One of the reasons we, as people, love to watch movies and TV shows is because doing so is like getting a break from reality. We all know that we’re watching fictional characters with fictional lives living fictional plotlines that most likely would not play out IRL the way they do on film. That’s fine! It’s preferable, actually, because it’s what we’re looking for. That said, at the same time, we like things to be a little on the realistic side. It’s like, sure, pick a 28-year-old actress to play a high school student, but at least give them a personality we could see in someone we know, you know? It sounds hypocritical because it is, but it’s still true: we like to see characters who are relatable. And a lot of the times, movies and shows use the same type of person who doesn’t even exist in real life.
You know what I mean: the kind of strict mom who manages to also miss every single thing her kid does (think Mike’s mom in Stranger Things or basically any Type A mom in any movie ever). Or maybe it’s the beautiful popular girl who is also a huge bitch but eventually comes around to being sweet and apologetic deep down. Movies use specific character types over and over, which is fine, but… most of them are just exaggerated stereotypes. And it’s kind of annoying. This Reddit thread points out the kinds of people you always see on film who don’t exist in real life:
Insanely Mature Children Who Always Say The Right ThingsUser hyacinthinlocks says: "Smart ass kids who think and talk like adults and are more mature than the adult characters." Think Chloe Moretz's character in 500 Day of Summer. Too many movies and TV shows make kids into tiny geniuses who impart so much wisdom. Sure, kids can say some surprisingly wise things sometimes, but they are not going to be so mature that you turn to them for help with all of your problems. But, movies have an issue with kids in general. User keeperofcats points this out, saying, "The problem is that people don't know how to write kids well. Either they're miniature adults, or they're pretty silent/non existent as characters. Most children aren't actually interesting...so writers go with miniature adult so they can deliver punch lines."
Students Who Lived Lives Before SchoolUser HeathrBee says, "Students who meet for breakfast before school. Fully dressed, with time to spare." OMG YES. I've watched so many movies and TV shows were characters do this that I've lost track - they manage to wake up and get a million things done before the first bell rings, and I don't understand it. The best example is Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls. She always managed to have a sit down breakfast with her mom, and usually a fight or two with someone, before leaving for school. Was she waking up at 4:30 AM? I don't get it!
Cops Who Do Terrible Things But Are Still GoodHere's one of the worst, as pointed out by SugarButterFlourEgg: "The cop who's a loose cannon but also the best man for the job. Reality: pick one." Ugh, yes. So many fictional cops are presented as "crazy" dudes who are still amazing police officers. They do horrible things in their personal lives and are generally huge jerks, but they are also heroes. It's like... what?
The Guy Dating The Girl The Main Character Likes Who Just Happens To Be A Huge DoucheUser murder_kitty says, "The guy who is dating the girl you have a crush on is not inherently evil just because he's dating her and you're not." This is true! Whenever a love triangle is shown in a movie or TV show, the guy the girl is already dating (or the girl the guy is already dating) is portrayed as a jerk. Even if they seem great in the beginning, by the end, they manage to do something awful that makes you realize why this person likes someone else. In reality, it doesn't always work this way. The person your crush is dating isn't always a total douche. Sometimes they're really great!
The Magical NegroWTF is a "magical Negro?" It's actually a term popularized by Spike Lee to describe this eggre: "The saintly black guy who shows up just to dispense timely wisdom to the white protagonist." Think about how many movies or shows you've watched where, out of nowhere, a black character shows up to give some extremely important advice, and then they just... disappear. This never happens IRL.
The Bartender Who Remembers Every FaceUser Knight_82 says: "The male NYC bartender who remembers a male customer's face from one time 3 weeks ago when shown a photo by the police." Okay, so this typically happens in crime shows, but it definitely happens in movies too. Whenever there's an investigation and they head to a bar, the bartender always remembers that one face, and usually even the conversation that the person was having. In reality, bartenders work very hard and remembering every face would be nearly impossible.
The Quirky Girl Who Changes A Dude's Life ForeverUser eggre says, "The beautiful, quirky girl who makes it her life's mission to save some boring, lifeless slug of a guy." You know the quirky girl character being described here - literally Summer from 500 Days Of Summer, although this character pops up in a lot of other movies and shows as well. It's... exhausting, at this point.
The Computer Programmers Who Are Total GenuisesUser [deleted] says, "The programmer who knows every command, statement, and function in every programming language from memory, and can sit down at any computer and make it do anything in 5 minutes of witty banter." Computer programmers are smart, but they do not know how to do everything and they can't figure it out in five seconds. Come on!
The Best Friend Who Has No Other Purpose In LifeUser pompadours says, "The best friend who apparently has nothing better to do with their life than to drop everything at a moment's notice to support the protagonist, no matter what's required or when." It's almost like movies put best friends in a plot JUST so the main character has a reason to explain certain things... which, uh, is exactly what movies do. Still annoying though!
The Popular Dude Who Grows Up To Be A Huge LoserUser MegaSansIX says, "The bully/popular guy who ends up failing in life. The people who were popular and attractive in high school usually have happy lives as adults. Nature prefers feedback loops and that means the people who were doing good early in life do good later in life. Only bullies that suffer are the "criminal" ones who ditch school and shit." Oh my God, yes. Yes, there are plenty of people out there who are popular in high school and then don't do anything super successful (I know someone exactly like that), but there are also plenty of popular people who do. It's not that cut and dry.
The Ugly Loser Who Turns Into The Hottest Person In SchoolUser [deleted]: points out the most popular type of person: "The unpopular kid/wallflower/nerd who turns into a charismatic hottie after a makeover." I just... so much has been written about this, but it's still worth mentioning.
The Gorgeous 20-Something DoctorsUser See_Bee9 says, "Stunning 27 year old doctors. It exists in real life, but not to the extent that is shown on TV and especially not in the middle of a 30 hour shift. And you never get a whole ER full of them." It's almost like, has anyone in Hollywood ever BEEN to a hospital?
Which character are you sick of seeing? What did we forget to add? Share in the comments.