TV is widely reviled as the dumbest medium. I can't argue with that. Here's 10 moments from the last few weeks or so that stand out as pillars of dumbness in a dumb wasteland.
#10. The Ultimate Anti-Sniper Strategy (Revolution)
The premise of the new J.J. Abrams/Eric Kripke drama Revolution is that all the electricity went out for some mysterious reason and we have gone back to lifestyles of the Civil War, complete with Civil War uniforms and, for some reason, muskets.
I don't really know guns, but you know, they're the kind you have to muzzle load like you are one of George Washington's soldiers.
I don't know why they use muskets, because I'm pretty sure the manufacturing process for a repeating rifle (you put in a bunch of rounds and take a bunch of shots in a row) doesn't require electricity, since they've been making them since the mid-1800s or something. I mean, the machine gun was invented during the Civil War. You can make some pretty deadly guns without electricity. It's not some ragtag bunch of outlaws, either -- it's the dominant military power in what's left of the U.S. I don't know, maybe they burned all the books about how to make things and raided a Civil War museum. Whatever.
The point is that the bad guys have muskets in this particular scene, and they run into a good guy sitting on a roof with a modern military sniper rifle.
Bad news for them! The commander quickly pulls all his troops under cover (well, apparently it takes him several hours, because it gets dark) and formulates a plan.
Quick, what kind of plan would you come up with to take out a sniper, an enemy who can quickly and accurately take out single targets? That's right! Send one guy at a time! "Go go go!" he says.
The guy go go goes!
Blam! Thump. Oh, that didn't work. What does he do now?
He thinks about it. "Send another man!" he says. His reasoning is that soon they will run out of bullets. I don't know, how about maybe send 10 guys at him? Maybe the sniper shoots three of them and the other seven take the roof and cave the guy's head in, because the sniper is all alone on the roof for some reason and all the good guys are inside talking about their feelings. Or I don't know, keep sending lone guys, hoping that one of them is bulletproof.
#9. "Drink Every Last ... Oops" (Revolution)
Captain Neville is the Revolution writers' attempt at creating a complex bad guy character who carries out evil deeds but has his own rationalization for them and shows flashes of humanity. How it actually plays out is that he seems to have severe emotional stability problems, switching from rambling, homespun short stories to flashes of anger apparently at random, like Nomi Malone in another character development masterpiece, Showgirls.
At one point, he taunts his captive by saying, "When General Monroe finds out, he's gonna be irate. Might even have my head." Then he smirks, as if to say, "You'd like that, I bet."
Then the kid says, predictably, "Let's hope," because that's exactly what Neville is hinting at. Instead of a wry "We'll see about that," Neville's smile dissolves into a look of shock that his taunt had its predicted effect and he slaps the kid.
Essentially, he's going, "You'd like to see me dead, wouldn't you?" and the kid is saying, "Yes," and he's saying, "YES!! YES?!?! HOW CAN THIS BE!" like it came out of fucking nowhere.
Later, in one of his "moments of humanity," he gives a vial of poison to one of his men who has been mortally wounded, telling him that it will kill him quickly and end his suffering. "Drink every last drop," he says slowly and deliberately, like this is the exact killing dose. The dying man grabs it desperately and ...
Oh no. Poison flying everywhere. Neither of them bats an eye, they keep talking about death, the soldier eventually drinks the poison and I assume passes out, probably to later awaken in agony underground, where they have buried him under the assumption that he is dead. I didn't see that scene, they must have cut it for time.
#8. Charlie's Completely Absorbing Flashbacks (Revolution)
In Revolution, you can always tell that someone is having a flashback because they stop right where they are standing and drift off.
Remembering something, the writers imply, is pretty much like going into a coma. Previously, Charlie had been walking through the woods when she somehow realized that an expert tracker was on her tail and was able to get the jump on him by luring him into a trap.
Even though the audience did not hear or see him, she taunts him with how he was "stomping around like an elephant," showing her to be an alert backwoodswoman, attuned to the slightest sound.
Later, however, she has a flashback in the woods that evidently transports her mind to another plane ...
... because someone just walks up to her and taps her on the shoulder.
And it freaks the hell out of her.
Fortunately it's just her uncle, Miles, who seems just as surprised to have taken her by surprise.
Look, I don't know, maybe her amazing concentration on her flashbacks is one of her powers/weaknesses, but considering what a great hunter and survivalist the show implies she is, you'd think she would have learned at this point to avoid having flashbacks while alone in a hostile environment. "Well, I know the bad guys are after me, and no one's got my back here, but I think this might be a good time to stop and lose myself in memories about my dead parents."
#7. "I'm Ashamed of Saving Our Lives" (Revolution)
At one point in the masterpiece serial Revolution, the traveling companions are sleeping when a band of ruffians takes them by surprise, laying out a plan for the evening that involves rape and murder. Maggie, the older mentor figure, offers the attackers a bottle of whiskey.
"Thanks!" says the ruffian, knowing that you can always trust a gift of consumables from someone you've just threatened with rape and murder. To everyone's great surprise, the whiskey turns out to be poisoned!
Much blood is coughed up! The whiskey, combined with a bit of fighting, saves their lives. Later on, Maggie attempts to pass on some wisdom to her younger charge, saying, "Charlie, I'm telling you, you can't trust anyone."
Because she is a young person, Charlie must contradict everything the mentor figure says, and spits back, "Is that why you carry poisoned whiskey?"
"Yes!" any reasonable person would say here, "And clearly it came in handy! How are you enjoying being not-raped!" But Maggie just looks chagrined, like Charlie has totally got her.
The poor soul stews in silent shame, having to live with the burden of poisoning some poor rapist-bandits who just wanted to violate and kill them. Truly she was the real monster all along.
#6. The Easily Dodged Arrow Trap (Revolution)
In order to tempt viewers with the false hope that the whiny main character would be killed, Revolution's writers set up a tantalizing cliffhanger where Charlie is tied up in front of an elaborate arrow trap.
This is one of those ironic Saw-style traps where, when her rescuers open the door, it will shoot the arrow into her face and kill her. Unfortunately, this is all left up to speculation, and she is never in any actual danger from the arrow. Once her captor leaves the room, she starts shaking from side to side in the chair, her head easily clearing the arrow's path on either side of her swing.
I'm just saying, there isn't a lot of suspense here. I guess she tries to make it suspenseful by constantly wiggling back and forth instead of just hanging out on one side, safe from the arrow. That just raises other questions. Why does she feel the need to give the trap an opportunity by constantly passing in front of it? Is she teasing it? Does she feel like it's unsportsmanlike to not give it a fair chance? Does she realize that it's an inanimate object?
Well, Revolution promised to raise a lot of interesting questions, and I guess it technically does.