I’m a Continuity Tyrant.

Let’s say that I happen to be watching a movie.  I’m totally enraptured in the plot, the drama, the angst.  Two characters – a man and a woman – are having an intense dialogue – you know, the type that explains the whole movie and makes everything come together in an “aha!” moment.  I’m craning my neck…watching with acute intensity.

The camera pans to the man.  He says something important.

The camera pans to the woman.  She says something revelatory.

The camera pans back to the man.  He responds with surprise and intrigue.

The camera pans back to the woman.  She says — hey waitta minute!! Her hair was BEHIND her ear in the last shot! Now it’s out in front!

The camera pans back to the man.  I have no idea what he is saying – all I can think about is her hair.

They pan back to the woman.  Her hair is back to the original placement.  MM hmm.  They spliced two takes of this scene together and didn’t even bother to make sure her hair looked the same in both.  THIS IS SUCH A SHODDY MOVIE.

They pan back to the man.  I look at him in disgust – how could he agree to be in such a cheesefest of a low-budget made-for-television piece of excrement?

They pan back to the woman.  Her hair back is in Take Two placement.  I walk out of the room, disgusted by the ridiculousness of the entire thing.  Chris looks on, curious and confused as to what catapulted me out of connection with the story.

“DIDN’T YOU SEE IT??? Her hair!! It was SO obvious!!”

It’s a disease I struggle to abide with.  And Ali follows closely in my footsteps.

For instance, take Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

“Mommy, how is it that Tinkerbell can’t fly if her wings are wet, but yet she can sprinkle pixie dust on Lizzy, and Lizzy can fly in the rain?  Why couldn’t Tinkerbell just sprinkle pixie dust on herself and float-fly like Lizzy and just not use her wings?”

“I KNOW, right???”

But even for people like us, there is a point when a bit of unexplained phenomena is okay.  And perhaps even the best option.

Like, for instance, I can accept the fact that animals on Dora the Explorer can talk.  Boots carrying on a conversation with Dora – fine.  It’s a cartoon.

I can even accept the fact that some animals on Dora can only speak Spanish, some animals are bilingual, and some animals only speak English.  A bit ridiculous, but I understand the concept of anthropomorphism, and you know what?  Some people can speak Spanish, some people are bilingual, and some people only speak English.  So why not animals, if indeed animals are already allowed to talk?

I appreciate this allowable bit of unexplained incontinuity most tangibly every Saturday morning when I first hear the intro song of Martha Speaks.

Martha Speaks

Besides the fact that Martha has perhaps the most irksome animal voice ever recorded and besides the fact that the theme song tune is beyond obnoxious in that catchy you’ll-never-erase-it-from-your-head kind of way…

The words to the song create a strong desire within my soul to yank my toenails out, one by one, just to distract myself from the pain.

If you dare, listen here:

If you don’t, simply read:

Martha was an average dog. She went —
Bark. And— Woof. And— Arrr.
But when she ate some alphabet soup, then what happened was bizarre.
On the way to Martha’s stomach, the letters lost their way. They traveled to her brain and now—
She’s got a lot to say. Now she speaks.
How now brown cow?
Martha Speaks. Yeah, she speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks…
What’s a caboose? When are we eating again?
Martha speaks…
Hey Joe, what d’ya know!
My name’s not Joe.
She’s not always right but still that Martha speaks.
Hi there!
She’s got a voice; she’s ready to shout. Martha will tell you what it’s all about. Sometimes wrong, but seldom in doubt. Martha will tell you what it’s all about. That dog’s unique…
Testing, one, two!
Hear her speak! Martha Speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks and…
Communicates, enumerates, elucidates, exaggerates, indicates, and explicates, bloviates, and overstates and (pant, pant, pant) hyperventilates!
Martha…to reiterate, Martha speaks!

She ate soup.

Alphabet soup.

The letters got lost.

They accidentally roamed to her brain.


Can we not just accept the fact that Martha is like 90% of her cartoon animal colleagues and unexplainably good with words?  Because….really. 



Even I would prefer incontinuity over that. 

26 thoughts on “Continuity Inanity.

  1. For the longest time, I could not watch movies / tv shows / etc. with actors who I knew were dead. I didn’t watch It’s a Wonderful Life until well into my mid-20s for this very reason. My brain wouldn’t shut off and allow me to watch the show and suspend disbelief that the character was alive — even if the actor was dead.

    I’m not sure this was a continuity issue or more of a “this is ridiculous issue”, but one of my favorite examples is the main female lead from Angels & Demons. For a majority of the movie, the main woman in the movie is in a tight button-up shirt; super tight knee-length pencil skirt; black tights; and high-heeled ankle boots. All this time, she’s running around Rome, dealing with dead bodies, almost gets blown up a couple of times, gets shot at, etc. Yet, her blouse stays nearly perfect as do her tights and skirt. It’s totally ridiculous that she would wear that all throughout what was happening and still look nearly perfect at the end of it all. That’s what I kept thinking almost the entire movie.

    1. The dead actor thing is fascinating! I never even think about whether the actor is alive or dead. But now I bet I will!

      And yes, the unmarred clothing ALWAYS bothers me.

  2. I’m totally with you on Martha. I hate it only slightly less than Caillou, and that’s saying a lot. Unfortunately it meets the narrow criteria for “shows my children are allowed to watch.” So they do. All the time.

