Created By: LokIago on November 29, 2012 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on December 8, 2012
Troped

Hair Trigger Sound Effect

Blucher! WHINNY

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Sometimes, the world you live in has its own verbal tics. Maybe the environment is a bit TOO empathic, or the animals a bit TOO skittish. But usually, it's the writer driving a Running Gag so far into the ground they pull it back out covered in fossils. Regardless of the whys and wherefores, the Hair Trigger Sound Effect is a special class of Running Gag.

It isn't uncommon for certain words, phrases, or even actions to have a sting associated with its use. A smiling hero's teeth might glint, or a magical sword might be sharp even to the ears. But this sting doesn't always go away. Sometimes, it stays on WELL past the need. And that is where the Hair Trigger Sound Effect comes into play. It isn't the fact that lightning flashes when a character mentions murder. It's the 18th time they do it. Bonus points if they realize they can control the weather, and occasionally use it to light up a room.

This trope is commonly used via a dramatic sting. It's not at all surprising for characters to notice it, or even notice when it DOESN'T happen. And if the fan base is really up on their game, you better believe they'll chime in when they hear the magic word.

Note that this is targeted primarily at the comedic use of this trope. There are times where an over-zealous sound editor abuses a Signature Sound Effect(though this does not prevent it from becoming accidentally hilarious). And words considered magic by nature of the plot are similarly not applicable. Just because thunder rumbles when you say the magic word for "storms" does not make it unusual.

Compare Left the Background Music On for when characters can hear the sting, or Terrible Ticking if only one poor bastard can hear it. The occasional Incessant Chorus may also get involved if they've got a contract to complete. Otherwise, this will probably be the Signature Sound Effect from hell.

Examples of this trope include:

Films - Live Action
  • Young Frankenstein: The Trope Codifier. Horses are very uncomfortable with the idea of Frau Blucher *WHINNY*
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show: While not an in-universe example, there isn't a single well-seasoned veteran of the midnight showings that can let either Brad *ASSHOLE!* or Janet's *SLUT!* name go by without proper response.

Western Animation
  • The Venture Bros.: Any mention of the covert organization SPHINX *Sphinx!* will inevitably be echoed, if not by a member of SPHINX *Sphinx!*, then by a disembodied chorus.
  • The Boondocks: During one episode, Huey discovers that his grandfather's date is a Mortal Kombat-style ultimate fighter who regularly takes part in a competition known as the Kumate *HIYA!*. Considering the Kumate *YAAA!* is a no-holds barred death match, anyone who claims to have fought in the Kumate *YOOHA!* is to be greatly feared.
  • Freakazoid: Bleeding over heavily into real life, the villain Candle Jack would kidnap people who mentioned him. In this instance, the silence itself would be the accompanying effect.
  • Muppet Babies: Gonzo played The Weirdo, and everytime his name was mentioned, Rowlf played a Musical Sting on the piano. Eventually, Gonzo got tired of it and asked Rowlf to knock it off.

Live Action TV
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse: While it changed once an episode, and was clearly invoked, you better believe that at some point, the whole house would go apeshit when someone said the secret word. *AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!*
  • Sesame Street: EVERY time the Count laughs, thunder follows.
  • Roseanne: Every time someone says the word "audit" during the tax episode, a dramatic fanfare plays. All the characters stop and look around for the source. After this happens one too many times, Roseanne screams "I think we should get out of this house!"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: For the love of god, whatever you do, don't say anything about the fact that you're not expecting the Spanish Inquisition. *DRAMATIC STING* Goes even further, as it is accompanied by the Spanish Inquisition.

Literature
  • Craig Shaw Gardner's Slaves of the Volcano God (as you probably guessed from the title) spends the entire book with Appease The Volcano God hanging over the characters' collective heads. The volcano (and its god) is named Wakka Loa, and every time someone says the name, Jungle Drums sound.

Video Games
  • Borderlands 2: While there are a number of guns that can talk or have unusual effects, only the gun known as "The Bane" truly utilizes this trope. For every bullet fired from this (fully automatic) weapon, the player is greeted with the loudest, most irritating sound effect in the game. While not lampshaded, it is clear that this trope is deliberately invoked.

