Stan: Yes, you'd better gasp collectively!
Nothing says "Drama!" like gasping it, often preceded by a nicely dramatic double-take. Originally came from Theater, since people far away had to see how terrified the actors were. Then used in silent films for similar reasons. There was an interview once with an old actress, who says that they gave her lessons on how to scream, and that they were taught to deliberately over-act, and always raise their hands up in half made fists to cover their mouth.
Now a Dead Horse Trope in live action, save for comedy, where it's often exaggerated for maximum comic effect. But in Animated Shows, it's often played perfectly straight. But that doesn't make it any less out of place when it's used in animation that tends to be otherwise more subtle than typical Melodrama.
- Gasps are used extremely extensively in manga (as SFX text) and in anime. Some intrigued folks have made compilations of gasps from different anime. Along with awkward moans made when eating (which are used to half-heartedly cover the fact that the voice actors weren't actually eating anything) or any types of moans used to make characters appear more dynamic for that matter, and fake animal sounds (usually meows and woofs), gasps are one of the most overused sounds in anime.
- Dragon Ball Z would use this tons of times, with gasps that lasted the greater part of a full minute. And they always make weird sounds and faces while doing it, to the point where it becomes a Big Ham moment instead of a significant effect.
- Chiaki Konaka loves this one very, very much. Watch Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze and Ghost Hound'' in case of doubt.
- Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist does it all of the time.
- Hellsing: Rip van Winkle does this in the 4th OVA when Alucard suddenly smashes her alarm clock, alerting her of his presence. She does it again when he catches the bullet she was firing at him in his mouth.
- Nichijou is just as guilty as any other anime. However, it has one subversion because it features Mai who's silent most of the time. She's actually meant to have a very eccentric personality anyway, and at the end of the day, it's more normal to gasp and moan all the time in anime.
- Occurs often in Gankutsuou.
- Sailor Moon's gasp in the SuperS movie is really overblown, moreso in The '90s English dub. Isn't there any oxygen left in the castle?
- Akagi. Have a compilation.
- Used quite a bit in Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità.
- This happens ridiculously often in My Immortal.
- Also overused in StarKitsProphcy.
- Examples from the Calvinverse:
- Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. Jonah, Khalil, and the Pirates all take turns at dramatic gasping when they see just what "The Slap of No Return" is, before all doing a simultaneous gasp.
- In one scene of Open Season 2, a slightly aged Elliot does a long gasp after a slightly older Boog says to a slightly older Giselle, "We're partners, right?".
- In one scene of Open Season 3, Giselle, Gisela, and Giselita all gasp after Doug (who is disguised as Boog) yells at them to go get him more berries and to massage his paws.
- In Shrek 2, the three girls who discover the newly human Shrek dramatically gasp (and smile) when Donkey says "First we need to get you out of those clothes."
- Several women in the crowd during the climax of Mulan do this when the Huns show up, complete with shaking their heads 'no'.
- Everyone (and we do mean everyone) in the town of Swallow Falls does this in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs after Flint's food machine produces a rain of cheeseburgers. Flint's gasp is especially and hilariously protracted.
- In Titanic: The Legend Goes On, Angelica gasps dramatically several times when she's on the boat.
- There is a scene in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel where the Chipmunks and Chipettes gasp upon seeing each other.
- Done for comedy in Spaceballs. When Dark Helmet orders Colonel Sandurz to go to "Ludicrous Speed!" everybody on the bridge gasps.
- Floop gasps and twitches when Minion turns on him in the first Spy Kids movie.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Envy does this one as part of her natural scenery chewing.
Vegan Police: On April 4th at 7:30 pm, you partook of a plate of chicken parmesan.
Todd: [nervously] Chicken isn't vegan?
- During the first dinner at Dundrillin Castle in Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea, Sir Percy is recounting a local ghost story, and he's just relayed a creepy detail when the lights go out. Lori's reaction: "I gasped, nearly stabbed myself in the face with a forkful of lamb, and knocked over my water glass."
- Frasier. Frasier does this when enraptured with something, a lot.
- Sonny with a Chance does this all the time, but usually they're parodying their fictional TV show "MacKenzie Falls".
- In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" puppet skit, the boy gasps when he sees the wolf approaching him before the wolf reveals to the boy that he isn't really evil.
- In the "Gunni Wolf" puppet ski, the little girl gasps repeatedly.
- Done Narmingly in Discworld Noir. The film noir-ish protagonist Lewton is usually pretty hard-boiled and cool, but when he meets Death in person, he gives an enormous gasp, with the overacted line, "You're DEATH!" What's even funnier is that the character onscreen isn't animated any differently than usual, so it's all in the voice acting. Unfortunately, unlike most things Discworld, this is likely not meant as parody and is just a case of bad acting.
- Lance does this painfully and in fright in Brain Dead 13 when he sees that one of the giant worms in the Spooky Silent Library has burrowed its way through his chest in one death scene.
- Happens with regularity in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, almost Once Per Chapter. It starts becoming rather funny hearing the whole cast "GASP" when some huge plot revelation is dropped... which is frequent.
- Seen in this episode of Darths & Droids, then doubled for good measure an episode later.
- This XKCD-strip.
- In Sequential Art has Kat gasping with an extra Jaw Drop when she realizes that she just saw her old arch-enemy Hilary affably hanging out with her roommate.
- Captain Kirk does this in Planet of Hats when damning video evidence is shown to him during his court martial.
- Used in Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles, which stick out like sore thumbs, compared to the rest of those series.
- In The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland, Alice gasps when she is told about the Princess test.
- In the DVD commentaries, the creators joke that Futurama has more gasps per episode than any other show ever.
- Lampshaded in one episode when after repeated shocking statements, one man faints. A doctor rushes to his side and announces "This man has over-gasped!"
- Recess is very fond of this, with usually all the students doing this at least once per episode.
- The eponymous Tinkerbell causes an entire group of fairies to gasp and recoil, hands rising to their faces in horror at Tink causing a stampede.
- Total Drama is rather fond of these, either individually or in groups. It's particularly common when contestants are surprised at an elimination.
- The TDA episode Oceans Eight Or Nine parodies this by showing overdramatic GASP shots of Beth, Lindsay, Justin and then Lindsay again, followed by a Shrug Take from Duncan.
- Winnie-the-Pooh: Tigger does this a lot, literally saying it. Only it comes out "GATHP!"
- Rob Paulsen deserves a trophy for this trope, whether playing Pinky, Yakko, or nearly anyone else.
- Definitely used many times on The Simpsons from various characters.
- One issue of Groo the Wanderer has a large crowd perform a COLLECTIVE GASP!
- Calvin and Hobbes parodied this, during a series of strips where Calvin floats away with his helium balloon, it pops and he figures it must be a dream. To try and wake up, he looks down toward the ground and "GASP!"s repeatedly. It doesn't work.
- In episode 3 of Rose of Versailles Abridged, Maria Theresa ended her lesson on "Amp up the drama" with a shot of Oscar gasping.
- Avatar: The Abridged Series: "Le Gasp! I must flee, sexily."
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Joey: It is implied that I am punching you!
Tristan: Hey, no fair! You can't punch me while I'm off-screen!
- Code MENT: "Audible gasp!"
- Spoofed on Will & Grace, when Grace snooped in Leo's bag and found a romantic letter from another woman, but wants to pretend to be shocked when he finds it:
Grace: But then he'll know I snooped. No, he's got to find this on his own. And I've got to be there when he reads it so I can act all shocked about it. Ooh, I know what I'll do. I'll do this. (does three quick gasps) No, too big. Maybe (gasps twice) Maybe just one. (does a long and wildly exaggerated gasp, with slow-mo facial expressions)
Will: [beat] Grace, do you work? Or do you just spend the day practising your reactions? (Grace gives him an offended, open-mouthed look) Thought so.
- Frank does this repeatedly in an episode of The Adventures of Lano and Woodley . After the third or fourth, Col tells him to stop it because there's a risk of him fainting. Frank gasps and faints. Then when he comes around, he asks what happened. Col tells him that he fainted. Guess what happens.
- Lampshaded on Friends when Monica admits to an amateur cooking class that she's a professional chef. The whole class let out a theatrical GASP and Monica tells them to stop it. "This isn't a courtroom drama!"
- Used in the Smosh franchise.
- In the Shane Dawson franchise.
- During an All That sketch where a member of the "Cheese Police" visits the school, he finds cheese in Ms. Fingerly's purse.
- Angel. Cordelia does this when spoofing the Buffy/Angel romance in "Fredless". And she actually does say gasp.
- Parks and Recreation: Leslie expects this reaction in "Correspondents' Lunch" when she announces at a press conference that the Pawnee Sun has been hacking her emails. Unfortunately for her, no one at the press conference reacts this way.
- I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again had characters saying 'gasp' pretty often. The most notable example is probably when the entire cast, upon being told that their in-universe radio station is being closed down, react with "SHOCKED GASP!"
- The Demented Cartoon Movie takes this to its logical extreme, with everyone letting out a "gasp" before the white screen appears with a "GASP".
- Spelled out in Bonus Stage episode Evil's New Groove.
- Homestar Runner uses a "GASP!" stock effect whenever a character declares they're going to do something daring (or what they think is daring.) A good example is A Death-Defying Decemberween.
- In the cracked.com webseries Agents Of Cracked'', Swaim actually says "Gasp!" at least once per episode.
Swaim: Gasp! The Chief!
- The Fairly OddParents!:
- Parodied a couple of times, at one point which Timmy's dad yells, "GIGA.GASP!!!"
- In another episode Cosmo goes to a party and fabricates various achievements to impress the other guests. One of them is inventing air, which he claims the entire world must pay him royalties for every breath. Whenever the guests gasp, he tells them to pay up.
- Parodied in an episode of The Oblongs where a crowd of people continually gasp until it's revealed it was just Mikey's (the ass kid) asthma.
- One of the episodes of WordGirl features "gasp" as one of the words to look out for. To help show the definition of the word and make sure they could work in the word as much as possible, the characters engage in this the entire episode. It's done so much that it's taken to the point of an Overly Long Gag, and Tobey even gets fed-up at one point and shouts "Will you STOP doing that??" after the crowd gasps for the umpteenth time.
- In one episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, everyone gasps upon hearing that Mort had been kidnapped. Everyone, that is, except King Julien, who momentarily forgets who Mort is, then reassures them that "I too am gasping in horror, but on the inside."
- Bugs Bunny actually says "Gasp!" in the short "Falling Hare", after turning around to accost the gremlin who almost tricked him into setting off a bomb with a hammer, and finding that the gremlin has vanished.
- Spoofed and given bonus points (obviously) in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Imitation Krabs."
Mr. Krabs: [gasp]
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, this is Twilight Sparkle's (and the audience's) first impression of Pinkie Pie, followed by Pinkie running away. It later turns out that Pinkie had rushed off to prepare a welcoming party for Twilight.
- In the Futurama episode, "Decision 3012", Bender gasps so hard, that he inhales Leela's ponytail.
- Parodied in The Looney Tunes Show, when Daffy presents his own defense in court. Since his 'points' are terrible and the courtroom is almost empty, he has to provide his own dramatic 'Gasp!' twice.
- When Sonic is accused of a rash of thefts in Sonic Boom, the crowd behind him gasps dramatically so much, he tells them to cut it out.
- In the Dog City episode "Of Mutts and Mayors", when Mayor Bugsy takes Chief O'Gravy's police badge she gasps dramatically. When he takes Ace's detective licence, Ace reacts similarly. When he takes their driving licences, they both give an even wilder take. But when he takes their dramatic licences, they very flatly say "Gasp."
- The Simpsons: Marge has a pretty distinctive gasp. In "Chief of Hearts", she gasps so hard, she inhales one of Maggie's blocks.