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Batty Lip Burbling

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"Okay, clearly you are the textbook definition of that noise you make when you strum your finger up and down over your lips..."
Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man Issue #60

While insanity is not always something to laugh at, the kind of madness that leads to someone batting at one's own lips is usually the kind that is Played for Laughs. Characters batting at their own lips is used as a punch-line, requiring a set-up (characters being taken-aback by something irrational or surreal) for them to work off of (motorboating themselves the only kind of reaction they can give, responding to strangeness with more strangeness).

See also Aside Glance, another reaction to utter nonsense. Not to be confused with motorboating of an illicit nature.



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    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Hermione creates a group of students that wish to enforce the idea that women can be heroes as well, misunderstanding Dumbledore's claims that she should not pursue a heroic destiny with Harry as sexism. When Harry is unable to back him up (having long since come to the conclusion that Dumbledore might actually be crazy), Dumbledore decides to keep that angle and punctuates a Beat by motorboating his lips.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Girl Meets World: In "Girl Meets Secret Santa", Ava eats too many Christmas cookies and gets a sugar rush. She runs around the room as Riley and Maya talk, and just as it's claimed that Christmas makes people crazy, Ava stops in front of them, burbles her lips, and then runs away.
  • M*A*S*H: The Grand Finale "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" opens with Hawkeye in a psychiatric hospital. As he talks to the others over the phone, he jokes that he's getting a blister on his finger from burbling.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of The Undead, during the big climactic scene where Diana/Helene has to decide whether to go back to her present-day body where she's a prostitute or STAY!! in her previous life in the past, thus changing history, Servo has her lapse into this in the middle of her big speech.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "Pop Goes the Ed" has an unusual example, in that this is how Rolf describes Jimmy's quiche as being bad luck.
    Rolf: It is the food of (burbles lips)! The party is CURSED! (runs away)
  • By the end of the The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Opposite Day", Billy and Mandy pointed out that when they said it was Opposite Day, that meant that it actually was not Opposite Day and that they had tricked him into doing all of their chores. Having spent the whole episode confused beyond his wits, Grim responds by motorboating his lips while hitting his head with a mallet.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "No Free Rides", Spongebob does this when he finds out that the person trying to steal his new boat-mobile was Mrs. Puff.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Stupid Cupid", Daffy is hit by a giant arrow from Cupid, which hits him with such force that he ends up with his beak stuck through a board. He struggles to lift his arm just to burble his lips.
    • In "Falling Hare", Bugs Bunny burbles after being knocked out by the Gremlin.
    • Porky's hunting dog burbles after hitting his head on a tree in "A Corny Concerto".
  • Justice League: The Joker does this as Ace is beginning to hypnotize everyone watching his show.
  • Popeye: Popeye does this at the end of "Riot in Rhythm".
  • The Classic Disney Short, "Clown of the Jungle", sees Donald Duck doing this after the Screwy Squirrel antagonist of the episode, the Aracuan Bird, has successfully driven him to madness.
    • Donald also did this at the end of Donald's Crime.
  • Kim Possible: In the episode Showdown at the Crooked D, one of the effects of Drakken's Silly Hats is the wearer will frequently bat their lips with their finger.


Video Example(s):


The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy

Grim has a breakdown.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BattyLipBurbling

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Main / BattyLipBurbling