Web Originals
  • Bri TA Nick: In "The Dinner Party", every dark revelation is followed by a musical sting. At least until near the end, when the definition of "revelation" gets a bit out of control.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • November 29, 2012
    StarSword
    • Car Talk gives the original a Shout Out in the credits with Catherine "Frau Blucher" *WHINNY* Fenelosa.
  • November 29, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    This is a cool idea! Although you will be told to change the title as it's completely incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with Young Frankenstein. Tropes aren't to be named after characters.

    • There's an episode of Blackadder in the third series where actors react this way to the name "Mac Beth" by reciting a short rhyme.

    Feel like I've Seen It A Million Times but frustratingly can't remember any examples.
  • November 29, 2012
    StarSword
    Wasn't there a Darths And Droids strip where Artoo's player started drinking every time a trope was mentioned, and calling out the name of the trope?
  • November 29, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^^ That is a convention specific to Macbeth: actors consider saying the name (outside of a performance of the play) bad luck, and either euphemize the title or perform some kind of ritual (like saying a short rhyme) to dispel the bad luck.

    Not saying that disqualifies it, or anything, but that information may be useful.
  • November 29, 2012
    Duncan
    I saw a children's theatre version of Aladdin that featured a Lady Kashmir, whose name was always followed by a snippet of Led Zeppelin.
  • November 29, 2012
    TonyG
    On Muppet Babies, Gonzo played The Weirdo, and everytime his name was mentioned, Rowlf played a Musical Sting on the piano. Eventually, Gonzo got tired of it and asked Rowlf to knock it off.
  • November 29, 2012
    Bisected8
    Often a feature of a Large Ham Title.
  • November 29, 2012
    JonnyB
    A silent version: The dogs in Up, whenever someone (or even one of them) says "Squirrel", they all immediately stop whatever they're doing and point.

    There's a series of radio commercials in Southern California for Mike Diamond Plumbing, who's motto is "The Smell-Good Plumber", and every time the words "Smell Good" are said in the commercial (which is intentionally quite a few times), immediately the sound of a harp chord is heard.

    Blazing Saddles: Whenever someone calls Hedley Lamarr "Hedy", he immediately says, "That's Hedley!".
  • November 29, 2012
    Xtifr
    Needs a better name, as character-named tropes are all-but-forbidden these days. Seems like a reasonable trope, though.
  • November 29, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • Sesame Street: whenever the Count laughs, thunder rolls.
    • In one of the comedy Ferengi episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, the minor villain Brunt temporarily becomes Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Consortium. Throughout the episode, Whenever anyone utters the phrase "Grand Nagus Brunt", several of the other characters present correct them, in unison: "Acting Grant Nagus Brunt!"
  • November 29, 2012
    undefined
    ^ I think the DS 9 example is another trope, but it might count..

    Needs a better name for sure. Maybe... Background Verbal Tic or Situational Verbal Tic... or something.
  • November 29, 2012
    robinjohnson
  • November 29, 2012
    elwoz
    Literature: Craig Shaw Gardner's Slaves of the Volcano God (as you probably guessed from the title) spends the entire book with Appease The Volcano God hanging over the characters' collective heads. The volcano (and its god) is named Wakka Loa, and every time someone says the name, Jungle Drums sound.
  • November 29, 2012
    JonnyB
    Whenever someone in any of the Pirates Of The Caribbean films refers to "Jack Sparrow" in his presence, Jack is always quick to interject, "that's Captain Jack Sparrow."
  • November 29, 2012
    Duncan
  • November 29, 2012
    Earnest
    Sister Trope to The Scottish Trope, where saying a name or word can have magical negative consequences.
  • November 29, 2012
    DRCEQ
    Oh yes. the Freakazoid example NEEDS to be explained. The whole Self Demonstrating Article thing with the Candlejack meme has proven to be quite annoying in the past, as the whole purpose of this site is to explain things.
  • November 29, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Bad Trope Namer, sorry. You just made that term up. Try something else.
  • November 30, 2012
    Sheora
    I would note that Pee-wee's Playhouse is an Invoked trope, since he sets up the secret word every day.

