Fridge logic

From a collection of tv-writer jargon. The good bit: it’s cool to learn the names for all the specific dramatic and comedic turns that typical plots take. The bad news: once you start recognizing them in the wild, you can never really go back. Rob Long’s brief and very funny podcast Martini Shot is another excellent source for this kind of stuff (as well as reflections on Hollywood, entertainment, and the writing life, by which he means the doing-anything-but-writing life).

“sock barrel”: a collection of roughly identical jokes all about the same thing.  Pick one, cut the rest.

“hang a lantern on it”: Instead of trying to hide a script/credibility problem, address it in full measure, so it can be dealt with and discarded. “How does she break into the base?” “Hang a lantern on it, how tough it is to get the codes, but that makes her twice as cool for pulling it off.” This is often a bit of sleight-of-hand, but hell, you’re probably using it to address some—

“fridge logic”: a logic problem in the script that the average viewer would only ask themselves about, say, an hour later when they’re at the fridge getting a snack during commercials. TV is a very tight little medium time-wise, with an enormous amount of hand-waving to begin with. Often a logic problem that seems to smack you in the face because you’ve had the time to read the script, reread it, give notes, break it down, etc. is going to fly by your average—and hopefully emotionally engaged—viewer.

“Well, how’d she get from Dallas to Houston.”
“Commuter flight.”
“Could she make the drive to the airport in time?”
“That’s fridge logic.”

Note that you’re not trying to be lazy here—you’re just dealing with the fact that every line of exposition is a line that isn’t active or particularly interesting, and you only get so many of those in 44 minutes before your show is now boring. Logically flawless, but boring.

from “Writing: Jargon Preservation 4,” by Rogers, Kung Fu Monkey, 28 April 2005 :: via Schott’s Vocab

Originally published at

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