Rare as it may seem, one of the funniest things that can happen while watching television with the closed caption subtitles activated is the glaring mistakes that can sometimes happen. Be it a typographical error, grammatical flub, or downright obscene word accidentally substituted for the words uttered by the character, catching a subtitle error as it happens can provide a strange satisfaction, especially if discovered along with friends and family who can share the laugh.
From weather reports, cooking shows, nature documentaries, scripted dramas, awards ceremonies, and more, the most hilarious TV subtitle errors have a little for everyone to enjoy. Warning, some of these incorrect subtitles are definitely NSFW.
Sure the U.K. has seen its fair share of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins in its day (especially in fiction), but unless this weather report happened to be issued on Friday the 13th, there’s simply no possible way the weather forecast could usher in Nazi ghosts. Perhaps in a stellar Scooby-Doo TV show, but in reality?
Clearly, the word “coast” here is accidentally swapped for “ghosts,” with the meteorologist meaning to warn viewers of rain hitting the west coast near Cardiff. The deadpan look on the meteorologist’s face makes the flub even funnier, as she has no clue what is being printed beneath her.
During a live broadcast of the wakeup morning show, BBC Breakfast, a hilarious subtitle error did the country’s tourism department no favors. When describing the value of traveling up the coast to visit Cromer in coastal Norfolk, the captioner brags about Cromer’s most notable contributions to man: crap.
Of course, those from the area know that Cromer is famous for its crab, which makes the error even more amusing, especially since the errant subtitle is superimposed over a shot of the surf.
In yet another BBC news report that has nothing to do with food, the head of a waste management facility at the Lear Power Station is mistaken for uttering a pretty foul culinary flub. That is unless ball bags of salad (and tons of it) happen to be a delicacy overseas. An acquired taste, to be sure.
The real humor here is how inaccurate the subtitle is, making Tim Shapcott’s original sentiment completely indecipherable. The inevitable ball bags of salad? What on Earth could Tim really be trying to say in the report?
Keeping the culinary theme going, Know Your Meme pointed out this hysterically graphic subtitle error in which two women trade tips on how to cook refried beans. Cooking beans in lard isn’t so far-fetched, but the alternative?
Even funnier is the superimposed headline bar beneath the caption, which mentions men praising their partners for “having a positive influence on their diet.” Add it all up and it’s one of the biggest blush-inducing subtitle errors in recent memory.
In a hilarious crossover glitch, the subtitles from an Aziz Ansari stand-up special were accidentally used for a popular Netflix nature documentary. Specifically, as two wolves traverse the land together, Ansari’s voice can be heard telling an anecdotal joke, making it appear as if one wolf is offering to buy a drink for the other.
While everyone loves to anthropomorphize animals to no end, the notion of cordial wolves kindly offering and declining libations is a bit much. However, at least there is an explanation for the mixup.
Thanks to British TV host Dan Walker, one of the biggest live subtle flubs was caught during a Wimbledon event that points to the subtlety of the Queen’s English. As rows of eager fans line up to enter the arena, a subtitle meant to boast about the impressive organizational skills of the country’s queue lines, an ominous subtitle shows up and instantly ruins the party.
Clearly meant to as a humble brag about being inferior in some areas yet superior in lining up en masse, the flub turns the lighthearted boast into a frighteningly deadly threat.
For whatever reason, flubbing celebrity names always induces a hearty chuckle. The bigger the celebrity, the better, and during BBC’s The One Show, A-lister Benedict Cumberbatch got his surname badly butchered into … a batch of beer?
Indeed, Benedict Couple Beer Batch is the mangled subtitular namesake given to the current Oscar nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Performance. The honest mistake is innocent enough, but one can’t help think Benedict could have used a couple of batches of beer after duking it out with Sam Elliot over the merits of The Power of the Dog
During a 25th anniversary celebration of Gladiators on the popular daytime talk show, This Morning, Helen O’Reilly aka Panther was feted for her memorable role on the show. Yet, in the live broadcast of the event, the captioner mistook Panther for a certain type of crab. The astrological type.
The most unforgivable aspect of the flub is the first part about loving life, swiftly followed by the word cancer and all its negative connotations. That Helen radiates a beaming smile while being called Cancer instead of Panther only makes the mistake even more hilariously inappropriate.
From Nazi ghosts to heavy breasts, the errant BBC news subtitles come around full circle to deliver one last ridiculous laugh. Perhaps the meteorologist mean to say “heavy gusts,” but the captioner decided to add a lyrical rhyming lilt to the line by substituting the word “breasts” in a wildly inappropriate manner.
As always, it’s the oblivious nature of the reporter that makes the mismatched subtitle so funny, unaware of what he’s reporting is being so obviously misconstrued.
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