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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

TV Gets the Details of Reality Wrong Again

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

One can learn all sorts of lessons from TV shows, many of them very wrong.

A recent example was in the second episode of the revision of "Charlie's Angels" (which I will say here is the last episode of it I will ever willingly watch). At one point, the show's "Bosley" deflects an assassin's pistol to save the victim. He does this by actually gripping the pistol itself, and forcing it into the air. The assassin responds by dramatically firing the pistol several times.

The pistol in this instance is an automatic. Normally when an automatic pistol is fired the recoil of the round discharging forces the slide back to eject the spent cartridge and then pick up and chamber a new cartridge so that the weapon can be fired again. Now, obviously the slide would protect "Bosley's" hand from being burned by the barrel of the pistol as it is heated by the weapon being fired . . . except that it would not.

The problem is that the slide is going to go to the rear of the pistol, and is going to do so forcefully. "Bosley's" grip might slow the slide enough to cause the pistol to miss-feed, i.e., jam, but his grip could not prevent the movement of the slide at all. This means that his hand would have been pulled against the hand grip and trigger guard and hand of the man holding the weapon at a minimum, would have had the flesh of the palm of his hand and his fingers ripped, and if despite that he was able to maintain his grip would have found his hand closing on the heated barrel as the slide attempted to come forward again before being stopped by a probable "stovepipe" jam.

In either case, while "Bosley" would have injured his hand, the pistol would have fired only one time (unless "Bosley's grip was so loose as to have no effect on the pistol's operation, but he is very clearly seen to be gripping the slide of the weapon, not the assassin's hand, and forcing the weapon into the air). It is thus unlikely that the weapon would have discharged more than once (it fires at least three times in the scene), and if you watch the scene you will notice that the pistol's slide does not move at all (clearly marking the weapon as a prop gun designed to bang when the trigger is pulled but not actually operate in any way as a weapon).

While it should be obvious from the above that, yes, a prop gun with an inoperable slide was used and it was used for "safety" reasons (so that no one was injured by the slide as the actors "struggled" or by ejected hot blank cartridges bouncing around in the crowd of extras), the result is a poorly staged scene and a bad lesson for anyone watching. "Bosley" should have been shown forcing the assassin's arm into the air, and should not have touched the pistol proper unless it was intended as part of the scene that his hand be injured by the weapon's being fired.