10 Hilarious Videos That Show TV & Movies Failing To Understand Technology

Chris Hoffman 16-04-2012

When you’re trying to come up with a dramatic script or integrate “hacking” into your police drama show, there’s no time for reality. An actual depiction of hacking would be terribly boring, but add some flashing windows, fast-paced typing, and dramatic music and you’ve got yourself a thrilling scene. Time and time again, television shows and films have fallen flat on their faces when it comes to understanding technology, and the results make for great entertainment.


Think of this as a “greatest hits” list of some of the most hilarious and ridiculous examples that have been mentioned on the Web. You don’t have to be a computer geek to appreciate the hilarity here, but it certainly helps.

Tracking The Killer’s IP Address With Visual Basic

This one’s a classic from CSI. The show’s trying to impress us by throwing technical-sounding terms like “GUI,” “Visual Basic 4 Great Websites To Make You A Visual Basic Guru Want to learn Visual Basic? Here are some great resources to get you started. Read More ,” and “IP address” at us, but it misses the mark and just sounds completely ridiculous.

“We’re Being Hacked!”

From NCIS comes an attempt to transform “hacking” into visual drama. Apparently, hacking involves windows flashing on and off your screen. To fight it, two people should type on the keyboard at the same time, as if they’re psychically linked and wouldn’t just be typing gibberish. If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll see code on your screen and may end up exclaiming “I’ve never seen code like this!”

IRC Is For Hackers

According to Numb3rs, IRC The Top 7 Best Free IRC Clients for Windows 7 For most of us, chatrooms might seem like a relic of the past, but they're still around. If you're interested in that sort of thing, you’ll want to look into the IRC protocol. For those... Read More is “how hackers talk when they don’t want to be overheard.” It’s also like “two boats meeting in the middle of the ocean to swap a load of illegal drugs,” so you have to catch them in real-time. Don’t worry, though – it’s easy to set up an alarm that monitors every IRC channel on the entire Internet. And if an IRC conversation is taking place, you can easily drop in and watch it. Remember to take a screenshot, though – you can’t possibly log an IRC conversation to disk.

Eye Reflections

If you believe CSI and other police drama shows, there’s always a reflection in someone’s eye in an important photograph. All you have to do is grab the reflection and you’ll see a crisp, high-resolution image that you can use to crack the case.


Rotate That Photograph

Some shows pretend to be serious by only “enhancing” a still image, but the characters in Enemy of the State actually rotate a still image. Somehow it’s possible to see something the camera couldn’t. This is explained as the computer being able to “hypothesize.” Sure, guys.

Even though Jack Black is in this, it isn’t supposed to be a comedy. This is a scene from a serious thriller.

Zoom & Enhance Parody

Everyone’s seen the typical “zoom, zoom, enhance 3 Touch Up Tricks For Photoshop To Enhance Your Photos Read More – there’s the killer!” scenes. This video from Red Dwarf parodies them and adds new actions, such as “uncrop The Basics of Photo Cropping That You Should Understand Read More .” The sad thing is that this scene is actually more realistic than the rotation trick used above.

Hacking Is A Graphical Video Game

Masterminds shows us a rare glimpse of what hacking is like for an actual hacker. Apparently, hacking is a first-person game The 3 Best Multiplayer First Person Shooters Of All Time [MUO Gaming] Welcome to the first installment of MakeUseOf Gaming. On tap today we will be taking a look at the three best first person shooters in the history of gaming. First person shooters are one of... Read More where you walk through a hallway and dodge skeletons.


Hiding Secret Data In A Video Game

NBC’s Life – another police drama show, what is it about these things? – brings us some dramatic police-playing-video-games action. Watch as the police struggle to beat level 10 in Prince of Persia, knowing that the evidence is hidden in level 11. With all the ways to encrypt things The 5 Best Ways To Easily & Quickly Encrypt Files Before Emailing Them [Windows] Earlier this year, I was faced with a situation where I had a writer working for me overseas in China, where we were both certain that all of our email communications were being monitored. I... Read More and hide files 3 Quick & Easy Ways to Hide a Folder in Windows 7 Privacy is hard to come by these days. Whether you are sharing a computer or are generally suspicious of peers who occasionally have access to your computer, you may have the desire to store sensitive... Read More , what hacker wouldn’t hide their most sensitive data in a video game level?

She Has The High Score In Every MMORPG

This character from NCIS has the high score in every massively multiplayer online role-playing game The 10 Greatest Free MMORPGs To Start Playing Now The landscape of MMORPG gaming has never been better than it is today. Some may pine for the good old days when games like Ultima Online, Everquest, and Dark Age of Camelot dominated the scene,... Read More — a big accomplishment, especially considering they lack high scores. What’s more, she appears to practice basic hygiene and not be chained to her computer all the time. If this were even possible, this character would never be able to leave her computer or sleep. And she’d have to find hundreds of hours to play each day.

