6 Weirdly Specific Ideas Movies Have About Normal Bathrooms
You know those little, "Real people never do shit like this!" moments that take you right out of the movie or show you're watching? You never see more of these than when somebody walks into a bathroom. For example ...
People Constantly Have Serious, Sensitive Conversations in Public Restrooms
When's the last time you talked to somebody in a public bathroom? Not just a cursory, "Nice dick you got there," but a lengthy, emotional exchange of vital importance? Never, right? You're there to squeeze out some waste and leave, and to avoid eye contact with anyone else there to do their shameful business. Also, it's by definition a public place -- even if the room is empty, your nemesis could be listening outside the door.
And yet for some reason, Hollywood thinks bathrooms are the perfect place to vent your frustrations about co-workers, detail vital plans, and make death threats in between dirty squirts. All sorts of movies from Pitch Perfect ...
... to Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle ...
... to freaking Spider-Man: Homecoming include scenes like this. The weirdest part is that the very worst-case scenario that would prevent you from shouting dangerous secrets over your confidant's wet farts in real life happens in movies all the time. If you're talking trash in a public bathroom, there is probably an 86 percent chance the subject of said trash-talk is in a stall eight feet away.
In RoboCop, Bob Morton and his best work-friend -- apparently struck with the urge to take a good old-fashioned simultaneous piss, perhaps crossing the streams if they're feeling whimsical -- decide to loudly disparage their boss while they do it. Not only do they not check the stalls to see if their boss is maybe taking a deuce first, they totally ignore the other four employees in various states of waste release. Those guys know the boss is throwing out the morning glory himself in one of the stalls, and they quickly evacuate the bathroom as soon as talk turns libelous. Meaning, even if the boss didn't happen to be there at that moment, there are plenty of other people who could have ratted them out.
"I expect my people to be better at evil scheming than this, damn it!"
Then there's the even weirder variation of this ...
Quirky People Apparently Just Hang Out In Their Bathrooms At Home
Sitcom characters are almost entirely made of quirks. They have to be weird enough to be fun, but not so weird that it frightens us commoners -- nobody wanted to see Kramer bite the head off a live pigeon. Hollywood has decided that the perfect way to convey this mild quirkiness is to have everyone hang out in their bathroom for hours at a time. It's so prevalent that The Atlantic even ran a whole article about it.
The opening scene of Broad City's third season shows Abbi and Ilana using their personal bathrooms for literally everything:
That's a good encapsulation of the fact that TV bathrooms are not just for pooping or crying; they're for eating, exercising, talking on the phone, boning, knitting, more eating, weed smoking, dancing, and tons of just the sweetest bonding. All in a tiny, filthy New York City apartment bathroom. It's the same deal in Girls, a show in which roommates bathe together and hang out while one of them is on the toilet. They also have group meetings in the bathroom (Slate did a deep dive into how much of that show's plot takes place in the girls' crap station).
In other shows characters sleep in bathrooms ...
... eat wheels of cheese ...
... have important meetings and debates ...
... and basically do everything short of move their TV in there. OH WAIT!
Now that guy is quirky!
They include so many such scenes that it has given birth to its own sub-trope, in which ...
People Bond By Sitting Together In A Bathtub, Fully Clothed
The only reason you should ever be fully clothed in a bathtub with other people is if you've been murdered or you're training your Olympic bobsled team, yet for some reason it tends to happen in movies quite a bit. Characters love to sit fully clothed together in a bathtub and bond as they talk about their lives, hopes, dreams, and how they don't even own enough towels to get them dry now.
You probably saw Superman climb into the tub, fully clothed, to join a bathing Lois Lane:
Right before she sadly learn where the "Faster than a speeding bullet!" part comes from ...
But at least one of them had gotten undressed first. In Garden State Natalie Portman and Zach Braff bond over Braff's mom dying while in a dry tub, aka the most uncomfortable seat in the building. The floor would be better than that, guys!
Braffling behavior, quite frankly.
In Paper Towns, the popular girl and the protagonist only become friends after a good fully clothed bathtub session.
"You like spending the night with slightly damp pants, socks, underwear too?! We have so much in common!"
And in Big Fish Albert Finney and his wife accept his impending death via some good old-fashioned fully clothed tub time.
Though in this movie it's technically a fish tank.
This isn't just a Hollywood thing, either; it's such a common fashion shoot setting that there's an entire collection of photos called "hot people in bathtubs wearing clothes" in which said people eat, drink, and answer telephones, all fully clothed in a bathtub -- sometimes with water, sometimes without. Wait, is this a fetish? Are some of you masturbating to this right now? Some of these people are wearing shoes, does that make it hotter for you? We have so many questions.
People Are Constantly Talking Their Reflections Into (Or Out Of) Sex
So imagine you're about to have sex, and you're waiting in the bed while your partner is in the bathroom. Through the door, you hear a muffled voice. You lean closer ("Is he on the phone? Did he stop to call his Mom?") only to hear what sounds suspiciously like said partner giving him-or-herself a pep talk into the mirror. At that point you're either having some serious doubts about this encounter, or you're living in a movie universe, in which case you fully expected it.
