Monday, December 04, 2006

Lost in Translation (Part II): The Hungarian Chuck Norrisz

We never had TV in New York, just a lot of DVDs. Here we watch TV in very small doses. There are two English channels, CNN and BBC News. After five minutes they get depressing or start talking stocks. After 9 pm, Turner Classic Movies shows WW II movies and Westerns. The rest is Hungarian. Mind you, there’s not much original Hungarian television, except:

--20 Hungarian News and Politics channels, handy in a riot
--A Hungarian “Newlyweds” reality knockoff (Most Boring Ever)
--A sketch comedy show starring 5 wacky transvestites
-- Hungarian music television. Features touchingly wholesome hip-hop videos. Hungarian rap videos are still about putting on some big pants, shaking some ass, and smiling for the people. Hungarian rappers have not yet started to dress in Gucci and lounge around rented Frank Lloyd Wright houses, rap in a haute couture fashion show, drive a steam roller around Toyko, or rap in a space ship.

The rest of Hungarian TV comes from Spain or France or Germany or America, and is either nonverbal (opera, sports, Canadian Candid Camera) or dubbed into Hungarian. Oh My God, you guys. There is SO MUCH television dubbed into Hungarian. Hungarian Simpsons, Hungarian I Love the 80’s, Hungarian Sex and the City, Hungarian Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Hungarian Alien vs. Predator! And shows I’ve never seen before, including:

--A soft-core porn show about topless girls running around a rent-a-mansion. It’s shown on prime-time TV. We call it “Sluthouse.”
--There’s also “Sluthouse: Bloopers!” (Its actual name is “Naked and Funny.”) Guys, imagine you went to the doctor’s office, and she asked you to undress, and when you turned around the doctor was a naked lady! What capers!
--“Sluthouse: The Obstacle Course!” which I’m not going to bother to explain.

The point I’m making here is that the Hungarian dubbing industry has got to be huge. I mean, gigantic. They dub EVERYTHING, and their dubbing is GOOD. People speak for the right amount of time, they interrupt eachother at the right moments, there’s no disconnect between image and sound. At times I’ve caught myself thinking “Wow, Sigourney Weaver is Hungarian! I didn’t kn—…oh.” Or even, “Morgan FREEMAN is Hungarian?”

The other night we were at the bar with a 21-year-old Hungarian pal, Peter, and dubbing came up.


OUR ACTUAL CONVERSATION WITH PETER

Sarah: Hungarian dubbing is amazing! If I was Hungarian I would become a voice-over artist.
Peter: Yes, but it is not so easy, you know? Every actor he has only one man who says his voice on the television.
Sarah: Wait, what? Explain.
Peter: For example, who is this man, he is in the car, it talks, and it is so fast, so loud.
Rick: Night Rider?
Peter: Yes, and the man he drive it The Night Rider?
Rick: David Hasselhoff?
Peter: Yes! Yes! He is to have only one man, only one Hungarian actor who is to say his things. If another voice say it, the people they do not accept. They say “What is this? This is not sound like The Night Rider!” Because he is the voice of this David Hasselhoff, this Hungarian actor, one man, only one man. And if David Hasselhoff is in another show, like this show where they are always run, so slow, so slow?
Rick: Baywatch?
Peter: Yes! Yes! This voice is same voice, same man, Hungarian man, from The Night Rider.
Sarah: So every American actor has their own Hungarian voice doppelganger?
Peter: I don’t know this word.
Sarah: When someone looks just like someone else? Like a double? Like a twin?
Peter: I am very drunk.
Sarah: Like I look the same as you? We look the same? We sound the same?
Peter: Oh, I see what you are say. Not all actors, but say Robert…DeNiro. Or Keanu Reeves.
Rick: (trying to speak simply for Peter, who is very drunk) In America, David Hasselhoff, he is like joke.
Peter: Yes! Yes!
Rick: But like, joke of country. National Joke.
Peter: Also in Hungary. But here, in Hungary, we have special kind of joke, we say always about one actor…it is very funny…always one man, so many jokes…this actor...do you know Walker Ranger in Texas?
Sarah: Walker Texas Ranger?
Peter: Yes! Yes!
Rick: You mean Chuck Norris?
Peter: Chuck Norris! We make it the joke about Chuck Norris, all the time, so many jokes about this Chuck Norris, in Hungary. I don’t know why it is this man, this Chuck Norris, but his eyes are like suns, and his fists are like the bomb, and so many things. Everything! He do it everything this Chuck Norris. He like God. Chuck Norris like the Jesus!
Sarah: Tell us a Chuck Norris joke!
Peter: I don’t know in English, but, you know you count to one million, count it beyond, count it beyond, count it beyond, so many times? You cannot stop the numbers they go they go?
Sarah: Infinity?
Peter: Yes! Yes! Chuck Norris, he count it to Infinity three times.

At this point Peter started to explain there was a government contest to name a new Budapest bridge, and they asked people to vote on the internet for someone to name the new bridge after. The most popular choices were Chuck Norris and Eric Cartman (from South Park). Then Stephen Colbert got involved and won. I can’t believe I never heard about this. I’ll try to find out more and post it for you. Chuck Norris: spanning Buda and Pest.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh yes, the Colbert segment with Ambassador Simonyi is here: http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/?lnk=v&ml_video=75462
it's hillarious!
(this was right before all the riots & scandals, so it got a bit lost in the news here, i think :)

jgs said...

The Chuck Norris bridge would not span the danube to connect Buda and Pest... it would go the long way, all around the world and back but 40 Million times faster. because Chuck Norris would be personally roundhouse kick every car and pedestrain across it.

that's not as terse as a good chuck norris joke should be. but you get the idea.

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Anonymous said...

We build statues out of snow and weep to see them melt.