Everyone Hates Mimes
"Until I came here to America, I'd never realized that you were right: nobody in the world likes mime."Mimes are universally hated in fiction. They're an Acceptable Target of sorts. No real reason is ever given, but the Uncanny Valley may have something to do with it - after all, their pure white faces and refusal to speak give them a definite alien aura. This trope isn't limited to people who hate mimes, but also works of fiction that seem to have it out for them. In other words a character doesn't have to say "I hate mimes" for it to be this trope. All the character needs to do is fall on, punch, kick, or otherwise cause intentional or accidental harm to a mime. Compare Enemy Mime.
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- The TBS commercial: "Which is funnier, mime pretending to be trapped in a glass box (the standard "Oh, my, there's an invisible wall here!" schtick), or a mime really trapped in a glass box?" (A mime screaming for help while hammering on the glass walls of a transparent cube)
- A Starburst commercial about contradictions, which features a Irish-Asian musing about this while watching a Mime...who's shouting at people.
- From Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- In Of Love and Bunnies, Connor is revealed to have been terrified of mimes ever since he was a little kid. He freaks out when he realizes that the pretty lady sitting next to him on a mall bench is actually a mime and tries to run, but it doesn't work since his friends had handcuffed him to the bench earlier.
Films — Animated
- In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hugo the gargoyle prepares to hock a loogie on a mime below when Victor stops him.
- Subverted in Tangled. One of the outcasts in the Not Evil, Just Misunderstood Guy Bar 'The Snuggly Duckling' is "into mime." He's actually a pretty well-loved character, despite hardly appearing. He later shows up as part of a Big Damn Heroes rescue, using The Power Of Distracting Mime-Artistry..
- Downplayed in Mary and Max. Max is acquitted of murdering a mime because his mental disorder allegedly means no motivation to do so — "unlike most people."
- In the Animaniacs movie Wakko's Wish, it's stated that Acme Falls would be an Old-World utopia were it not for the mime, who is physically abused even through the saccharine epilogue.
- Shrek: "Oh great, after mimes, magicians are my favorite people."
Films — Live-Action
- Suburban Commando: Hulk Hogan thinks the force field is real....and tries to break the invisible box with a punch to the face. "Hold on, little buddy; I'll get you out of there!" The poor mime eventually has to break character and vocally protest Hogan's violent attempts to assist him.
- Deleted Vicki Vale line from the 1987 script for Batman (1989): "All street mimes should be executed."
- Die Hard with a Vengeance: John McClane briefly considers running over a mime. And that scene where he and Samuel L. Jackson are in a taxi screaming across Central Park:
Zeus: "Are you aiming for some of these people?!"
John: "No... maybe that mime..."
- Mimes are the lowest class of clown in Shakes the Clown. They're also an allegorical counterpart of sorts for homosexuals ("You only pick on us 'cause we're artists!"), and are thus an Acceptable Target for manlier breeds of clown.
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights when the villainous Sheriff of Rottingham and Prince John watch a mime for a few moments then the Sheriff shouts "kill him!" But Prince John changes his mind by saying,"A mime is a terrible thing to waste."
- In Tootsie a distraught Michael Dorsey comforts himself by pushing over a mime in the park.
- In Hot Fuzz, the residents of Sandford see a mime called "The Living Statue" as one of the biggest threats to their campaign to win the "Village of the Year" contest. Several times when Nicholas suspects criminal activity, he is told to get his priorities straight and deal with The Living Statue instead.
- A brief Visual Gag in Gremlins 2: The New Batch has a bunch of mimes being herded out of a police van, who were arrested for seemingly no reason other than being mimes.
- Get out! You stupid mime!
- On the Discworld, Lord Vetinari is mostly a very, very rational tyrant who does nothing save for a purpose. But he apparently hates mimes. They get thrown into the scorpion pit with a view to a sign saying "Learn The Words." Not that the citizens have a problem with this. At one point, the leaders of the Guilds are discussing Vetinari:
"He does have all street-theatre players and mime artists thrown into the scorpion pit."
"True. But let's not forget that he has his bad points too."
