Tweet of the Day: Cognitive Dissonance
Almost every action or crime movie has a scene in a club: the music is pumping, the beautiful people are dancing, the drinks flow, and the lights are blinding. The hero is there, either in their coolest duds or in clashing street clothes. How he got through the bouncers outside is either ignored or is the cue for the inevitable bar fight to the sound of the DJ’s sick beats. The hero often is there to bust the owner or talk to their suave contact, the person that apparently spends all their time boozing it up and sexing everything that moves but someone how finds time to know enough to get the plot moving.
Welcome to the Coolest Club Ever.
In the CCE nobody waits at the bar waving bills to get the attention of the overworked staff. No girlfriend waits at the end of the bar for their bartender boyfriend to get off work. Beautiful waitresses wearing next to nothing (CCEs also double as Bikini Bars) carry full trays of expensive drinks without dropping one and nobody runs out of money. If the CCE doubles as a Bad Guy Bar, then drugs deals occur hard and fast, never mind the fact that most owners spend so much on overhead and liquor licenses that they would not risk getting busted by the cops. And that full dance floor, maybe sometime around midnight when the DJ plays the crowds prefer hits, but don’t expect a lot of dancing early on the night. And that long line at the entrance? If it’s before midnight it is mostly for show. The bouncers are often told hold the line to give the impression the place is packed and therefore worth stopping by. As for the underage clubbers, well…that varies from place to place, but more often than not owners will try very hard not to end up at the wrong end of a lawsuit if say an underage patron drinks and drives.
And don’t get me started on the bathrooms….
One thing the page doesn’t mention is that using this trope is one of the easiest ways to date your movie or television show. Even in current television shows, the song being played is probably six or more months old, since that’s when the episode was shot. Movies that have original soundtracks might set the trend for that year, and also ensconcing themselves immediately in that time frame. Books can get away with describing the music without using any music lyrics. If the club is set somewhere in the past expect Nothing But The Hits to play over the speakers, even if many actual club anthems (from the 80s onward) rarely make it to Top Ten Radio.