Nitpicking (pastime)

Nitpicking is the pastime of finding mistakes in movies and television shows. These mistakes can range from very trivial mistakes that regular viewers don't notice, to very serious mistakes which disrupt the suspension of disbelief in the show's story for even casual viewers. The types of mistakes include inconsistencies or even contradictions between episodes in a series, to plot devices and oversights, to production problems.

The term comes from the intense concentration and careful attention to detail required when searching for the eggs of head lice, also known as nits.

Nitpickers will also be inclined to find trivia in a show, including possible "inside jokes" and "signature items" added by the writers or other members of the production team.

When a recurring signature item is found in a series (such as the occurrence of the number 47 in Star Trek), nitpickers will often pore over the episodes with great diligence to find all the occurrences.

Books have been published on the subject, such as The Nitpicker's Guide for X-Philes (for fans of The X-Files) by Phil Farrand.

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