692: Dirty Harry
Title text: Sci-fi has energy weapons because otherwise the people like me who watch it get distracted counting shots.
Dirty Harry is an action thriller about a police officer named "Dirty" Harry Callahan, who's notorious for being aggressive with criminals and quick to resort to lethal force. His weapon of choice is a .44 magnum revolver (which holds six rounds of ammunition). The comic references one of the most famous scenes in the film, in which Harry has a criminal at gunpoint, following a fire-fight. As the criminal considers reaching for the weapon he had dropped, Harry claims to have lost track of how many bullets he's fired, meaning that there may or may not be one round left in his gun, and coldly tells his opponent "you must ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky?". The implication being Harry will definitely fire if the man reaches for his gun, and his life will depend on whether there are any bullets left. In the original scene, the suspect surrenders himself rather than risk being killed. It's then revealed that Harry had emptied his gun, meaning that the other man could have 'won' the stand-off, had he managed to keep track of the shots fired.
Rain Man is a comedy-drama about the relationship between two brothers. One of the brothers, Raymond (AKA "Rain Man"), is autistic and has an eidetic memory. Several times in the film he encounters a number of objects that would be difficult for most people to count (such as toothpicks spilled from a box) and immediately knows how many there are.
The comic portrays a mash-up between the two films, in which Dirty Harry faces Rain Man, instead of a less numerically gifted adversary. Rain Man accurately tracks every bullet fired, and knows that Harry's gun is now empty (with the implication that he can safely grab his own gun and kill Harry).
The title text implies that Randall tends to obsess about tracking quantities, even while watching action films, and thus gets 'distracted' keeping track of how many rounds each person fires. There's a long history in film and television in which scenes involving shoot-outs will have little rigor as to shots fired: characters will routinely fire more rounds that could realistically be contained in the gun, without ever reloading, to the annoyance of mathematically-minded viewers. Science fiction shows will frequently get around this by using various forms of "energy weapons", which don't fire traditional projectiles, and therefore aren't limited to a specific number of shots (at least, not an identifiable number). Randall jokes that this trope exists because "people like me" would otherwise get distracted counting shots. The implication is that science fiction fans have a high percentage of people with obsessive, numerically rigorous tendencies who find such inconsistencies to be a distraction from enjoying the shows.
- [Detective "Dirty" Harry Callahan stands near a wall, pointing a revolver at another figure, presumably a suspect, reclined on the ground. A shotgun is on the ground next to the reclined figure.]
- Harry Callahan: I know what you're thinking--"Did he fire six shots or only five?" In all this excitement, I-
- Suspect: Six. Definitely six.
- Harry Callahan: Shit.
- Dirty Harry Meets Rain Man
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