A few days ago, I asked people on Twitter a very simple question: What are the things that characters do or don’t do in movies and TV shows that bother you?
And, well…it blew up.
What are small things that characters do or don't do in movies & TV shows that bother you? I am insanely bothered when a character is driving and they take their eyes off the road to talk to the passenger. It stresses me out. 😭
— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) May 4, 2020
Over 8,000 people responded, whether directly or on their own timelines – more than most scientific studies or official surveys. Apparently, the internet has been waiting for the chance to vent about their greatest pet peeves in movies and television. The responses ranged from hilarious to incredulity to faux-outraged, but the interesting thing was that while there were thousands of different answers, the same triggers kept popping up over and over again – even though there are specific reasons for certain clichés. We might be individuals, but apparently the same sorts of things drive us collectively nuts.
Here they are, the annoyances that drive us the most nuts when we see them happen in a movie or TV show, sorted by category.
Food & Beverage Blunders
By far, the #1 (okay, 1A – I’ll get to that later) answer was when people carry coffee cups that are clearly empty. So great was this annoyance that even Lin-Manuel Miranda weighed in!
Extras on the go with clearly empty coffee cups swinging their arms around like they’re not holding HOT COFFEE.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 5, 2020
And so did plenty of others…
Hold your cups like they have liquid in them.
— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) May 5, 2020
Drinking from clearly empty to go coffee cups
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) May 4, 2020
Empty coffee cups drive me nuts.
— Jay Faerber (@JayFaerber) May 5, 2020
And I dunno what chaps my ass more, people drinking clearly empty coffee cups, or people walking around holding them and waving them around in their hands.
— AdaEngine (@AdaEngine) May 5, 2020
Another strong contender in the food and beverage category was when a character makes an elaborate breakfast and no one bothers to eat it before running out the door.
When someone makes a huge breakfast and all of the characters just grab one piece of toast on the way out the door
— OnlyDans (@danielleradford) May 4, 2020
Or they come down for breakfast, sit at the table and don't eat…OR the reason for entering the kitchen is to eat, they get food but don't touch it then leave right back out
— Kyle Hillard (@KyleHillard4) May 6, 2020
When they take two bites of their breakfast and then they "gotta run"!
— Simone (@SimKel16) May 6, 2020
Closely related to that is when characters order food in a restaurant and take two bites then leave or just push it around on their plates:
When people order a meal, have a quick chat, and leave without eating.
— (((Cory "Gr8ful" Emberson)))ن (@pursueliberty) May 4, 2020
When characters fight or argue during a meal and just get up and leave, like hello… food!!!
— Jason arnold (@SaiyanZer0) May 6, 2020
When characters takes the smallest bites of food, and never finish it before going out, I know it's props and mostly fake food but still hate the idea of getting something from a restaurant, taking two bites and leaving it
— Colin's fish 🐋 (@chatty_rainbow) May 6, 2020
But restaurants weren’t the only culprits. Bad bar etiquette in movies drives us nuts, too.
Throwing money on the bar to pay for their drink
— Chris P Sammich (@Crackersmcsnacn) May 6, 2020
American movies where they get shitfaced in a bar and then hop in the car and drive home.
— Esko Reinikainen 🇪🇺🇫🇮💯 (@reinikainen) May 6, 2020
For real. Go ahead. Say “Gimme a beer” to a bartender in real life and see how that works out for you.
Communication is also a huge area of contention for TV and movie fans, as it turns out. How characters talk to each other always rings a little false.
If the empty coffee cups thing is 1A, then people not saying “goodbye” when they hang up on the phone is 1B.
Literally no one in filmed history has said “goodbye” before hanging up a phone.
— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) May 4, 2020
The worst for me is when characters don't say "goodbye" at the end of phone calls or physical departures. Who does that in real life?
— Uvula King (@tonyver45) May 6, 2020
People never say goodbye on phone calls. They just hang up, as if both people know what just happened and wouldn’t be offended by being hung up on!
