryphally also had identical sets of clothes in his closet.

(I realise that Brundle wasn’t really as clever as Einstein, if only because Brundle turned into a fly whereas Einstein didn’t.)

Heh. I think Monk did this, too–isn’t there a bit in the opening credits where you see all his identical shirts in the closet?

Mad Men doesn’t just have characters with real wardrobes (Betty has a lot more clothes than Peggy, for example), but they also have women who get their hair done and set one a week and then it goes downhill from there. That is realism. Possibly obsession.

Man, I’m glad I live in a time period when it’s socially acceptable to just wash your hair whenever you want. I can’t imagine how my hair would look after a week without doing anything to it.

Mad Men is also being hailed as one of the best shows ever, is there a link? I haven’t actually seen it, an honest question.

I do really think small details can make a world of difference. Enough difference to have people calling the show great.

People I think subconsciously get very tired of the same old shit on TV, even if they say they like the current trend of shows. Somewhere deep in their mind their brain is heaving a heavy sigh saying to itself “This shit again?”. So when a show comes along with some small details that are different than everything else out there, we pick up on it and it endears us to the show.


I think that’s part of why I liked Big Love when it was first on. I still like it enough but I adored it when I first saw it. I was so used to sitcoms or boring TV–I hadn’t seen much HBO at that point. So when I saw it, my world was blown. Then I saw “The Sopranos,” and I think I realized that the only reason I liked “Big Love” was that it was a little different. I still think “Sopranos” was genuinely good. I started to like “Mad Men” a lot but it never really grew on me. I think a lot of the details like “Ooh, people are SMOKING” or “People are being politically incorrect” or the wardrobe appeal to a lot of people. It always felt like it was trying a little hard to me, but that’s probably for another thread.

In The Apartment, Jack Lemmon had to look up phone numbers on a Rolodex in a hurry. He didn’t flip directly to the correct number but impatiently flipped back and forth until he found each one. Very nicely done, I wasn’t sure if this was just Jack Lemmon being brilliant or some nice direction by Billy Wilder, as either one is possible.

One of my favorite little touches is in the movie Stardust. I’ll spoiler it, just in case:

When Primus’ throat is slit while he’s in the tub, his blood is blue. There’s no explanation for this, and nobody comments on it. The viewer is just supposed to know that royalty are called blue bloods.

I’m still waiting for the show or movie where the characters have to look for a parking space and end up walking a couple of blocks. THAT is realism!!

Well maybe if movies and TV shows weren’t always set in big cities you might see some characters actually getting close parking spaces.

Small cities have zany action-filled happenings now and then also you know.

Now hold on, my underground bunker of Bad Guy Activities is being raided by several different international agencies and my friend needs help with his meth lab. And my other friend is having girl trouble and my brother needs me to help him in a video game level he’s been having trouble with and happened to pick now to ask for help with.

I swear, this small town always has something going on in it. :wink:

I read in an interview that the costume designer even makes the cast wear period accurate undewear. On the commentary for the pilot (which takes place over the course of one day) Weiner points out that Rachel Menken changes her hair and outfits between scenes. This was deliberate, as she is the daughter of the wealthy department store owner (she even says that the whole store is her closet).

Yes. Whoever could pull that off would really be a show about nothing.

Heh. Yeah, I was going to point out the Seinfeld episode that was all about looking for a parking spot.