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"Be Quiet!" Nudge

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Helen: Thank you for knowing when not to speak.
Jake: I think you broke my toe.
Daria, "Boxing Daria"

You and your buddies are planning a prank, share a secret that the new guy doesn't know, or just plain have something to hide. Except one of them, usually The Ditz or a Cloudcuckoolander, can't help giggling. Or indulging in snarky remarks about the situation at hand. Or is about to tell too much, to reveal a secret or to let slip some important tidbit that better should stay unsaid. Or to express surprise at some statement, thus potentially ruining any chance of making a lie believable. Or just to comment about something at the inappropriate time and place, typically making a social situation awkward.

Cue the "Be Quiet!" Nudge in some form of slapstick violence upon the offender: an elbow/punch to the gut, a kick under the table, a stomp to the foot, a Dope Slap, etc.

If the offender is exceptionally clueless, expect them to complain: "Ow! What was that for, and what does 'ixnay' mean?" Thus eliciting another, harder, punch, stomp or kick. May induce Hurt Foot Hop.

Contrast with Footsie Under the Table. Related to Prompting Nudge.


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  • There's an ad campaign for Chef Boyardee which is this same idea, except the harm comes to a display pyramid of cans instead of the woman who won't stop talking about the full serving of vegetables in the product.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Saint Beast, Goh applies his fist to Gai's head whenever he says something tactless or gets too worked up. Gai never understands what the problem is.
  • In Shirobako, Aoi, a production assistant for MusAni is drinking with her colleague Watanabe, along with some of Watanabe's associates from other companies(one of whom had interviewed Aoi in the past) at the bar where Aoi's friend Shizuka works. Aoi introduces Shizuka to Watanabe and the others and is about to mention Shizuka's status as an aspiring voice actress when Shizuka taps Aoi on the shoulder, presumably not wanting Aoi to try to pull strings to get Shizuka a role.
  • In Strawberry Marshmallow, Chika gives a sideways backhand to Miu for using Ana's surname, which Ana is sensitive about.
  • Tomo-chan Is a Girl!: In Episode 6, Misuzu secretly discusses a plan with Carol to give Tomo a makeover to look more feminine. This exchange ensues:
    Misuzu: Tomo, want to come over to my house this weekend?
    Carol: We're gonna give you a big transformation!
    Misuzu: [elbows Carol on the side hard enough to shake her]

    Comic Books 
  • In Book #21 of Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk's Comic-Book Adaptation, after the party saves a bunch of dwarves from a battalion of orcs, the Enchantress grinds her staff into the Elf's foot when the latter is about to mention that the arrow currently sticking into the chest of a dwarf seeking medical help is actually one of her own.
  • Happens in ElfQuest: Skywise nudges Cutter to shut him up when he's about to drunkenly blurt out the location of Sorrow's End to Picknose the troll.
  • Superboy: Superboy's friend Hillary Chang tries elbowing him to keep him from getting himself in trouble during class, but of course it doesn't work.
  • Tintin slams his heel into Haddock's foot to stop him from revealing information in The Calculus Affair.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: When Major Griggs starts to rudely tell a reporter off on his undercover mission as a National Geographic reporter with Lt. Lauren Haley, she kicks him under the table to get him to shut up so that they can become more ingrained with the actual reporters on scene.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan: Nova Shine finds himself on the receiving end of multiple of these, from Twilight elbowing him to shut up when he antagonizes Trixie, to Rarity doing the same when he attempts to casually spill the beans that he's asking for help to put on a date with him and Twilight. Unfortunately, the latter example ends up feeding Twilight's suspicions and jealous streak and lead her to come to the wrong conclusion.
  • In Holidays with Holmes, Watson elbows Holmes in the ribs to get him to shut up when he starts chuckling and making comments about an overweight woman passing by at a Christmas party.
  • Mirai SMP: A slap, but regardless, Cooper has a physical reaction when Travis is being too loud while they're hiding from Techno.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fic The Relevance of Discretion, B'Elanna Torres has to resort to increasingly desperate means to stop Seven of Nine from telling the entire crew about the latest step in her "exploration of humanity".

