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Inopportune Voice Cracking

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You don't realize it. When screaming (even better if it's an Overly Long Scream), yelling, or even sometimes talking normally, your voice suddenly cracks and deepens or squeaks. It can be embarrassing, and for comedy and/or Narm (or probably for Narm Charm), especially if you're also entering puberty at the time. Or maybe just plain too much testosterone.

This is more likely to happen to male characters, though female characters can also be victims. A common gag is for a nervous character to voice-crack as they say something, then clear their throat and repeat it in a deliberately much deeper voice (this often occurs when a character is trying to sound tough and intimidating but can't quite pull it off). When it happens in drama (film/TV), it can be a signifier of fear, sadness or any other kind of emotional distress that causes the voice to crack when the person speaks. In music, it's often considered an Epic Fail for singers.

Can be a result from Vocal Range Exceeded. Could lead to Vocal Dissonance. Not to be confused with Glass-Shattering Sound, where the voice causes something else to break.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Episode 1 of The Lost Village, Masaki's voice cracks as she tries to calm down the bus driver. We should note that she's already carsick at the moment as she runs up.
  • In the English dub of Naruto, pre-timeskip Naruto has a pubescent voice that cracks a lot.
  • Played for Drama in Wandering Son. Trans girl Nitori doesn't recognize her voice is changing at first and thinks it's a cold.
  • About every time shy Shiori from The World God Only Knows tries to scream a loud, angry insult, her voice ends up breaking.

    Asian Animation 

  • Dave Barry mentions being on a flight with a class of middle-schoolers, and in the confined space were subjecting everyone to gallons of hormones, causing the pilot's voice to go up a few octaves when he tried to say "turbulence".

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America: As part of a scheme to find some missing teenagers, Steve has Sersi of the Eternals turn him into a teenager. After she does so, she notes his voice is breaking, and she thinks it's adorable.

    Fan Works 
  • This happens to GoGo during a Hilarious Outtakes reel for Big Hero 6.
  • A Running Gag in Teen Titans: Call of Blood is Robin/Damian being embarrassed by his voice cracking because, to quote Nightwing, "Puberty finally tracked him down." First, he tries to avoid talking, and later, a tirade comes out too high-pitched for his teammates to understand. It's especially ironic because the deep-voiced Batman from the future the Titans are hosting for is an adult Damian.
  • Played for drama in Fullmetal Abridged—when Edward learns what Shou Tucker did to his daughter, his voice breaks with a mix of rage and despair. It's especially noticeable here:
    Alphonse: (stops Ed from killing Tucker) Wait. You say I don't have a heart, and that's true. But I'm not heartless, and neither is Ed. You think you're the same, but you're not. What he did was an accident, what you did was on purpose. That's the difference. And that's why he won't kill you.
    Edward: YES THE FUCK I WILL!

    Films — Animation 
  • Alice in Wonderland: When Alice attempts to hit a high note when she's singing "All in a Golden Afternoon", her voice cracks, and she can't go on. Apparently, it was a Throw It In! moment for that scene.
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989), a nervous Sebastian approaches King Triton, trying to maintain a calm, dignified appearance. But when he speaks he lets out a squeaky "Yes?" before composing himself and speaking in his regular tone of voice.
  • This happens to Max twice in A Goofy Movie. First, when answering the phone at the beginning of the movie, prompting him to clear his throat before answering again. The second time happens while singing "Nobody Else But You".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Forty Boys and a Song: A boy in the Robert Mitchell Choir is practicing scales when his voice croaks like a bullfrog at the end. His time in the choir may be limited.
  • Pitch Perfect: When the Bellas do a Team Hand-Stack near the end of the film Chloe lets out a bass bellow, much to everyone's surprise and her embarrassment. (She had just gone through node surgery.) This tells everyone that she can hit the low notes, which as an all-female A Cappella group they have a hard time with.
  • In The Rock, when General Hummel's men demand payment as he plans to abort the mission, he reveals that he never intended to use the rockets against the city of New York and the threat was merely a bluff, Captain Frye insists, "Who said anything about bluffing?" General Hummel orders him to stand down and repeats the order louder as the Captain persists, his voice cracking as he realizes that he has lost control of the situation.
  • The World Is Not Enough: After Bond and Jones are spotted in bed together by MI6 satellites, M's voice cracks when she says "007!" as the film comes to an end.
  • In GoldenEye, Bond and Natalya are held hostage in a helicopter whose own missiles are flying towards itself. Natalya starts kicking Bond's seat and screaming at him to wake him up from his unconsciousness and her voice cracks more than once.

