Created By: neoYTPism on March 4, 2011 Last Edited By: StrixObscuro on December 26, 2014
Troped

Deteriorates Into Gibberish

A character\'s speech becomes increasingly incomprehensible.

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Trope
Stewie: Yeah, it seemed like they were all set without you, she's done a fine job creating a child-friendly environmen-ta-re-mi-ooh, buh de buh boo, buh buh buh THPTHPTHPTHPT...
Brian slaps Stewie.

Do We Have This One??

This is for a piece of dialogue that starts out seeming fairly coherent, but over time gradually deteriorates into gibberish.

May be a sign of Sanity Slippage. When anger is the specific reason for this, it would be Angrish. When the gibberish precedes the character passing out, it's a Non Sequitur Thud.


Examples

Comic Books
  • In the Secret Six arc "Depths", one of the slaves starts to protest her treatment, to which Mr. Smythe responds by having her fellows systematically butchered in front of her. By the end of it, she's so horrified that she's begging them to stop in broken English.
  • In the "Homeschooling" arc of Runaways, Klara gets so worked up after Chase keeps yelling at her that her limited grasp of English fails her and she's reduced to incoherence.

Fan Works
  • The first line of Reality Is Fluid, with First-Person Smartass Kanril Eleya not quite listening to a politician blathering:
    "This project ushers in a new era of cooperation between Cardassia and Bajor. We are healing the wounds of the Occupation and the Dominion War, blah blah blah." Okay, that last part was me.

Film Live Action
  • In Scary Movie 3, Cindy tries to warn people about the Alien Invasion, so she writes in the monitor a text for the anchorman of the news network to read and tell the audience about it. She is busted and another guy writes a correction, the two start to fight at the console and the anchorman goes from contradicting himself to speak gibberish because they write random letters.
  • In Night at the Museum''s third film, when the magic tablet starts to rust, the Theodore Roosevelt replica's speech to the visitors suddenly becomes gibberish.

Literature
  • H.P. Lovecraft does this "seriously" in several stories, including Rats in the Walls.
  • Happens several times in Discworld:
  • In Hat Full of Sky, the wizard Professor Bustle invites the eldritch creature known as the Hiver into his home, confident he can control it and make it work for him. His research notes, preserved as an awful warning to wizards contemplating following his line of research, start off as a parody of scientific notation but degenerate into megalomania of the I'll show them! type (with Multiple Exclamation Marks included), followed swiftly by babbling and then gibberish.
  • Tim Benzedrine's scrawled note in Bored of the Rings''. Apparently, he took drugs before writing it and the high caught up with him in the process of writing.
  • Happens a lot to Cigar in Literature/Gone. He's only coherent and himself occasionally, and sometimes he'll transform midsentence.

Live-Action TV
  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall describes how Lily became more and more neurotic in the weeks leading up to their wedding. Cue a series of flashbacks of Lily charging into the room with increasingly irrational complaints, with the last one being a tearful "Iggy wiggy wiggy!"
    Marshall: After a while, it was just... noise.
  • In Blackadder III, the Prince Regent does this: "Well, that is a stroke of luck. Luck, luck, lucky laaarck lukluklukluk laaarrk, laaaaarrk!"
  • This news reporter.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Amplification", one of the last stages of the poisoning causes the victims to babble absolute nonsense. The first time it appears it's almost comical, but because this sets the audience up for this actually being dramatic, the remaining times it's shown it's Played for Drama. In Reid's case, the babbling starts mid-sentence.
  • In the NewsRadio episode "Zoso", Beth tries to sell a line of hats. As the negotiations fall apart, she gets so upset that she starts blubbering incoherently, and her potential buyers decide to relent and buy her hats so that she'll stop.
  • The "Stock Market Report" in Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    "Trading was crisp at the start of the day, with some brisk business on the floor. Rubber hardened and string remained confident. Little bits of tin consolidated, although biscuits sank after an early gain and stools remained anonymous. Armpits rallied well after a poor start. Nipples rose dramatically during the morning but had declined by mid afternoon, while teeth clenched and buttocks remained firm. Small dark furry things increased severely on the floor, whilst rude jellies wobbled up and down and bounced against rising thighs which had spread to all parts of the country by mid afternoon. After lunch, naughty things dipped sharply, forcing giblets upwards with the nicky nacky noo. Ting tang tong rankled dithely, little tipples pooped and poppy things went pong. Gibble gabble gobble went the rickety rackety roo..."
  • One bit on Reno 911! has Dangle and Wiegel dealing with a woman who's weeping so profusely that they can't get a any information out of her. Finally, Dangle starts weeping along with her and this somehow convinces her to get in the back of their squad car.
  • In two episodes of Stargate SG-1 ("The Fifth Race" and "Lost City") Jack gets the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into his brain by a computer, and his speech progressively incorporates more and more Ancient words until he can't speak English at all anymore.
"Well, apparently I have lost the falatus to speak properly." (beat) "That wasn't a joke. I didn't do that on purpose."
  • In the Community, Annie tries to sing a sexy Santa song. Emphasis on tries, because her attempt at infantilization eventually goes too far, from "cute" to "creepy".
    Jeff: You eventually hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had the station infected with an aphasia virus. As the disease took hold, characters rapidly became unintelligible.
  • In Six Feet Under, Nate struggles to say "numb arm" just before suffering a stroke, resulting in increasing incoherence... and the Trope Namer for Narm.

