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Blackout English, baby! Video Lesson

Learn English with this advice English lesson.

Date: Jan 08 2013

Themes: Soap Opera

Grammar: Imperative Form


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The TV is on, the lights are shining, the refrigerator is humming, the radio is playing-and then, suddenly, everything goes dark. And silent. There’s been a blackout! Blackouts occur when the electricity stops working for some reason. They can last an hour, or a day, or more.

There’s also another kind of blackout. This kind happens when you get hit really hard in the head. Or maybe when you take too many painkillers, or drink too much alcohol. A sort of mental blackout happens, and, the next day, you can’t remember a whole part of your night.

Jeff is still worried that he might have something to do with Marni’s pregnancy. In this English lesson video, we learn the meaning of the English idiom “blackout,” and find out what happens when Jeff asks Greta Vanderlake for advice.




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Jeff:  Ms. Vanderlake?

Greta:  Oh, call me Greta.

Jeff:  OK, well, Greta, I was wondering, since we’re stuck here, if you could help me out with something.

Greta:  Stuck here?

Jeff:  Yeah, you didn’t hear about the roads being shut down from the storm? All the bus systems, everything.

Greta:  Um. Well, I…There’s really no way out of this is there?

Jeff:  Can I ask you this?

Greta:  Have a seat.

Jeff:  OK. Alright. About eight months ago, I had dental surgery.

Greta:  OK…

Jeff:  And basically, I was under anesthesia, and I blacked out for the entire weekend. I can’t remember a thing. So, after the weekend came and went, Marni told us all she was pregnant. And, basically, I think I’m the father.

Greta:  Wow, that’s quite a story. So what makes you think you’re the dad?

Jeff:  Well, I could have done anything that weekend. I was blacked out.

Greta:  Right, but are you and Marni lovers? Did you used to date?

Jeff:  Oh, no no no. Of course not. In fact, she’s back together with her ex.

Greta:  But, there’s got to be something more to it, right? Did she give you some kind of sign, anything, to make you think you might be the dad?

Jeff:  No, she just keeps calling me crazy.

Greta:  Well, sweetie, I think that’s because you are crazy. Just because you blacked out doesn’t mean that you got somebody pregnant! You probably just stayed home. Why would you think you went out and somehow seduced your boss? I think that maybe you have some unresolved feelings here, but you are definitely not the father of Marni’s baby. That just seems like…

Jeff:  What the…

Greta:  The power must be out. There’s a blackout in the whole area. I don’t see any lights. Oh! I will light some scented candles. It’s another product that I endorse.

Mason:  Hey, guys.

Jeff:  Oh, hey, Mason.

Mason:  Can I hang out with you? I…I’m a little scared of the dark.

Greta:  Aw…

Jeff:  Well, Ms. Vander…Greta, and I were actually having a conversation…

Greta:  Oh no, we’re set.


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Jeff asks Greta if she might be able to offer him some advice, since they’re both stuck in the office because of the storm. He tells Greta about the time he blacked out after dental surgery, and that he thinks he’s the father of Marni’s baby.

Greta asks the question that perhaps many of you have been wondering: Why does Jeff think he’s the father? Were he and Marni ever lovers, or did they date? Jeff assures her that they didn’t. Greta says that she thinks, therefore, that Jeff is definitely not the father.

Just then, the lights go out. The storm caused a blackout in the whole area. It turns out Mason’s afraid of the dark, so he comes to hang out with Greta and Jeff.

Did you ever have an experience when you blacked out and couldn’t remember what happened? What about the other kind of blackout; have you ever experienced one?



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yuminagaSuper Member!


I do business with Japanese so I have more than 4~5 times to black out whether Janpanese  sake or  Chinese baijiu ,its really terrible ,you couldnt remember a whole part of your night .i dont hate to drink but i dont like to drink that way ,it seems like you dont want to drink but you hv to ,you are forced to do something you dont like .what a weid thing! the worst thing of all  somebody tell me :thats culture  or tradition ,that means you have to do it without anyexcuse .who is created it ! tell me  where she or he live ,I will blow up their home.

03:07 AM Jan 13 2013 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

if 1 minutes electric go we say ohhhhhhhh no my favorite tv show start,i wanna watch football,reporter want talk to my favorite singer/actor/actress.or say i should use internet for my university,school,i wanna search sth on it.say oh i wanna go to bathroom but i don’t have light,i should study but i don’t have light

and and and….................

did u see we should say thank u very much dear Edison:D

11:37 AM Jan 10 2013 |

1 person likes this



 i hate blackout

05:38 AM Jan 10 2013 |



Actually, this word is to be understood simply in Yemen since there are endless blackouts that might last for more than a day, two days or even a week.  

