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"Euphemism: a word you use in place of one you can't spell."
A character tries to use a big, impressive word or two. Unfortunately, he's having trouble pronunci-pronouncia
...er, saying it, whether due to unfamiliarity with the word, or a speech imp-p-p-p
... trouble talking. After a couple tries, he'll give up and substitute an easier word
, or just clam up completely.
The Trope Namer
is, obviously, Porky Pig
of Looney Tunes
Contrast Sesq-q-q-q-quipedalian Loquaci-louca-louqa-smart talk
, and Spock Speak
, this trope's exact opposite. Compare Buffy Speak
, which similarly involves a character's conversational reach exceeding his verbal grasp. Also compare Delusions of Eloquence
, where the character muddles the big words but ploughs onward anyway. If this doesn't happen ever, it's because Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic
Not related to Cannot Spit It Out
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Ani-Ani-Ani-me and M-m-m-man-man...Japanese Cartoons and Comics
- Yotsuba&! pulls one of these in the chapter where she draws all over her dad's face.
- An old EC Tales from the Crypt comic featured a version of "Sleeping Beauty", with a running gag of characters talking about the impenet- impentr- inpenet- thick wall of thorns surrounding the cursed castle.
- Subverted in the "Earthquake" storyline of the Batman comics. Robin examines the broadcasts from "Quakemaster" who claims to have caused the earthquake. When he realizes that the villain is avoiding words that contain the letter B, he deduces that the Quakemaster is actually a known bad guy who has a lisp.
- Richie Rich once told Cadbury of his distinctive difficulty pronouncing the word "ventriloquist". It later proves critical for Cadbury to realize that the Richie with him is an impostor when he says the word correctly.
- From The Wizard of Oz: "There are people who do nothing all day but good deeds! They are called philip— phila— philum— Good Deed Doers!"
- Hot Shots Part Deux has this one: "On October 15, the President of the United States ordered a covert mission in the Persian Gulf for the purpose of rescuing soldiers taken hostage during Desert Storm. Only a handful of our highest government officials were aware of the operation, as it included an attempt to assasssan... assisss... kill a guy. "
- Bonus points because it was supposed to be an intro word crawl, in which it is completely stupid to have a mispronunciation.
- "You live in what kind of home?" "An an-emone-mone...an am-nem-o-nem-o-mne!"
- Doc from Snow White spoke like this occasionally.
- The second An American Tail movie has an inversion where Tiger ends up with a more complicated word than the original: "A spy- a spee- a spididid- an arachnid!"
- In the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, Inspector Lestrade has trouble saying that a witness is cata... cata... ("Catatonic, sir.").
- Roscoe, in Tod Browning's Freaks.
- A few characters in O Brother, Where Art Thou? have a hard time pronouncing the word "accompaniment," resulting in this trope.
- King George VI in The King's Speech, true to his real life counterpart.
- In The Boondock Saints, when Doc is trying to give them Agent Schmecker's card.
Doc: An FBI agent came by the bar and he left me his c-c-ca-, he left me his c-c-c-c-, oh he f***ing gave me this!
- Jack talks like this in "Once Upon A Girl".
- From the 1963 version of The Pink Panther.
Princess Dala: I saw six when I went on my first...safrari...frazari...wild animal hunt.
- Dave Barry In Cyberspace compares reading typewritten documents to "listening to Porky Pig try to complete a sentence" because of all the mistakes that have to be crossed out.
- In the third Artemis Fowl book, one of the Dumb Muscle bodyguards has one of these. "inca-incapci—incap—broken."
- In the Discworld book Equal Rites, there's a young wizard master named Simon, who has great difficulty with saying words that begin with certain letters, to the point where other characters often attempt to fill in the words for him so he won't have to go to the struggle of saying them.
- In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Machiavelli has this whenever he tries to say "Quetzalcoatl."
Live Action Tee-Tee-Tee...Television
- As the host of an edition of World's Greatest Magic, John Ritter deliberately played with this by being "unable" to pronounce "prestidigitation": Presti-presti-MAGIC! The audience loved it, by the way.
- A patient did this in an episode of M*A*S*H, leading to Charles' sympathy and defense of the boy to bullies. At the end of the episode it is revealed that his sister stutters.
- Open All Hours: Arkwright always had a stutter, but a common gag was for him to try repeatedly to say a complex word and then give up and replace it with a much more down-to-earth synonym. "That's f-f-f-f-f-f-f ... that's just right" or something along those lines can often be heard.
- At some point, the show itself decided to start playing with this, so instead of just replacement words you also have scenes like "Granville, come and sp-sp-sp-sp-spray this p-p-p-p-p-p ... oh, never mind, I've done it myself now."
- "Well, what's not in the per-pe-per-pe-pastry, is in the per-pe-per-pe-pie, and what's not in the per-pe-per-pe-pie, is in the per-pe-per-pe- well, you can work it out for yourself...
- "Granville! how do you spell per-per-per-pe-pepper? is it six 'P's or seven?"
- Arkwright: it all started when we had ber-b-b-b-bb-b-bb Granville: so good, you know I can't understand morse code!
- Invoked in the TV adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse's short story "The Truth about George."
George: I'm talking about my st-st-st-st-...impediment."
- Foster Brooks, who specialized in a comedic drunk act on various '70s variety shows, often employed this.
- In the My Family episode "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told", Ben tries to "anaesthetise" himself with copious amounts of alcohol before pulling out his own tooth, and does this when Abi accuses him of being drunk. "I'm not drunk. I'm anasthe... anesthe... anisthe... I'm not drunk."
- A meta-example happened in Blackadder Goes Forth. In the episode "Private Plane", Blackadder was originally supposed to respond to Flashheart's constant "WOOF!"-ing by saying "It's like Battersea Dogs Home in here". However, Rowan Atkinson has a stutter and has particular trouble with words beginning with B, which gave him a lot of trouble with the line, so they eventually changed it to having him say "It's like Crufts in here" instead.
- From Eight Is Enough, this exchange between a newspaper reporter writing an article, and her father:
How do you spell "industrious"?
I'd spell it "hardworking."
- Lamb Chop's Play-Along had a twist on this — Lamb Chop kept fudging the phrase "the San Diego Zoo", and finally said "You know, the zoo in San Diego."
- In one episode of the Israeli sitcom HaPijamot, resident Ditz and Man Child Oded struggles to pronounce the pentasyllabic loanword alternativitHebrew (‘alternative’) and uses the trisyllabic native word khalufitHebrew instead.
- Commander Weatherby from The Navy Lark.
"I'd like a return ticket-t-t-t-t-t-ticket-t-t-t-t-t to the Digital-Digital-Digital I-mbrI-mbrI-mbrI-tidley-I-tidley-I, the Digital-mbrDigital-mbr-Digital-mbrI-tidley-tidley-mbro-mbro-mbro to hell with the Digital Islands, I'll go to Jersey".
- Khalid in Baldur's Gate tends to stutter. A lot. As a result he does sound quite a bit like Porky.
- During the end credits of Star Control 2, while the game shows funny fake outtakes of conversations with the aliens, the Khor-Ah tries to give an intimidating speech but ends up failing to spell the word "Annihilate". It then gets REALLY upset and demands to speak to whomever wrote his script.
- In The Longest Journey, George parodies the Star Trek Captain's Log but messes up "animal" so badly that he switches to "weird thing." Yeah, Drugs Are Bad.
Web C-C-C-Com-Com...Speech Bubbles
Web Or-Or-Or-Origi-Origi...Brand New
- The Nostalgia Critic does this at the start of his 100th episode:
"It's hard to believe that such a handsome man could become even handsomener— han— hand— han— ner, prettier."
- The Nostalgia Chick find herself unable to get out the word "nice" in her Top Five Least Worst Disney Sequels, so settles for "less mean".
- From a parody of Metal Gear Solid 2, we have a character introduce himself as "Shashalashka! I mean Shalashishka. Lashashaska. Shiska - OCELOT."
- An outtake from The Guild shows Tinkerballa having trouble with the word "women". After about five takes she finally replaces it with "girls".
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged, when Vegeta must do something anathema to his character:
Vegeta: I need your hehh… I need your heehhHhH…
Gohan: You need our help?
Vegeta: That. Yes.
- For a straighter example, Mecha Freeza suffers from this due to his glitchy circuits.
: (upon arriving on Earth) My God, this is droll. There's not even a Space Radio Shack
, much less a Space Best Buy-Buy-Buy-Circuit City.
- Named for the famous Looney Tunes character Porky Pig, for whom this was a huge part of his schtick:
"Hello, Mr. Schles— Mr. Schles— Hello Leon!"
"What ridiculous histrioni-ni-ni— h-h-histrioni-ni— what ridiculous acting!"
"Keep away from that masked d-d-d-desperad-d-d-d-... that masked stinker!"
- That was apparently a gag reel never intended for public release.
- Daffy Duck did this in one short where he had the hiccups:
"A doc-(hic), a doc-(hic), a doc-(hic)...a physician!"
- Played for laughs one time, where it was Bugs Bunny who couldn't say the word right, and Porky who could.
- In the first episode of Animaniacs, Porky Pig's speech impediment is used for a gag:
(At the gate of the Warner Bros. studio)
Ralph the Guard: Good morning, Porky.
Porky: G-go-go-g-go-go-g-good m-m-mo-mo-mo...
(Person behind Porky honks the horn of his car)
Porky: (to driver behind him) All right, all right! (to Ralph) Hello. (drives into studio)
- The Mighty Ducks does this sometimes with Tanya, the resident Gadgeteer Genius, who has a tendency to think faster than she can speak.
- The Giant in the Disney short Mickey and the Beanstalk can't pronounce "pistachio" right. He eventually settles for "green gravy". That gag would be repeated in Mickey's Christmas Carol, where he settles on "yogurt".
- Ms. Li, from Daria, during loooong negotiations: "Don't think you can intimiate... intermolate... don't think you can scare me with your threat to picket naked!"
- South Park
- In the episode "Crippled Summer", the handicapped kids were modeled after Looney Tunes characters; one spoke like Porky Pig.
- Jimmy's schtick is partially this, which led to a memorable gag where Stan sent a message to Wendy using Jimmy to deliver it. The message included the phrase "You are a continuing source of inspiration". Guess which word Jimmy got caught up on?
- The Simpsons
- Parodied in an episode when Homer blames Marge for the car accident while intoxicated she says "Oh my god I'm going to be incarc-(hic), incarc-(hic), incarc-(hic), I'm going to jail."
- Also, Kent Brockman notes there has been a major accident in Kualall- Kulolummo- Kulallulla- ... then crosses out his script and replaces it with France.
- Boris Badinov once used this:
Boris (disguised in a lab coat):: I'm a physis—physi—phy—I'm a druggist.
- An inversion in Back at the Barnyard:
Freddy: A gh-g-g-gh-g-gh-gh-apparition!"
- Coiffio does this in the first episode of Perfect Hair Forever.
- Disney's Alice in Wonderland, when the Caterpillar asks Alice "exacatically" what her problem is.
Alice: Well it's exactiticly...exacita...well, it's precisely this: I should like to be a little larger, sir.
- Done by Woody Woodpecker in The Cracked Nut.
Woody: Maybe I should see a psychi—psychai—psychai—(hic) go see a doctor.
- Sarah Palin's infamous Katie Couric interview: the Alaskan Governor tried to say "caricatured" but failed, and Couric suggested "Mocked"…you know, reporters?
- In Real Life, this can be a useful skill for people with speech impediments. Supposedly Jonathan Miller, who had a stammer, couldn't say the name of the street where he lived, so he'd get a bus ticket to the nearest one that he could say and walk back. And David Sedaris has an essay about how as a kid he developed a wide vocabulary of words with no S's or soft C's to avoid acknowledging to his speech therapist that he had a lisp.
- A lot of people who try to say "methamphetamine" end up saying "crystal meth" instead.
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