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Concerning the speed of dialog in sitcoms and drama.

 
 
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2021 06:14 am
It's probably that I'm old and slowing down and can't process speech as quickly as I used to.

I started watching a series called, Being Erica, about a woman magically jumping back and reliving portions of her prior life where she made decisions or did things she now regrets, or didn't do things that she wished she had and has a chance to change those decisions and actions.

I'm having a problem with the speed of the dialogue. It's so fast that I can't keep up with it especially since I have to use closed captioning. Are these people thinking that fast where they don't have to pause an instant in to think about an adequate response. They sound like they're repeating their lines very quickly and not actually thinking about what they're saying. Is this bad acting or are they just required to respond very quickly in order to cram all the material within the limited 43 minute time constraint of the episode.

This reminds me of some black and white crime dramas, detective movies of the 40s. Men, probably detectives, were dressed up in suits and ties and fedoras facing each other and rapidly responding to each other's comments like machine guns going ratatatatatatatatata. And then the immediate response, without any pause for reflection whatsoever, was the same machine gun staccato faster than the mind could possibly think. It was just terrible acting without any emotion or feeling at all. Of course there was no time for emotion, they were busy solving crimes at a rate that Monk could not have possibly imagined. 10 times faster, as if they were motivated by the heavy use of amphetamines necessary for solving crimes.

But we're talking about, Being Erica, the series. Now, Erica has a lot of female friends, and they all talk just as fast as she does, and they're all bubbly happy and they all have the exact same personality. It reminds me of some current game shows on television where all the contestants have the same happy, outgoing personalities.

I guess that's the difference between a movie and a series. A movie has an indeterminate length to start off, and they can edit and cut and splice so the actors have the freedom to interpret the script at whatever speed they feel they need to. With a series you're presented with a script that you have to fit into a prescribed time, it seems like 43 minutes or so. Does the director have the freedom to cut lines and swatches of lines or words in order to make the dialogue more effective? Probably not.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2021 06:22 am
I've noticed in recent years that people tend to quickly jabber these days. Especially on shows like The Talk. I haven't watched the movie you mentioned but I know what you mean.
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2021 06:38 am
@coluber2001,
Just a crazy thought, but some playback apps have a feature where you can turn the speed to 1.5x normal for people who are too busy to enjoy something properly. (I must say I've used this feature myself once or twice.) Make sure your playback speed is not higher than it should be.
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tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2021 11:03 am
@coluber2001,
I don't have a problem with dialog in sitcoms when it's English. But I've run across English-subtitled Japanese anime (especially comedies) which are difficult to follow with the rapid transition of English subtitles when one or more characters are speaking in rapid succession.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2021 11:59 am
@coluber2001,
My hearing has also gone south, and speed of dialog is just as hard for me. I've also noticed that more people mumble. If you mention your hearing problem, about all you can hope for is that they mumble a little louder.
coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2021 02:45 am
@roger,
My hearing has gone South long time ago on and I always use closed captioning when watching television or cell phone or whatever.

I was referring to the speed of dialog in a particular sitcom I was watching. The high rate of speech and lack of pause between responses of characters seems like they're trying to cram in the whole script in a constrained period of time, 43 minutes. Or maybe my metabolism has slowed down and I need to drink about three cups of tea before watching it.

I prefer to think it's bad acting and directing when characters talk so fast and respond so fast without pause or thinking like they're all on cocaine or amphetamine.
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Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2021 02:40 pm
Years ago, the sitcom Will and Grace was infamous for unintelligible dialogue or muffled conversation issues. They either talked at the same time or in the case the actor spoke machine gun like pace and trailed off at the end of a sentence. It was quite noticeable so I just shut it off. Then there were the various cop shows that did this.

So I’ve noticed this all since I turned 100 years old seriously, I never have troubles like this in person. I often change my audio setting in my entertainment system to favor speech. This helps. Of course, switching to subtitle helped too. As a side benefit I now have a fair understanding of Swedish language, as a result of doing this.
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