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SURFACING

When 'hello' would take too long

October 13, 2002|Jonathan Taylor

It may be time to say goodbye to "hi." In TV's world, at least, there's no mo' "hello." As anyone knows who watches much television -- Emmy's three big winners in particular -- the greeting of choice is now "hey."

Joey walks into Monica and Chandler's apartment on "Friends," announces himself with "hey," and listens to the rebounding "heys." A stranded-in-Indiana Josh Lyman calls Sam Seaborn in the White House's "West Wing," and Sam picks up with a "hey." Ray Barone greets his wife Debra seemingly each week on "Everybody Loves Raymond" with a loving "hey." And it's not just the big Emmy winners. We're pretty sure Grace has greeted Will with a shrill "hey" of her own.

This of course follows on Hank Kingsley's trademark line on "The Larry Sanders Show": "Hey now."

So what the hey is going on? It's unclear whether TV's writers are setting a trend or are echoing what they're hearing out in the world -- admit it, everyone around you is saying "hey" instead of "hello." Perhaps in this rushed world, "hello" has too many syllables, and "hi" sounds too naive. Or it could be just that the generation of grandparents who greeted the word with a scolding " 'Hey' is for horses" has gone on to the great thesaurus in the sky.

Who knows? Suffice it to say "hey" is having its day.

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