Non Surfing Safari

Oct 25, 2019

Inspired by the hard truth that The Pacific Ocean is actually really cold, in this music parody game we rewrote songs by The Beach Boys to be about beach activities you can do without getting more than your feet wet.

Heard on Michael McDonald: Once A Doobie, Always A Doobie.

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER coming to you from Santa Barbara, Calif. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(CHEERING)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thank you, Jonathan. Before the break, we met our contestants, Kate and Sam. Our next game is about beach activities that don't involve getting in the water, like going back inside.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Kate, do you think life's a beach? And justify your answer, please.

KATE MORICS: Yes...

EISENBERG: Oh.

MORICS: ...Because I am always getting sunburned no matter where I am.

EISENBERG: I hear you. I hear you on that one. When I go to the beach, I'm basically in a hazmat suit.

MORICS: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah.

MORICS: Or, like, seven layers of sunscreen so you're just...

EISENBERG: I know.

MORICS: ...Like, glowing.

EISENBERG: Yeah. I know. It's real fun, right?

MORICS: Yep.

EISENBERG: Very good. Good. I'm with you. Sam, what do you think? Life's a beach - yes or no?

SAMUEL CAPPOLI: Oh, definitely.

EISENBERG: Yes. And why?

CAPPOLI: Oh, yeah. I mean, there's so much water all the time and, like, sand. I mean, no matter where you get it, it follows you around.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's true.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Life's a beach because you always have sand and water around you.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

CAPPOLI: Yeah.

COULTON: Yeah. That makes sense.

EISENBERG: Are we all high? Are we all high right now?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I feel like that...

EISENBERG: OK.

COULTON: ...Could be.

EISENBERG: So tourists flock to California beaches, and then they are surprised to learn that the Pacific is, of course, really cold. That hard truth inspired this music parody game. Kate, stay in the lead, and you are in the final round. Sam, you need to get more points, or you have to watch the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" without once saying, oh, come on.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This game is called Non-Surfing Safari. We rewrote songs by The Beach Boys to be about beach activities you can do without getting more than your feet wet. So ring in to identify the activity. And if you get that right, for a bonus point, you can name the original Beach Boys song. Here we go.

(Singing) You catch me working those columns in the Gothic style - onion dome and buttress is going to take a while. It's like the Alhambra meets Le Corbusier. We only have until high tide, when it's washed away.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Kate.

MORICS: Building sandcastles.

COULTON: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: For a bonus point, can you name the song?

MORICS: "Surfin' USA."

COULTON: Yeah. That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Here's your next one.

(Singing) Wouldn't it be nice to solve the murder of a girl you saw while on the train? Would you like to get a dog named Marley or learn the art of racing in the rain? The girl is gone, and maybe he's the killer. A plotty romance or a legal thriller, or maybe some Anne Rice.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sam.

CAPPOLI: Summer blockbuster.

COULTON: No, I'm sorry. That's not what we're looking for. Kate, can you steal?

MORICS: Reading a novel - like, a mystery novel.

COULTON: Yeah. Yeah. We'll give it to you. We're looking for beach read - is what we're looking for.

MORICS: Oh, OK (laughter).

COULTON: But yeah, that's correct. Reading we will accept.

EISENBERG: We're looking for beach murder.

COULTON: Beach murder...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...Something you can do at the beach without really getting your feet wet, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: For a bonus point, can you identify the song?

MORICS: I already forgot it.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That was "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Here we go.

(Singing) Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, a wedding band buried in the sand. I also found a can. I found a quarter and a dime. People lose things all the time in the sand. Beep, beep - here in the sand.

I apologize to all of my music professors in college.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sam.

CAPPOLI: Beachcombing.

COULTON: Beachcombing - that's right. Or metal detecting - that is correct. For a bonus point, can you identify the song?

CAPPOLI: "Barbara Ann."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Watching the string uncoil, a delta box or parafoil, be careful how you unwind it. Let go, and you'll never find it. While the wind blows, it will soar above you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sam.

CAPPOLI: Flying a kite.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Bonus point if you can identify the song.

CAPPOLI: "I Really Love You" (ph).

COULTON: Thank you, Sam, but I need you to name...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...The song. Flattery will get you nowhere. Shoot your shot. Sorry. That was called "God Only Knows." But I appreciate the sentiment very much.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is your last clue.

(Singing) You bump it. You set it, dive until you get it. You spike it. You serve it, win if you deserve it. Bare midriffs are nice, man. Maverick vs. Iceman when you're by the tide. Who would ever want to play inside? But on the other hand, you're caked in sweat and sand.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Kate.

MORICS: Beach volleyball.

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: For a bonus point, can you name the song?

MORICS: "Kokomo."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You guys did great, and after two games, Kate is moving on to our Final Round.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.