Created By: ParadiscaCorbasi on October 2, 2010 Last Edited By: ParadiscaCorbasi on November 21, 2010
Troped

AuditoryDifficulties

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Page Type:
Trope
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


Examples:

Film
  • 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?"

Literature
  • 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.

Theater

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't...hear...you! 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!
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • October 3, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    • 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.

    And of 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!

  • October 4, 2010
    Evalana
    I tried this already, but your description and title are better, so feel free to take the examples from there.
  • October 8, 2010
    Evalana
    • 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!
  • October 9, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Obligatory Avatar The Last Airbender example: Katara attempts to get Aang to talk about taking on the Fire Lord.
      Aang: What? The wind is too loud in my ears! Check out this loop!
  • October 11, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    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?
  • October 11, 2010
    JMorgan
    • 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!
  • October 11, 2010
    randomsurfer
    There's also the joke about the guy who buys a new hearing aid and is gushing about it to his friend. I'm too lazy to type out in full but the punchline is:
    Alice: What kind is it?
    Bob: A quarter to three.
  • October 11, 2010
    BOFH
    Live Action TV
  • October 16, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Bump.

    Come on, y'all. This one is pretty frequently used. Help me out with some more examples?
  • October 16, 2010
    Wackd
    There's a scene in an episode of Invader Zim where Dib and Zim are yelling at each other across a street, but the animators didn't put in any traffic, so it really comes off more as Zim being hard of hearing. So...um...Played With, I guess. Yeah.
  • October 16, 2010
    Stratadrake
    When one person is trying to actively avoid the conversation in question, they will generally employ Fake Static.
  • October 16, 2010
    droginator
    From Peachi's Metal Gear Solid comic, this happens when Liquid is in a helicopter:
    Snake: Who are you? And why do you sound like Master Miller with an awful British accent?
    Liquid: WHAT?
    Snake: I SAID-
    Liquid: WHAT? I'M SORRY, I CAN'T HEAR YOU, THERE'S A HELICOPTER HERE!
  • October 17, 2010
    Arivne
    Film
    • DEBS. Amy and Janet are driving in an open-top car, so there's a lot of noise making it difficult to talk.
    Amy: I'm just not in love.
    Janet: What?
    [The car stops, as does the noise]
    Amy: I said, I want to be in love!
    Janet: Why are you yelling?
  • October 17, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • 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!

  • October 18, 2010
    suedenim
    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.
  • October 31, 2010
    Heatth
    This have to be a comedy trope? I think I remember some using it for some drama effects. I can't remember well, though.
  • October 31, 2010
    troacctid
    Futurama: "I have sweaty boot rash!"
  • November 1, 2010
    Duckay
    Parodied in one episode of Radio Active: George is trying to tell Kevin something, but Kevin is listening to loud music on his headphones. George waves his hands wildly and mouths something; Kevin takes off his headphones and says, "Sorry, music, I couldn't hear you?", and George replies, "Oh, I know, that's why I didn't say anything.", before commencing with what he actually wanted to tell Kevin.
  • November 1, 2010
    guardyanangel
    (Joke) Three old men were going golfing. The first strikes up a conversation:
    Old Man 1: It sure is windy today.
    Old Man 2: No, it's not! It's Thursday!
    Old Man 3: Me too! Let's go have a beer.

    EDIT: Ninja'd.
  • November 6, 2010
    Evalana
    Comes up twice in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "Applebuck Season." Due to overworking, Applejack bonks her head on a tree branch, leaving her ears ringing, so when Twilight Sparkle comes over talk to her, it takes a few tries before she actually hears what the other pony says. A few scenes later, she and Pinkie Pie attempt to bake some muffins, but her sleep-deprivation muddles what Pinkie says, and what they end up with gives half the town food poisoning.
  • November 6, 2010
    Duncan
    Too-loud disco music in Boogie Nights:
    "Doesn't it make you nervous when you're dealing with all those evil forces?"
    "Horses?"
    "No, the evil forces."
    "Evil?! Nah, man. It's not evil. It's an illusion!"
    "Yeah! It's confusin'!"

  • November 6, 2010
    solfieri
    Tintin is full of jokes like these when Professor Tournesol appears.
  • November 21, 2010
    countrymatters
    Film
    • In the 2005 film version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, this trope is featured in Arthur Dent's flashback of meeting Tricia Mc Millan at a fancy dress party, after he comments on her Charles Darwin costume:
      Tricia: "You're the first person who's gotten that right. Everyone keeps calling me 'Santa.'"
      Arthur: "Really?"
      Tricia: "Yeah. And I thought the beagle made it a dead giveaway."
      Arthur: "Well, I suppose most of the people who come to these parties are drunken idiots."
      Tricia: "What?"
      (someone bumps into the record player, the music stops)
      Arthur: "I said all of these people are idiots! ...Oh God."

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