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Inner Monologue
aka: Internal Monologue

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"Inner Monologue" from Used with permission.

"Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.
Shut up, mind. Do your job. Find me a way out of this."
Buffy Summers, The Vampire of Steel

The character's thoughts are dubbed into the soundtrack, often with a slight reverb. This can be milked for comedy if the character switches from inner to outer monologue accidentally.

See Inner Monologue Conversation for the frequently used subversion when other characters hear what is said and react to it or refer to it in their own thoughts, even though they shouldn't be able to. It's mostly used when two characters use this device in the same scene.

If the character intentionally says this "out loud" to an empty room (the audience), then it is Thinking Out Loud.

Compare with Narrator, Captain's Log, and Sounding It Out. Contrast Surrogate Soliloquy, when the thoughts are forced out at an inanimate or nonsentient target to avoid voiceover. A closely related Video Game trope is Informing the Fourth Wall. May lead to Inner Thoughts, Outsider Puzzlement if you either spend too long monologuing or start acting weird while you're concentrating on your own thoughts. When overdone, it can raise the same problems as Talking Is a Free Action. Subtropes are Voiceover Letter, Ear Worm, and Private Eye Monologue.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aruosumente, many of Legna's lines of thought and conclusions are presented as inner monologues.
  • In Asteroid in Love, Ao becomes the Earth Sciences club's voice of reason after Mikage Graduate from the Story. However, she's also uncomfortable speaking to others, which means most of her snarking is conveyed by inner monologues.
  • Roger Smith of The Big O is prone to occasional fits of introspection that more or less serve as narration and/or plot notes for the audience.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch in particular does this. It comes back to bite him in Episodes 14-16 of the first season.
  • Hidenori in Daily Lives of High School Boys has extensive internal monologues in skits focusing him.
  • Just about everyone gets a few in Death Note, though Light and L come out on top by a substantial margin.
  • In D.N.Angel, Daisuke and Dark sometimes have conversations together through a dual inner monologue, since they share the same body. (Other times, however, it's implied that one doesn't know what the other is thinking, so they must have to actively want to do this for it to happen.)
  • Gantz was 80% inner dialog, used not for exposition or analysis, but overwrought, confused, repetitive, self-absorbed internalizing. Every actual hazard to life hung, while designated heroes stood stock still in shock as one character hammered the obvious personal emotional crises, interspersed with other characters brief reflection on the danger they or another were in. Audience with the patience to sit through that would be rewarded with one onscreen action followed by another extended tour of everyone's sparse inner thoughts.
  • Since Yuki of Gourmet Girl Graffiti is painfully shy, a lot of the thoughts were presented this way.
  • Kyon of Haruhi Suzumiya is this trope in human form. He acts as the narrator, has moments of Did I Just Say That Out Loud? and comments on everything with a mix of Unreliable Narrator and Lemony Narrator. The problem is that the main character, Haruhi, is extremely Genre Savvy, and a God, according to some of Itsuki's superiors. The others just see her as a ridiculously powerful Reality Warper. In the novels, Kyon's dialogue is often not put in quotation marks, which means it can be very difficult to determine whether he is narrating or talking aloud until someone responds to him. The anime will often not show Kyon's mouth during these scenes, leaving the ambiguity intact.
  • We often get glimpses into the minds of the drivers in Initial D to show their reactions and intentions during a street race.
  • Kanamemo has this with Kana, done Once an Episode.
  • Yuuichi of Kanon, who, like Kyon, was the narrator of his respective work (putting aside KyoAni's adaption which lead to the characters' similar appearance and same voice actor).
  • Kaze to Ki no Uta has a lot of these.
  • Kanako from Maria†Holic has a very chatty Inner Monologue. Unusually, Mariya can enter into her monologues and correct her.
  • Heavily used in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: The Edge, as the manga series focuses heavily on the thoughts and intentions of the cast.
  • About half of the text in Molester Man comes from the protagonist's inner thoughts.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has several, most notably Rei's, which was trippy as hell.
  • Makoto in Nicoichi is extremely fond of inner monologues, which even manifests as an internal conversation (complete with occasional arguments) between his male and female personae!
  • Used humorously in One Piece's Skypiea arc, Gedatsu often confuses his inner and outer monologues, often having to be reminded that he has to use his voice to be heard.
  • Very common with Liko from Pokémon Horizons, due to her introverted nature.
  • This is used often in Princess Tutu. Ahiru (which means "Duck", as she's called in the dub), the emotional lead character, has a tendency to cut off her inner monologues by shouting her next thought out loud, much to the confusion of those around her. It's also used for comedic effect in one scene, when she's having an inner monologue about how she's "only a duck" while her teacher is calling out her name. It ends up with her looking up and shouting at him "Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm a duck!" only to be berated by her teacher for her outburst.
  • Comically played with in Psychic Squad where in some scenes the author makes the readers believe that Minamoto is having an internal monologue, and then suddenly he gets angry at the nearby standing Fujiko who, as we suddenly discover, was actually the one who voiced a fake Minamoto's internal monologue that she invented on spot.
  • In Saint Beast, Judas is very prone to this, as a lot of what he is thinking about is treason.
  • Sora, the protagonist from Sketchbook, is extremely shy and doesn't say much, but the viewer gets deep insights into her mind through her extensive inner monologues. And what a special and observant mind it is.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note is written in Aya's viewpoint, hence the anime adaptation has a lot of it, often in hexagonal speech balloons.

