Gagging on Your Words
When a character acts as if the words they are trying to say are so repugnant or alien to them, that they are almost physically incapable of saying them at least the first time around. This results in them biting out the words through gritted teeth or slurring and stuttering on the words a few times before finally saying it properly. Possibly followed by a command that they should enjoy hearing that because it's the last time they ever will. Reasons for this may be a prideful or arrogant character finally breaks down to admit the hero did a good job. Or someone who never apologizes, finally does and the experience doesn't agree with them. Related to Can Not Spit It Out, Angrish and Emotionally Tongue Tied. Often used in conjunction with Dumbass Has a Point and I Can't Believe I'm Saying This. May be a Crowning Moment of Funny if the situation is really hammed up.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Midori no Hibi: Seiji is incapable of saying "I love you" to Midori, even as a throwaway and joking way.
- Taken Up to Eleven in One Piece when Sanji has no choice but to admit that his poorly-drawn Wanted poster is, in fact, him. This is such a monumental effort for him that it results in Blood from the Mouth before he can finally get the words out.
- Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged: In episode 55 when Seto has to express his love towards his sibling.
- An ad for Miller Lite has a man stumbling over the words "I Love You" to his girlfreind (after she said it to him) but has no trouble saying "I'd love one" to a waitress asking if he'd like another.
- Valentine in MirrorMask attempting to apologise to Helena: "If I were to say... s... s... so... something apologetic... it would reflect my feelings in this matter." (Valentine's inability to say, "I'm sorry," is something of a running joke in the film.) He does eventually manage to actually apologise, when his life depends on it. The end credits theme about him is called "The Apology Song".
- In Liar Liar, Jim Carrey's character is physically incapable of lying. Even in writing. This culminates in the scene where he tries and fails to say that a blue pen is, in fact, red.
- Otto in A Fish Called Wanda has a big problem with apologizing.
Otto: Oh, I'm so very, very, very ssssssssssssSUCK YOU!
- In Nanny McPhee, Colin Firth's character stumbles over "wife" and "fiancee" when referring to Selma Quickly.
- Played for Drama in Harry Potter when Harry asks Hagrid about the person who gave him his scar.
Harry: He killed my parents, didn't he? The one who gave me this. You know, Hagrid, I know you do.Hagrid: First, and understand this, Harry, 'cause it's very important. Not all wizards are good. Some of them go bad. A few years ago there was one wizard who went as bad as you can go. And his name was V-...his name was V-...Harry: Maybe if you wrote it down?Hagrid: No, I can't spell it. All right. His name was Voldemort.Harry: Voldemort?Hagrid: Shh!!
- In Demon Knight, when the Collector tries to tell Jeryline he loves her, he can't even finish the word. It's not the concept of love he has trouble with, as he very effectively manipulated Cordelia with that, but he comes off as unable to stomach actually saying it even as a lie.
- From Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus:
"[The air ducts are] not as big as all that," said Morriss.
- Dave Barry Slept Here:
And thus it was that on election day, October 8, 1968, the voters went to the polls and elected, as leader of the greatest nation that the world has ever seen, President Richard Milhous N...President Richard M...President R...Please don't make us do this.
- A Christmas Carol: Scrooge meets two horrible, twisted children, Ignorance and Want:
Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
- Happens hilariously in Scrubs when Cynical Mentor Dr.Cox finally tells JD that he's a good doctor. He looked like he was going to throw up.
- The season 8 finale (originally intended to be the series finale) has Doctor Cox admit that JD is a better doctor than most doctors he's ever met, without stumbling and with lots of conviction. When he finds out that JD was actually listening when he said it, he looks like he's going to be sick.
- Happy Days: Fonzie is physically incapable of saying he was wrong.
Fonzie: I was wr....I was wrrr....I was wrrrr....What I'm trying to say is that I wasn't exactly right.
- He's not the only one. One strip of Sherman's Lagoon showed Megan was incapable of admitting her normally dull-witted husband was right.
- Jon Stewart does this, a recent example was when he said he... gag... liked Bill O'Reilly. Often involves faking that you just threw up in your mouth.
- An episode of Saturday Night Live back during Bush's presidency (the first one) had Dana Carvey's version struggling to say that he was going to have to raise taxes.
- In Red Dwarf, Lister's attempts to teach Kryten to lie and insult people end up like this.
Lister: (holding up a banana) What is it?