  • Dragondrums opens with Piemur's voice cracking during rehearsal. It's puberty, to his distress, since singing's his only real skill as a Harper (he does catch on quite well with drums, though).
  • In Shakespeare's Spy, Widge's voice starts to crack due to puberty. He notes that he's entering puberty pretty late, due to poor feeding in his previous homes contrasted by the better treatment of the troupe. He's rather unhappy to find it means he won't be able to play girls onstage anymore, as they were the parts he'd been accustomed to.
  • At the start of the Young Adult novel "Jack And Lousa Act One'', 12-year old Jack is about to star in the lead role of a Broadway musical when his voice starts to change. This causes him to be fired from the show.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: From Princesses in the Darkest Depths, when Cassie asks what's the worst reason for a Ghost Town that only seemed to be ghosting in the last day or two. Bianca's happy to provide an answer, but she's not got a perfect "spooky" voice:
    "Everyone in town could have turned into bloodthirsty ghouls, haunting the homes wherein they were slain." Bianca's voice squeaked on the spooky tones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: The Brady Kids are planning to record Greg's song but Peter is starting puberty and his voice is changing, which makes him a terrible singer. Greg writes a new song called "Time to Change" to exploit Peter's voice cracking.
  • Cheers: When Diane starts suffering from a (psychosomatic) allergic reaction, Frasier informs Sam that one of the symptoms is her voice breaks. Sure enough, later on her voice breaks mid-argument, becoming much more nasal.
  • In a particularly iconic moment on Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay's voice rises up several pitches out of sheer disbelief when he discovers one of the contestants thinks they can sauté scallops in a non-stick pan:
    Gordon: Missy! If you sauté scallops in a non-stick pan, they won't stick! That's why it's called FUCKING NON-STIIICK! I don't know what non-stick means in Texas, sweetheart, but FUCK ME!"
    • And then there was the moment he discovered how pounds upon pounds of undercooked pasta had been thrown away instead of simply cooked for a few more seconds to completion.
    Gordon: Look! LOOOOK!! What the FUCK is THIIIS?!

  • The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” - one of their most famous songs - has a moment at the end of the third hook where Merry Clayton’s voice cracks as she screams “Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away”. Arguably a subversive example of this trope, considering it’s become well loved by music fans and considered a classic moment.
  • Carl Lewis experienced a severe voice crack during his performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when singing the lyric "and the rockets' red glare", prompting him to exclaim "Uh oh!" He doesn't even attempt to hit the high note in "and the land of the free," apparently afraid of his voice cracking again.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Les Guignols de l'Info: A Running Gag for the puppet of François Baroin, at the time speaker for the Chirac administration, and who was the youngest person in said government. His voice always starts normal before cracking mid-speech "because of puberty". Then usually begins a teenage ranting about not being taken seriously.


    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands 2, Face McShooty's voice cracks several times during his rant on why you should shoot him in the face.
  • Non-comedic (and possibly unintentional on Kotono Mitsuishi's part, but still) example: If you listen closely to the Japanese dub of Catherine when Katherine screams loudly on Day 8 after accidentally killing Catherine, her voice starts out really high pitched, and then almost immediately breaks and becomes very scratchy.
  • Possible unintentional example in the first Devil May Cry, when Trish seemingly dies Dante cradles her in his arms and screams. In the middle of his yell, his voice cracks. Intentional or no, it works as it conveys just how heartbroken Dante is over the incident.
  • In Fallout 4, The Mechanist uses a voice modulator to sound intimidating and dramatic, but occasional spikes imply a higher-pitched voice behind the mask. This is the first sign that the Mechanist is a girl.
  • During the London chapter of Fate/Grand Order, Mordred briefly wonders if Hans Christian Andersen's unexpectedly deep voice is from an early puberty, before finding out he's Older Than They Look and that's his natural adult register.
  • In Hunt Down the Freeman, when one soldier says "My momma's dead?" Sky Williams, who provides the soldier's voice, squeaks out "dead," and doesn't even finish the line.
  • Jeremy Donaldson, the main news anchor in Not for Broadcast is prone to this. However, his voice cracking gets even more frequent during Day 296: The Heatwave, due to him being stressed under the heat and especially so when he holds the newsroom hostage.
  • Dutch van der Linde has a bit of this in the Red Dead Redemption series, when he's making incredibly hammy speeches and Chewing the Scenery, also occasionally in regular conversation.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: Toward the end of Chapter 6, during the final part of the mountain fight with Micah Bell if the player went with John Marston, while Arthur Morgan is crawling for Micah's revolver, when he says, "In the end, Micah... despite my best efforts to the contrary..." his voice becomes so strained and choked up from his tuberculosis that it cracks into a high-pitched squeak on the word "Micah" and continues squeaking the rest of the words before returning to a normal strain with " turns out I've won." Might be unintentional on the part of voice actor Roger Clark, but it counts as Fridge Brilliance in-universe when you discover that when Micah beats up Arthur to the point of being too weak, the latter's TB is worsening and kinda spreads into his larynx (voice box), developing into laryngeal tuberculosis (which is pretty much a rare form of TB), which in turn can cause hoarseness and breathiness (and sometimes falsetto).
  • ULTRAKILL: When encountering Gabriel for the second time at the bottom of the Heresy layer, he explodes into a furious rant about how V1 and their kind have utterly destroyed the preceding layers. The speech culminates in Gabriel's voice cracking as he screams about how he'll relish grinding V1 into dust - justifiably, as it's thanks to V1 that Gabriel has less than 24 hours before his divine light fades and kills him for good.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "helium", Strong Bad breathes in helium and thus ends up with a high voice. He starts singing a song about being part of the "High-Voice Crew", only for the helium to wear off in the middle.
    Strong Bad: Oh, I guess I got kicked out of the High-Voice Crew.
  • In the second episode of Super Freakin' Parody Rangers:
    The Green Ranger: Why should you be in charge? Your voice still cracks.
    Lord Zet: Because I'M the son of the classic bad guy! [he coughs, then speaks in a deeper voice while puffing out his "man chest"] I get to be the leader.
  • The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: Epic Fail and Ridiculously Epic Fail are both having their voices crack constantly, befitting their status as the series’ Epic Failures.
  • Zero Punctuation: During his review of Vampyr, Yahtzee's voice cracks when he asks, "what's a fucking Skal?!" in sheer disbelief.