Music In the Sandra Boynton song "Nobody Understands Me", the singer throws in nonsense words throughout. Near the end, she deteriorates into this for one whole sentence.
Nobody beezifies me
Nobody febbin ud.
Kibbldzy deen voo nizee!
I hate being misunderstood.

Radio
  • Happens in an episode of The News Quiz, when Phil Jupitus starts to answer a question about Scottish devolution and the West Lothian Question, before realising he doesn't really know enough about the details to continue, and descending into gibberish before rallying enough to say "And I don't want the points because I don't deserve them." (Sandi then tells him it was actually a rather accurate and succinct description of the situation.)
  • Former BBC presenter Sarah Kennedy lapsed into this on several occasions, a drawback in one presenting the early breakfast show on national radio. Inevitably, kindly hands had to lead her away from the microphone, ring a cab, and send her home to sleep it off (whatever the it was), while a stand-in presenter took over. Officially, it was put down to over-strong prescription medication and lack of sleep. Sarah no longer works for the BBC, or indeed in radio.

Video Games
  • A borderline meme example from Tales of Symphonia: Rita Mordio during Overlimit. "I'm SO gonna make you blah, blah, blah, TIDAL WAVE! Blah, blah, blah, TIDAL WAVE! Blah, blah, blah..."
  • In Mass Effect, one symptom of advanced Indoctrination is increased verbal incoherence.

Web Animation
  • The RWBY episode "Field Trip" involved the arrival of a dog so cute Weiss's speech devolved into baby talk.
    Weiss: You mean this mangy, drooling... mutt... is gonna wiv wif us foweva?
    • Most egregiously:
      Weiss: Oh, I'll miss you so much, we're gonna be best friends, I ka be vo q yuaouuuuu. (That last may have been her attempt to say "I can't believe how cute you are.")

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The above from Family Guy, of course.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Launchpad begins stuttering uncontrollably after seeing Paddywhack's jack in the box pull in Quackerjack.
  • Happens to Quick Clones in Men in Black, right before they dissolve into a puddle of goo.
  • In the South Park episode "Goobacks", the "Took Your Job!" slogan spouted by the enraged blue-collar workers who've been displaced by all those people from the "feww-chure" becomes increasingly incoherent at every rally.
  • Throughout the first season of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage actually talked throughout the episodes, spoke in complete sentences, and interacted with other characters through words. After that, Cartoon Network forced Courage to stop talking because Linda Simensky thought Courage talked too much in the first season, so Courage's dialogue was reduced to barely anything more than his frightened babbling... any actual talking he did do in those last three seasons were reduced to mostly to an Aside Comment every few episodes, or a stock recording of Courage calling out for Muriel.

Other
  • Vintage comedian and magician Tommy Cooper would do this as part of his act. He'd mumble an explanation of what trick, or sketch he was performing, and over the course of it, it would degenerate into incomprehensible gibberish. It was rather funny.
Community Feedback Replies: 70
  • March 4, 2011
    AGroupie
    Angrish is related. If examples are anger-related, this is The Same But More of Angrish.
  • March 5, 2011
    IronLion
    In the backstory and prequels to The Belgariad, the prophecies were delivered by madmen. Since the scribes had to write down everything they said, books of prophecy consisted mostly of insane rambling with the occasional relevant line thrown in.
  • March 5, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall describes how Lily became more and more neurotic in the weeks leading up to their wedding. Cue a series of flashbacks of Lily charging into the room with increasingly irrational complaints, with the last one being a tearful "Iggy Wiggy Wiggy!"
    Marshall: After a while, it was just... noise.

