Fun with closed captioning

I watch shows on my phone but I have a hearing problem so I always watch with closed captioning so I can understand it.  These are the most baffling screenshots I got from watching Orphan Black last month:

orphan black cc thebloggess

I’m sensing a theme.


And now, the weekly wrap-up:

bloggess sid

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):


This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Wende Mitchell’s new book, Flowers in Winter.  Summary:  Elly MacCalloum isn’t special. And she’s okay with that.  No owls are ever going to bring letters inviting her to attend a magical school. Her wardrobe only has clothes in it. She will never rescue a damsel in distress, lead valiant men into battle, or meet her husband through her inability to keep her shoes on. She has occasionally lost her shoes, though.  Elly is trying to create a normal, happy life for herself. She just isn’t sure what that looks like. While trying to balance her job and her relationship, Elly is also trying to help her friends — brash, opinionated Abby, and sweet, quiet Ryan, whose family refuses to accept him for who he is. As the three of them struggle to define themselves, they must decide what is worth fighting for, and what they should let go.  How do you find your way back to balance?  You should check it out right here.

104 thoughts on “Fun with closed captioning

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I love subtitles. I’m deaf in one ear and have bad tinnitus. Even when I’m alone in my apartment watching a show I’ve watched time and time again I’ll still have the subtitles running. I love that with Netflix and iTunes subtitles are included on most shows.

  2. I absolutely love Orphan Black and their real-life subtitles.
    (The actor who plays Felix says “Felix is gay, but that’s not the most interesting thing about him.”

  3. I’m hard of hearing and have used captioning my whole life. My favourite hiccup was an episode of Star Trek Next Gen on Netflix. It was Riker saying, all stations prepare to board and instead it says All Stations Prepare for a Happy Birthday. I have a screen shot of it, too. 😀

    PS Since I got my new hearing aids 2 weeks ago, I’m less tired because I don’t strain to hear and process information as much – in case you ever feel tired from being in situations where there’s a lot of conversation happening. 🙂

  4. Subtitles are my friend for that reason, and because people have mushmouths. Also for fun, go to Youtube and pick a video in a language you don’t understand and add English subtitles. You’re welcome!

  5. I also have a hearing problem and have to use the subtitles. Some of them are hilarious. I watched a movie called A Dog’s Breakfast and it is ever so more enjoyable with the subtitles.
    The scorpion pouring is my favorite. I had a pair of costume make sneakers with Helena and Pupok painted on them. That scorpion makes me so damn happy.

  6. Well, whatever is happening in that show, at least they appear to be staying hydrated, right? Healthy. And I don’t think I WANT to know what the sound of a scorpion purring is.

  7. I wear a hearing aid and can’t hear even with it in…why do all the screen shots say urinating…were they really peeing or was that stupid close captioning, it is like stupid auto correct..which just tried to auto correct the words auto correct…

  8. i love cc. this is how my young grandson learned how to read. he is in 6th grade and reads at a college level lol

  9. They went to pretty great lengths to give you a realistic experience. I didn’t know scorpions made a sound, so it sounds very educational too.

  10. I love the Closed Captions on YouTube videos. Sometimes they have nothing to do with what is being said.

    (Ocular Typing)

  11. I’m profoundly Deaf, so I rely on closed captioning. Granted, those audio descriptions are sometimes hilarious – who knew scorpions PURRED? Please, can someone hearing check on Youtube or something what noise they actually make? Please, let me know they DON’T purr. Greetings, three cats at home and not wanting to imagine them as giant, furry scorpions.

  12. I looooove helpful closed captioning. I was recently watching Friends and there was this caption for Janis’s laugh: (machine-gun-like-laughter)

    It was the description I never knew I needed. It was the description we all deserved.

  13. Captions are vital to understanding movies from Great Britain. Yeah, they say they speak English. Don’t you believe it. Pop in “The Full Monty,” and you’ll be crab up your yonkers like a treat, boyo.

