The Cell Phone Snap of Doom

Last night I watched the first four eps of the fourth season of Prison Break with my daughter. We own the first three seasons on DVD, but we quit watching the show mid-way through last year. We decided to Netflix season four and then decide whether to round out the collection.

Watching those four eps reminded me why I quit watching the show in the first place, so I kinda doubt any more Prison Break is in my media shopping future. Too bad. The first two seasons were really good and taught me a lot about cliffhangers and dramatic tension.

One thing I noticed, since I tend to focus on odd little details when the story doesn’t hold my attention, was the characters’ liberal use of the Cell Phone Snap of Doom. You know, that moment when a character dramatically snaps his flip top cell phone shut, emphasizing through sight and sound that he really, really means what he just said, no back talk allowed.

The Cell Phone Snap of Doom isn’t new. Kirk did the same thing with his communicator back in the days when the idea of cell phones was still science fiction. Geeky me bought my own snap shuttable cell phone when my carrier offered them. Beam me up, Scotty, indeed.

Only now I have an iPhone. It doesn’t snap shut. It has a button on top that makes a little click when I turn it off. I can use my iPhone to check my email, my Twitter, my Facebook, the New York Times and Daily Variety, not to mention bounce a cartoon sheep into space or pet the koi in my virtual fish pond, but the iPhone Click of Doom just doesn’t have the same dramatic impact.

Of course, characters can still use flip top cell phones, but won’t that make them look one step behind, technology wise? If the good guys are using touch screen phones and Blackberries but the villain’s still snapping his cell phone shut to emphasize his bad-assedness, can we take him seriously?

The new television season starts soon. I’ll have new Castle and Fringe and NCIS and CSI (the original) and Big Bang Theory on my DVR to keep me company when I’m not writing. Along the way, I’ll be watching to see what new dramatic beat replaces the Cell Phone Snap of Doom.

Stay tuned.

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