  3. My kids love Martha, although that song gets stuck in my head. Luckily they can no longer watch it due to homeschooling. :-)

    As far as the movie inconsistencies you mentioned, I’ve noticed a few, but I miss most of them, due to the fact that I can’t ‘just’ sit to watch TV. I have to be doing something else at the same time.

  4. Wait just a minute here. What kind of crazy mixed up universe are you living in, where Dora is tolerable, but Martha makes you want to pull your toenails out??? Just the sound of Dora’s SQUEAKY, CONSTANTLY YELLING voice makes me break out into hives! I will take “how now, brown cow” any day of the week over that!

    1. There’s something about Dora’s tone that I can tune out. Also, she’s been around for so long, I’ve grown accustomed to her strange quirks. Or maybe I’m insane – that’s totally possible.

  5. I’m much more likely to read highly inappropriate backstory into the kids shows. Like Dinosaur Train. A random egg of a different species, one that will try to eat your kids, just *happens* to show up in your nest? And you not only do not express surprise at this fact, but instantly say “I’m your mom” and then rush the kids out of sight on a vacation? Yeah, we totally know Mrs Pteradon had no idea how that egg got into her nest, and was in no way trying to get out of town until the scandal died down. :)

    I also wonder why the dinosaurs never wonder why the train stops when it does. Or does some powerful cabal know the true secret behind the “end of the line”, and is desperately trying to figure out how to use the time tunnels to alter history and prevent the dinosaur extinction….

    1. Oh yes. You and I could TOTALLY watch cartoons together.

      How about The Man With The Yellow Hat and Professor Wiseman??? They are SO carrying on together in the museum after hours.

  6. Allow a Dad to weigh in . . .

    Caillou is the worst show in the history of the world. Yes. The world. I banned it. No Caillou in my house.

    My beef is with the Berenstain Bears. Mama, Papa, Sister and Brother. Brother is obviously the oldest child. He hangs out with Cousin Fred. Sister hangs out with Queenie and Lizzy.

    My problem is, wasn’t it quite the leap of faith to name Brother “Brother?” Or Sister “Sister?” I mean, assuming a year or two age difference, the “Brother” name wasn’t appropriate for a bit, right?

    I also forbid Little Einsteins after they get to a giant mountain or a river and can’t fly over it IN THE ROCKET SHIP THEY JUST FLEW AROUND THE WORLD IN!!?!?!?!

    Not that any of this as kept me up at night or anything . . .

  7. This will surely drive you insane, as it does me:

    Watch any ACTION movie with a sexy female co-star (Megan Fox in Transformers and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman spring immediately to mind). Whenever she is running for her life through the city streets: wearing flats. However, once she’s found a good hiding spot, and she’s looking around, breathing heavily, looking simultaneously disheveled and gorgeous: 5 inch heels. IN THE SAME SCENE. Back and forth and back and forth.

    Fight scenes are even worse. Sexy female lead is knocking some guy’s block off with the moves she learned in jiu jitsu night school, finishing him off with a roundhouse kick to the teeth… Or rather, her stunt double is, and she’s wearing flats. But without fail, sexy female lead is always standing over the guy in 5 inch heels when she delivers her sassy one-liner.

    It’s not even bad editing. It’s Hollywood’s way of saying, “Hey America. You’re an idiot.”

  8. I do the EXACT same thing when watching movies. It drives me nuts! And this is sort of off the subject, but have you also ever wondered why Dora SCREAMS EVERY WORD SHE SPEAKS?! Drives me insane. :) Love this blog!

  9. That is funny. I wondered the EXACT same thing about Tinkerbell and the fairy dust in that movie. I also wonder when the fairy movies will address Tinkerbell hooking up with Peter Pan. And when Jake and the Neverland Pirates will address where it is that Peter Pan and Tinkerbell have gone.
    I will not watch Dora or Diego. I have not, and now I know that I will NEVER watch Martha Speaks. I would rather watch animated talking robots that turn into cars!

    1. There are so many unanswered questions about Neverland! Are there not?? I agree – I’m totally waiting for PP to show up in the Tink movies.

  10. I have to say that I rarely ever notice inconsistencies in movies or tv and then when people point them out I wonder “how did I not notice that?”.

    I have wondered how hard the producers/costumers for 24 had to work on consistency, since they shot 24 episodes each season that were supposed to go over a span of 24 hours…so basically they had to make sure the clothes, hair, wounds, bandages, etc. stayed the same from one episode to the next – I bet that was difficult!

    Here’s what gets me – character crossover. Like when I’m watching CSI and an actor from Numb3rs is guest starring. I totally freaks me out and intrigues me at the same time. I just can’t wrap my mind around that person playing a different character and it bothers me when they don’t act like their character from the show that I first saw them on. But I also sort of love it when characters from my favorite shows converge in one show…weird.

    1. Yes! I totally agree on the out-of-place characters.

      And on 24 – when did they ever pee? Supposedly, you saw every second. I guess Jack would run in the bathroom when you were seeing what the bad guys were doing across town…

    1. How does that even happen?? It’s so obvious that I can’t help but think they did it on purpose for amusement reasons. Surely that wasn’t accidental…right??

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