  • March 6, 2011
    neoYTPism
    They are not exclusively about anger, A Groupie. Even the tentative page quotation is more about sarcasm.
  • March 7, 2011
    SilentReverence
    Does the "Would you like a tea? Cigar? Bwghandee? <unrecognizable gibberish>?" Take That at british in an episode of Family Guy (or American Dad, can't remember which one exactly) count?
  • March 7, 2011
    ced1106
    HP Lovecraft does this "seriously" in several stories, including Rats in the Walls. Are there any other "varities" of descending into gibberish?
  • March 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Family Guy quote seems to me like Stewie is invoking Blah Blah Blah.
  • March 7, 2011
    fs1034
    This does seem very similar to Angrish. The only difference is that this specifies that the dialogue starts out making sense and then deteriorates, and that this isn't only anger related. However there are a lot of examples for Angrish that would fall under this so you may want to consider how they best relate to each other. Perhaps they can be worked together.
  • March 7, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    Vintage comedian and magician Tommy Cooper would do this as part of his act. He'd mumble an explanation of what trick, or sketch he was performing, and over the course of it it would degenerate into incomprehensible gibberish. It was rather funny
  • March 17, 2011
    neoYTPism
    The connection, fs1034 was that some angrish examples are also this and that is it. This is not a subtrope of angrish, and not every case of angrish is a case of this.
  • March 17, 2011
    egf26
    In Blackadder III, the Prince Regent does this: 'Well, that is a stroke of luck. Luck, luck, lucky laaarck lukluklukluk laaarrk, laaaaarrk!'
  • June 22, 2011
    Aielyn
    I think Ned Flanders does this a few times, ending up in an overly long strange of "diddley" and "noodley" type words at the end of an otherwise reasonable sentence.
  • June 24, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ I vaguely recall that kind of thing too, but the only specific example that comes to mind (from Hurricane Neddy) is arguably more along the lines of Angrish anyway.
  • June 24, 2011
    Evdog
    Does this news reporter sum up what you're saying?
  • June 26, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Yeah, she qualifies.
  • July 3, 2011
    MiinU
    Video Games

    A borderline meme example: Rita Mordio during Overlimit. "I'm SO gonna make you blah, blah, blah, TIDAL WAVE! Blah, blah, blah, TIDAL WAVE! Blah, blah, blah..."

    You get the idea. Apply liberally 'til everything dies.
  • July 3, 2011
    KTera
    Happens a lot in Dildobitch's infamous Amnesia: The Dark Descent video.
  • July 3, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Live Action TV
    • In the Criminal Minds episode Amplification, one of the last stages of the poisoning causes the victims to babble absolute nonsense. The first time it appears it's almost comical, but because this sets the audience up for this actually being dramatic, the remaining times it's shown it's Played For Drama. In Reid's case, the babbling starts mid-sentence.
  • July 5, 2011
    Keenath
    I think it's still just Angrish. Rage is the most common reason for a descent into angrish, but (despite the name) it can be caused by any extreme emotion. In any case I don't think this requires its own trope since it's basically "Just like Angrish only when you aren't angry".
  • July 5, 2011
    neoYTPism
    No, Angrish is stated in the description to be about anger by definition. This is just any reason for deteriorating into gibberish.
  • July 5, 2011
    Arospace
    Happened twice inDiscworld
  • July 5, 2011
    Aielyn
    From Angrish - "Other strong emotions are sufficient to render a person unable to speak proper English (or whatever language is being spoken at the time), but shock, anger, and pure rage are the most common."

    It covers all cases where the reason for it is strong emotion.

    So really, this trope, at best, should cover non-emotional cases.
  • July 6, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Emotional reasons are not implied by this trope, nor by my first example of it. So it is still distinct from Angrish.
  • July 7, 2011
    LoopyChew
    • Speed Racer has Speed taking a pop quiz in the beginning, which eventually dissolves into row after row of "blah blah blah blah blah."
  • September 9, 2011
    Prfnoff
    The "Stock Market Report" in Monty Pythons Flying Circus:
    "Trading was crisp at the start of the day, with some brisk business on the floor. Rubber hardened and string remained confident. Little bits of tin consolidated, although biscuits sank after an early gain and stools remained anonymous. Armpits rallied well after a poor start. Nipples rose dramatically during the morning but had declined by mid afternoon, while teeth clenched and buttocks remained firm. Small dark furry things increased severely on the floor, whilst rude jellies wobbled up and down and bounced against rising thighs which had spread to all parts of the country by mid afternoon. After lunch, naughty things dipped sharply, forcing giblets upwards with the nicky nacky noo. Ting tang tong rankled dithely, little tipples pooped and poppy things went pong. Gibble gabble gobble went the rickety rackety roo..."
  • August 16, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • August 16, 2014
    DAN004
    I support "This Is Not Angrish".
  • August 17, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In the Darkwing Duck episode "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Launchpad begins stuttering uncontrollably after seeing Paddywhack's jack in the box pull in Quackerjack.
  • August 17, 2014
    StarSword
    May overlap with Blah Blah Blah when this is the result of one character mentally overwriting what the speaker is actually saying.

