[Socrates] did a little more than winding. I think you cranked
A Stock Phrase
. When a character is struck speechless, stunned, going through a Heroic BSOD
, or generally unresponsive for whatever reason, another one will tell the responsible "I think you broke him/her." Or someone in the peanut gallery will just comment, "I think X broke Y," or any variation thereof. Most often whispered as an aside.
Frequently used for comedy, but can be part of a dramatic setup too.
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Anime & Manga
- XSGCOM: Terra from the Deep, crossover with X-COM and Stargate, has a moment where a Tollan scientist finds out and tells the Atlantis expedition that Earth humans are actually biological weapons designed by the Ancients to fight the Wraith.
"It can't be true," Weir said to herself quietly, "we can't just be the leftover war-toys of some precursor civilisation" she tried to convince herself before a thought occurred and she suddenly stood up and thumped her clenched fists down on the conference table. "I refuse to accept that Russell Sharp is a first class representative of what we were intended to be!" she shouted out into the universe before collapsing back into her chair, her eyes glassing over as she considered the bleakness of creation.
"I think you just broke the boss," Sheppard told Travoc, who at least had the decency to look apologetic about it.
- In Walking In The Shadow Of Dreams, a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic, Rei is vividly describing what she did to Kensuke on their first meeting, including the phrase "Seven hours." And several others that were not made explicit. At the end of all this, Hikari, who had been sitting sitting nearby has a teacup half raised in the air, and a glazed look. Toji then turns to Rei and says: "I think you just broke my wife."
- Harry Potter:
- A non-romantic example is present in An Entry With A Bang, when a person of Native American descent learns Motherlode has numerous tribes surviving upon it.
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Haruhi asks Tsuruya if she broke Kuyou Suou when she freezes after being asked by Tsuruya about her intentions with Kyon. The reason of her freeze was actually something that happened immediately before: Yuki made some modifications to Kuyou using Haruhi's Reality Warper powers, allowing Kuyou to retain memories; Kuyou was just overwhelmed from accessing a memory for the first time.
- Vegeta in Dragon Ball Abridged, who becomes so furious that he begins speaking in sentence fragments, hallucinating, and seeing things in bizarre rainbow colors. And Nappa's ghost says it.
Ghost!Nappa: I think your rage broke, Vegeta.
Vegeta: I'm not crazy! You're crazy!! Especially you, ghost of Nappa!
- A variant from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, leading to the page quote:
Films — Live-Action
- Used in an unfunny way (unless you've got a sick sense of humor) in The Crow when Top Dollar and Myca inadvertently kill a woman during a threesome. Hardly nonplussed, Myca decides to keep the woman's eyes as a souvenir.
- In Batman Begins, the Batman scares the crap out of Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. the Scarecrow (thanks to Crane's fear gas), reducing poor Scarecrow to a screwed little man who is able to do nothing but repeat his own office hours over and over again. Batman knows how to break bad guys very well.
- There is one episode of Monk in which Sharona's kid Benji and his friend dump a puzzle on the floor for Monk to sort, which ends up leading the detective to a Eureka Moment, holding up two pieces and staring at them. One of the kids comments, "Uh oh. I think we broke him."
- A deeply unfunny usage of this occurs in the "Beauty and the Beasts" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy confronts a girl being abused by her boyfriend and forces her to look at her bruises in the mirror:
Buffy: Look at yourself. Why are you protecting him? Somebody who really loved you couldn't do this to you.
Debbie: (becoming catatonic) You're wrong. He does love me. He does love me. He does love me. He does...
Willow: (horrified) I think we broke her.
Buffy: She was broken before this.
- In The Office (US), after a prank makes Andy so angry that he punches a hole in the wall, Pam tells Jim that she thinks they broke his brain.
- Craig Ferguson said this of Vin Diesel during an "interview" on The Late Late Show when Diesel apparently got stuck endlessly clapping his hands.
