Lisa was complaining that it was unrealistic that Bette, on ep. 1.07 of The L Word
, couldn't get her girlfriend Tina on the phone, even though the writers had contrived some (to me) very satisfying coincidences to make sure she couldn't: Bette's cell phone was offline during an event, but by then Tina had unplugged the phone because some crazy girl was calling constantly to make threats.
So yes, of course, Bette, being a total control freak, would have called every single person in her cell phone's directory before boarding a plane and missing a dinner in her honor.
But that wouldn't have been interesting to watch, and it would have been even less interesting to watch the writers' close off the plothole. TV is a compressed reality. A few things stand for many more (or bigger) things. (I think that's called synecdoche
, or, possibly, metonymy
.) The point is, people do have trouble reaching other people -- in real life, usually because they give up too soon, but that's not fun to watch -- and the writers are creating a situation like
the ones in real life, one that stands for
the ones in real life, even if it is not exactly the way it would happen in real life.
My rule on when you can get away with a plothole of this nature is any time it is more entertaining
to have the plothole than the literal truth. So long as you address
the plothole -- so long as you let the viewer know you care about it -- the audience is ready to move on to the clever consequences.
Of course this is no excuse for laziness or carelessness. When, in this week's The OC
, Kirsten walks into the office where Rebecca, the wanted fugitive, is hiding, there is nothing entertaining about Rebecca stupidly calling out "Sandy, is that you?" It shows neither character
(she's supposed to be smart) nor the truth of the situation
(she's on the run). It happens simply because the writers couldn't be bothered to make Rebecca smart enough to hide, and Kirsten smart enough to realize Sandy's hiding a girl in his office!
. It could have been as simple as Kirsten noticing how clean the office suddenly is, or smelling perfume, or noticing a stray long black hair, or noticing the sink's still wet. That would have been more truthful, and