    Fan Works:
    • The first line of Reality Is Fluid, with First Person Smartass Kanril Eleya not quite listening to a politician blathering:
      "This project ushers in a new era of cooperation between Cardassia and Bajor. We are healing the wounds of the Occupation and the Dominion War, blah blah blah." Okay, that last part was me.
  • August 17, 2014
    DAN004
  • August 17, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • In the Secret Six arc "Depths", one of the slaves starts to protest her treatment, to which Mr. Smythe responds by having her fellows systematically butchered in front of her. By the end of it, she's so horrified that she's begging them to stop in broken English.

    Video Games
    • In Mass Effect, one symptom of advanced Indoctrination is increased verbal incoherence.
  • August 17, 2014
    DaibhidC
    Radio
    • Happens in an episode of The News Quiz, when Phil Jupitus starts to answer a question about Scottish devolution and the West Lothian Question, before realising he doesn't really know enough about the details to continue, and descending into gibberish before rallying enough to say "And I don't want the points because I don't deserve them." (Sandi then tells him it was actually a rather accurate and succinct description of the situation.)
  • August 17, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    I don't think this many hats is justified until the OP gets updated...
  • August 17, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I don't think the op is there anymore.

    Maybe Strix Obscuro can grab this?
  • August 17, 2014
    johnnycache
  • August 17, 2014
    patches365
    Not sure if the infamous line from Doctor Who would count: "People assume time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff."
  • August 17, 2014
    DAN004
  • August 17, 2014
    arbiter099
    ^^and Metaphorgotten

    Can be indicative of Sanity Slippage
  • August 17, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    I'll grab it.
  • August 17, 2014
    aurora369
    Tim Benzedrine's scrawled note in Bored of the Rings. Apparently, he took drugs before writing it and the high caught up with him in the process of writing.
  • August 18, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Can anyone explain the Family Guy example? Specifically, why Stewie starts deteriorating into gibberish?
  • August 19, 2014
    johnnycache
    Forgot to mention: If due to injuries, fatigue, or drugs, this frequently ends in a Non Sequitur Thud.
  • September 30, 2014
    PacificGreen
    Friendship Is Witchcraft: Part 1 of The Movie "Horse Women" has Luna telling Twilight what her mission is going to be. She starts off with a normal "Your mission is to...", but the rest is pretty much seemingly random words strung together like nonsense.
  • September 30, 2014
    NESBoy
    • In I Mockery's Action Figure Aberration feature, Spider Man takes offense to The Tick's dissing of Three Doors Down, and starts singing their song "Kryptonite" as thus: "If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I'm alive and well, will you be dere be booo bah bah! Bee blah bee!" The other action figures proceed to beat him up as he exclaims, "Kryptonite!"
  • September 30, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    The Trope Namer for Narm is this: there was some character who says something about his 'numb arm', then it develops into a quick, full-blown stroke, he goes, 'N'aaarrm. N'aaaarrrrmmm...' and collapses.
  • September 30, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    It may also happen when the situation has gotten very bad and the person is terrified.
  • September 30, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    ^^ I believe you're referring to Nate from Six Feet Under.
  • September 30, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    Yeah, couldn't be arsed to look it up.

