vox populi

posted by tom / February 01, 2006 /

The Post has a pretty slick Flash app that allows you to listen to the finalists in the competition to be the new voice of our subway system. It's a neat idea for a contest, but the finalists are pretty uninspired (why does that sound familiar?).

Jill Apple
Telemarketers are told to smile when they speak; you can hear the difference. You can tell that Jill knows this. But really, who the fuck likes happy people? Typical metro scenario: it's 9AM, and you have just literally descended into the underworld in order to exchange eight more hours of your life for the gift of your family not starving. You aren't going to want to be smiled at.

Steve Broide
Steve sounds like he got bored halfway through the 5 second recitation task, and consequently defaulted to a weird, unbecoming valley-girl lilt. I want someone with a little more focus. Eyes on the prize, Steve.

Linda Carducci
Linda has a pleasantly artificial tone that reminds me of the voice of the computer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Which, I should mention, I've been watching a lot of since G4 started showing it. It's never very entertaining (dilemma dilemma, WOW let's bask in the humanistic glow of our deus ex machina) and never very original (energy being, energy being, holodeck gone awry, energy being, wesley fucks something up, wesley fucks something up and becomes an energy being, etc.). Yet I cannot turn away. So thumbs up to Majel Linda. ST:TNG perpetually disappoints, but I somehow can't avoid it. This makes it a perfect touchstone for Metro.

Sarah Fraser
Yikes. Listening to Sarah makes me immediately want to find her boyfriend, who I've never met, and complain that he never hangs out anymore, and is he really sure Sarah is right for him? Don't get me wrong, she's a great girl, I just think you shouldn't limit yourself to one person right now. I bet she could make some other transit system really happy. Okay, fine, you're right, it's none of my business. But seriously dude, don't bring her to St. Patrick's Day. That totally sucked last time.

Jon Garcia
This guy's sample sounds spliced together. Could he really not produce more than two usable words per take? How many studio hours are you prepared to book, WMATA?

John Howell
NOW we're fucking talking. I'll ruin the suspense now and tell you that this guy is the closest to a cowboy of anyone in the contest, and therefore the best. "The doors are closin'... well sir, I reckon every man has seen a few doors close in his day. Ain't nothin much t'be done about it, 'cept to cinch your saddle, lift your head and keep on movin' to the center of that train we call America."

Randi Miller
Randi gets a little exasperated when it's time to ask me to move to the center of the car. I can't say that I blame her. She's probably seen me; she knows I'm a perennial offender. She's tried being nice, but if this keeps up there are going to have to be consequences, buster.

Carol Rabel
Carol sounds like the computerized countdown voice that's used in movies to heighten tension when it looks like something terrible is about to happen but then WHEW it turns out it doesn't. When I close my eyes and listen to her, I see Keifer Sutherland furiously wiping sweat from his brow, intently manipulating an impossible nest of wires and cursing the countdown voice under his breath. "The doors are closing, Mr. President!" Yeah, I could live with that.

Angela Stevens
This woman is clearly insane.

Mary Whittington
Despite being totally unrelated to the Old West, I think I might like Mary's take the best. It sounds like she thought of something funny in the middle of saying it. I don't know what (someone getting caught in the door?), but I like it. She's definitely trying to sell me something, but not in an unpleasant way. And I imagine that as soon as she finishes saying her piece, she steps away with arms spread and the camera pans out to reveal a vast panorama of buffet tables, or biomedical researchers, or cruise ship. Maybe all three! Whatever it is, sign me up.


It's a clear winner to me. If they don't go with Howell, I'm leaving the city... forever.

Both Jill and Sarah sound like two Alpha Tau Something sisters that lived down the hall from circa 96. Never again.

Posted by: the g. on February 1, 2006 03:14 PM

Tears are running down my face - it really shouldn't be this funny. I have friends that are married to Sarah Fraser, unfortunately... She DOES come to St. Patrick's Day, and it DOES suck.

Posted by: Tom Oakes on February 1, 2006 05:19 PM

What I want to know is, Who The Hell came up with that dumb-ass speech?

Here's what I'd like to see:

"Tourists, get the hell away from the doors! And once you're on the elevator, get the frell over to the right, dammit."

In a cowboy voice.

Posted by: ajw93 on February 1, 2006 06:01 PM

ajw: DCist is holding a joke para-contest -- record it and submit it. Seriously.

Posted by: tom on February 1, 2006 06:09 PM

Brilliant, T.

Posted by: susan on February 2, 2006 06:15 AM

Ha! Great post, Tom.

Posted by: apostropher on February 2, 2006 09:47 AM

I voted for John Garcia. He's the only one I don't immidiately want to strangle.

Posted by: rj3 loop on February 2, 2006 10:07 AM

They need to get whatever it is they use for announcing delays for SEPTA trains up in Philly. Pre-recorded segments of, as far as I can tell, Lawrence Fishburne, telling you that [this line] is [some godawful length of time] behind schedule due to [bullshit excuse]. I keep expecting the announcement to ask if I know what the Matrix is.

Posted by: Moleman on February 2, 2006 10:31 AM

John Howell's version? You've got to be kidding me.

If you don't get sick of hearing that semi-drunken drawl within 2 days and wish you could grab the nearest cattle prod and poke John through the speech sometime before sundown then I'm Gene Autry.

Dude sounds like he's gargling cottage cheese for crying out loud.

Posted by: JR on February 2, 2006 01:47 PM

JOhn Howell ... or John Cash? That dude is awesome but I doubt Metro can afford the extra fuel usage incurred by having to lug around the awesome weight of his voice. Any reason to dislike him other than chaos caused by spontaneous metro panty dropping is probably envy.\

Posted by: JOn on February 2, 2006 04:27 PM

Thank you!! MW was thinking about how funny it is to be telling you to get out of the "doors closing" when she's always throwing her body in there. BTW - in the studio, we were asked to do "polite" and "authoritative" versions of most of the lines. The clips provided to the Post sound like polite takes - I know mine was. I hope my authoritative takes were stern but weirdly exciting.

Posted by: Mary Whittington on February 4, 2006 12:06 AM

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