My essays are usually about research and history. Today, I felt like listing some pop culture plot devices from movies, TV, and novels that are long overdue for retirement.
- The amateur woman sleuth has a cop boyfriend who violates the confidentiality of investigations and conveniently feeds her clues, a cozy mystery cliche.
- Bicycle use as a symbol of an adult character’s immaturity, which reached an apex in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It is still a fun movie.
- Supernatural events are revealed to be fakery, only to have the final scene imply that the ghost is real after all. Midsomer Murders resorts to this repeatedly.
- The good guy/male love interest is identified in novels by his crooked grin/lopsided smile. The overuse of this trope is provable:
- The hero who needs to admit he is gay has a girlfriend/fiance who is overbearing and controlling, which defies any understanding of why he could have feelings for her in spite of his basic orientation.
- The only attorneys who defend rapists and abusers on TV are women
- Model-perfect women under 30 somehow have senior jobs that require decades of experience
- Lesbians on TV adhere to conventional feminine beauty standards because butch women are taboo
- Single heterosexual women on TV who have unplanned pregnancies give stirring pro-choice speeches, then keep the baby 100% of the time, AKA the Murphy Brown maneuver