How I ruined The Drew Carey Show for myself


A couple of days ago, I ran into a friend’s younger sister. I recognized her mainly through family resemblances, since our previous meeting a couple of years ago had been fairly fleeting. “We’ve met once before,” I said, shaking her hand. “Peter.”

“I was just about to say that!” she exclaimed. “Did you see? I was just about to make a p sound.” She puckered her lips. “Puh. Puh. Puh. See?”

“I think you were just trying to kiss me,” would have been the slick thing to say. (She was smoking hot.) “You were definitely articulating a bilabial stop,” was the linguistic thing to say, which I actually said. “Could have been buh, though.”

“Of course!” she said. “Like I know,” she laughed in an I’m-just-an-actress way. (She’s a smoking-hot actress.) In case you’re worried about me at this point, feel free to imagine that I subsequently told several witty jokes and charmed the entire family. (I in fact did.)

This comes to mind because I was watching a first-season episode of The Drew Carey Show earlier today. In the first season, the show’s theme was a recording of “Moon over Parma” sung by Carey himself, which was accompanied by a crude animated Carey singing along. I noticed something a little off about the lip synching: Every time the animated Drew sings the p in “Parma”, he bites his lower lip. That indicates a labiodental fricative sound such as f or v, the former being more likely, since it’s voiceless, as is p. So he’s really singing “Moon over Farma“. I will never, ever be able to watch The Drew Carey Show again without this phonetic error bothering me.

(Yes, I do happen to have a second-edition text of Contemporary Linguistic Analysis beside me as I write this, but it’s a coincidence; I pulled it out of a pile of books last night because I thought it’d be fun to review. Think what you will of me.)

(Also, I looked all over YouTube trying to find a video of the “Moon over Parma” opening in order to illustrate my point, but to no avail. By way of compensation, I decided to give you the far superior complete opening sequence from when the theme was changed to “Five O’Clock World” by the Vogues. But lo and behold, when I previewed it, tacked onto the end was a bit of the “Moon over Parma” sequence! So, there you go — the best of both worlds [although the audio-video synchronization seems a little off]. Just to be a completist, I might as well throw in the full opening from when the show used “Cleveland Rocks” by the Presidents of the United States of America as its theme, because it’s a pretty kickin’ opening sequence too. You know, for a show I’ll never be able to really enjoy again.)

2 Responses to “How I ruined The Drew Carey Show for myself”

  1. 1 Jason

    Found your blog recently and found the writing amusing so my OCDness is forcing me to read back through the entire thing to glean all the funny it contains. I don’t know if you are notified of new comments on such old posts but oh well. I hope to reconcile your dismay on future viewings of Drew Carey reruns. I think the lip-biting occurs for the word ‘over’ prior to ‘Parma’. The lip biting also occurs when ‘Cleveland’ and ‘silvery’ are the lyrics sung. I hope you are able to convince yourself of the same thing and that I was able to save ‘The Drew Carey Show’ for you.

  2. 2 Peter Lynn

    Yay! You saved it for me!

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