    Web Videos 
  • In the second episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, Tony the Talking Clock's voice cracks on the fourth line when he switches from speaking his lines to singing them.
  • SuperMarioLogan's:
    • In "Pop Rocks and Coke!", this happens to Junior when he's in the middle of a Totem Pole Trench with Cody (who's on the bottom), disguised as Chef Pee Pee. Bowser had just told "Chef Pee Pee" that he (Bowser) was planning on giving up Junior for adoption.
    • In "Bowser Junior's Sickness", due to his flu, Junior's voice cracks the whole time.
    • Early videos had young Logan's voice crack constantly.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In "The Mustache", a muscled-up Gumball and Darwin's voices suddenly plummet while screaming at their normal high pitches.
    • "The Kids" centers on Gumball and Darwin's suffering from extremely exaggerated voice breaking: Gumball calls Penny and her dad thinks he's some creep. He loses his voice when talking to her in person, making her dad think he's giving her the silent treatment. A store clerk thinks they're harassing him because they keep accidentally yelling. Their voices get so deep that a bus driver assumes they're adult dwarves trying to get kids fair and it interrupts their Disney Acid Sequence.
    • In "The Sorceror", Mr. Small gets offended at the troll calling him "hon" and insists he's a man, all the while his voice cracks, making it sound higher-pitched.
    Troll: Hard to tell with that voice and that ponytail.
  • In an early episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the gang is bickering over who should be the leader. Sokka claims that he should, being the oldest, and Katara brushes him off, saying that it doesn't mean much since his voice still cracks. His voice cracks, as he indignantly responds that it doesn't.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Frequently occurs with Mac, due having a then-teenage voice actor.
  • In the Futurama episode "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" when the gang gets splashed by tar at the Youthanizer spa, the first sign that something is amiss is when Fry's voice starts to crack mid-sentence, it causes the elderly Professor Farnsworth to become middle-aged while the rest of the crew become teenagers.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Bottomless Pit!", the first segment has Dipper tiring of getting made fun of for his squeaky "puberty voice".
  • Grojband: In "Helmet", Corey's voice is cracking, so he wears the titular helmet to make his voice Auto-Tune-sounding instead.
  • Hey Arnold!: The episode "Gerald's Tonsils"note  deals with Gerald getting a tonsillectomy shortly before a spring choir concert. His voice becomes deeper and raspier following the operation and his singing voice is awful. After a pep talk from Harvey the Mailman (who went through the same experience when he was Gerald's age) Gerald learns how to properly sing with his new voice.
  • In Kim Possible, Ron's voice seems to be perpetually squeaky and cracking. Done more for comedic effect but also appropriate considering the main duo are teenagers.
  • In the first episode of King of the Hill while trying to tell Bobby he loves him no matter what he does Hank's voice cracks in a high pitched whinny, he says shortly afterward "That was a hell of a weird sound, never made that before".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Rainbow Dash’s voice cracks frequently.
    • In the episode "Brotherhooves Social", Big Macintosh is in disguise as a mare named Orchard Blossom and most of the time when he's in that disguise, he affects a higher-pitched, feminine voice. Except for at the end of one song he sings with Apple Bloom where his voice drops back to his usual deep pitch at the very end by accident.
    • Sweetie Belle was infamous for it, to the point of being fan-named 'Squeaky Belle'. When asked if it was intentional the actress confirmed that no, it was simply due to a thing called puberty and that her voice did that sometimes. As the seasons went on, Sweete Belle's voice matured to the point where it stopped cracking.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts has Kipo hysterically ranting about her newly discovered mutant powers to a very uncomfortable Jamack, including the previously unmentioned fact that she can now smell everything.
    Kipo: I have fur that grows out of my arm, then goes away! WHERE DOES IT GO?
  • Over the Garden Wall: In the final episode, a confrontation between Wirt and The Beast is interrupted briefly by Wirt's voice cracking.
    The Beast: Are you prepared to face true darkness?!
    Wirt: Ar— [voice cracks, Wirt stops to clear his throat] Are you?
  • An episode of Rocket Power revolves around Twister's voice cracking terribly. Twister doesn't understand why though, and his Big Brother Bully convinces him that he literally broke his voice. The ending also has Otto making fun of Twister's voice, only for his own voice to crack.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One of the minor recurring characters is the Squeaky-Voiced Teen, a pimple-faced teenage boy whose voice breaks almost continuously.
    • "Homer's Triple Bypass" has a flashback where Grandpa Simpson is in a church listening to Homer, as a young boy, singing in a church choir. Homer's voice then suddenly switches from a high-pitched youthful voice to his normal deep one and his singing goes from sounding good to sounding terrible.
    • "The Blunder Years" has a different take on how Homer's voice changed, when 12-year-old Homer reacts to seeing Smithers Sr.'s decaying corpse; he starts constantly screaming in his high-pitched voice, but his voice suddenly deepens during one of the screams from puberty.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Battle for Mewni", Moon's voice drops a few octaves when she tells Star that Toffee killed her mother.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
  • Steven Universe:
    • During the play in "Historical Friction", this happens a tad to Jamie while performing as Pearl.
    • It could be a Running Gag with Peridot; for example, in "When It Rains", when Steven tells Peridot that she "cracked" (as in, revealed her soft side), she retorts that she hasn't "cracked"... as she says so, her voice does.
    • In "Message Received", as it becomes increasingly apparent that Yellow Diamond is Not So Stoic, she begins shouting to the point where her voice breaks.
      Yellow Diamond: [to Peridot] Shut [voice cracks] your MOUTH!
    • In "Change Your Mind," Yellow Diamond's voice breaks again when she's going on her Motive Rant.

    Real Life 
  • This TikTok. Despite the poster's plea, it's impossible to ignore it.
  • This guy got especially unlucky: Not only did his voice crack, it outright broke after it cracked, causing his register to fall from somewhere around Tenor straight down to a very hoarse Baritone, hilariously terrifying the singer and causing him to cry out for his mom!
  • Voice actor Jason Ritter recounted to the audience at a Gravity Falls Comic-Con panel about the time he was a teenager and a girl he liked passed by while he was playing touch football. He wanted to impress her by shouting "Blitz!", but instead, his voice cracked horribly. The fact that he's able to replicate "Puberty Squeaks" even now is partly what landed him his role as Dipper.
  • While recording Finn's voice for Adventure Time Jeremy Shada was entering puberty and his voice cracked during a session. Shada was fearful that he was going to lose his job and would have to be replaced, but to his surprise, Pendleton Ward found it funny and it became a recurring joke to have Finn's voice crack and allowed him to get older during the course of the show.
  • During the recording of an Adventures in Odyssey episode, David Griffin (voice of Jimmy Barclay, one of the most prominent child characters in the show's early years) had his voice crack during the middle of recording a line (usually, a kid's voice cracking during the series usually led to a new voice of said character). However, instead of a replacement, the AIO writers even devoted an episode to Jimmy's voice changing; thus making Griffin one of the few child voice actors to be retained after going through puberty.
  • The famous "Dean Scream" was one of these. At the end of a long and enthusiastic speech, 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean let out a loud "YEAAAAAH!" The only problem: his voice broke right in the middle of the "yeah", making it sound utterly bizarre. At the event, there was a crowd cheering and shouting along with him, but just listening to Dean's mic feed, he sounds like he's screaming for no reason. The Internet, naturally, jumped on it, back when that could derail a political campaign.


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