I note that Hugh Grant’s latest romcom is called Did you hear about the Morgans? A vexing title, how does one enunciate it? I was reminded of James Lileks’s amusing struggles with the even more terribly-named 70s Jane Fonda flick, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
My first instinct would be a sort of jaunty "Did you hear about the Morgans?", as if preceded by an imaginary “I say!” when uttered by a cheery cove in tennis whites as he comes bounding into the drawing room with news about the second cousins. But then immediately overlapping that pronunciation in my brain is a much sneerier Alan Rickman-ish version, “Did you hear about the Morgans? Well, did you, Potter? Or are you as ignorant of the Morgans as you appear to be about everything else?”
One could stress the “you”, suggesting: everyone else is talking about these Morgans, why wasn’t I informed? Did YOU hear about the Morgans too, then? Are you all in this together? Why does nobody tell me anything? Am I just being paranoid? I think I might be having a nervous breakdown.
Heavy emphasis on “The Morgans” gives them a bit of a fanfare appearance, as in: “Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please…did you hear about….THE MORGANS! The amazing family of juggling dwarfs, all the way from Texas!”
But since Sarah Jessica Parker is in the movie I can’t help but hear a breathless Sex in the City-style "Did you HEAR about the Morgans? Oh My God!" Or perhaps the sing-song tone that the impossibly-deep voiced movie trailer guy used to do for 80s comedies to indicate light-heartedness, as in “…starring Bill Murray…. Dan Ackroyd… and John Candy”, where “Bill Murray” is stated with confidence, the “Ack” of “Ackroyd” is said in a sort of surprised falsetto suggesting “Who is this crazy guy?”, and “and John Candy” is peppered with little chuckles: “a-ha-nd Jo-hu-hon Ca-ha-ndy”. Thus: "Did you [rising] hear … a-ha-bout the Morgans? [falling amid chuckles]"
I would like to see this movie packaged up in a double-bill with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? There are potentially infinite nuances of meaning available to the ticket-buyer.
“Two adults please, for Did YOU hear about THE Morgans?/ THEY shoot HORSES… DON’T they?”