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How to stop grieving over lost time after a breakup

2023-05-09 01:36:12

How to stop grieving over lost time after a breakup(图1)

How to stop grieving over lost time after a breakup

If there’s any feeling we all know all too well, it’s heartbreak. At some point in our lives, we’ll all feel it, become consumed by it, and feel the unique grief it brings us. 

Much like when someone dies, studies show that we grieve after a breakup(opens in a new tab). And as we all know, there are seven stages of grief: shock, denial, isolation, anger, depression, the emotional rollercoaster, and, finally, acceptance. The one that’s missing though, especially where breakups are concerned, is the part all people feel after a relationship breaks down: mourning the time that’s been lost. 

After acceptance rolls in and you realise the relationship won’t be revived, you’d think most of us would embrace freedom, redownload the dating apps and get back out there. But often, there’s a period of grief for the time you feel was wasted on a person you’ve now lost, even if it was for good reason. So, how exactly do we shift this mindset away from feeling like we've wasted precious time on a relationship that isn't going the distance? 

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The post-breakup panic over wasted time

"Not to make a relationship sound transactional, but I feel like I lost an investment," 26-year-old store manager Daisy* tells Mashable. "My boyfriend of six years broke up with me about three months ago and while I feel like I’m mostly getting over it — I don’t think about him as much anymore and I’m on the apps meeting people — I’m just fuming that I put so much of me into that relationship and now I have nothing to show for it."

"Not to make a relationship sound transactional, but I feel like I lost an investment."

She adds, "When I think about it, and I try not to, I literally spent my entire 20s with him. I have no idea if it was worth it. I can’t stop thinking about what my life might have been if I’d skipped him, and spent my 20s doing what other 20-year-olds were doing: Partying, meeting a wide variety of people, trying out different jobs. I can’t stop feeling like I lost my most important years to him."

This feeling is even more prevalent for some after the pandemic, which warped our concepts of time and led us to sometimes feel like more time has passed than it actually has. For many of us, the pandemic also left us feeling worried about how much time we’d lost to lockdowns and how much we had left to do the things we wanted to. Add in a breakup, and you’ve got the perfect combination for panic over where all our time went. 

SEE ALSO: How the pandemic made our personal lives feel like one daunting to-do list

Dating and relationships expert Callisto Adams, who has a PhD in sexuality counselling, says it is common to feel like you've wasted time or lost part of your life when a relationship ends because those partnerships are often built on emotional investments and shared experiences. "When a relationship ends, it can feel like you've lost not only a partner but also a part of yourself and the future you’d planned," she tells Mashable.

"This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, people may feel like they've lost their sense of self or self-worth, or that they've missed out on opportunities or experiences they would have had if the relationship continued," she explains, adding that they may also feel guilty or regretful for not ending the relationship sooner.

Breaking up in your thirties

34-year-old property manager Ellen, who asked to use her first name only, has been struggling with the same type of mourning for almost six months. She and her partner mutually ended a relationship around seven months ago, after eight years together. She can’t stop wondering whether those eight years would have been better spent elsewhere. 

She tells Mashable, "I’ve always been the kind of person who knows exactly what they want to do with their life. I had a strict idea of when I wanted to get married and have kids and how long I’d want to be with ‘the one’ before it happened. Breaking up with someone in my thirties was never part of that plan."

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Ellen says she got over the actual relationship after a few "very hard months". They both knew it wasn’t right and she got more and more frustrated each year that he didn’t propose to her.

"That part, realising we weren’t right for one another and would be going our separate ways, I could get over," Ellen says. "But having to start my whole life plan from the beginning at 34? I burst into tears every time I think about how far away I am from my goals, and how much more urgent it is now that I'm older. I’m not ageist and all for people going after new things at an older age, but let’s face it. There’s a biological clock limiting my time with kids. And I wanted to have them at 35. That isn’t happening anymore."

She continues, "What frustrates me most is I’m now wasting even more time feeling angry about the time I’ve lost. I keep switching between being upset about the years that have gone down the drain, that I could have put into someone who did want the things I wanted, and angry that I’m wasting more time now and I can’t pull myself together."

SEE ALSO: How to separate romantic rejection from your self-worth

Adams explains that this feeling of mourning the time lost to a failed relationship can get worse as we get older, particularly if we want to get married or start a family, because relationships are no longer just relationships. They are essentially our access routes to getting the life that we want. 

