Hobbes: Well... say the object of your affection walks by... First, your heart falls into your stomach and splashes your innards. All the moisture makes you sweat profusely. This condensation shorts the circuits to your brain, and you get all woozy. When your brain burns out altogether, your mouth disengages and you babble like a cretin until she leaves.
Bob sits at a booth in a pub, looking around. Everyone seems to have someone to talk to, and he spots Alice at the bar. Putting on his best smile, he heads over, desperate to just make some conversation.
And then Alice turns around. The screen goes soft and hazy, romantic music starts up. Bob is amazed and realizes that this may well be the single most momentous thing to happen in his life. He imagines minivans. He imagines children. Even a little white picket fence.
Bob opens his mouth and says a romantic "Lemons are very nice, especially in the summertime."
He has been struck by gibberish of love. Sometimes caused by Distracted by the Sexy or a Hello, Nurse!, it doesn't even have to be a sentence using words — plain noises work just as well. Occasionally happens if Twice Shy-style love interests attempt conversation. If the man is The Charmer — or even The Casanova — it often indicates Ladykiller in Love; sincerity of feeling kills his fluency dead.
When the gibberish is coherent, but unfortunate, they're often Digging Themselves Deeper afterward. If they're struck utterly dumb, they Cannot Talk to Women. Usually male, and often happens to Adorkable characters. Sometimes immediately lampshaded with something along the lines of "X...smooth...". If he has this problem with all women, perhaps he Cannot Talk to Women. May also be a habit of the Shrinking Violet.
Subtrope of Emotionally Tongue-Tied. Compare Love Makes You Dumb and Love Makes You Crazy. Compare and contrast Angrish. May lead to Even the Subtitler Is Stumped. See also I "Uh" You, Too (for when the relationship's evolved a bit before the gibberish), Cannot Spit It Out, and Crush Blush. Has definite overlaps with Tongue-Tied.
- In Hakaima Sadamitsu, the gang once runs into a Kamishiro wearing only underwear (she was chasing an Exile that stole her top and lost her skirt when she jumped off the roof after the creature). As they're being Distracted by the Sexy, one of them squeals "Meet to nice you..."
- Ranma ½: When Ranma and Akane's relationship isn't in Belligerent Sexual Tension mode, Ranma occasionally gets hit with the Gibberish of Love in his romantic moments with her.
Ranma: Th-That's the only... I'm not... If it weren't... I wouldn't... You got that?!Random guy: I didn't get it, did you?
- In 3-gatsu no Lion, this happens to Hinata a couple of times when it comes to meeting Takahashi. Upon first seeing him, her words come out as either indecipherable symbols or squiggles.
- This happens to Obelix in Asterix the Legionary when he tries to talk to Panacea.
- Depending on the Writer, Peter Parker (i.e. Spider-Man) struggles to talk to girls unless the topic is science. One notable occasion was during the opening chapter of American Son, where he and Harry Osborn try to pick up two girls, but all he can say is he takes photos, then babbles how he doesn't mean he takes pornographic photos. Harry has to guilt trip the girls into giving him their numbers and excuse Peter's dorkiness.
- Shining Armor falls victim to this in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic IDW comic storyline neigh anything (issues 11 and 12), for that's the storyline that tells us how he met Cadance.
- When she comes over to foalsit his little sister Twilight Sparkle, he takes the chance and makes himself known to her, but awkwardly so:
Cadance: "Hello, Shining Armor."
- It gets even worse at the fall formal when he first beholds her in her ballgown:
Shining Armor: "Hur derp werp?"
Cadance: "I think, by the end of the night, we'll be able to work you all the way up to coherent sentences."
- When Dilbert is introduced to an attractive new coworker, he begins to sweat and says, "It's a pleasure to meet me. I hope you never find a live turtle in your soup."
- Last Child of Krypton: When he met Asuka for the first time, Shinji got so lovestruck that he had no idea what saying... so he resorted to talk to her about flight security.
- Under the Bridge: Chip falls victim to this upon beholding Gadget in his afterlife dream.
He had to say something to express his love.