- On an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny is giving Sheldon acting lessons, and they are acting out a play Sheldon wrote when he was 10 about being taken to live in the future by Mr. Spock. He is acting as his mother, and Penny suggests he try playing it as sad to be losing her son, so he begins to improvise, relating it to his real life. When he breaks down and starts crying, Penny calls up his mother and says, "Mrs. Cooper? Hey, it's Penny. Yeah, I think I broke your son," and hands the phone to Sheldon.
Sheldon: Mommy, I love you! (sobbing) Don't let Spock take me to the future!
- Done literally by Chip Esten who rode Ryan Stile's back in Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
Chip: I broke Ryan.
Ryan: GET THE @#$%^ OFF!!! GET THE @#$%^ OFF!!!
- Community: Happens a couple of times to Abed.
- That '70s Show, in one episode during the sub-arc where Kelso is trying to become a cop, he is with Fez and Hyde in "the circle" (a.k.a. doing drugs) and refuses to partake in it due to his new duties. After a few seconds in, he decides to flush their stash down the toilet. Though Fez panics, Hyde reassures him he won't actually do anything. Cue toilet flushing sound.
(in a distraught voice
) ... Baggy...!? Fez:
No! Not baggy! ... (looks at Hyde sobbing, then in an increasingly angry voice
) You broke Hyde you son of a bitch!!
- NCIS: In the episode "We Build, We Fight", Jimmy gets news about Breena, and suffers from the Heroic BSOD.
I think you broke him. Abby:
) What do we do?
(Gibbs comes up from behind and Gibbs-slaps Jimmy, knocking him out of the BSOD and into full-on panic mode
- Arthur is asked about his father in Cabin Pressure. Apparently he's not a very nice man.
Arthur: Ooh he's, er. He's, er. He's, er.
Douglas: Good lord, Martin, I think you've broken him.
Arthur: No, no, no, it's just that he's, er. He's, er.
Douglas: I think — I think what we may be witnessing here is Arthur attempting to describe something with an adjective other than "brilliant".
- In the game Sam & Max Hit the Road, when the player insists that Sam pick up an object that obviously cannot be picked up, Sam will eventually be reduced to tearful whimpering (see it here). Max will then comment:
Max: Now you've done it! You've broken Sam's spirit with your stupid attempts to pick up that silly object! In fact, if I didn't find his pitiful sobbing so amusing, I'd come out there and rip your limbs off! Just ignore them, Sam, maybe they'll go away.
- In Monster Girl Quest, Alice breaks the Archbishop by shattering the Goddess Sword before his eyes.
- Whenever the Let's Player raocow is having real difficulty with a level in a game, his Talkative Loon persona gradually ebbs away, until he's rendered playing in complete silence. In particularly bad cases, he'd start groaning in an increasing rage. In videos before he incorporated "Post-Production Raocow" to fill the silence, entries in the comments section of that video would abound about the game breaking Raocow.
- In Flander's Company, episode "German Über Fantasy", Caleb says this about Hippolyte, after the later suffers from a complete (and very detailed) brain overload at the sight of his half-sister Hitomi. Well, it's a French series, so what Caleb says exactly is:
Caleb: J'crois qu'il est cassé, là, madame, hein...
- In Donkey Kong 64's Gloomy Galleon, there are a pair of underwater buttons that toggle the water level when pressed. Either one works, but if you press the button that's in, it goes out. When this is demonstrated in DazzlingAddar's Let's Play, Vicas makes a series of unintelligible noises in his confusion.
Brother Entropy: We broke him.
- In The Simpsons, Bart hands out Love Hearts with offensive messages on them. Skinner is made aware of this, and for it causes him to flashback to Valentine's Day during The Vietnam War. Suffice to say, it does not end well for the guy holding the Valentine from his girl back home.
Skinner: JOHNNY!!! Bart:
Cool, I broke his brain!
- In the Spliced episode "Sgt. Snuggums", this is spoken almost word for word by Entree when his and Peri's pranks finally push Snuggums too far... and turn him into a raging, psychopathic Super Soldier.
- A self-induced version happens in The Weekenders, when Tino decides to stop having emotions after being embarassed for crying while watching Romeo and Juliet. When Carver first sees this, he yells "Guys? Tino's broken!"
- Phineas and Ferb: