1/31/11

RVOD150 Improve Your Pronunciation

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

It’s amazing how little I care.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


The title is summary enough.

Summary:

NUCULAR!Fabulous seventies teens gather on a fabulous seventies game show set to correct each other’s common mispronunciations. The fake-ly named Ned Blandford moderates, while jumping in with the occasional correction of his own.

Thoughts:

Is it just me, or is a lot of this short’s advice overly prescriptivist? About half of the supposed wrong pronunciations have to do with regional dialects: that is, they’re considered correct where they’re most widely used. Who are these kids to say otherwise?

Q: Is it entertaining? A: It’s a bunch of teenagers correcting each other’s diction for ten minutes. Yeah, it’s dull and pedantic, no surprise there. The surprise is that it’s not actually coma-inducing, maybe because the kids on display are so self-consciously stilted, imbuing the proceedings with a measure of camp. I guess that’s what perfect pronunciation does for you.

A few favorite comments: While Blandford draws tenuous connections between shyness and poor diction, Bill further extrapolates, “People become typesetters because they hate onions.” As the mispronunciations get more and more ridiculous, Mike says, “Next they get ‘money’ and pronounce it as ‘hedgehog’.” Near the end, Kevin sums up the experience with, “This is like Sesame Street if they replaced the Muppets with ugly people.” Usually they have a vicious barb or two for the latest contestant to mess up a word. Despite the dull subject matter it’s a good, solid, middle-of-the road riff.