I often complain about whispering on TV shows and movies. Actors today seem to believe that whispering their lines is more dramatic and effective. Sometimes they do the “loud” whisper which makes no sense. Mrs. C says it is my hearing, but she has trouble with dialog also, she just doesn’t admit it.
In the days before microphones actors projected and annunciated their lines. The ability to project and annunciate clearly was what made a skilled actor. When artificial amplification came into play, projection and annunciation became less important. If you look at movies from the forties and even the early fifties, the acting seems almost silly and not at all natural.
Modern actors learned to rely on amplification, and use different voice levels to convey mood and drama. Good stuff, but currently this is overdone. The dramatic effect of low talking and mumbling is fine, except if you don’t know WHAT THE FRIG THEY JUST SAID, it makes enjoying a story very difficult.
For a while, I could just turn the TV volume up high during whispering scenes, annoying, but effective. Lately actors are using the “dramatic mumble” and it makes me want to scream. I have to watch shows that are “on demand” or TiVO’ed so I can rewind several times and figure out what the actors are saying.
This morning we were watching a show on HBO. In a very dramatic scene where the mother was explaining to her daughter that she had done stupid things in her life the dialog went like this:
LOW TALK MUMBLING
Hint, the mother had cheated on her husband, Joe, with Ed.
“My lie isn’t as purple as you thin. (long dramatic pause) I’ve made mice steaks. (short dramatic pause) I’m a whore you know, and the moist people end my life ate my children. (Long dramatic pause) I cheetoed honor dead.”
After several replays, we finally figured out the dialog:
“My life isn’t as perfect as you think. I’ve made mistakes. I adore Joe, and the most important people in my life are my children. I cheated on your dad.”
“But do you still love Ed?”
It was a very dramatic scene. The acting was excellent. Just, to me, the dialog content is important.
Maybe they could provide subtitles.
I use the closed captioning whenever possible to avoid being blown out of my chair by sudden explosions of sound. (music or other) Heck, I'm not proud.ReplyDelete
Because I have ear phones in my ears all day listening to doctors fumble their way with dictation, I have come to discern that there are just some tones of voice that are easier to understand than others, no matter what volume they may be speaking. The sing-songing woman is like fingernails on a chalkboard, the monotone Middle Eastern doctor, well I won't say what is going through my head when doing one of their reports. Even in the United States there is a difference from region to region. I can slow down the dictation; too bad that option is not available for TV shows.ReplyDelete
It's usually women, men's voices are fine. Last night there was a TV programme about this very subject. Apparently the TV bosses are just cottoning on to the problem. These days I have the irritating subtitles in order to 'hear' what actors are saying.ReplyDelete
Trust me, your hearing id NOT the problem. I have the same problem and recently had a hearing test and discovered (big surprise) my hearing is normal. I've spent years thinking I was going deaf and putting off the test because I don't fancy wearing hearing aids.ReplyDelete
The dialogue, stupid whispering and poor enunciation are letting us down. Even worse, the soundtrack, which is supposed to be background music is now far too loud for everything, so we turn the volume down to an acceptable level and then can't hear a word. Probably we should all study lip reading.
"id?" that should be "is" (*~*)ReplyDelete
Yes, it is annoying and it is not just dialogue. Have you listened to any of the new music lately? We turn to each other and say things like, "I can't make out a single word of this Can you?". When you do find out what they are singing/saying you realize you really don't want to know. I've pretty much given up on TV/movies/music...entertainment in general. pretty low quality stuff these days.ReplyDelete
I've noticed this too. Drives us crazy. One or the other of us is always saying, 'What did he/she say?' Subtitles would work.ReplyDelete
Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺
My complaint is mostly for British tv and movies. Their sound mixers haven't a clue and far too often what is supposed to be background or incidental music runs over the top of the dialogue. We frequently put the subtitles on.ReplyDelete
It probably is an age thing. I'm always raising and lowering the volume on our TV. And TVs in different rooms also have differences in volume. I also notice that as I get older I have difficulty tuning out background noise, like in restaurants.ReplyDelete
What bothers me is the volume difference between channels. What's up with that?ReplyDelete
I started turning on close captioning years ago and have never stopped. Now I can't live without it.ReplyDelete
It started because I was watching Doctor Who and had a tough time with the British accents. Now, when I watch TV at someone else's house, I don't get half the jokes because I'm not reading them.
Oh joeh, I am laughing so hard. Lost it completely at "mice steaks". Trust me, what you are hearing is much more fun than the real story.ReplyDelete
I think this all started years ago with Marlon Brando who made mumbling seem artistic.
I have a similar problem. Until your post I was trying to decide if it was just me, or could it be THEM? I'll admit being around aircraft, including screaming jets for all those years, even while wearing hearing protection, has probably done a number on me. But now I feel better knowing it isn't all me. I SAID I FEEL BETTER KNOWING IT ISN'T ALL ME. :)ReplyDelete
I don't watch a show unless it has closed captions & sometimes the captions are funnier than the real dialogue!!ReplyDelete
I hear you!ReplyDelete
The MUMBLERS! I have been recording Dawson's Creek reruns on the POP channel every morning. When I watch them at night, I sometimes have to rewind three or four times to understand what the actors were saying. I'm talkin' about YOU, Joshua Jackson!ReplyDelete
Time to see an audiologist, just admit it.ReplyDelete
My hearing tests normal, and i don't watch TV. When i listen to the radio, i have a hard time hearing the DJs voices, and i found out Sweetie is turning off the midrange! Sometimes it's sabotage.ReplyDelete
Grey's Anatomy, for example - not only do they mumble away, but the "cool music" piped on top of it makes the entire experience a maddening one for me!ReplyDelete
Even if they put the subtitles in, the words are so jumbled and misspelled they don't make any sense. Friday I watched Blue Bloods and still don't know how it ended.ReplyDelete
Yes! Yes! Yes! Exactly! I rarely watch live TV (OK, almost never) because of this annoying phenomenon. It's not that we are hard of hearing - it's what you said. On top of that, flat screen TVs are not exactly known for their sound quality. You really need to add some good soundbar/speakers to the TV. "What did he say? Rewind it!" is a commonly heard expression at our house.ReplyDelete