Would you mind speaking up, sir?
Bumomo Bumomomomo Bumo!
A character who speaks, but is for one reason or another unintelligible to the audience.
A variant of He Who Must Not Be Heard
. There are many possible reasons the audience cannot understand the character: muffled voice, thick accent, foreign language, very limited vocabulary, a robot communicating only in beeps
. Other characters on the show frequently have no trouble understanding them
, however. This leads to a lot of repeated dialogue that'd make little sense if we could understand both characters
. ("Are we going to Dagobah?" "That's right R2, we're going to Dagobah!")
An awful lot of unintelligible or barely-intelligible characters' speech disruptions take the form of them only being able to say their name: Pokémon Speak
, when in the "only calls on the phone" variation, is sometimes also The Unintelligible
. Their dialogue is usually distorted mumbling gibberish, and almost always angry-sounding (probably because half of it is cussing)
. A good example of this is The Mayor's wife on the Christmas Special The Year Without A Santa Claus
, although to be fair, it is possible to make out the occasional word, mostly "galoshes."
See also Speaking Simlish
and Elective Unintelligible
. Starfish Language
is a related trope, where the character is unintelligible because they're not even using words.
Not to be confused with The Illegible
, which is when a character has outrageously horrible handwriting. Sometimes The Unintelligible
has a friend who acts as his Translator Buddy
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- The giant teddy bears called "The Teds" in the first DVD for Bella Dancerella "Let's Dance!" They whisper silently to each other, but Bella can hear and understand them from twenty feet away.
- Any line spoken in the Siamese language in The King and I is represented by instruments of the orchestra. This is subverted during Anna's first conversation with the Kralahome, when he angrily dismisses the interpreter and shows he can speak English.
- Cirque du Soleil loves this. Most of the shows use imaginary language for all the characters (save for opening announcements), though foreign-language lyrics may turn up in some of the songs. Some of the more recent shows have been moving away from this, with more English dialogue and lyrics worked into the action: Corteo, KOOZA, Delirium, Zumanity, and LOVE (completely in English, since this is a show about The Beatles). The emcee in Mystere not only speaks both English and gibberish, but is mocked for the latter by both his puppet and the principal clown Brian Le Petit (who speak English).
- In Peter Schickele's Hornsmoke: A Horse Opera, the four characters never speak, but they sometimes play their musical instruments in the manner of speech.
- Gorilla from Glove And Boots is only capable of saying "Meh!". The other characters do seem to understand him, but mostly through context. When he's supposed to be saying a full sentence or non-monosyllabic word, it can seem more like he's speaking English in an accent that renders most (but not all) syllables as "meh". For instance, the setup to The History Of Television involves Gorilla mimicking the "Vitameatavegamin" bit from I Love Lucy, which he pronounces something like "meh-ta-meat-ah-meh-ta-mah".
- What The Fuck Is Wrong With You has Arlo P. Arlo, who speaks with an impenetrable southern accent combined with slurring, what sounds like nonuse of teeth, and frequent mumbling. Fortunately, he has subtitles.
What was the Chef saying there? Waldorf:
I don't think even he
knows what he's saying sometimes. Statler:
Or what he's cooking? Both: Dohohohohohohoho!