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DTMark

Why Don't Americans Ever Say "goodbye"

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This has been bugging me as we work our way through the entire series of the X-Files, having finally watched all of Breaking Bad.

Just an oddity which is noticeable when repeated over and over.

It might just be how this is portrayed on TV, purely for convenience. As an example, in a 90 minute film, if every fight ran its course until the bad guy was actually dead or unconscious then fights would occupy most of the film since most people don't usually just pass out when you punch them once or twice in real life.

So to the question:

Why is it that in American dramas, when someone receives a phone call, and provides the answers and information the caller wanted, the caller simply hangs up at that point?

In eight seasons of The X Files so far, I don't think I've ever heard a single call ended with "goodbye".

Do Americans actually do this (we would consider this bluntly rude), or is it just "for TV"?

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According to TV, they never lock their cars or do up the chin straps on motorbike helmets either. I reckon that it's a TV thing; I'm sure they say goodbye in real life. I guess that not saying goodbye in TV shows is supposed to emphasise the preoccupation of protagonist with his or her thoughts and underline the sense of drama.

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This has been bugging me as we work our way through the entire series of the X-Files, having finally watched all of Breaking Bad.

Just an oddity which is noticeable when repeated over and over.

It might just be how this is portrayed on TV, purely for convenience. As an example, in a 90 minute film, if every fight ran its course until the bad guy was actually dead or unconscious then fights would occupy most of the film since most people don't usually just pass out when you punch them once or twice in real life.

So to the question:

Why is it that in American dramas, when someone receives a phone call, and provides the answers and information the caller wanted, the caller simply hangs up at that point?

In eight seasons of The X Files so far, I don't think I've ever heard a single call ended with "goodbye".

Do Americans actually do this (we would consider this bluntly rude), or is it just "for TV"?

"What's eating Gilbert Grape" has a scene where Juliette Lewis's character chastes Leonardo Dicaprio's for saying 'Goodbye' when it seemed entirely appropriate.

I lived in the States for a while and can't recall any such behaviour btw.

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My favourite bit about The X-Files was how, in numerous episodes, Mulder and Scully would be facing some disciplinary hearing in their Washington office in the evening...

...but they would then go off on an adventure which usually involved flying or driving from Washington to Wyoming or New Mexico or Alaska... and then flying or driving on to some other state such as Oklahoma or Nevada or Utah ... solving some great mystery...

...and then always being back in time for their Washington meeting by the end of the programme...

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Yes have noticed that. Seems it increases the drama.

However my wife sometimes just puts down the phone on me and I notice it in women a lot, when watching them use the phone or listen to them.. Unless I`m out of step in some way and should be getting some sort of message from that...... It seems some people get what they want said out of the way then just cut the other person off.? It is not professional or polite.

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In American shows about friends and family (like Friends or Gilmour Girls or Parenthood) it seems to be quite acceptable to just pop round and visit a friend in the morning before they go to work. Not an emergency, just a social call. I've never really heard of people doing that in real life. Is it a real thing in America? Is it something that happens in the UK too, in the soaps? Is it commonplace in real life and I just have no proper friends?

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Yes have noticed that. Seems it increases the drama.

However my wife sometimes just puts down the phone on me and I notice it in women a lot, when watching them use the phone or listen to them.. Unless I`m out of step in some way and should be getting some sort of message from that...... It seems some people get what they want said out of the way then just cut the other person off.? It is not professional or polite.

Your wife is training you. How long has this been going on? LOL

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My favourite bit about The X-Files was how, in numerous episodes, Mulder and Scully would be facing some disciplinary hearing in their Washington office in the evening...

...but they would then go off on an adventure which usually involved flying or driving from Washington to Wyoming or New Mexico or Alaska... and then flying or driving on to some other state such as Oklahoma or Nevada or Utah ... solving some great mystery...

...and then always being back in time for their Washington meeting by the end of the programme...

Wasn't just me who noticed that then.

Also when they would be flying half way round the country to have literally a 5 minute chat with somebody. Particularly when Mulder just used to pop back to his parents at Marths Vineyard to ask a simple question which would have take a 5 minute phone call.

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Wasn't just me who noticed that then.

Also when they would be flying half way round the country to have literally a 5 minute chat with somebody. Particularly when Mulder just used to pop back to his parents at Marths Vineyard to ask a simple question which would have take a 5 minute phone call.

:lol:

Stargate did something similar once - two of the main characters were missing and their colleagues in Colorado could not find them.

They were in an underground cave in Colorado.

Just as our heroes are about to snuff it the boys in Colorado figure out where they are and, hey presto, within minutes they are digging them out in Antartica.

Obviously most of it is suspension of disbelief in order to tell a good story... but probably a lot of it is also to do with the fact that the majrity of Americans have never been outside their state let alone outside of their country.

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Also: everyone answer s the phone after 2 seconds, and if no one answers by 3 seconds they hang up and say there's no one there. In real life, you ring for three minutes and then say "I'll just try again, might have been the wrong number"

One thing I've always been curious about, is whethter the social pressure to have dates every single weekend is really as strong as it's portrayed. And also, do fat ugly old geeky guys really get to have sex with model types all the time.

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:lol:

Stargate did something similar once - two of the main characters were missing and their colleagues in Colorado could not find them.

They were in an underground cave in Colorado.

Just as our heroes are about to snuff it the boys in Colorado figure out where they are and, hey presto, within minutes they are digging them out in Antartica.

Obviously most of it is suspension of disbelief in order to tell a good story... but probably a lot of it is also to do with the fact that the majrity of Americans have never been outside their state let alone outside of their country.

In the Stargate milieu there is another Stargate in Antarctica so it's quite accessible.

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I lived in the States for a while and can't recall any such behaviour btw.

Same here - lived in California since July last year, and all the phone calls I've had have ended pretty much as they would do anywhere else in the world.

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According to TV, they never lock their cars or do up the chin straps on motorbike helmets either. I reckon that it's a TV thing; I'm sure they say goodbye in real life. I guess that not saying goodbye in TV shows is supposed to emphasise the preoccupation of protagonist with his or her thoughts and underline the sense of drama.

Makes a lot of sense.

I didn't notice it at first, and as a "device" it probably did indeed have the intended result you mention - but now, it has become comical.

A quick search reveals I'm not the only person to have noticed and asked about this!

Google Search

.. someone has even clipped together a stack of examples, this had me in hysterics

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In over 50 years of Coronation Street, not a single character has gone for a poo.

Harold Bishop did in Neighbours - there was a plotline where he broke both his arms and the local neighbourhood men set up a rota to help him with...erm...intimate tasks. That's when good neighbours become good friends!

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