Depending on your level of tolerance for false science on TV, you'd find yourself either laughing it off or reaching for a blunt kitchen utensil so you can gouge out your eyes.
Sometimes it's a subtle error that's undetectable to anyone outside a profession that deals with cases like it, and sometimes it's so blatant you can't help but take notice.
Related: Explore Hundreds of Hours of Curated Historical Videos with History Vault via Prime Video Channels!
Why shows choose to let these things happen is a mystery. Now, these errors happen across a lot of shows, but specific genres are more guilty of certain errors than others.
Here are 19 oft-used schticks that don't translate accurately to the real world. Buckle up and get ready for a lot of nitpicking!
Save for Mr. Robot, there isn't any show out there that cares about getting hacking right. It's usually the tech whiz typing on the keyboard really fast as a bunch of windows pop up on the screen, and BOOM we're in the FBI database. I'm no hacker, but even I am pretty sure that's not how it goes.
Fuel Degradation (The Walking Dead)
The worst offenders are always post-apocalyptic shows where the characters have to constantly scavenge for supplies. They search for abandoned cars, siphon the gas and they're on their way. The best-stored fuel breaks down at some point, usually in less than a year of non-usage.
Duct Tape (Blue Bloods)
For some reason, duct tape is made out to be some kind of super adhesive, but your lips are just two among many surfaces difficult for it to stick. Using duct tape as a gag is ineffective in real life, and if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, simply move your lips and jaw around a few times and voila! you have an opening to scream your head off.
Anyone who has used binoculars before knows that the image forms a single oval view, but for some reason, we are always shown something that looks like a Venn diagram when a character looks through one.
Medieval Warfare (Knightfall)
This trope is more historically inaccurate than anything. Medieval armies don't raise their swords and scream like a bunch of lunatics before charging in on the other advancing army. They hold formation and move in sync. And sieges could take anything from a couple of weeks to a few years. No one storms the city gate and takes the castle within a day.
Silencers (The Blacklist)
Silencers are pretty much useless. Unlike what they'll have us believe, firearms with silencers make almost as much noise as those without one. Also, even if a silencer did damp down the sound to the level they say, the people getting shot should make a sound when they drop, but they don't.
A kid, or a boyfriend, nearly drowns but is pulled out of the water and miraculously revived through the power of CPR. We've watched that scene enacted in so many different ways, and we're so gripped by the tension that we fail to notice how much they're doing wrong. First, someone who drowns has water in his lungs, so pinching his nose and breathing into his mouth won't be of much help. Also, no one tells you how you will probably separate his ribs from his sternum, assuming you're doing it right. Also, don't take a break when you get tired, and in a lot of cases, you will actually break a few ribs during the chest compressions. So much for that kiss they usually share immediately after he is revived. In reality, that'll be hard to do when you wake up feeling like you've just been run over by a minivan.
Missing Headrests (The Big Bang Theory)
This doesn't really take much deciphering because no one in real life buys a car with no headrest. Is it really that difficult to get a good angle on the guy in the backseat without yanking the headrest out of the seat? Whiplash is not a very pleasant thing to experience.
Labour (The Gifted)
From the first signs of labor to child delivery, the time taken can be anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days, sometimes more. Yet, pregnant women on TV would scream "The baby is coming!" the moment they get their first contraction.
Knock Out Punches (Daredevil)
Protagonists usually like to prove to us how not evil they are by not shooting the bad guy's henchmen when they're trying to infiltrate his hideout. What we often see is a lot of knockout punches and kicks to the back of the head that keeps the men unconscious for as long as the story needs them to be. You see, the problem here is any blunt force trauma strong enough to knock you out for more than a few seconds will most likely shatter your skull and leave bone fragments lodged in your grey matter, not to mention the possibly irreversible brain damage. Maybe you should just shoot them. It's more merciful that way.
Fire Suppression Systems (Roseanne)
There might be a few exceptional cases, but a sprinkler only goes off in the area where the fire outbreak was detected instead of the uniform burst of water from all rooms and floors of a building. Besides that, the water you see jetting out of the sprinklers is filthy, stagnant water that has been sitting for years, and it stinks to high heavens. Bonus points if the two lovebirds stand close under the water and soulfully stare into each other's eyes. That's gross, guys. STOP IT!
Anyone who has pulled on anything that is not a compound bow knows just how difficult it is to hold on to the string for more than a few seconds. When characters pull an arrow on an enemy, ready to shoot, but instead go off on a long, winding monologue, we're left to either admire the characters unmatched arm strength or we realize that he just doesn't know how stiff the string is supposed to be.
Fragmentation Grenades (Strike Back)
You see a frag dropped within five meters of you and you're as good as dead if there is nowhere to take cover. Those things can be lethal within a 15-meter radius and can cause injuries from 250 meters out. And as the name implies, they scatter fragments at high velocities, not blow up in a ball of fire like we always see. Most times we see a character close enough to get knocked over by the shockwave of a frag grenade simply get up and walk away. A person may not necessarily die, but he'd definitely have a ton of shrapnel in his butt.
A single Outfit (Merlin)
This is less scientific and more practical, but we have seen characters go through quite a number of seasons without a change of clothes. Never mind the inevitable wear and tear on the fabric, how do they deal with all the smell and fungi?
Homing Pigeons (Game Of Thrones)
it is true that this species of domestic pigeon was used as a means of sending messages in the past, which is the bird the messenger Ravens on Game Of Thrones are based on. The thing is, shows usually fail to point out that homing pigeons only fly in one direction. In other words, they are only able to find their way back to where they consider "home" and they have to be manually shipped back to the sender's location before the next message can be sent.
Picking Locks (Person Of Interest)
Some locks are easier to pick than others, but it definitely takes a little longer to pick even the simplest of locks than what we usually see. We're not asking for a 10-minute scene of a burglar trying to get it right, but they usually don't even have the characters use the correct tools for picking locks. It's all bobby pins and paper clips.
Riding Large Creatures (Game Of Thrones)
If you've ever seen Danaerys on one of her dragons on Game of Thrones, you'll realize that wind resistance is not a thing that exists in that world. Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle at high speed without a helmet on knows just how dangerous it can be. Not only because you could crash, but also because the air drag can be really painful to the eyes and particles flying through the air can injure you. Multiply that by 100 and you have something close to what it must be like to ride Drogon. Get a saddle Dany!!
Coma (Grey's Anatomy)
A coma is not a peaceful experience. Someone who has been in a coma for a while will be bloated with tubes sticking out of every orifice. They'll sweat a lot and their muscles go into a state of atrophy. Instead, what we're shown is a patient lying on a bed with a breathing tube in his mouth. Admittedly, the reality a coma is not something we want to see, but for the shows striving for realism, this is a major Achilles heel.
Cocking A Gun (Firefly)
Another overused action utilized only for the cool factor. Unless you just inserted a new cartridge into a previously empty gun, there is absolutely no reason to keep pulling on the slide unless you want to eject an unused round from the chamber which is clearly not their intention.
Exploding Cars (Lethal Weapon)
A burning car doesn't explode and then fly 50 meters straight into the air. Normally, it won't explode at all. What you'll probably see when a car catches on fire is the burning of the leather interiors, the tires, and maybe a few pressurized chambers and canisters exploding, and that's about it.
Evidence Bags (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
The moment a defense attorney can prove the evidence in court is tainted in any way, it'll be thrown out. A real CSI bags evidence in a paper or plastic bag depending on the type and state of the evidence being collected instead of the clear plastic we see all the time. The reason for this is because plastic can stick to and smear DNA and fingerprints on a tagged item. Paper bags don't do well with wet objects and so on.
Medical dramas are the target shows here. Defibrillation basically restores a heart beating out of sync to a normalized rhythm. But often, we see a character that has straight up flatlined being brought back to life by a defibrillator. Chances are if you've flatlined, there is no coming back.
Lightning Storms (Supernatural)
A very common phenomenon that is always being portrayed inaccurately. Anyone with a basic knowledge of physics knows light travels faster than sound, and because of that we always see the lightning before we hear the thunder. But apparently, some rules of physics don't apply on TV because the bright flash and the rumbling sounds always happen at the same time.