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July 1, 2008

Please Stop Saying 'Mariska Hargitay'

I have no intention of seeing the critically-panned film The Love Guru, in which Mike Meyers plays Guru Pitka, an obnoxious aspiring spiritual leader who…well, I haven't seen it, so I don't know. But I do know that the movie's would-be catch phrase (used repeatedly in the film as a mystical greeting) is "Mariska Hargitay," and that several reviewers found it so painful they were forced to keep track of the number of times it was uttered. Let's count along with A.O. Scott and the rest of the gang.

Mariska Hargitay
A.O. Scott in The New York Times

This is almost hilarious the first 11 or so times he does it, but by the time Guru Pitka (Mr. Myers) says "Mariska Hargitay" to Ms. Hargitay herself, it's somehow less amusing than it should be.

Stephanie Zacharek in Salon

The few gags that do work are slender and breakable rather than hardy: Guru Pitka greets his followers with the phony blessing "Mariska Hargitay"—it's funny the first time you hear it, less so the 20th.

Kyle Smith in the New York Post

Pitka greets his clients by placing his palms together, bowing and murmuring, "Mariska Hargitay," which is sort of funny, although not the 75th time you hear it.

Nathan Robin in The Onion A/V Club

The first time it's employed, it's merely unfunny; by the 13th or 40th time, it's almost hypnotic in its awfulness.

Now I'm getting that nails-on-the-chalkboard feeling every time I hear her name, too. I wonder if I'm ever going to be able to watch Law & Order: SVU again.

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