Number #7 - Telephones on Television;
An unanswered telephone is the most annoying dramatic gimmick ever employed. It's a tired cliché used either to establish just how overworked a mother is (in which case it precedes a shot of the mother carrying a baby on her hip and little Timmy's lunchbox in her hand) or to set an eerie mood right before a body is revealed (generally slouched in a wingback chair right beside the phone).
But what the unanswered phone does particularly well, is annoy the hell out of me. Why so loud? Why so ridiculously many rings? If I wanted to hear the telephone ring incessantly, I'd work the Christmas Eve shift at the suicide hotline!
If I was lucky, screenwriters, depressed over their complete lack of originality, would call me in their hour of need. And I'd let that bloody phone ring a thousand times.
Just imagine this in an episode of Murder She Wrote;
A hispanic cleaning lady walks into a desolate but well preserved room shouting the room renter's name "Senor Foster", "Senor Foster" but to no reply.
suddenly she notices a glass only a quater full on the side and a black swivel chair looking in the opposite direction..."Senor Foster" she says weary of what is coming up next...
To her horror, slouched in the swivel chair...is a big mac. From nowhere the phone starts ringing. startled she picks up the phone, and in a husky, low voice the man on the phone asks " Would you like Fries with that"?
Sound like a great episodes.
The Big Bad Bastard.