AuditoryDifficulties YKTTW Discussion

(permanent link) added: 2010-10-02 19:30:25 sponsor: ParadiscaCorbasi (last reply: 2010-11-21 10:02:20)

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Seen It a Million Times

Redirects: [~I Can'tHearYou~] and [Banana In My Ear] -- any objections?

Launches in 24 Hours

A conversation is impeded by either a lot of ambient noise, the hearing problems of one or more of the conversants, or an obstruction in the ear of one of the conversants.

So one person yells something above the din. And the other person yells back, resulting in:

  1. I can't hear you! (Repeats the first person's statement back verbatim)
  2. (Response to a question that was not asked, but may rhyme)
  3. Or the din stops just as the other person gets sick of yelling and yells something inappropriate/embarrassing.

A common variation is to invoke the trope. One of the people in the conversation doesn't really want to have the conversation and is grateful for the noise making it impossible to talk and understand each other...or is calling out the other person in the conversation.

Index: Comedy Tropes


  • The Princess and the Frog:
    Naveen: Ray! Get me out of this box!
    Ray: I can't hear you! I'mma get you outta this box!
  • From Care Bears To The Rescue Movie:
    Bumpity: It's getting so windy, I can hardly hear you!
    Tweazle: What? I can't hear you, it's too windy!
  • In the first Tinker Bell movie, Bobble tries to ask Clank if he's seen Tink, unaware that Clank has put in earplugs. After a few tries with Clank mishearing a word that rhymes with 'tink,' he takes out his earplugs and asks "Hey, have you seen Tink?"

  • The Sisters Grimm The elder sister and the grandmother have a conversation of the second type because of how loud the rattletrap of a car is.
  • The Dresden Files Harry's elderly landlady is hard of hearing so they have a conversation of the second type in Changes.
  • The old music hall routine, beloved of P.G. Wodehouse:
    Pat (on the train): Pardon me, is this Wembley?
    Mike: No, it's Thursday!
    Pat: Yes, so am I!

Live-Action TV
  • Sesame Street has used the vaudeville routine listed below with Bert and Ernie.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, at an especially loud techno club:
    Ted: You have no idea what I'm saying, do you?
    Girl nods
    Ted: I'm from outer space!
    Girl nods
    Ted: I got thrown out of Sea World for humping a dolphin!
    Girl nods
    Ted: [Music stops] I'm wetting my pants!
  • The Cone of Silence on Get Smart is a classic example. It's hard to predict exactly how the Cone of Silence will fail at any given moment, but you can practically guarantee it will involve this trope.
  • Crank Yankers does this one. Elmer (old man character) tries to make an appointment to get hearing aids. Over the phone. You can see how this could go wrong, can't you?
  • *Munster, Go Home! has this exchange between Herman and Lily at the race:
    LILY: They're trying to get rid of you!
    HERMAN: What?
    LILY: I said, they're trying to get rid of you!
    HERMAN: I love you, too!

Real Life
  • This is the basis of the old vaudeville joke:
    Mr. Interlocutor: Pardon me, you have a banana in your ear.
    Mr. Bones: Pardon me?
    Mr. Interlocutor: You have a banana in your ear!
    Mr. Bones: Pardon me?
    Mr. Interlocutor: YOU HAVE A BANANA IN YOUR EAR!
    Mr. Bones: I'm sorry; I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.


Video Games
  • Whenever you visit Jezebel at her night club in Vampire Bloodlines, she'll say it's too loud and ask you to her office.
  • In World in Conflict: Soviet Assault, Major Lebedjev secretly switches radio channels, when he orders general retreat, so that the Knight Templar Malashenko, who has moved too far ahead, doesn't come after the "traitors".
  • The Paragon choice in the final dialogue with Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2 has Shepard quipping "Sorry, I can't hear you. I'm getting a lot of bullshit on this line." in his face.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender season 3: Katara attempts to get Aang to talk about taking on the Fire Lord while the latter is on his glider.
    Aang: What? I...can'! The wind is too loud in my ears! Check out this loop!
  • Family Guy did a pep rally at a school for the deaf which became this very fast.
  • Spongebob Squarepants episode "The Idiot Box" plays with the trope.
    Spongebob: We want to keep our voices down so we don't cause an avalanche.
    Patrick: What?
    Spongebob: We should keep our voices down so we don't cause an avalanche!
    Patrick: What should we keep down?
    Spongebob: [shouting] OUR VOICES!
    [avalanche sounds plus Spongebob and Patrick screaming in terror emit from their cardboard box]

  • Back at the Barnyard:
    Pig: These earplugs are great!
    Otis: What?
    Pig: These earplugs are GREAT!
    Otis: No, I won't marry your grandmother!
    Abby: What?
    Otis: I said I won't marry Pig's grandmother!
    Abby: Thanks, I used a new shampoo!
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