Damn Those Clichés!
Clichés are an irritating rash on an, often, otherwise blemish free script. I’m not talking about the everyday clichés that most of us use, well, everyday; I’m talking clichés that you only ever hear on TV.
Some time ago there was a very good US comedy series called “Friends.” At some point in an episode, a character came up with the line “excuse me” when she really meant something like “say that again.” From that day on, I have heard the irritating “excuse me” used regularly in such British stalwarts as Eastenders, (when they usually mean “ya wha?”) and Casualty (when they usually mean “I beg your pardon”). Yes the “excuse me” phrase has blighted scripts from some of the best writers in television.
Okay, if you fart in company it’s polite to say “oh, excuse me” if there’s no family dog to blame, but no-one ever, ever says “excuse me” when they really mean “sorry. What did you say?” Well, not in my social circles anyway.
Then we come to the good old family moniker “little Jimmy” (or David, or Sammie or whatever). No one ever refers to their own child as little Jimmy! Never. Occasionally, if there are a number of Jimmies in the same family (like grandfather, father, son) a neighbour or other relative may refer to little Jimmy – but never Jimmy’s parents. So why, oh why do soap parents refer to their kids as little Jimmy?
There are so many others I could write a whole book on the subject. How many can you spot this week?