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"Awkward Silence" Entrance

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Two hundred eyes watched the pair as they pushed their way through the crowd to the bar, a hundred mouths paused in the act of drinking, cursing or pleading, and ninety-nine brows crinkled with the effort of working out whether the newcomers fell into category A, people to be frightened of or B, people to frighten.

A character or a group of them spot a restaurant (or bar, or tavern, etc.) and enter. The customers inside are eating their meals, drinking heartily, and chatting with each other... then slowly or abruptly fall silent as they see these new customers at the entrance.

This could happen for a number of reasons. This eating establishment could be a Local Hangout of a small town or remote area and it's quickly obvious the now-silent patrons recognize the new arrivals as not being from around here or perhaps it's The Dreaded. If either the newly arrived customer is a local and the target of scandalous gossip or just considered a social outcast, this trope may also happen. It could be a Bad Guy Bar and the rogues there are giving the newcomers dirty looks.

Probably the most archetypal version of this trope occurs in Westerns, where the standard image is of either a criminal or lawman entering the saloon through swinging doors and everyone goes silent (always including a piano player), knowing that a gunfight is about to ensue.

In some cases, the crowd reacts like this the moment a character enters the room, as though the very sight of somebody walking through the front door is enough to provoke this reaction. Maybe the locals all come in through the back? If the newcomers are Lovable Cowards, the awkward silence may cause them to turn right around and leave. A badass character may instead take a seat at the counter or at the table (depending on the setting). If the bartender, wait staff, or customers don't take a liking to new arrivals, they may tell them outright to leave, or alternately say that they're not welcome here. This may be made funnier with someone who's pouring something (tea, coffee, etc.) pours it too much because he/she's in Stunned Silence when this guy enters. And Heaven forbid they sit in a booth or table that is used by that certain regular.

Sometimes, the newcomer will have to say or do something specific in order to prove their familiarity with the locals. If they succeed, everyone will return to what they are doing as if nothing had happened.

Sometimes accompanied by Letting the Air out of the Band or a Record Needle Scratch.

Compare The Freelance Shame Squad, which is a similar phenomenon where everyone in the room instantly pays attention to the protagonist (this time for doing something embarrassing). Also compare Chirping Crickets.


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  • A commercial for Planter's Peanuts has Mr. Peanut hosting a party and explaining to the audience how to put on such a bash. He goes on to say you have to be a gracious host no matter who shows up. As if on cue, a nutcracker enters and the crowd goes silent with Chirping Crickets. The nutcracker apologizes for an incident the previous week and we see a bandage on the back of Mr. Peanut's head.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In one scene in Life is Money, when Shirakogawa enters a room where all the other contestants are chatting with each other, they go dead silent and stare at him. Considering that he had previously tried to murder Meguru, their reaction is justified.
  • At the end of episode 45 of Mewkledreamy, The Nightmare Queen was eating rice until the Dreamy Mates that were split from Mew and Yume enter the small house where she was in, resulting in nothing but staring.
  • Street Fighter II V has this happen to Ryu in a prison cafeteria. Silence greets him as he enters the cafeteria after recovering from a brutal torture session with the warden. Some chatter starts up about Ryu being the new guy and how he lasted through the warden's physical torture as he heads over to get some food.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played with in one The Far Side strip. Two musicians in a saloon see an Obviously Evil cowboy coming in, so one tells the other to start playing in a minor key (rather than going silent).

    Fan Works 
  • In the EarthBound (1994) Fan Fiction Gender Roles, the customers act this way when they see a new couple of females enter the restaurant Ness and Paula are in. The waitress also specifically tells them to leave, claiming that they are "both absolutely disgusting and aren't welcome here in this place".
  • In an ER story, Doug walks into the local bar of the town he's staying in and is stunned when the place goes completely silent instead of the usual friendly shouts of recognition that he's used to. It turns out that the previous night, in a drunken haze, he slept with the fianceé of one of the local men and they're all now ready to beat the crap out of him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Tangled, Flynn takes Rapunzel to the Snuggly Duckling, a tavern full of ruffians and thugs, and hammily announces his entrance to get all the thugs to stare at him and Rapunzel. Flynn is hoping all the attention will spook Rapunzel.
  • Rango: When the title character first enters the saloon, the patrons all quiet down, and all eyes turn to him.
  • Sing 2: When Buster and the troupe arrive at the top floor of the Crystal Entertainment building in their janitor disguises, the elevator door opens onto a room full of people, all of whom stop what they're doing and turn to look at them. One juggler in the back misses catching a baton, which lands with a clatter, emphasizing the crowd's silence.
  • Happens twice in succession on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Once when Patrick goes into the Thug Tug and asks to go to the bathroom, and again when one of the bubbles he and SpongeBob made in said bathroom wanders out into the bar.
  • In The LEGO Movie, this is what happens when Emmet first enters the saloon and tries to act natural.
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, the bar goes quiet when Basil mentions Ratigan.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Abraham Van Helsing gets this in Horror of Dracula as he goes into a tavern in Klausenberg. Music stops playing upon his entry and the patrons just stare at him in silence. The tavernkeeper willingly provides him with a brandy and a meal, but goes mum when pressed on the whereabouts of Jonathan Harker.
  • In Willow, when the title character heads into a tavern, he's greeted by dirty stares from some shady cutthroats within. Things do go silent when he asks for milk for his infant charge, Elora Danan. He gets met with angry shouting, forcing him to flee.
  • Peewees Big Adventure:
    • Pee-wee enters a diner, but when he says, "Large Marge sent me", everyone drops what they're doing, and turn towards him, all with shock and disbelief on their faces.
    • It happens again when Pee-Wee visits the biker bar. It doesn't happen though until Pee-Wee draws attention to himself by shouting at the bikers to be quiet since he wants to use the phone.
  • Done twice in Red Tails when the Tuskeegee Airmen enter the officially whites-only officers' club. The first time, Lightning goes in alone, gets told to leave, and blows his stack. The second time, after the squadron manages to escort a bomber group to and from the target with no bombers lost, the leader of the bomber group tells the bartender "they're with us" and buys them a round.
  • Used in Victor/Victoria when King, dressed in a tuxedo, walks into a working-class bar for the express purpose of picking a fight.
  • ¡Three Amigos!. This happens thrice in the Bad Guy Bar Cantina Del Borracho in the unnamed small town.
    • Early in the movie, the bar in the town goes silent when Carmen and Rodrigo enter. The regular patrons very rarely see women and children in the bar.
    • When The German enters the bar, everyone gets quiet because he's wearing an aviator's uniform.
    • The bar crowd goes silent when the Amigos enter the bar. This is Justified because they're wearing showy stage outfits and hence are Mistaken for Badass. You can watch it here.
  • In Mean Girls, this happens to Cady when she walks into the gym after the burn book incident.
  • In the 1971 film Countess Dracula, tavern patrons go silent as military officers Captain Dobi and Lieutenant Toth enter and take a table. Justified possibly due to them being soldiers.
  • In An American Werewolf in London, the patrons within the Slaughtered Lamb pub go abruptly silent when Jack and David enter. They go silent a second time when the two Americans ask about the pentagram on the wall.
  • In Live and Let Die, when James Bond walks into the Fillet of Soul restaurant in New York the entire crowd slowly goes completely silent. It might be because the Fillet of Soul is in Harlem and everyone in the crowd is black, while Bond is white. Or it might be because all of them work for Kananga/Mr. Big and the situation is a trap.
  • Mississippi Burning is set in a racist 1964 Southern state Close-Knit Community, where the town bar goes silent when Ward decides to sit down next to one of the blacks.
  • A downplayed version in For a Few Dollars More. When Colonel Badass Mortimer enters the local inn, there is hardly anyone inside but the piano player sees him and stops playing for a few seconds.
  • In The Sting, when police lieutenant Snyder walks into the Chicago bar where the local Con Artists hang out, all of the bar patrons fall silent because they don't recognize him and believe he may be a cop.
  • In the film adaptation of Oliver!, once the Artful Dodger believes Oliver Twist is an ideal fit for Fagin's gang, he drags Oliver through the city into the slums where he lives. When the two of them walk in, the rowdy boys playing card games, practising their tricks or chatting loudly over a cigarette, freeze and stare as Dodger and his guest walk past them towards Fagin's office. One boy is so suspicious, he jumps off a high ledge and lands behind Oliver to get a better look, his landing acting as a Jump Scare.
  • Happens in Pacific Rim after Raleigh and Mako's disastrous first drift. We first see Raleigh getting his food and seeing everybody look up as he comes down the stairs into the canteen, then look across to find Mako on the other end of the canteen, the rest also staring at her. They end up going off together to eat.
  • In Animal House, this is the greeting that the Deltas and their dates (who are all white) get when they walk into a club where all the patrons and staff are black.
    Otter: We are gonna die!
  • In Blazing Saddles, the upbeat welcome celebration for the new sheriff falls silent when they realize Sheriff Bart is a— well, let's just say the people of Rock Ridge are all very racist.
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: The titular outlaw gets one of these from both the patrons and proprietor of a Bad Guy Bar because of his incongruously clean-cut appearance. Unfortunately for them, they also refuse to sell him a drink, and escalate things from there.
  • Straw Dogs (1971): Dustin Hoffman's suburban American character enters a small-town English pub and draws uncomfortable stares from the local bumpkins. Behind the scenes, Hoffman elicited the proper response from the extras by taking his pants off.
  • Han, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 get this welcome at the Bar Full of Aliens in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
    Maz Kanata: HAN SOLO!
    [all activity stops]
    Han: Oh, boy... hey, Maz!

  • In The Buddy Holly Story the band is booked into the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The crowd, which only knows them from their music,are expecting them to be black and they, coming from segregated Texas, think the audience is going to be white. The curtain raises, everyone stares, and Buddy Holly says "We wasn't expecting you-all either." He starts to play and the audience starts to dance.

  • Gor:
    • In Outlaw of Gor when Tarl enters a Kal-Da shop (basically a very low-class, low-rent bar) everyone stops and stares at him because he's a stranger in a town which doesn't get many strangers - because any strangers in town after sundown are taken slave by the local authorities.
    • In Assassin of Gor Tarl enters a more run-of-the-mill tavern and everyone stops and stares because he's in disguise as an Assassin. When they all realize that they're not who he's there for, they slowly go back to their former activities.
  • Happens in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Mad-Eye Moody arrives late to his Hogwarts job. He shows up in the middle of the welcome feast, and when he walks into the Great Hall, everyone falls silent. Dumbledore and Hargid are the only ones applauding his entrance, but they quickly stop.
  • Occurs a couple of times in Discworld.
    • In Mort, when Mort enters the Duke's Head:
      As one man, the assembled company stopped talking and stared at him with that honest rural stare that suggests that for two pins they'll hit you around the head with a shovel and bury your body in a compost heap at full moon.
    • In Wyrd Sisters, when Tomjon and Hwel enter the Mended Drum:
      Two hundred eyes watched the pair as they pushed their way through the crowd to the bar, a hundred mouths paused in the act of drinking, cursing or pleading, and ninety-nine brows crinkled with the effort of working out whether the newcomers fell into category A, people to be frightened of or B, people to frighten.
    • Possibly also in Soul Music, although it's not entirely clear the if the clientele at the Jolly Cabbage are reacting to the Band, or are like this anyway:
      There were people in the dimly lit tavern, sitting in sullen silence. The travellers were served by the innkeeper, whose manner suggested that he hoped they died horribly just as soon as they left the premises. The beer tasted as if it was happy to connive at this state of affairs.
  • In Wizard's First Rule, when Richard and Kahlan enter an inn in a Wretched Hive, all talking stops and people turn toward them. Outsiders are uncommon there to start with, but Kahlan looks so out of place she is automatically Mistaken for Prostitute.
  • In the Keys to the Kingdom novel Lady Friday, the members of the Glorious Army of the Architect in the operations room of the Star Fort fall silent and stand at attention when Arthur enters the room, prompting Arthur to quickly tell them to carry on.
  • In The Malloreon, Belgarath the Sorcerer, the Dreaded Time Abyss Archmage, fiercest opponent of Mallorea's evil patron god for five millennia, walks into a Mallorean royal banquet... and takes advantage of the horrified silence to eye up a young lady and compliment her dress.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in an episode of Father Ted. Ted strides into the prizegiving at the King of the Sheep competition and boldly announces that he has evidence the competition is corrupt. The room immediately goes silent - except for one just audible "Fucking hell!"
  • On Soap the Tate family, usually at dinner, always stops what they're talking about in mid-sentence when the youngest son Billy (age 12) enters the room, in order to "protect" him from the adult situations they have to deal with. He's quite annoyed with this. He only finds out that his sister (and later his mother) are accused of murder by reading the newspaper.
  • In the tag of Community episode "Intro To Recycled Cinema", after Chang's career as an actor ended before it even started, he tries coming back to the study room as if nothing happened. His quiet entry interrupts the animated discussion between the members of the Save Greendale Committee, leading to a long awkward silence.
  • In episode 4 of Stranger Things, Mike, Lucas and Dustin open the doors to the gym where the school is holding an assembly to honor Will. The speaker stops and everyone is looking at our heroes in an awkward moment of silence. Dustin wants to bolt but Lucas holds him back and they all walk in and join the assembly.
  • In Altered Carbon episode "Clash By Night", the whole police department goes quiet when Ortega enters in her blood-soaked clothing after being forced to fight for her life in Fightdrome, and then falsely accused by a journalist of being involved in illegal Fight Clubbing.
  • Happens in Broadchurch Season 1, Episode 7, when Hardy enters the office after leaving from the hospital much earlier than anyone expected.
  • In season 2 of Criminal Minds, the BAU is investigating a militia in Montana. Rossi sends Morgan and JJ to the local watering hole. The presence of a black man and a white woman together brings the gathering to a silence, Rossi's intention. However, in an aversion of expectation, the group says they're more offended by the fact that feds are in their bar than by Morgan's race or JJ's gender and authority.
  • In Lucifer, you can always tell when Amenadiel shows up unannounced because everything slows to a crawl as a side-effect of his powers. It annoys the Hell out of Lucifer.
  • In Pride and Prejudice (1995), at the ball in Meryton, the musicians stop playing and everyone goes silent and stares when the Netherfield party enters the room, who stare silently back. Everyone goes back to what they were doing after Sir William goes over to greet them.
  • Father Brown, "The Hammer of God": When the obnoxious drunken Jerkass Colonel Bohun drives into an interfaith picnic uninvited, the guests fall silent and watch him with varying degrees of distaste, including the woman he's sexually extorting. However, the string band plays merrily on in the background.
    Bohun: Seems my invitation got lost in the post.
  • Doctor Who: Happens in "The Runaway Bride" as the Doctor delivers Donna to her wedding reception, which, to Donna's fury, her friends and family put on without her. Cue Record Scratch:
    Donna Noble: You had the reception without me?!
    Lance Bennett: Donna... what happened to ya? [long uncomfortable silence]
    Donna Noble: [raising her voice a notch] YOU HAD THE RECEPTION WITHOUT ME?!
    [very VERY uncomfortable silence]
    The Doctor: [cheerfully] Hello! I'm the Doctor.
    [even more uncomfortable silence]
    Donna Noble: [turns to him] They had the reception without me!
    The Doctor: Yes, I gathered.
    Nerys: Well, it was all paid for, why not?
    Donna Noble: [annoyed] Thank you, Nerys!
    Sylvia Noble: [approaches Donna] Well what were we supposed to do? I got your silly little message in the end. "I'm on Earth." Very funny. But what the hell happened? How did you do it? I mean, what's the trick because I'd love to know–
    [the whole room starts talking at the same time until all Donna can hear is an incomprehensible babble of voices, so she abruptly bursts into fake tears, at which their anger melts into pity; Lance hugs her and she cries into his shoulder; everyone applauds, and then Donna casts a knowing wink at the Doctor, who smirks back at her]
  • The Mandalorian:
    • In "The Sin", all the Bounty Hunters in the Bad Guy Bar turn to stare at the title character as he enters wearing his shiny new armor, forged from the beskar steel he got in payment for his last bounty. Turns out everyone in the bar was given the same contract, so they're all angry and envious of the Mandalorian for having got their prize.
    • Happens again in "Guns for Hire" when Din and Bo-Katan enter The Resistor, a droid bar. Naturally, the moment they set a foot in they draw the silent stare of every single patron as well as the barman, all whom probably wondered why were a pair of organics in a place that only caters to droids.
  • Parodied in "The Legend of Old Gregg" on The Mighty Boosh. Howard and Vince walk into a fisherman's bar, and the previously lively and musical crowd of fisherman instantly fall silent, presumably to highlight how different the Boosh are from the grizzled seamen. But then the bartender winds a music box style crank and the whole bar springs back to life.

  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: Parodied in a Storyteller sketch, where he walks into a saloon... which immediately goes from awkward silence to raucous, and the barmaid has to tell everyone else to be quiet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dungeon magazine #16 adventure "The Dwarves of Warka". As the Player Characters enter the Foaming Mug tavern in the dwarven city of Warka, all conversations inside will stop and all heads will turn to look at the newcomers. After a short while, the conversations will slowly resume as the inhabitants return to their own business.
    • Dungeon magazine #25 adventure "The Standing Stones of Sundown". When the PCs enter the Witch's Brew tavern, all conversation stops and the patrons turn to look at them. After a few seconds they continue their conversations, but occasionally cast anxious glances at the new arrivals. They are worried because of the strange events that have recently started to occur nearby.
    • Dungeon magazine #32 adventure "Is There An Elf In The House?". When the Player Characters enter the Faustmann Manor dining room, the people eating dinner there all suddenly go silent and turn to watch the newcomers.
    • Module GA1 The Murky Deep. When the Player Characters enter the Purple Mermaid tavern, the music being played and all conversations will immediately stop. If the party sits down and orders drinks, the sounds will resume.
    • Pegasus magazine #4 article "Isle of Tirnanog''. The fishing village of Calfat has the Sleeping Siren tavern. Any time a stranger enters, the regulars inside go silent until they leave. If the stranger tries to make conversation, the locals will turn their backs on him.
    • Polyhedron magazine #34 adventure "Revolution!". If the Player Characters enter the Bogside Inn while wearing their normal clothing, the people inside will recognize them as enemies. Not only will they go silent, they will also glare at them in a hostile manner.
  • White Dwarf magazine #52 solo adventure "The Castle of Lost Souls". When the Player Character enters a bar, the loud noise stops and the people in the bar turn to look at him.
  • Adventurer magazine #9, RuneQuest/Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure "Cats". When the Player Character party enters the Greenwitch Inn, everyone will go silent and watch them. The locals generally consider adventurers to be scum.
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Adventures in Arkham County, adventure "The Whore of Baharna". When the Player Characters enter the Scarlet Witch pub in the city of Baharna, the crowd falls silent. Once the crowd members have checked the PCs out, they start talking again.

    Video Games 
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, when the "humans" enter the "elf" bar, the bar goes on normally until they ask for The Bard, and then the place goes silent.
  • In Doom Eternal, upon arrival to the Phobos base, every worker of the UAC is stunned upon the presence of the Doom Slayer.
  • In Red Dead Redemption II, the saloon in Saint Denis goes dead silent when Arthur first enters it in Chapter 4.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, early on in the game Michael and his family get into a shouting match with one another that automatically halts when his old partner-in-crime Trevor casually barges into the house.
  • A minor version of this occurs in The Witcher, when the player first enters the tavern in the first town they enter. If Geralt tries to speak to the innkeeper of the tavern, the innkeeper will say that his kind isn't welcome there and tell him to leave. Justified, in that witchers are generally looked upon with scorn all over Temeria. This also serves as a nice callback to the first Witcher novel, in which in one chapter Geralt enters a tavern only to be hassled by some patrons and refused service by the innkeeper. Fortunately for those around him, the video game callback to this scene ends a lot less bloodily than the one in the novel.

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonist of Double Homework is greeted by a sudden silence when he walks into his summer school class on the Monday morning after he snatches Tamara away from Dennis. Unbeknownst to him, Dennis revealed his video game addiction to the world via the internet.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Arcane episode "The Monster You Created", the "Last Drop" tavern goes silent when Vi enters armed with her Power Fists, except for one goon who fails to notice until he sees everyone seemingly glaring in his direction. On realizing that Vi is standing right next to him, he belatedly jumps back and pulls out a knife.
  • In the Count Duckula episode "Igor's Busy Day", Scott and Laura, a young couple visiting Transylvania, stop by a local inn named "Ye Tooth and Jugular" after their car breaks down. The couple enters in the middle of the patrons singing a drinking song which abruptly stops upon their entry.
  • Subverted, then played straight in the Looney Tunes short "Drip-Along Daffy". Daffy bursts into a saloon with guns drawn, daring anyone within earshot to challenge him, but no one pays any attention to him. But then everyone stops when bad guy Nasty Canasta makes his entrance, leaving immediately as Canasta approaches Daffy.
  • In "Samurai Jack" Season 1 Episode 8, Jack enters a rough bar and is glared at by many of the bar members. He asks for hot water and sits down in the corner of the bar. He is then confronted by mercenaries who are attempting to claim a bounty on Jack made by Aku. Jack defeats the mercenaries and exits the bar.