The only thing she learned was that a pen function was not like a real pen in the most important way there was. You could not chew it.
Sometimes a character will suck or chew on something as a form of characterization. These range from toothpicks and blades of straw or grass to lollipops and cigarettes. Smoking Is Cool
is an example, and it's possible that some of these are a way to capture the look while the No Smoking
rule is in force. An Oral Fixation might also be a sign they are an ex-smoker, having substituted one habit for another
. When food is used, this can overlap with Erotic Eating
. Occasionally used in older works to indicate a character is particularly childish, though that usage is something of a Discredited Trope
due to modern developments in developmental psychology.
In anime, having a piece of straw in one's mouth is a common depiction of a banchou
, or juvenile delinquent
gang-leader character. In the West, the closest equivalent is the Dead Horse Trope
of the toothpick-chewing thug — a character chewing a piece of straw merely signifies he's a Country Mouse
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Anime and Manga
- Spoofed in Bleach with Shunsui Kyoraku, who sticks a blade of straw in his mouth because he thought it would look cool, but it turns out to be toxic.
- In Pokémon, Ash's Treecko always had a tiny wood branch which makes him the most Bad Ass of all of Ash's Pokémon (As Bad Ass as you can get in Pokémon at least). He continues the habit when he evolves into Grovyle, but loses it temporarily when he evolved into Sceptile, as result of a Heroic BSOD.
- Death Note:
- Mello is perpetually chomping a chocolate bar.
- L chews his thumbnail when he's thinking. Or excited. Or bored. Pretty much constantly, actually. When he's not eating sweets.
- Genma Shiranui, a minor Jonin, constantly chews on what looks like a toothpick. Notably, when faced with the Sound 4, he spits it to block a kunai thrown at him, and it becomes apparent that it was actually a senbon.
- Orochimaru has a creepy habit of licking his lips.
- Asuma is always smoking unless it serious.
- Omoi is often seen with a sucker in his mouth, even when talking.
- One Piece:
- Sanji is rarely seen without a cigarette. It was changed to a lollipop in the 4Kids Macekre, and removed entirely for the edited Funimation dub.
- One of the Marines, Smoker, is self explanatory—but with cigars (two at once) instead. 4Kids edited out the cigars while leaving the smoke (saying his body was making the smoke as part of the power) which also required the addition gaps in his teeth, while Funimation is planning to do the opposite: leave the cigars, remove the smoke.
- Crocodile can often be seen smoking a cigar.
- Banchou Leomon from Digimon Savers chomps on a piece of straw.
- Youichi Hiruma of Eyeshield 21 frequently chews and blows bubblegum, and has been seen with a cigarette once or twice. Rival quarterback the Kid is almost always seen with a blade of grass (or wheat, or something) in his mouth, as well.
- Bunta Marui from Prince of Tennis loves to chew and blow on gum.
- Mizore Shirayuki from Rosario + Vampire always has a lollipop in her mouth. Yum. There is a reason for this though, she is a Yuki Onna and that lolipop is actually super-chilled to prevent her and her species from melting outside of their home
- Gascogne from Vandread. Interestingly becomes plot-important when the weird metal thing turns out to transform into a key.
- Koenma's pacifier in YuYu Hakusho: not so out of place in his infant form, but much more noticeable in his older and more Bishounen guise. Apparently, several centuries of soaking in a junior god's essence also makes it a fairly potent magical object.
- Jack, from Shanghai Youma Kikai, is literally never seen without a cigarette.
- Likewise, his Fullmetal Alchemist counterpart, Jean Havoc, is only seen without one in a few hospital scenes.
- Hatsukoi Limited has Misaki Yamamoto and her habit of having a lollipop in her mouth. The guy who first stuck one in her mouth might have been her first crush.
- Integra from Hellsing is constantly smoking, to the point where if anyone nearby has a lighter, they're expected to light her next cigar. Yes, even the Catholic Assassins.
- Alucard is often depicted holding a small cross between his fangs on covers.
- Sagara Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin is almost always seen with a completely stripped fish skeleton in his mouth, or a small plant if he is traveling.
- Hermann Kaltz from Captain Tsubasa often has a small twig in his mouth.
- Spanner from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is always shown with a lollipop, and in one anime Omake is revealed to make them himself (including natto flavour). Explained and lampshaded that the sugar boost is good for the brain.
- Likewise, Gokudera in the manga always had a cigarette in his mouth.
- In Get Backers, although not licking any other object per se, Psycho for Hire Takuma Fudou loves to constantly lick his lips. This can be seen as a trait that makes him more disturbing, or... something for Fetish Fuel. Or both.
- Kio of Loveless is almost always eating a lollipop. And trying to get other people to eat them, too.
- In Meitantei Holmes, Holmes keeps his pipe in his mouth almost all the time, even when it isn't lit. In one episode, he seals it so he can keep it on a non-smoking train.
- Yami Bakura and Yami Marik of Yu-Gi-Oh! sometimes lick their lips.
- In Black Butler II much focus is given to Alois's mouth and tongue, and he's constantly licking things like his mouth, among other things.
- Kaneda of the Litchi Hikari Club is almost constantly hunched over chewing on his nails.
- The resident samurai Mifune from Soul Eater always has a reed in his mouth.
- Saku, from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes always has a lollipop in her mouth.
- Tessai, Ukyo's Beleaguered Assistant (and Battle Butler) always has an unlit corncob pipe in his mouth
- Kyouko, in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is always shown eating snack foods, and even fights with a piece of Pocky in her mouth.
- Amaimon in Blue Exorcist almost always has either a lollipop or one of his fingernails in his mouth.
- Naomasa in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon keeps an Allen wrench in her mouth.
- In Ichigo Mashimaro, when Nobue has (temporarily) stopped smoking, one of the things she does is, when asked to write the answer on the chalkboard, sticks the piece of chalk in her mouth as if it were a cigarette. She also picks up an amazing Pocky habit — the resulting weight gain is what drives her back to cigarettes.
- In Kyoukai no Kanata, Mitsuki often has a Chupa Chups in her mouth.
- In the manga version of Battle Royale, Sho (who has a bad smoking habit) is shown licking a cigarette several times, and boy is it detailed. Even referred to in-universe as an "oral fixation."
- Fat kid Fuguo in Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku almost always has an ice cream bar in his mouth.
- Detective Harvey Bullock from Batman. In the comics he's generally chomping on a cigar; in the animated series, it's a toothpick.
- And then there's Matches Malone.
- The Penguin is never seen without his trademark cigarette holder.
- Lucky Luke originally smoked, until he traded his cigarette for a blade of grass.
- Lampshaded in Marcel Dalton: "Cigar? -I stopped. -I forgot. Blade of grass? -No thanks, I'm stopping."
- Parodied in the comic Van Von Hunter: the title character (a vampire hunter) constantly chews a toothpick. His sidekick finally asks about it, just in time for him to dramatically reveal that it's really a miniature stake.
- Herbie and his lollipops from the comic Herbie
- In IDW's version of Transformers, Kupp is given a cigar-like piece of metal that he chews on.
- Dr. Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, is hardly ever seen without a pipe in his mouth. During 52, he admits that he doesn't smoke, and that the pipe is "just to chew on." Another character directly namedrops this as an oral fixation.
- In the One Piece fanfic Til You Feel It All Around You, Sanji doesn't want to smoke around his deaged nakama. In its place, he unconsciously develops a habit of biting his thumb, something he doesn't realize until Franky points it out to him.
- Emeth debuts in Warriors of the World chewing a leaf and it's occasionally lampshaded as the sight of it moving as he chews is distracting to his party members if they focus on it for a bit too long. It's implied that the leaf is some sort of drug that helps him stay relaxed.
- Jun Shigeno in the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades side story Month of Sundays places lollipops in her mouth when she's depressed or in serious thinking mode.
- Kanril Eleya of Bait and Switch has for her Trademark Favorite Food the jumja stick, a Bajoran sweet made from tree sap that resembles a large lollypop. She's even been known to have them in lieu of breakfast.
- Rusty of the Ocean's Eleven trilogy is almost always eating something during his scenes. It may be a second to finish up or he'll eat through the whole scene. This helps establish Rusty's very cool and casual personality.
- There are two of them in the Disney animated film Atlantis The Lost Empire.
- Commander Rourke chomps on a matchstick.
- Mrs. Packard is constantly smoking cigarettes.
- Telly Savalas's character in Lisa and the Devil alternates between lollipops and cigarettes — to comic effect, at first, but it gets creepier as the film goes on. Since it's Telly one gathers that it's a Shout-Out all the way through.
- Chow Yun-Fat's characters can be seen chewing on toothpicks, matchsticks, and cigarettes in John Woo's various movies.
- In Back to the Future, one of Biff Tannen's sidekicks always chews on a match. Thus his name, "Match." It's in the credits.
- Parodied in Godzilla (1998): when passing a control point, the French take bubble gum and chew emphatically because "It makes [them] look more American."
- David Warner's character in Felony is always chewing something (in addition to the scenery).
- Parodied in Hot Fuzz, as Sergeant Angel returns to town chewing on a toothpick.
- General Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove is a Cigar Chomper. The Freudian aspect is to some extent lampshaded (or at least made all the more obvious) by his obsession with, um, precious bodily fluids.
- Megget in The Longest Yard (The Adam Sandler version) is seen chewing toothpicks for the entirety of the movie.
- Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) in Cobra.
- The Renegade Russian in The Soldier (1982) chews on a toothpick.
- The Joker in The Dark Knight is constantly licking his lips, adding to his creepiness.
- Vanko in Iron Man 2 frequently chews on a toothpick.
- Dr. Furano in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl has a habit of biting his fingernails. This eventually leads him to discover the full properties of vampire blood.
- Dr. Block spends most of Planet Terror with a medical thermometer between his teeth. He claims it's to help him "Maintain [his] level of stress," But it's probably more about John Brolin looking totally Bad Ass while doing it.
- The sketchy guy at the bowling alley ("That's why they call me Pal.") hitting on 15-year-old Tia in Uncle Buck is playing with a toothpick. He ends up not looking sexy or badass when he gets stuck with it propping his mouth open.
- Penny Pingleton from Hairspray is constantly sucking on lollipops. Amanda Bynes was said to have eaten about 40 of them a day!
- Oliver Platt's "Cahill" in Executive Decision always chews a straw. It becomes important later.
- Groucho Marx was a notorious cigar smoker - both in his acting roles and as a TV personality.
- Evan's mother in The Butterfly Effect is seen anxiously chewing on her fingernails in one scene while Evan is being x-rayed. This is to foreshadow her chain-smoking as another oral response to the stress of Evan losing his arms in another timeline.
- Predators: Hanzo have a close-up shot with him playing/chewing on a twig.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Raph has a toothpick in his mouth in several scenes.
- In the Fast And Furious sequels Han is attempting to get his oral fix after quitting smoking. He spends most of Fast Five eating chips.
- Da Chief Root from Artemis Fowl keeps a cigar in his mouth, but unlit, because actually lighting cigars is against regulations (good thing, too, as it's apparently a "fungus cigar").
- In the novel Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, the character Pilate is described as always chewing something: orange seeds, pine needles, a rubber band.
- The character Mars Bar in the novel Maniac Magee gets his nickname from his love of candy bars. He habitually holds one in his teeth like a fat cigar. Near the end, another character begins calling him Snickers.
- Gwen, one of the two Kid Detectives in the Something Queer [is going on] series, taps her braces when she is thinking hard, a habit which tends to annoy the people around her.
- Mr. Sir from Holes constantly chewed sunflower seeds. He used to smoke, but chewed seeds after he quit.
- Beaver, from Stephen King's Dreamcatcher, is constantly chewing on toothpicks. It leads, indirectly, to his death.
- Ce'Nedra in The Belgariad habitually chews on her hair when nervous or thinking.
- Nero Wolfe: Police Inspector Cramer has a cigar in his mouth almost all the time — he hardly ever smokes it, he just chomps it. And this is not a bow to Politically Correct views of smoking, as the character was doing this in stories published before World War II.
- That Hideous Strength, Major Hardcastle always has a cheroot in her mouth; she hardly ever lights it. When she does, watch out!
- Sir Samuel Vimes of Discworld is often seen with a cigar, especially after he quit drinking.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde adores chewing gum and can make a single stick of it last to record-setting levels. She only takes a break at mealtimes and bedtime, but that piece of gum is never far away. This becomes her undoing when she decides to sample a stick of experimental gum in the titular factory...
Live Action TV
- Duke in the Doonesbury comic strip always has a lit cigarette in a cigarette holder hanging from his mouth. The character is based on Hunter S. Thompson, who made signature use of cigarette holders.
- One time in Peanuts Charlie Brown found what he thought was the Little Red-Haired Girl's dropped pencil and saw that she had chewed on it. "She's human!"
- Professional wrestler Scott Hall usually chews a toothpick during promos.
- Cid from Final Fantasy VII smokes cigarettes. Every tenth battle, it's a cigar instead. He can even use his cigarettes in battle, by using them to light dynamite.
- One of Mitsurugi's costumes in Soul Calibur 2 gives him a blade of grass/wheat.
- Ace Attorney:
- Juan Corrida, one of the victims in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney constantly has a piece of straw in his mouth- except in the photo of the crime scene, of course.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations, Detective Badd appears at first to be your standard hardboiled cop, smoking a cigarette, but it's actually a lollipop. (And as he sucks on it... his speech pauses... dramatically...)
- Simon Blackquill keeps one of his pet hawk's feathers in his mouth.
- In the game Wing Commander, Captain Ian "Hunter" St. John constantly has a cigar in his mouth.
- In The World Ends with You, Koki Kariya's lollipop/bean paste is sort of his personal signature item to the point Beat tends to refer to him has "Lollipop" - subverted, though, as he never actually has it in his mouth when he appears, instead holding it. Rather delicately.
- You can equip a blade of grass just to invoke this trope in Ragnarok Online.
- Detective Magnotta, Christopher Walken's character in Ripper, can simply not keep a cigar out of his mouth for more than five minutes. And he doesn't really even smoke them, just chews them vigorously.
- In Bayonetta, the titular character is frequently seen with a lollipop. Additionally, by pressing the button corresponding to the type of lollipop boost you want and holding it down until the lollipop comes onscreen, you can actually change the color of Bayonetta's lollipop and get a (usually) much-needed boost. The best part? This doesn't count as a used item.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series: General Carville shows this at times.
- Captain Keyes in the first Halo game chews his grandfather's tobacco pipe. The books explain that he's not allowed to smoke it while onboard a spacecraft, because of the contained atmosphere.
- In the first Starcraft game, the image avatar for the Firebat unit was depicted with a cigarette in his mouth.
- The Engineer in Half-Life: Opposing Force always had a lit cigarette in his mouth, which he uses to ignite his blowtorch when asked to break a door open.
- Red and most other Caninu of Solatorobo tend to like chewing on bones, and even have a variety of bite styles to express different personalities. Apparently, girls are considered delinquents if they walk around chewing on them◊.
- Johnathan Ingram, lead character of Policenauts, is always depicted with a cigarette in his mouth. And he never lights it. Several characters point out that it is illegal to smoke on a space colony because of air purification issues and/or the threat of the oxygen igniting. Though it's implied Johnathan doesn't smoke anyway.
- One of the new characters introduced in the upcoming Mortal Kombat X is Cassie Cage (daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade) who is blowing bubble gum in many revealed scenes.
- Dave from Narbonic was almost never seen without a cigarette in his mouth... until he went back in time and changed the past so that he never started smoking. It became a Running Gag that he would mention how he used to smoke and no one else would remember it.
- Merlu of Juathuur - straw version.
- Brent, from Misfile, chews on toothpicks.
- Carlita and Shanna from Elf Blood are rarely depicted without a cigarette in their mouths. Shanna even chain-smokes when she's stressed or particularly upset.
- Arsenic from Band Vs Band, with cigarettes as well as a variety of candy and popsicles and beverages with straws.
- Novick from Tower of God really should stop chewing his fingers.
- Jet from Avatar: The Last Airbender constantly chews on and holds a blade of grass in his mouth, but he loses it along with much of his badassery when he gets brainwashed. Sokka even tries to see if replacing it would help. It doesn't.
- Two in G.I. Joe:
- Breaker is literally always chewing gum and is willing to disobey a direct order to discard it.
- Clutch, somewhat similarly, has been known to chew on the same toothpick for months.
- King of the Hill:
- Dale Gribble is rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth.
Dale: My oral fixation!
- In one episode he switches to chewing tobacco, but his wife convinces him to switch back when he won't stop spitting on the floor.
- Slim, a one-shot character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, usually chewed a match. Another one-shot character, Spuds, would chew on a stick.
- The Simpsons:
- Maggie Simpson and her pacifier.
- An Ogdenville farmer on The Simpsons has a piece of straw in his mouth.
- The Sea Captain, Horatio Mc Allister, is always seen with a pipe in his mouth, which he rarely actually smokes.
- Played for laughs in one episode of The Fairly OddParents with Cosmo and his wand, to show off his ditz status.
- Det. Harvey Bullock on Batman: The Animated Series constantly chewed a toothpick, in a way that made it rather clear he either used to smoke, or still did when the camera and censors weren't around. Once used for Squick, when he flicked it at his officious landlord. It stuck.
- In fact, in one episode, where Batman suspects Bullock of having a police informant killed (the informant had previously accused Bullock of taking bribes) a toothpick at the crime scene is his biggest tip-off. Bullock is innocent; the toothpick was planted by the real culprit, Killer Croc.
- Bugs Bunny and his carrots, which were kind of a substitute for a cigar.
- Yankee Doodle Daffy: Any time Sleepy LaGoon is on screen, he's seen licking his lollipop, which is so big it nearly conceals his face.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Newborn filly Pumpkin Cake has the odd habit of chewing on just about anything she can find — except food. Tableclothes, bath towels, stuffed toys, rubber chickens, etc. As she's a month old when it really kicks in, it's possible she's teething (horses teeth at one month).
- Applejack can often be seen with a piece of straw in her mouth, as can her brother Macintosh.
- Pinkie's toothless alligator Gummy often vacantly latches onto objects or ponies.
- Baseball players in general chew gum or tobacco (as per personal preference). Supposedly, it relaxes them in what is normally a stressful situation.
- Winston Churchill kept a cigar in his mouth pretty much from dawn until bedtime. At home he would just kind of chew on them unlit, and even had special sticky-paper bands made up to help hold them together.
- His pal Franklin D. Roosevelt was a cigarette-in-a-holder guy, and was depicted that way almost everywhere.
- Doug Walker. If there's a giving-a-blowjob joke to be made, then by God, he will make it.
- Hayden Panettiere seems to have this weird compulsion to lick things.
- Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters is always seen chewing gum on stage, including whilst singing.
- Mixed Martial Arts fighter and UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson often fights with a toothpick hidden in his mouth, in spite of the danger this presents. He produced it from his mouth immediately after the final bell of his successful title defense against Nate Diaz, but denied it in the following interview. His coach admits that he has repeatedly told Henderson not to pull this stunt and even checks his mouth before fights, but Henderson still manages to sneak it in there sometimes.
- Although not every role that Brad Pitt plays has an oral fixation, more of his characters than is common are shown eating at some point. Pitt himself must be the one suggesting that his characters eat something in various scenes as "stage business."