    Also, how can a new trope have a "former trope namer?" Working YKTTW titles don't qualify for that.

    Here's one more example for you:
    • In the tax episode of Roseanne, every time someone says the word "audit" a dramatic fanfare plays. All the characters stop and look around for the source. After this happens one too many times, Roseanne screams "I think we should get out of this house!"
  • November 30, 2012
    elwoz
    The new title is better than the old one but still doesn't really convey the trope. How about Running Sound Effect Gag?
  • November 30, 2012
    DRCEQ
    ^ sounds pretty good actually.
  • December 1, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Much more specific. Great.
  • December 2, 2012
    StarSword
    I liked Running Sound Effect Gag better than the new name.
  • December 2, 2012
    AgProv
    Radio: the Goon Show depended on sound effects. A consistent one throughout the series was a loud splash, cuing Spike Milligan to put the "Little Jim" voice on and say "He fallen in der water!" Explosions were another favourite, usually cuiing Peter Seller's "Blubottle" character to be "deaded". And all manner of sound euphemisms were used for Major Bloodnok's rregrettable stomach problem... gurgling, flatulent explosions, out-of-key tubas..
  • December 2, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^^ Ditto.
  • December 2, 2012
    LokIago
    OK, changed it back. I'm trying to give it a name that isn't so flat and to the point, or at least seems clever enough to do the site proud.

    So, what else needs done to this thing?
  • December 2, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Running Sound Effect Gag is a good name. It is clear, but it's not too dry or boring or whatever. Not very witty, but they can't all be Karma Houdini. If you (anyone) think of something better, float the idea.
  • December 2, 2012
    StarSword
    I'm of the trope naming school that prioritizes clearness and conciseness over cleverness. It's nice if you can get clever (for instance, my contribution of Fowl Mouthed Parrot), but not strictly necessary.

    As far as what needs to be done with it? Folderization and adding in the missing examples from the comments.
  • December 2, 2012
    Sheora
    Vote for Running Sound Effect Gag here too. I agree that it's ready as soon as you add your folders and get the rest of the examples in.
  • December 2, 2012
    LokIago
    There. Organized and touched up. Any examples currently listed in the comments but not on the example page are those I've deemed too inaccurate. And I'm still open to better names for this trope. Maybe "Overly Insistent Sting" or something along those lines. I really wish we could do "Blucher Effect", but alas.
  • December 3, 2012
    justanid
  • December 3, 2012
    deadtom
    In Arrested Development, any time it is alluded that Oscar Bluth is Buster's father, the same short, dramatic tune is played.
  • December 3, 2012
    chicagomel
    What about Team Rocket's Twinkle In The Sky sound when they blast off pre-Unova in Pokemon? (Anime)
  • December 5, 2012
    LokIago
    The anime, Arrested Development, and Pokemon examples aren't quite accurate. The entire idea behind the trope is that the sound effect cues a ridiculous number of times for the sake of comedy. The AD example is the closest of the three, but for it to qualify, it would have to happen EVERY TIME Buster says "father". Though the show doesn't milk it, to be fair, it certainly is a running gag. But not the KIND of running gag this YKTTW is aimed at. It really needs a better name.
  • December 7, 2012
    justanid
    There's an interesting story behind why they used this in Young Frankenstein.
    "The joke employed in the film is a take-off on the hoary melodramatic film device of inserting an ominous organ riff or clap of thunder and having actors react with visible fright whenever the villain appears on-screen or a character refers to something evil or threatening."
  • December 7, 2012
    LokIago
    Which may make it the Ur-Example, but definitely a concise definition of the trope.
  • December 8, 2012
    elwoz
    This appears to have been launched, un-launched, and discarded. I'm not sure why. By me this is basically done, although I still like Running Sound Effect Gag better than the current working title.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=lcwqatm8n4yg0i5lqmdyfzk7&trope=DiscardedYKTTW