"As we age, we may feel more pressure to settle down and make long-term commitments. We may also become more aware of the limited time we have left to find a partner or start a family," Adams explains. 

Adams adds that this feeling of losing time can be more likely to happen when a relationship has been toxic or harmful. "In these cases, the emotional investment is often greater, and the feeling of betrayal or loss can be more intense," she says. 

28-year-old barista Hattie, who also asked to use her first name only, left a toxic relationship two months ago, after five years together due to the the two of them "constantly screaming at each other over the tiniest things." She tells Mashable, "The first two years were good but it went wrong after that. We were constantly arguing, and sometimes those arguments would end up with him just storming out and going missing for days. Then he’d just show up again and refuse to tell me where he’d been. It was really toxic."

"I finally left with the help of my friends and I think we were both relieved. We were both so mean to each other and we definitely both need to get some therapy and work on ourselves."

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Hattie continues, "I’m just in so much pain over the time I spent there. I should have ended the relationship as soon as things got bad. Why did I wait three years? I always see these messages on Facebook and Instagram about life being too short and needing to go after the things you want and I just feel like I failed. I wasted all that time."

To stop obsessing over the time that's been lost to a bad relationship, Adams says it's essential to focus on the present and the opportunities that are available to you now. "It's also important to take the time to process your emotions and feelings and to seek support from friends and family," she adds.

"Engage in hobbies or activities that you enjoy, practise self-care, and seek professional help if needed. It's also important to remember that it's normal to have feelings of sadness and loss after a relationship ends and to be gentle with yourself as you navigate this process," Adams recommends. 

Our grief over wasted time when a relationship ends is ultimately embedded in the societal idea that to be single, after a certain age, is to fail. 

Letting go of patriarchal relationship ideals

Thanks to good old capitalism and the culture of pro-natalism, which centres the nuclear family as an ideal we should all be reaching towards, which most of us grow up with the deep-seated idea that we should spend our 20s looking for a partner, and be settled with them, permanently, by around the age of 30. According to one study,(opens in a new tab) these systems make it so when we don’t achieve these societal milestones, we feel anxious, depressed, and worried about being viewed as a failure by family, particularly in-laws, and our peers — particularly for those with limited resources. This means we’re prone to measure our success based on romantic achievements obtained as young as possible, and subconsciously place goal posts around our relationships — even if that’s not how we actually feel towards romance. And breakups can pull us further away from that imaginary finish line. 

"We see relationships ending as a failure because society often views relationships as a measure of success and happiness."

Adams explains that "we see relationships ending as a failure because society often views relationships as a measure of success and happiness. People may feel like they've failed to find or maintain a loving and healthy relationship."

It’s also natural for people to look for ‘mistakes’ in their own behaviour as a defence when a relationship has been toxic, harmful, or abusive. We’ll think things like ‘I wasted my time with him when I could have been doing something else’ and that’s because, sometimes, it’s easier to pretend the experience was a result of your mistake, and therefore avoidable in the future, rather than entirely down to the person we were attached to. This is, of course, not true. No one is ever cruel to you because of something you did.

This idea that a relationship breaking down is a personal failure is capitalism in its truest form. We grow up with the message that an archetypal relationship developing into a nuclear family is the ultimate destination, and that every relationship breakdown is a personal setback.

But we all have different ideas of what we want our lives to look like, and putting yourself out there to work on a relationship that ends up not working out is never a waste of time. It’s a brave and vulnerable thing to do.

What can help is to look at the lessons we can take away when a relationship ends. Often, relationships breakdown as a result of a communication mishap, a violation of trust, or some type of argument. Within those instances are lessons to take into our future relationships and the way we take care of ourselves. It’s time we all collectively rethink what success in a relationship truly means. People will come into our lives, and leave again, and each time we will learn something about ourselves. The relationship will end, but that impact will always remain. There’s no failure in that.

Remember, all relationships in life will end, maybe after weeks, years, decades, one partner's death, but they all end. Things ending are not 'failure', just life. You can look at your relationships as endings, or simply things that you experienced and now you’re free to try something else. 

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    QAnon followers have long-believed that JFK Jr., President John F. Kennedy's deceased son is still alive and a supporter of Trump. In fact, Whiplash347 was a major disseminator of conspiracy theories about the Kennedy's. The Telegram channel was a major influence on some of the more cult-like(Opens in a new tab) QAnon phenomena, including an assembly(Opens in a new tab) at Dealey Plaza in Texas last year, during which adherents believed that the assassinated former president was going to reveal that he was actually alive. 

    In YouTube videos discovered by Mashable, Tang would utilize other common QAnon beliefs about the "banking cabals" and news media to sell her followers on these scam crypto assets.

    According to Logically, their research led to a Telegram support group made-up of those who were scammed by the two QAnon influencers and were trying to warn others. A survey in that chat found that between 52 people who responded, a total of $223,494 was estimated to have been lost in these crypto scams. 

    In addition, Logically spoke to the family of one individual who lost more than 98 percent of his $100,000 investment into these QAnon influencers' crypto scams. The family says the man later took his own life over "losing his house and construction business due to unpaid debts."

    And there's one more wrinkle to the report: Logically believes that it is "likely" that the original Whiplash347 isn't the one running the Telegram channel of the same name anymore. 

    Logically determined in its report that currently "the group mostly contains forwarded messages from other crypto investing groups, and contains far fewer Q-related posts than it did at the account’s inception."

  • Dick Van Dyke, 92, puts Piers Morgan in his place on Twitter

    Dick Van Dyke, 92, puts Piers Morgan in his place on Twitter


    The world spins, the sun rises, and Piers Morgan makes stupid jokes on Twitter. This time, though, it was actually a little fun for the rest of us -- thanks to 92-year-old film and TV icon Dick Van Dyke.

    On Saturday, Morgan -- who is on the wrong side of history 90 percent of the time -- thought it would be a good idea to crack a joke about Van Dyke's name. "Imagine being called Dick Van Dyke in the PC-crazed era?" Morgan tweeted. "Poor guy. He'll have to change his name to Richard Van Non-Binary-Gender-Fluid."

    SEE ALSO: Is 'don't feed the trolls' actually good advice? It's complicated.

    (To be fair, this joke is doing a lot of work: It's condescending, misogynistic, and homophobic.)


    Here's how Van Dyke responded. No words, just the perfect screenshot from Diagnosis: Murder.

    And perhaps that's the best way to deal with the Piers Morgans of the world: saying nothing, staring incredulously for a moment, then moving on.

  • OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    OKCupid adds Black Lives Matter badge and profile questions about racial inequality

    On Thursday, OKCupid announced that it's rolling out a #BlackLivesMatter(Opens in a new tab) badge in a dozen countries. Users can obtain the badge by answering yes to the question, "Do you want to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement by adding a badge to your profile?"


    Since badges won't actually do anything to solve racism, OKCupid has also donated $50,000 to the ACLU, Black Girls Code, Fair Fight Action and the NAACP. The app will also donate a million dollars in advertising space to black civil rights organizations.

    SEE ALSO: How single people have been dealing with the 'sex ban' in England

    In addition to the badge, OKCupid has added matching questions related to racial injustice and inequality. Users can answer whether they protest; whether it's okay to silently support racial equality; how they plan on addressing racial inequality (say by donating or protesting); and whether they find it important that their date supports racial equality.

    OKCupid racial inequality question Credit: okcupid
    OKCupid how will you address racial inequality question Credit: okcupid

    In the past week, over 100,000 users have responded to the new questions. The majority said it's not okay to silently support equality, according to OKCupid's blog post. Seventy percent are protesting for racial equality.

    This isn't the first time OKCupid has created badges and questions around social justice. They did so with supporting Planned Parenthood(Opens in a new tab) and marriage equality as well(Opens in a new tab). While the badge could be seen by some as virtual signaling, the questions do allow users to dig deeper into a potential match's commitment to racial equality — which is a step in the right direction.

    Related Video: Want to donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement? Here's how.

  • Lady Gaga is so good at folding things


    Lady Gaga is so good at folding things

    This is One Good Thing, a weekly column where we tell you about one of the few nice things that happened this week.

    Lady Gaga is a woman of many talents, obviously. She's a singer, a performer, a songwriter, an actor -- a bonafide star in pretty much every sense of the word.

    Also, she is so good at folding things.

