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Filling the Silence

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Essentially, "quiet" moments that aren't quiet. Empty space in the script has lines added. Contemplative moments have voice lines dubbed in. Characters grunt and add commentary. A narrator may show up and explain what's happening onscreen. Songs may appear to clarify what the narrators or characters haven't.

This trope is generally a feature of aural media, but can show up in visual-only mediums such as comics, ensuring that every single panel has a speech bubble, like a conversation between background characters that has no bearing on the plot.

Such dialogue/music are often violations of The Law of Conservation of Detail, added in as Garnishing the Story or Narrating the Obvious. Sometimes, silence is needed for a bigger emotional effect, and added sound detracts from it.

As with any trope, however, this isn't always a bad thing. Many people enjoy having a world filled in with additional characters that never affect the story outside the one scene they're in. A work that wants to engage in Bathos may feel the need to add in Mickey Mousing or jokes to fill the space between serious moments or to reduce the tension of an otherwise stressful scene.

In works aimed at younger audiences, creators tend to include more dialogue or other sounds to fill silence in hopes of keeping the viewers' attention. Old radio programs, where the audience might suspect they've lost the channel if the work is quiet for too long, would also have to engage in some form of this trope with some regularity, to reassure listeners that there was action or a scene change that they weren't missing. These works often use some form of music to fill the silence between dialogue, and the best works chose music to reflect the tone of the scene. Foreign works that get new voiceovers and/or new music are more easily noticed than domestic works, because you can compare the domestic soundtrack to the foreign soundtrack (this also works in reverse, assuming you're the type of person that compares foreign adaptations of your domestic works).

