When most people do DVD commentary, they generally try to give you some interesting background on whatever scene is playing — behind-the-scenes stories, the challenges of shooting something, continuity mistakes the viewer might have missed — sort of like pop-up video on VH-1. In this clip from the Total Recall commentary track, Arnold Schwarzenegger describes what’s happening on screen so literally that watching it feels like your brain is melting. Everyone commenting on it and the person who originally put it on YouTube all swear that this is the real DVD commentary and not an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator, and the only thing that keeps me from total disbelief of that is that it’s so completely absurd that it couldn’t have been imagined before it happened.
I used to have a roommate whose boyfriend was from Venezuela. He spoke perfect English, but he’d watch TV at our house all the time, and no matter what he was watching — The Simpsons, judge shows, Maury, whatever — every five seconds he’d say things like “Whaaat?”, like everything on TV had him completely baffled, even if it was just Homer going to the store. I couldn’t figure out how someone could accept the basic premise of television, that there were these people who’d been captured by a light-sensitive device, their images transmitted through space in invisible waves and captured on this box and played back for our entertainment, while seeming mystified by even the most mundane plot point, like Bart riding a skateboard, or Jerry Seinfeld drinking coffee. The best explanation I have for Arnold’s DVD commentary is that it sounds like one goofy foreigner barely grasping the concept of moving pictures trying to explain one to another. Like, this is the explanation my Venezuelan roommate was expecting every time he asked the TV what I’d always assumed were rhetorical questions.
“Hello this is me Arnold Schwarzenegger, and this is me on the screen here riding towards the camera.”
“It was a great scene because she is trying not so hard for me not to see the news.”
“Here this is my job, I am a construction worker.”
“It’s the funniest thing, she’s trying to steal the suitcase.”
“This scene is unbelievable because my frustration about the taxi cab, he does not understand where I want to go.”
[see also: Arnold’s commentary on Conan]