In real life, even in the best of circumstances we often have to repeat ourselves to be understood by the people we're talking to.
In fiction, when conversations are taking place, they will sometimes benefit from a strange, localized phenomenon of crystal clear acoustics. It doesn't matter if they consist of several paragraphs of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
, the words will be heard without any trouble by both target and audience, even in the midst of a crowded nightclub dance floor being buzzed by a 747. A particularly handy feature for The Quiet One
, but also for action heroes making sure the villain hears their cool Pre-Mortem One-Liner
despite them both dangling from a speeding helicopter.
Sometimes you might have to go so far as to TALK! LOUDLY!
, but don't worry — unless it's a Plot Point
that you shouldn't hear each other
, then damn the acoustics, full speed ahead!
Related to Easily Overheard Conversation
, Seven Minute Lull
, Stage Whisper
and (distantly) Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic
, as well as Talking Is a Free Action
for a different sort of an unusually nonproblematic conversation.
Contrast Fake Static
, Plot-Based Voice Cancellation
and Sound Effect Bleep
for when the writers are inserting rather than ignoring audio obstacles.
Part of the Artistic License
Anime and Manga
- Bubblegum Crisis - The Tokyo: 2040 series has a great example in the episode "Minute by Minute". Priss and Leon have a quiet conversation together... while speeding down a highway on motorcycles. No evidence of radios here, and in fact it's even crazier because Leon is wearing an open face helmet while Priss's helmet is totally enclosed, which would muffle her voice even if they were at a dead stop.
- Both played straight and averted in Porco Rosso. Sometimes, people communicate plane-to-plane via morse code, as they did in real life. Other times, they simply shout, which in real life would have been impossible.
- In Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, people have no problem talking to another in-flight from gunship to gunship without their voices being drowned out by wind and the noise from the engines.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 comic book Blood And Thunder, the newly-proclaimed Ork Warboss Skyva gives a speech from the top of a Gargant (a war machine standing over a hundred meters tall) to the thousands of orks at its base.
- In Death Of The Family the Joker has crudely reattached his face and can still talk, but he shouldn't be able to control his lip movements and speak without mispronouncing certain words. (Think Nicolas Cage in Face/Off.)
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen actually shows the confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, something the original story by Arthur Conan Doyle that it's taken from, "The Final Problem", never bothered with (Watson just finds a letter and signs of a struggle and assumes what happened). Doyle thus sidestepped any problems of two men engaging in dialogue right next to a plunging, roaring waterfall, while Moore forges right through with sesquipedalian flair, as seen here.
- The Night of the Owls arc in DC's New 52 culminated in Batman #11, an excerpt of which serves as the trope image for this page. That panel isn't a fluke: all throughout a fight involving screaming jet engines, explosions, and men getting punched through brick walls, Lincoln March keeps up a steady stream of convoluted conversation regarding his back story.
- Averted in the Freefall Romance scene from Chapter 39 of Kyon Big Damn Hero. As it happens to skydivers and parachutists, it's normally impossible to speak to another person in such conditions. Yuki bypassed this by touching his skinsuit and transmitting her voice through bone conduction.
- The climax of Horton Hears a Who! has the entire worldwide (speckwide?) population of Whos making as much noise as they can in a last ditch attempt to be heard by animals other than Horton. It doesn't work, until the addition of the shout of one small child makes all the difference.
- Redshirts: During a battle, Chief Engineer West replies to comments by Abernathy and Q'eeng just after entering the bridge, meaning he was somehow able to hear them through a door, with red alert sirens blaring.
- The first Twilight book features Edward and Bella holding a conversation while he runs at superhuman speed and she clings to his back. In some cases, the dialogue even states that they are whispering, despite the fact that the wind whipping past their heads should make even yelling next to inaudible, at least for an ordinary human like Bella.
- In The Tenets of Futilism, Sasha and Joe seem perfectly able to have conversations in noisy, crowded areas without speaking loudly or whispering into each other's ears.
- House MD - The episode with the rocker with epilepsy triggered by chaotic music. House brings in a marshal stack and plays REALLY LOUD MUSIC... and then asks "so what were your inspirations for this" over the cacophony.
- How I Met Your Mother - Averted in the fifth episode of the first season. The gang goes out to a nightclub, and while on the dance floor no one can hear each other, except when there's momentary lulls in the music.
- Both played straight and averted in Perry Mason, depending on the episode. Some witnesses would whisper or sob during their big moments and be heard perfectly; other times the judge would instruct them to speak up.
- The Mythbusters examined the plausibility of the Point Break example above by having another skydiver tell Grant a "pull my finger" joke in freefall. The joke was completely inaudible.
- Averted in the final episode of M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen". As BJ Hunnicutt is departing, Klinger tells Col. Potter that Hunnicutt's discharge orders were rescinded, but Potter is unable to hear the message because the helicopter taking him away is too loud.
- Also averted when orders have to be relayed down a long vehicle convoy when the 4077 is moving camp. This is then Played for Laughs when Father Mulcahy decides to bless the new site, with the words of his prayer shouted from one truck to the next.
- Adventure Time Averts in the episode "Belly of the Beast". Finn and Jake are first ignored and then misunderstood as they try to talk to some bears in the middle of a noisy rave party, but then in the same space they have a quiet conversation with another bear with no problems.
- In Bee Movie, there are numerous cases when you have to wonder how is it possible that everyone can hear a tiny bee crystal clear, no matter the distance. It gets especially stupid during Barry's speeches in the court during a trial, where he doesn't use a microphone or anything like that, and yet everyone can perfectly hear him.
- Used hugely in SWAT Kats. Sometimes they would avert it, by having aircraft-to-aircraft conversations take place via radio or video comms channels, but oftentimes people would just say things, and the SWAT Kats would be able to somehow hear them inside their active supersonic jet. Really, the noise from the Turbokat was just severely played down or outright eliminated in a lot of circumstances, otherwise talking and sound effects would just be blared out by engine noise.