Lately I have been annoyed by fast talkers on television shows I watch. What is up with this phenomenon? Why do actors and writers think this is a good idea? Do people sound like this in real life? I don't think so.
The biggest offender is Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I actually don't know why I continue to watch this show. I put it on grudgingly, and feel like I am punishing myself the entire time I watch. I just don't find anything enjoyable about this show. But one of the least-enjoyable aspects is the fast talking. I know that this is a Sorkin trademark, and I thought it worked well on The West Wing. But I don't think it does on Studio 60. It just makes everything seem horribly unrealistic. People just don't talk like that in real life. Whenever the characters start getting into fast-talking mode, all I can think is "oh, they are fast-talking again." It makes the acting seem so obvious, which is probably not what they are going for, right?
The offender of late is a favorite, Veronica Mars. This season has been a lot weaker than the first two (Percy, do you still go to Hearst?), and Veronica is becoming more of a caricature with every episode. When she was in high school, with her best friend murdered, her boyfriend dumping her without explanation, her mother abandoning her, her father losing his job and her friends ignoring her, her sarcasm made good sense. It was a facade she put on to protect herself. Plus, she was just a little snarkier than the average person, which was fine--she was making fun of everyone around her. But although her life has improved markedly since season one, she has only become snarkier and more sarcastic. It seems that she should be dropping the defense mechanism just a little at this point. More jarring is her banter with Keith, which has jumped from "cute and charming" to "unrealistic and weird." Veronica advising Keith to thrust toward the bachelorette, complete with a demonstration, was a little odd for a father-daughter. And her whole "tough guy accent" when Keith walks in, keeping it up even when he is clearly down, just seems too put-on.
Interestingly, The Gilmore Girls has been doing the fast talking thing for years, and it never really bothers me. I think it's because the only fast talkers are Rory and Lorelai, and I just write it off as a familial trait that they share. It does strike me sometimes, but it never really bothers me. As a disclaimer, I have never been a regular watcher of the show--I just watch it if it is on when I am flipping the channels--so maybe if I watched more often it would bother me just as much.