Things that are extremely common in TV shows/movies that you've rarely seen in real life

I’m not saying they don’t exist, but that I personally don’t encounter them. Feel free to add things you personally don’t encounter regularly if at all. Some examples:
Pink bakery boxes- you see these all the time in movies and on TV. I don’t recall ever having seen one in real life; the bakery boxes I’ve seen were either white or had the bakery’s name on them.

Butcher shops: this is probably a small town/big city distinction, but I think there are about two butcher shops in the city where I live and neither are in an area that’s convenient to anything other than that butcher shop. Most people buy their meat at the grocery store and if they need it sliced ring for assistance.

Sofas situated in the middle of a room. This is a sitcom staple; in reality 90% of the people I know have their sofas against the wall, while on TV almost 100% have their sofas in the middle of the room.

Affordably priced craftsman bungalows: this hooks into the “characters who live way above their means” subject that there have been several threads on, but they’ve become almost cliche on TVs and in movies for the middle class ‘professional and responsible but still young and hip’ characters. In real life whenever I’ve encountered one that was in good condition they were usually far more expensive than most new houses of similar size/neighborhood and wouldn’t be affordable by most schoolteachers/bus drivers/etc…

Gift wrapping. On TV shows and movies, gifts are “wrapped” by placing them in decorative boxes with easy-to-remove matching lids. You never see that in real life. IRL, you have to rip off the paper with your fingernails.

Also, on TV, nobody ever says “goodbye” at the end of a telephone conversation. They just stop talking and hang up.

Those white paper roughly cubical boxes that takeout food (especially Chinese food) comes in on TV. I think I was well into adulthood before I ever saw one of those in real life. Even when we got Chinese food to go, it was as individual meals in tray-like containers.

Unrelated people who are essentially identical.


I get those pretty much just for white rice and they’re usually quite small. Or for noodles. But for other stuff, it’s just the tray like ones.

Someone else watch MONK last night?:wink: (If not- since this device has been used in other shows- last night had to do with Monk’s lookalike.)

I’m going to connect the “sofa in the middle of the room” thing with the fact that many or most sitcom living rooms tend to be:

• in New York City (or other large, old city)
• in an apartment building rather than a house
• on a rug rather than a carpet

The “living room” tends to be more of a large common area with kitchen/bathroom/bedrooms opening off it. (And TV/movie living rooms, even in apartments, tend to appear much larger than the living rooms of the houses I’ve been in.) If the living room has hardwood flooring and a rug instead of wall-to-wall carpeting (probably common in older apartment buildings), you’re going to arrange the furniture on/around the rug.

You never see someone in a movie circling the block for half an hour looking for a parking space.

Serial killers.

People going to the bathroom to poop or pee.

You’ve rarely seen this?!

People going to the bathroom is common on TV and in movies, but not in real life??

Cars exploding into huge blossoms of fire in an accident.

That must be more of a California thing. I see them all the time from the bakeries around here.

Women casually disrobing in front of an open window.

Even in Alabama I saw most of the 1980s fashion clichés: the Sonny Crockett T-shirt & suit look, the Flashdance look, the Big 80’s hair on women was omnipresent, and even an occasional Boy George look (on both men and women- usually college age of course) and the occasional Mohawk, and all of the bands that played on MTV and made the Billboard Top 40 were as popular here as in most places as were the alternative and punk minority followings (for a while you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing DK shirts everywhere). However I never recall seeing the Flock of Seagulls haircut.
On sitcoms and in movie comedies however if there’s an 80s scene you can rest assured that some guy will have the Flock of Seagulls do.

We have a few butcher shops still left around town where I live, but they are a dying breed, what with super mega marts.

How about the fact that it’s very rare to hear someone say ‘bye’ on the phone.
“I’ll see you at 6 then”

TV kitchens are absolutely pristine and the food is never boiling or cooking it’s always cooked so there’s no steam. In real kitchens while cooking or doing prep work there’s open stuff all over the place. Even when they pretending to cook on TV you never see open cans and boxes of pasta or chopped vegetables.

Apple Mac computer are much more common on TV or in movies as household items than IRL.

To this one I will add – everyone crowded around one side of the table. In real life we tend to use all sides of the table.

That one, I think we should ignore, since it’s setup that way so you can see everyone, similarly, if you put the couch against the wall, it’s harder for the people on the couch to interact with people walking through the room.

This is probably reaching a bit, but how about domestic servants on sitcoms like:

The Brady Bunch
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father