The need for reality

Hollywood, as always, is full of merde:

FX’s new drama OVER THERE about an Army unit in Iraq is well produced and visually arresting but takes a sharp left turn from reality. After watching the Pilot episode of ‘Over There,’ I conclude that the only thing they got right were the uniforms which, right down to the black socks used to cover goggles, were spot on.

Unfortunately, the costume designer is the only person who seems to have actually studied the war, pictures of the war or video of the war. As someone who has been over there it was easy to see that if Steven Bochco hired a military consultant, he didn’t pay attention to him or, if they did listen to him, that consultant should be fired. In Bochco’s depiction of the war, the tactics are wrong, the dialogue is wrong, the set-ups are wrong and the scenarios are ridiculous….

In the fake war on FX, a high-tech communications unit is brought in to transmit the negotiations. In the real war, this would result in a secure coil/compound being set up. With the addition of another Platoon sized element and possibly an outer cordon.

In the real war, one, five-man fire team would not be the only grunts on the scene. A fire team may be in an area off on their own for a while, but once the bullets started flying, every swinging soldier in the area would be converging on the action.(1)

In the FX war, the soldiers are given orders to advance towards the building. So, in keeping with the ‘reality’ of this ‘gripping’ drama, they all stand up on-line and walk towards the building. Wrong.

A fire team advancing over open terrain towards a building they took fire from would be in 10 yards sprints, one team member at a time.

Finally, there is the shoot-out. The terrorists rush out of the buildings in a mob and the Hollywood tacticians have members of the fire-team rush at them as if recreating a scene from Braveheart.

In real life, the grunts would just sit back and pick the terrorists off. But, evidently that isn’t dramatic enough for FX.

What’s annoying is that the producers and their defenders will tell you that it’s necessary to highlight sex, violence and foul language because it’s “true to life”. But the truth is that whenever reality gets in the way of what they want to show, they toss it out the window without thinking twice.