    Audio Plays 
  • Parodied by The Firesign Theatre, in their sketch, "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger". Nick's internal monologue ends with: "How do I make my voice do this?"

    Comic Books 
  • Comics as a whole used thought balloons (compared with smoother speech bubbles) to show characters' thoughts. Their use has declined in the superhero genre in the last decade and a half, as characters narrating in coloured boxes has become more common (this sort of character narration has also almost entirely replaced the older convention of third-person narrative captions).
  • Cerebus the Aardvark:
    • There was a very long inner dialogue between Cerebus and "Dave". Since this all takes place in Cerebus's head it looks like an Inner Monologue - there's nothing to indicate which thoughts are Cerebus's and which are Dave's except the context. Of course Cerebus is never sure if Dave is for real anyway.
    • Cerebus also has regular inner monologues, getting more frequent as the series progresses - reflecting either Sim's storytelling getting more experimental, or Cerebus himself growing more introspective. Earlier, the Cockroach had a tendency to narrate his situation, either aloud or in his head.
  • Concrete: Any character is prone to this, but since most stories follow Concrete, he gets the most.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool loves his yellow narration boxes. He sometimes goes as far as to CONVERSE with his inner monologue as though it is another personality. Subverted at one point, where someone tells him he is actually talking out loud.
  • The title character of The Maxx often has these. Like Deadpool above, he sometimes accidentally talks aloud when having them.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake has narration boxes outlined in green, and later red, which oftentimes contrast what he's actually saying and reveal that he's much harsher, more critical and amusingly sarcastic in his thoughts than his speech since he finds himself playing peacemaker or relating relevant facts a lot as Robin which he prefers to do clearly and without conflict. He's generally more open when hanging out with friends.
  • Spider-Man: Spider-Man does this a lot, at least when he's not talking to himself.
  • Superman:
    • In the Bronze Age, Superman used a lot of thought bubbles, too. It gave him a rather introspective air. The real reason for this is Superman had no regular partners to banter Expo Speak with. Oddly, the title that has Supes do the most inner monologuing is Superman/Batman — because he and Bats are the narrators in the Jeph Loeb's arcs like Public Enemies (2004) or The Supergirl from Krypton (2004)''.
    • Supergirl does this a lot. A lot. Often it's because she's trying to figure out her weird new homeworld or dwelling upon her life and her troubles:
    • In the first issue of her 80's solo title Linda spends the first pages reminiscing and reminding herself she needs a change of scene to rediscovering herself:
      Supergirl: Besides, I could do with the time to myself... to sit back and think. It's selfish, I know, but I deserve... Whoa! There you go again, Linda! There's nothing selfish about wanting to get into yourself for a while instead of thinking about the whole blasted world! I do enough of that as Supergirl — and wasn't the whole reason for this move... to give myself space to be just plain Linda Danvers?
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton Kara's inner voice is as reflective as snarky.
      Supergirl: Thanks to the K-poisoning, my natural powers are fading. My only hope now is channeling my rage to charge my ring. And there is no shortage of things that make me furious.
    • In Bizarrogirl, Kara does this several times when talking to her counterpart.
      Supergirl: I didn't tell her that's exactly how I felt after New Krypton. After my people killed thousands of innocent bystanders.
    • In the beginning of Who is Superwoman?, the titular villain tries to convince herself that she is doing what she must for her family and her people's sake.
      Superwoman: I want to help my people. My family. No one can know who I am. Or what I have done.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Asuka often talks with herself in this story due to her insecurities, fears and doubts tearing her apart. Frequently a side of herself starts to have doubts and another side retorts "Oh, just shut up!" or "Get a grip, Sohryu!"
    • In chapter 2, after spending the whole night with Shinji for first time she has a very long monologue:
      'Alright, Soryu, quit dodging the issue. Yeah, losing purity points was fun and you can't wait to do it again, but that's not why you're hiding in the bathroom, afraid to look him in the eye right now, is it? He... said things last night. Made promises. He just did it again. That stupid, clumsy, dense baka... likes you. And you like him. He understands what it feels like. He's just like you. You're not alone. And he wants to stay with you.' "Which is Gott damn terrifying..." she whispered out loud.
      Everything she could want. Pity she had no freaking idea what to do next. 'Okay, Soryu, you wanted to catch this tiger. Now you've got him. So now what? I didn't exactly have a plan for part two! Now I'm hiding in the bathroom because I'm afraid the minute we look at each other we're both going to go redder than my hair, Misato's going to figure it out, and make me go move in with Wondergirl. Then Shinji will realize he can do better than the nasty, useless pretend-Pilot I am and find someone else because every good thing in my life goes away and nobody wants me and...
    • In chapter 8 Shinji and Asuka have deduced that their mothers are stuck inside their Evas and Asuka is on the verge of freaking out and she has to remind herself mentally to keep calm:
      'Nonononononono I want Mama now now now now n- Stop. Get a grip, Soryu, before your actual grip crushes your boyfriend's ribs.'
