Writers of fiction get a lot of things wrong. I know I’ve sure put a few factual whoopsies in my stories. Most of them tend to get overlooked; thank goodness when readers are as ignorant as the writers! But on TV, it happens so costantly that it’s worth noting when someone bothers to get it right.
For example, last night’s Point Pleasant had a scene where a couple pulls into a gas station late at night and there’s an attendant there to pump the gas. Now, this might seem odd to people most places in the country – when stations are open late at night, there’s only one person manning them, and they’re behind the counter, taking money and dispensing lottery tickets, right? Except in New Jersey and Oregon. In those states, self-service gas is illegal, so there always has to be an attendant. He may not always be waiting outside late at night, you may have to wait for him to come out because he may be the only one on duty, but he is indeed there. As an old Jersey boy (who found it tricky the first time he had to pump his own gas after years of driving), I appreciate them getting it right, of not making the common TV mistake that the entire country is L.A., with the same laws, the same televised high-speed chases (most locales don’t have our traffic and thus don’t have our vast supply of traffic copters to cover them), and the same fast food chains.
In contrast, The West Wing got sloppy last night. No, I’m not talking about questions about what the right count of days is that the president has left, as that gets into the complex question of whether presidential elections fall on leap years on Earth-Bartlett. I’m talking about the fact that Abby was attending a big-league NASCAR race on the day after the State Of The Union address. Even on Earth-Bartlett, the SotU is in January. The NASCAR seasons runs late February to late November. If they thought that no one would know better, then they’re wrong.