Stop what you’re doing right now. The internet needs to decide if a puppet swore.
Our suspect is Grover, a furry blue monster from Sesame Street who may be guilty of having a filthy mouth.
Viewers were surprised when they saw a clip of him appearing to use some colourful language.
You can decide for yourself first:
So what did he say? The internet is divided into two camps.
Grover either said “Yes, yes, that sounds like an excellent idea!” or “Yes, yes, that’s a f***ing excellent idea!”
Some users, such as 'TANUULOR', pointed out you can trick your brain into hearing both depending on which line you’re thinking of when you listen to it.
I couldn't hear the non-swearing version until I was looking at the sentence in the title, and now I can't hear the swearing until I read THAT as I'm listening! Stupid confused brain...bah!
Try listening to it while thinking of the line as “that sounds like an excellent idea”
Now try it while thinking of the f-bomb instead.
It might remind you of the Yanny or Laurel debate that split the internet a couple of years ago.
For anyone who wants to break their brain again, here’s how that one went…
That time, whether you heard Yanny or Laurel was later explained by audio frequencies and the clip’s poor sound quality. In short, ‘Yanny’ can be heard at high frequencies while ‘Laurel’ can be heard in low frequencies.
With Grover, it seems that the confusion comes from the speed of the line and the way the syllables blur together.
As shown by this incredibly detailed explanation by 'TwentyfootAngels' on Reddit, who has a hearing disorder called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which makes it difficult for people to process similar sounds.
EDIT: Ok so I've been thinking about this a lot, and I actually love this clip. It's not like Yanny / Laurel where there's extra sounds layered on the main soundbyte (but this DOES happen in APD because the real world is very noisy!). It's because of mumbled consonants.
The sound byte, originally, is "Thatsoundslikean excellent idea". How do we get from that to "That'saf***in excellent idea"?
The first bit comes from not knowing where to end "that sounds". It converts to "that sands", and he says it so fast that it turns to "that sa
nds", where the "nds" merges into the following "L". Next, I'll skip to the end. The "an" doesn't have enough time, so "an" switches to "in". So far, we're at "that 'sa?????? in excellent idea!" Already, you can see profanity forming.
The key here comes in the consonants. While people with APD mix this up more commonly, this clip shows how it happens. It comes down to the consonants and vowels in "like" and "f***"... more specifically, IKE and UCK. First off, the F and SL aren't too different - they're both soft hissing sounds, so our brain can discard those. Second, I and U can be interchanged quite easily as well. And most importantly, K and C tend to merge together too. The key sounds coming out of "like" and "f***" are I-K (ike) and U-K (uck). Put it all together, and you can see how "I-K AN" turns into "U-K IN".
Putting these together, what our brain is supposed to hear in this clip is "that sounds like an excellent idea". Our brain breaks that down into "that sa
nds likean excellent idea!" However, since Grover says that defining feature so fast, it turns into "that 'sa f***an excellent idea!" If you listen closely, you can hear both at the same time... in "that's a f***in' excellent idea", it's actually "that's a fl**ing excellent idea". Our brain turns "ndsl" into "fl" because it happens too fast, and doesn't care much about "L" anyway.
ndslikean excellent idea!"
flukin excellent idea!"
See how they merge together, where some parts are said so quickly that they disappear, while other parts sound just slightly off? The whole meaning changes.
Congrats, you now know how Auditory Processing Disorder works! Remember that not everyone hears the same as you. Someone could have an auditory disability even without wearing hearing aids, so if someone asks you to repeat yourself, try not to get frustrated. The feeling you get when watching this video is more common in the world than you think. :)
That's why you can hear whichever one you want to hear.
Or maybe it's just because Sesame Street are secretly dropping swear words into children’s shows.
This article was originally published in December 2018