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What We Can Learn from TV and Movies

picture of educational TV

Do you ever turn on your television mainly to learn things? ETV has all sorts of great, educational programming, but in our home we try to be careful as we sift through the information and misinformation available there. I would contend that we actually are constantly learning as we watch TV and movies. We are exposed to values and attitudes that, if we thought about them carefully, we would not otherwise give our time to or allow ourselves to be manipulated to embrace.

As a parent and now as a grandparent watching Bugs Bunny with my grandson Drew, I have been amazed at how much of the humor in the cartoons I loved as a child went right over my head. But even in those seemingly innocent cartoons, as I have later watched them more critically at times, I have found lessons like dishonesty is all right, unkindness is normal and appropriate, etc. We need to be discerning about what we allow to shape our thinking.

On the lighter side of that, though, today I'm posting some humorous and at times bizarre lessons that we learn from what's portrayed on TV and in movies.

What We Can Learn from TV and Movies

When you arrive at a home and the front door is slightly ajar, you can plan on finding a dead body in the living room.

If there is more than one or two of an alien race, they are always roughly the same size as humans.

All members of alien species wear the same outfits, including clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry. This makes them readily identifiable.

Bad guys will always get killed by a snake, while the hero simply reaches out and picks it up with his bare hands.

Deadly reptiles will always attack a woman first, even if she's in the presence of thirty men.

Dogs always know who's bad, and bark at them.

Whenever someone looks through the binoculars, you see two joined circles instead of one.

A villain will always commit murder right in front of the window when someone with binoculars is watching.

Eyeglasses never steam up when someone comes inside a house from the cold.

When there are identical twins, one is born evil.

Interbreeding is genetically possible with any person or creature from anywhere in the universe.

Newborn babies can babble, crawl, and hold their heads steady.

Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people — whether they are employed or not.

When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

Radiation causes interesting mutations — not to your future children, but to you, right then and there.

Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts — your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their archenemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, all of which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.

All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

Once applied, lipstick will never rub off — even while scuba diving.

When paying for a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note — just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though the husband and children never have time to eat them.

Any problem of life, no matter how complex, can be solved in 3 hours or less, but always in a period of time divisible by 30 minutes.

Cars and trucks that crash will almost always burst into flames.

A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.

If a killer is lurking in your house, it's easy to find him. Just relax and run a bath, even if it's the middle of the afternoon.

Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at one.

Creepy music coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.

If a phone connection is broken, communication can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying, "Hello? Hello?"

Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper clippings — especially if any of their family or friends have died in a strange boating accident.

During a very emotional confrontation, instead of facing the person you are speaking to, it is preferable to stand behind him and talk to his back.

Action heroes never face charges for manslaughter or criminal damage, despite laying entire cities to waste.

No matter how badly a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.

If there is a deranged killer on the loose, this will coincide with a thunderstorm that has brought down all the power and phone lines in the vicinity.

You can always find a chain saw whenever you're likely to need one.

Many musical instruments — especially wind instruments and accordions — can be played without moving one's fingers.

It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

Guns are like disposable razors — if you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. You can always buy a new one.

Make-up can safely be worn to bed without smudging.

All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick's Day parade — at any time of the year.

Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds — unless it's the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

Any person waking from a nightmare will bolt upright and pant.

It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations.

Even when someone is driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

A detective can solve a case only after he has been suspended from duty.

Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

An electric fence, powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight-year-old child.

Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally, at that precise moment.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.


Maybe you can add some lessons you have discerned from TV or movies.


"Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home." — David Frost

=^..^= =^..^=

I used to watch golf on TV but my doctor told me that I need more exercise. So now I watch tennis.

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15 Comments on “What We Can Learn from TV and Movies”

  1. #1 Janet O'Brien
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 8:46 am

    You made my morning!

    My contribution is a well known fact for Trekkies: the unknown crewman wearing the red shirt will die during the away mission on the planet’s surface.

  2. #2 Dan Olinger
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Computers beep whenever a new character is displayed on the screen.

    And graphics programs always use the keyboard, never the mouse.

  3. #3 Vikki
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    No one ever has to look up a phone number, everyone has the entire phone book memorized.

    Medieval peasant women always have clean, styled hair.

    In a shoot out, it always takes about 20 shots for professionally trained shooters to hit anyone – unless the shot is impossible to make.

    No one every wakes up with pillow hair or needing a shave.

