I have mentioned before that I have difficulty with my hearing. Usually I can start the day with what you may call normal hearing, but by the time the sun sets I am straining to make out your typical inside voice. Luckily GM is a hard of hearing gal as well so we crack each other up yelling out pleasantries and Jeopardy answers.
One of my bigger hurdles is dealing with television programs with shitty closed captioning. Sometimes the misspelling and lameness of the caption server can completely distract me from the program itself. This was never more apparent than a few months ago when I watched VH-1’s World Series of Pop Culture with some friends. I am quite used to being teased for having old lady hearing, but when your friends are over reading the craptastic captioning it can get hilarious. Whoever was in charge with the captioning for this program was just plain crazy. “King of Pop” became “ming of poop”…ok, I can’t remember what the exact infractions were, but trust me, they were that bad.
Some captioning services actually sensor for you. For instance in a recent episode of the show Bones the word “bastard” was replaced with “…”. I just imagine this meek and shy plain Jane feeling mighty smug at sparing the hearing impaired with what she deemed as bad language.
Other stations have overly enthusiastic captioning. Every single sound is spelled out: “door opens” is quickly followed by “door closes”. The worst is when they type “footsteps” and then follow with some random descriptive word such as “scary” or “ominous”. I get that those specifics are for the true hearing impaired, but it does seem like too much.
Since I am bitching about some of the bad services I should point out that there is a program that has the BEST and dare I say, poetic, closed captioning I have ever seen. House. If you don’t watch this program already you should. It kicks ass.
If you already watch the show and are looking for a new way to enjoy it try turning on your closed captioning. Points are given for the accuracy and speed of the captioning, but the beauty is how they describe the music sequences. Here are the descriptions from this week’s episode:
Even though I can hear the transitions, there is something so profound about seeing the words “pensive music” on the screen.
(By the way, I tried to watch this new show the other night called 3 lbs. It is CBS’s version of House. I lasted five minutes before switching the channel. Everything about it is a rip off: the snarky and emotionally unavailable doctor, his staff of eager to please residents, even the way the cases are presented. Skip it.)