25 Things That Only Happen On TV Series And Not In Real Life

Published 4 weeks ago

As kids, we believed everything we saw on TV. However, as we got older we realised things don’t always go according to a script. Some things that happen on screen are written to make the plot move along and wouldn’t ordinarily happen in real-life situations. 

This was recently highlighted when someone online inquired, “What happens on TV all the time, but never happens in real life?” Netizens responses soon made the thread viral and we’ve shared some of the best answers below.

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#1 Ultra, ultra white teeth. I’m talking new toilet bowl porcelain white. On Breaking Bad Jesse smoked meth and cigarettes regularly, but somehow miraculously was able to maintain a dazzling white smile.

Image source: Guy D. McCardle, Daniel Xavier

#2 My wife works in cardiac medicine and HATES how dead people are bought back to life with an electric shock on TV. If a heart stops beating, that person is dead and an electric shock does nothing. A defibrillator does just that, it defibrillates. A heart in fibrillation is beating erratically preventing blood flow. A shock kind of resets it. If someone’s heart has stopped, applying CPR will help, zapping them will not.

Image source: Arran Clark

#3 Ok, this isn’t a deep, philosophical answer, but whenever I see someone brushing their teeth on TV it always looks neat. No toothpaste dripping down the chin or getting flicked into the eyes. I know that for practical purposes the actors don’t use toothpaste because it would ruin the shot, but I really wish just once it would look more realistic.

Image source: Shannon Gilles, Marcus Aurelius

#4 Waiting for a taxi isn’t a thing in movies. Just wave your hand and a taxi will appear out of nowhere.

Phones in movies are so advanced that you don’t even dial the whole number and you’re already talking with your correspondent.

Shooting 952 bullets towards somebody and not even one of them hits him.

Although the house is obviously haunted with evil souls and ghosts and death is the most probable thing to happen, staying for 9 more weeks is apparently a good idea.

I look through the window and see someone creeping in the back of the house with a machete in his hand and his face covered with blood. I go straight towards him in case he is lost or something.

Science says humans can’t survive without oxygen for more than 3 minutes. Movies say that humans can spend 10 minutes under the water while fighting a shark with their bare hands.

Every time you turn on the TV, “lucky you” finds the news just starting to talk about something that relates to you. Perfect timing as always.

Running from a killer who is slowly walking towards you without falling every single 10 seconds is impossible, even if you dodged 952 bullets at once.

And finally, you can predict the future by the weather. If you see lightning, you better run because s**t is about to get real.

Image source: Nizar Masmoudi

#5 Women waking up and the hair is perfect, the face looking perfect and glowing even if they’ve been up all night. Yeah, right. Even young women will look rough in the morning

Image source: C. Lang, Mikhail Nilov

#6 Gun shot victims dying slow and peaceful deaths. On the screen the victims are usually saying their goodbyes, asking for forgiveness, or seeking revenge.

Image source: Keith Albert, TREEDEO.ST

Reality is very different. As a trauma nurse, I have witnessed many gun shot wound deaths and none were peaceful. The scene is violent and horrific. The victim is generally pleading to be saved if they’re conscious.

It is nothing like most movies depict. There are some movies that depict accurate deaths by gunshot, but most do not because the violence would deter audiences from watching.

#7 Forensics. Attending a crime scene or post mortem while not wearing a hair net, safety goggles, face mask etc. Because if you’re a hot young pathologist, you’re more concerned with looking good than contaminating evidence or having corpse fluids on you

Image source: Grace Webster, cottonbro studio

#8 An Indian boy likes a girl, the girl doesn’t know it. He wants to express his feelings.

Image source: Radhika Pulel

What he will do?

He will stalk her in the college or school. He will stalk her in the mall while is shopping. He will stalk her while she is eating food. He will stalk her in the library. He will stalk her in the other country too. (Where the female lead is spending her honeymoon with her fiance, he still doesn’t stop.) He will stalk her to the bathroom, yeah we are Indians we don’t spare any space. And then what happens?

*Drum roll please.*

The girl falls in love.

This is the concept of 99% of Indian movies.

#9 Cops and lawyers and doctors are all hot and camera ready. I can count the number of times I’ve seen a fat cop or a balding overweight lawyer or a doctor who looks like the doctors on TV. You’d think that these people are only marking time being doctors or lawyers until they get the call from their agent so they can start their entertainment or modeling careers.

Image source: C. Lang, Warner Bros.

The arrest rate would be a lot higher if all the cops looked like this

Hell, criminals would VOLUNTEER to be locked up just to get a car ride to the station with this guy. Bonus points if they get cuffed by him, too.

I’m thinking of the TV show Bones in particular where everyone is a genius level Ph.D in some hard science and they all look hot, even the most geeky of them. I liked the show, but if my engineering school had been full of guys that looked this hot….

There is a reason women engineers have a saying, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd” and it ain’t because their colleagues look like this:

#10 One’s outfit, makeup, and hair style always match.

Image source: Lilly Black, Lê Minh

Fat people are rare.

