5 Dumb Ways Movie and TV Shows Screwed Up Their Own Timelines

Continuity, contishmuity.
5 Dumb Ways Movie and TV Shows Screwed Up Their Own Timelines

H.G. Wells and assorted religious deities aside, no one can manipulate time – but in the world of fiction, creatives do have the power to control the flow of events, hence how Marty McFly ended up fending off advances from his horned-up adolescent mom. Sometimes, though, the folks in charge of our favorite movies and TV shows totally drop the ball on their fake world’s pretend chronology, such as how …

Stranger Things Forgot All About A Main Character’s Birthday

Stranger Things sure has put Will Byers through the trauma ringer; he was kidnapped by monsters, imprisoned in a hellish alternate dimension, and worst of all, recently saddled with a haircut that should come with a trigger warning for anyone who lived through the mid-to-late ‘80s.

And now in the new, soon-to-be-completed season of the show, all of his friends and family completely forget about his birthday. Back in season two, when Will is being exorcised of Upside Down demons, Joyce pointedly mentions that Will’s birthday is March 22. Flash forward to season four, when Will, Eleven, and Mike head to the roller rink, and a gang of jerky teens bully Eleven. The whole ugly ordeal is caught on tape by a bystander with a camcorder (presumably because he was hoping to snag Bob Saget’s $10,000 cash prize). The date on the camera? March 22.

While some fans suspected that this was a subtle plot point that would come up again at the end of the season, the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, admitted that they just forgot about Will’s birthday – like his crappy friends, apparently. While they jokingly proposed going back and George Lucas-ing the date, fixing this error doesn’t really seem that difficult, considering that no suburban camcorder operator in the ‘80s ever had a goddamn clue how to set the date properly.

There Are No Holidays In The World Of Breaking Bad

We get that Breaking Bad doesn’t take place in the real world, which is why chemistry is basically magic and many of the characters look drastically younger several years in the past. Also, despite the fact that the show takes place over two years, between 2008 and 2010, we somehow never see any holidays – like the show begins with Walter White’s 50th birthday, which is in September.

But oddly, over the course of the next several seasons, there’s no Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas, sparing us from an awkward holiday special in which Walt and Jesse use magnets to hijack Santa’s sleigh for their own personal meth-trafficking use. 

Which is all extra weird because Walt works in a school, typically a bastion of tacky annual decorations and communal celebrations, yet no one seems to acknowledge the passing of the seasons at all. Unless, of course, this show takes place in an alternate universe in which, instead of putting Christmas trees in their living rooms once a year, people toss ceremonial pizzas on their roofs instead.

Friends – Rachel Was Somehow Pregnant For 12 Months

Apart from the staggering affordability of Monica’s spacious Manhattan apartment, the more surreal thing that happens in Friends involves Rachel’s baby. Granted, America had a lot on its plate back in the fall of 2001, which may be why no one noticed that Rachel’s pregnancy spanned an entire year – as in literally 12 months. 

We don’t mean that Rachel was pregnant over the course of a year in our time; fans have pointed out there are literal dates in the show that don’t add up to anything not biologically confounding. Rachel reveals to Phoebe that she’s pregnant, and has been for weeks, at Monica’s wedding:

Which was pinned down in previous episodes as occurring on May 15. 

But at a Halloween party later that year, at which point she should be at least five months pregnant, Rachel still isn’t showing somehow.

Stranger still, we learn that Rachel’s due date is the week before the release of Joey’s World War I movie, which he mentions comes out on Memorial Day – meaning that Rachel is pregnant for 12 entire months, presumably because that season was secretly penned by David Cronenberg.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald – Prof. McGonagall Is Seen Teaching At Hogwarts When She Wasn’t Even Born Yet

The logical consistency of the Harry Potter universe isn’t exactly air-tight, as evidenced by the revelation that wizards just defecate wherever they feel like as if they were magical cocker spaniels. Also, not unlike pretty much every movie prequel in existence, the recent (likely doomed) Fantastic Beasts series also made some bizarrely confusing time-related decisions, like how Harry’s transfiguration teacher Professor McGonagall shows up in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald … which takes place in 1927.

Previously, it was established that McGonagall was born in 1935, and, as of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she claimed to have been teaching at Hogwarts for 39 years – which would mean that she started in 1956. Not only does she show up as an adult teacher in The Crimes of Grindelwald, she’s seen working at Hogwarts in a flashback years before ‘27 – which, again, was already well before she was supposedly born. 

We look forward to the half-assed Tweet explaining this away with time turners and/or secret cloning facilities.  

Pretty Much Every High School Show Defies The Space-Time Continuum


High school often seems like an existential nightmare that never ends, but often teen-focused TV shows make this very literal. Like The O.C., which begins with the characters in their junior year of high school – which was clearly a mistake, because in order to prolong the high school setting, they don’t become seniors until season three, prompting some fans to speculate that they were secretly all held back, which … kind of makes sense, actually.

The precedent for this was seemingly set by the ‘90s teen drama Beverly Hills 90210, which also began with the characters in their junior year, and also forced them to relive their senior year in the second season, like some kind of academic Groundhog Day, apparently because everyone involved in the show thought it was “doomed the second the characters went off to college.”

But perhaps the craziest of all was Riverdale, which found the gang graduating from high school in 2021, just before the show jumped forward in time seven years to … 2021.

Of course, this was also the show that regularly featured a speakeasy run by teens and maple syrup waterboarding.

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Top Image: NBC Universal/Netflix

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