Pop Culture Pet Peeve: How does everyone know when and where to meet for dinner?

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Image Credit: NBC

Let me preface this by saying that I understand that as a viewer of a fictional world, I have to suspend disbelief when watching television. I get it. Trust me. I’m currently binge-watching Supernatural, and my favorite show is The Vampire Diaries, so I really, really understand. But there are some small elements of TV that still get to me, and today, it’s the unplanned dinner plans.

We’ve all seen it happen, that moment when someone says, “Want to do dinner tomorrow?” and another character responds, “Yes, see you then.” And then next thing you know, they’re at dinner. So here’s my question: How did they know the where and when of those dinner plans? “Let’s go to dinner” does not a dinner plan make.

For example, during my freshman year of college, I would meet my friends in our dorm’s lobby at 6 p.m. pretty much every day to go to dinner. And yet, each time we talked about doing dinner, we clarified the when and where … despite the fact that it never changed. It’s what you do, because if you don’t, somebody’s inevitably going to get confused.

If you really start to think about it, you’ll realize just how often this horrible planning happens. Pick a sitcom, any sitcom. For example, let’s look at Friends. Now, watch an episode, and count how many times somebody makes plans without actually making plans. “Want to see a movie Friday?” “Let’s get lunch tomorrow.” And BAM! It’s like they can read the other person’s mind or something. So you all tell me — do the words “lunch” and “dinner” have secret meanings that I’m not aware of?

Okay, okay. Brief pause: I’m well aware that the characters could call each other off-screen and make specific plans, but why not show it? Saying “Want to meet for dinner?” can’t save that much time compared to “Want to meet for dinner at 7 at Maggiano’s?” And that is what you call a plan.

Maybe my journalism background has made me a stickler for the five W’s (or just three of them), or perhaps my Myers-Briggs test was right and I’m a bit of a planner. But if you don’t agree with me, I have a favor to ask: Next time you make dinner plans, leave it at “let’s meet for dinner” and see what happens. But don’t really. I’d never ask you to do something that could result in you missing a meal. I take food way too seriously for that.

But tell me, PopWatchers: Has anyone else noticed this non-planning? Am I the only one it semi-bugs?

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