    Films — Animated 
  • In 101 Dalmatians, Jasper nudges Horace when they try to trick Nanny Cook into letting them inside and take the puppies, by pretending that they're from the electric company.
    Jasper: Ah, good evenin', mum. We're here to inspect the wirin' and the switches.
    Horace: Uh, we're from the gas company.
    Jasper: [whispering] 'Lectric. 'Llectric.
  • Scar from The Lion King hates hearing Mufasa's name, so Shenzi nudges Banzai when he almost blurts out the former king's name. So he opts to go for "Que pasa?"
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • Rainbow Rocks:
      • Adagio Dazzle emphatically gestures to Sonata Dusk to be quiet as she almost blows their whole plan to Sunset Shimmer when they're being shown around the school.
      • Rainbow Dash has to elbow Pinkie Pie when the latter is questioning Principal Celestia's decision of letting the Rainbooms participate in the finals instead of Trixie and the Illusions.
    • Forgotten Friendship: Princess Twilight gives a light slap with her wing to Sunset Shimmer to make her stop snickering when she hears Princess Luna's Antiquated Linguistics. Sunset can't help finding it funny, because she's more used to Vice-Principal Luna's much more casual speaking tone, and the contrast is cracking her up.
    • Sunset's Backstage Pass: When Sunset and Pinkie brings the churros to PostCrush, Su-Z comments that "The usual delivery guy is two girls today..." and K-Lo elbows her (too late, though), since she just blew up that they were aware of the time loop.
  • In something of a role reversal, The Ditz Miguel does this to The Smart Guy Tulio in The Road to El Dorado.
  • In Shrek, Shrek has to silence Donkey before he'd make an innuendo that isn't child-friendly.
    Fiona: That's Duloc?
    Donkey: Yeah, I know. You know, Shrek thinks Lord Farquaad is compensating for something, which I think means he has a really — [Shrek stamps on his hoof] OW!
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, when a distressed and panicking Miles tells the other Spiders that he just found out his uncle is working for the Kingpin and has been trying to kill him, they're all suitably worried for him. Except Spider-Man Noir, who notes that "this is a pretty hardcore origin story," prompting everyone else to glare and for Peni to smack his arm for the rude comment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Tweedledee nudges Tweedledum — or is it the other way around? — in the Tim Burton rendition of Alice in Wonderland to keep him from blurting out that the Red Queen's new favorite, Um from Umbridge, is really the fugitive Alice.
  • The City of Lost Children: Done by one of the twins collectively known as "the Octopus", when her sister is about to blab something they want to keep secret. However, since they are conjoined twins, and she kicks their central merged feet with her one free foot, they both yelp in pain as a result.
  • Clue, when the policeman inspects the body of the Motorist and says he's in no shape to drive:
    Miss Scarlet: Oh, we'll— we'll— we'll get him a car!
    Professor Plum: A long black car!
    Miss Scarlet: [punches him in the stomach] A limousine!
  • In Good Burger, when Roxanne is trying to get Ed to spill the beans about the secret sauce. Before Ed can talk, Dexter kicks under the table, hitting Roxanne's foot.
  • In The Great Race, Leslie administers the elbow-to-ribs version to Hezekiah when Hezekiah laughs too long at a joke the Crown Prince made.
  • In His Girl Friday, Hildy Johnson keeps kicking Walter Burns under the table as he repeatedly insults her dull new fiancé, Bruce Baldwin (who doesn't notice). She ends up kicking the waiter.
  • In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, when the party is captured by trolls, Bilbo tries to stall and avoid them being eaten by claiming the dwarves have parasites. To which Kíli dumbly protests, until Thorin (despite being tied up in a bag) kicks him so that he changes his tune.
  • In Mary Poppins, when the family thinks Mr. Banks has disappeared, Ellen blabs that the policemen should be dragging the Thames, as there is nice known spot where people go drown themselves — until Mrs. Brill elbows her, as this is not helping one bit.
  • Referenced in Patton when he asks to be reminded to shut up if he says something that can get him in trouble:
    Bradley: I'll give you a gentle nudge in the ribs.
    Patton: Give me a swift kick in the ass.
  • In Spider-Man 2, Aunt May kicks Peter under the table when he responds with surprise to her announcement that she's resumed giving piano lessons as she tries to get a loan at the bank, but she misses and gets the loan officer instead.
  • The Terminator: Lt. Traxler gives one to Det. Vukovich when he starts telling an unnecessary story to Sarah in the Police Station while they are explaining how the Terminator could have done the things she said it did.
    Lt. Traxler: [shows Sarah a Bulletproof Vest] Sarah, this is what they call body armor. Our tac guys wear these. It'll stop a 12-gauge round. This other individual must have been wearing one under his coat. Feel that.
    Sarah Connors: [feels the vest] But what about when he punched through the windshield?
    Det. Vukovich: He's probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and won't feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar...?
    [Lt. Traxler shoves the armor into Det. Vukovich's chest]
    Det. Vukovich: Thank you. [Det. Vukovich takes the vest and leaves]