Contrast with Dead Air, Mime and Music-Only Cartoon, Moment of Silence, and Silence Is Golden.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A minor case in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. In the scene where Polnareff encounters DIO, the Japanese version has the latter doing Sarcastic Clapping without saying anything. The English Dub has Patrick Seitz adding in a chuckle during the moment.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Later episodes have very few moments of silence, the maximum being about three seconds of silence per episode. The old episodes were short on silent moments as well, but the silent moments were much easier to find back then.
    • This is actually brought up by the American producer, director and translator of Pokémon: The First Movie in their DVD commentary. The long silence during an early montage of Mewtwo's storm and the heroes resting in a Pokémon Center is filled with a voiceover of a woman explaining a mythological aspect to the storm that wouldn't otherwise be apparent to American viewers. Another scene had several minutes of the heroes climbing a stairwell: although the only notable change to the scene is the addition of suspenseful music; the director comments on how the original had no music at all, just footsteps and waterdrops.
  • 4Kids Entertainment:
  • Every season of Digimon has this, usually to insert a funny line or to make the show easier to understand.
    • A Brick Joke was actually added to one. Early in the episode, the principal asks over the PA for the person who put jelly donuts in the swimming pool to report to the office. Later in the episode, when a couple kids run by Kari, one of them says, "...and then I put the jelly donuts in the swimming pool."
    • Inverted with the English dub of Digimon Frontier during the Final Battle, where the Big Bad actually has dialogue that is removed from the original version.
  • Both the DiC dub and Cloverway dub of Sailor Moon did this. The Cloverway dub less than the first one, though they were more inconsistent. Sometimes they dubbed episodes close to the original script and with no added dialogue over quiet scenes, while others had constant background chatter or even the soldiers themselves telling themselves (or the audience) what exactly it was that they were doing at that moment.
  • The Lupin III dubs by Geneon would often add in extra lines that weren't in the original Japanese.
    • Used heavily in Lupin III: Part II, specifically. The empty audio was often filled with jokes and references, instead of violations of Show, Don't Tell.
    • The Streamline Pictures dub of The Castle of Cagliostro also does this, with literally every one of the film's silent moments having dialogue added in. Unlike the Red Jacket dub, however, these changes did not insert any jokes/references (particularly during Lupin's intrusion of Count Cagliostro's wedding and during Lupin and Clarisse's walk through the surfaced Roman city).
  • Various dubs of Dragon Ball have done this:
    • This was very prevalent in the original English dubs of Dragon Ball Z produced by Saban Entertainment, Funimation, and The Ocean Group throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Several dramatic and emotional scenes were diluted by the addition of filler music, when they were mostly silent in the Japanese version. Also prevalent was having any character who wasn't on-screen talking during a shot focusing on somebody else to get more trash talk in.
    • In one case during the Android arc, they had Gohan speak during a scene when he wasn't even there.
    • In the first Dragon Ball, during Tenshinhan and Yamcha's tournament fight, roughly 90% of the dub dialog is this. Funimation's dub of the original anime would also have the narrator talk over a great many scenes, especially in the two Dragon Ball hunt arcs.
    • Though oddly, this trope is inverted somewhat by the Japanese insert music being mostly missing from the dub and not replaced, leaving several minutes with no music (though with new dialog added).
    • In what some consider an improvement, Funimation's dub of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! added dialogue for Androids 14 and 15, who only said "Son Goku" in the original Japanese. note 
    • The European Portuguese dub is particularly subject to this. A lot of the dubbed script was much shorter than the character's mouth movements would suggest, so the actors were told to either talk or grunt, as appropriate, to either fill space or whenever the lips kept moving. Oddly enough, it worked most of the time.
    • The Italian dub filled multiple silent scenes with either external narration or inner monologues by whoever is on screen at the moment.
  • Unicron Trilogy:
    • Transformers: Armada's dub added long monologues in some scenes that were silent in the Japanese original, which were generally uneeded.
    • The dub of Transformers: Energon filled in a lot of silence, which was pretty frequent in the Japanese original. Unfortunately, this is mostly done with "uhhh"s, "HMM"s, "what"s, and the like. There was also music added to scenes that originally lacked it, but that seems to have been because the silence was accidental - the show was extremely rushed in both Japan and America, and a lot of issues were corrected for the home video release. But the dub was a bit worse off because it aired first, due to Cartoon Network demanding something to be released on a weekly schedule for broadcast whether it was finished or not.
    • Similarly, the dub of Transformers: Cybertron made the series' gratuitous use of Stock Footage a bit more interesting to listen to. Rather than simply having the characters shout "Transform!" and go through a several-seconds long clip, the English version had characters smack-talk each other and react to their situation. This was especially helpful when characters got new forms, where the original simply had them gain a new body and act like nothing happened, while the English version had them marvel over their new powers and modes.
  • Done frequently in the English dub of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, although it is uncertain how much of that counted as Gag Dub. Even the Japanese version didn't have much in the way of "silence", except for comedic effect.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • There is a noticeable example of this in the fourth (chronological) episode of the anime adaptation. They actually added a line for Kyon in the DVD release. Both audio tracks have it, so it was probably seen as a problem in the original Japanese airing as well.
    • There's actually an inversion as well: A space of dialogue in the original Japanese is rendered completely silent in the dub. The fact that the speaker has her back to the viewer helps.
  • It's not done regularly, but the English dub of The End of Evangelion takes the scene of a JSSDF soldier firing a flamethrower down a hallway twice and add a line between the two volleys. The director for the dub, Amanda Winn-Lee, on the Commentary reveals that the line was added in for her amusement.
    Soldier: Hit 'em again!
  • In the original version of episode 54 of Bleach, Isane responds to her captain Unohana's telling her to pursue Renji by giving a look of silent acknowledgment. In the dub, she thinks, "Right...".
  • Dead Leaves does this, and it's part of why people like the dub so much. The added humor fits the movie's tone perfectly, and pushes the movie up a few notches in many peoples' point of view. Example: One scene involves Retro stealing a car. The Japanese audio has no dialogue during this scene; however, the English dub has Retro ask the driver "Hey, have you seen my heliotrope?" before yelling "OUTTA MY RIDE!" and punching the driver in the face. Actually, though, pretty much anything Retro says in Dead Leaves might qualify for this trope.
  • The Battle Athletes OVA changed a scene when the new arrivals quietly take in the station so that one character blathered.
  • Silent Möbius: Late in the run, Roy is killed, in the very bed he and Katsumi, the woman he has just married the night before, had made love in during previous night. He falls backwards in complete silence in the original version. In the dub he lets out a rather forced-sounding groan that was obviously supposed to be at attempt at a death cry.
  • The English dub of Smile PreCure! (Glitter Force) is rife with this, including adding dialogue into the transformations and even what's meant to be serious moments. A notable example would be when April's siblings are almost killed. The scene is mostly silent in the Japanese version except for crying, while the English version instead focuses on a lot of dialogue between the characters.
  • Funimation's English dub of Sgt. Frog does this on occasion, filling in lulls in the action with snarky comments from the narrator and/or other goofy jokes.
  • A serial occurrence in Star Blazers, the English dub of Space Battleship Yamato, is for a character to speak when their mouth is obviously not moving.
  • MegaMan NT Warrior (2002): In the original version, the scene where Mega Man gets deleted had no dialog, and the process occurred slowly, creating a very poignant scene. The dub added the logout voice, which announces "Mega Man, data deleted" with no change in tone from its usual logout message. The animation of the process was also cut short.
  • The dub of Mon Colle Knights has this. One of the instances is during the launch sequence for the antagonists' ship is always played Once an Episode... however in the English dub, one of them brings up a logical question, mulls it over for a bit, before being told "Never mind!" by the other two, who become bored, and it becomes a Running Gag.
  • The English dub of Medabots added a lot of dialogue for Metabee, particularly his infamous "Dude... I rock" line whenever he used the Medaforce or "Time to kiss your 'bot goodbye!" line during a Finishing Move (these scenes were usually silent dialogue-wise in the Japanese audio). This worked because there is no indication when a Medabot is speaking, not even a Talking Lightbulb. The scene late in the first season when Victor goes Laughing Mad was also this. In the Japanese, the scene was nothing but insane laughter. The English dub also had crazy laughing, but added some taunting dialogue from him to Ikki. It helped that his back was to the camera.
  • The English dub of Ghost in the Shell (1995) has background noise added in the boat scene, such as a foghorn sounding as a boat goes by in the background. It somewhat destroys the feeling that the two characters are having a candid moment out of earshot of the rest of the world.
  • The English dub of Ghost Stories, being a Gag Dub, has many of these, with the characters using the time to engage in some Lampshade Hanging or Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • One line is added in the Hughes' funeral scene of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003). In the Japanese version Riza silently watches Roy walk away while in the English dub she says "We'll catch up, sir". The addition doesn't really change the impact of the scene, though the viewer might wonder how Riza's speaking without moving her mouth.
  • Several dubs to Sonic X have a very controversial example of voicing over mute scenes. In episode 52, one scene has Amy crying over how she was scared that Sonic wouldn't ever come back and sobbing how she would wait for him forever. Sonic's reply is deliberately mute in the original and even Amy's crying is silent afterwards. The English dub changes it so Sonic says "Don't you worry Amy. I never will [abandon you]" and has Amy's crying as audible . The French dub scene takes this up a level and has Sonic outright saying "Of course I love you Amy—forever".
  • Batman Ninja: The English dub has much more (and much different) dialogue than the original Japanese dub. Best seen in the opening, where Gorilla Grodd and Batman banter with each other back and forth the whole time while in the original they don't speak that much or that often.

