Quoting is an art form

Brenna McNamara

A recent behavioral development began as an addiction, sometimes becomes an annoyance and currently embodies a newfound personal skill. This development is my habit of speaking in different voices, particularly the Australian, ghetto-fabulous, British and Southern accents.

Granted, sometimes I get the accents wrong and sound like I have a speech impediment. One second I sound like an Aussie, and the next like Blanche from “Golden Girls.”More importantly, strangers are thrown off when I throw an odd manner of speech into conversation as if it weren’t weird at all.

Disregarding the phenomena of the accents’ melding, making it sound like I reign from an imaginary melting-pot country, these accents have granted me the power to become something I have always wanted to be: a quoter. As much as I love good movies and television shows, I always seem to be out of the loop when quotes get thrown around. I can never throw that clincher back into conversation, solidifying my love for the movie or TV show.

Because I’m a visual learner, usually the only way I can remember a quote is by having closed captions on while watching.

Conversations about movies or television usually go like this for me:

Me: “Oh, I love that movie.”

Other person: Well, I actually can’t complete this dialogue because of my inability to quote. But the other person surely would throw out a quote like a fastball, and I’d fumble and drop it if it didn’t simply hit me in the face.

I find, though, that outlandish TV characters make the art of quoting easier. Shows like “Summer Heights High,” “The Office,” “Eastbound and Down” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” place the fastball in my hands. I’d take this ability any day, even if it means these voices stick in my daily speech.

I think my ability to keep up with dialog from shows like these has roots in the ridiculous characters that make quoting less about words and more about comedic timing and acting. I did plays in high school, so I respect the eccentrics of socially-inept characters like Dwight Schrute from “The Office” or Charlie from “It’ s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The characters are so bizarre that it is impossible not to do impressions of them. Soon the impressions turn into loose interpretations of scenes. And, voilá, quotes.

Quoting insane characters is easy for those like myself with bad memories or ADD. I see entertainment as the embodiment of someone else. I see great entertainment as the embodiment of someone so far from normal that it is almost unfathomable that he or she is a real person.

The acting-out or quoting of these people brings them to life more than simply watching them on a screen; and this is why I might be heard saying ridiculous things in ridiculous voices, forgetting it’s not normal.

Contact all correspondent Brenna McNamara at [email protected].