  • Happens in one Animorphs novel, where Ax is narrating. He's posing as Jake and is kicked by Cassie before he blows his cover ("Why has your father removed the hair from the top of his head?")
  • Being Bindy: When Bindy tells her dad that Janey's going out with Mitchell, Janey punches her in the thigh. Bindy is confused, as she and Janey have always kept her dad updated on their love lives.
  • In the Bounders novel The Tundra Trials, Jasper elbows Cole before he has time to blurt classified military information in front of Jasper's sister Addy.
  • In By Any Other Name, Holly's family has entered Witness Protection. One of the new neighbours asks Mum where they're from. Mum answers, 'Gloucester.' Katie, who's autistic and doesn't understand the need to lie, is about to correct her and say they're actually from London, but Mum yanks on her arm to stop her.
  • Discworld:
    • Done by Ridcully in Soul Music, to Ponder, who can't understand why he should keep his mouth shut about their "sound-trap" in front of sausage-inna-bun vendor turned music producer C.M.O.T. Dibbler.
    • Ridcully does it to Ponder before in Lords and Ladies, when Ponder asks how a man twenty years old could have a father who died thirty years ago. The answer is that the man's mother is Nanny Ogg.
    • Done by Granny Weatherwax to Nanny Ogg in Maskerade when it's obvious that Enrico Basilica has reasons to hide that he speaks Morporkian, but Nanny won't let go of the fact he asked her for a pie.
    • Rincewind does it to the title character in Eric, when Eric is about to let slip that they were the ones who let the Ephebian army into Tsort.
      Eric: You didn't have to kick me!
      Rincewind: You're quite right. It was an entirely voluntary act on my part.
  • In one of the Dragon Jousters novels, Ari is about to say something that would ruin his relationship with Nofret. Kiron kicks Ari before foot-in-mouth ensues.
  • In The Elenium, Elhana attempts this with her husband. Of course, since he's wearing plate armour, all she gets out of it is a bruised elbow.
  • Grass and Sky: During one of Grampy's stories, Timmi mimics his accent. Her mom flicks her arm with her foot, but Grampy doesn't seem to notice.
  • Happens several times in Harry Potter. It's noted that it's a lot more discreet when you're wearing robes rather than Muggle trousers.
  • Harmonic Feedback: At a restaurant, Drea's grandma is rude to a waitress, and her mom mouths "Alzheimer's". When Drea says, "She doesn't have Alzheimer's," her mom kicks her under the table hard enough to send an ache up her leg.
  • In Maddy's Dolphin, Maddy and CJ call their Aunt Imogen to ask her about the underwater noise that's been causing dolphins and whales to beach themselves. CJ is about to tell Imogen that Indigo the dolphin told Maddy about the noise, but Maddy kicks CJ so Imogen won't know that Maddy can talk to dolphins.
  • In The Secret Life of Kitty Granger, Kitty and Verity are eating in a restaurant with Spoiled Brat Diana, the daughter of the Nazi sympathizer the spies are investigating. Diana and her sycophantic friends make fun of a waitress's ordinary, unglamorous clothes. Kitty says, "Oh, I don't know. I think she looks rather-" Verity kicks her under the table, reminding her not to do anything that might antagonize Diana and threaten their cover.
  • Happens several times in Septimus Heap, including an example from Syren where Jenna yanks at Lucy Gringe's cloak to tell her to be quiet while they are deciding upon how to take the ship Cerys' back. At one point, Aunt Zelda tries to do it to Alther (a ghost), goes right through him and bangs her elbow on the mast of the ship he's on.
  • In The State of Grace, Grace and Leah's mum starts inviting over Eve, her cool friend from university, who starts taking over her life. Grace complains, "You don't have to actually start dressing like twins, you know. You've already got the same tops, the same shoes, and now you're in the same lipstick. It's freaky." Leah kicks her in the ankle, and she yelps.
  • In The Storm Swimmer, Ginika's family is evicted from their London flat, and her parents decide to stay with her grandparents in Cumbria. Ginika argues that she should be allowed to stay with them in their campervan. Her dad says, 'We need to get you far, far away, where you'll be safe.' Her mum slightly nudges him with her little finger. Ginika concludes that her parents are in danger and don't want her to know about it. Eventually her parents explain the situation: they owed money to loan sharks and were afraid they'd go after Ginika.
  • West Meadows Detectives: In The Case of Maker Mischief, Myron and Hajrah go to the library to talk to Lionel Aram, a suspect in the theft of another boy's robot, only to learn that he went home early. Hajrah lies, "Lionel left some work at his table and we wanted to let him know we found it. Can we call him at home?" Myron, who is bad with lies, opens his mouth to correct her, but she steps on his foot to stop him.
  • In Wet Magic, Francis asks the Queen about the King, not knowing that the King was lost at sea and she doesn't like to be reminded of him. His guide, a mackerel, jerks his coattail and whispers, "Hush!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Shows up a few times in Friends, too.
    • "The One Where Old Yeller Dies":
      Joey: Yeah, we were just talking about that! Richard is so much cooler than our dads! He ow ow ow! Would you quit kicking me? This guy!
      Richard: You guys see me as a dad?
      Joey: Yeah! + Chandler: No!
      Joey: Noooo?
    • In season five Phoebe starts pinching Joey to shut him up whenever he complains about the demands Emily is making of Ross. One time she gets carried away and pinches Joey even though Ross has left the room, which Joey immediately calls her out on.
  • Used in a Thanksgiving episode of Home Improvement. Twice. After Al has explained — at great length — why he's thankful for his girlfriend:
    Brad: I'm thankful that Al's done being thankful! (Ow!)
    Randy: And I'm thankful that Brad said that instead of me. (Ow!)
  • A non-physical nudge is given in the first episode of The IT Crowd. Roy tries to be his normal philandering self when Jen first enters the office, but Moss the eternal Ditz that he is just doesn't get the hint.
    Roy: [in a fake sophisticated voice] I believe it was Tolstoy who said [pretends to notice Jen enter] Oh hello. Moss and I were just in the middle of a rather serious discussion of books and such. What can I do you for...
    Moss: Wait, it was Tolstoy who said what? When have you ever read Tolstoy? I don't remember this conversation at all. Why are you giving me the secret sign to shut up?
  • Used a handful of times on The Nanny, often with an addition to it.
    • Once, Fran continually corrects Max by smacking his hand with a spoon. When he finally gets it right, she smack a water glass, creating a game-show "Correct!" ding sound.
    • Used again on Max when he is trying to comfort Fran after another failed date saying she didn't need a man. Sylvia silences him.
      Sylvia: [holding a carving fork] Oh, I'm sorry. Did this fork accidentally puncture your tuckus?
  • In M*A*S*H, Henry does this to Hawkeye in "The General Flipped at Dawn" in General Steele's court martial preliminary.
    Steele: Thought I'd forgotten that bit in the supply tent!
    Hawkeye: It's a night I'll never forget! [Henry nudges him]
  • NCIS:
    • Gibbs prefers the Gibbs Slap.
    • Kate typically prefers the elbow-to-the-ribs whenever Tony is, well, being Tony.
  • Happens in the first season finale of Sports Night:
    Dana: We have a name for people like you back home in Cedar Rapids. It's called sourpuss.
    Jeremy: We have a name for people like you back home in Boston, too. It's called— [Natalie pulls on his ear] —ow, ow, pain, pain, pain!
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", when the two aliens are talking to Frisby outside his store, one of them starts to ask Frisby a question and the alien in charge nudges him to shut him up. He incorrectly considers Frisby to be highly intelligent and doesn't want to take the risk of alerting him to their nefarious intentions.
  • Zorro (1957):
    • Sergeant García and Corporal Reyes once exchange shut-up kicks with each other when either of them is about to let slip to Don Alexandro that they know what happened to Don Diego (whom they knocked out and sequestrated to save him from fighting in a duel).
    • On another occasion, a private gives García a warning kick to the rear after Monastario walks in on the soldiers drinking and singing a song about him... one with very unflattering lyrics.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Used in Les Guignols de l'Info during an interview of Roselyne Bachelot and Xavier Bertrand (former and then-current Health Ministers, respectively). Roselyne, who's very much The Ditz, is about to tell everything about the scandalous links between the French government and the "Big Pharma", forcing Xavier to stomp on her foot. Twice. And when it's not enough to silence her, he upgrades to a "Be Quiet!" Shovel to the Face.

    Video Games 
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Ratchet does this to Klunk who was disguised as Clank when he was about to say something very offensive at Qwark's funeral after everyone thought he died. "What a load of bull-" (Prompt nudge)
  • The Team Fortress 2 Mann vs Machine Mecha-Engineer update comes with a comic; in it, the Heavy elbows Miss Pauling to stop her from mentioning his Russian heritage within earshot of the Soldier, who thinks the whole team is Americans.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hanako's route has Hisao, Hanako, Lilly and Akira going into a jazz club after nightfall. While Hisao and Hanako slink off to play some pool, we get a little gem from Lilly and Akira at the bar:
    Bartender: Good evening, ladies! What'll it be?
    Akira: Just a scotch, thanks. Lilly?
    Lilly: May I have a glass of cham—
    [a black-suited elbow hits her side sharply]
    Lilly: Orange juice, please.

    Web Animation 
  • In the parody series Les Kassos, Leya Sodo punches her father Dark Papy when he starts saying "You are not his father—" to Yann about their son. The fact that the latter growls like a wookiee might be a clue....
  • Over on RWBY, Ruby tries (and fails) to use "sophisticated", flowery speech with Weiss's high-class, military brass sister. Weiss responds by decking her.


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • CatDog: In "Surfin' CatDog," Cat hates water and refuses to surf with Dog, but lies about being an expert surfer when flirting with a surfer girl. Dog says, "Gee, I didn't know that! You hate water!", earning him an elbow in the chest from Cat.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Numbuh Five is usually the one to elbow her teammates when they need to shut it, like with Numbuh Four at the end of "Operation: R.O.B.B.E.R.S.", or Numbuh Three in "Operation: C.A.K.E.D.-F.I.V.E.". Note that it hardly ever works on the latter: if you truly want Kuki to shut up, you need to gag her. Even then, there's no guarantee.
    • "Operation: F.O.O.D.F.I.T.E." also has an example, as after they seemingly defeat Grandma Stuffums, she starts gearing up something big to attack the group, but Kuki is continuing on cheering while the others look on worried. Numbuh Five has to hit her in the arm to shut her up and get her to pay attention.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: In "Searching for Oswald and Chicken", Astrid elbows Snotlout quite hard because he has been doing a dramatic narration for the episode... and being rather annoying at that. He gets the message.
  • Done in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, except the recipient is doing the whole Totem Pole Trench routine, so is blissfully unaware of "his" foot being kicked.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Friendship Is Magic, part 1", when Twilight Sparkle tries to take leave from Fluttershy, she uses the pretext that her baby dragon needs his sleep. Spike starts retorting "No, I don't—", but Twilight (who is carrying him on her back at the moment) shakes her rump and sends him landing on his tush on the ground.
    • Rarity gives a few to Pinkie Pie in "Putting Your Hoof Down".
    • Twilight Sparkle has to give one to Spike in "Hurricane Fluttershy" for him to stop being Innocently Insensitive toward Fluttershy.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", Rarity slams into Spike rather hard to prevent him from revealing the existence of the spell.
    • In "Grannies Gone Wild", when Goldie decides to trick Rainbow Dash by pretending they're agreeing to a nap to ditch their chaperone, Apple Rose doesn't catch on at once and responds that she's not tired, until Granny Smith elbows her so she'd change her tune.
  • In The Problem Solverz episode "Badcat", the gang is in disguise to sneak into Bad Cat's casino. When they're allowed in, Roba keeps saying how he feels so loved and wanted, which causes Horace to shush him in order to stay incognito.
  • On Regular Show, Mordecai does this to Rigby all the time. Mostly when Rigby ridicules Mordecai's "relationship" with Margaret.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Shadow Weaver steals credit for Catra's plan to disrupt the Princess Prom, which ends up in failure. Catra happily hangs back while Hordak berates Shadow Weaver for "her" failure.
    Catra: [quietly laughing] Yeah, bad plan.
    Scorpia: [whispering] Wasn't it your—? [Catra elbows Scorpia]
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Clams" has this when Mr. Krabs realizes the dollar his crew tried to pass off as his lost millionth one was a fake that was crumpled, torn, and kissed with blue lipstick. SpongeBob tries to say the actual name of the lipstick, but Squidward whacks him with a fishing pole to keep him from giving the game away, but it already has at this point.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil, "Sweet Dreams": Star tries to get some answers from her parents about her dreamwalking, but ends up convinced she'll be better off if they don't know. Marco is then about to add something but is silenced by Star kicking him under the table.
  • Total Drama:
    • In "Hide and Be Sneaky", Heather nudges Lindsay hard enough to knock her down to the floor when she acknowledges to Izzy that if she joins their alliance, Heather will drop her like a hot potato the second she's no longer needed.
    • Trent tries to defend his atrocious supine dancing in "Beach Blanket Bogus" by saying it's modernist and interpretive. Duncan retorts that he interprets the dance as being sucky. Gwen nudges Duncan to get him to stop bullying her boyfriend, for whose state she feels responsible.
  • Wakfu, "The Justice Knight": After Sadlygrove blurts out that he'd already seen Evangelyne naked, Eva, while denying, casually chokes Grovy with an arm around his neck to stop him from adding a word.
  • Young Justice:
    • In "Schooled", Aqualad prompts Robin to stop laughing outright at Superboy's failure with a sharp elbow to the ribs. One gets the feeling that it would have been a smack upside the head were Aqualad a less reserved person.
    • Artemis does this on several occasions to Kid Flash.
      Dr. Fate: I'm Kent Nelson, by the way.
      Kid Flash: Well, duh! [sharp elbow from Artemis] OWW!