Calvin: What's it like to fall in love? Hobbes
: Well...say the object of your affection walks by...First your heart falls into your stomach and splashes your innards. All the moisture makes you sweat profusely. This condensation shorts the circuits to your brain, and you get all woozy. When your brain burns out altogether, your mouth disengages and you babble like a cretin until she leaves.
Bob sits at a booth in a pub, looking around. Everyone seems to have someone to talk to, and he spots Alice at the bar. Putting on his best smile, he heads over, desperate to just make some conversation.
And then Alice turns around. The screen goes soft and hazy
, the romantic music starts up. Bob is amazed, and realizes that this may well be the single most momentous thing to happen in his life. He imagines minivans. He imagines children. Even a little white picket fence.
Bob opens his mouth and says a romantic "Lemons are very nice, especially in the summertime."
He has been struck by gibberish of love. Sometimes caused by Distracted by the Sexy
or a Hello, Nurse!
, it doesn't even have to be a sentence using words — plain noises work just as well. Occassionally happens if Twice Shy
style love interests attempt conversation. If the man is The Charmer
, or even The Casanova
, it often indicates Ladykiller in Love
; sincerity of feeling kills his fluency dead.
When the gibberish is coherent, but unfortunate
, they're often Digging Themselves Deeper
afterward. If they're struck utterly dumb, they Cannot Talk to Women
. Usually male,
and often happens to Adorkable
characters. Sometimes immediately lampshaded
with something along the lines of "X...smooth...
". If he has this problem with all women, perhaps he Cannot Talk to Women
. May also be a habit of the Shrinking Violet
Compare Love Makes You Dumb
and Love Makes You Crazy
. Compare and contrast Angrish
. See also I Uh You Too
(for when the relationship's evolved a bit before the gibberish), Cannot Spit It Out
, and Crush Blush
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Hakaima Sadamitsu, the gang once runs into a Kamishiro wearing only underwear (she was chasing an Exile that stole her top and lost her skirt when she jumped off the roof after the creature). As they're being Distracted by the Sexy, one of them squeals "Meet to nice you..."
- Ranma ½: When Ranma and Akane's relationship isn't in Belligerent Sexual Tension mode, Ranma occasionally gets hit with the Gibberish of Love in his romantic moments with her.
Ranma: Th-That's the only... I'm not... If it weren't... I wouldn't... You got that?!
Random guy: I didn't get it, did you?
- In Sangatsu no Lion, this happens to Hinata a couple of times when it comes to meeting Takahashi. Upon first seeing him, her words come out as either indecipherable symbols or squiggles.
- When Dilbert is introduced to an attractive new coworker, he begins to sweat and says, "It's a pleasure to meet me. I hope you never find a live turtle in your soup."
- This happens to Obelix in Astérix the Legionary when he tries to talk to Panacea.
- Depending on the Writer, Peter Parker (i.e. Spider-Man) struggles to talk to girls, unless the topic is science. One notable occasion was during the opening chapter of American Son, where him and Harry Osborn try to pick up two girls, but all he can say is he takes photos, then babbles how he doesn't mean he takes pornographic photos. Harry has to guilt trip the girls into giving him their numbers and excuse Peter's dorkiness.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
Live Action TV
- The first time The Goodies meet their dancing partners in the episode "Come Dancing", this ensues. Simultaneously. To both trios. How else to explain this exchange?
Girls: We are Norma. We are a hair artiste.
Goodies: We are Cyril. We are a bank clerk.
Girls: That's interesting.
Girls: [awkwardly] Our vision is to own our own hair dressing salon.
Goodies: How interesting. Our ambition is to own our own bank.
- There's an episode of Red Dwarf where they all don sparkly jackets and sing Tongue Tied, a song about this experience.
- Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer does this when he meets the eponymous character. He wittily remarks, "Maybe we could...hang out at school, since we both...go there." He lampshades it immediately afterwards: "'We both go to school.' Smooth."