    SEE ALSO: Bradley Cooper's 'A Star is Born' left critics with stars in their eyes

    I first realized Gaga's incredible folding prowess during the press conference for A Star Is Born at the Toronto International Film Festival last weekend. Before asking a question, one reporter handed Gaga a t-shirt from his outlet, The Queer Network. Gaga accepted the offering gracefully, because she is a movie star. Then, before she continued to speak into her microphone (also gracefully), she folded the shirt with such precision and skill, I gasped. Gasped!

    Look at the precise way she tucks the sleeves under; the swift double fold. She doesn't even look at the shirt while she is folding it, and yet the shirt is perfect. Any J.Crew location across the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) would be proud to feature that shirt on their precariously-arranged shelving displays.

    I watched the video of Lady Gaga folding the shirt many times -- so many times, in fact, that I began to hunger for even more video footage of Lady Gaga folding something. Luckily, as BuzzFeed points out(opens in a new tab), that footage is available. Turns out, Lady Gaga folded a Pride flag with equal dexterity during a stop on her Joanne world tour. (In the background, you can hear someone screaming "Queen of folding," which is true.)

    Be sure you've eaten a hearty meal before watching this one, because the crispness of those corners nearly made me pass out at my desk.

    Anyway, if anyone sees Lady Gaga folding any more stuff, please let me know. Yes, it's the one good thing I've seen on the internet during this particular week, but our journey doesn't have to stop here!

  • The 17 best tweets of the week, including beans, Trump memes, and Speed Racer

    The 17 best tweets of the week, including beans, Trump memes, and Speed Racer

    Another quarantine week down! Only an indeterminate, indefinite, perhaps infinite amount left to go.


    I'm here to deliver some good tweets from this week to you. We've been collecting the best posts of the week for a while now because we're all stuck inside and sometimes it's good to laugh at tweets. Sure, Twitter is often (frequently) bad, but sometimes it's good. So, you know, here they are... 17 good tweets.

    1. Love to live in 2020

    2. Speed does NOT care

    3. I miss this guy. A simpler internet.

    4. Obligatory dril tweet

    5. I feel this deep in my bones.

    6. Plant the beans(Opens in a new tab). Just do it and be legends.

    7. It is.

    8. I think this is exactly how I looked in the theater.

    9. Who could possibly devote three to five minutes to a new song?

    10. Someday...

    11. Just an octopus going off. Nothing else.

    12. This sounds delightful.

    13. D.A.N.N.Y. M.A.R.I.N.A.R.A.

    14. This is me. I am this meme.

    15. Just boys talking about stuff, being dudes, living like guys.

    16. He missed it.

    17. And finally,

    Related Video: A puppet's guide to keeping yourself entertained during a quarantine

  • Why Im celebrating female friendship this Valentines Day

    Why Im celebrating female friendship this Valentines Day

    I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in love. Those occasions have brought great joy, and even greater heartbreak. But the one form of love that's been a constant in my life is platonic love. This Valentine's Day I'll be celebrating the constancy of that particular love. It might sound sad to some people, but I couldn't be happier about it.

    SEE ALSO: The best dating sites and apps for serious relationships

    I won't be lamenting my lack of a boyfriend this Valentine's Day, I'll be celebrating the women in my life who've laughed with me (and at me); who've listened to my rants without judgement; and who've given me words of support and encouragement when things were really shit. Female friendship has been more meaningful than all of my toe-dips in romantic love.

    One moment in particular stands out. Shortly before Valentine's Day three years ago, I found out that a boy I'd recently been involved with -- and for whom I still had feelings -- not only had a new girlfriend; they were also expecting a child. I felt numb when I heard the news and immediately texted my friend Michelle to tell her what I'd heard. She told me to meet her at the gym first thing the following morning so we could talk.

    Between sobs as I stomped on the treadmill, she listened to me and assured me that this was a perfectly acceptable response. Over the next week, she made sure I ate lunch, she smiled at me from across the desk as I blinked back tears while attempting to work and -- when Valentine's Day rolled around -- she quietly left a card and present on my desk. Without Michelle, I don't think I would have bounced back so quickly and thanks to her pep talks, I had the courage to meet up with that ex and get the rest of my belongings back. And, armed with my retrieved possessions, I marched the hell away from that guy who'd never really been that nice to me anyway.

