Young children get many toys designed to help them learn to speak words and spell them out. These skills are very important to a maturing child, so the toys are helpful. In the hands of a teenager or adult, however, the proper limits of the toy are pushed almost immediately, to the point of near improbably ad infinitum.
This trope deals with the toys that can be bent to swear or say otherwise inappropriate things.
When the batteries run down, see Electronic Speech Impediment.
- In the Child's Play movies, Chucky the doll [a battery-powered, talking "Good Guy" doll] is possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. One can only imagine the inappropriate things he was saying to Andy, but onscreen we see and hear him going berserk when Andy's mom threatens to throw him into the fireplace if he didn't talk (thereby proving her suspicion that the doll was sentient).
- On Homestar Runner, Strong Bad had Bubs make a crude robot version of himself out of an old Speak and Spell and an empty box of Grape-Nuts, according to the Strong Bad Email "personal favorites". The "Grape-Nuts Robot" was shown saying "Now spell: double deuce" note in an easter egg, and in an episode of Marzipan's Answering Machine Strong Bad tries (and fails) to get the robot to say "Kiss my butt".
- The Trope Namer: the Texas Instruments Speak and Spell. Due to its British accent and faulty sound card, words can be heard inappropriately.
- The Leapfrog Alphabet Pal Caterpillar has 26 feet, each with a letter of the alphabet on it, and one of its settings is to make the letter sound of the foot you press. You can use this to sound out almost any word you want... except Leapfrog had swear words in mind when they designed it. If you want to make it sound out the word "shit" for example (or most swear words) it will decide you are tickling it halfway through and then go on to say the next sound, so it's like this:
[Pressing S]: Sh[Pressing H]: Huh[Pressing I]: Ih[Pressing T]: *giggle* That tickles! T.
- You can still make it say "I see you pee", "You be in pee" and "I see a titty."
- The original Teddy Ruxpin talking teddy bear used animatronics which told the story on the audio cassette put into his back. Teddy would play any tape you put into him, but his mouth and eyes would move only when you used one of his approved story tapes, and then only when he speaks.
- A similar talking doll, Cricket, had no such limitations.
- Several years ago, one could find G.I. Joe action figures with voice chips that said things like "Yo Joe!", "ATTAAACK!", and "Vengeance is mine!", and Barbie
action figuresdolls with voice chips that said things like "Let's go shopping!", "Math is hard!", and "Will we ever have enough clothes?" Inevitably, the Barbie Liberation Front went to Toys "R" Us, bought a bunch of each, and swapped the voice chips between the Joes and the Barbies. And then returned them all to the store. One may logically presume that Hilarity Ensued.
- Referenced in an episode of The Simpsons: Lisa asks her friends whether there isn't something wrong with what their talking Malibu Stacy dolls saynote . One girl responds, "There's something wrong with what my Stacy says"; when she pulls the string, we hear "My spidey sense is tingling -- anybody call for a web-slinger?"
- The Tickle Me Elmo doll is a talking doll that shakes and giggles when you touch it in several ways. Just ripe for abuse.
- And then there's this video of Elmo being humped by a talking Tigger toy.
- Someone decided to see what would happen if he set an Elmo on fire. The results are very, very unsettling. Watch at the risk of not sleeping tonight.
- In 2006, a talking Elmo book was somehow programmed to say, "Who wants to die?"
- He's actually saying, "Who has to go [to the bathroom]?" but it doesn't sound like it.
- It was a chip manufacturing defect. However, many sound books do go berserk when their battery is run down, either starting to sound demonic, or cut off the speech halfway through. The latter can cause the book to say some pretty shocking things. Oh, by the way, said Elmo book was from the same publisher as the infamous Lion King sound book with the defect that may cause the book to say something that sounded like "Squashed bananas up your ass" instead of a chant that went "Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu mimi hapana". note
- Another Elmo doll, which could be programmed with the child's name, had a defect that caused it to say "Kill James". What it was actually supposed to say is unknown.
- Mike Motzart, that toy review guy from YouTube, LOVES this trope and exploits it in many of his videos. Some of the exploits demonstrated have been fixed by toy manufacturers in subsequent revisions. His Leapfrog table exploit only worked on older models featuring the character "Lily" which had a compartment flap that came off very easily, said exploit involved removing the flap and toggling a switch rapidly to result in something that sounded like a Cluster F-Bomb. Newer models featuring the character "Dot" are unaffected as said flap is now molded in and is impossible to remove without breaking it off by force.
- The demonic Furby.
- Exploited by YouTube personality Jaxen Ross, who specializes in destroying children's toys. One of his most viewed videos is Word Whammer Destruction 2, where he tries to spell inappropriate words like "sex" using a Word Whammer. He spliced two clips together to make it seem like it really did. He later destroys the toy when it fails to say other inappropriate words.
- Teletubbies has two such incidents involving its dolls. One Tinky Winky doll ostensibly said "I got a gun!" but it was actually "Again, again!". A Po doll was thought to have said a homophobic slur, but she was actually saying "fidit", which means "faster" in Cantonese, a language that Po speaks on the show.