- Subverted in a scene of the historical novel Golden Coffin, though it could be the ancient roman setting. The mime in question seems to be very popular and the audience enjoys his performance, until he reveals that he's been christened, which immediately splits the audience.
- Patrick Bateman is out, hunting someone to kill, and, passing a street juggler, mentions that if he had been a mime, he would already have been dead.
Live Action Television
- Mimes sometimes pop up during any "world's worst"-type games on Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
Colin: (In a singsong voice) I'm a MIIIIIIIIIIME!
- In part 2 of The Invisible Man's "Money for Nothing", invisible and temporarily Quicksilver-Mad Darien beats up a mime. At the end of the episode he anxiously confirms with his partner that he didn't do too much damage when out of control:
Darien: There was a mime; I beat the hell out of a mime. What happened to him? Is he okay?Hobbes: Relax, he did not recover.Darien: Thank God. ...You're kidding, right?
- (Hobbes then reassures him that the mime is in fact okay.)
- In Monty Python's Flying Circus, Graham Chapman's Marcel Marceau impersonation ends with him miming being hit with a 16-ton weight, followed immediately by an actual 16-ton weight falling on him. Cue to footage of a cheering crowd.
- On Empty Nest, a patient of Harry's who's a mime laments about how much hatred they are subject to. "People throw fruit at us!"
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus," there's this annoying mime who follows the main characters around mimicking their actions, which causes them no end of irritation. It gets so bad that during the summation, Stottlemeyer finally snaps and arrests him for impersonating a police officer.
- On 3rd Rock from the Sun when Evil!Dick traps Dick in an invisible box in the basement, Dick bemoans, "He's turned me into a mime!" His tone implies that it's a Fate Worse Than Death.
- Cheers: One episode saw a mime enter the bar in full makeup and performing his trade. The regular cast were generally bemused by his antics. Another episode had Diane practising the craft. She pronounced it "meem."
- Alexei Sayle did a stand-up routine on Alexei Sayle's Stuff about how you wouldn't pay money to watch someone actually walk into the wind, sew their fingers together and get shut in a glass box, but if someone pretends to walk into the wind, sew their fingers together and get shut in a glass box...
- A 1980s Saturday Night Live sketch had Randy Quaid trying to tell guest host Pee-Wee Herman that he needs to see a hooker, but is couching it in euphemisms:
Randy: Well, they wear a lot of makeup...Pee-Wee: Clowns!Randy: No-o-o, let's just say you'd be embarrassed to be seen with one...Pee-Wee: [nods knowingly]...Mimes!
- In an episode of The Golden Girls, Sophia asks a mime if he wears makeup and doesn't speak because his mother is ashamed of him. When Blanche tells her that nothing she says is going to make him break character, she simply turns and says, "Hey, Buddy, your fly's open." He then falls off his platform and lands face-first on the ground.
- The Governor on The Slammer hates mimes. Apparently he once hired a troupe of mimes to build him a house on the cheap, only when they finished he didn't actually have a house.
- One episode of the horror series Werewolf features a mime who opens an imaginary door for the hero, who tips him with an imaginary coin. The mime philosophically starts flipping it in the air. It is hinted the mime is possibly More Than He Appears, but the episode ends with the discovery of his murdered corpse.
- On an episode of ALF, Alf worries about the future (since his species live for a long time, he'll still be around when the kids are grown up and moved out while the parents become elderly) and has several imagine spots about where he'll be staying while he hids from the government. In the case of Lynn, he utterly despises her wouldbe mime husband, as he doesn't provide much income and keeps giving her imaginary gifts. (Lynn adores him and loves the makebelieve flowers and jewelry, though.)
- Wings: According to Brian "mimes are not clever. They're white-faced, big-mouthed, glove-wearing, little horrible jerks who live in imaginary boxes."
- In a Saturday Night Live sketch, a man rents an apartment cheaply because there's a mime (guest host Robin Williams) in it. The new renter ends up killing the mime and is treated like a hero for it.