    Another friend who I owe a debt of gratitude this Valentine's Day is Elisha. Since becoming friends just over a year ago, she and I have laughed until our cheekbones hurt, but we've also been there for each other during the sadder times. Together we've shared in the loss of family members, friends, lovers. We have seasoned the streets of multiple cities with our tears.

    It's not always easy to find someone who'll listen to you drone on for hours on end about something that's really bugging you. But, when something has deeply upset you, it's hard to change the record, even if you're acutely aware that you're stuck on repeat. I'll never forget the moment I apologised to Elisha for talking about the same issue again and again. Sitting across the table from me, Elisha started to cry and said: "Rachel, if you can't talk to me about this stuff, then who can you talk to? Please don't be sorry." For that, I'll always be hugely grateful.

    SEE ALSO: How to move on after a situationship ends

    Girlfriends aren't just there for the challenging times though. They're there to empower us, to make us laugh, and to remind us of the good in the world. I'm grateful to my female friends overseas -- Shannon, Vicky and Haley -- who, despite the distance, are just as close to me as my UK-based friends. At the drop of a hat, they are there on FaceTime, Skype and iMessage to talk about the exciting things that we've seen and done. And, every once in a while, one of us crosses the Atlantic Ocean to embark on another adventure together. These are the moments that enrich my existence.


    This Valentine's Day I'll be sharing a romantic dinner for two with someone very special indeed: Lizzie, my dear friend and housemate who I've known for 10 years. She and I spend night after night filling our home with laughter, even after the toughest of days and I'll be toasting to that decade of laughter on Feb. 14.

    My female friends empower me through the support they give me and vice versa. They've not only made tough times more bearable, they've also taught me things about myself, about relationships and about life, in general. That's why I'm putting mates before dates this Valentine's Day.

  • Someone put a bra on a cow for a very wholesome reason


    Someone put a bra on a cow for a very wholesome reason

    Don't worry, there's nothing untoward about this particular bra on this particular cow.

    SEE ALSO: A man spilled a soda in a public toilet and his shame went viral

    Donald Russ from Tain, Scotland, tweeted an image on Wednesday of a cow with a human bra strapped to its udder. It looks about as weird as you might imagine, but the motivations for be-lingerie-ing the bovine were apparently pure.

    "This is unusual," a spokesperson for the RSPCA told Mashable, "however, it seems the farmer is likely using it as a means to resolve a suckling issue with the young calf. It looks to be serving a purpose, as long as the fabric isn't cutting into the cow's skin and causing her any discomfort and it's not kept on for too long."

    It's unclear what happened to the bra afterwards.

  • Samsungs new TV boxes can be converted into cat houses

    Samsungs new TV boxes can be converted into cat houses

    Cats never needed much of an excuse to turn a cardboard box into a cozy lair. Now Samsung is helping them out.


    Earlier this month, Samsung announced some, um, outside-the-box steps to make its TV boxes more sustainable. Three of its TVs, the Frame(Opens in a new tab), Sero(Opens in a new tab), and Serif(Opens in a new tab), will come in supposedly eco-friendly corrugated cardboard packaging. Aside from the material itself changing, Samsung also put dot-matrix patterns on the boxes so you can cut them up and turn them into other things.

    This is more practical for humans. Credit: samsung

    The cat house is the obvious show-stopper here. It's a little unfortunate that it has to have Samsung branding on the roof, but who doesn't love when cats turn boxes into small houses?

    This is a huge boon to everyone who is currently stuck at home with a cat that's either overjoyed about it, or sick of their owners.

    SEE ALSO: Dogs and cats are refusing to let their humans work out at home, and it's pretty hilarious

    Samsung also showed off boxes that could become small bookshelves or entertainment centers. That's cool but it's not why we're here. Pet content is essential right now and Samsung deserves some credit for finding a way to insert itself into that conversation.

    More to the point, recycling unused cardboard boxes into things that are actually useful is probably a good habit for folks to develop. We'll see if cats decide to ignore and/or destroy those cat houses after a few days.

  • Dyson just revealed another wallet-destroying haircare tool

    Dyson just revealed another wallet-destroying haircare tool

    The engineering pros at Dyson have turned their heads to ours for the brand's latest product debut: the Dyson Corrale hair straightener.


    Yes, a Dyson straightener! Apparently, Dyson isn't a company that just makes things that suck or blow anymore.

    The Corrale(Opens in a new tab) is the third hair care product from the brand best known for vacuums. It follows the 2016 release of the Supersonic hair dryer, and 2018's Dyson Airwrap styler — both excellent products sold at eye-popping prices.

    The Corrale appears to follow the same mold. Dyson says its design of flexible copper plates both prevents flyaways from escaping, and efficiently conducts heat. That combo means you need to use the product for less time at lower temperatures, which would ostensibly mitigate any hair damage and increase the shine of someone constantly ironing their locks at 400 degrees-plus.

    Another draw: It's cordless. That's a boon for stylists or other hair care power users who want a high quality straightener they can use on the go (for example, to fix flyaways on set).

    As with their other beauty products, that Dyson engineering — and consistently appealing branding — will cost you. The Corrale, on sale Tuesday, goes for $499.99.

    Credit: dyson

    I got to try out the Corrale in February and, no surprise here, but it did seem to be a great straightener. A celeb stylist, Matthew Collins, showed me how to use the Corrale to straighten my hair or employ the controversial but popular "curl your hair with a straightening iron" method.

    The idea of the flexible plates is that the sides of the piece of hair you clamp don't escape as you apply pressure, because the plates flex to encompass every millimeter of hair. That theory seemed to prove out in practice: I didn't have to go back over a piece of hair to remove the waves multiple times, as I would normally have to do with other straighteners.

    In the wave-creating demo, I didn't need to keep a vice like grip to retain the control over the straightener. With just a light grasp on both ends, I was able to create natural looking waves, sans the irregular and awkward kinks that can sometimes occur with this method. Pretty nifty!

    Dyson says the product should work just as well for people with much kinkier hair than my generally easy-to-manage locks, although I didn't have a way to verify that for myself. You can adjust to one of three different heat settings — 330°F, 365°F, and 410°F — depending on how much power you need. Dyson boasts that it monitors the accuracy of those temperatures with "intelligent heat control," claiming that the heat from other straighteners is not always accurate, as they lose power over time.

    Collins mentioned that, as a stylist working on set, his favorite thing about it was the cordless functionality. He sees that as a useful feature whether you're a professional or just someone who wants to be able to spruce up your look on the go. The lithium-ion battery can last for 30 minutes at a time, and charges fully in 70 minutes. Dyson suggests docking it or using the magnetic charging cable in a hybrid capacity for longer sessions.

    Charge 'er up. Credit: dyson

    Consumers will be able to purchase the Corrale in the dark nickel/fuschia and purple/black (pictured above) color combos. Professional stylists can get one in black/purple.

    The biggest question about the Corrale is whether it's worth the price. Many YouTube beauty vloggers soundly mocked Dyson for the Airwrap's price tag, which originally sold for $550. But consistently good reviews for the results it can achieve at lower temperatures have also made it much coveted and frequently sold out.

    Additionally, unlike curlers and blow dryers, straighteners can be a much more expensive proposition. Top of the line models sell for $200 or more — and some even boast the power to fry your hair at temperatures above 450 degrees. Still, for an already expensive product, Dyson Corrale is on the very high end of the spectrum.

    Dyson poured $129 million into its "Hair Laboratories" to develop the Corrale over seven years. Does that justify the $500 price tag? That will be up to the flat ironers of the world. Burnt, fragile strands might just depend on it.

    UPDATE: March 11, 2020, 2:21 p.m. EDT Dyson originally said that the purple/black model of the Corrale was only available for "influencers," but a company spokesperson later said that it would be available to consumers.

  • Voice actors overdubbed the worst ‘Sonic’ game to make it the best ‘Sonic’ game

    Voice actors overdubbed the worst ‘Sonic’ game to make it the best ‘Sonic’ game


    Sonic games, in the past few years, have been universally acknowledged as not good(Opens in a new tab). They're notorious for ridiculously confusing plotlines, poorly-rendered, buggy cutscenes, and dialogue so corny it would make an after-school special shudder. It's a wonder how the legacy of a little blue dude who runs speedily has managed to stay intact this long.

    But sometimes you gotta dig in to the cringe to pull out anything of quality. Like a chaos emerald in the rough, a project emerged that would breathe some much-needed life into a franchise dying from lack of self-awareness.

