A plot hole, or plothole is an obvious mistake or missing element in the plot of a film, book or play. These include such things as illogical or impossible events, and statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline. Plot holes have been defined as "...contradictions in a screenplay...[which] can both be mentioned on paper or implied by the premise and universe of the screenplay."
While many stories have unanswered questions, unlikely events or chance occurrences, a plot hole is one that is essential to the story's outcome. Plot holes are usually seen as weaknesses or flaws in a story, and writers usually try to avoid them to make their stories seem as realistic as possible. However, certain genres (and some media) that require or allow suspension of disbelief — especially action, comedy, fantasy, and horror — are more tolerant towards plot holes.
Writers can deal with plot holes in different ways, from completely rewriting the story, to having characters acknowledge illogical or unintelligent actions, to having characters make vague statements that could be used to deflect accusations of plot holes (e.g. "I've tried everything I can think of..." to keep critics from asking why a particular action was not taken). The nature of the plot hole and the developmental stage at which it is noticed usually determine the best course of action to take. For example, a motion picture that has already wrapped production would much more likely receive an added line of dialogue rather than an entire script rewrite. A voiceover done over footage from the film can also be used to resolve plot holes after production has wrapped.
Examples of plot holes
- Jaws — when Hooper and Chief Brody are trying to convince the mayor to re-close the beach after finding Ben Gardner's boat, they don't mention they also found Ben Gardner's severed head. The mayor would be forced to re-close the beach if yet another confirmed shark fatality had been mentioned, but Hooper and Brody never bring that important detail up.
- Friday the 13th — the truck driver could have taken Annie all the way to Crystal Lake. But, for unknown reasons, he only takes her halfway. So she has to walk ten more miles.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers — quite often the Rangers were contacted at school and would teleport to the command center, danger zone, etc. The faculty should have noticed that star pupils are missing classes so often, yet it was never questioned or addressed.
- The Sopranos — in the first episode of season 2 Tony tells Janice that he has just put their mother's house on the market. In season 1, the sale of the house was already progressing.
- H2O: Just Add Water — in episode "Something Fishy" when Emma gets the water bottle out of the fridge, the bottle that she touches is wet. It should have triggered her transformation but it doesn't.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen — when the doctor robot is projecting Sam's thoughts onto the wall, there is an image of Mikaela leaning on the motorcycle. Sam wasn't there when that scene happened. He was talking to her on the phone, so he couldn't have seen what she was doing.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — the ninja turtles are huge 8 feet tall green monsters. Despite this they fit effortlessly in the sewers and manholes.