Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Crap dialogue is what I’m talking about


With Jerry Seinfeld entering the gladiatorial ring with a NYT critic over whether “Really?” is over-used by comedy writers, I feel I cannot continue to remain silent about the laziest, most over-used line of dialogue in the arsenal of tv and movie writers: “What are you talking about?” It’s everywhere, but like those circles drawn in the corner of the frame to signal reel-changes in movies from the days when there were still reel-changes, you don’t notice them until you start noticing them (I think it was an episode of Columbo that pointed those out to me) and then you can’t stop noticing them until they fade into the background again. Also, there’s a thing many actresses do with a certain facial feature that is so weird and so distracting once it’s pointed out to you that I will do you the favor of not doing so. I first noticed “What are you talking about?” on “24,” when Jack Bauer snapped it at someone literally every single episode (sometimes more than once) and Chloe every other episode, but then I realized it was everywhere.

Has anybody ever said “What are you talking about?” to someone else in real life? Have you?

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1 comment:

John Perich said...

I've said it rhetorically, but never literally. Someone says some nonsense and I stare at them bug-eyed: "What are you," etc. But I never say that as a literal request for clarification.