Kryten: It's an orrr... it's an orrr...
Lister: It's an orange! Come on, say it! This. Is. An orange!
Rimmer: I was glad to get rid of him; he's flipped! He's got mad droid disease; he kept waving a banana in front of me and saying it was a female aardvark!
- Then got brought back as a Brick Joke later that episode when Kryten disobeys orders from Rimmer to stage a rescue mission.
- On Family Ties, Steven suffered from this:
Steven: Elyse, my vocabulary develops very slowly. It took three years for me to say "President N-N-Nixon."
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Pawnee Commons", Leslie has trouble saying sorry to a park designer from Eagleton, a town towards which she has a deep animosity.
- Used sarcastically by House when he tries to say he was wrrr... wrnnnn... wronnnn... rng...
- Maddie of Every Witch Way once had physical difficulty asking Emma for help. (She managed, but the "Emma" in questioned turned out to be an Evil Clone. The results weren't pretty.)
- Richard Pryor once did a standup bit about a black activist who had great difficulty spitting out the word "white".
- In the Broadway version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, this happens to the Beast when he tries to use the word 'please'.
- In one production of Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick gets stuck trying to say the word "love". The best he can manage is "Llllllllllllll..."
- In Bell Book And Candle, Gillian struggles to out herself to Shep as a witch:
Gillian (she makes two desperate, determined efforts, and nothing comes out. Then, at last, her voice strangling so that it comes out in almost a squeak): Shep—I'm one.
- This Penny Arcade strip, wherein Gabe attempts to swallow his previous bile so he can buy a PS3.
- In Homestuck, Caliborn claims that positive relationships are so foreign to his species that he can't talk about them without involuntarily flailing. However, it's entirely possible that Caliborn is just saying that to screw with Jane.
Caliborn: WE DON'T HAVE THE HUMAN EMOTION CALLED "LOVEKHEKLFSDKF". AND WE SPONTANEOUSLY START MASHING KEYS. WHEN WE ARE FORCED TO EVEN TYPE THE WORD.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Episode 19:
Vegeta: Every fiber of my being wants to puke at once when I say this, but I need your hehh... I need your heehhHhH...Gohan: You need our help?Vegeta: That, yes.
- In episode 3 of the Red vs. Blue mini-series "Where There is a Will, There is a Wall", Church and Tucker compete to get Caboose to come towards them to win a contest between themselves and when Church tries to call Caboose his best friend, he chokes on the words and chooses to forfeit.
- Pinky and the Brain: At one point, Brain asks Pinky how the former can be more like the latter, noting "...the words are hot in my throat..."
- On SpongeBob SquarePants, Squidward has a hard time saying "I'm sorry" to SpongeBob. So hard, in fact, that at one point his head explodes.
- Buttercup of The Powerpuff Girls has this problem sometimes when she has to apologize.
- In Dan Vs. "The Dentist," it takes Dan great effort (he actually starts sweating from the strain) to say "Thank you," to Elise.
- He has a much easier time in "Ye Olde Shakespeare Theatre."
- Family Guy has a Shout-Out to Happy Days, when Peter establishes the church of the Fonz. Brian tells him that what he is doing is wrong and after stumbling on the word, Peter explains he can't say it because everything is right when you worship the Fonz.
- Another reference appeared in Robot Chicken's "The Pursuit of Happy Days".
Chachi: Did mom leave because of me?Fonz: Look Chachi, I don't really know who your mom is. But by leaving you she was wr-wr-wr.... She was wr-wr-wr... She was a bitch!
- In the Sofia the First episode "The Little Witch," Lucinda, the eponymous witch, decides to change her ways, and Sofia suggests she start by apologizing to all of the people she hexed. She practices saying "sorry," but only succeeds in making her hat spark. Fortunately, she gets the word out in front of actual people.
- She's very impressed with herself when she manages to say it a second time.
- The fourth season finale of Metalocalypse involves the band about to split up due to a conflict between Nathan and Pickles. Pickles says he'll stay, but only if Nathan apologizes to him, which he believes he's incapable of doing. When Nathan gives a eulogy for the man in charge of their record label, he manages to do it. It ends up being perhaps the most painful looking apology you're ever likely to see. It makes him vomit blood.
- In one episode of The 7D, Lord Starchbottom has to call on the 7D for help by ringing the Bing Bong Bell, but he is so loathe to do it that he can hardly get the name out.