- In "Hush" Buffy complains that she has an urge to start babbling whenever she's about to kiss Riley Finn. Fortunately for her the Monster of the Week steals everyone's voices, so they cut to the chase.
- Jeff from Coupling talks a lot of gibberish normally, but it gets oh-so much worse when an attractive woman is involved. In fact the trope Digging Yourself Deeper used to be called "Bucket of Ears" after the following attempt at picking up an attractive girl at the bar:
Ah! You can read... I mean, you are reading. Sorry. It's nice to see people reading. Not a lot of people read these days. People prefer to... hear. But all this 'hearing' is just reading for lazy people. Kids today should be prepared to pick up a book, and not just go around the whole time with all these modern... ears. Sometimes I just wanna rip people's ears off and say 'Read a book, for God's sake!'... Well, actually I'd probably say 'Read a book' first and then rip their ears off, otherwise they wouldn't hear me, hehehe... Actually, I probably wouldn't rip their ears off at all, I'm not a violent person. I like ears! Especially women ears, they're my favorite. I don't mean I collect them or anything! I don't have a big bucket of women ears hidden away somewhere. No, No, No, I'm not after your ears really. Not that there's anything wrong with your ears! You know if I was some kind of mad ear person, your ears would be the pride of my... ear bucket.
- Steven Moffat, writer of Coupling, also practiced this technique in his previous show Press Gang, with character Colin Mathews:
Goodbye... Hang on, sorry, said that wrong. I didn't mean to say "goodbye" like that... I mean, don't be alarmed. It's not because I think you're about to die or anything... No, truly. I think you've got years yet! I mean, you look really healthy - and I'm sure you have regular check-ups in case you've got one of those terminal illnesses with no visible symptoms! Though who can tell these days, right? I saw a friend of mine once, looked the picture of health. A week later I went to see him being cremated - not that I'm going to go and see you being cremated, of course - Though, I mean, I would go to your funeral if you suddenly died for any reason. I'd love to... So, how are you...?
- Ross in the Friends episode called, appropriately enough, "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt" has trouble flirting with the cute pizza girl:
Ross: Hey, uh, you know that smell gas has? They put that in. The gas is odorless, but they add the smell so you know when there's a leak. A lot of other gas smells. Methane smells...
[Afterwards, Rachel tries to explain it to the Pizza girl]
Rachel: I am so sorry for Ross' flirting.
Pizza Girl: [stunned] Oh my God! That was flirting?!
- Arrested Development:
- When Michael Bluth met Rita for the first time, he very unreassuringly reassured her that his interest in her was not to stalk and kill her like Jack the Ripper. Fortunately, (or perhaps not,) Rita was mentally retarded, and only followed the gist of the conversation.
- George Michael was never that bad with Maeby, but he seemed to lose control of his stream of thought whenever they talked.
- In Black Books Bernard attempts to ask a women out with the words below. It actually works, in that she, after confirming that he was trying to ask her out, accepts.
Bernard: Do you eat? I do. Do you want to do it in the same room, sometime?
Kate: Umm well...
Bernard: You're busy! You're probably seeing one of your four million friends. Never mind.
- This happened to Sherlock when Irene said brainy was the new sexy. John's face after Sherlock's verbal keyboardmash is priceless.
- Bottom: In "Digger", when Richie's date is outside his bedroom door, he starts babbling incoherently, then apologises, saying that he's "forgotten how to talk." Once she's inside, he starts talking about eskimoes.
Richie: I've always found it rather fortunate that there isn't an animal called an "Ig", because it'd keep going to the toilet in their houses.
- In an episode of That '70s Show, a cheerleader keeps calling Eric "Uh-bluh" because years ago, that's how he responded when she asked his name.
- The Police:
- In the song, "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da".
- Implied in "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".
- Two Steve Miller songs ("The Joker" and "Enter Maurice") had the phrase "Pompatus of love". 'Pompatus' is a made-up word. (Fun fact: A film called 'Pompatus of Love' was also made, discussing the meaning of this made-up phrase.)
- Barnes and Barnes (of "Fish Heads" fame) had the song "Ah A".