  • In Berserk Abridged episode 18, the queen has one of these, much to the annoyance of the others in the room.
  • A Crown of Stars: Both Shinji and Asuka argue with themselves very often due to their many doubts and fears.
    • To serve as an example, Asuka in chapter 33:
      "I'm sorry I don't know yet, Shinji. You 'wanted to try with me' to see if you could be happy? Well, I... want to... find out... um..." 'God damn it, Sohryu, if you pussy out on this, I will jump out of your skull and kill you myself!' 'Wait, you're my own brain, how does that even work?' 'Shut up! I'll find a way! Now keep going!' "...what... the answer is to the question. That you asked me. Earlier." Suddenly it was very hard to look him in the eye. 'No! No it isn't! I am Asuka Langley Sohryu! I am not afraid of anything! ...except maybe this. No! I am not wimping out in front of Shinji! If he can do this, I can!' She forced her head up.
    • And Shinji in chapter 43:
      Shinji was nearly betrayed by too-deep reflexes. He broke his gaze away from her and mumbled, "I'm sorr-..." 'Oh shit... aaaand I'm too buzzed to help. You're on your own, buddy,' his brain unhelpfully observed, a second too late. 'Well, a fat lot of good you are, thanks,' he thought at himself.
  • Evangelion 303: Many characters have inner discussions with themselves. To reinforce the effect of it being a stream-thought, often the background fades and only their thoughts are seen.
  • In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Kara talks to herself before fighting U-Ban who has broken into the Fortress to ravish her.
    Tough girl, her mental jester mocked her. Everybody thinks you're such a tough girl.
    But she had to be tough. Finding out that so many years of her life were a pre-programmed lie, coming to a strange world, finding only one man of Krypton and then losing him, turning from innocence into grim experience on a planet she never made... she had to be tough, or break. She had to wall the little girl off, most of the time, and put on the casing of the big, tough, capable bitch.
    Well, then, looks like he's just about here, said the jester. Are you going to be the little girl... or the bitch?
    She made her decision.
    U-Ban was already exposed, about to throw himself upon her.
    She focused her heat vision on full power and let him have it.
  • At the beginning of Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl has several serious monologues where she reflects on her loneliness and inability to fit in with other people and have meaningful relationships.
  • HERZ:
    • In an early chapter Shinji is shooting targets, thinking of how he does not hate fighting and killing and telling himself he has to protect his family.
    • In one of his few appearances Gendo thinks of how fortunate he is because Shinji has chosen forgiving him and even lets him see his granddaughter.
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC:
    • Wolverine and Rorschach had a competition involving inner monologues.
    • In another video, Deadpool uses his as a weapon against Green Lantern.
  • Used in Kira Is Justice (since this is based on Death Note) in Chapter Two and Three the most, and in other places too.
  • In Monsters In Paradise, Amber has a serious one prior to her battle against Yukari, thinking about the latter's odd physical strength and wondering what secrets she is hiding.
  • Present as Cloud's "conscience" in the Final Fantasy VII fanfic My Disjointed Life. It never misses an opportunity to hilariously humiliate Cloud. Made even funnier in that multiple characters regularly comment on Cloud's zoning out in the midst of things around him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Shinji and Asuka have introspective monologues the whole time where they reflect on their lives, their past mistakes, their issues and their relationship. Misato also thinks several times about her children, her bosses, and what measures she'll take to protect the former from the latter.
  • Once More with Feeling: In chapter 11, Asuka tries to convince herself that she doesn't find Shinji Ikari attractive.
    Asuka didn't know what had infuriated her more at that point. Misato's not so subtle hint that Shinji made a far more reliable roommate then she had... or the implication that she would be making advances on him!
    Oh come on Asuka... we both know how you kept glancing at him yesterday during training, with him in that tight fitting dance getup as he built up a sweat-
    Asuka silenced the traitorous voice with the mental equivalent of a roundhouse kick before stepping into her room and swiftly getting changed into her 'going out to be seen in a socially acceptable venue' clothes.
  • Postnuptial Disagreements: Magus that he is, Meriwether compensates for his limited external monologues by providing a running commentary on everything from assassination techniques to home furnishing.
  • In A Prize for Three Empires, Carol Danvers talks to herself every so often. For example, when a part of she doesn't want to pity Rogue...
    "Rogue, that's enough. Come on, snap out of it."
    (What the hell are you doing feeling sorry for her, girl? She's the one who stole everything but a non-controlling interest in your life. You ought to be glad to see her getting the whim-whams...)
    (Shut up.)
  • Virtually every character of Ranma ½ Abridged gets one of these, whether to advance the (abridged) plot or to lampshade the overuse of this trope itself in many media to advance a plot.
  • The Second Try: Shinji and Asuka have plenty of these through the whole history where they reflect about their situation -having survived to the end of the world only to being brought back to the past, their feelings, their relationship or each other.
  • In Secret Passages, Elsa has one for the duration of the story. Anna also has this during her scenes, though to a lesser extent.
