#2. Ghostbuster in Ghostbusters
For just three dudes, the Ghostbusters accomplished quite a bit. They not only proved the existence of life after death, but also found a way to make it suffer. They even created guns that can trap ghosts in a tiny prison with a hundred other tortured souls (because screw you for having unresolved issues after you're dead, buddy).
He's the ghost of a fitness instructor, making up for lost gluttony.
And while their equipment is dangerous (more on that in a moment), that's fine -- the three of them are trained scientists. They designed and built their ghost weapons themselves. They know what they're doing.
So What's the Problem?
You know who doesn't know what he's doing? The new guy they bring on board later, Winston Zeddemore. His training consists of two lines in the entire movie: "The light is green, the trap is clean" and "Don't cross the streams."
"Unless we decide on the spur of the moment to cross the streams."
Consider for a moment who Winston was before he joined the Ghostbusters. Oh, you don't know? Well, neither does anybody else, because no one in the film ever asks. The only thing we know for sure is that he has no background in paranormal studies and no Ph.D., and that he's completely willing to compromise his system of beliefs if the job calls for it.
"Hell yes I'll wear an unlicensed nuclear-whatever in a densely populated city."
Ray hires him without so much as a glance at his resume, and we never see any indication that he has particular skills that qualify him to bust ghosts. The DVD commentary says they originally intended Winston to be the smartest of all of them but abandoned all that and changed him to the everyman character in order to explain things in layman's terms.
So basically they made him just like you, and despite what your Halloween costume may suggest, you are not qualified to be a Ghostbuster. So why do we blame these guys more than the Men in Black? Well, the MIB at least looked into Will Smith first, and presumably did a background check to make sure he wasn't part of a terror cell looking to use dangerous tech to destroy the city. But also, there is actually more at stake when a Ghostbuster fucks up.
This can't be good for the local economy.
Specifically, using their anti-ghost proton packs wrong could end the universe. All it takes is crossing the streams, and it's not like there's a good method for not crossing them. They are all firing at the same target with guns that are about as easy to control as fire hoses, and they have literally nowhere to practice. They either get it right or blink out of existence.
Still, they trust the first guy who applies for the job with the fate of all life everywhere. Suddenly that EPA representative who wants to shut everything down doesn't seem like such a bad guy, does he?
We're still pretty sure he has no dick.
#1. General of the Rebel Alliance in Return of the Jedi
Look, we understand that the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars universe was supposed to be a group of scrappy underdogs. They probably had to take whoever they could get to join -- they were at a huge numbers disadvantage and were facing an army of stormtrooper clones that grow at three times the rate of an average Jango Fett. And that's just the clones -- the Galactic Empire clearly had some support that they didn't grow in a lab themselves. We've seen soldiers on the Death Star who weren't Jango clones.
Mitch Thompson: Death Star gunner and amateur break dancer.
So, facing that, the Alliance took anybody they could, including gamblers, thieves and smugglers. And we're not even surprised Luke wound up leading the mission to take down the Death Star in the first film -- he had the Force, why not give him a shot? It wasn't like they had any better ideas.
So What's the Problem?
What doesn't make sense, however, is taking these scruffy new recruits and immediately promoting them to the rank of general. And it happens twice.
"Nothing keeps the troops happy like Colt 45."
In Return of the Jedi, before the attack on the second Death Star, we learned that the Alliance named Lando Calrissian a general for his efforts during the battle of Taanab. We don't know what happened, but whatever it was, it was clearly enough to make everybody forget that he completely betrayed Luke, Han and Leia by hand-delivering them to Darth Vader. Lando later explains that he did it because he was afraid of the Empire, but he still believes in the rebel cause and shows it by helping to rescue Han and Leia. Still, how can they be sure he won't do the same thing again later? He isn't just trusted with a ship in the battle, he is leading the fleet in a critical attack.
His co-pilot is just some alien who wandered in off the street.
But treason aside, what qualifications does he have to be a general, and leapfrog who knows how many more senior officers? It's possible that he has a previous military career we've never seen, or that through his political power he was able to swing an officer job. Fine, we are willing to accept that his rise to a high rank in the military was left on the cutting room floor. But then they declared Han Solo a general as well.
We can't pretend that Han led some incredible military campaign off-camera like Lando. Before A New Hope, he wasn't a soldier at all. He wasn't even the leader of a gang or anything. He was just cruising around doing illegal shit with teen wolf riding shotgun. He has never been trained in military tactics. Hell, he has never been through any kind of basic training. It's true that in The Empire Strikes Back they are calling him captain, so that means he rose to that rank in the three short years since A New Hope.
C-3PO made rear admiral, while R2 was promoted to field marshal.
But between the second and third films, what let him take the massive leap to general that most military men spend 30-plus years striving for? Don't say he accomplished some amazing feat of strategy we didn't see -- he was frozen in carbonite the whole time.
We're guessing it's more likely that he got the job because Leia didn't want to date a smuggler after the war was over, but if Han Solo can get that far ahead in the Rebel Alliance based solely on who he knows, does the Alliance really have any standards at all? At least the Empire picked a guy they knew was skilled before they cloned him hundreds of thousands of times, not just someone's buddy.
It's easy to win promotions when you're boning the head of state.
Davidb Marchetti is a horrible playwright for The Contemporary Theater Company. The b is not a typo for some reason.
For more fictional head-scratchers, check out The 11 Most Retarded Fictional Weapons and 8 Famous Fictional Archaeologists Who Suck At Their Job.
And stop by LinkSTORM to fill out your application for the Rebel Alliance today.
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