Heaven: Well, They Sure Got THAT Wrong...

TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
edited January 16 in Limbo
Inspired by a tangent I went off on during this discussion, I'm starting this thread to discuss the phenomenon that occurs when you read a book or watch a TV show or movie that is set in your hometown, or that in some other way touches on your area of knowledge or expertise, and you can't focus on the story because of the jarring Things They Got Wrong.

The thing that got me started on this was a comment about the novel The Shipping News, probably the most well-known novel and movie ever set in Newfoundland, which to me is full of glaring errors (such as the "squidburgers" I ranted about on the other thread).

In general, I find that anything set in Newfoundland (if not written by someone from here), and anything that mentions Seventh-day Adventists, is bound to have some error, either minor or major, that is going to grate on my nerves, just because those are the two cultures I've been immersed in my whole life.

I know for a lot of people this is true of their profession as well -- like doctors who can't bring themselves to watch medical shows on TV. My own profession, teaching, is generally not too badly represented, although there are some cliches that are laughable -- like the common TV and movie trope where the bell to end class ALWAYS goes off in the middle of the teacher's lecture. Is there not one teacher in TV land who knows how long their class period is and plans accordingly? When do they wind down and give the assignment?

So, this is a thread to give examples and gripe about how your region, religion, profession or weird hobby is misrepresented on page or screen.
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Comments

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Anyone who watches TV law and order reality shows (or the local news, for that matter) knows that police are terrible shots and miss their targets more often than not -- whereas the bad guys who shoot at them generally find their mark.

    Just the opposite of what you see in most crime TV shows, where the cops are never wounded or killed but the bad guys always are.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    When novels try to represent a person’s accent phonetically - maybe I’m more aware of it from having studyied phonetics, but it is always inconsistent and often has representations which are simply the same as anyone would say them. I’m currently reading a book set in England, by a British author, and there is a Dutch character, whose accent he tries to represent by, for instance, ‘ze’ for ‘the’ and ‘dot’ for ‘that’. Surely there’d be consistency in the pronunciation of a voiced ‘th’. And then he has this character saying ‘huzband’ and ‘yourz,’ which seems pointless, as that is exactly how native English speakers pronounce them.
  • Books by local author Ruth Dugdall set in Suffolk usually annoy me because of details being unnecessarily wrong. In one of them a character has a job at the aquarium in Ipswich ....just that we don't actually have one here. She lives close by so why does she get it wrong?
  • Television shows and made-for-television movies that are supposedly set in Phoenix -- why not just film them in Phoenix? It's not that far from Hollywood! The old television show Alice was obviously written and directed by people who had never set foot here.

    Also, American television shows and movies never get anything Episcopal/Anglican correct. I'm sure they could find a friendly priest who'd be happy to serve as an advisor.
  • questioningquestioning Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I wish I could remember the title of the novel, but I recently read a murder mystery in which the deceased was buried almost a week after her death. We find out later that she was not embalmed, but no one appears to have commented, noticed, or realized that she would have smelled AWFUL - not even the funeral director (certainly not the book's author).

    I once presided at a funeral for someone who had died about 4 days prior. The smell was so dreadful that I, along with everyone else, was inclined to make things a little brisker than might otherwise have been our wont.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Also, American television shows and movies never get anything Episcopal/Anglican correct.
    Episcopalians are not alone in that regard. Sometimes, and only sometimes, they manage to get Catholics and Jews right. Beyond that, abandon all hope . . . .

  • Having spent the first 28 years of my life in Washington D.C. they are always driving the wrong way in movies. NO NO you do not reach the Capitol by driving toward Virginia on that bridge. Agreeing with Pigwidgeon, NO NO you would not wear that color stole at Christmas. By the way I think I might drive Mr Image crazy pointing out the mistakes in the middle of the movie or TV show.
  • The detail error that always drives me nuts is when they show the exterior of a house in a TV show, and there’s no way that exterior belongs to the interior we see. I mean seriously, how hard is it to make sure that windows and doors are in the same places.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    It's been years, but it always irritated me that in the movie "The Silver Streak," the train went into the wall of Chicago's Northwestern Station and came out in the great hall of Union Station, several blocks to the south.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    It's hard to stop a train.