  14. OMG I love Orphan Black. I wasn’t aware there is a shit load of urinating going on!

  15. Orphan Black is one of my favorites. Tatiana is such a good actress that you can tell when one character is masquerading as another character. But I hadn’t realized how often there was urinating until you showed the snapshots. 🙂

  16. I’m so glad you shared the link to the original spoon theory, because I didn’t know that the author is a Lupus warrior. Our young niece died from complications of Lupus just over a year ago, at age 22.

    My hope is that Maddie had already read this essay at some point in her life.

    My silly wish is that somehow she knows that I’ve now read it too.

  17. I love closed captioning and I’m not even hard of hearing. It is just easier. I don’t miss anything if there are accents. I may have to catch up on Orphan Black.

  18. BBC has the most awesome shows, Last Kingdom, Musketeers, Orphan Black (but what is up with that freaky scorpion…). I wonder if Tatiana Maslany feels like Sybil. Okay I totally just dated myself.

  19. I have a minor hearing issue so I always use closed captioning. The Weather Channel here in Canada is captioned by either someone with an insanely bizarre sense of humour or who is even more deaf than me. I once saw “strong westerly winds” captioned as “shrieking wee windows”. Kind of Harry Potterish, come to think of it.

  20. Not a show I have watched, however the commentary of frequent urination makes me hope they will get that girl tested for stress incontinence soon. 😜

    And one more comment about Booksgiving… I have just finally been able to run to the post office and found all 3 of my hoped for books there. Overwhelmed with thanks to the anonymous person who sent me one of them and also to Ashley N who sent the other 2. You have no idea how much of a blessing this is for me. My husband has always been so incredibly intelligent and strong, and been my rock through 28 years of infertility and miscarriages, depression and being suicidal, PTSD and anxiety and panic attacks, oh my… and also celebrated many, many moments of great joy. Heading into the Alzheimer’s journey where I know I am losing my rock is scary as hell. Knowing there are folks who will give the gift of serious information on coping to this stranger is so unbelievably amazing. Thank you, again and again.

  21. Sarah appears to have bladder control issues. I’d hate to road trip with her.
    Also my daughter ALWAYS has the captioning on everything. I can’t use it (unless it’s some cockney British thing that I can’t quite understand) because I get too distracted and focus on the words instead of the video.
    However, my friend Julie and I like to mute the sound and read the captions aloud in various tones and accents and act out our own version of the movie.

  22. Deaf, but have a cochlear implant which works pretty good, but I still need captions when I watch tv. It’s funny what they decide needs captioning and what doesn’t. Still, scorpions purring?

  23. My brother had a summer internship writing closed captions for porn one summer during college. He kept asking me for “inventive, new ways” to spell “oooh” and “ohhh.” 100% true story.

  24. What has happened to “Kick-ass Stuff I Pinned?” Miss that…

    (It’s in the “stuff I found funny” link. ~ Jenny)

  25. Was watching United States of Tara recently through Amazon and discovered that the person that did the captions for the show didn’t care for cuss words. Nothing like reading creative ways someone decided to try to conceal cuss words to bring to your attention just how much cussing the characters actually do. Pretty entertaining. 🙂

  26. I’m with Jami. I’ve watched every episode and never noticed all the peeing. May have to go back and see what else I’ve missed. Such a great show. My favorites are Alison and Helena. And Felix, of course.

  27. Let’s just be glad that none of the females on Orphan Black have had to change a tampon on the show for any reason. Thinking of the subtitle makes me shudder a bit…

  28. Love closed captions. Have no problem hearing, started using them when our baby was napping, now they’re turned on on our tv all the time.
    One show we watch plays pieces of music and the celebrity contestants have to guess what they are. I like checking out how the people doing the captions deal with that. Sometimes it says “Song 1. . . Song 2” etc, sometimes it’s descriptive “Loud rock music. . . jaunty tune” etc and sometimes there’s a spoilsport captioner who puts the name of the song in the captions as they play it.