  4. #4 Michael
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Great iv today! A couple observations: My wife and I have watched a few episodes of a Fox program called “Human Target”. Basically, there’s a small organization of ex hitmen or who are now bodyguards for people who believe someone is out to kill them. These people apparently are getting no help from the police so they pay large sums of money to have this special protection. During the course of an episode they’re breaking in to places, stealing vehicles, and ultimately killing the bad guys. No sign of any police anywhere and they’re alive and out of jail the next week to do it all again.

    And, as a kid I used to love to watch the A-Team. I watched a re-run recently and was blown away by how silly it was. 10 guys each with an automatic gun were in an open area roughly 100 feet apart and shooting like crazy at each other and not only was no one killed, no one was even hurt. Ah, family prime time tv in the 80s.

  5. #5 Jan
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Cars and trucks are never dirty–even if the setting of the story is in the country with gravel roads or in winter with slushy roads.

  6. #6 Emily
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Any man who just met and fell in love with a girl three seconds ago can ask her to go out and get an immediate “yes” without specifying a time, place to meet, or attire for the occasion. He may also offer to pick her up without asking for directions to her home.

    All computers speak English–just ask “Show Ventilation System Diagram for this whole building (or space ship!).” And Ctrl, Alt, Enter, Function keys, etc. are completely useless. Simply type on the home keys.

    You will instantly be able to tell if someone has hacked into your computer and is viewing or deleting your files–all of this will display right on your screen.

    Getaway cars for heroes are nearly indestructible, but vehicles of pursuers can be flipped onto their roofs if they follow the hero into a sharp turn.

    Any elevator can go into freefall–and likely will if the power is cut!

    Dead bodies are always discovered by a woman with the ability to let out an ear-piercing scream.

  7. #7 Adam
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Cars, cuts, and scratches (along with an occasional missing digit!) mysteriously disappear in the scene after a fight.

    Suits and dresses are always neatly pressed in 50s shows.

    If there’s a well anywhere in a movie, some kid will surely fall into it.

    Even though they had not yet been invented yet, Roman numerals become the default counting system for ancient civilizations, a la Ten Commandments.

  8. #8 Heather
    on Jul 27th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    This is great! Here’s my TV lessons learned:

    If you’re an amateur detective, you apparently can live without an income and do just fine.

    Everyone eats out all the time.

    Kids only go to school when there is school-related drama in progress, and they tend to take care of themselves when they are not central to the story.

    There always will be at least one beautiful alien woman for Captain Kirk to fall in love with.

  9. #9 Beth Calhoun
    on Jul 28th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    In traveling, you never have to pack or unpack, your clothes are always wrinkle-free, and you can fit a lot of outfits into those matched suitcases.

  10. #10 Carrie
    on Jul 28th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Awesome. So true. 🙂

  11. #11 Emily Boone
    on Jul 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    My favorite movie lessons are about childbirth.

    Childbirth always starts with extreme, abrupt pain during which the mother must grab her belly and yell, “The baby’s coming – now!”

    Labor and delivery last approximately five minutes, during which the mom’s job is to scream, yell at, and curse her husband, who usually isn’t present. She may take a break from this task only long enough to beg frantically for medication.

    Moms lose their baby weight within ten minutes of having the baby.

    Newborn babies are all beautiful and pudgy.

  12. #12 Ray
    on Jul 29th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Also, babies are born *clean*, 4-5 months old, and their eyes are open.

    You will get away from a car involved in an accident before the gas tanks explodes.

    all crimes are solved in 60 minutes

  13. #13 Rebekah
    on Jul 30th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Elevators make great changing rooms for good guys and bad guys alike. No one will suspect that the two men exiting are the same ones who entered, as long as they’re dressed differently.

    Cars will always miss someone who’s running through traffic, even in downtown New York City.

  14. #14 Dave
    on Jul 30th, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Here’s one I saw somewhere, but I can’t remember where:

    Any crime involving DNA testing can have the test results ready the next day. After all, we’ve completely solved every part of the human genome.

  15. #15 Ray
    on Aug 2nd, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    A couple more:

    It never rains at the beach and the surf’s always up.

    Wood-burning steam locomotives make black smoke. Trust me, that is not true (they usually stack cordwood on the fuel oil tank for effect). You would have to fill the firebox with white birch to come close to a black stack, but it only lasts for a couple of minutes untill the draft goes to work on the wood.