- Hugh Laurie's "Sophistication Song".
- "Tongue Tied" by the lads from Red Dwarf.
I tried to say "I love you" (love you)
But it came out kind of wrong, girl (wrong girl)
It sounded like "nunubididoo" (tongue tied) Nuh-mur-nuh-murh-ni-nong-nurl
- All Shook Up. Jim sees Sandra for the first time. After an outburst of song, he stutters a few "I—I—Uh—"s and runs away. And the next time he meets her, he doesn't even get out that much.
- Hello, Dolly!. Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker sputtering at Irene Malloy the hatmaker: "Uh, see, we're two ladies about town lookin' for hats to Malloy—" "We're hats, you see, and wondered if we could buy a lady or two to Molloy with for..."
- Sponge Bob Square Pants, "Krusty Love": Mr. Krabs can't ask Mrs. Puff to a date without SpongeBob translating for him, and even he has a hard time making out what Krabs is saying.
- The Simpsons, when Bart met his new next door neighbor.
Bart's brain: "She's beautiful. Say something clever."
Bart's mouth: "[meekly] I fell on my bottom."
Bart's brain: "D'oh!"
- Not exactly gibberish, but whenever Stan tries to talk to Wendy in South Park, he vomits a little.
- In the Cartoon Network show Ned's Newt, Ned always did this around the girl he was in love with, only able to say "hummina-hummina-hummina-hummina" whenever she was near him.
- One example in Justice League Unlimited - when Flash suddenly finds himself with an up-close view of his crush and fellow League member Fire, the usually-talkative Flash is reduced to an incoherent whimper. (around 3:05 in the clip)
- Family Guy, "He's Too Sexy for His Fat": Lois is watching a post-plastic surgery, more muscular than usual Peter walk away and Brian tries to talk to her.
Lois: (still distracted) Oh, I was just seeing if the... driveway...
Brian: That wasn't even a sentence!
- On Undergrads, whenever he talks to Kimmy, most of what Nitz tries to say will come out as "Bluh."
- Happens to Candace sometimes in early episodes of Phineas and Ferb, when she tries to work up the nerve to talk to her crush Jeremy.
- Happens to Professor Utonium in The Powerpuff Girls, first with Sedusa in disguise, then his beautiful new neighbour. He freezes on stuttering "I, I, I" until the girls come to his rescue.
- The Weekenders: Just about anytime one of the kids is around someone they have a crush on they slip into this.
- Often in Ed, Edd n Eddy when the Eds are around Nazz. Most noticeable in "Boys will be Eds":
Ed: Double D, my tummy feels all wiggly and crawly inside...
Edd: That's nice, Ed.
Eddy: I feel like the Nazzes on the back of my Nazz are standing on Nazz.
Edd: That's nice, Ed.
- The Legend of Korra: When Mako first meets Asami, he's so stunned by her beauty that, for a moment, he can't do anything but blush and stutter.
Asami: Oh no! I'm so sorry. I didn't see you!
Mako: How could you not see me? I mean, I was *sees her face* ju- ju-... I was- I- I- Wow. *coughs* That was- *clears throat*
- In the episode, "The Date" of Teen Titans Go!, Robin chokes up when he tries to ask Starfire out. She takes his babbling as a type of game and also starts babbling.
- "That'll give you, er, bees."
- Eddie Izzard had this:
"I had to chat up girls, and I'd only tagged them before. I didn't have the verbal power to be able to say, "Susan, I saw you in the classroom today. As the sun came from behind the clouds, a burst of brilliant light caught your hair, it was haloed in front of me. You turned, your eyes flashed fire into my soul, I immediately read the words of Dostoevsky and Karl Marx, and in the words of Albert Schweitzer, 'I fancy you.' " But no! At 13, you're just going, " 'Ello, Sue. I saw you in the room... I've got legs, have you? Oh yeah... Do you like bread? I've got a French loaf. [mimes smacking her with the loaf and dashing off] Bye! (I love you!)"