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Heavy Burtation is a phrase first uttered by news reporter Serene Branson during her s recap of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2011. The on-air incident, which shows Branson fumbling over her lines for nearly 20 seconds, received much news media attention, followed by reuploads and remixes of the original clip on YouTube.
On February 13th, 2011, Emmy-award winning KCBS reporter Serene Branson was slated to give a recap of the highlights of the 53rd Grammy Awards, when she suddenly began garbling her words in unintelligible manner.
“Well a very, very heavay a heavy drit, burtation tonight, We had a very dairse, darrison…but let’s go ahead tearis tasin losh flabette bahend the pet."
Immediately after the camera cut to recorded footage, Branson was examined by paramedics and a co-worker escorted her home. Branson supposedly confirmed she was not hospitalized after the incident via Twitter, but the account was later suspended.
Concern over Branson’s health and the possibility that she may have had a stroke on air caused the clip to spread quickly through mainstream news outlets like The Telegraph, the Huffington Post, AOL News and Business Insider in the first 24 hours. On February 17th, Branson did an interview with CBS LA, stating she suffered from a hereditary, complex migraine and that her symptoms had only mimicked a stroke. The next day, she spoke with the CBS Early Show saying that she was troubled by the video, and had initially hoped that the clip would not have been uploaded to YouTube.
Other sites began highlighting remixes and parodies of Branson’s medical emergency, including Salon and Australian blog The Vine. Humor sites Uproxx and Guyism shared an autotuned remix of the original video (shown above). The phrase “burtation” was first added to UrbanDictionary on February 14th, 2011 defined as “A heightened state of anticipation (characterized as ‘heavy’), especially before an awards presentation.” The phrase was also explained on Yahoo! Answers that month.
In the 100th episode of the NBC comedy 30 Rock, which aired April 21st 2011, character Pete Hornberger (played by Scott Adsit) quoted Branson’s flub while being checked out after a medical emergency of his own.
Search for Serene Branson peaked in February 2011 when the incident took place but quickly dropped off.
CBS Los Angeles – Serene Branson Talks About Her Live Medical Emergency
The Telegraph – Serene Branson ‘hospitalised after Grammy’s speech problems’
Business Insider – CBS Reporter Has Possible Stroke On Air At Grammys
Huffington Post – Serene Branson Had ‘Complex Migraine,’ Her Physician Says