Houses are either big, beautiful, and perfectly decorated, or small, ugly, and messy.

Funerals seem like fancy occasions.

People go through glass – easily – suffering only minor scrapes.

Money is seldom a reason to worry.

People are in the mood for sex soon after being involved in traumatic situations.

All lawyers go to court.

All crimes are solvable.

People brush their teeth without slobbering.

#11 Someone pointed this out to me once, and now I can’t not see it: people hang up on telephone calls without saying “Good bye” or otherwise conversationally signaling that the conversation is concluded. The phone call will come in, and then the moment that the plot-advancing information has been exchanged, the call is abruptly ended. At least in the United States, if you had a phone call like that with someone in real life, you’d probably find it exceptionally rude.

Image source: Ian McCullough, RDNE Stock project

#12 Coming out of a coma after many years. In TV, the patient looks quite well, like he is sleeping, wakes up, asks what the matter is. The family cries happy tears, the patient gets up to look at his own image in the mirror and and realizes he is ten years older. Then he returns home to deal with the psychological issues.

In real life, a comatose patient comes out of it usually very slowly, has lost all muscle tone, usually has a feeding tube or a tracheostomy tube in place and has very limited abilities. He can not walk, barely talk and most often comunicates by blinking or moving his eyes up and down. Progress is painstakinly slow. and very rarely does a person fully recover. Brain injury is unforgiving and I have never heard from a patient that has a full physical and intellectual recovery after more than a year in a coma or persistent vegetative state. Of course there can be a lot of love in the family and wonderful new memories in some cases, learning to live a new meaningful life with some mental or physical handicaps. But things will not be the same. It will be hard on everybody. There is always hope, just different expectations.

Image source: Anna Bruni

#13 Let’s talk about movie gun fights.

Image source: Sean Kernan, David East

Because they are ridiculous.

In a real gunfight a guy never walks down the middle of an open street. Standing up tall just shooting and not reloading.

Meanwhile, his enemies have him surrounded, are behind cover, shooting at him and missing over and over again.

Somehow Denzel just strolls down the street returning fire, landing head-shot after headshot with every round he fires.

It’s beyond science fiction. He would have been dead and the movie would have ended after 5 minutes.

Don’t believe me? Ask any military vet.

#14 You shoot the gas tank of the car that is driving away and it blows up. Almost never actually happens in real life.

Image source: Gordon Miller

#15 Girl gets injured — maybe knocked unconscious. Guy picks her up and carries her, princess style, miles and miles to safety. Maybe up a mountain, maybe through the woods, maybe just a few blocks down the road.

Image source: Eva Glasrud, Yaroslav Shuraev

Anyone who’s ever carried anyone knows it’s super hard. The strongest man I know can’t carry me more than, perhaps, a block. And that’s being generous. And I’m really good at being carried — I don’t lie there limply. I use my arms and core to take some weight off the guy’s biceps and put it onto his shoulders.

In real rescue situations, you’d typically have say, six people carrying one victim — with other rescuers to sub in when they got tired.

#16 In the movies and on TV, it’s precisely when everything is perfect and everybody is happy that you know something disastrous is about to happen.

Image source: Dushka Zapata, Martin Lopez

Seeing everything go well is what makes you suspicious.

We are learning to be afraid of good fortune – as if joy was something to be wary of.

An assured, impending catastrophe is a sound reason to make sure we never get too happy.

And sure enough, that’s when the car skids. The child wanders off into the woods. Smoke billows.

Well, life is not like TV.

Wonderful things can keep happening to me, one after the other.

The other shoe is not going to drop.

There is no logical reason why there should be a limit to how happy I can be, and the same holds true for you.

#17 Ring doorbell and someone will open the door within 2 seconds. Do people always stand in front of their doors waiting for someone to ring the bell?

Image source: Ruchi Rashinkar, Kindel Media

Call on someone’s phone and they will pick up the call within a second. How come I have to wait so long for people to pick up their phone?

Background music/score. It would really help me figure out what’s happening in my life just by paying attention to background music.

Speed dating in almost every show. Guy meets girl, flirts a bit, sparks fly and the next thing you know that they are seeing each other. Doesn’t happen that often in real life.

How come they don’t watch tv like we do? Only The Big Bang Theory used to discuss about tv shows and movies. But even that stopped after a few seasons.

Laugh tracks in comedy shows. It would really help me if laugh tracks actually worked in real life. Some people don’t understand that I made a joke.

Why everybody looks so perfect in TV shows? Girls know how to apply perfect makeup. Guys have gelled hair and abs. Everyone has perfect skin.

#18 When a couple kisses for the first time, everybody around them applauds.

Image source: Ruth Ellis Haworth, Dmitriy Ganin

Women wear bras to bed, under their night gowns, and full make-up.

High schools are full of 25 year old students.

When people brush their teeth, they never rinse their mouths. They just spit and go.

Business people and professionals drink whisky, neat, constantly, regardless of sex, age or culture. Often they toss back 4 to 6 ounces without having any apparent effects.

People never say please or thank you – especially thank you.