    (Miss Amanda will get her wrap.)
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Speaking of the "wrong" railroad terminal . . . I've posted this elsewhere but I'll repeat it here.

    Fake location shots happen all the time in film and TV and are very annoying to people who recognize what the venues really are.

    One of my favorite TV series, Criminal Minds, once staged an episode called Reflection of Desire about a young man who kept the body of his dead mother preserved as if she were still alive (remind you of something else?). A significant chunk of the action was ostensibly set in Union Station, the railroad terminal in DC, but was actually shot in Union Station Los Angeles.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Also, American television shows and movies never get anything Episcopal/Anglican correct.
    Episcopalians are not alone in that regard. Sometimes, and only sometimes, they manage to get Catholics and Jews right. Beyond that, abandon all hope . . . .

    Years ago, I started a thread on the Ship about the tendency of movies and TV shows to portray Bible Belt protestantism as decked out with the trappings of Catholicism. You know the drill, a fire-and-brimstone preacher in a shiny suit, hollering out scriptural damnation quotes while surrounded by neon Virgins and Sacred Hearts.

    Any futher remonstration on this topic would likely be more Purgatorial than Heavenly, so I'll just end by observing that things have not improved much on that score since I made that thread almost a decade ago.

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Canadians are famous for complaining that American entertainment always gets Canada wrong, and while there tends to be a tad bit of tiresome hypocrisy in this(most Canadians don't know much about the minutiae of, say, New Zealand), it's not an entirely unwarranted observation.

    For example...

    In the movie Knocked Up, a character played by Seth Rogen says that as a child in Vancouver, he was run over by a postal truck, and his parents sued the government of British Columbia. Given that Rogen grew up in Vancouver, and the writer Judd Apatow grew up in a country that has a federal postal system(ie. the USA), between the two of them they should have known that Canada has a federal system as well.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    snafu

  • Frederick Forsyth is supposed to be very well researched, but the book that had a setting I know well, I was irritated by the characterisation of one of the leads, because that university, that subject, that's not how it worked. And no, if you walk that particular route that bus really doesn't travel along that road and definitely not in that direction. We walked it and double checked. This was within a couple of years of publication. It made me wonder about the accuracy of the details in the rest of that book and his other books too.

    My particular bugbears are American authors setting books in Britain - not a problem when the books are set in the USA, I don't know if they're wrong or not. I just hope they know of what they write. It's not the big things that irritate, so much, it's the way sentences are phrased and things are supposed to happen, but there are usually pretty big bloopers too.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    When the film "Chariots of Fire" came out (yes, quite a long time ago now, I was still in school) I watched it in the local cinema in St. Andrews. The runners come along the beach in that iconic shot and then the writing on the screen says "Broadstairs, Kent". A howl of laughter went up. I mean, we had all seen them filming on the West Sands in St. Andrews, and the town's skyline is not unknown to lots of non-locals, especially from that angle, because of the golf. In fact, in the film they actually run up and over the Old Course, right past the internationally famous Royal and Ancient club house!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I suppose if your country doesn’t do Titles and you gather that someone can be Lord Cedric Maltravers or Lord Maltravers, you work out that Sir Cedric Maltravers can be Sir Maltravers. Nope.
  • SignallerSignaller Shipmate
    Or that the Reverend Osbourne Whitworth can be Reverend Whitworth. Equally Nope.
  • Getting it wrong about a country often seen as having a 'single story'. Afrikaans accents in films featuring large burly white racists who speak a mangled and inarticulate English. Most Afrikaans-speakers in South Africa are black, including the Cape Coloured population descended from slaves. The first book produced in Afrikaans was a Cape Malay text in 1815 intended for Arabic school learners. The history of Afrikaans is fraught and complex -- as accents go, it's not hard to get it right if you show the language some respect.

    Many travel websites and publicity films about South Africa highlight the dangers of attack by wild animals while on safari. In reality the biggest danger on a game reserve is a mosquito bite, not the risk of being mauled by lions or hyenas or trampled by elephants.

    Malaria is endemic across large areas of South Africa including the Kruger Game Reserves and other private game reserves, and many tourists who come out on safari fall ill up to six months after returning from their holiday. With climate change, the 'safe windows' for malaria-free travel aren't reliable. In 2017, malaria deaths in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal reached epidemic proportions. It's depressing to write about something like this but I wish there was more awareness of the prevalence of malaria in rural areas.
  • MaryLouise wrote: »
    Most Afrikaans-speakers in South Africa are black, including the Cape Coloured population descended from slaves.

    Tangent/ I experienced this twice in South Africa a couple of years ago, once in Cape Town and then again in Pretoria. I was quite taken aback - non-South Africans do, I think, regard Afrikaans as a "white" language. Its history is very interesting, to this outsider, anyway./end tangent
  • CruntCrunt Shipmate
    Watching 'Suits', I got fed up with people turning up unannounced at Harvey's penthouse apartment (doesn't his building have ANY security?). More recently, watching a 3-part historical doco-drama on YouTube about Elizabeth I (Battle for the Throne, Enemy Within, End of the Dynasty), I wondered at everyone calling the young princess 'Your Majesty'. I tried to Google whether or not that style was actually used for royal princes in Tudor times, but without much success. Perhaps a wiser shipmate could shed some light on it.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Don't get me started! Why make stupid mistakes when it would be easy to get it right?

    Bell ringing (church bells) is always depicted wrongly.

    And I second the 'free church stuffed to the gunwales with neon BVMs' mentioned upthread.

    And in the TV series 'Victoria', when she married Prince Albert, she threw her bouquet? What? And I seem to remember (this might be a feverish imagining), the congregation clapped, a travesty that I have only seen in probably the last decade*.


    MMM

    *this is where a learned person posts to tell me they've been studying early nineteenth century wedding customs for the last 30 years and both are perfectly correct.
  • Crunt wrote: »
    More recently, watching a 3-part historical doco-drama on YouTube about Elizabeth I (Battle for the Throne, Enemy Within, End of the Dynasty), I wondered at everyone calling the young princess 'Your Majesty'. I tried to Google whether or not that style was actually used for royal princes in Tudor times, but without much success. Perhaps a wiser shipmate could shed some light on it.

    Quite without doing any research at all, my feeling is that 'Your Grace' would have been a more usual form of address.

    Or would that be reserved just for the reigning monarch?
    :confused:

    IJ

  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Trains are almost always wrong, regardless of which country the story is set in.

    I've lost count of how many times a character boards a train at some London terminal on their way to another major city, and then we cut to a shot of two coaches and a tank engine chugging along a single-track branch.

    Fools!
  • CruntCrunt Shipmate

    Quite without doing any research at all, my feeling is that 'Your Grace' would have been a more usual form of address.

    Or would that be reserved just for the reigning monarch?
    :confused:

    IJ

    I think I remember her being addressed as Your Grace in the episodes where she was queen. I actually enjoyed the programmes, so it didn't really put me off; it just jarred a bit.

    More of-putting is the trailer I saw for a new film, Mary Queen of Scots, where Mary has what sounds like a western Scottish accent. I get it that if authentic speech is the main aim, a modern anglophone (or any 'phone, I suppose) would need subtitles. So, even though we don't actually want 'authentic authenticity', the director could have got the actor to try and approximate a hint of a courtly French inflection, rather than some kind of Scottish queen of the walk.

  • edited July 2018
    Further on the subject of transport, there's a funny scene in 'A Taste of Honey' which is set around here, where the male love interest is leaving to go back to his ship. He stands on Trafford swing bridge (today no longer swinging, but hey, they film was shot in the 60s :smile: ) and the bridge swings away and gives a moody shot of the ship canal.

    Actually, the bridge swung to allow ships to pass (not surprisingly), so the sailor would have had to stand there feeling stupid until it swung back to its 'road' position and allowed him to leave and find his way to whatever ship he was due to join!

    You mentioned hobbies - more transport - I hate those 'found in someone's shed' shows. I 'restore' (hmmm, OK) old bikes. Why is someone selling something cheap to some TV clown in a wax coat and flat cap? Surely he hasn't been paid off by the production company in advance? And when the Fred Dibnah music comes on and people start talking about heritage, it's time to run to the shed and breathe (oil fumes) deeply.
  • Andras wrote: »
    I've lost count of how many times a character boards a train at some London terminal on their way to another major city, and then we cut to a shot of two coaches and a tank engine chugging along a single-track branch.
    Could be a Sunday substitution - oh, no, that would be a bus!