That wasn't it.
- In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku wants to say something romantic and suave after his First Kiss to his girlfriend Yang. His response? "... Hu... buh..."
- In An American Tail, Tony Toponi is reduced to staring and jibbering when he first meets Bridget. She fares little better, reduced to giggling and repeating the word "cats" until Fievel causes their Accidental Kiss.
- In A Goofy Movie, Max mostly jibbers and stammers when he first meets Roxanne and is very concerned about keeping a good image...and then comes the fatal "A-hyuk!".
- In Mulan, Shang acts like this, more than once, after he learns that Mulan is female.
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks, Flash Sentry, Twilight's love interest in the human world, bumps into Twilight at a pre-Battle of the Bands party. After he catches her from falling, they stare at each other for a second, and Twilight starts descending into this.
Flash Sentry: Twilight?
Twilight Sparkle: Heh heh...bumped...into...always...doing!
- In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Kida takes off her sarong before getting in the water, rendering Milo a babbling mess when she asks him if he can swim:
"I know how to swim pretty girl good! Pretty good, I swim pretty good."
- In Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Dracula often devolves into this around Ericka, the cruise ship captain. It becomes a Brick Joke towards the end of the movie, where Ericka is the one babbling when Drac proposes to her.
- In Dumb and Dumber, when he finally has a moment alone with the woman he's been chasing for the entire movie, Lloyd rehearses a long speech about being giddy as a schoolboy and desperately wanting to make love to her.
Lloyd: I desperately want to make love to a schoolboy.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World features the following love confession: "I'm in lesbians with you."
- Hobart Frisbee has a severe stutter around Honey Swanson in A Song Is Born, and it turns into gibberish when she kisses him.
- Spider-Man: While the original Raimi films merely had Peter too shy to talk to MJ until the night after he gained his spider-abilities, the reboot instead depicts Peter somewhat mumbly and messy with words, which becomes worse when trying to talk to Gwen Stacy, to the point that he's almost unable to have a proper conversation with her at first; she finds it Adorkable and ends up asking him out.
- Spaceballs has Lone Starr saying "On this ship, you are to refer to me as 'Idiot', not 'You', Captain!"
- Black Panther, Downplayed, but Okoye teases him for "freezing" in front of his ex Nakia, which mostly consists of him being unable to do much more than say "hi" and smile at her. He's able to articulate his feelings better later on.
- This happens to Agnes Nitt in Carpe Jugulum when she meets Count de Magpyr's son, Vlad. Her Split Personality Perdita presses her to say something clever, and much to Perdita's frustration all Agnes comes out with is "Wstfgl?!"
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry asking Cho to the Yule Ball comes out as roughly "Wangobawimme?"
- In Patricia A. McKillip's "The Kelpie", Wilding insults women's ability to paint to Emma. Later, he begs her pardon and explains that he was so struck by her looks that he could have said any number of idiocies; she must let him paint her.
- Befalls Gussie Fink-Nottle in Right Ho, Jeeves when he attempts to propose to Madeline Bassett.
Jeeves: Mr. Fink-Nottle was overcome by a sudden nervousness, sir... He began to deliver a dissertation on the newt, its care in sickness and in health...
- This is Percy Jackson's response to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love in The Titan's Curse. His response isn't even composed of words; it's pure gibberish.
- Poor Jerin Whistler in A Brother's Price manages to stay on topic when ambushed by a princess, but he still babbles and knows it.
- Dave Barry recalls asking a girl out with words to the effect of "Hello, Dance? This is Sally. Do you want to go to the Dave with me?".
- In ''Heart of Steel', Alistair's reaction to an Accidental Kiss from Julia—that soon turns into the real thing—is a stammered series of abortive attempts at a sentence, of which every third word is "wow".
- Scobie in Don't Call Me Ishmael! is reduced to this when he meets Prue for the first time. This happens right after he was brilliantly debating.
- Dolores in "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" is prone to this, though she noticeably just blushes at the end of the story when The Vitalizer compliments her.
- The first time The Goodies meet their dancing partners in the episode "Come Dancing", this ensues. Simultaneously. To both trios. How else to explain this exchange?
Girls: We are Norma. We are a hair artiste.Goodies: We are Cyril. We are a bank clerk.Girls: That's interesting.(Beat)Girls: [awkwardly] Our vision is to own our own hairdressing salon.Goodies: How interesting. Our ambition is to own our own bank.
- An episode of Red Dwarf features a dream sequence where they all don sparkly jackets and sing Tongue Tied, a song about this experience.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Xander does this when he meets Buffy. He wittily remarks, "Maybe we could...hang out at school since we both...go there." He lampshades it immediately afterwards: "'We both go to school.' Smooth."
- In "Inca Mummy Girl", Xander becomes completely incoherent when he sees Ampata in her dress for the dance. Fortunately, Buffy "can translate salivating boy talk".
- In "Hush" Buffy complains that she has an urge to start babbling whenever she's about to kiss Riley Finn. Fortunately for her, the Monster of the Week steals everyone's voices, so they cut to the chase.
- Giles tries to ask out Jenny Calender, only to end up with incoherent stuttering. Jenny doesn't have time to sort out what Giles is saying, but says they can talk about it after the Not a Date she invites him on.
- Jeff from Coupling talks a lot of gibberish normally, but it gets oh-so-much worse when an attractive woman is involved. In fact the trope Digging Yourself Deeper used to be called "Bucket of Ears" after the following attempt at picking up an attractive girl at the bar:
Ah! You can read... I mean, you are reading. Sorry. It's nice to see people reading. Not a lot of people read these days. People prefer to... hear. But all this 'hearing' is just reading for lazy people. Kids today should be prepared to pick up a book, and not just go around the whole time with all these modern... ears. Sometimes I just wanna rip people's ears off and say 'Read a book, for God's sake!'... Well, actually I'd probably say 'Read a book' first and then rip their ears off, otherwise, they wouldn't hear me, hehehe... Actually, I probably wouldn't rip their ears off at all, I'm not a violent person. I like ears! Especially women ears, they're my favorite. I don't mean I collect them or anything! I don't have a big bucket of women ears hidden away somewhere. No, No, No, I'm not after your ears really. Not that there's anything wrong with your ears! You know if I was some kind of mad ear person, your ears would be the pride of my... ear bucket.
- Steven Moffat, writer of Coupling, also practiced this technique in his previous show Press Gang, with character Colin Mathews:
Goodbye... Hang on, sorry, said that wrong. I didn't mean to say "goodbye" like that... I mean, don't be alarmed. It's not because I think you're about to die or anything... No, truly. I think you've got years yet! I mean, you look really healthy - and I'm sure you have regular check-ups in case you've got one of those terminal illnesses with no visible symptoms! Though who can tell these days, right? I saw a friend of mine once, looked the picture of health. A week later I went to see him being cremated - not that I'm going to go and see you being cremated, of course - Though, I mean, I would go to your funeral if you suddenly died for any reason. I'd love to... So, how are you...?
- Ross in the Friends episode called, appropriately enough, "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt" has trouble flirting with the cute pizza girl:
Ross: Hey, uh, you know that smell gas has? They put that in. The gas is odorless, but they add the smell so you know when there's a leak. A lot of other gas smells. Methane smells...
[Afterwards, Rachel tries to explain it to the Pizza girl]
Rachel: I am so sorry for Ross' flirting.
Pizza Girl: [stunned] Oh my God! That was flirting?!
- Chuck: Happens a lot since the titular character and his best friend Morgan are quintessential nerds in dead-end retail jobs who just so happen to find themselves in close proximity to beautiful spy ladies, though even normal women are too much for them to handle.
- A prime example of this happens in the very first conversation between Chuck and Sarah with Morgan in tow when discussing the men's names by way of small talk.
- Arrested Development:
- When Michael Bluth met Rita for the first time, he very unreassuringly reassured her that his interest in her was not to stalk and kill her like Jack the Ripper. Fortunately, (or perhaps not,) Rita was mentally retarded, and only followed the gist of the conversation.
- George Michael was never that bad with Maeby, but he seemed to lose control of his stream of thought whenever they talked.
- In Black Books Bernard attempts to ask a woman out with the words below. It actually works, in that she, after confirming that he was trying to ask her out, accepts.
Bernard: Do you eat? I do. Do you want to do it in the same room, sometime?Kate: Umm well...Bernard: You're busy! You're probably seeing one of your four million friends. Never mind.
- This happened to Sherlock when Irene said brainy was the new sexy. John's face after Sherlock's verbal keyboard smash is priceless.
- Bottom: In "Digger", when Richie's date is outside his bedroom door, he starts babbling incoherently, then apologises, saying that he's "forgotten how to talk." Once she's inside, he starts talking about Eskimos.
Richie: I've always found it rather fortunate that there isn't an animal called an "Ig" because it'd keep going to the toilet in their houses.
- In an episode of That '70s Show, a cheerleader keeps calling Eric "Uh-bluh" because years ago, that's how he responded when she asked his name.
- In the Lizzie Mcguire episode "The Greatest Crush Of All", when the girls in the class meet Mr. Keith, this, for example, happens:
Miranda: Frac... tions?Gordo: We're in English class.
- Discussed in Gilmore Girls after Rory says "thank you" in response to being kissed by a boy she likes.
Rory: I just don't want to do or say anything else that's gonna be remotely moronic.Lorelai: I'm afraid once your heart's involved, it all comes out in moron.
- 7 Yüz: Pınar of "Hayatın Musikisi" is reduced to stammering and gibberish in the presence of her crush Eray, whose gaze alone renders her confidence trigger useless.
- The Police:
- In the song, "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da".
- Implied in "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".
- Two Steve Miller songs ("The Joker" and "Enter Maurice") had the phrase "Pompatus of love". 'Pompatus' is a made-up word. (Fun fact: A film called 'Pompatus of Love' was also made, discussing the meaning of this made-up phrase.)
- Barnes and Barnes (of "Fish Heads" fame) had the song "Ah A".
- Hugh Laurie's "Sophistication Song".
- "Tongue Tied", originally from Son of Cliché, and recycled for TV by the lads from Red Dwarf.
I tried to say "I love you" (love you)But it came out kind of wrong, girl (wrong girl)It sounded like "nunubididoo" (tongue tied) Nuh-mur-nuh-murh-ni-nong-nurl
- "Herp de Derp" by The Gregory Brothers is this:
Herp herp herp herp herp de derp
I'm not this awkward all the time
Only when love is on the line
Herp de derp de derp de derp de derp derp derpy
- "STUTTA" by Bentley Jones is this trope with a heavy layer of Dramatic Irony. (The remix "SUTTA 2.0" slows down the main verses but keeps the general point). Bentley describes the trope as a prelude to the "STUTTA Speed Challenge" thusly:
Bentley: The whole concept of "STUTTA" was that when you're insanely attracted to someone and they walk into the room, your mind goes blank, you have no idea what to say to them, and you just, you just stumble. You just fail, words fail you. And to emphasize the irony of that, I wanted to come up with this really fast syncopated chorus that is just the opposite of that. Just cram in as many fast and articulate words as possible, and see how it goes. And because this was for one of my Japanese albums, and I was working in Japan at the time, I decided to take it one step further and put the whole chorus in Japanese, because why the hell not.
- All Shook Up. Jim sees Sandra for the first time. After an outburst of song, he stutters a few "I—I—Uh—"s and runs away. And the next time he meets her, he doesn't even get out that much.
- Hello, Dolly!. Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker sputtering at Irene Molloy the hatmaker: "Uh, see, we're two ladies about town lookin' for hats to Molloy—" "We're hats, you see, and wondered if we could buy a lady or two to Molloy with for..."
- When Usnavi and Vanessa go on a date in In the Heights, he raps as fast as he does when he's running the store during the first big rush of the day - that is, extremely fast, with almost no pauses to breathe, and Vanessa has to interrupt to tell him to slow down.
- Usnavi: Relax? Que relaxed? I'm relaxed!
- When he later dances with Yolanda, he again raps so fast she can't get a word in edgewise, leading him to believe she's "the strong and silent type". In reality, she just doesn't speak English.
- Guybrush Threepwood is reduced to gibberish in The Secret of Monkey Island when he first meets Elaine. He gets over it (barely) on his second chance.
- Fate/stay night has our hero Shirou working with this in just about every route once the girl chisels through his sheer thickness.
- Tales of Symphonia has Genis' behavior toward Presea, somewhat justified by the fact that he's twelve and she's clearly his first crush. It's not helped in the least by the fact that she's an Emotionless Girl and Oblivious to Love.
- If you opt to romance Tali in Mass Effect 2, she spends the first couple of conversations stammering like a kid.
- In RuneScape's Daemonheim Sagas, Dumb Muscle barbarian Thok is smitten by the Cute Monster Girl Divine Skinweaver, whom he calls "Pretty Lass". Thok's normal speech is You No Take Candle... when he sees Pretty Lass, he becomes completely unintelligible, while imagining that he's spouting Purple Prose.
- The Noordegraaf Files's Akila when questioned on her feelings for Katrina.
- 8-Bit Theater: Black Mage sees White Mage for the first time, and the first things out of his mouth are "Hubba flubba wabba zabba." He collects his thoughts to attempt to woo her but fails again. "I am the Black Mage! I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"
- Dumbing of Age: When Walky first meets Dorothy, his intelligence drops from "smart ass" to "buffoon", culminating in throwing a toy at her screaming "I GIVE IT TO YOU!"''
- In Sinfest, Fuschia suffers from a female variant. More coherent than most, but she already believes Crimney can't possibly love her.
- In The Specialists, Max on meeting Lady Liberty
- ''Failure to Fire'' (NSFW language).
- In early pages of My Life as a Background Slytherin, the eponymous character (Emily) is reduced to a "ermagerd" or a panel of "hlgrblr" noises when Draco Malfoy directly addresses her. After a certain point, she seems to give up on the matter and recognizes him with (if it doesn't sound much better of context, it reads as casual) "Yar".
- Undead Friend: Orrick, when Haley suggests there's romantic tension between him and Mahalah.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has this during the song "Laundry Day/My Freeze Ray".
Billy: Love your hair.
Billy: N-no, I love the, uh, air... heh...
- Tobuscus has "Hothothothothothot" as a Catchphrase. In one of his videos, he claims to have tried out for the cheerleader squad but been kicked out when instead of the chants, all he could say was "Hothothothothothot".
- Cecil in Welcome to Night Vale is very embarrassed when, despite his usual eloquence, he can only say "Neat!" when Carlos calls him with concerns of temporal anomalies.
- Often in Ed, Edd n Eddy when the Eds are around Nazz. Most noticeable in "Boys will be Eds":
Ed: Double D, my tummy feels all wiggly and crawly inside...Edd: That's nice, Ed.Eddy: I feel like the Nazzes on the back of my Nazz are standing on Nazz.Edd: That's nice, Ed.
- Family Guy: In "He's Too Sexy for His Fat", Lois is watching a post-plastic surgery, more muscular than usual Peter walk away and Brian tries to talk to her.
Lois: (still distracted) Oh, I was just seeing if the... driveway...Brian: That wasn't even a sentence!
- One example in Justice League Unlimited - when Flash suddenly finds himself with an up-close view of his crush and fellow League member Fire, the usually-talkative Flash is reduced to an incoherent whimper. (around 3:05 in the clip.)
- The Legend of Korra: When Mako first meets Asami, he's so stunned by her beauty that, for a moment, he can't do anything but blush and stutter.
Asami: Oh no! I'm so sorry. I didn't see you!Mako: How could you not see me? I mean, I was (sees her face) ju- ju-... I was- I- I- Wow. (coughs) That was- (clears throat)
- The Loud House: In "Study Muffin", Lincoln's sisters (minus Lily) all, at first, just stammer "Ba... ba... ba..." when they meet Hugh. Later on, Lincoln and his male classmates do the same thing when they see Ms. DiMartino.
- In the Teletoon show Ned's Newt, Ned always did this around his crush Linda, only able to speak gibberish whenever she was near him.
- Happens to Candace sometimes in early episodes of Phineas and Ferb, when she tries to work up the nerve to talk to her crush Jeremy.
- Happens to Professor Utonium in The Powerpuff Girls, first with Sedusa in disguise, then his beautiful new neighbour. He freezes on stuttering "I, I, I" until the girls come to his rescue.
- Samurai Jack: While Jack and Ashi battle a dangerous monster with monstrous leeches, the leeches tear away at Ashi's leaf outfit. Jack sees her naked and is completely mortified, blushing like mad and stammering; he stammers even more when she tells him that he's not making sense.
Jack: (very embarrassed and blushes deeply) Ashi! (voice squeaks) You're naked!
Jack: W-Well, you see... men and women are... you know... d-different and some things are private and umm... well, p-personal.
Ashi: You're not making any sense!
Jack: Here! (he covers her with his gi)
Ashi: Jack, what are you doing?!
Jack: Uh... you need protection—from the creature!
Ashi: And your robe is going to protect me?
Jack: Actually, it's a gi. And yes!
Ashi: ...You're acting weird.
Jack: (sheepishly and blushing madly) Me? Weird? Me?? (chuckles nervously)
Ashi: (awkwardly smiles) Ooookaaaaaaaay?
- The Simpsons, when Bart met his new next door neighbor.
Bart's brain: She's beautiful! Say something clever.Bart's mouth: (meekly) I fell on my bottom.Bart's brain: D'oh!
- Not exactly gibberish, but whenever Stan tries to talk to Wendy in South Park, he vomits a little.
- SpongeBob SquarePants, "Krusty Love": Mr. Krabs can't ask Mrs. Puff on a date without SpongeBob translating for him, and even he has a hard time making out what Krabs is saying.
- In the episode, "The Date" of Teen Titans Go!, Robin chokes up when he tries to ask Starfire out. She takes his babbling as a type of game and also starts babbling.
- In Total Drama Pahkitew Island, this is a Running Gag with Rodney — he falls in love with at least one girl every episode, and then becomes a sputtering mess around them. As a result, they never figure it out and just think that he's weird.
- Totally Spies!: On three separate occasions.
Clover: (offscreen, to Sam) Sammy, it's your new hunky boyfriend Vincent!Sam: (on the phone) V-Vincent! Ah, m-me, was waiting, you-call your phone to—me—thing—call, me? (snaps out of it) Uh-!! (to us) Hey, even a smart girl like myself can have a brain freeze every day!
- From "The Incredible Bulk":
Alex: (to the gym instructor) I'm—Alex, and I don't know anything!
- From the credits of "Mime Of Your Business":
Sam: (to us) Today's topic is... how a smart girl can impress a boy! As You Know, the brain is the major organ of the central nervous system and the control center for all of the body's activities. The brain is also an important tool that can be used to show that special someone that there is more to you than meets the eye!
- From "The Suavest Spy":
Clover: (to the villain Kyle) You're such a dance gooder—I mean... you're such a good dancer.
- From "The Incredible Bulk":
- On Undergrads, whenever he talks to Kimmy, most of what Nitz tries to say will come out as "Bluh."
- The Weekenders: Just about anytime one of the kids is around someone they have a crush on, they slip into this.
- "That'll give you, er, bees."
- Eddie Izzard had this:
"I had to chat up girls, and I'd only tagged them before. I didn't have the verbal power to be able to say, "Susan, I saw you in the classroom today. As the sun came from behind the clouds, a burst of brilliant light caught your hair, it was haloed in front of me. You turned, your eyes flashed fire into my soul, I immediately read the words of Dostoevsky and Karl Marx, and in the words of Albert Schweitzer, 'I fancy you.' " But no! At 13, you're just going, " 'Ello, Sue. I saw you in the room... I've got legs, have you? Oh yeah... Do you like bread? I've got a French loaf. [mimes smacking her with the loaf and dashing off] Bye! (I love you!)"