    Comic Books 
  • Timothy Zahn and John Vornholt, at a panel discussion/workshop summarized here, mentioned a version of this trope that appears in comics. "If you ever wondered why characters bothered to toss insults at each other during a fight, it was because the authors were directed to include words in most panels, even the action sequences. This is because comic books are so short that the publishers don't want the readers skimming through one in five minutes, and words slow the eye more than pictures."
  • Spider-Man: This is a staple of Spider-Man, whose constant banter and taunting of foes is now indelibly part of his character to the point that the Movie version caught flack for Spidey's conspicuous silence.

    Films — Animated 
  • The original vision for The Thief and the Cobbler called for both title characters to be The Voiceless. In the Miramax version, they constantly speak.
  • The Brazilian Ratatouille mockbuster Ratatoing has silent scenes filled with random grunts and sounds every time a character on-screen made any kind of move.
  • Transformers: The Movie: The Japanese dub adds tons of yelling and screaming.
  • An odd and small inversion happens in some dubs of The Prince of Egypt (e.g. the European Portuguese and Spanish dubs). Near the beginning, young Ramses lets out a small "Mommy", but since he's obscured by his mother walking in front of him, these dubs leave him mute.
  • Every musical number in Quest for Camelot, of which all but one are intended to be quite serious and dramatic, has Funny Background Events which garnish the story. This leads to such Mood Whiplash as wacky Looney Tunes-style slapstick playing over Céline Dion's heartfelt "The Prayer".
  • Similar to Quest for Camelot, the animated adaptation of The King and I seems to suffer from the fear that its classic songs cannot hold the audience's attention, and so each musical number also includes one of the many, many Canon Foreigner sidekicks being up to something in the foreground of each song.
  • The British-made 2005 film of The Magic Roundabout included several well-done scenes with a silent moose. Doogal, the film's American dub, gave the moose an Internal Monologue.
  • The Japanese dub of The Brave Little Toaster added grunts and voices to characters where there originally wasn't.
  • Disney's adaptation of Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service does this, as especially evident near the beginning of the film, when Kiki is running past one of her neighbors. In the English dub, the neighbor calls out "Hello, Kiki," and Kiki responds by yelling, "Hi!" In the original Japanese soundtrack, she simply runs past the neighbor, who turns to watch her pass. Also, in the original, Kiki's cat is a quiet companion. In the dub, he often makes snarky remarks courtesy of Phil Hartman. This frequently changes quiet, contemplative moments into ones of humor. However, the dub was reedited in 2010 to remove these lines, matching the Japanese soundtrack closer.
  • Spirited Away:
    • The English dub is a little guilty of this, adding background chatter in scenes that originally did not have it, though Chihiro explicitly pointing out the bathhouse was likely to help the audience unfamiliar with one. Ditto with Lin pointing out the Radish Spirit, since he looks like a Japanese radish.
    • This is true in the screencapture manga version as well (both Japanese and English), even adding lines that weren't in the film.
    • Also, the English dub adds a line for Chihiro at the very end of the film; she reassures her parents (and, presumably, the audience) that although she's apprehensive about her new life; "I think I can handle it."
    • More importantly, the most egregious example ("Haku is a dragon?") is not only redundant, it actually messes with the plot. In the original, Chihiro couldn't be certain the dragon actually was Haku until after she risked her life to give him the medicine.
  • Castle in the Sky:
    • Disney's adaptation has lots of extra dialogue, notably in scenes such as the opening attack on the battleship and the chase scene involving Dola's boys. The Japanese version is nearly silent during those scenes.
    • It also features an extensive reworking of Joe Hisaishi's original score for full orchestra, partially to make it more accessible to audiences uncomfortable with lengthy periods of silence in a movie. However, both Miyazaki and Hisaishi approved the new score. In fact, Hisaishi actually composed the new score himself.
    • Other than that, Miyazaki doesn't believe in this trope. He believes that there should be lengthy, quiet pauses in his movies for audiences to get a sense of the environment and that American cartoons are too loud and noisy.
  • Ringing Bell: The Japanese version is relatively silent, with the narrator speaking around four or five times. In contrast, the English version has the narrator speak more than four or five times, and there are more lines and sounds put in there. However, it is not quite as extreme or exaggerated as some examples listed here, and some parts like the rabbit saying "I love clover!" were considered the best parts!
  • Felix the Cat: The Movie has a lot of this in the English release, mostly by having characters making annoying noises during exposition. When Pym is explaining the history of Progress City to Felix, Felix is constantly chuckling and acting like he isn't even listening. When Felix's sale to the carnival is discussed, Pym constantly makes a weird grunt in the background. And when the ringmaster Wack tries to foil the princess's escape, the dub adds some quips from him, despite the fact that his mouth isn't moving, and the voice is clearly a different actor than Wack's normal voice.
  • Walking with Dinosaurs was clearly intended to be a regular, extended documentary in the style of the original series, but due to Executive Meddling it was reworked by having the dinosaurs talk. The change was clearly done at the last minute, since there's no lip-sync whatsoever. A voiceless version was however included as an extra on the movie's DVD release under the name "Cretaceous Cut" and was later released as a standalone piece (with the addition of narration by Benedict Cumberbatch) as Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a Gag Dub of a played-straight Hong Kong kung fu movie, and has some fun with this:
    "We are both ventriloquists, ventriloquists, ventriloquists, we are both ventriloquists and we practice every day!"
    "He carries the baskets!"
    "He carries the paper roll!"
    "And we don't have cysts. But one thing is for sure my friends, we are ventriloquists!"
  • Star Wars:
    • In the versions of Return of the Jedi released from 1983-2004, Darth Vader revealed some remaining inner goodness and saved Luke from Emperor Palpatine in stone silence. However, the 2011 Blu-Ray makes him say, "No!" a few times as Palpatine tortures Luke.
    • The Empire Strikes Back suffered it, but only in the 1997 Special Edition re-release (and only the theatrical version). In every other version, when Luke throws himself off the platform to escape Vader and falls through the bottom of Cloud City, he does so in complete silence. In the 1997 theatrical Special Edition of Empire, as he's falling he screams.
  • The DVD Commentary for RoboCop (1987) discusses this. The creative team wanted a full 10 seconds of blank screen and silence when Murphy dies, but the executive staff had other ideas.
  • The 1940's re-release of Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush added sound and a narrator to what was originally a silent movie.
  • The English dub of Godzilla Raids Again has many, many issues, but the biggest one (other than changing the name to Gigantis the Fire Monster to disguise the fact that it was a Godzilla movie) was that it filled in almost every second of silence in the original film with narration that wasn't there before. Literally half of the movie is the main character telling us exactly what is going on as it happens in ludicrous and obvious detail, too the point that it feels as if he's reading the stage directions or storyboard notes to us. It gets ever worse when other characters start doing it too.
  • As a foreign example, the German dubbed versions of Louis de Funès comedies tend to fill every bit of silence with more gags by de Funès's character, turning him even more into a Motor Mouth than the original.
  • The original theatrical release of Blade Runner had a voiceover added because the executives were of the opinion that Viewers Are Morons.
  • Zombi 3D has its moments in the English dub, particularly when the Sweet River Resort is raided.
    Anti-Contamination Squad Leader: Oh, Jesus, look at this... [he and another man look around the room, then open the bathroom door and discover someone impaled onto it] Oh, my God!
  • Theodore Rex is just so full of what amounts to static noise - random grunts, Narrating the Obvious, and mumbling ad-libs that to the extent the movie even manages any meaningful dialog related to the plot, it's completely drowned out and impossible to follow.
  • The Italian dub of Life of Brian adds at the end a dialogue between two persons (apparently Eric Idle and John Cleese, since the voice actors also did some of their roles in the movie) commenting that the final scene wasn't that great and they should make a sequel, retconning the finale so that a passerby Egyptian princess saves Brian from the cross, brings him in her land and then Brian and the Egyptian army declare war to the Roman Empire making it fall. The second voice then proposes that it should just be "Brian dies and then he resurrects after some days", but it's turned down because "It's not believable".
  • The Japanese dub of RoboCop (1987) has many scenes which were either silent or with few dialogue in the English version being vocalized instead. This is especially more evident during the final duel between Boddicker and RoboCop: In the Japanese dub, Boddicker yells "Die, you bastard!" while trying to kill Murphy with a crowbar, while in the English version, he just yells like crazy.
  • Inspector Gadget (1999) is loaded with cartoon sound effects from Gadget that show up even in the least appropriate of times.
  • Similar to the Inspector Gadget movie above, the German dub of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) adds a lot of cartoon sound effects to several action scenes.
  • Owing to its largely improvised nature, the cast of Ghostbusters (2016) almost never shut up and often yell over each other during scenes, resulting in a film that has very few genuinely quiet moments.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nature documentaries have a tense relationship with this trope. The most interesting example is the DVD of the BBC series Life, which offers a narration-free soundtrack, in case you aren't keen on hearing Oprah Winfrey describing everything that happens onscreen.
  • Fawlty Towers: In the first episode "A Touch of Class", there is a scene without dialogue where Polly is in the town, and meets Danny who is watching Lord Melbury from a car. During this scene, a jaunty version of the theme tune is heard. In this episode and the second episode "The Builders", there are bursts of music between the scenes, but this is dropped in subsequent episodes.
  • A common trend in Power Rangers seasons after Saban's reclamation of the franchise from Disney was that the characters in fight scenes suddenly became drastically more talkative than they had been in previous seasons.
  • Beakman's World: The characters often yell and speak very quickly, and nearly every one of their movements is accompanied by a sound effect.
  • Saban's Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation has a lot of wacky sound effects due to slapstick being a signature element of the series.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: While in the very early seasons, the hosts would simply riff over the top of the film's dialogue, they quickly got into the habit of delivering their jokes in the spaces between line deliveries so that the viewer could follow both the movie and the jokes.
  • Ultraman Tiga: In the first episode, Daigo acts on pure instinct to find the statue and the pyramid of light, but in 4Kids' English dub, dialogue from Yuzare is added to make it appear as if she is telepathically guiding Daigo to the pyramid. Dark Horse Comics actually implemented the latter in their adaptation.


