"See, Dad doesn't think the decompression would tear open a hole that big in such a small plane, but obviously Dr. McNinja lives in a world that operates like a Mortal Kombat stage."
Creators are allowed to be inaccurate if the inaccuracy serves the story better than accuracy would.
In a nutshell, the writer is aware that some parts of the show are inaccurate. The history is wrong, or the science is off, or something else. It's easy to assume that the writer didn't bother with research. But they may well have. Often they know that what they are writing is off, and wrote it anyway. Sometimes, it's because it's the way it's always been done in show business
, and the audience wouldn't believe it otherwise
. In some cases, the research couldn't be done because information was lacking, so the artist made an educated guess.
It's about putting the story first
Telling a good story is what is most important in fictionnote
. If some things have to be fudged for the sake of a good story, then they will be fudged. If things have to be sped up to stay interesting, they will be. These are changes to ensure Emotional Torque
Yet this is a double-edged sword. For the license to work, the story has to be good. A bad story will often look worse for its inaccuracies. There isn't a complete consensus, of course, about which stories are on the right or wrong side of Sturgeon's Law
The license also doesn't allow every
kind of inaccuracy. People still expect characters to be consistent. This cannot be used to excuse Character Derailment
or Contrived Stupidity Tropes
. It also doesn't excuse false claims of accuracy
. It will allow violations of External Consistency
, and sometimes Genre Consistency
, but usually not Internal Consistency
It is as old as fiction itself.
Contrast with Critical Research Failure
, which is about inaccuracies as a result of a writer's ignorance. Artistic License occurs when a writer knows
the facts but chooses to ignore them - or, alternatively, when knowing the facts would require intimate knowledge of the subject itself that might require more time than the creator is willing to invest, compared to the time it will take to actually create the work.