  • Every chapter of Stroll starts with one from Octavia. These give a deeper insight into her personality, as well as a look at her past.
  • In Superman story Superman and Man, both lead characters often dwell on their situation throughout the story.
  • Turnabout Storm has both characters that take the point of view, Phoenix Wright and Twilight Sparkle, use internal monologue in typical Ace Attorney fashion. This means lots of snarking to themself as the Only Sane Man/Mare in a world of crazies.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Buffy berates herself while running from several security guards:
    Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.
    Shut up, mind. Do your job. Find me a way out of this.
  • In Zenith, Darkness, Reverie, if you consider Kali and Kira to be the same person, the entirety of the story, with the exception of Cyardas's and Kali's family's infrequent dialogue, is a lengthy, artistically incoherent internal monologue about morality, insanity, and the nature of reality.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, "Something There" has Belle and the Beast apparently singing in their minds. In an interesting use of the trope, this is the first time we hear the Beast's human voice, undistorted by his monstrous form.
  • Another variation/parody occurs in Finding Nemo: When they're plunged into darkness, Dory assumes Marlin to be her conscience having an Inner Monologue with her.
    Marlin: Uh, yeah, I'm your conscience. Now, tell me Dory, what do you see?
    Dory: I see a light. Conscience, am I dead?
  • The Little Mermaid (1968 Soviet film): When meeting the prince she loves, the mute Mermaid's thoughts (her wish that he knew that she sacrificed her Beautiful Singing Voice to be with him) are voiced out for the viewer.
  • Shrek 2: Shrek mentally reads Fiona's diary in her voice.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: The film was originally meant to have little-to-no dialogue at all from the eponymous characters and their stories were meant to be told through the animation. However, in the Miramax recut, both characters have an inner monologue throughout the whole film, which leads to many Captain Obvious statements when combined with the animation.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's thoughts when she is trying to avoid her mother finding out about her drawings are presented this way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 21st Century Serial Killer is narrated by the thoughts of Aaron Schwartz.
  • Used quite a bit (and then lampshaded) in Adaptation..
  • Parodied in Airplane! when Ted Striker begins an inner monologue with an echoed recollection, then notices the echo and gets distracted by pretending to be a baseball announcer inside his head.
    • Parodied again in Airplane II: The Sequel. When someone asks "What do your people (the flight controllers) think?" the audience is granted the power of telepathy to see what the controllers are thinking at that moment.
      Flight Controller #1: They're screwed.
      Flight Controller #2: They're dead.
      Johnny: Did I leave the iron on?
  • Spoofed in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery where, after being unfrozen, Austin meets his new female partner. However, as an unusual side effect of the unfreezing process, Austin is incapable of having an inner monologue and unknowingly says "I bet she shags like a minx." aloud and right in front of her.
  • A variation: child actor Peter Billingsly spends most of A Christmas Story creating/reacting to Jean Shepard's reminiscing.
  • In 1975 short film Doubletalk a young man named David arrives to pick up his date Karen, and makes awkward small talk with her parents. The hook of the film is that we hear all their inner thoughts in voiceover, so when Karen comes downstairs wearing a very skimpy blouse, David boggles at what a great body she has while her father fumes that she is asking for trouble.
  • The inner monologue in David Lynch's Dune (1984) is infamous. While in most examples the audience is only privy to the inner monologue of the main protagonist, in Dune we are treated to the inner thoughts of every. single. character. The film is almost nothing but inner monologue.
  • Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has some truly epic inner moments:
    Duke: How long could we maintain? I wondered. How long until one of us starts raving and jabbering at this boy? What will he think then? This same lonely desert was the last known home of the Manson Family; will he make that grim connection when my attorney starts screaming about bats and huge manta rays coming down on the car? If so, well, we'll just have to cut his head off and bury him somewhere, 'cause it goes without saying that we can't turn him loose. He'd report us at once to some kind of outback Nazi law enforcement agency and they'll run us down like dogs. Jesus, did I say that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me?
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off records some of Jeannie's thoughts this way.
  • The Holiday: Amanda is an editor who specialises in movie trailers. Every so often her mind will start narrating her life in the style of a trailer and the voice of Hal Douglas.
  • In Murder!, an early Alfred Hitchcock talkie, the crude sound recording technology of 1930 did not allow for overdubbing. So to get Herbert Marshall's Inner Monologue in the film, Hitchcock had Marshall record his dialogue elsewhere, and then the recording was played on the set as Marshall stared into a mirror. It's believed to be the first use of overdubbing to represent Inner Monologue in film—and it might be the Trope Maker, as stage plays just had the characters talk to the audience.
  • The Social Network: Mark hears his voice in his head while typing.
  • Used extensively in The Thin Red Line (1998), to the point of the voiceovers outnumbering the dialogues.

  • In the aftermath of Lord Love's vision, the La Vita Nuova portrays an argument between voices in Dante's head about whether to submit to Love or to resist him. The internal argument forces Dante to constantly start, scrap, and re-start his poetry until he prays to Mercy herself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 10th Kingdom briefly depicts some of Wolf's thoughts this way while he's in the casino.
  • Burn Notice has Michael often explaining how spies operate in certain situations and explaining deadpan-manner the stupidities of Hollywood Science.
    • Not entirely played straight in that the character's thoughts are not being played out. It's more like a subtle shift to an instructional video rather than demonstrating the character's thought process. Most notably, Michael will always do the narration even if the events in question are miles away from his character.
  • The Cougar Town episode "The Criminal Mind", as part of a The Breakfast Club homage. Typical of the show, it gets Lampshaded early on; Travis talks about the use of voice-over for expositon and characterization. Then Jules' first monologue starts with "That is so stupid."
  • Dark Angel does this for season 1 and a few episodes of season two. Albaeit in a lesser manner.
  • George from Dead Like Me has one, slightly louder and clearer than her voice on the actual soundtrack. She's a combination of Inner Monologue and the Narrator.
  • Dexter uses this a lot. It helps highlight the difference between the socially acceptable role he plays and his true (sociopathic) thoughts and responses.
  • Each episode of Earth 2 was narrated by a different member of the crew. At the start of the episode the narration was general; during the episode they were talking about specific things that were happening, and at the end they talked about what they'd learned or how they'd changed as a result.
  • Everything Now: Mia's frequently comments on the events in the show and issues she has in a voiceover.
  • The early seasons of Friends would occasionally use this to show what the characters were thinking when they weren't speaking. "The One With The Blackout" uses it extensively to show what Chandler is thinking as he's locked in an ATM vestibule with a Victoria's Secret model he's too nervous to talk to.
  • In Kodoku no Gurume, Goro Inogashira's inner thoughts are made audible, and integrates rather seamlessly with a show about a man who eats by himself.
  • The titular heroine's inner monologue is an actual character in Lizzie McGuire.
  • MacGyver (1985): MacGyver, providing linking narration or relating a folksy anecdote about something in his childhood that the onscreen action reminds him of.
  • In Nestor Burma, the Private Eye Monologues entirely happen in the head of the main character (played by Guy Marchand).
  • Rui and Vani, the protagonists of Brazilian sitcom Os Normais were prone to this - and most frequently speaking out loud instead of voice-overs. It is further stated that's inner/ No Fourth Wall monologuing because either of the couple did breaks during conversations to address the audience - and the other person in the dialogue never noticed.
  • This is done on the show Parker Lewis Can't Lose only when Parker is thinking. Nobody else's voice is heard, much like in Scrubs.
  • In the Sitcom Peep Show, we see everything from the point of view of one of the characters. Mark and Jeremy's points of view are often accompanied by their Inner Monologues.
  • In an episode of The Prisoner (1967) filmed when Patrick McGoohan was busy on a movie, Number 6's mind is put into another man's body. This leads to the somewhat odd sight of another actor walking around trying to look like he's having the thoughts we hear in McGoohan's voice.
  • Used often in Rachel, Rachel, to express the inner thoughts of repressed, frustrated spinster schoolteacher Rachel. Escalates to Inner Dialogue when Rachel's voiceover has her frustrations arguing with her fear of change.
  • Samurai Gourmet gives Kasumi more thought lines than spoken lines, for numerous reasons. Even not counting the Indulgent Fantasy Segues about a samurai, the show is very much about his introspection. He's a reserved fellow. And it would be rude for him to talk with his mouth full.
  • Constantly used on Scrubs, specifically the inner monologue of the main character JD, and occasionally other characters.
    JD:...and no matter how much I try, I can't stop constantly narrating my own life. (thinking) At that very moment, I feared I had divulged too much.
  • In Seventeen Moments of Spring, Russian TV series from early 70's, internal monologues of main protagonist, colonel Isayev are presented through voice-overs. And as they often consist of solemn but rather obvious statements, their parodies created a sub-genre of jokes immediately recognisable in Russia and several other post-Soviet coutries.
  • Sometimes used on Star Trek: The Original Series in place of a Captain's Log.
  • In Switched, this happens throughout the show. At first, we only hear Ayumi's inner monologues but we eventually hear Umine's private thoughts as well.
  • Played With on Titus, where the "neutral space" Titus narrates each episode from could be considered his internal monologue. In one episode, he is going on a rant about a judge in the neutral space... cut to the courtroom he is sitting in in real life, where he is saying this rant in front of said judge.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • Nan Adams' inner monologue, in which she tries to make sense of the hitchhiker's repeated appearances, is heard throughout "The Hitch-Hiker".
    • "King Nine Will Not Return" features Captain James Embry's panicked thoughts when he finds that he is alone in the African desert with his B-25 Mitchell bomber King Nine in 1943.
    • Michael Chambers' inner monologue is heard at various points throughout "To Serve Man" as he relates the story of the Kanamits' arrival on Earth and its aftermath.
    • In "The Long Morrow", Commander Douglas Stansfield's inner monologue while in suspended animation is heard throughout the episode.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Gramma", Georgie's inner monologue is heard throughout the episode.
  • Used frequently in The War at Home, along with a special white background and (sometimes) imaginary objects.
  • The Young Ones, when Rick's conscience has a go at him for inhuming Neil.
    Vyvyan: Rick! Will you tell your conscience to keep it's voice down!
  • In an episode of Young Sheldon, Sheldon reads Billy's signature on his cast in Billy's voice.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • In The BBC Radio 4 sitcom Ability, Matt is played by Lee Ridley (who, like Matt, has cerebal palsy and uses an iPad to speak), but his inner monologue is done by Andrew Hayden-Smith, because that's what Matt sounds like inside his head.

  • The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) parodies this early on when one of the actors goes into a panicked monologue when told that the story of Noah's Ark likely never happened, but the other two turn out to have been listening to this despite being frozen and unspotlighted. ("You still wet the bed?" "Ew.")
  • In the stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid (1989), while Ariel is mute, she has two "in her head" songs, heard by the audience but not the characters: "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" and "If Only".
  • Unlike traditional musicals, every song in Spring Awakening has been described as functioning like inner monologue for the characters. Lyrics reflect the feelings they don't or can't express to the outside world at that moment, and often at the end of the song characters will return to exactly how they were when the song began, as in the "real world" nothing happened.
  • At least half of Strange Interlude is stream-of-consciousness Aside Comments meant to reveal the inner monologues of the characters.
  • This is a staple of film portrayals of William Shakespeare soliloquies; probably the most famous example is Olivier's version of the "To be or not to be" monologue.
    • Parodied in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, in which Hamlet (who looks a bit like Olivier, come to think of it), is clearly doing the soliloquy in his head, but the audience doesn't hear his Inner Monologue. Part of the whole point of the play/film was that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are given no explanations, so have no idea what's going on.

    Video Games 
  • The Another Code games hangs a lampshade on the tendency for protagonists to go on long-winded a Internal Monologue, particularly in Another Code: R. In ''R', Ashley's internal monologues in are depicted via a camera zoom in, and her looking directly at the screen while she spills her thoughts to the player. They are then almost always interrupted by the character Ashley was talking to yelling her name, and proclaiming that she just suddenly began blankly staring into space for a the last moments. Matthew, who is Ashley's most constant companion across the game, begins to get used to Ashley "going off with the fairies" to the point where he starts actively expecting it.
  • Baldur's Gate: Edwin Odesseiron could be seen as parodying this; he does the same thing out loud, but doesn't seem to be aware that others can hear him.
  • In City of Heroes, one of your tour guides in the Architect Building has a broken inner monologue.
  • In Control, the protagonist Jesse frequently delivers internal commentaries and asides in cutscenes, usually accompanied by a close-up shot of her face. One early sign that the Inexplicably Awesome janitor Ahti isn't what he seems is that he sometimes comments a reply if he's in earshot.
    • As the game progresses Jesse's shown to have a justified reason for doing this. Since childhood she's had a protective resonance entity living in her head, nearly all her monologues are actually conversations directed to Polaris without the chance of being considered mentally ill by anyone in earshot.
  • This is the only way Jake from Dog's Life talks, as he is a (realistic) dog. He's the only dog to talk in this game, as all the other ones you control just bark (as Jake does under most circumstances). Jake's a Deadpan Snarker, who often make comments in his head about his surroundings or the NPCs.
  • Exit Fate protagonist Daniel Vinyard often has these in situations of moral conflict, though mostly just in form of a few sentences to himself after his dialogue partner has left.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Samus occasionally has these. She has one after her ship crashes and she loses her suit in Metroid: Zero Mission, and she has a ton in Metroid Fusion a Metroid: Other M, with voice acting in the last one.
  • Most of Persona 5's narration consists of the otherwise mostly silent protagonist's personal thoughts.
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the hero does this very often, but has almost nothing to offer in the way of actual speech.
  • Sunset (2015): Angela's voice can be heard speaking her opinions about the events happening in Anchuria around her in the game.
  • Garrett from Thief plays this trope to a "T". Everything he does that's related to the plot of the game, is usually followed by either a snide or casual remark. Except, of course, in... ugh, The Shalebridge Cradle... then they're either disgusted or disturbed remarks. See the mission briefing for said level, and the below quote as an example:
    Garrett: This must be her blood. It's still warm... great.
  • The two Touch Detective games make excellent use of this as the titular detective, MacKenzie, runs commentary on the chaos around her. This, like most uses of Inner Monologue, cements her as the Deadpan Snarker and the only sane girl of the cast.
    • Even more interestingly, it's often done simultaneously on the top screen of the DS while the normal conversation is on the bottom screen (or vice versa, can't remember).
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, B.J. Blazkowics's inner thoughts can be heard from time to time, showcasing what's going through his head; from self-reminders of tasks he must complete, to his thoughts about the war with the Nazis, his friends and allies, and his past.

    Visual Novels 
  • While not voiced, Ace Attorney has a TON of inner monologues, most of them being of sarcastic comments on a person or situation. This is parodied in some parts when other characters can almost read what Phoenix is thinking. In the third game, Edgeworth actually thinks "Thank God for inner monologue" to himself after a snarky internal comment. While the inner monologues are usually used by the player characters, the final case of Trials and Tribulations as Godot, the true killer of the victim in the case, getting his own inner monologue when he sees Mia's ghost standing next to Phoenix and wondering how she is living on through him.
  • Hisao from Katawa Shoujo often does this while sharing his thoughts on the school, the current state of his relationship with the girl he's romancing, or other such things.

    Web Animation 
  • Broken Saints is loaded with this, especially in the earlier chapters when only one character is present in a scene.
  • Parodied by Black Jack Justice: Trixie is interrupted in the middle of a Private Eye Monologue by Jack, who points out that she's been staring at her coffee for a minute without saying anything.

  • Inverted in Achewood's Alt Text, Ramses only has an outer monologue because he's ashamed of the world, not himself.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Adrian Raven has one in which he ponders his mother's plan.
  • Jimmy does this in Fleep. Good thing, too, because he's pretty much the only character.
  • In The Greenhouse, the demon 'Red' poses as her host Mica's inner monologue, turning it into a conversation that she thinks she's just having with herself. Red accentuates the negative and asks piercing questions, trying to cut Mica off from her support structures and make her miserable so that Red can feed on her more easily.
  • In the webcomic Girly, the characters say more inside their head than out of it.
  • Guilded Age: Byron does this whenever he is alone. Usually it's tactical planning and combat advice, to the point that the Alt Text has called him "the Michael Weston of Arkerra."
  • In Looking for Group, Sooba the Team Pet Panther begins all of his monologues with "You think you know me...", as does Richard's rabbit. Actually a Chekhov's Gun with the rabbit, who is actually the Archmage transformed to observe the group.
    • Tim's is "DIS MY INSIDE VOICE!"
    • In the case of Sooba, it later becomes a Running Gag as he's always seen thinking those words while looking brooding.
  • In Sunstone the narrative often assumes the perspective of present day Lisa and what she's thinking in the moment, an entire segment is narrated by Anne's internal thoughts and we sometimes see Alan internally wrestling over the best wisecrack to make, usually picking the wrong one.
  • Tapiseri Soujourn: Soujourn has a running inner monologue as she analyzes her opponent's actions and plans her next moves in battle.
  • Subverted in Voices. Osiris appears to be doing this at first, but when he meets some allies, it turns out he's been speaking the whole time. People comment on how weird it is, but he refuses to stop.

  • Nobody Here: "Inner" shows a visual representation of the author's inner monologue—namely, that he doesn't need one.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: In the episode, "Dating Season / Anne vs. Wild", Hop Pop lets his mind go where it shouldn't.
    Hop Pop: I personally love the peace and quiet. A frog can really hear themselves think out here.
    Hop Pop's Brain: Did you leave the stove on? The front door unlocked? Will you die alone?!
    Hop Pop: Well, that was a mistake.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, beyond the occasional banter, Batman's dialogue is often largely serious. This is contrast with his various bits we hear of his Inner Monologue, where he is frequently a smart-ass Meta Guy.
  • Big City Greens:
    • Tilly has an Inner Monologue with Saxon in "Impopstar" as she grows suspicious over Zillon Brax posing as Cricket.
    • In "Heat Beaters", Cricket has one of these as he suspects why Remy never sweats in the heat.
    • "Quiet Please", which is a Whole-Plot Reference to the movie A Quiet Place, focuses on the Greens going to the library to find a book for Cricket while trying to evade the Scary Librarian; they cannot make any noise, not even talking or whispering, thus almost all of their dialogue is played out through their thoughts, and they result in communicating through sign language or pantomime whenever they need to talk to each other.
    • In "Bat Girl", Community Sue and Cricket use "baseball talk" by giving charades to one another. Nancy also uses this with the kids later on when she reveals she turned the kids jerky for her own benefit.
  • One episode of BoJack Horseman shows us its main character's internal monologue, in which he constantly berates himself for being a "stupid piece of shit."
    BoJack: Piece of shit. Stupid piece of shit. You're a real stupid piece of shit. But I know I'm a piece of shit. That makes me better than all the pieces of shit who don't know they're pieces of shit. Or is it worse?
  • Kelsey from Craig of the Creek is prone to dramatic inner monologues.
  • Spoofed in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Boys Will Be Eds", where most of the guys in the cul-de-sac find themselves infatuated with girl-next-door Nazz, and we hear their internal monologues during a pickup game of baseball:
    Kevin: She's so radical.
    Eddy: She can't take her eyes off me!
    Edd: Her hair is so clean, and not fly-away at all.
    Ed: Hello? Echo! My name is Ed!
  • Family Guy:
    • Parodied when Stewie thinks "This is fantastic! Nobody suspects a thing! Ooh, listen to my voice, that sounds cool! Helloooo! Piiigs iiin Spaaaaace!"
    • At the beginning of "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", Peter and Joe each have an inner monologue when Quagmire doesn't show up on their fishing trip.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield, along with the other characters who used Thought Bubble Speech in the comic strip, now have voices to go with their thoughts.
  • Jade Armor: The audience regularly hears Lan Jun's thoughts on certain matters.
  • Spoofed in the Johnny Bravo episode "Scoop Bravo":
    Johnny: Now let's see... Where could all those missing cats have gotten to? And what could hold them all captive against their will? And how can I hear myself talking when my lips aren't moving?!
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Slice of Life", Gummy has an inner monologue about life.
    Gummy: (inside) What is life? Is it nothing more than the endless search for a cutie mark? And what is a cutie mark but a constant reminder that we're all only one bugbear attack away from oblivion. And what of the poor gator, flank forever blank, destined to an existential swim down the river of life to an unknowable destiny?
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer can be often seen engaging in an inner monologue that sometimes becomes an inner conversation between him and his brain:
      Homer: Aw, twenty dollars?! I wanted a peanut!
      Homer's Brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!
      Homer: Explain how!
      Homer's Brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services!
      Homer: Woo-hoo!
    • In one episode, Marge is driving along and appears to be hearing Homer's voice in her head, until it's revealed that Homer is in the back seat of the car speaking through a cardboard tube.
    • In another episode, Homer delivers the usual "Well, off to work!"-lines at breakfast while his thought shows that he's plotting to sneak out and go on the Duff Brewery tour. Unfortunately he gets the inner and outer monologues mixed up without realizing it; when Marge calls him out on his plan, he screams and runs for his car.
  • This is used for comedic effect in WordGirl. In one episode, the titular superhero was having an inner monologue about the situation, and the Narrator chimed in to comment. WordGirl asked him how he could hear what she was thinking, and the Narrator merely reminded her of his role.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series uses this extensively.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Big Pink Loser", Patrick starts copying everything that SpongeBob does. SpongeBob thinks to himself, "At least I'm safe inside my mind" only for Patrick to copy his Inner Monologue as well.
    • Squidward has one in "The Thing" when he gets covered in cement and spends days waddling through Jellyfish Fields.
    • In "Employee of the Month," SpongeBob and Squidward silently smile at each other while shaking on a deal to compete fairly, but we hear their thoughts reveal that they plan to stab each other in the back the first chance they get.
    SpongeBob: He's nothing but a lying, boneless, ink-squirting, big-nosed phony!
    Squidward: Look at that bucktoothed, cornfed smile. You can't trust him as far as you can throw him!
    SpongeBob: As soon as he stops shaking my hand...
    Squidward: I'm gonna make a run for it!
  • Used on occasion by Tako of Sushi Pack, usually accompanied by a small representation of his own head for each line in his train of thought (which can be seen in action starting at 0:30 here. In one episode, Maguro uses her mind-reading powers to join him in his inner monologue, which he does not appreciate.
  • Total Drama use this trope on Lindsay in Dodgebrawl.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Internal Monologue


Dental Plan! Lisa Needs Braces

Homer mentally replays Lenny saying "Dental plan!" and Marge saying "Lisa needs braces!" back to back for quite some time.

How well does it match the trope?

4.74 (23 votes)

Example of:

Main / BrokenRecord

Media sources: