TELL ME I'M PRETTY!
In fiction, a Twitchy Eye is never merely a facial tic — for some reason, a twitch reveals your state of mind.
The prevailing notion seems to be that an eye twitch denotes insanity, which can apply to a permanently mad person with a permanent tic, or an unstable character whose twitch manifests along with their madness. As such, it usually accompanies a Broken Smile
, and sometimes overlaps with Mad Eye
Of course, there are other emotions that give characters a Twitchy Eye
, including anything from extreme annoyance, to horror, to caffeine. so much that *twitch twitch* has become a standard sound effect
in anime and manga, as well as a standard anime gesture of slowly raising a clenched fist with a twitching eye. Might be the prelude to a Villainous Breakdown
or a Heroic BSOD
Other times it's not a mood, but an action — such as lying
— that will bring about the twitch.
In Real Life
, a twitching eyelid can
be sign of emotional instability, but it's usually a sign of tiredness or severe stress.
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Anime and Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bishounen Duke Devlin gets a twitchy eye when he's losing to Yami at a game of Dungeon Dice Monsters (Which he invented). Ouch.
- Kagami does this occasionally in Lucky Star, when she's trying to deal with Konata.
- Kaname gets this a lot in the high school parts of Full Metal Panic!!. Mostly due to Sousuke.
- The otherwise unflappable Xellos got an eye-twitch in Slayers TRY after Filia called him "raw garbage".
- Natasha Zabikov gets one on G Gundam when a boy calls her "Old Lady."
- Miyabi in Ai Yori Aoshi.
- Nenene in ROD the TV, multiple times in furious frustration with her new roommates.
- In Sonic X, Knuckles' eye has been seen twitching when he was extremely angry on a few occasions.
- Hiro-chan in Narutaru has this shortly before she snaps.
- Sasuke does this a few times in part one.
- In Code Geass when Viletta has been convinced by Shirley to pose in an anime-tight bikini, she gets a full on dose of this. With a little Foreshadowing:
Viletta: You'll die a thousand deaths for this, Shirley.
Film - Animated
- Sir Ruber of the movie Quest for Camelot, one of the characters with a permanent tic, starts out with a slight Twitchy Eye that gets worse and worse throughout the film, until his whole face is practically quivering.
- Ed the hyena from The Lion King. He's the least sane from their pack and quite a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- Master Shifu of Kung Fu Panda seems to have developed one of these, particularly after Po gets selected as the Dragon Warrior—a trait which appears to afflict him much more in FanFiction.
- The Incredibles: after Kari has been putting up with Jack-Jack throughout the whole of the movie, she manages to freak out the new 'babysitter' with one of these.
- Russell being dragged across the Big Bad's window induces a slight eye twitch in the latter in Up.
- A brief example appears in The Princess and the Frog: "I was startin' to think that wishin' on stars was for babies and.. crazy people.."
Film - Live Action
- Done dramatically by Gandalf whenever the Ring speaks in The Movie.
- The film version of Watchmen does this with Rorschach, though sparingly.
- Quirrell has this in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone due to his nerves and his generally anxious manner.
- Chief Inspector Charles La Rousse Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies.
- The anchorwoman in the film version of V for Vendetta was said to blink involuntarily when she reported a story she knew was a lie.
- Several characters played by Kitano Takeshi have a twitchy eye, most memorably Nishi in Hana Bi, whose eye twitch announces an imminent outburst of sudden violence.
- In The Kid, while trying to make a sandwich for his younger self, Bruce Willis's left eye starts to noticeably twitch.
- In Amélie, Amelie's mother has developed an eye twitch as a sign of shot nerves.
- Seed Of Chucky: Glen, who is the genderless offspring between the eponymous killer doll Chucky and his dollified girlfriend Tiffany, always has a notable twitch in his/her eye whenever he's anxious or goes into an Ax-Crazy episode. He also tends to wet his pants.
- Johnny English gets twitchy-eyed whenever Mozambique is mentioned.
- A man went into a job interview and his eye winked through the whole process. The interviewer said "Look, you are well qualified, but I'm afraid that facial tic will throw off clients." The man replied - "Funny you mention that, because all I have to do is take aspirin and the winking goes away - watch" and the man began dumping out his pockets looking for aspirin. In most of his pockets, however, were condoms. Finally, once a pile of condom packages of every sort piled up on the desk the man found two aspirin, took them, and the wink totally stopped. "Well, that worked," the interviewer admitted, but why do you have all the condoms? We don't want our clients to think you're a womanizer!" "It's quite simple sir," the guy said, "have you ever walked into a drugstore, winking like crazy, and asked for aspirin?"
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured Jack, a genetically-engineered super-genius who was unstable and borderline paranoid, in two episodes. He was very twitchy.
- Data's Evil Twin Lore in Star Trek: The Next Generation had a facial tic when first discovered and activated.
- Captain Darling from the fourth season of Blackadder! Actor Tim McInnerny had a hard time getting rid of this tic after filming ended.
- On MacGyver, Jack Dalton's left eye always twitches when he lies. It's so well known at the Phoenix Foundation there's a notice in the ladies' room warning about it.
- In Pushing Daisies, Ned's eye twitches when he lies.
- Barney in How I Met Your Mother does this occasionally, most notably when he was trying (and failing) to hide his fear at being on the receiving end of another slap from Marshall on Slapsgiving.
- Peter on The Monkees sometimes displays this tic when he is nervous or startled.
Davy: "Are you nervous?"
Peter: "Nervous? Don't be silly! Look at how slowly I'm twitching."
- On Just Shoot Me!, Dennis realizes Nina is trying to keep a secret because of her "I've got an itch to snitch" twitch.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander briefly developed an eye twitch every time anyone mentioned Faith, after they'd had sex together.
- Boy Meets World: Topanga begins to develop a really nasty one during the preparations for her wedding to Cory, which, naturally, are full of wacky hijinks as Eric... "helps."
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon has this (among other tics) when things don't go his way (for instance people interrupting him when he wants to show off his knowledge, or not being able to answer a question to a quizz).
- On The Nanny, C.C. Babcock has it happen whenever she sees Fran Fine and Maxwell Sheffield getting along. It first occurs in season one's "Here Comes the Brood".
Fran: (to the Sheffield children) Now everybody say goodbye to Daddy...
C.C.: "Daddy"? Did I miss the wedding? (her eye twitches)
- In Family Matters, Carl developed one from dealing with Steve Urkel for so many years. It went away after a therapy session… until he saw his bill.
- It Ain't Half Hot Mum: Sergeant Major Williams' eye tends to twitch when ever he is starting to lose his temper. Which is to say, always.
- "Your eye twitches like that when you're happy right?" — from Foxtrot, said during an abysmal vacation.
- "Calvin's going to be inside for a week?"
- Fred Bonaparte in Psychonauts has eye twitches... even after he's cured by Raz.
- Boyd seems to have a twitchy eye as well. It's most noticeable when Raz first meets him outside the asylum ruins.
- Happens frequently throughout the Ace Attorney series.
- Kristoph Gavin in particular is this trope, even before his Villainous Breakdown.
- During the "Perceive" tutorial in Dual Destinies, Damien Tenma has this as his "tell".
- Count Veger in Jak and Daxter gets one when he finds out the Precursors are ottsels.
- A twitchy eye is one of the first signs you get that there's something that's not right about Lisa in Silent Hill 1.
- Portal 2 gives us a robotic example in Wheatley the Personality Core. He gets damaged early in the game and, from that point until the showdown with the Disc One Final Boss, he has a short circuit that randomly causes him to spasm and give off sparks. Since his body is intended to resemble a robotic eyeball inside a frame, the effect is strongly evocative of a twitchy eye in a human. This actually works as Foreshadowing that Wheatley is not as sane as he appears to be.
- In Mario Strikers Charged, this may happen to Luigi if a ball (or more than one ball) gets in the net. Yes, Luigi.
- The OCD-suffering Hannelore of Questionable Content does this when Marten unthinkingly jokes about spreading garbage around her apartment.
- This is supposedly the "tell" in poker of the Patterner in Exterminatus Now. To clarify: the Patterner is an Expy of Tzeentch, Warhammer 40,000's god of Magnificent, manipulative bastardry. When he's shown preparing to deal, he has at least five decks of cards floating around him and held in all four hands. And he displays he's bluffing when his eye (which is not only all of his head, but floats around separate from his body) twitches.
- Drive: Nosh does this when he learns that he has to go to Tesskil, whose inhabitants, the Tesskans, lost a war with his own species, the Veetans.
- Frankie And Stein's male half of the titular duo has an eyetwitch fairly regularly, generally when he has a wonderful idea. It also appears to be genetic, as it has been seen in his cousin. It may be contagious, as it has also been spotted in Karl's friend Adam, and the female half of the titular duo, Frankie.
- Jack's had a long two years on the run from the revenge driven Parcel Mistress in Homestuck, so the sudden appearance of these kids who he's pretty sure he killed already doesn't exactly help his mood.
- Karkat gets one in the Alterniabound flash game, while demanding that Gamzee stop dancing.
- The main character of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has this as a Character Tic. It becomes very pronounced when he's nervous, almost to the point of being a Tourettes Syndrome tic. In particular, it tends to occur when he's discussing his Arch-Enemy Captain Hammer and when his desire for his Love Interest, Penny conflicts with his desire to be a supervillain. In contrast with the typical use of the trope, the tic becomes noticeably less pronounced the stronger he grows in his Dr. Horrible persona.
- "Opsoclonus" is a term that just broadly refers to any kind of uncontrolled eye movement. A lateral twitch is specifically called "Nystagmus" and can be a sign of an underlying neurological problem if it persists.