    Stand-Up Comedy 

    Video Games 
  • Utilized in the English dub of Valkyria Chronicles, usually when the camera cuts away to show something besides the characters.
  • Actually a requirement for official certification for video games on Sony, Microsoft, and later Nintendo systems. They won't allow game developers any more than half a second of silent, black screen. This is to make sure that users don't think that their console has died. That being said, you can have all the silence you want, as long as you're not showing a black screen.
  • Mega Man:
    • The original Japanese release of Mega Man 6 had silence over the "In the year 200X..." screen, and the music only kicked in once the main intro started. The American release (Mega Man 6) added ride bell-type percussion over the screen, and the intro music itself was replaced with Suspiciously Similar Song to fit.
    • Mega Man Legends adds a lot of radio chatter to areas or scenes that really don't need it, seemingly only to add some sound to the underground ruins that tend to just have ambience rather than noise. Even when Roll's not hitting you with Captain Obvious hints like "can you see the door that's in plain sight right in front of you?" she'll often see fit to just make small-talk like telling the story of the time Mega Man got trapped in a ruin for three days or asking if you're hungry and telling you about the pie she baked. Thankfully she only ever says such things once, leaving you free to explore the ruins in peace once you've heard them. She also will not keep her trap shut during any of the boss battles where she's involved like the Lake Jyun boat battle or the Flutter vs the Gesellschaft. This is actually weaponized by Tron in the sequel, possibly even as a jab at this, where she jams your radio and uses a voice modulator to sound like Roll to constantly distract Mega Man during a boss battle with pointless chatter and distractions.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure: The English script adds dialogue in the place of grunts and silence.
    • Sonic Heroes is a very talkative game. Not only does just about every single action have an accompanying voice clip, characters also talk to each other during gameplay, making Captain Obvious statements about the stage.
  • The Gex series has the player character (voiced by Dana Gould) make a joke about the level he's in every 30 seconds or so.
  • The English voice actor for Jansen in Lost Odyssey clearly strove to fill every second of screen time with a wisecrack or three.
  • The Japanese version of the first two Spyro the Dragon games had added voice acting for whenever Spyro jumped or dashed. The cutscenes had a bit of this as well. Compare the Japanese version to the original version to see how much added dialogue there is. For starters, Sparx can talk in these titles while in the West he wouldn't until the third game. The cutscenes that played at the beginning and the end of each level definitely had this.
  • The followers in Diablo III will invoke this by jumping into random conversation every minute or so in the middle of battle, and complaining loudly if you stand still for about half a minute. Some of these talks establish character and plot, but many are reused from act to act.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising utilizes this trope. Instead of having the characters do most of their conversing in cutscenes, like all other games do; the creators decided to have this happen during the gameplay itself. Conversations seem to start up every 20-30 seconds, and can go on for quite awhile.
  • Drakengard 3 does this in a similar vein (albeit there are much more cutscenes), and if main characters aren't talking mooks are.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Each character has a voice line for when they activate a battle art, take damage or several other situations. With three characters in battle at once, these all overlap, ensuring there's never a quiet moment during battle.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Like in its predecessor, each character has a voice line for each kind of situation, even during the moment when the enemies gain reinforcements or a strong creature enters the fray on their own.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Three drivers and three blades active at any one time for a total of six party members all shouting things at once during battle. Fighting human/humanoid enemies, most infamously the Ardainian Soldiers, results in them shouting at you as well.
  • This is one of the criticisms fans have with the later Ratchet & Clank games. Similarly to (but not quite as extreme as) Sonic, many levels have radio chatter, character dialogue and just plain stating the obvious for things that that are either readily apparent or add nothing to the story or gameplay. Take a shot every time Clank says "look out!" and you'll be blasted before the first boss!
  • Mighty No. 9 gets the radio chatter version during levels. Some dialogue sequences go on for so long entire stretches of the level can be completed before they're over, which only gets worse when you play the levels fast and efficiently like it wants you to.
  • Far Cry:
    • Beginning with Far Cry 3, every contemporary entry in the franchise is guilty of a non-acoustic version. Far Cry games in general are full of Scenery Porn, but the moment you stop to take in the gorgeous vista, the game will spawn a savage predator or hostile patrol nearby to keep the action rolling. The patrols mostly disappear once an area has been completely pacified, but thanks to the eternally spawning wildlife it's never really safe to indulge in some sightseeing.
    • Far Cry 5 in particular, as the late-game will crank enemy spawns into overdrive - especially when it comes to their aircrafts that can see you from almost everywhere. This can turn the simple task of retrieving a key from someone's boyfriend into a minutes long battle for survival, as the game throws waves of enemies, their vehicles and even attack helicopters at the player without any visible reason. You know when a game's spawn mechanism is aggressive when even players with ADHD have difficulty keeping up, and the ridiculous amount of unneeded action is mentioned in the game's Scrappy Mechanic list for a reason.

    Web Original 
  • Friendship is Witchcraft seems to be parodying this. In scenes where Twilight is just walking along, she makes random mouth sounds for no apparent reason. Also parodied by the several background ponies who chatter obnoxiously in crowd scenes for no reason. In one episode, Twilight and Spike pass a dance party, where the ponies are randomly shouting, "Dancin'!" to each other. In another, we fade in on a school classroom, where the students are quietly chanting "Phallic symbol, phallic symbol...."
  • In Game Grumps, Arin admits that he has to actively try to be "on" whenever he's on camera to try and be as entertaining as possible, and that changes his playstyle when it comes to video games. The problem is that sometimes Arin will critically underperform at a game due to not understanding the situation (sometimes being entirely unaware of certain rules or mechanics), which wouldn't be a problem if he simply paused for ten seconds and thought about it.
  • The With Voices Project is very much about filling in the stretches of wordless silence in video games with silly banter from the characters.
  • Similarly, Freeman's Mind fills a Half-Life let's play with Freeman's rambling inner dialogue. Which, humorously enough, sometimes blocks out the actual dialogue from the game (justified, as Freeman never listens to the NPCs).
  • Video game Let's Play videos often have the author commenting on the game as they play. Whether this is helpful advice for the watchers, bits of trivia about the game or series at hand, or filling the whole video with useless banter, varies from player to player. Incidentally, typing nearly any game title into YouTube's search bar tends to show "[title] No Commentary" pretty high up on the suggestion list.
  • Previously Recorded: Whenever the pair weren't reacting to something in the game during a live stream, the host who wasn't playing the game would read and respond to questions in the Twitch chat. If they got very involved in the game, leaving few moments of silence to fill, they'd run behind on questions and have to catch up.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Felix the Cat (Joe Oriolo) cartoons, there is a lot of dialogue, and most of it is pure exposition, with the characters either stating the obvious or what's already happening or happened in the plot. Its justified by the fact that the series was aimed at kids, each episode was originally aired in two parts (which partially justifies a quick recap at the start of the second part in their original airings, not so much on the DV Ds) and the ultra low budget animation and rushed schedule would've precluded a lot of Show, Don't Tell techniques anyway.
  • Highly noticeable in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The extent varies somewhat from episode to episode, but when characters aren't having non-stop conversations, Spider-Man's internal monologue steps in to fill the gap. Always. Ceaselessly. About things we can easily see for ourselves. Can't... breathe... At least some of this is attributed to the shaky production values later in its run, where Stock Footage is used to cover half of the plot relevant gaps and the dialogue has to cover the other half. The same holds true for the show's music; there's never a moment when the Background Music isn't playing. As soon as one track is finished it transitions immediately to another. Throughout the entire series, there's never a truly quiet scene.
  • Actually used to good effect in old Popeye cartoons, where scenes would be punctuated by characters mumbling under their breaths. These mumbles are often very funny.
  • Used quite a bit by The Wombles although to a less annoying effect than other examples. The voice actor generally added in little bits such as "Oh what's that? A bee by the looks of it..." Whenever one of the characters looked away.
  • Hanna-Barbera cartoons have long been notorious for this, among other things. Many a story was dragged down with massive expository dumps by the characters describing exactly what happened, what is happening, and what will happen, on the basis that the kids watching were too dumb to understand it otherwise.
  • Mexican cartoon dubbing has a tendency to fill each and every silence present in foreign cartoons. Early seasons of The Simpsons for example would fill in lulls with characters whimpering, humming or yelping unnecessarily.
  • Transformers:
    • In addition to changing Beast Wars into a action comedy series, the Japanese dub also does a lot of this. As a result, characters talking doesn't directly correlate to their mouths moving, to the point that the whole episode is wall-to-wall dialogue. This results in several BLAMs as conversations continue even when the scene transitions to something else. The Italian dub fills in silence too, adding narration of what happened in the last scene in every dialogue-less point.
    • Continued in Transformers: Prime and this time it clashes much more with the show's grim tone. A shining example are Insecticons, monstrous hulking brutes, the first appearance of which had one creep on the heroes in a horror movie manner. The Japanese actor didn't shut up voicing it as Beast Wars Waspinator, who used to be comic relief. The similarly tense, quiet episode of Airachnid hunting down Jack instead has her constantly talking about how infatuated she is and how she'll be adding him to her collection of pretty boys.
  • In Japanese dubs, Tom and Jerry are sometimes given voice actors along with a narrator.
  • This is a common trait with Butch Hartman's shows.
    • The Fairly OddParents! was arguably the loudest and most hectic cartoon up to that point, featuring near-constant dialogue including Timmy shouting about everything he sees. It only became more and more prevalent as the show went on.
    • T.U.F.F. Puppy manages to be even more loud and hectic than Fairly OddParents's most silence-filling episodes, almost giving the impression that Hartman was trying to top himself.
    • Even Danny Phantom, the quietest and most toned-down of Hartman's works, rarely goes more than a few seconds without some kind of dialogue, loud action, or sudden switch in the Background Music.
    • Hartman continues the trend by making his most recent show, Bunsen Is a Beast, one of the loudest and fastest-talking Nicktoons ever.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has very few silent moments to begin with (generally, if no one's talking or singing there's Background Music to fill the dead space instead), but many foreign dubs of the show have characters grunt, yelp, or otherwise vocalize where they originally said nothing. An example of this can be seen in the first episode: in the original version, one of the background ponies can be seen waving at Twilight as she runs past. The Italian version dubbed her as saying "Ciao!"
  • Winx Club:
    • Taken to an extreme in this video, in which all the previously silent nightmares have had plenty of dialog added to them.
    • The series also provides a case of this trope being a plot point: In a 2nd season episode, Musa notices a girl walking past her, and she realizes that it's Darcy in disguise. In the original, she walks past silently, but in the dub, Darcy says "Gag me" in response to their dancing, and her voice tips Musa off (and most likely the intended viewership, too, as she doesn't disguise her voice at all). (It's at the 1:00 mark in this video.)
  • The Italian dub of Taz-Mania not only turns Taz from being The Unintelligible to speaking in Hulk Speak, but in the episode "Taz and the Pterodactyl" they gave a voice to the Pterodactyl, adding to what originally was the story of Taz becoming friends with a Pterodactyl a new subplot about the prehistoric creature being a mommy Pterodactyl who decides to adopt Taz as her new son.
  • Johnny Test has become particularly infamous for this as time goes on, with later episodes unable to keep a lull of even a second; not only do the plots move at breakneck speed to incorporate as much action as possible, and all the characters prone to unprompted bouts of yelling and speaking very quickly, but every sudden movement is accompanied by an equally sudden sound effect, be it a whip crack, electric guitar riff, or screeching tires. Given the nature of the show's pacing, this means that each usually appears 5 to 10 times in a single episode.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is basically this trope during its later seasons. The sound design become more pronounced, there is almost no silence in the music editing (it gets to the point where they usually play Steel Sting or Solo String for comical situations) compared to the down-to-Earth atmosphere in earlier seasons (particularly season 1, where quieter moments were a lot common). This is a lot more prominent in some post-Sponge Out of Water episodes as well, especially Krusty Katering, Patrick's Coupon, The Clam Whisper, and Ink Lemonade, where most of the dialogue is shouted.
  • A major criticism with Mighty Magiswords is that the earlier episodes can't go without changing a scene in less than 10 seconds as the characters talk like they're in sugar rush. Luckily, the writers has listened to this complaint and the later episodes has calmed down significantly.
  • Archie's Weird Mysteries has footsteps of all things. The sound effects of the character's footsteps are distractingly loud seemingly for no reason other than to ensure there's never a moment of silence.
  • Mr. Bogus is constantly full of dialogue, music and sound effects. There's not a quiet second. Literally not a single second.
  • Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! has music and sound effects at every moment, possibly every movement the characters do is accompanied with either the same side whistle sounds, or possibly musical notes.


Video Example(s):


Filled Silence

In Episode 56 of Shaman King (2001), the Babylon Gate scene in the original Japanese was mostly silent while the English Dub adds in more dialogue.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FillingTheSilence

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