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The Joys of Closed Captioning

June 30, 1997

I would like to introduce you to a feature on your television that is loads of fun and if you bought a TV in the last few years it most likely has it. This activity is watching TV with the "Closed Caption" feature turned on.

Like most people I have really never played with the closed captioning feature before. To me it was a great tool for the hearing impaired, and a handy feature when watching TV in a noisy bar, but I never really considered using it in the past.

I made this discovery when I was waiting a very long time to have a prescription filled. It seems that I developed some sort of eye infection that mostly affects small children and I would guess a select few new contact lens wearers that when confronted with the daily chore of wearing said lenses, seem to be blissfully free of the ravages of intelligence required to actually wear them without incident. It was taking a very long time to actually get the prescription filled so being an electronics geek I stumbled over to the electronics section of the store so I could kick tires and hassle store people over products I would never actually buy from them. I had to put up with this for years when I sold computers and electronics and now I was ready to inflict a little pain.

As one typically expects these days, not a salesperson was to be found on the sales floor, so instead of hassling them instead I acted like I might be a customer with a bundle of cash and I stared at the large wall of TV screens that were running the movie, "Toy Story." Some of the TV screens were playing Toy Story with the closed captioning titles turned on. It was really funny.

In addition to the dialogue, the closed captioning was also describing the noises and the emotions in brackets. Woody would shake something and on the screen you would see [SHAKING SOUND] flash across the screen. When Woody opens up Buzz Lightyear's space helmet and starts choking, you see [CHOKING SOUND] flash beneath Buzz. As Buzz continues to choke, [CHOKING CONTINUES] pops on the screen.

I am telling you that this is quite funny. The next time you are watching some movie or a TV show, please oh please do yourself a favor and turn on the closed captioning. Pick a sitcom or an action thriller over the news. There is very few times when a newscaster will start to choke and[CHOKING CONTINUES] will flash beneath Tom Brokaw. With Sitcoms and action pack dramas you might see [MOCK SERIOUSNESS], [GUNSHOT] or [A SOUND SORT OF LIKE HUMAN FLESH BEING SUCKED OFF THE BONE].

Happy trails.

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