When Pulp Fiction's Vincent Vega gets into a sexually tense situation with his boss's wife, he has to go into the bathroom to talk out the moral implications with his mirror image. Based on what he says, apparently the only way to convince his erection to deflate is to yell at it in a mirror (as opposed to just looking down). He even makes a deal with his boner to jerk it off later, like he's pleading with an unruly child:
In Gigli, Ben Affleck's character apparently needs to talk himself into sex by flexing and yelling into the mirror. Somehow, watching his angry, young body all swollen and red is the perfect motivator to get out there and engage in some turkey time with a lesbian Jennifer Lopez. His speech is full of inspiring quotes like, "Get the bull by the horn. You know what I'm talking about? I'll give you the horn. Want to see the horn?"
Similarly, Paul Rudd's character in Wanderlust has to practice his dirty talk out loud, by saying it to his own mirror image. As always, this is played for laughs, but the underlying joke seems to be, "We've all been here, right, guys? We all have to pump ourselves up in front of a mirror like Dirk Diggler stoking himself up to shoot some porn." No! We don't! No one does!
Just as a matter of common sense, are none of them worried that the very person they're trying to seduce will hear them? They're in the next room! These doors are not insulated for sound at all. It's almost as if, say, the writers don't trust the actor to convey his or her trepidation without having them just openly state it into a mirror.
Nobody Rinses Their Mouth After Brushing Their Teeth
Quick! What's the process for brushing your teeth? We humbly suggest you should: Wet the toothbrush, put toothpaste on it, run it over your teeth, think about how you haven't been to the dentist in eight years, spit, rinse out your mouth, and then go about your day. It's a pretty straightforward process that really shouldn't change no matter how fantastical the world of your movie is. Presumably Legolas brushes his teeth just the same as Luke Skywalker. Yet, almost every cinematic toothbrusher fails to complete that list. Specifically, every movie character forgets to rinse out their foaming, mint-filled mouth at the end.
For example, the seminal cheerleading classic, Bring It On, has an entire, cutesy teeth-brushing scene where the future Mary Jane Watson and her nubile lover clean their teeth side by side, spitting multiple time. Suddenly, lover boy finishes brushing, wipes his mouth, and leaves the bathroom as if they've completed the entirety of their nightly foreplay. Rinse! Rinse you pig!
Similar behavior later explains the skid marks on his boxers.
Will Ferrell's character in Stranger Than Fiction is so meticulous about every step of his brushing process that he knows exactly how many times to brush each individual tooth. But we're supposed to believe he's totally cool just leaving all that sudsy shit in his mouth all day like a rabid Old Yeller who's seconds from being shot to death by a child?
The Devil Wears Prada manages to show Andy spitting out her toothpaste (which magically hasn't foamed in the slightest) ...
... but, again, no effort to rinse. You mean to tell us that during her entire, stressful day of picking out stylish outfits for Satan (we haven't seen the movie) Andy's mouth is crammed full of gummy toothpaste? How can she recite Satan's prayer if her tongue is constantly sticking to the roof of her mouth?
This is one of those situations where filmmakers have decided this extra three seconds would be wasted time (in a scene in which you're already watching somebody brush their teeth) so they just skip it ... but we're telling you, it's one of those things you can't unsee once it's been pointed out. You're welcome!
Nobody In Movies Tests The Temperature Of Their Shower
Showers are like the kids from Harry Potter, it takes a really long time for them to get hot. The first water out of the showerhead is the several cold gallons that have been sitting in the pipes all night, before the good stuff from the hot water heater arrives. Most people will thus turn it on and take care of other business for half a minute before testing the temperature with a hand, then finally stepping into it.
Not if you're in a movie, goddammit! Before you even crank the knob, you're going to get naked and stand under the showerhead, then turn it on and, without so much as adjusting the temperature, let it splash down on you. Here, let's just start with the most famous shower scene of all time:
The first deposit in your grandpa's spank bank.
In Psycho, the Psycho remake, and the Scream Queens homage, she stands there and lets a blast of ice-cold water blast her in the boobs. Hannah from Girls does the same thing in a scene that somehow features less Lena Dunham nudity than usual; Seinfeld does it in that episode with a whole B-plot about Kramer's apartment's water pressure:
The last deposit in your grandpa's spank bank.
Yes, the whole joke is that he was hilariously taken by surprise by what his shower did because he didn't test it first. Hey, Kramer -- this is a lesson those of us in the real world learn after our very first shower in childhood! You live in a constructed universe of cruel nonsense logic!
We'll tell you one thing that doesn't go on in bathrooms...this awesome panini press for $11.65
For more things Hollywood apparently has no idea about, check out 20 Lies You Believe Thanks to 'Realistic' Movies and TV Show and 6 BS Psychology 'Facts' (You Believe Because Of Movies).
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