    Penny Parker(Opens in a new tab), a voice actress and video producer, is known for her gaming YouTube channel SnapCube(Opens in a new tab), dedicated to Let's Plays and general uplifting gaming content. But a recent series of hers has been gaining wider popularity for its combination of stellar improv comedy and lovingly dunking on the worst that the Sonic franchise has to offer.

    SEE ALSO: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' director promises design changes after fan backlash

    The series, titled Real-Time Fandub Games, is essentially the Mystery Science Theater 3000 of the gaming community. The episodes consist of a group of voice actors dubbing over cutscenes from various video games — one take, no script, zero rehearsal. The most recent, and most popular take, happens to be for the epic failure of a game, Sonic the Hedgehog (most often known as Sonic '06).

    The show is actually a spin-off of a co-created production with Charley Marlowe, aka PopeLickVA(Opens in a new tab). Originally titled Real-Time Fandub, it started with voice actors dubbing Gravity Falls episodes on a livestream to celebrate the show's anniversary. It covered various movies and TV shows, before Parker pitched her own video game-themed spin-off, and decided to test the idea with another Sonic flop, Sonic Adventure 2(Opens in a new tab).

    "Sonic games are notorious for being, in a lot of cases, pretty ridiculous," Parker told Mashable. "I’m a big Sonic fan, but it’d be very ignorant for me to deny that a game like Sonic '06 is an absolute disaster to watch and supports our style of humor quite well. There’s definitely a very unique energy to the character dynamics and setpieces that make Sonic games really special to dub!"

    How hilarious you'll think the whole dub will be is directly proportional to how personal you take jabs at the "gamer community."


    The most recent dub Sonic '06 dub really does show off the best the series has to offer. As a viewer going in, you're not required to know the plot of the game (if it has any plot at all, let's be real) to enjoy the nonsensical running jokes and gags. It's arguably even funnier if you don't know anything about the Sonic the Hedgehog game series, as clearly even the game devs themselves didn't. The most quotable moments need little to no context, and as with most improv comedy, there's rarely any context anyways. in a new tab)

    This bit turns the whole mini-movie into a ton of in-jokes about gamers. How hilarious you'll think the whole dub will be is directly proportional to how personal you take jabs at the "gamer community."

    Eggman's plan loosely involves becoming Todd Howard and turning all the "epic gamers" (Sonic and the gang) into "Minecraft PS4s." Or put them in Fortnite. There's a subplot about how Sonic's rapping and "fire" mixtape will destroy the world. Shadow marries Sonic, but only because Shadow thinks Sonic is Mephiles. Then Mephiles dumps him when Omega the robot shows up and professes his love for Shadow. It turns very quickly into a host of jabs at (Opens in a new tab)Fortnite(Opens in a new tab). The chaos emeralds are now "gamer gems." The plot gets a little hazy.

    But supposed plot continuity matters less when the jokes, and more so their delivery, are just so damn funny.

    "People often remark that some of their favorite moments are when cast members audibly react out of character to something on screen that they didn’t know was going to happen (such as when one actor, Alfred broke character to comment(Opens in a new tab) "This game is awful"), and not many things are quite as good at doing that as Sonic the Hedgehog games are." But Parker also added that a lot of intention and structure goes in to the dubbing style, and the legitimate rules of improv are at the core of their success.

    According to Parker, the dubs are made with all the actors gathering in a group chat/call room on Discord with the footage cut and prepared in advance. Everyone records their audio remotely, with Parker currently doing all the post-production work (audio editing, visual gags, music, etc) herself, as well as providing her incredible voice talent for the OG, Sonic. It's an incredible feat, but she says the fan reaction has made it all worthwhile.

    "One thing I’ve noticed that actually has warmed my heart is that die-hard Sonic fans, for the most part, are responding really enthusiastically to the Sonic dubs, and that’s not a coincidence. We’ve approached these dubs as passion projects first and foremost. Yeah we poke fun at some of the sillier aspects, but nowadays a good amount of fans are pretty turned off by the mean-spirited and cynical nature of a lot of Sonic-centric comedy."


    Parker says she likes to think that the series brings something different to the table by not implying that liking the Sonic game series is inherently cringe-worthy or ignorant.

    That heart for the source material is what sets Real-Time Fandub Games apart from other gaming comedy channels and parodies. Because nobody knows how to roast a piece of media like the people who adore it the most.