Nobody ever finishes a meal – especially breakfast. They get loaded up with pancakes, bacon, eggs and toast, and then they leave it untouched. They also never take more than a sip of their giant glass of orange juice.

People are really nasty to each other – yell, say hurtful things – and yet there are seldom repercussions either personally or professionally.

Characters live in apartments or houses that would cost much more than they could afford.

Medical shows are meticulously researched (to the point that medical students study shows like House), but in crime shows, m*rder and s****de methods are frequently all wrong. Ditto bomb building. (I’m not complaining.)

#19 This one just slays me: two people lustfully tear each other’s clothes off and make breathless, passionate love, coming to magical, mutual orgasm after a whopping five seconds. I’d like to visit THAT world.

Image source: Sharron Lehman

#20 Empty coffee cups.

Image source:  Darren Morrissey, Viktoria Vlasova

Seriously, whenever you see a character holding a disposable coffee cup like this one on TV, it’s always empty. Really, obviously empty. I find it very distracting.

I believe it’s because most actors can’t be trusted not to spill the contents of their cup all over the expensive filming equipment or the set or whatever. But is it really too difficult to make a prop cup the same weight as a full coffee cup? Or maybe have a lesson in pretending your cup is full at acting school?

Sorry to ruin every show ever for you…

#21 I won’t go so far as to say that this never happens, but…

Image source: Holly, Cody Portraits

In television and movie “passion” scenes, the guy always grabs his partner—clothes ripping, buttons popping and flying across the room, and shoes hanging from lamps.

The guy then proceeds to enter his partner with zero preparation—no tender touches, no foreplay, no condoms… no anything.

And despite all of these factors, both parties dissolve into screaming mutual satisfaction within two minutes.

This has never happened to me. Nor has it happened to anyone that I know.

No concern about contraception? Diseases? Caring about your partner’s needs?

I want to know where the notion came from that this is realistic for most people… but then again, we’re talking about entertainment—not real life.

I guess that’s the point.

#22 Locker Conversations.

Image source: Bee Halence, Nickelodeon

In between classes, in TV shows, characters stop by their lockers for a chat with their friends. This is seemingly where A LOT of drama happens. But in real life? No.

Most high school students rarely use their lockers; they just carry their things around in their backpacks. Lockers are often assigned to students in hopes that they will be used daily, but in reality they supply a storage unit for rarely used textbooks and school supplies. Also, students usually have around five minutes between their classes, so there isn’t enough time to casually chat with their friends outside of their lockers!

Another thing, ALL CHARACTERS HAVE TOP LOCKERS. Wow! By chance, all the main characters were all lucky enough to be assigned top row lockers? Never irl lol.

#23 Things that bother me the most

Image source: Victor Volkman

Step-parenting issues are resolved in a week or less. Sorry folks, being a step-dad myself I just get angry at how fast step-parent bonding is resolved in “one-episode” or less. Doesn’t happen that way.

Single criminal makes 5 or 6 law enforcement professionals lay down their weapons so he can flee with a gun to the head of the hostage. Never happened. Ever.

Phone calls that finish without any salutations (“Goodbye”)

Phone user hears a “dial-tone” after someone hard-hangs up on them. What is this, the 1980s?? Cellphones have never had dial-tones. Ever. Also cellphones making “dialing” noises when a user hits a speed-dial or callback number. Folks, this is an artifact of the analog phone system.

Every criminal mastermind has 3-D blueprints of every office building ever built.

Fetal ultrasounds are the most exciting thing ever and cause an instant change of heart for the boyfriend/fiance/father who could not have cared less 2 minutes ago, and their life is never the same. Maybe if we all hadn’t seen this same scene 1000 times already, it would have some impact.

Don’t get me started with “hacking” scenarios

#24 When the school bell rings.

One thing I always notice when watching TV shows/movies is how the students in a classroom pack up their things when the bell rings. A few moments before the bell their desks would look pretty neat, perhaps just a textbook and a pen or two. As soon as the students hear the bell they shut the book and place everything in the bag and head out of the classroom.

Throughout all the years I’ve been in school, it has never happened like this. I’ve always had a notebook, my pencil case and pretty much all of its contents out on the desk alongside a water bottle and the required textbook. Almost everyone’s desk is not nearly as tidy and simple as the ones we see on TV. It would take me a good minute or two to pack everything up nicely in my bag so that I could leave the classroom. Of course, I understand that they have reasons for doing this on TV (to save time etc.) but nevertheless I always notice it.

Also, I don’t think this applies to every school but in my school we were never just allowed to ‘pack up and leave’ when we heard the school bell. I vividly remember some of my teachers saying “The teacher, not the bell, dismisses you.”

Image source: Ifrah Mumin

#25 People spending all of their time hanging out at the coffee shop (practically living there) ordering food and laughing day and night without having to worry about work or any other normal daily activities whatsoever.

Image source: Abdullah Shiryar, Warner Bros.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

Got wisdom to pour?



TV, TV norms, tv series, TV tropes, unrealistic TV
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