— Nala Oppilifnas (@AlSanf) May 6, 2020
See also, the characters who agree to meet up later…but then don’t say when or where.
☎️ Him: Would you like to go to dinner with me?
☎️ Her: I’d love to.
☎️ Him: Ok! 8:00?
☎️ Her: Great. See you at 8. 🥰
*HANGS UP* ?!??!!??!
WHERE!? WHAT DAY!? OH MY GOD LITERALLY NNNNNNO DETAILS?! pic.twitter.com/jZJUcjmKwD
— Parisa Fitz-Henley (@ParisaFH) May 5, 2020
…but it also bothers us when people are told a location and address but never write it down, like they’re memory wizards who never forget a thing.
When someone gives an address and the other person doesn’t write it down or asks for it again yet remembers it PERFECTLY.
When they’re told a phone number or address and immediately have it memorized. Thinking of a scene in The Post where I mole says to call back from a different pay phone, spouts off a number & the guy just knows it, despite no warning a number was coming.
— Ashley Niedringhaus (@A_Nieds) May 6, 2020
This is usually in spy movies but when characters get a whole load of sensitive information and they just… know it all. I need it repeated twice, thrice, and written down.
— Eric Francisco (@EricFrancisco24) May 4, 2020
People in movies and TV shows just…do not seem to understand how technology works, in general. Like, at all.
When the movie takes place in the era of smartphones yet they still use a physical map
— David Rodemerk 🍿 (@davidrodemerk) May 4, 2020
It bugs me that tv shows and movies the characters always have their phone on vibrate so the studio doesn’t have to pay the phone company rights I guess, bugs me though cause who has their phone on silent all day?
— Wicked Specialist (@reel_geek) May 5, 2020
“ENHANCE!” 🙄🙄🙄 and they always see the exact detail they need to move the plot forward
— Grae Drake (@graedrake) May 5, 2020
Oh, and the 555 phone number thing. Just takes me out of the movie. Don’t put it in at all or avoid it altogether
— Paul Wulff⚜️ #AnyoneCanWearTheMask (@TheMrWulff12) May 5, 2020
Another one: when someone calls or runs in the room and says "turn on the TV!" and a news report is right at the perfect moment for exposition, which means the runner wouldn't have known what was going to be reported.
— Brendan (@imjustaguy78) May 4, 2020
Spies who never have their phones muted and either get called at an obviously bad time or take pictures WITH THE CAMERA SOUND GOING OFF…
— Ben Sweetser (@sncben) May 6, 2020
Seriously. It’s like every character in a movie is my mom when she first made a Facebook account years ago and then immediately proceeded to inform me “I can’t see your stuff” because she’d accidentally hidden me from her timeline.
But just like technology seems to trip up characters, so do locks.
Apparently, every character in a movie or TV show exists in a world in which home invasions and sexual assault just don’t exist.
When a woman walks into her apartment and doesn't immediately lock her door. Or when a non-paralyzed person in a wheelchair starts army crawling on the floor if they're out of their chair.
— Kristen Lopez (@Journeys_Film) May 4, 2020
I hate when characters just walk right into their unlocked homes.
— Ana-Christina Ramón, PhD (@DrAnaChristina) May 5, 2020
When characters don’t close their front doors and/or lock them. You live in the city my guy.
— Tinu (@Tinu) May 4, 2020
People who come home to their dark house, gets in but don’t turn on the lights. Who does that in real life?
Or people being stalked coming home to find their front door open/unlocked but don’t retreat to safety and call for help but decide to investigate alone.
— Katarina Rundgren (@Kate_Reader_Swe) May 6, 2020
Uninvited guests walking right into someone’s house or apartment are a subcategory of this, too.
Oh, also people just walking into someone’s apartment without knocking, which is irritating for two reasons
— OnlyDans (@danielleradford) May 4, 2020
Walking into people’s houses when no one has answered the door. Never Ever ends well. Stress city for me.
— Stephy (@kiwiclares) May 6, 2020
When they just turn up at someone’s front door unannounced because they were “in the neighbourhood”
— ryang_ (@edu_ryang) May 6, 2020
Speaking of proper house etiquette, it really, really drives people nuts that characters never take their shoes off.
When characters put their shoes on the bed or worse, UNDER THE COVERS.
— BlackieChann (@ewphotos1) May 6, 2020
SHOES ON THE FURNITURE!! SHOES!! ON!! THE!! FURNITURE!!!!! pic.twitter.com/5BxcFqPHvN
— Parisa Fitz-Henley (@ParisaFH) May 5, 2020
Shoes in the house, especially shoes in bed or on the couch. Whyyyyyy??? pic.twitter.com/8I6DG0v0J9
— ferdosa abdi (@atomicwick) May 4, 2020
But there are also very specific peeves, too. Particularly when it comes to Hollywood so often getting highly-specialized professions completely wrong.
Medical & Military Inaccuracies
Oh, man. We all know “fake doctor mode” when we see it.
Medical inaccuracies. The doctor is starting an IV or drawing blood? If you want it done right, get the nurse!
— Matt (@MoviesAtTheMatt) May 4, 2020
Former EMT. When bystanders grab and remove someone from a car accident. Don't do this unless in they're immediate danger! It could exacerbate a spinal cord injury.
Also, if they're impaled with an arrow or something, don't pull it out! It might be what's preventing hemorrhage.
— One small deed @🏠 (@kobaileyko) May 5, 2020
Why oh why is Hollywood cpr the WORST cpr ever? I was an EMT, currently an actor. I have performed cpr on camera and that little indy film cpr was worlds better than any greys anatomy cpr ever. They are just bending their elbows the collarbone of the victim
— Austin Amy 🦸♀️ (@austinamy8) May 6, 2020
When anyone on any medical show ever “flatlines” and they need to save them by shocking their heart. Literally not a thing you can do in that situation and doesn’t work but pushing a small dose of medicine is way less dramatic. Also we haven’t used paddles for a long time. pic.twitter.com/5pcbmMjM2V
— Christina Steinhauser (@DrSuperSet) May 6, 2020
When they get military jargon, ranks, jobs wrong. Independence day Will Smith calls Harry Connick Jr a soldier, a marine would never call another marine a soldier. High ranks doing yeoman work. Low ranks with 20 years experience.
— mmaddox (@maddox353) May 6, 2020
Unrealistic Fight Scenes & Action Sequences
When guns have too much Ammo, or they don’t reload. (Courtesy of @TheReal_Freijie )
— F1FloridaGurl (@lyleigh) May 4, 2020
Bad guys who can't aim a gun. You'll have one good guy hit 30 bad guys but 30 bad guys who can't hit the one good guy. Take a shooting lesson already.
— Brandy! (@missbrandy__23) May 4, 2020
In action movies when good boys no matter how many cars they crash still are the good boys( how many lives will have changed or how many innocent people will have died)
— grace (@geist_xyz) May 6, 2020
How the female characters always have perfectly curled hair. Doesn't matter if they're stranded on a desert island, or being chased by zombies, or bloody and beaten from some sort of fight scene, their hair is always in perfectly imperfect boho waves. 🙄
— S A R A (@sara_gran) May 6, 2020
Characters get shot, stabbed and all kinds of harm all the time with deep wounds and almost die. But don't have a single scar from that.
— SaraGriffin (@SaraGri81011928) May 6, 2020
I'm sure it's already been addressed, but no matter how far outside of reality a film might be, I'm always bothered when someone is thrown across a room, smashes into a wall or furniture, and gets up from it. I rolled off the sofa the other day and thought I was going to die.
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) May 5, 2020
Seriously, so many unrealistic fight sequences.
Or when Bad guys waiting their turn to get hit. Instead of attacking him at the same time. It makes me mad
— Tessa 🇰🇪🇧🇭 (@birdie_wahu) May 6, 2020
That ZERO pedestrians or cyclists are killed in ANY car chases (I'm looking at you, Batman). Seriously, nothing the Joker can possibly devise is as inimical to life and limb than Batman's driving.
— Spencer Maybee (@SMaybs) May 6, 2020
And while we know it’s to keep a certain rating, it’s still always a little weird to see a character take multiple punches to the face and walk away without a speck of blood. We guess it makes cleanup easier in their alternate reality.
Speaking of cleanup…that really bothers people, too.
Weird Hygeine & Bathroom Habits
Look, everyone has their own rituals and personal weirdness when it comes to the bathroom and hygiene. But characters in movies do things that no one, ever, anywhere, does. Tooth-brushing was an especially big peeve.
The character leaves mid conversation to go brush their teeth, starts but then comes back out of the bathroom to pause mid brushing to make another point, then leaves again to spit….
IRL, NOONE IS DOING THIS. pic.twitter.com/bDrwuMiJ3h
— Rachelle (STILL in the 🏠) (@MissRachelle) May 6, 2020
Brush teeth but no toothpaste bubbles; wake up w full makeup on.
— nitasha tamar sharma (@nitashatsharma) May 6, 2020
When they brush their teeth they never spit the toothpaste out, especially if they’re having a conversation while brushing. It’s like they just swallow the paste and then they’re done.
— finn 👁👄👁 (@finnmcdoogle) May 6, 2020
But other things grate, too.
I am always disturbed when someone clutches the toilet when vomiting. Even if I've just cleaned it, I'm not going to grab the rim and go for it!
— Middlechildof5. 🇨🇦 (@middlechildlc) May 6, 2020
No one has to pee. Ever.
— JAD (@Fraggle40) May 6, 2020
When people talk while brushing their teeth. AND when they chew aspirin instead of swallowing it. These two happen frequently and it irks me to no end.
— Michele with one L @🏡 (@meeshfoster) May 6, 2020
When a character gets into the shower and just stands right under the water as soon as its turned on. Where is the 30 seconds of awkwardly thrusting your hand in and out of the water to check the temperature?
— Thomas David Roberts (@Tom_Roberts) May 6, 2020
When they don't wash their hands after touching something gross. I need to see them wash their hands!
— Helen Calvert (@CapacityforJoy) May 6, 2020
Black Twitter also had a lot of thoughts about black women not wrapping their hair before bed. True points.
When Black women characters don't wrap their hair before bed.
— Nyasha Junior (@NyashaJunior) May 4, 2020
So many black women responded with that, which really drives home the point that we need inclusion not just in front of the camera but also behind it, writing and directing, in order to get these little details right.
And now, let’s talk about sex, baby. Specifically, just how bad it is in movies.
Unrealistic Sex Scenes
When characters wake up and immediately begin kissing. Hello, morning breath!
— Papa (@NyrEyfen) May 6, 2020
Women don't take all their clothes off, even after a night of unbridled passion (American shows mainly) they have a bra or top on.
— Ivan the Litvak (@ivan007) May 6, 2020
The complete lack of post-coital cleanup. You’ve been laying there for a good seven minutes after finishing, I know that spot on the bed isn’t dry, girl. No trip to the bathroom? I ASSUME ALL OF THE WOMEN HAVE UTIs UNTIL SOMEONE GETS THIS RIGHT
— Anya Stanley (@BookishPlinko) May 4, 2020
When characters finish having sex then they BOTH fall to their backs, like what the hell were you even doing?
— Mo Moshaty (@MoMoshaty) May 6, 2020
There are literally thousands of answers to my tweet, most of which I couldn’t include here. And plenty of quote retweets that have since been lost in the river of my notifications. The entire thing is well worth scrolling through. I guarantee you’ll laugh and relate to quite a few of the answers. When the world is so divided, it’s nice to know that empty coffee cups and rude phone habits can bring us together.