Speaking Like Totally Teen
aka: Get A Load Of That Square
"By using current slang terms, Dunbar is trying to tell his children, 'I'm 'hip' or 'down', and you can talk to me about anything,'" Mayhan said. "He is unaware that his stilted speaking style, belabored references, and frequent incorrect usage of terms leave his children more confused than reassured."
Having characters speak in Totally Radical
slang is often annoying. It can be excruciating when the slang is outdated, misused, or just spoken wrongly. But sometimes, the other characters find it just as phony as the audience does.
This is when a character starts speaking like a Jive Turkey
in an attempt to sound cool or relevant, and comes across as neither to other characters, who react with disdain (often Totally Radical
Characters prone to this include Valley Girl
and Surfer Dude
Not to be confused with Like Is, Like, a Comma
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- This Tim Horton's commercial for tea that is "steeped". A woman is under the impression that "steeped" is a slang word after being told that her tea has been steeped. Needless to say, she goes around saying the word to everyone.
Anime & Manga
- The Pokémon anime did this to Jesse and James in an episode where the duo was trying to convince Ash and crew to get on the SS Anne. James called the cruise "Totally Radical," with Ash wondering who uses "radical" anymore.
- In Millennium Snow's first volume, Chiyuki says that what Toya did for that little child was "dreamy." Toya reacts by yelling "No one uses dreamy anymore!"
- Mary Marvel in I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League:
Fire: Whoa, whoa, back up. "Crash in my crib"?
Mary Marvel: Too street?
Fire: Next to you, Laura Bush is too street.
Mary Marvel: That's what Booster said. Not in so many words, but —
Mary Marvel: Booster Gold? Y'know — our teammate?
Fire: Yes, I believe I've heard of him. Now what exactly did our dear teammate tell you?
Mary Marvel: That I was too... retro. That I needed to... how did he put it? Get down with my boogie parts and —
Fire: That's enough.
- I Don't Need Your Civil War has Captain America driving a getaway truck shouting "The pigs are on our tail, homie!" and Luke Cage muttering to himself "Note to self: never teach Cap slang ever again."
- In an interesting subversion, Marty uses it to get out of 'trouble' in Back to the Future, when he accidentally calls his future father 'Dad'... "Dad... daddy... daddy-o."
- In the live-action Scooby-Doo movie we discover that monsters are possessing humans and being taught to blend in by watching videos of people using expressions like "what up, dog", "yo Red" and "y'know what I'm sayin G". This backfires because it makes them stick out even more.
- In Shrek the Third Shrek uses slang to try talk to Arthur, who just freaks out further and screams "Help, I'm being kidnapped by a monster that's trying to relate to me!"
- There's one scene in The Last Dragon where Bruce Leroy is trying to infiltrate a group of shady factory workers by pretending to be cool. While practicing his intro, he repeats the line "Hey my man, what it look like?" in various tones and enunciations.
- Inverted in Son in Law when Grandpa Walter, after looking askance at Crawl's endless stream of slang throughout the movie, unexpectedly cuts the film's primary antagonist down to size with a flawless slang soliloquy and instantly becomes the coolest grandpa ever.
- In A Hard Days Night, when George Harrison is brought to a fashion designer (unaware that he's the real deal) to preview some clothes.
Designer: Now, you'll like these, you'll really dig them. They're fab and all the other pimply hyperboles.
George: I wouldn't be seen dead in them. They're dead grotty!
George: Yeah, grotesque.
Designer: (to assistant) Make a note of that word and give it to Susan...
- In one of the Ms Wiz books, the three Paranormal Operatives get a job as substitute teachers at the school and open an assembly doing a rap song. All of the kids look blankly at them in disbelief except for Class 3 who recognise Ms Wiz and join in with the song.
- In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman tries to use black slang in a nightclub to show that he isn't just some boring yuppie:
"I stick out my hand at a crooked angle, trying to mimic a rapper. "Hey," I say. "I'm fresh. The freshest, y'know... like, uh, def... the deffest." I take a sip of champagne. "You know... def."
To prove this I spot a black guy with dreadlocks and I walk up to him and exclaim "Rasta Man!" and hold out my hand, anticipating a high-five."
- Potential double example with "X Called; They Want Their Y Back", which is shot back with "The 90s called, they want their phrase back" often enough to be annoying in and of itself.
- From June Christy's 1945 hit "Tampico":
You ask a Mexican band
To play a rumba down there
He turns and says to the boys
"Hey, fellas, dig that square!"
- In Planescape, the Planewalker's Handbook has both a glossary for the setting's slang and a guide to misusing said slang. It's titled "Cant Dictionary for the Clueless" and containing some humorous, ironic and sometimes downright antonymous misunderstandings of common expressions.
- In the musical Wonderful Town, Speedy Valenti hires Ruth as a barker for his swing club, handing her a flyer. She starts to read (and sing) in a very stiff manner that prompts one of the patrons to shout, "Hey, cats, get a load of that square!" When the hep cats start singing, however, she gets the message.
- Shows up briefly towards the end of the stage musical version of Once:
Guy: Would you like to stay over with me tonight?
Girl: You mean hanky-panky?
Guy: I don't think anybody calls it "hanky panky" anymore...
Girl: Oh. Maybe that's why I haven't had any for a while.
- In Planescape: Torment, Annah mocks some not-so-lower-class thug wannabes for trying to speak the Sigil Cant and getting it wrong.
- In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Bentley tries to brief Dimitri on a diving mission, and attempts to sound like him. After sadly failing, Dimitri responds with, "My speech is like smoke! All over the place, but ungrabable!"
- Afterward, he tells Bentley to "come at him with some turtle talk".
- Algernon, one of the nerds from Bully takes to speaking in Ebonics in an attempt to sound cooler. In fact, he won't get to the point about what he wants until Jimmy triggers him back to speaking with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe/Expospeak Gags, as he normally does.
Algernon: Yo, Jimmy, I'm over here! Gimme five, dude!
Jimmy: Ahh, no.
Algernon: Heh, heh... Yeah, well, cat, looks like your homies took care of some lames for us.
Jimmy: What are you talking about?
Algernon: Don't get fresh wit' your homies!
Jimmy: Can you please talk normally?
Algernon: This is my normal style of rapping, bro. Hoo, hoo, hoo!
Jimmy: Alright. Enough. WHAT'S MY QUEST?
Algernon: Ah, right. Salutations, sir James!
- xkcd suggests that maybe, just maybe, they do it on purpose...