AI: Fictional Media Pet Peeves
I discovered Netflix about a year ago and have since begun actually watching TV shows that didn’t require someone else sitting me down and showing them to me. Accordingly, my list of minor pet peeves (excluding misogynistic, racist, heterosexist, and cissexist content, as I don’t consider those “peeves” so much as rage buttons) regarding shows and movies has grown rather dramatically since then. They’re mostly science-oriented – no, you do not “put pressure” on a cut artery; no image interpolation software that actually exists can make that blur on the security camera reliably identifiable; balance your damn centrifuges, etc. (Granted, I also sometimes feel a bit silly making complaints like that in stories that involve explicitly fantastical elements, but really. If you’re going to have a scientist character who looks spiffy in their science gear in their science lab doing science… at least know something about actual science.) I also tend to get amused at myself regarding which stories I exempt from such things; for instance, Star Trek shows mostly get a pass for bad science because tricorders and hyposprays might as well just be magic.
Another huge one for me is when characters regularly withhold important information from their friends, family, and allies in life-or-death situations simply because they’re feeling inexplicably obstinate that day – there are plenty of more interesting and believable ways to cause conflict, people, really (I’m looking at you, Lost). I also find that as spectacularly often as my cranky scientist buttons get pushed, it’s the character interaction-based peeves that most affect my enjoyment of a show. I’ll forgive a lot of bad physics for good writing, but nothing can redeem bad character writing, to me.
What are some of your pet peeve tropes in stories? How much do they affect your enjoyment of the show/movie/book? What factors, if any, might make a piece of media exempt from that particular peeve? Is there anything you watch or read that doesn’t push any of those buttons for you?
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