An Actual Zoom & Enhance

Castle deserves recognition for this scene. In it, our brilliant detectives realize that, if they could only enlarge and “enhance” part of a photograph, they could see the killer’s face! So they send it off to the photo techs, who deliver them an enlarged and “enhanced” photo.


They’re stunned to discover that “the enhancement only increased the pixelation” and realize that “in the real world, zoom and enhance can only get us so far.” Amazing!

Do you know any other hilarious videos that we missed here? Leave a comment and share them with us!

Image Credit: Man With Images Around Head via Shutterstock

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  1. mariya
    May 10, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Well, we have to start with that self-awareness' It is usually the emionots that blocks the logical reasoning capability of the mind.The desires, expectations, and its mis-match' with the situations outside, due to adverse unexpected results' , etc causes that uncontrollable' outburst of emionots.So try to look at those desires as our aims goals, while recognising at the same time that there are many factors outside our scope, beyond our control that could also affect the results. This would deepen the acceptance, without diluting the efforts to achieve the goal/desire. Thus, the emionots are well under check. Logic would function well and our skills performance would improve. Rational prioritizing would happen at an enhanced level too. Most importantly, the accumulation of negative emionots would decrease and onlookers would find' that we have better control over the mind.

  2. Nahar Aba Hakeem
    April 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    yes. more video plese. :-)

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      Yup, there's no such thing as an original idea. Everything's been done before, in some way. I went out of my way not to copy other articles and to put my own spin on it -- I'd seen lots of these videos myself in the past.

  3. Eddie Holland
    April 22, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Well, there’s Firewall - starring a much older Harrison Ford (than his Blade Runner heyday). The whole movie is basically a hilarious movie that meets all the selection criteria for this thread, but special commendation has to go to:

    1) HF shutting down a massive, distributed attack on his bank’s data center by typing a single router command (possibly ‘show interfaces’?) on the console.

    2) Using a four-letter dictionary word, which is also the name of the family’s boat, as a password for his home security systems (robust or what!?).

    3) A ridiculously accurate dog collar-mounted GPS system that can also pinpoint baddies in any terrain or building structure.

    Nothing to do with technology, but please check out the English/Irish/Boston/Scottish accent of the main villain.

    Can we also have Jurassic Park? “I know this system - it’s UNIX!” squeals the little girl hacker, as a 3D maze of Lego bricks (well, that’s what they looked like to me) appears on the screen.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Oh yeah, Firewall! I remember that one. So laughable.

      Really, this article could have listed 100 videos and there'd still be room for more.

  4. Bernard88
    April 22, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Am I the only old guy that remembers Blade Runner with young Harisson Ford, when He enhances a photo to look in a mirror... Ahhh you kids don't watch retro lol ;-)

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Ah, Blade Runner -- At least that was supposed to be "the future" and not something realistic from the present!

    April 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Take a look at movies like "Hackers" or "Swordfish". Though being entertaining movies, they contain so much crap about hackers and computer-technology in general, that you can basically just put the entire movies in here.

    My number one put-off that almost just makes me want to stop watching the entire movie is scenes where the computer screen (being either CRT of LCD for that matter) suddenly magically transforms into a high-power beamer that projects everything to the faces of the actors. I mean; COME ON!!!

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      But then how would the audience understand that the character is using a computer?

  6. Martin
    April 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Nice! While I do enjoy NCIS, I remember mentioning the MMORPG scene to my wife. She just rolled her eyes.

    The crazy part(well, the other crazy part) about the first NCIS scene is that if that were actually happen, any decent sys admin would just unplug from the network to shut off the intruder!

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 21, 2012 at 4:36 am

      I think the craziest part is two people typing on the same keyboard at once! Who would ever do such a thing?

    • Wife Rolling eyes
      April 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      I can's tough being tech support for the world.....Hack the planet dude! :-/

  7. Doc
    April 20, 2012 at 1:36 am

    The first scene is actually from CSI: New York.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:33 am

      Thanks, it's hard to keep all the CSIs straight.

  8. Scutterman
    April 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I had to give some credit to Flash Forward for this line:
    "We tried to get a clear picture of his face from multiple camera angles. In one his skin was blown out, another was a raking profile and so on. The ring was much easier, it has hard edges and a reflective surface. We captured still images as the hand moved. We replaced pixels and built a 3-d model."
    Maybe not 100% accurate, but not the biggest stretch the show made, and if I can believe the whole world saw the future, a bit of photo enhancement isn't going to break my immersion.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:33 am

      Makes some sense -- reconstructing a 3D image from multiple camera angles is more logical than rotating a still image by "hypothesizing."

  9. astral_cyborg
    April 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:36 am

      Movies are obsessed with using crazy 3D graphics to "visualize" hacking, aren't they?

      • Anonymous :P
        April 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

        They have too, because they can't show real hacking, as they can't make the movie a hacking "guide"

        • Chris Hoffman
          April 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

          It would just be boring to show it -- lots of typing and such.

  10. Jay Norman
    April 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    My favorite "ridiculous technology scene" is in Independence Day. Toward the end of the movie, Jeff Goldblum decides that the only way to stop the alien ship from destroying Earth is to infect their computer with a virus. What? We're talking about aliens here! They're obviously much more intelligent than we are. (After all, they've apparently managed to master space travel). How do we know what language their computers "speak," what operating system they use (surely not Windows!), or what kind of processor they have? What about ports to connect our computer to theirs? Do they have USB? Maybe they use "tri-nary" rather than binary. For all we know their computers aren't silicon-based, like ours ... they could be biological. Oh, but I'm sure we can solve all those problems in the heat of the moment (before Earth is obliterated)!

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Ah, I remember that! As if their computers can run Windows software.

      It's all software, right?

    • You Missed the Point
      April 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Windows WAS the virus.

      • Chris Hoffman
        April 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        I suppose they installed Windows on the mothership and it blue-screened due to buggy drivers. Or maybe the DOS-based Windows 9x-era multitasking just wasn't sufficient.

    • ChrisD
      April 22, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Although it was actually an Apple Macintosh Powerbook 5300 running probably OS8? and here's how they could do it: and an ad to match ;)

      • Chris Hoffman
        April 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        So the aliens were using the Mac operating system? Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.

  11. Ed
    April 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    This only strengthens my theory that CBS and their seemingly endless supply of procedural cop shows are on a quest to make us all dumber.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:39 am

      These procedural cop shows seem pretty ridiculous.

      But then, I bet medical professionals would find shows like House and other hospital drama shows pretty ridiculous, too.

  12. srini
    April 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Excellent collection .... "GUI Interface with Visual Basic" takes the cake for me ..

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:37 am

      That's probably been my favorite ever since I saw it years ago. It's just gibberish spoken with a straight face.

      The poor actor.

  13. Dom
    April 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

    These are great!

  14. Mark O'Neill
    April 17, 2012 at 8:32 am mean you REALLY can't get a reflection from a person's eyeball then flip it round 180 degrees to see what the person was seeing?

    I guess gentlemen....(with a David Caruso stare and putting on sunglasses).....that we've been conned.....


    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:40 am

      Or maybe this post is part of a conspiracy to convince people that the government doesn't have the technology.

      The government rotates videos every day! Wake up sheeple!

  15. Tim Brookes
    April 17, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Hmmm... I can't quite see the article properly...


    That's better, but...


    Ah, now I see a selection of steaming TV that misunderstands, misinforms and makes itself look stupid on an epic scale! This list is brilliant Chris, these videos are hilarious - well done.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:42 am

      But it just increased the pixelation!

      Thanks a lot -- it's just a collection of mind-boggling stuff I've seen over the years.

      • Sara
        May 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        His hairstyle and lntegh of hair on video of interview and at the time he got passport is the same. So is his dress, same shirt, same necktie. I would guess the video was made on the same day.

      • Subhash
        May 10, 2012 at 1:20 am

        Krishna Sir, Nice to hear from you about our village.Although we are away,we awayls eagar to hear & see prosperity of Ghandruk and the Ghandruke.Thank you very much and hopeto hear from you very soon. Krishna Gurung Kot Gaon(residing in The U.K.)

  16. Andy Bell
    April 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Another great parody of the rediculous photo enhancing on tv shows is from Adult Swim's NFSF:SD:SUV:: on YouTube at

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:32 am

      That was cute. It's only slightly more ridiculous than some of the "real" videos, too.

  17. Dave Parrack
    April 17, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Wow, these are awesome. And they're all new to me as I don't really watch TV these days. I love the fact a couple of shows have become self-aware and play with the conventions.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

      I don't really watch these shows, but I've seen so many of these amazing clips over the years. Glad you enjoyed!

      • Mina
        May 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

        Posted on incredible, that was a very good read. In coionuslcn, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are blogging about. Quite difficult to find of late, especially on the web . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep coming back here if this is how you always write. thank you, keep it up! .

  18. Tokyo Desu
    April 17, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I loved, jajajajaja,

    Rule 1 in the movies xD
    A camera has more megapixels than the human eye.
    Reflection is a deadly weapon
    Typing on the computer is more exciting than throw a plane. xDDDD

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 17, 2012 at 3:09 am

      More realistic scenes would be much more boring!

  19. khendar
    April 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

    There was a beauty on CSI:NY the other day:

    This is how you hack Gears of War 3...with HTML.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 20, 2012 at 3:29 am

      It's like hieroglyphics, who could possibly understand it!

      Thanks for sharing!

  20. Greg
    April 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Loved this! And I actually believed just about everything in CSI Miami and NY XD

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 17, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Good to hear!

      These police drama shows try to make everything dramatic.

      • ausmus
        September 11, 2012 at 8:49 am

        and these police dramas have lab techs that go out and interview suspects and even make arrests.

        I think the Zoom and Enhance comes from Blade Runner, but that was supposed to be futuristic....