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    IIRC, one of the otherwise excellent Sherlock Holmes adaptations of many years ago (the series with Jeremy Brett) had Holmes and Watson travelling somewhere Important On A Main Line - on the remote narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway.....

    IJ
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    When Maria Stuarda was given in Edinburgh by a foreign company, the scene of Knox preaching to the crowd concluded with him making the sign of the cross. They may have wondered why the entire house fell about laughing.
  • I... had Holmes and Watson travelling somewhere Important On A Main Line - on the remote narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway.....
    Could have been worse: someone visiting the Fens on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    A few years ago a friend in St. John's gave me a copy of The Orkney Scroll, a murder-mystery set in Orkney by Canadian author Lyn Hamilton.

    It was fine for most of the geographical details - there's even a mention of the (sadly no longer extant) restaurant where D. proposed to me :heart: - but one thing that she gets glaringly wrong is one of the character's names.

    Surnames used as Christian names are not uncommon in Orkney, and one of the characters is called Drever Rendall. Drever is indeed quite a common surname in Orkney, but I've never met anyone with it as a Christian name, and it just jarred, because it seemed so unlikely - and because there were plenty of other surname/Christian names she could have used.

    We'll overlook the fact that murders in Orkney are something of a rarity - as far as I know there have been three in my lifetime, and I'm 56.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Crunt wrote: »
    ...
    I think I remember her being addressed as Your Grace in the episodes where she was queen ...
    Am I right in thinking that it was Henry VIII who instigated the title "Your Majesty", and before that the proper address was "Your Grace"?

    While we're on that era, don't even get me started on the execrable pile of doggie-do that was The Tudors, where most of the rest of the cast looked more like Henry VIII than he did, they implied that the composer Thomas Tallis was the gay lover of one of the courtiers and had Henry's sister marrying the wrong king. :rage:
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Jessica Swale's play Thomas Tallis, which I mostly loved, traces his life and the way the music changed through the reigns of four Tudor monarchs. Thomas Tallis is known to have been the "singing man" at Waltham Abbey in 1538 and the play imagines the distress of Tallis and his fellow monks as dissolution happened. Unfortunately I know far too much about the dissolution of Waltham Abbey and know that the abbot at the time, Abbot Robert Fuller, was negotiating land swaps with Thomas Cromwell and, following the dissolution, became the priest at one of the Smithfield churches, so I was much distracted when that bit of Tallis' history was portrayed, because it didn't match what I knew.

    (I was part of a team researching one of the houses that was owned by Waltham Abbey and transferred into the ownership of Henry VIII during those negotiations. I've seen some of the Abbot's notebooks in the British Library. He doodled in the margins.)
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    Piglet wrote: »
    We'll overlook the fact that murders in Orkney are something of a rarity - as far as I know there have been three in my lifetime, and I'm 56.

    To be fair though this level of exaggeration has to happen in any cozy small town or region where an ongoing mystery series is set. How is anyone still alive in Midsomer?

  • Or St. Mary Mead.
  • Extreme cunning and guile is required to survive in the presence of the sleuth.
  • My particular bugbears are American authors setting books in Britain... It's not the big things that irritate, so much, it's the way sentences are phrased and things are supposed to happen, but there are usually pretty big bloopers too.

    A couple of years ago (yes, it still bugs me) I read a book by an American author set in England. The owner of the hotel where they're staying apologizes that the elevator wasn't working.

    (* or apologises)

  • Having spent the first 28 years of my life in Washington D.C. they are always driving the wrong way in movies. NO NO you do not reach the Capitol by driving toward Virginia on that bridge.
    Similar for movies set in Seattle. No, Sam Baldwin would not take a rowboat, even one with an outboard motor, through the locks from Lake Union to Golden Gardens. The Hendersons would not drive north out of town on I-5 to get to Mt. Rainier National Park. And on and on.
  • Crunt wrote: »
    Watching 'Suits', I got fed up with people turning up unannounced at Harvey's penthouse apartment (doesn't his building have ANY security?). More recently, watching a 3-part historical doco-drama on YouTube about Elizabeth I (Battle for the Throne, Enemy Within, End of the Dynasty), I wondered at everyone calling the young princess 'Your Majesty'. I tried to Google whether or not that style was actually used for royal princes in Tudor times, but without much success. Perhaps a wiser shipmate could shed some light on it.

    No. No prince or princess would ever be called "majesty" at any time, ever.

    In fact no king of England was addressed as "majesty" until the time of Henry VIII - possibly it was something he brought back from the Field of the Cloth of Gold?

    "Highness" was a term often used to refer to kings, queens, princes and princesses from around the 12th/13th century.

    Modern usage of course is that when you first speak to the sovereign you call them Your Majesty and after that it is either sir or ma'am.
  • Crunt wrote: »

    Quite without doing any research at all, my feeling is that 'Your Grace' would have been a more usual form of address.

    Or would that be reserved just for the reigning monarch?
    :confused:

    IJ

    I think I remember her being addressed as Your Grace in the episodes where she was queen. I actually enjoyed the programmes, so it didn't really put me off; it just jarred a bit.

    More of-putting is the trailer I saw for a new film, Mary Queen of Scots, where Mary has what sounds like a western Scottish accent. I get it that if authentic speech is the main aim, a modern anglophone (or any 'phone, I suppose) would need subtitles. So, even though we don't actually want 'authentic authenticity', the director could have got the actor to try and approximate a hint of a courtly French inflection, rather than some kind of Scottish queen of the walk.

    I think I was taught that Mary Stuart didn't speak either English or Scots fluently when she arrived back in the country from France: she only acquired English after she came to England, French being the language in which she was most at home.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    When Maria Stuarda was given in Edinburgh by a foreign company, the scene of Knox preaching to the crowd concluded with him making the sign of the cross. They may have wondered why the entire house fell about laughing.

    My Catholic high school did a production of Damn Yankees, and for a scene set in a Salvation Army mission, someone thought it would enhance the authenticity to hang a crucifix.

    In fairness, that was high-school, and no one was getting paid to do the show, and they weren't purporting to have researched the life of a well-known Protestant.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    A high school where I once taught did a production of Annie Get Your Gun. During the song "Old Fashioned Wedding," at the line "A ceremony with a bishop," a young man walked across the stage wearing an alb and chasuble. The chasuble was on backwards and he wore no trappings of a bishop.
  • There’s an episode of NCIS where Agent DiNozzo saves a woman’s life by administering an Epipen. However it doesn’t show him with a white, cold, very painful thumb from having used the Epipen upside down. And miraculously the lady is saved by having the wrong end pressed against her.

    Well I laughed. And hoped people don’t get first aid tips from tv crime shows.
  • CruntCrunt Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    While we're on that era, don't even get me started on the execrable pile of doggie-do that was The Tudors,
    My brother particularly enjoyed how the walls wobbled whenever anyone slammed a door

  • CruntCrunt Shipmate

    I think I was taught that Mary Stuart didn't speak either English or Scots fluently when she arrived back in the country from France: she only acquired English after she came to England, French being the language in which she was most at home.

    Mary and Elizabeth certainly corresponded in French.

  • My brother particularly enjoyed how the walls wobbled whenever anyone slammed a door.
    I thought that was Doctor Who. Or (heaven help us) Crossroads.

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    And miraculously the lady is saved by having the wrong end pressed against her.
    I want to say "it wouldn't be the first time" but this is a Christian website.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Trudy wrote: »
    Piglet wrote: »
    We'll overlook the fact that murders in Orkney are something of a rarity - as far as I know there have been three in my lifetime, and I'm 56.

    To be fair though this level of exaggeration has to happen in any cozy small town or region where an ongoing mystery series is set. How is anyone still alive in Midsomer?
    Fair point - I've often wondered that! :smiley:
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Well this is an oldie but a goodie. Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin starred in an anti-buddy film called Midnight Run, a cross country chase-fest released in 1988. At one point they wound up in Amarillo, Texas. Let me tell you that Amarillo is as flat a place as you'll ever hope to see. I know because I visited my grandmother and aunt there every year from age four to age sixteen. And our guys were running up and down hills that made me think of the Bay area. They couldn't have gotten it more wrong if they tried.
  • Isn't there a song called Is this the way to Amarillo?.
    :confused:

    Perhaps no-one's quite sure where it is...

    (Apart from Lyda, that is :wink: ).

    IJ
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