- "Doctor Who": The Doctor in the episode "Deep Breath" states that he will blow up the room if he sees anything he doesn't like including karaoke and mimes.
- "Red Dwarf" has this exchange when the group discovers an entire Canary platoon who appear to be frozen in time.
Holly: They look extraordinarily like something you should be very afraid of: Mime Artists. They chase you down the street, and freeze when you look at them. And everyone laughs at you.
- One of the deaths portrayed in 1000 Ways to Die involves an obnoxious mime who gets his kicks by annoying and messing with passers-by who don't pay any attention to him. When he chokes to death on a pickle, he inadvertently attracts the biggest crowd he's ever gotten because they think it's all part of the act.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Buffy: So then Kathy's like, "It's share time." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah? Share this."[she punches the air a few times]Oz: So either you hit her, or you did your wacky mime routine for her.Buffy: Well, I didn't do either, actually. But she deserved it, don't you think?Oz: Nobody deserves mime, Buffy.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "She Never Told Me She Was a Mime".
- In "My Own Eyes," one of the numerous Brain Bleach inducing incidents the speaker lists is "I saw a mime get hacked to death. With an imaginary cleaver!"
- In Fall Out Boy's "I Don't Care" video, Pete Wentz is shown harrasing a mime on the street.
- In his song "Loco", Andrés Calamaro talks about "containing his murder instinct in front of a mime or a clown".
- In TheOffspring's music video for "Coming for You", a bunch of different kinds of clowns are beating each other to a pulp, but join forces when a mime crashes their fight club. Sadly, the mime curb-stomps all of them.
- There are several Garfield strips with mimes as Butt Monkeys. One installment has John driving down the road while talking to Garfield. He hits a bump which he ignores, and Garfield casually remarks "You just ran over a mime."
- Opus attacking a mime with a olive-loaf in Bloom County gets him in court but is widely regarded as a good thing. Bloom Beacon headlines include:
Mystery man mugs mime with meat—millions make merryHundreds call police praising mystery man
- It should be noted that this arc was in response to the real-life Bernhard Goetz shooting four men who tried to mug him. While some vilified him, many praised his actions.
- One Pearls Before Swine strip involves 2 characters whose speech balloons have popped. They then proceed to argue via body language. However, 2 bystanders confuse them for mimes, and promptly punch them in the head. In the treasury which this strip is in, the author comments that every treasury should end with someone punching a mime.
- The Far Side: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around, and it hits a mime, does anyone care?"
- They also had one about the Mafia executing people by dressing them as a mime then locking them in a glass box in the middle of the street.
- In the online game Pizza City, you can earn points for running over mimes,eventually getting a reward from the "Mime Prevention League."
- Mimes are but one variety of harmless characters in Blood that Caleb can test out his weapons on. He enjoys this a good bit.
- In Gabriel Knight, you have an irritating Mime that would follow Gabriel and just be generally annoying. Later on, you have to use the Mime to piss a Cop off so badly that he actually abandons his motorcycle to chase after him.
- In Planescape: Torment, a mime in the Clerk's Ward is the Butt Monkey of a magical curse - he is really trapped in an invisible box - and even the usually kind-hearted Fall-From-Grace makes a disparaging throwaway comment at Mimes.
- In CarnEvil, the final stage features a number of mimes throughout... miming. They're the only "enemy" in the game that can do absolutely nothing to you, and you're free to shoot or ignore them at your leisure.
- In The Sims, a mime sometimes shows up to your party. Not only do the Sims hate him (he shows up to a party that wasn't much fun, and makes it worse instead of better) but the player probably does.
- The Sims 2 has a viewable movie on the TV about an unhappy mime, probably meant to be the aforementioned party mime, getting booed away. His cat robs a pet store to try to cheer him up with more pets, but it doesn't work because the audience is still booing him.
- Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness (the first episode, at least) features many mime Mooks, leading up to Final Boss Yog Sethis, who is essentially Mimethulhu
- In Mass Effect 3's last single-player DLC, Citadel, Grunt is playing bouncer for the party. He isn't letting any non-Normandy alum in, but he makes a special case for a mime.
Grunt: DEFINITELY no mimes allowed! There's no box! There never was!
- Mimes in Guild Of Dungeoneering are looked down upon, but in practice they're a type of low-level mage that is just as good as the related "Apprentice" class, with abilities that can dictate the flow of battle or really lay some smack on enemies; with some aspects of Ditto Fighter.
- This Questionable Content strip.
- It seems "strangle that mime" is even used as a metaphor.
- Scary Go Round: "Why am I such a failure at life? I'm lower than a drug mule or a mime."
- Schlock Mercenary gives us "If a coffee machine passes a baseball bat in the forest, and the only one to see it happen is a mime, what does he say to the police?"
- The protagonist of Chopping Block usually speaks of a "quota" of people he has to kill, but he'll kill mimes even if he's already over quota.
- Gamers in Full Frontal Nerdity opt to be cruel to enemy mimes.◊
- The dreaded Mime Assassin of Casey and Andy.
- Also the Mime Assassin from Perry Bible Fellowship is very despicable.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Yugi: He's still a human being!
Marik: He's also a mime.
Yugi: Oh, in that case, yeah, I'll kick his ass.
- A That Guy with the Glasses sketch featured Doug Walker and Brad Jones attending an anime convention as a pair of incompetent jerkass mimes who talk a lot, disrespect their audience, and barely do any miming. And what miming they do do, is pretty lousy. They don't even like being mimes, they were just misinformed into thinking that mimes are well paid.
- The Protectors of the Plot Continuum constitution says...
10. All discovered mimes will be thrown into a pit, which may or may not be filled with various objects such as scorpions upon their availability.10.5. There will be no clemency for these mimes until they learn the words.
- The Simpsons loves this trope.
- "If a tree falls in the forest on a mime, does anyone care?"
- The earliest example of this theme appearing was the pivotal episode "Krusty Gets Busted" (which established Sideshow Bob as a recurring villain on the series). After Krusty the Clown has been arrested for armed robbery (when the culprit was actually Sideshow Bob dressed as Krusty), Kent Brockman gives a special TV report that paints Krusty in a very unflattering light, first mentioning that he started his career as a street mime in a small town in Mississippi and going on to criticize him for his history of health problems, the lowbrow content of his TV show, and his general phoniness. The hatred continues at Krusty's trial, when it's discovered that he is illiterate and he is branded a hypocrite for urging kids to learn how to read when he can't read, himself.
- In the episode in which Lisa wanted to Save The Whales, she is crying about the death of a beached whale she had tried to rescue when a balloon-animal artist in mime makeup comes up to her and makes her a whale balloon. But as soon as Lisa takes it, the balloon whale loudly pops. So the mime makes a second balloon sculpture - a violin - and begins to silently play it, mocking Lisa.
- Subverted in the episode "Yokel Chords" when Lisa becomes a tutor to Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel's hillbilly children and takes them to downtown Springfield to see some culture in the city square. Two chainsaw-juggling mimes on unicycles show up - and even though Cletus's kids have never seen a mime before, they are greatly amused.
- The Animaniacs series does it a ton with its "Mime Time" sketches, whose whole purpose is to show a mime going through Amusing Injuries.
- Family Guy does this in the episode "From Method to Madness" in which Stewie joins an acting program for small children. The instructor, Simon, gives a hierarchy of performance: "Legitimate theater, musical theater, stand-up, ventriloquism, magic, mime."
- Garfield once got even with a gypsy who turned him into a werewolf by using her spell-book to turn her into the most horrifying creature of them all: a mime.
- Averted in an episode of Dexter's Laboratory where mimes are depicted more heroically: In "The Laughing", Dexter transforms into a were-clown, and since mimes are apparently a natural enemy of clowns, Dee Dee trains with a mime troupe to stop her brother from wreaking further havoc.
- The character of Mime on Happy Tree Friends, created so the creators would be able to kill a mime, again and again and again.
- The mime gets abused with Amusing Injuries in Paris in Phineas and Ferb: Summer Belongs to You. Finally his makeup gets washed off and he exclaims, "I can talk!"
- In another episode, Doofenshmirtz traps all mimes in the Tri-State Area in actual invisible boxes. Major Monogram told Perry the Platypus it took some time for it to be noticed because it was initially assumed the mimes had just improved their act.
- In an early episode of Xiaolin Showdown with an Enemy Mime, Clay states that "everybody hates a mime" is the moral, disregarding other suggestions.
Jack: First order of business when I rule the world - vaporize all mimes.Dojo: "The mirror gag! I hate mimes."
- One episode of American Dragon: Jake Long features Spud wanting to be a mime. Jake and Trixie conspire to get him to use his Genius Ditz brain instead. Spud spoke during his mime acts and explained it took time to learn to be silent.
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi had one episode where Ami and Yumi had to endure a mime.
- The Powerpuff Girls once had to stop a clown-turned-mime who was turning everything and everyone soundless and black-and-white after a truckload of bleach fell into the clown and removed his colors and his voice. The girls saved the day with the power of music.
- You forgot the part where, even after turning back to normal and being grateful for having his colors and cheerful personality back, they still kicked the crap out of him at the end of the episode.
- Totally Spies! has a villain named "Jazz Hands" whose turned to villainy after his routine was booed off stage. He proceeded to make a device that would turn people into voiceless mimes and targeted more famous entertainers as revenge (Sam and Alex end up being the victims of such as well). He returns later in season 5 as part of the villains group against WHOOP.
- In the Total Drama Island episode "Phobia Factor", it was revealed that Trent had an intense fear of mimes. He then spent most of the episode being chased by one.
- In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode Freaky Fred, a regular mime is one of the potential things Courage imagines the titular Fred to be, along with a rotting mummy, a cockroach man, and a Frankenstein monster.
- The Robot and Monster episode "Doctor? No!" involves a disease called robies, which if untreated, would turn a person into a mime. There's even a mime reserve (like an indian reserve) in that same episode!
- In the episode of The Real Ghostbusters "Short Stuff", there's a Freeze-Frame Bonus joke about mimes. In another dimension, the Ghostmaster asks an underling to bring him the Book of Annoying Mortal Beings. When he gets it, he is told by another servant that some other minions were apprehended by the four heroes. He quickly turns to a page in the book where the Ghostbusters are detailed and launches into an angry rant about how much he hates them, which ends with him tearing the page out, and if you look quickly enough, the next page has an entry for Mimes.
- In real life, it's a mixed bag. Similarly to clowns, they can't seem to take the "I'm not in a good mood, annoy someone else" hint and try to cheer them up, only irritating them in the process. However, there is one famous aversion: Marcel Marceau, considered by some to be the father of mime, was widely respected by almost everybody. In fact, when two reporters for World News Now got the giggles during a report of his death, the next day, Whoopi Goldberg completely shredded the two, saying that he had an influence on how she acted (and remember, even with Theodore Rex, she is an Oscar-winning actress), that doing anything completely in pantomime is incredibly difficult, and that the two reporters should be ashamed of themselves.
- Marcel Marceu and his equally-talented brother Alain picked up mime during World War II while fighting for the French Resistance. They used it as a way to entertain the Jewish children they were smuggling over the border to Switzerland (and keep them quiet in the process, so as to avoid being caught by the Nazis). Suffice it to say that those children (and subsequent generations) don't hate mimes as a result.
- And now, the explanation for the quote at the top of the page: David Bowie, in the late 1960s, supplemented his then-struggling career as a musician by joining the avant-garde theatre troupe of Lindsay Kemp, who used mime in the service of performance art (as Bowie puts it in the book Moonage Daydream, "sawing away at Genet and re-interpreting episodes from The Maids and Salome"). Bowie would work his resultant education in acting, stage movement, and characterization into his musical career, and even incorporated mime segments into his Ziggy Stardust-era stage act. As John Peel warned him, however, not all audiences appreciated such touches...
- A common complaint in reviews of Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour is that Cirque du Soleil apparently couldn't come up with a more interesting viewpoint character than a dancing mime in an all-white costume.