During the opening scene of tonight’s episode of Glee, I was met with the most recent “shout at the TV” moment. (P.S. Here’s a Tumblr with an appropriate caption.) Here’s what I imagine must have been written in the screenplay (along w/my italicized internal monologue):
INT. HIGH SCHOOL CHORUS ROOM – DAY
Open scene on whiteboard. Close-up on MR. SCHUESTER’s hand as he writes what appears to be a math problem across the board:
5,000 x 0.25 = 20,000
(My eyes are stuck on the board. Do they know that this should equal 1,250?)
MR. SCHUESTER puts the cap on the marker, and turns to face the class…
(I cannot look away, and I can’t hear anything that anyone is saying. Awaiting the impending correction from the students in the room. There is no correction. Awaiting him using this “silly mistake” to build a metaphor for something larger. There is no metaphor. Maybe he’ll have some clever way of jarring the kids to think differently about a problem they have. There is no clever plot twist. Wait…I think he’s walking to the board- maybe he’s going to make that big point to the kids now…)
MR. SCHUESTER (pointing at whiteboard)
It’s easy, see? We need five thousand dollars, times a quarter a piece, means we need to sell…20,000 pieces of saltwater taffy!
MR. SCHUESTER turns around, unwraps a piece of taffy, and pops it in his mouth. (No reference to our little math snafu. I am Jack’s Complete Lack of Surprise.)
In all seriousness, here’s what I assume Ol’ Schuey was trying to convey (once again highlighting the need for units with your numbers):
Not necessarily 2+2, but also not exactly rocket science, either…so what gives? I mean, I kind of understand it when I see a show like ER has some inconsistent medical science in it, or when CSI propagates common misunderstandings in science (like the idea that a car’s rubber tires make it safe during a thunderstorm- check out these guys from Top Gear if you’re looking for the “real” explanation on this). It doesn’t make me too happy, but I get that these kinds of things sometimes fall through the cracks. But to have something like this go unchecked? I’m lost for words.
Do any of you have any of these kinds of jaw-dropping “STEM misconceptions in pop culture” moments to share? I’m looking for more reasons to break out the discomfort of this “Oh, no, they didn’t” laugh.