"It never. Shuts. Up! There is always talking! Always loud music! Always something knocking in your ears! The whole movie is like this! [...] It's like [the movie]'s afraid that if it stops being loud and bouncy, it's going to lose the children's attention!"A seemingly prevalent idea is that silence for more than five seconds will bore the audience. Any empty space in the script has lines added. Voiceovers are dubbed over contemplative moments to mention blatantly obvious things. The characters may flat-out describe every last thought or feeling they're experiencing. A narrator may show up and explain everything that's happening onscreen. Songs appear to explain anything the narrator hadn't just clarified, just in case the audience still might not get it. Basically, the whole concept of "Show, Don't Tell" is thrown out the window. This is particularly prevalent in animation imported into America. Since dubbed cartoons shown on children's television are frequently edited, this requires cutting out the original background music and making the lull more obvious. That putting dialog here completely avoids Lip Lock is another considerable bonus. This practice is largely disliked, partially because of a "They Changed It, Now It Sucks" mentality, partially because many audiences resent the implication that they have five-second attention spans, and partially because silence can be an important storytelling tool that the original artists included for a reason. That said, this isn't always a bad thing and many Woolseyisms take advantage of this. The original may be suffering from filler or slow pacing; and sometimes too much silence causes the audience to become aware they are watching a movie. While this is not especially common with American cartoons nowadays (since many run in a Three Shorts format, and simply aren't long enough to have them), a more accepted way to fill out a lull is to add Mickey Mousing; the theatrical Looney Tunes cartoons were famous for this. Occasionally, it can add some gags that actually are funny. There even is a comic equivalent, where every single panel MUST have a speech bubble, even if unnecessary or detracting from the scene; see Talking Is a Free Action. See Silence Is Golden and Mime and Music-Only Cartoon for times that this trope isn't used. Not to be confused with Lulz Destruction, Cozy Catastrophe (where it's the destruction that's lull), or with a Moment of Silence over a scene of destruction.
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Anime and Manga
- Later episodes have very few moments of silence, the maximum being about three seconds of silence per episode. The old episodes were short on silent moments as well, but the silent moments were much easier to find back then.
- This is actually brought up by the American producer, director and translator of Pokémon: The First Movie in their DVD commentary. The long silence during an early montage of Mewtwo's storm and the heroes resting in a Pokémon Center is filled with a voiceover of Nurse Joy explaining a mythological aspect to the storm that wouldn't otherwise be apparent to American viewers. Another scene had several minutes of the heroes climbing a stairwell: although the only notable change to the scene is the addition of suspenseful music; the director comments on how the original had no music at all, just footsteps and waterdrops.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!, One Piece (until another company rescued it), and any other animated show dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment.
- Every season of Digimon has this, usually to insert a funny line or to make the show easier to understand.
- A Brick Joke was actually added to one though. Early in the episode, the principal asks over the PA for the person to put Jelly Donuts in the swimming pool to report to the office. Later in the episode, when a couple kids run by Kari, one of them says that they put the Jelly Donuts in the swimming pool.
- Both the DiC dub and Cloverway dub of Sailor Moon were guilty of this. The Cloverway dub less than the first one, though they were more inconsistent. Sometimes they dubbed Episodes close to the original script and with no added dialogue over quiet scenes, while others had constant background chatter or even the soldiers themselves telling themselves (or the audience) what exactly it was that they were doing at that moment.
- The Lupin III dubs by Geneon would often add in extra lines that weren't in the original Japanese. Used heavily in Lupin III (Red Jacket), specifically. The empty audio was often filled with jokes and references, instead of violations of Show, Don't Tell.
- The Funimation version of Dragon Ball did this, but you can see where they were coming from as everyone just keeps standing around.
- In one case during the Android arc, they had Gohan speak during a scene when he wasn't even there.
- In the first Dragon Ball, during Tenshinhan and Yamcha's tournament fight, roughly 90% of the dub dialog is this.
- Though oddly, this trope is inverted somewhat by the Japanese insert music being mostly missing from the dub and not replaced, leaving several minutes with no music (though with new dialog added).
- The Portuguese dub is particularly subject to this. A lot of the dubbed script was much shorter than the character's mouth movements would suggest, so the actors were told to either talk or grunt, as appropriate, to either fill space or whenever the lips kept moving. Oddly enough, it worked most of the time.
- Similarly, the dub of Transformers Cybertron made the series' gratuitous use of Stock Footage mildly interesting to listen to.
- Done frequently in the English dub of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, although it is uncertain how much of that counted as Gag Dub.
- Haruhi Suzumiya:
- There is a noticeable example of this in the fourth (chronological) episode. They actually added a line for Kyon in the DVD release. Both audio tracks have it, so it was probably seen as a problem in the original Japanese airing as well.
- There's actually an inversion as well: A space of dialogue in the original is rendered completely silent in the dub. The fact that the speaker has her back to the viewer helps.
- Disney's adaptation of Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service is guilty of this, as especially evident near the beginning of the film, when Kiki is running past one of her neighbors. In the English dub, the neighbor calls out "Hello, Kiki," and Kiki responds by yelling, "Hi!" In the original Japanese soundtrack, she simply runs past the neighbor, who turns to watch her pass. Also, in the original, Kiki's cat is a quiet companion. In the dub, he often makes snarky remarks. This frequently changes quiet, contemplative moments into ones of humor. However, said dub was reedited in 2010 to remove these lines, matching the Japanese soundtrack closer.
- Spirited Away:
- The English dub is a little guilty of this, adding background chatter in scenes that originally did not have it, though Chihiro explicitly pointing out the bathhouse was likely to help the audience unfamiliar with one. Ditto with Lin pointing out the Radish Spirit, since he looks like a Japanese radish.
- This is true in the screencapture manga version as well (both Japanese and English), even adding lines that weren't in the film.
- Also, the English dub adds a line for Chihiro at the very end of the film; she reassures her parents (and, presumably, the audience) that although she's apprehensive about her new life; "I think I can handle it."
- More importantly, the most egregious example ("Haku is a dragon?") is not only redundant, it actually messes with the plot. In the original, Chihiro couldn't be certain the dragon actually was Haku until after she risked her life to give him the medicine.
- Castle in the Sky:
- Disney's adaptation has lots of extra dialogue, notably in scenes such as the opening attack on the battleship and the chase scene involving Dola's boys. The Japanese version is nearly silent during those scenes.
- It also features an extensive reworking of Joe Hisaishi's original score (provided by the composer himself) for full orchestra, partially to make it more accessible to audiences uncomfortable with lengthy periods of silence in a movie. However, both Miyazaki and Hisaishi approved the new score. In fact, Hisaishi actually composed the new score himself.
- Occasionally justified when the camera focuses on notes written in Japanese, and Disney has the voice actors read them aloud in English.
- Other than that, Miyazaki doesn't believe in this trope. He believes that there should be lengthy, quiet pauses in his movies for audiences to get a sense of the environment and that American cartoons are too loud and noisy.
- It's not done regularly, but the English dub of End of Evangelion takes the scene of a JSSDF soldier firing a flamethrower down a hallway twice and add a line between the two volleys:
Soldier: Hit 'em again!
- In the original version of episode 54 of Bleach, Isane responds to her captain Unohana's telling her to pursue Renji by giving a look of silent acknowledgment. In the dub, she thinks, "Right...".
- Vampire Hunter D. Just... Vampire Hunter D. The English script for the second movie, Bloodlust is probably twice as long as the Japanese.
- Dead Leaves is a card-carrying offender, and it's part of why people like the dub so much. The added humor fits the movie's tone perfectly, and pushes the movie up a few notches in many peoples' point of view. Example: One scene involves Retro stealing a car. The Japanese audio has no dialogue during this scene; however, the English dub has Retro ask the driver "Hey, have you seen my heliotrope?" before yelling "OUTTA MY RIDE!" and punching the driver in the face. Actually, though, pretty much anything Retro says in Dead Leaves might qualify for lull destruction.
- The Battle Athletes OVA changed a scene when the new arrivals quietly take in the station so that one character blathered.
- Tokyopop's dub version of Rave Master. Entirely.
- Silent Möbius. Late in the run, Roy is killed, in the very bed he and Katsumi, the woman he has just married the night before, had made love in during previous night. Said now-dying character falls backwards in complete silence in the original version. In the dub he lets out a rather forced-sounding groan that was obviously supposed to be at attempt at a death cry.
- The English dub of Smile Pretty Cure! (renamed Glitter Force) is rife with this, including adding dialogue into the transformations and even what's meant to be serious moments.
- Noticeable in The '90s North American dub of Sailor Moon— they add their own dialogue into the character's mouths and up until the next cut scene, adding dialogue wherever possible. It makes it feel even more rushed. For instance, an originally silent kiss scene between Usagi/Serena and Mamoru/Darien was dubbed over with Darien making some comment about caramel bubblegum and Usagi responding to an earlier comment with no mouth movement at all, as seen here: .
- Funimation's English dub of Sgt. Frog does this on occasion, filling in lulls in the action with snarky comments from the narrator and/or other goofy jokes.
- A serial occurrence in Star Blazers, the English dub of Space Battleship Yamato, is for a character to speak when their mouth is obviously not moving.
- Robotech. The narrator never shuts up. It's a text book example.
- Mega Man NT Warrior: In the original version, the scene where Mega Man gets deleted had no dialog, and the process occurred slowly, creating a very poignant scene. The dub added the logout voice, which announces "Mega Man, data deleted" with no change in tone from its usual logout message. The animation of the process was also cut short.
- The dub of Mon Colle Knights has this. One of the instances where it arguably makes use of repeated footage to extend the length of the episode better and worth watching is during the launch sequence for the antagonists' ship is always played Once an Episode... however in the English dub, one of them brings up a logical question, mulls it over for a bit, before being told "Never mind!" by the other two, who become bored, and it becomes a Running Gag.
- Ringing Bell: The Japanese version is relatively silent, with the narrator speaking around four or five times. In contrast, the English version has the narrator speak more than four or five times, and there are more lines and sounds put in there. However, it is not quite as extreme or exaggerated as some examples listed here, and some parts like the rabbit saying "I love clover!" were considered the best parts!
- Japanese originals are not immune to this - many hentai videos feature the female participant delivering non-stop narration during the sex scenes. Sometimes it's her thoughts, sometimes she's verbally describing exactly what the male partner is doing to her, even though the audience can already see and he should already be aware...
- This may be a practice for hentai in general, as there's apparently both an audience for having women describe what happens to them (dirty talk, the Japanese words for penis and vagina are among the only words in the entire language to get regularly censored), and Japanese censorship laws can make it difficult to actually discern what's happening (two blurry things colliding together doesn't exactly look like what it should look like.)
- The English dub of Medabots added a lot of dialogue for Metabee, particularly his infamous "Dude... I rock" line whenever he used the Medaforce or "Time to kiss your 'bot goodbye!" line during a Finishing Move (these scenes were usually silent dialogue-wise in the Japanese audio). This worked because there is no indication when a Medabot is speaking, not even a Talking Lightbulb. The scene late in the first season when Victor goes Laughing Mad was also this. In the Japanese, the scene was nothing but insane laughter. The English dub also had crazy laughing, but added some taunting dialogue from him to Ikki. It helped that his back was to the camera.
- Serial Experiments Lain completely inverts this trope; there are long moments of silence where dialogue is scarce.
- The English dub of Ghost in the Shell has background noise added in the boat scene, such as a foghorn sounding as a boat goes by in the background. It somewhat destroys the feeling that the two characters are having a candid moment out of earshot of the rest of the world.
- The English dub of Ghost Stories, being a Gag Dub, has many of these, with the characters using the time to engage in some Lampshade Hanging or Breaking the Fourth Wall.
- One line is added in the Hughes' funeral scene of Fullmetal Alchemist. In the Japanese version Riza silently watches Roy walk away while in the English dub she says "We'll catch up, sir". The addition doesn't really change the impact of the scene, though the viewer might wonder how Riza's speaking without moving her mouth.
- Several dubs to Sonic X have a very controversial example of voicing over mute scenes. In episode 52, one scene has Amy crying over how she was scared that Sonic wouldn't ever come back and sobbing how she would wait for him forever. Sonic's reply is deliberately mute in the original and even Amy's crying is silent afterwards. The English dub changes it so Sonic says "Don't you worry Amy. I never will [abandon you]" and has Amy's crying as audible . The French dub scene takes this up a level and has Sonic outright saying "Of course I love you Amy—forever".
- Timothy Zahn and John Vornholt, at a panel discussion/workshop summarized here, mentioned a version of Lull Destruction that appears in comics. "If you ever wondered why characters bothered to toss insults at each other during a fight, it was because the authors were directed to include words in most panels, even the action sequences. This is because comic books are so short that the publishers don't want the readers skimming through one in five minutes, and words slow the eye more than pictures."
- It turned out to be a good thing for ol' Spidey, whose constant banter and taunting of foes is now indelibly part of his character to the point that the Movie version caught flack for Spidey's conspicuous silence.
Films — Animated
- As the text quote says, the Gag Dub of The Magic Voyage.
- The original vision for The Thief and the Cobbler called for both title characters to be The Voiceless. In the Macekred Miramax version, they will not shut up. The constant voice overs are mainly made up of Captain Obvious lines and hit or miss adlibbing. Not only are they completely unnecessary, but heavily distract from the fantastic animation.
- The already bad Brazilian Ratatouille rip-off Ratatoing was made worse in the English dub by having silent scenes filled with random grunts and sounds every time a character on-screen made any kind of move.
- The Book of Life. It has pretty visuals and unique designs, but it's also a loud, obnoxious piece that doesn't shut up for a second.
- Transformers: The Movie: The Japanese dub adds tons of yelling and screaming.
- The infamous Felix the Cat: The Movie falls victim to this trope to the extreme.
- An odd and small inversion happens in some dubs of The Prince of Egypt (e.g. the European Portuguese and Spanish dubs). Near the beginning, young Ramses lets out a small "Mommy", but since he's obscured by his mother walking in front of him, these dubs leave him mute.
- Every musical number in Quest for Camelot, of which all but one are intended to be quite serious and dramatic, is packed to the brim with Funny Background Events which are extremely loud and not content to stay in the background.
- The British-made 2005 film of The Magic Roundabout included several well-done scenes with a silent moose. Doogal, the film's rather inexplicable American dub, among many other bizarre decisions, gave the moose an Internal Monologue (provided by Kevin Smith of all people) and also gave it a case of the "walking farts".
Films — Live-Action
- The Russian adaptation of The Jungle Book suffered from this when imported to the US, ruining several sequences (the Red Dogs, Kaa hypnotizing the monkeys) that were effective precisely because the action was mostly silent.
- Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a Gag Dub of a played-straight Hong Kong kung fu movie, and has some fun with this:
"Oh...""We are both ventriloquists, ventriloquists, ventriloquists, we are both ventriloquists and we practice every day!""He carries the baskets!""He carries the paper roll!""And we don't have cysts. But one thing is for sure my friends, we are ventriloquists!"
- Star Wars:
- In the versions of Return of the Jedi released from 1983-2004, Darth Vader revealed some remaining inner goodness and saved Luke from Emperor Palpatine in stone silence. However, the 2011 Blu-Ray makes him say, "No!" a few times as Palpatine tortures Luke.
- The Empire Strikes Back suffered it, but only in the 1997 Special Edition re-release (and only the theatrical version). In every other version, when Luke throws himself off the platform to escape Vader and falls through the bottom of Cloud City, he does so in complete silence. In the 1997 theatrical Special Edition of Empire, as he's falling he screams "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
- The DVD Commentary for RoboCop (1987) discusses this. The creative team wanted a full 10 seconds of blank screen and silence when Murphy dies, but the executive staff had other ideas.
- The 1940's re-release of Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush added sound and a narrator to what was originally a silent movie.
- The English dub of Godzilla Raids Again has many, many issues, but the biggest one (other than changing the name to Gigantis the Fire Monster to disguise the fact that it was a Godzilla movie) was that it filled in almost every second of silence in the original film with narration that wasn't there before. Literally half of the movie is the main character telling us exactly what is going on as it happens in ludicrous and obvious detail, too the point that it feels as if he's reading the stage directions or storyboard notes to us. It gets ever worse when other characters start doing it too.
- As a foreign example, the German dubbed versions of Louis de Funčs comedies tend to fill every bit of silence with more gags by de Funès's character, turning him even more into a Motor Mouth than the original.
- The original theatrical release of Blade Runner had a voiceover added because the executives were of the opinion that Viewers Are Morons.
- The film version of Walking with Dinosaurs manages to completely destroy what would have been a fine, beautifully-animated documentary with incredibly annoying and painfully unfunny dialogue lines that were clearly added to the film at the last minute since the lines don't come anywhere close to matching the dinosaurs' mouth movements.
- Zombi 3D has its moments in the English dub, particularly when the Sweet River Resort is raided.
Anti-Contamination Squad Leader: Oh, Jesus, look at this... [he and another man look around the room, then open the bathroom door and discover someone impaled onto it] Oh, my God!
- Nature documentaries have a tense relationship with this trope. The most interesting example is the DVD of the BBC series Life, which offers a narration-free soundtrack, in case you aren't keen on hearing Oprah Winfrey describing everything that happens onscreen.
- Many, if not all, of the Power Rangers seasons are guilty of this; in morphed action sequences, the Rangers tend to always spout one-liners while beating up the Mooks, and volley more one-liners with the Monster of the Week; in Super Sentai, the same action sequences tend to actually have little to no dialogue (unless one considers fighting shouts and grunts as dialogue).
Stand Up Comedy
- Patton Oswalt, a comedian and voice actor, talks about doing this for animated movies. He then lampshades the stupidity of this by sarcastically suggesting that this be applied to footage of the Holocaust and 9/11.
- Also, on Werewolves and Lollipops, in a rather meta example, Oswalt's audience has a longish pause as he sets up a scenario; an audience member shouts to fill the silence and Oswalt launches into a tirade about how he'd just ruined the timing.
- Utilized in the English dub of Valkyria Chronicles, usually when the camera cuts away to show something besides the characters.
- Actually a requirement for official certification for video games on Sony and Microsoft systems. They won't allow game developers any more than half a second of silent, black screen. This is to make sure that users don't think that their console has died. That being said, you can have all the silence you want, as long as you're not showing a black screen.
- Variation: the original Japanese release of Rockman 6 had silence over the "In the year 200X..." screen, and the music only kicked in once the main intro started. The American release (Mega Man 6) added ride bell-type percussion over said screen, and the intro music itself was replaced with Suspiciously Similar Song to fit.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
Sonic: I was on a snooze cruise, I guess!
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is well-known for its constant barrage of Captain Obvious comments the characters spout (to no one in particular) in each level. This trope has to be the reason.
- Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric has the same problem, as every single action has a line used for it (usually stating the blatantly obvious, at that). Any attempts at humor, meanwhile, tend to fall flat.
- Performing random actions when the game can't be forced to progress faster (such as during a segment where the screen advances at a fixed pace) is common in Tool Assisted Speed Run videos. Sometimes this works to manipulate the RNG and actually has a purpose, though it is mostly to keep the viewer from being bored.
- The Gex series has the player character (voiced by Dana Gould) make a joke about the level he's in every 30 seconds or so.
- The English voice actor for Jansen in Lost Odyssey clearly strove to fill every second of screen time with a wisecrack or three.
- The Japanese version of the first two Spyro the Dragon games had added voice acting for whenever Spyro jumped or dashed. The cutscenes had a bit of this as well. Compare the Japanese version to the original version to see how much added dialogue there is. For starters, Sparx can talk. The cutscenes that played at the beginning and the end of each level definitely had this.
- The followers in Diablo III will invoke this by jumping into random conversation every minute or so in the middle of battle, and complaining loudly if you stand still for about half a minute. Some of these talks establish character and plot, but many are reused from act to act.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising utilizes this trope. Instead of having the characters do most of their conversing in cutscenes, like all other games do; the creators decided to have this happen during the gameplay itself. Conversations seem to start up every 20-30 seconds, and can go on for quite awhile.
- Drakengard 3 does this in a similar vein (albeit there are much more cutscenes), and if main characters aren't talking mooks are.
- Friendship is Witchcraft seems to be parodying this. In scenes where Twilight is just walking along, she makes random mouth sounds for no apparent reason. Also parodied by the several background ponies who chatter obnoxiously in crowd scenes for no reason. In one episode, Twilight and Spike pass a dance party, where the ponies are randomly shouting, "Dancin'!" to each other. In another, we fade in on a school classroom, where the students are quietly chanting "Phallic symbol, phallic symbol...."
- In Game Grumps, Arin admits that he has to actively try to be "on" whenever he's on camera to try and be as entertaining as possible, and that changes his playstyle when it comes to video games. The problem is that sometimes Arin will critically underperform at a game due to not understanding the situation (sometimes being entirely unaware of certain rules or mechanics), which wouldn't be a problem if he simply paused for ten seconds and thought about it.
- The With Voices Project is very much about filling in the stretches of wordless silence in video games with silly banter from the characters.
- Video game Let's Play videos often have the author commenting on the game as they play. Whether this is helpful advice for the watchers, bits of trivia about the game or series at hand, or filling the whole video with useless banter, varies from player to player.
- Highly noticeable in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The extent varies somewhat from episode to episode, but when characters aren't having non-stop conversations, Spider-Man's internal monologue steps in to fill the gap. Always. Ceaselessly. About things we can easily see for ourselves. Can't... breathe... At least some of this is attributed to the shaky production values later in its run, where Stock Footage is used to cover half of the plot relevant gaps and the dialogue has to cover the other half.
- Actually used to good effect in old Popeye cartoons, where scenes would be punctuated by characters mumbling under their breaths. These mumbles are often very funny.
- Used quite a bit by The Wombles although to a less annoying effect than other examples. The voice actor generally added in little bits such as "Oh what's that? A bee by the looks of it..." Whenever one of the characters looked away.
- Hanna-Barbera cartoons have long been notorious for this, among other things. Many a story was dragged down with massive expository dumps by the characters describing exactly what happened, what is happening, and what will happen, on the basis that the kids watching were too dumb to understand it otherwise. That said, kids can actually learn English from them.
- Mexican cartoon dubbing has a tendency to fill each and every silence present in foreign cartoons. Early seasons of The Simpsons for example would fill in lulls with characters whimpering, humming or yelping unnecessarily.
- In addition to changing Beast Wars into a wacky comedy series, the Japanese dub also does a lot of this. The Italian dub does it too, adding narration of what happened in the last scene in every dialogue-less point.
- In Japanese dubs, Tom and Jerry are sometimes given voice actors along with a narrator.
- The Fairly OddParents was arguably the loudest and most hectic cartoon up to that point, featuring near-constant dialogue including Timmy shouting about everything he sees. It only became more and more prevalent as the show went on.
- T.U.F.F. Puppy manages to be even more loud and hectic than Fairly Oddparents's most lull destruction-filled episodes, almost giving the impression that Hartman was trying to top himself.
- Even Danny Phantom, the quietest and most toned-down of Hartman's works, rarely goes more than a few seconds without some kind of dialogue, loud action, or sudden switch in the background music.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has very few silent moments to begin with (generally, if no one's talking or singing there's background music to fill the dead space instead), but many foreign dubs of the show have characters grunt, yelp, or otherwise vocalize where they originally said nothing. An example of this can be seen in the first episode: in the original version, one of the background ponies can be seen waving at Twilight as she runs past. The Italian version dubbed her as saying "Ciao!"
- Winx Club:
- Taken to an extreme in this video, in which all the previously silent nightmares have had plenty of dialog added to them.
- The series also provides a case of this trope being a plot point: In a 2nd season episode, Musa notices a girl walking past her, and she realizes that it's Darcy in disguise. In the original, she walks past silently, but in the dub, Darcy says "Gag me" in response to their dancing, and her voice tips Musa off (and most likely the intended viewership, too, as she doesn't disguise her voice at all). (It's at the 1:00 mark in this video.)
- The Italian dub of Taz-Mania not only turns Taz from being The Unintelligible to speaking in Hulk Speak, but in the episode "Taz and the Pterodactyl" they gave a voice to the Pterodactyl, adding to what originally was the story of Taz becoming friend with a Pterodactyl a new subplot about the prehistoric creature being a mommy Pterodactyl who decides to adopt Taz as her new son.