troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Chirping Crickets
Given that it's indoors, that is some VERY determined tumbleweed.

"When I get my hands on that cricket, it's snack time!"
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

A character says or does something intended to elicit an enthusiastic response from a group watching him, such as the audience in a theatre or a band of comrades. But instead of the reaction he expects, he hears nothing but the sound of crickets chirping, suggesting that nobody is responding, and they may in fact be stunned into silence or missing altogether.

Occasionally visually accompanied by tumbleweed blowing past, in which case the crickets can sometimes be replaced by blowing wind, or a wolf howling in the distance, with perhaps a distant bonging church bell. Sometimes the sequence includes microphone feedback. Sometimes a single person will cough or fart. Alternatively, someone might throw a tomato at him.

In anime this trope may be represented not by insects but by birds flying by (such as the Idiot Crows). Of course, birds can also have other symbolic meanings so don't be too quick to apply this to every appearance. More often than not, it's coupled with a Sweat Drop.

Compare Loudspeaker Truck.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • An Arby's commercial did this.
  • Recently a Goldfish Crackers commercial did this when none of the crackers opposed the notion of a talent show. Turns out it was one of the goldfish doing a cricket impression.
  • A commercial for State Farm Insurance has a man singing "I have Blah Blah Insurance, so person come help," and then after a bit of silence a chicken hawk screeches overhead and his grandmother appears in front of a booth in the middle of the desert and says that there are six callers ahead.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sanji's reaction to Bon Clay's Clone-Clone Montage in One Piece #34. Yet he is completely unfazed about fighting a drag queen.
  • An example of the flying birds variation can be seen in Sailor Moon episode 54 (Japanese numbering) when Rei tells Usagi and Ami that she's written all the music for the festival herself.

    Comedy 
  • Bill Hicks did an eerily accurate vocal imitation of this in several of his routines.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Garfield strip, when Garfield is doing his fence act, even the crickets boo him instead of chirping.

    Fan Works 
  • Episode six of A Day In The Life OFA Commissar, a Dawn of War Machinima.
    Pirate-accented Guardsman: I gave you my "Appendox".
    Private Partz: I gave you an STD!
    (all silent; crickets sing)
    (Laspistol discharges, body falls)
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Episode 6:
      Yamcha: It's up to us! We have to attack together!
      Tenhinhan: Right! Back to back! Let's do it for Chaotzu!
      Yamcha: And Krillin!
      (crickets)
      Yamcha: OK, just Chaotzu.
    • Later, after Nappa tears off Tenshinhan's arm.
      Vegeta: Looks like he's been... dis-armed!
      (gust of wind)
      Nappa: I get it!
  • Turnabout Storm, when Phoenix Wright has a serious case of Critical Research Failure.
    Phoenix: A storm cloud!? You call that decisive!? How could you place blame on my client for that!? Unless you are honestly suggesting Rainbow Dash can move around clouds and make them shoot lightning at will!
    (complete silence, chirping crickets)
    Phoenix: (thoughts) Why is everyone staring at me like that?
  • Parodied in Crisis of Infinite Twilights. When Shining Armor suggests that the Royal Guard can help with the army of evil versions of Twilight Sparkle, the suggestion is met with stunned silence.
    Spike: Wow, even the crickets are so amazed by the stupidity of that statement they couldn't make a sound.
  • During an instance of this on an alien planet in Retro Chill, alien crickets start chirping.
  • Harry Potter fanfictions:
    • In Magical Relations, when Harry asked Hermione to the Yule Ball "There was a pause during which Harry would have sworn he could hear insects chirping."
    • In More Than Her Mother, the Great Hall is completely silent for a few seconds after a female Harry is sorted into Hufflepuff and she starts worrying about hearing crickets chirping and seeing tumbleweed.
    • In Schooled after Lucius Malfoy asks if there were any "no" votes to appointing Snape "Snark Lord of Slytherin":
      ''If crickets could vote, they might have counted as opponents to the proposal, for that was the only metaphorical sound in the room.
    • In Barbaric World Sirius finally got a trial and accused Pettigrew during it.
    The implications of his answer were so shocking a cricket could be heard.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lampshaded in Disney's Pocahontas, where Grandmother Willow shouts for the clamoring animals to be quiet, and silence descends, leaving behind the sound of a frog croaking. Grandmother Willow locates the noisy frog and gives him a Death Glare, whereupon he shuts up too.
  • At the beginning of Cars, a speech by Lightning McQueen is greeted only with a shout of "Free Bird!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • It's subtle, but in The Fifth Element, both times Ruby Rhod tries to get Corben Dallas to say something in the mike, during the pregnant pause that follows you can faintly hear crickets chirping.

    Literature 
  • Happens to Ponty from Mike Nelson's Death Rat! when he tries name-dropping some of his written works while talking to his roommates, hoping for some form of recognition. The next sentence simply reads: "Far away, a dog barked."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Doomed" (Season 4, Episode 11): Xander's and Willow's helpless silent protestation to Spike's sudden unexpected outburst of enthusiasm (after he realized that the implanted behavioral modification chip didn't punish him for killing demons) for "fighting the good fight". That, and after a long exhausting day of monster-slaying, Spike was blocking their view of the TV box.
      Spike: What's this? Sittin' around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What? Can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the chosen one, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them, for justice, and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! (credits start running) Oh, come on!
    • Another brief example occurs in the episode "Once More, with Feeling", with the gang's reaction to Anya's theory that bunnies are causing the problem-of-the-week. With actual cricket sounds to boot. Indoors. (The episode revolved around people singing and dancing to music coming out of the air; we can give the crickets a pass.)
  • This happened whenever Vic tried to tell a joke in Shooting Stars, with every stock sound effect coming into play.
  • An episode of X-Play used the sound effect to point out the scarce population of an online game. Oh, and apparently the crickets didn't want to play either.
    Cricket #3: You suck, Sessler.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor saves the Earth yet again and says, "Who da man?", which is promptly followed by a beat of silence from his companions Amy and Rory, which leads to the Doctor saying, "I'm never saying that again."
  • Attack of the Show! has recently been hosted by Chris Hardwick while Kevin Pereira is off to cover the Consumer Electronics Association trade show. Any time Hardwick tries to be funny in this role (which is near-constantly), one has to feel embarrassed due to the cringe-inducing, near-complete lack of audience response.
  • Mythbusters uses both crickets and the tumbleweed sound effect, usually following a particularly bad pun by a member of the build team.
  • The Girls Next Door uses this a lot, to accompany blank or stunned reactions after something dumb is said. Kendra gets a lot of these.
  • Community subverted this, by having the chirping crickets played over the loudspeaker as soothing nature sounds.
  • Dr Cox references this in Scrubs after a painful attempt at a joke by Carla. "You would hear crickets chirping, but they were too uncomfortable about just how un-funny that actually was."
  • In the season three blooper reel of Criminal Minds, there was a scene where the only sound was chirping crickets which leads Thomas Gibson (the actor who plays Hotch) to deadpan: "Got a non-union cricket."
  • America's Next Top Model is particularly fond of this trope. One example is when Jay tells the final four on Cycle 1 that they would be posing with diamonds... nude. Cue open-mouthed gaping, crickets.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk is on the Air," during Monk's second interview with Max Hudson on the air, J.J. lampshades an awkward silence caused by Monk telling a terrible joke about Max's weight by playing the sound effect of chirping crickets.
  • In the Once Upon a Time episode "A Curious Thing", there is a portal that only the "pure of heart" may pass through. After Snow White and Prince Charming pass through Regina tries... and winds up in the same place. Cue actual chirping crickets, which were notably silent until she tried.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), this is Played Straight with Dean speeding to the crossroad and digging with his hands in the dirt of the crossroad to summon a demon while a driving guitar riff plays. Dean then stands up, the music stops, and there is only the sound of crickets chirping as Dean waits for the crossroad demon to appear.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In an episode of Greg the Bunny, a guy tells a really stupid joke. Cue crickets. This was immediately followed by the entire audience directing their attention to said cricket, at which point the cricket proclaims that he found it funny.

    Radio 

    Video Games 
  • Done in Eternal Sonata with the blowing wind variant. The party is trying to decide whether or not to use a secret passage, so they turn to Allegretto to make the decision. He decides to go for it, commenting "You know what they say — 'If you don't go into the lion's den, you can't count your chickens.'" There is a sound of wind blowing from the tunnel and after a pause, Viola comments "That doesn't make any sense."
  • Happens if you screw up a Big Rock Ending in Rock Band (even though the crowd is usually still pretty enthusiastic).
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, it is possible to "banish" monsters from a certain area, making them not appear for a while. Doing this too much leads to this encounter:
    You look around for something to fight, but you can't see anything.
    Crickets chirp. A distant wind blows with a mournful whoosh. A tumbleweed blows into view.
    Y'know what? You don't like the way that tumbleweed is looking at you.
    (you then fight the tumbleweed)

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • For those that need to hear it themselves, voila!
  • Both played straight and parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Good Burger. Twice, an animated tumbleweed rolls across the screen during a particularly unfunny scene. The third time, it starts to roll across the screen, stops, says, "You know what? Fuck it." and then puts on a fedora and walks off the screen the way he came.
  • Happens a couple of times in The Nostalgia Chick's review of Hercules, whenever the plot gets especially confusing.
  • In a video by novelist and social commentator Andrew Klavan regarding president Barack Obama's "Recovery Summer" initiative, he stated "The president's appointment of radicals and tax cheats, his corruption of the justice department, and, oh yeah, the renewal of the Patriot Act, have all been greeted by the summery sound of mainstream media crickets (image of CNN office, sound of crickets chirping). Much more relaxing!" Listen to it here.
  • Joueur du Grenier:
    • Used in the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue review, after the transition from a fight scene of the TV series to the game itself, to illustrate how dull it is.
    • In the James Bond Jr. review, when JdG is trying to remind the audience of the cartoon, all he gets is the sound of wind... and a tumbleweed rolling by.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the crickets are replaced with a distant-sounding cough. Or defrosting frogs in "The Blue Spirit".
  • In The Fairly OddParents movie, "Fairy Idol", at one point someone sings so badly the fairy audience turns into crickets to do this.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the short Show Biz Bugs, Daffy Duck gets this reaction when frantically competing with Bugs Bunny for a theater audience's applause.
    • Bugs himself has a similar experience in his rise to stardom in What's Up, Doc? And again at the end of Baton Bunny.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Defied in one episode: Mr. Burns makes a check out to a hospital, then leans back in his chair and waits for the praise to roll in. Time lapse, cue crickets. Burns responds by pressing a button on his desk labeled "Cricket Poison", and the chirps go silent.
    • In the crossover with The Critic ("A Star Is Burns"), Homer makes a bad pun in an attempt to upstage one of Jay's jokes. A tumbleweed then rolls by inside the house.
    • And again in the 138th Episode Spectacular, when Troy McClure introduces the lost scenes to the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" two-parter, he starts out with a dramatic, "This past summer, all of America tried to find out who shot Mr. Burns..." then shifts to a flat, "Then they found out it was the baby." Silence, save for a deliberate cough.
    • The standard audience reaction to a joke by Krusty is a deathly silence punctuated by the sound of a lone man coughing in the back row.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series where Pleakely tries to become a stand-up comic. After his first few jokes fall flat, we hear chirping crickets... followed by Pleakely asking "Where'd those crickets come from?"
  • In the episode "Almost Got 'Im" of Batman: The Animated Series, an episode in which the villains describe their elaborate schemes to get Batman, Killer Croc describes how he faced off with Batman in a quarry, and then...
    Killer Croc: I THREW A ROCK AT HIM!
    (the others stare at him, then get back to an unrelated discussion)
    Killer Croc: ...it was a BIG rock...
  • The Batman: The Joker, while pulling a Do Not Adjust Your Set.
    The Joker: Every time I bring my brand of funny to Gotham, the only sound I hear is: (holds up a toy cricket in one hand, then smashes it with the other)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: When SpongeBob tried stand-up, his first joke is met with cricket chirps. The second joke bombs so bad even the cricket won't dignify it with a response. Also going as far as to show an actual picture of the cricket in grass on land.
  • In the House of Mouse, Pumbaa tries to do stand up comedy, but his jokes are met with cricket chirps. Cut to Cri-kee making the chirps, and Jiminy Cricket looking slightly confused, being a cricket who looks nothing like an actual cricket.
  • Parodied in one instance of My Gym Partners A Monkey: A cricket noise is heard, then it turns out the cricket is applauding in a way that happens to cause chirping noises, then he apologizes.
  • At one point in Yvon of the Yukon, the sound of a pin dropping on the floor resonates over the silence of the crowd.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, much of the cast is planning an angry revolt against the supposedly "Cool kids" who didn't invite them to their party. They all cite of different suggestions, until Curly adds one. At the end of the episode, Curly has in-fact freed all the animals at the zoo.
    Curly: I say we paint our faces with tiger stripes, and free all the animals of the zoo!
    (silence)
    Helga: That sounds great, Curly. We'll meet you there at eight.
    Curly: Hooray! Free the animals! (runs off laughing maniacally)
    Helga: Poor twisted little freak.
  • Invader Zim would often use a hawk screeching in the distance in place of crickets.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode, "Long John Peter" when the Griffins take Brian to the vet.
    Peter: God I hate comin' to the vet. They charge me $90 an day to keep Brian here. For $60 I could put him up at the Holiday Inn, eh, who's with me?
    (cricket chirping)
    Mayor West: My apologies, my pet cricket has restless leg syndrome.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The animal vessel for the power of the Monkey Talisman turns into a cricket to diss the Monkey King after a failed joke. He didn't take it well.
  • Parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch. A rock band finishes playing. Cue the Chirping Crickets. Then cut to an audience full of crickets, with one yelling "I'm clapping as loud as I can!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Over a Barrel": The crowd's reaction to Pinkie Pie's song is stunned silence, broken only by Spike's somewhat-desperate applause and the cry of a hawk.
    • In "The Cutie Pox", after Spike blabs about how Apple Bloom has contracted the title disease, which scares nearly everyone in Ponyville into hiding, a tumbleweed blows by and a hawk can be heard screeching in the distance.
    • In "Baby Cakes", Pinkie's attempt to cheer the twins up with stand-up comedy elicits this. There's also the sound of someone coughing.
    • In "Equestria Games", following Spike's attempt at the anthem, the giant stadium is quiet, save for the cries of a lone baby, and Pinkie's echoing "Nailed it!"
  • Barely audible, but its there in BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn, as Ackar's spectacular display of his Elemental Powers silences the arena audience. Could be seen as Narm, though, since the scene was meant to be serious.
  • PB&J Otter:
    • In "The Singin' Kid", Flick gets this from a crowd at a talent show after performing a raucus, self-praising and somewhat irritating song called "Talkin' About Hoohaw Lake."
    • Happens again in "Munchy's Sinking Feeling" when Flick tells his lame jokes to try to cheer Munchy up.
    • Jelly gets this in "Hope Castle" when Flick says that they'll defend it against wild creatures and she comments "Even it means sacrificing our lives in cruel and painful ways."
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Fast and the Phineas", crickets are inexplicably heard when Candace notices Mom's car (which Phineas and Ferb tricked out and entered in a stock-car race) is still missing from the garage.
  • Used in "Achoo!" on Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs after Taury tries an outrageous cure suggested to him for his itchy spotosis that involves rubbing sap on himself, holding paper flowers over his head and then burying himself up to his neck in popcorn, but it has absolutely no effect.
  • In "Shunshine" on Care Bears Welcome To Care A Lot, when Funshine is introduced in the pie-eating contest, there is no applause because he's been acting as a jerk with a big ego ever since he won the Care Bear-athon. So a cricket chirping is heard instead, then he cheers for himself.


(Chirp, chirp, chirp...)
Caught the Heart on His SleeveCharacter Reaction IndexCollective Groan
Cartoon Bug-SprayerInvertebrate IndexCicadian Rhythm
Childish Pillow FightComedy TropesChronically Crashed Car
The AtonerImageSource/WebcomicsConveniently Seated

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
48448
0