TV shows are always out to test how much their viewers are willing to put up with. A sitcom about a middle-American family? Sure, that’s believable. What if they were vampires? Uh, okay, maybe. We’re willing to suspend our disbelief for a lot, but even shows we consider “realistic” have likely been selling us lies this whole time.

Beneath the lovable characters and relatable situations, sitcoms and other prime-time TV shows have been pushing tired tropes and corny clichés that are far too convenient to be believable. After opening your eyes to head-scratching sitcom staples we’ve grown to stop questioning, you’ll never look at your favorite shows the same way again…

1. Rent Control: From Seinfeld to Friends to Sex and the City, rent control is used to explain how a bunch of twenty and thirty-somethings can afford to live in gigantic apartments. But even so, how did Jerry Seinfeld pay for his place doing stand-up? Or Carrie Bradshaw as a columnist? Something seems off…

Apartment Therapy

2. Disguises: If sitcoms have taught us one thing, it’s that a floppy hat and sunglasses can make you completely unrecognizable. In reality, there’s a very good chance that if you tried to spy on an ex while wearing just a fake mustache, you’d probably get caught.

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3. Morning Get-Togethers: Sure, there are plenty of early birds out there, but some TV shows make it seem like groups of friends are getting together every morning for a full meal before work. Unless they’re out at 5 am, this just seems too good to be true.

4. Hackers: Isn’t it peculiar that TV show techies – who are usually just low-level computer programmers – can hack into government databases in a matter of seconds? Most people take longer to log into Facebook. And don’t forget every hacker’s catchphrase: “I’m in!”

The Bitbag

5. Indoor Footwear: This trope is enough to make anyone’s blood boil — why do sitcom characters always have their shoes on indoors? In a public place, fine, but only someone super self-conscious about their feet would keep their shoes on in their own living space.

6. Car Crashes: If you ever find yourself in any kind of action-related TV show, do not get behind the wheel of a car. Even if you’re driving 30 miles under the speed limit, your vehicle will spontaneously burst into flames if you get into an accident.

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7. Unlocked Doors: Back when you lived in your first apartment, you probably kept the front door locked pretty much all the time. Yet on sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends, people just barge in without a care in the world. That’s a great way to get pepper sprayed!

8. The Dinner Table: Sitcom characters sitting down for dinner are always on the same side of the table. This is obviously for the cameras’ sake, though it’s totally unrealistic that a family would be content to turn their heads every five seconds to chat with one another.

9. TV Channels: How convenient is it that every time a character wants to watch something on TV, the exact channel they’re looking for pops right up on the screen? Anyone with a cable box can tell you that channel 2 is always the go-to.

10. Chance Meetings: “Funny running into you here!” In a small town of 20 people, this would be fine. But in big cities in New York and LA, it’s a little hard to believe that our main character would keep bumping into their love interest at every turn.

Hollywood Life

11. Injuries: Why is it that TV show injuries are never gruesome ones? A broken arm, a broken leg, but never anything that requires more than a cast or a sling. Either these characters are incredibly lucky or their makeup artists just took the day off.

Comedy Central

12. Fight Scenes: According to every TV fight scene featuring one character taking on several others, each enemy has to wait their turn before the hero dispatches them. In real life, there’s a very good chance that they’d all swarm you at once and beat you to a pulp.


13. Midday Meetups: Whenever one character tells another “we need to talk,” they always manage to find time during the day to meet up. But these conversations usually only last a minute or two before they part ways. Wouldn’t a quick phone call be easier?

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14. Car Conversations: Sure, most driving sequences are filmed on soundstages, but it’s ridiculous that characters can take their eyes off the road mid-conversation without getting into an accident. We don’t want to see them get hurt, of course, but these kinds of miscues make scenes completely unrealistic.


15. Unlimited Ammo: Crime dramas are known for having plenty of gunfights, yet after our hero finishes firing off their 50th round without reloading, we’re left to wonder what the heck was in that gun anyway.

16. Wedding Crashers: “Let them speak now, or forever hold their peace.” Romcoms and dramas have used this line to introduce wedding interruptions for decades, though isn’t it strange that no one but the bride ever reacts? If this were real life, you can bet a few punches would be thrown.

Michael Yarish / CBS

17. City Parking: If you’ve ever driven through a big city, you know parking on the street isn’t easy to come by. Yet somehow, every TV character can miraculously find a spot without even trying.

18. Morning Rituals: Bedhead, morning breath, and eye boogers — these are just some of the wondrous things that make waking up in the morning such a huge pain. So how come every teen girl on TV wakes up with fresh makeup and a professional blowout?

19. Casual Compliance: While being interrogated on police procedurals, suspects always appear calm, cool, and casual even in the face of potential arrest. Most of us nearly wet ourselves when a cop car pulls behind us on the freeway.


20. Character Jobs: You really never see romcom characters working average 9-5 jobs like the rest of us. A cupcake maker? Sure! Boat salesman? Why not! Thanks for the unrealistically quirky expectations to live up to, Hollywood!


Though most of these TV hiccups usually slip under the radar, screw-ups like these have a way of creating major plot holes in movies. Remember the nail sticking up that Evelyn stepped on in A Quiet Place? Why wasn’t it ever removed? When the producers were asked in an interview about this scene, they had no response! 

Paramount Pictures

2. Hocus Pocus: After discovering that salt can ward off the Sanderson sisters, why didn’t Max, Dani, Allison, and the book all go into Billy’s grave and surround themselves with salt until the sun came up? Guess the ending wouldn’t have been as exciting then.

Buena Vista Pictures

3. Mamma Mia!: In the first movie, Donna says, “Somebody up there has got it in for me. I bet it’s my mother.” But in the second movie, which takes places five years later, it features Donna’s mother, played by Cher, who is very much alive.

Universal Pictures

4. E.T.: At the end of the movie, we learn that E.T. can levitate, which is a very useful ability. This could have come in handy at the beginning of the movie when the little alien was being chased by authorities.

Universal Pictures

5. Monsters, Inc.: During the first movie, Mike says to Sully, “You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade.” This implies that they have at least known each other since elementary school, but in Monsters University they meet at college. 

Buena Vista Pictures

6. Justice League: Superman, also known as Clark Kent, dies at the end of Batman v. Superman, yet in Justice League, he is resurrected. Kent was a public figure working for a prominent newspaper, so everyone knew he was dead. How is he going to explain his return at the same time as Superman’s? 

7. The Fate of the Furious: The Russian government couldn’t disable the stolen nuclear launch codes in the 9 hours it would have taken the crew to travel from the U.S. to Russia. Maybe this plot line is just more unrealistic than anything…

8. Signs: It’s revealed that the one weakness these aliens have is water. So why did M. Night Shyamalan choose this as their weakness when they were invading a planet that is 71% water? Or was it just poor planning on the alien’s part?

9. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Was anyone else wondering how no one noticed Hank’s lab pop up and then disappear all over the city throughout the movie? The guy was trying to hide from the FBI and this is how he chooses to be discreet…

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

10. The Little Mermaid: People have argued that since Ariel signed the contract, which in turn sold her voice to Ursula, then she must know how to write. So, why didn’t she just grab a pen and paper and try to explain herself to Eric? Also, a PAPER contract… underwater?

Buena Vista Pictures

11. Tangled: Rapunzel has 70 feet of hair flowing behind her throughout the entire movie. She travels through the forest, runs through a cave, uses it to swing down from a dam, and gets trapped underwater. Yet, the hair is never actually tangled until someone steps on it in the Kingdom.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

12. Jurassic Park IIIThe Spinosaurus in the movie is so strong that it was able to break through a wall reinforced with metal. Later on in the movie, the Spinosaurus couldn’t even escape from a wooden gate and some metal bars. Uhhhhh what? 

Universal Pictures

13. UP: The house doesn’t start to fly until the balloons are let outside. If the 20,622 balloons were strong enough to lift an entire building, why didn’t the house start to lift up prior to take off? Whatever was keeping the house on the ground must have been very strong.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

14. Star Trek: What was Nero doing for 25 years while he was waiting for Spock to arrive? He had the intel and weapons to stir things up in the galaxy, but it seems like he just decided to wait around for a quarter of a century instead.

Paramount Pictures

15. Cinderella: Before Cinderella goes to the ball, the Fairy Godmother says, “On the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will be as it was before.” This is true for everything but the infamous glass slipper. She said EVERYTHING.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

16. 17 Again: Mike O’Donnell, as a teenager, is completely unrecognizable to his children. They never saw a picture of him? They don’t notice any type of resemblance to their father? His daughter is so clueless that she almost makes out with him! 

New Line Cinema

17. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: While Luke is training with Yoda on his planet, the Millennium Falcon is getting chased by the Empire to Cloud City. What was the timeline? Were they getting chased for months or was Luke trained in a couple of hours?

20th Century Fox

18. Wonder Woman: Diana’s character is pretty ignorant of Earth’s customs and ways, like marriage. On the other hand, she recites Socrates ancient Greek which mentions marriage a lot. Did the Amazons edit out certain text or was this just a plot hole used to make Diana more innocent? 

Warner Bros. Pictures

 19. Harry Potter series: Peter Pettigrew flew under the radar as Ron’s pet rat unbeknownst to everyone. But, even with the Marauder’s Map in hand, Fred and George never realized that he was in the Gryffindor dormitory the whole time. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

20. Alien: When the airlock door was opened, Ellen Ripley was somehow able to hold on to a ladder as the ship’s oxygen was violently sucked out to space. A force that great would surely render you unconscious — that is, before you suffocated.