Contrivance #9: Walking Away in the Middle of the Conversation

Trev sent this contrivance to me a while ago, and I’m going to reprint it verbatim since he said it so well (with paragraph breaks for added drama):

I'm using Gossip Girl for the photo because (a) this contrivance happens in every single Gossip Girl scene and (b) Blake Lively makes me lively.

In TV and movies, scenes always end with one person walking out of the room or just not saying somethng important.

This NEVER happens in real life.

Someone makes a key point in an argument and the other person leaves. Someone needs to say “I love you,” but he/she walks out instead. Someone needs to clarify something that is an obvious misconception, but instead one character leaves OR everyone just stands there quietly looking at each other when a one liner would obviously fix the situation.

This is BS. It does not happen in real life.

The entire Lost series was based around this, as are many soap operas and dramas. I once thought it would be fun to do a spoof of Lost that was either (1) nothing but the important lines that went unsaid or (2) just cuts of the important lines (and subsequent walking out/silence) before someone walked out or held his/her tongue when he/she shouldn’t have. I think it would’ve been a Youtube sensation 5 years ago.

I am genuinely surprised at the sheer number of conversations in movies and TV that end with someone walking out of the room. Especially when there are obvious things the other person could say, but they just sit there, inexplicably tongue-tied at such a critical junction.

Can you think of even one conversation in your life that ended with someone walking out of the room in the middle of the conversation. Even door-slamming “I’m so mad I can’t talk” usually end in some sort of punctuation. But when there’s a simple misconception on the line, like when a girlfriend catches you making a casserole in the kitchen with your au pair and it’s not what it looks like! Even then she sticks around while you explain in detail why you were really hot and couldn’t wear anything but the apron and sure, you don’t really need an au pair because you don’t have kids, but it’s so European and chic and yes, fine, I probably could have explained the difference between American thongs and foreign thongs to her. Even in that situation, you’d have the chance to say a few words before your girlfriend left.

But not on TV or in the movies. On TV or in the movies she would just walk away while the au pair whisks your casserole.

10 thoughts on “Contrivance #9: Walking Away in the Middle of the Conversation”

  1. Sweet Jesus. Just re-reading this gets me riled up! I don’t have much to comment on the actual contrivance since you’ve already featured my thoughts so prominently, but I will say that I jumped for joy on the inside when I saw that you associated a picture from Gossip Girl with this post.

    I want to punch the entire cast of Gossip Girl in the kidneys for 30 minutes each. This is one of the shows that I started watching with Laura because she really likes it, but I’ve since refused to watch it because everyone is just so mean to one another. It leaves me feeling slimy and emotionally drained. (It also bothers me that they participate so whole-heartedly in the walking away/silence contrivance.)

    I’m changing my “What would you do with your leap hour” answer. I’d punch the cast of Gossip Girl in the kidneys. According to IMDB, there are 10 characters who have appeared in more than half of the episodes, so I’d focus on them (even Kristen Bell, the narrator). That’s 6 minutes of kidney punches per cast member. I’d probably have to train like Rocky Balboa to throw 60 minutes of continuous punches, but I’m pretty sure it’d be worth it. Next year I’m going after the cast of Lost, and I’m shattering knee caps.

  2. I like how riled up you got from your own words. I haven’t seen that since Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. Or the speech in Braveheart.

    However, I feel like I should point out one thing: It’s not the cast’s fault that they keep walking out of rooms at dramatic moments. Sure, if you want to work your way into the cast and within the imaginary world of Gossip Girl, you punch everyone in the kidney for 6 minutes, do that. OR go after the writers and producers in the real world. Really, it’s the writers. They’re the ones who are telling the cast members to walk away at every possible moment.

    • If I told you to cut off someone’s leg in his sleep, then you did it, do you think that person would be more mad at me or at you? Just sayin’.

        • By the way, I’m pretty sure Patrick Henry let out a colossal roar that the end of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, followed by a “Who’s with me?!”

          Historical accounts have since been altered, but I believe he was met with blank stares and the sound of crickets. He promptly ran from the church alone, cane in hand, and clubbed the first British person he saw.

          • I should add that after clubbing the British person (whose name, I’m sure you know, was Perry K. Winklebottom), Henry stood over the bottom and made the classic “suck it” gesture.

            I don’t remember history being this interesting in high school.

            • The one thing I remember from high school history class was when my 10th grade US History teacher said, “There is no wood on the great plains,” to which Tommy Yun replied, “Not even in the morning?”

  3. What about having your significant other walk in on you while you’re having sex? I know people cheat all the time, and I’m sure many people I know have cheated, but I’ve never heard of someone actually being caught in the act. However, this seems to be a quite frequent occurrence in the land of make believe, and is usually followed by the male putting a pillow over his junk and chasing the female down the hall after, you guessed it, she storms off without saying a word.

    Also, this often happens in the offending party’s house. I may be naive here, but I’m assuming that most cuckolding takes place in either the mistress’s residence or a neutral location, not a place where your partner has unrestricted access.


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