08:19 PM Jan 08 2013 |




I have never have a blackout, I mean, I have never forgotten anything even when I drink too much.

There were 2 blackout in Brazil caused by the lack of water, we depends most on hydropower here, it was once in 2001 and once in 2002. I was at home it was night I just got a little upset because I wanted to watch the soap opera. Nothing bad or interesting happened. 

07:54 PM Jan 08 2013 |

1 person likes this




Blackout is ordinary in my country(iran) we sometimes turn on candels.


06:54 PM Jan 08 2013 |

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i have experienced blackout once in a life it was a short blackout due to many restless nightes and load of stress. i just remember my heart was sinking, i felt i was losing my sight with a sudden blast of darkness. by the way some times shocks even cause to blackout someone i have seen many cases when people get lose their consious for for some time. its usually happens when a bad news strike a person and when someone listen a good news unexpectedly. i have listend many times in my childhood from my dad and mum about a war story. it was the 1965’s war when india attacked pakistan one night. attack was so sudden and pakistan was not aware of the enemy’s plan. my parents were both kids at that time and they narrate it was total blackout over city there was the sound of war aircrafts and tanks bombing all over. its a long stroy about the feelings about the sacrifices about the bravery and about the victory i ll share some other time.

05:38 PM Jan 08 2013 |




Now that  I remember,  way back in time I had a blackout. Getting off the elevator  I found myself  lying down on the floor and my head  relaxing    on a blanket that a good samaritan   had just  brought back  from the dry cleaner  ( God´s provision )The paramedics couldn´t found  anything wrong  with me .    

05:34 PM Jan 08 2013 |





Julito this is the kind of statement  Jeff would like to believe in and was expecting Greta to say : ) . He needs to put a lid on his obsessions or he’ll end up in a less attractive ward.

05:27 PM Jan 08 2013 |

1 person likes this




Interesting your  comment on this thread.  Snoopy,   massives blackouts   are  responsible    that nine months later   maternity  wards  cant keep up with the number of new born babies  .    lol  

05:01 PM Jan 08 2013 |




Agreed with Greta !

     I think Jeff is still under some lingering effects of the anesthesia he was administered . He’s still in the dark as to what’s going on around him.  Even if he was unaware of his actions Marni had to be blacked out as well  for that to have happened, plus I don’t recall Marni and Jeff ever sharing any weakness for each other which widens the odds of  him fathering her child even greater. I think he ought to check back at the dentist’s, something is still loose in Jeff : ). I’m beginning to question his sanity  very seriously ;), kidding.

     I once blacked out, but my comatose only lasted  for a few seconds.  It was during the holiday seasons a few years back. I had been accumulating herds of hours at the  two  jobs I had at the time, I was burned-out, and my life was dangling by a thread ( ok, maybe not ;). But I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle, popping sleeping –aid pills  in the morning and binge on caffeinated drinks at night to stay awake.  One night my body revolted and decided to give up on me, it shut down right in the middle of a conversation – the funny part is that I didn’t even feel fatigued before it happened. All I remembered was a ringing in my ears, a blinding yellow light and …darkness and…  laughing teeth when I resuscitated before my co-workers eyes ;). He joked that I was passed out for hours , but I had sense enough to realize that it was only for a shorter period of time, less than a minute was my guess. Had I been out for a longer time, he would have emptied my pockets ;)

As for power failure, yeah, I’m no stranger to that as well, I kind of like it : ). It’s always a good excuse to get off from behind a computer or TV screen  and engage in activities like reading a magazine to a dancing candle flame or simply gazing at a starry-sky : ).

: )

04:41 PM Jan 08 2013 |



I really remeber that many blackouts occur in my country. Blackout is something normal in our continent “Africa”.Therefore we become accustomed to that. To be frankly with you, blackouts for certain time, strengthen the relation between the members of the family.

02:15 PM Jan 08 2013 |




There are certain things that  i usually   take for granted  , and  one is that   on getting back home  I won´t  have to walk up  the stairs   to the nine  floor. Big mistake !! most likely,  When it is too hot in the city  and all  the air conditioning units  are on   ,  we might  have a  power failure or a blackout , if you prefer.   We are told that walking up the stairs  is a good cardio  exercize  ,but c`mon , nine  floor ???   :)))))) 

11:12 AM Jan 08 2013 |




I don’t remember any blackouts in my life. Maybe due to I am blacked out now. But to be serious, there were some situations in the past without electricity. Usually for an hour or two, nothing special.

In my opinion blackout is like a life reset. Sometimes it is necessary to start everything from the beginning:)

06:43 AM Jan 08 2013 |

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