Sunday, November 3, 2013

Race Announcer Cliches, Translated

Here's a post that seems appropriate for the end of the racing season.

It would be a fine thing if there were a way to mute TV race reporters and color commentators without muting the sounds of the race.  Aside from breaking news, there is very little to say about a race that hasn't been said countless times.  Attentive viewers can suss out 80% of what's going on without being told.  Here's a Short Dictionary Of Hype & Dissembling: what announcers say, and what they really mean.

"This track is great if you get it right; but if you get it wrong, it will bite you."  We never describe a course as a boring turkey.  We're hoping to provide you with plenty disintegrating carbon fiber and bent aluminum.

"XYZ Racing is off the pace, but they've been working hard on getting more speed and reliability into the car."  They haven't got a clue.

"Whoa!  That was a brave move!"  The overtaking driver got away with it.

"Whoa!  That was a brave move!"  The overtaken driver was points-racing and gave the corner away.

"Well, as you can see from our pit lane interviews, Ricky Bobby looks at it one way, and Jean Luc sees it differently.  You've seen the tape.  So maybe it was just one of those racing incidents."  The overtaking driver didn't get away with it.  The commentator doesn't want to burn any bridges because he needs interviews from both teams for the rest of the season.

"Here's the in-car!  We've been talking about Cajones-Grandes's handling problems.  Let's ride along through these bends to telestrate and analyze."  The Director is about to cut to five mid-pack cars running like a train.

"We'll go side-by-side for this commercial break, so you don't miss a thing."  The window will be 15% of your home screen size, and something big, best seen in a tight shot, is about to happen.

"Well, as you saw while we were away..."  See above.  Sometimes we cut to a commercial just before scheduled pit stops, to aggravate you.

"Webber has driven a brilliant race, but he's losing half a second per lap to Vettel.  And he still needs to change to the super-softs to meet the rules.  I'd call him in now.  Would you call him in, Steve?"  AS IF Red Bull team management would call Webber in to improve his chances of winning the race, with Vettel's World Championship on the line.  We're just fooling with you newbie race viewers.

"Those Goodstonemichelellis are great race tires.  You'd love a set of their street tires on your car.  We haven't had a problem all season.  So I'm sure these failures are due to track conditions or debris."  Uh oh... the tire manufacturer brought the wrong compounds.  

"Well, you can clearly see a dry line developing, but it's still pretty wet out there and the clouds haven't parted."  Timing-wise, changing from wets to drys is always a crap shoot.  We don't have a clue.  Some teams will change tires before others, but none of them are about to tell our pit reporters.  Oh, and this would be a good time to cut to a commercial.

"The pit window is 18 to 19 laps."  It's 16 to 21 laps.

"Here's a clip."  Another yellow flag!  This race is boring beyond belief.  Our ratings are in free fall.  Maybe we can keep you from channel-surfing or mowing the lawn by running a canned, cliche-ridden feature.

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