You never know how a perfectly placed typo in closed captioning can completely alter the message.
Many years ago, when I first moved to L.A., I was working at a temp agency and they wanted to send me out to a closed captioning job. I figured I was up to it — I type pretty quickly and mildly accurately.
The closed captioning company had the temp agency administer a special typing test; I guess you get burned by enough trumped up “117 WPM!” resumes, you get more careful. And I bombed it. I was putting down about 70 words per minute but made a lot of mistakes — my fingers were particularly sausage-y that day, I guess — and that knocked me down just under their threshold.
The point of all this SHOULD be that closed captioning is really difficult and we should forgive a few mistakes here and there. But I’m oddly vindictive about the whole experience — so instead of being understanding and gracious, I choose to escalate. Here are 11 incredible closed caption disasters by people who just couldn’t handle swimming with the sharks.
1 | Now stepping in for the Tampa Bay Rays..
I don’t know Carlos Pena, but he can’t be that bad of a guy. I’d give him a Hugo Chavez at worst, David Palmer at best.
2 | John McCain has whaaaa?
Ya know, they say seniors have the fastest STD growth rate of any population segment because they adamantly refuse to use condoms. Or as they call them, Frenchmen’s Burden.
3 | He’s looking for sperm
I have no idea what the actual intention of this sentence was supposed to be. I DO know these fighters must be wildly disappointed that after all the training, the suffering, and the sacrifice, the only iconic image from this fight is the moment the screen talked about “semen” when they were in a Kama Sutra-esque man pretzel.
4 | Tennis for the deaf
This pretty much sums up the game of tennis in five words. It also sums up a 1960s Batman episode in five words, although I would’ve thrown in a “ka-pow” and probably a “bort.”
5 | The Law & Order theme, explained
It’s certainly an accurate caption… but mostly made me sore over Christopher Meloni leaving SVU. The theme song may SOUND like funky mystery music, but when I watch Stabler-less episodes, the only song I’m hearing is Cinderella’s Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).
6 | Tough break for Chan Gailey during his first day on the job
I mean, coaching the Bills is traumatic but it’s not THAT traumatic, right?
7 | Cash Cab and Coke
There really isn’t any excuse for this error, since this isn’t live TV — meaning someone had time to slowly type this and still messed up. (Although I’m not one to talk, as I make at least one egregious error per list that manages to slip through my 25 seconds of proofreading.)
I probably wouldn’t have noticed this Cash Cab mistake live; when I watch game shows, my sole focus is on blurting out answers as quickly as possible. My reaction would’ve been: “Cuba Libre! Of course! Who doesn’t know that? Fools, that’s who. My GOD I’m good at trivia. I should apply for Jeopardy again or, at the very least, go play bar trivia one night this week. Frankly, I’m depriving society by NOT doing that. Oh, it says cock on the screen. Ha.”
8 | Refried Penis
I’ve eaten plenty of refried beans whose flavor would’ve been *improved* by getting a quick flash fry in some refried penis.
9 | Desperate Housewives
I stopped watching Desperate Housewives partially through the first season, but I can only assume from this screenshot that the overarching mystery has transitioned from the murder of Sue Ellen Mischke to the Case of the Missing Vagina.
10 | Fire is an aphrodisiac (like oysters and Ginuwine)
I know they meant “evacuating”… but in theory, people *were* ejaculating from the area in an abstract sense of the word.
11 | I don’t like those eyes
This was legitimately in the closed captioning. (Topical humor. Spot on.)