Would entertainment end if writers had to write people as honest and forthright?

Yeah, just that simple. It seems like there’s no way to create a story that’s worth watching that doesn’t involve someone lying or hiding or avoiding something.

I know I’m wrong, but at the moment it seems like that’s the only way to create dramatic tension. And it’s definitely the only way (or seems to be) that COMEDY is created.

I’m so damn tired of it. Direct me to smart comedy and drama that does NOT utilize these devices, if you can…

It’s an easy way to create drama. I can’t think of a counterexample but Greek drama probably provides some. (I can’t think of any lies in Antigone but I haven’t seen it in a long time.)

Is something wrong with this? It’s not as if people are always honest and forthright.

I’m sure there’s at least some mileage yet to be gained from stories where one party is being completely, totally honest, but the other party doesn’t believe it, and thinks it’s just covering for wacky hijinx.

No problem at all: have a hero and a villain clash. Superhero films do this all the time.

Look at The Dark Knight – the Joker made is clear he wanted to bring anarchy to Gotham, and the Batman wanted to stop them. You could argue that the Batman kept his secret identity, but that wasn’t really a part of the main plot. Heck, in Batman Begins didn’t Ra’s al Gul know that Batman was Bruce Wayne?

There are those who say that every story ever told has an element of at least character not knowing what another character knows, and that this is necessary to drive drama. I don’t know if I’d go that absolute, but I can certainly see that it’s one of the strongest elements of drama. Usually you at least have one character learning something, changing in some way, and it’s likely that there will be a witness to that journey who’s a step ahead of them.

Again, I’m not sure I believe it’s a universal, but it’d be harder to come up with examples to the contrary than supporting examples.

Before Sunrise.


I’m having trouble thinking of any movie where someone isn’t avoiding something. Everyone has insecurities. You can’t really write human drama without writing about insecurities.

Lars and the Real Girl comes close. It’s about a guy that has a delusional relationship with a sex doll and a town that goes along with it. You might say that the delusional guy lies to the town about having a girlfriend, but he really develops a personal relationship with the doll. The town goes along with the relationship, but that’s not really lying either.

The most jarring thing about the movie is how decent the whole town is. Because of my very cynical outlook on life, I was basically surprised by most of moments in film. That’s what made it pretty memorable for me.

Yes. You usually have dishonesty in conflicts because most bad people ( real and fictional ) either lie for tactical reasons, or because they don’t consider themselves and/or want to be thought of as bad in the first place. Even the Nazis ( who were cliched villains enough for some to wear skulls on their hats ) didn’t always go around admitting every evil they intended to commit.

Edgar Rice Burroughs got miles out of characters simply misunderstanding each others’ motivations. And a lot of early SF was basically man-against-the-universe, with the characters interacting on the basis of their own best instincts and gut feelings, which conflict. Heck, this carried through for quite a while – Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo doesn’t have the main characters as anything but painfully honest and forthright until they meet their unexpected nemeses at the end of the book.
I think part of the problem lies right there – people see that sort of thing as juvenile and unrealistic. When Marvel Comics started making their superheros “real”, they not only got insecurities, they started hiding things. And The Watchmen takes a bunch of originally straight-arrow do-gooders and makes them troubled, flawed, and duplicitous