    Also, Charles Manson once answered some question in an interview that turned into this in some meager attempt at getting a cheap laugh.
  • September 30, 2014
    Exxolon
    An episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine had the station infected with an aphasia virus. As the disease took hold characters rapidly stopped being understandable.
  • September 30, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    I think Courage the Cowardly Dog should be the trope codifier of this: throughout the first season of the show, Courage actually talked throughout the episodes, he spoke in complete sentences, and interacted with other characters through words, then after that, Cartoon Network forced Courage to stop talking because Linda Simensky thought Courage talked too much in the first season, so Courage's dialogue was reduced to barely anything more than his frightened babbling... any actual talking he did do in those last three seasons were reduced to mostly to an Aside Comment every few episodes, or a stock recording of Courage calling out for Muriel.
  • September 30, 2014
    NESBoy
    "Aside Glance with a One Liner"

    That would be Aside Comment.
  • October 6, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    Suggestions? Hats?
  • October 6, 2014
    DAN004
  • October 6, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    ^^^ I didn't know we had that one, thanks.
  • October 8, 2014
    MercenX
    • The RWBY episode "Field Trip" involved the arrival of a dog so cute Weiss's speech devolved into baby talk.
      Weiss: You mean this mangy, drooling... mutt... is gonna wiv wif us foweva?
      • Most egregiously:
        Weiss: Oh, I'll miss you so much, we're gonna be best friends, I ka be vo q yuaouuuuu. (that last may have been her attempt to say "I can't believe how cute you are")
  • October 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Again, how would this relate to Gagging On Your Words?
  • October 13, 2014
    AgProv
    Radio:
    • Former BBC presenter Sarah Kennedy lapsed into this on several occasions, a drawback in one presenting the early breakfast show on national radio. Inevitably, kindly hands had to lead her away from the microphone, ring a cab, and send her home to sleep it off (whatever the it was), while a stand-in presenter took over. Officially, it was put down to over-strong prescription medication and lack of sleep. Sarah no longer works for the BBC, or indeed in radio.
  • November 27, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Add the Courage example, plz.
  • November 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Can somebody answer my question? D:
  • November 27, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Gagging On Your Words applies to when characters can't bring themselves to say something (out of pride or something like that); this is for when characters get to rambling about something to the point that their rambling is reduced to babbling nonsense.
  • November 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ related tropes then.
  • November 28, 2014
    AgProv
    Literature:
    • The mind-controlling eldrich creature called the Hiver in the Discworld. The wizard Professor Bustle invites it in, confident he can control it and make it work for him. His research notes, preserved for an awful warning to wizards contemplating following his line of research, start off as a parody of scientific notation but degenerate into megalomania of the I'll Show them! type (with Multiple Exclamation Marks featuring) followed swiftly by babbling and then gibberish.
  • November 28, 2014
    CompletelyDifferent
    • In the Community, Annie tries to sing a sexy Santa song. Emphasis on try, because her attempt at infantilization eventually goes too far, from "cute" to "creepy".
      Jeff: You eventually hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness.
      Annie: What's a dimi-muh-muh-mweh?
  • December 25, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    In the Sandra Boynton song "Nobody Understands Me", the singer throws in nonsense words throughout. Near the end, she deteriorates into this for one whole sentence.
    Nobody beezifies me
    Nobody febbin ud.
    Kibbldzy deen voo nizee!
    I hate being misunderstood.

    Is the sponsor still there?
  • December 25, 2014
    DAN004
    • In Night At The Museum's third film, when the magic tablet starts to rust, Theodore Roosevelt replica's speech to the visitors suddenly becomes gibberish.
  • December 25, 2014
    Arivne
    ^^ The OP neoYTPism last posted here on 7-6-14, more than two months ago, so this is Up For Grabs.

    There's no record of them making any posts since then, so I think you can assume they have left the Wiki.
  • December 25, 2014
    GiorgioDaneri
    • In Scary Movie 3, Cindy tries to warn people about the Alien Invasion, so she writes in the monitor a text for the anchorman of the news network to read and tell the audience about it. She is busted and another guy writes a correction, the two star to fight at the console and the anchorman goes from contradicting himself to speak gibberish because they write random letters.
  • December 25, 2014
    DAN004
    Strix Obscuro doesn't seem to be really active either...

    And no, not gonna grab this yet. I gotta go on vacation.
  • December 26, 2014
    StarSword
    Potential better page quote:
    "Well, apparently I have lost the falatus to speak properly." (beat) "That wasn't a joke. I didn't do that on purpose."
    Colonel Jack O'Neill, "The Fifth Race", Stargate SG 1

    TV:
    • In two episodes of Stargate SG 1 ("The Fifth Race" and "Lost City") Jack gets the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into his brain by a computer, and his speech progressively incorporates more and more Ancient words until he can't speak English at all anymore.
  • December 26, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Okay, I think I've added all the suggested examples (save for the Charles Manson anecdote, because it wasn't attached to a specific work.) If there are no other additions or edits, I'm going to launch this thing tomorrow.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=i2kstydwduhck616pxu7chba