  29. Also I am a crazy doll collector but since I always get Blythes confused with Pullips, I already thought that they were jointed

  30. I LOVE Orphan Black…love Felix….
    I don’t know if I have a hearing problem or it’s the ADD but I have to have CC or I miss stuff. Maybe it’s where I read more than watch TV?

    I need to catch up on OB…

  31. i have sensory issues, i NEED the closed captioning to be able to tell what’s being said. my hearing is still teenagery, and i am 52. (i can hear the mosquito buzz ringtones, my son tried to have texting at the table and i busted him LOL)

    we have a big flatscreen tv mounted on the wall in the living room, and i had FOUR different people try to set up the CC on it when we got it, 3 years ago. nope, nada, no working. about 2 months ago, it spontaneously started working. TheEngineer wanted to turn it off again and i told him “not if you want me to watch tv in here with you!”

    electronics are funny things.

  32. I love subtitles. I watch movies and tv shows with subtitles on even if I don’t need them. It either clarifies the whole show or makes it more confusing. Either way it adds to the entertainment value. Now I would love to hear what a Scorpio purr is.

    PS I just found your blog because I finished reading Furiously Happy. I just want to say thank you. I related to way too much of what your wrote about. I really look forward to more of your writing and picking up your first book as soon as I have some extra money. Now I’m done with the his awkward post.

  33. Yay!! Furiously Happy is required reading in college class. America may be saved!

    Closed captioning is the reason my children live.

    And why I know how to say ‘trailer house’ in Spanish. (‘My Name is Earl’ with the captioning in Spanish for Spanish class extra help 🙂

  34. Have you read “Buddha’s Brain?” It’s a great book on how to rewire your own brain for happiness. Which sounds odd, when I write it.

  35. I always watch Orphan Black with the captions on. So funny at times. And I can turn the volume way down so it’s not so intense to watch, although I still close my eyes when the action gets too dark and perilous.

    Grateful you’ve come up with a tidy solution for the human finger storage problem. When my great-grandad died in 1974 we forgot to put his severed pinky finger (hatchet accident) in his casket. It has been in a jar in my grandad’s kitchen since then. Grandad is now 93, so he says we have to remember to put the finger in a jar in HIS casket when he goes. I have little faith anyone will remember this time either. I don’t want the finger, and I don’t want it in my casket. I’m the oldest grandchild, so that’s a lot of pressure.

    Oliver Sacks is my favorite writer of things clinical. He is compassionate and humane. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat has been one of my insomnia must-reads for 25 years.

  36. I am screaming a little that you are watching our little Canadian yarn! The subtitles are brilliant!
    They are reminding me of my university roommates story from when she was teaching in Mexico. She went to see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure which was dubbed in Spanish and subtitled in English. Whenever they guys said “shwing ” the subtitles said ” erection, erection”.

  37. My friend does closed captioning for a living. Often porn. He is not happy about this.

  38. Ok seriously, is there excessive urinating happening or is it a typo? If someone doesn’t comment this will go on record as the strangest reason to start watching a new series (to confirm characters urination habits)

  39. Subtitles are half the fun! You should try Z. Nation subtitled. So many zombie ies, so much “splorch”-ing.

  40. My daughter and I often used closed captioning when we can’t quite catch the dialog. Especially when it’s fast-paced or loud “back-ground” music/sounds. That kinda freaks me out about the “urinating” captions – maybe the people in the shows we watch don’t pee? You don’t often see (urinating) in the captions to Pride & Prejudice. I don’t think they did that back then….LOL

  41. I love me some Orphan Black, don’t get me wrong (and never thought about all the peeing, either), but why is no one expressing love for the History of Japan?!?! That was great! Thanks for sharing that ADD bit of brilliance.

  42. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat is totally awesome. I miss Oliver Sacks already. I am really thankful that I actually got to hear him speak in San Francisco in the eighties.

  43. We are such twinsies. I have a bad case of “What did he say”?
    I can hear, but it takes my brain a while to interpret what I’ve heard because of my autoimmune neurological stuff, so I use closed captions whenever possible.
    The most annoying? When the captions don’t match what they’re actually saying. I don’t want an approximation, captioners, I want ALL THE WORDS.

  44. Jenny, I just discovered moonmoon thanks to you and laughed so hard that I cried…and this on a really, really hard day. So thank you (yet again)…good Karma is zooming your way.

  45. With all that urinating going on, I really wanted the last one to be “sigh of relief.” I’m also not sure what “sighs in disbelief” means. Is that like a sigh of exasperation? Like, OMG, I can’t even believe how thickheaded you are? Or is “sighs in disbelief” what you say when you forget the word “gasps”?

  46. I just love Orphan Black! Now I’m going to have to try it with the subtitles turned on, too! I wish my right ear could hear as well as my left one – or, at all, really.

  47. Sigh, I love orphan black. Very realistic – people have to pee often when running from the mad scientists who cloned them!

  48. I love that book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. It made me a little worried for my brain though. PS–Sarah sure urinates a lot, and obviously loudly. I think she needs to get tested for infection or something.

  49. Having a hubby who is 80% deaf we use captions all the time and I remember an old commercial from around 2000 that had a puppy peeing and it clearly stated “puppy urinating sfx” and we would laugh because it was the only one like that at the time!

  50. For real fun with captions watch a live show being captioned. I alternately cringe and feel sorry for whoever has to type that fast and I think, yeah, I’d mipmissspellmisspelmisspell a lot of words too.

  51. I will never forget the time that Netflix accidentally put captions from “Californication” on the (short-lived) Jonas Brothers show. Somewhere in my digital files, I have a screenshot of Kevin, Nick, and Joe walking down the hallway of a school and underneath, the line says “You have done some fucked up shit in your time.”

  52. I used to work with an elderly woman who had CC on her TV and was always shocked at what would come up on the screen. How on earth do folks who have no hearing understand what the heck is happening in a show when the CC is so messed up? I have often wondered who is doing the writing? My husband used to be a court reporter and they had these machines that printed out shorthand symbols and as a court reporter you had to be good enough to catch every word that was uttered. Then you had to transcribe it all back to English. It was a very stressful job. My bro-in-law was a court reporter for war crimes at Den Hague so he had not only accents and poor English to contend with but the atrocities of what went on.
    Out of work court reporters would be excellent CC writers. I wonder if CC writers get paid or if it is volunteer work?
    I sure could use CC when watching shows where the folks have accents….I miss so much of what they say!

  53. I love closed captioning; I have trouble with voices sometimes, plus there’s rarely a time when it’s quiet in my house AND I want to watch Netflix.

  54. I’m watching back episodes of Vikings online and sometimes I have to turn on the subtitles because apparently accents are a totally different language to me. Sometimes I see this as the subtitle: ***. It’s like the transcriber just gave up.

  55. I’m born with slight hearing loss so I hate it when actors are mumbling or have a stupid accent. I should give this show a try.

  56. The history of Japan video is hilarious and great. Do they have more?
    All we need is that and Drunk History and we’re set for a highly-educated set of history buffs in this dang place.

  57. What the hell are you WATCHING that’s so focused on pee?? And is a purring scorpion like a growling spider? Clearly I’m on the wrong channel…
    (as usual, really).

  58. For all of you non-Orphan Black watchers wondering about scorpions purring… That’s actually a pretty accurate CC… The scorpion is a figment of Helena’s crazy-ass imagination, and talks to her… not surprisingly, also voiced by Tatiana Maslany.

  59. Hahaha the captions are pretty great. Also – that video on the history of japan was hilarious!!

  60. I loved the History of Japan as well. Trying to imagine what the equivalent History of the US would be — or even more fun, the History of the UK — all that empire-building and then shrinking, hehehehe.

  61. My mom watches movies with the subtitles on and it drives me bananas. I have a problem with distraction, so I just cannot concentrate when too much is going on. So, a movie I would normally be totally into, catching all the little nuances and easter eggs and whatever other parts of the plot that are important to note, I miss completely when I trying to read the movie along with watching it. It just freaks me out. I’m the same way with so many things- I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or what. When I was a kid, they tested my hearing over and over. It turns out, I’m not hard of hearing- in fact I can hear quite well when people really don’t want things overheard- but if anything distracts me from paying full attention to what I should be listening to, then I miss half of what is said. ADD, I guess?

  62. My new goal in life: be required reading for a school somewhere. If that wasn’t already on your bucket list, I would add it just so you can cross it off. I know I would. Congrats!

  63. OK, second-to-last picture: Am I the only one who sees a creepy face projected onto her sweatshirt?

  64. This is why I always look for captions labeled “English” instead of “English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”, because I really don’t want to read sound effects. :-/

  65. I just had a chance to watch the History of Japan video, and now I want whoever made that to explain all the history of all the things, because that was awesome. And educational!

  66. Never watched the show, read the closed captions, looked at the pictures.
    Had a flashback to Saturday nights in high school – Urinating, groaning, urinating, vomiting, urinating….” sighs in disbelief”.

  67. I’m very confused about the scorpion purr. Is this, like, a sign of happiness? Or is it a sign that the mother-fucker is about to end me? I’m guessing the latter, which leads me to believe that scorpions are basically cats’ first cousin, since I’ve long claimed that a purring cat is a cat that’s really just two seconds from eating off your face.
    Scorpion purring. That’s just silly. Now, I wish I knew what a scorpion urinating sounded like, but I’m guessing you can tell me sooner rather than later, as pissing is all sorts of up in this show’s business.

  68. OMG! Okay, so I couldn’t get the scorpion purr out of my brain, so I went to the Interwebs to see if I could figure it out. UM, you neglected to tell us the KEY PART of this awesome purring scorpion. The scorpion also actually TALKS.
    Like, I typed in “scorpion purring,” and this was the first link that came up:
    And then, AND THEN, they talk about the scorpion’s purring: “I had this idea that the scorpion would kind of purr, partly like a cat and a velociraptor.”
    OMG! Why am I not watching the show where the imaginary scorpion spirit animal purrs like a scary ass ancient bird?!?

  69. We love on Once Upon a Time when they pull out a heart from someone’s chest close captioning says “squish”. 🙂

    Also I wish I could show that video of Japan to my 8 year old!

  70. Although I have acute hearing (which is NOT always a blessing) and keep the volume at 1, 2, or 3, I have closed captioning on at all times in case my noisy neighbours suddenly drown out the dialogue, and… very important… I must always be prepared for when someone phones and I ‘need’ to know what’s being said on TV after I push the mute button. 😄

  71. Apparently, I can’t post a picture, or I would, but I was watching a baseball game when the closed captions said “That’s where you get the breast cancer on the curve.” The imagery is too horrible to be very funny, and I can’t even remember what the announcer was actually saying. Probably “best something”, but I have no idea what.

  72. There’s a lot of urinating and vomiting in Orphan Black. I did closed captioning for a while. Any words you see on the bottom of the screen when you watch “Escanaba in the Moonlight” is me. And I know that I definitely submitted a scene that included “REUBEN SOADY FLINGS DEER PISS OFF THE ROOF” so Orphan Black clearly has a better vetting process for their closed captioners. Because Helena does A LOT OF WEIRD SHIT.

  73. they’re CLONES, Jenny. if ONE has a small bladder, they ALL have a small bladder.

  74. hi!,I love your writing so much! share we communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this house to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Having a look ahead to look you.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: