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Old Windbag

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I'm intentionally failing my listen check.

"In after-years [Piglet] liked to think that he had been in Very Great Danger during the Terrible Flood, but the only danger he had really been in was the last half-hour of his imprisonment, when Owl, who had just flown up, sat on a branch of his tree to comfort him, and told him a very long story about an aunt who had once laid a seagull's egg by mistake, and the story went on and on, rather like this sentence, until Piglet who was listening out of his window without much hope, went to sleep quietly and naturally, slipping slowly out of the window towards the water until he was only hanging on by his toes, at which moment, luckily, a sudden loud squawk from Owl, which was really part of the story, being what his aunt said, woke the Piglet up and just gave him time to jerk himself back into safety and say, 'How interesting, and did she?'"

A character known for droning on and on about topics of interest to no one but themself. As soon as they launch into one of their anecdotes, those present start rolling their eyes, going to sleep or having surreptitious conversations of their own. To qualify for this trope, it's not enough for a character simply to be verbose; it must be a source of annoyance and/or derision for the other characters.

Compare Blah, Blah, Blah, Motor Mouth, and Rambling Old Man Monologue. The character doesn't necessarily have to be really old (as in retirement age), but if a child or childlike character under the age of forty exhibits such behavior, will come across not as this trope but as the somewhat similar Constantly Curious. Subtrope of The Bore. Sister trope of Windbag Politician. Frequently overlaps with Alter Kocker, if the character is Jewish or Jewish-coded.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Cilan in Pokémon the Series: Black & White qualifies. When he starts on one of his Pokémon connoisseur speeches, Iris usually gets annoyed and makes comments to the "there he goes again" effect.
    • Jessie calls one of the judges in Pokémon Advanced a "windbag" when he starts making a long, boring speech.
  • Hamtaro: The "Elder Ham-Ham" has a bad case of this. He'll start talking to Hamtaro or Bijou about one of his days as a young Ham-Ham or tell an old story, and then halfway through, he will fall asleep.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the 4Kids English dub of the Duelist Kingdom Arc, Téa/Anzu calls Mai Valentine a, "Selfish, pompous, bleach-blonde, know-it-all windbag".
    Mai: You can't win, so do me a favor and stop yapping.
    Téa: I will not stop yapping, you selfish, pompous, bleach-blonde, know-it-all windbag! Do us a favor and get lost, right Joey?!
    Joey: Just ignore her, Téa. Yugi's in trouble!
    Téa: I know, what do we do?
    Joey: No idea. But it would be great if we could trade Mai in for life points.
    (Tea falls to the ground, laughing)
    Téa: I wish!

    Comic Books 
  • In "The Apprentice Mage", a story from the comic anthology New Horizons issue 1, the wizard Jereth uses this as a test by giving a dull speech on a boring topic. Before long, his lovely (and scantily-clad) assistant Hanni comes out to refill his water and takes her time. He then asks her who was Distracted by the Sexy and dismisses them.

    Fan Works 
  • A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script: Before his rebellion, Morgoth was convinced that everybody loved hearing him talk about his favorite topic: himself.
    Nessa: You want to talk about obnoxious? He — Melkor — used to swagger about like he was Eru's gift to Valier — and no idea how to win friends, much less hearts. No understanding of what conversation meant. He honestly thought that we wanted to hear him talk about himself.
    Luthien: [defensive] Well, if someone's interesting, that's all right.
    Nessa: You met him. Did he have anything the least bit interesting to say? The "art of conversation" involves an exchange of ideas, right? He couldn't ever grasp that there's this basic difference between a conversation and a monologue. Do you know how annoying it is to have someone just ignore everything you say to them?
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: Kitsunegasaki's age range is the same as Mikazuki, and he's a childish and annoying Manchild who constantly boasts about his history, his former owner and how he'll be the strongest.

    Film — Animated 
  • Col. Hathi in The Jungle Book (1967) His wife even calls him a "pompous old windbag."
    "Here it comes. The Victoria Cross bit again"
  • The animated Rankin/Bass Productions special 'Twas the Night Before Christmas had the mayor who was like this. He'd get going on and on with big, long words, and the other characters would start yawning, rolling eyes, etc. Then he'd get tired of it himself and go "oh, heck" and do a TL,DR.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Discussed in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A fellow named Nigel poses as "Allan Quatermaine" and spins tall tales about his exploits, while the real Allan shies away from story-seekers. All goes well until Her Majesty's representative, Sanderson Reed, shows up to recruit Allan into the League.
  • Jannes the High Priest of Egypt and court announcer in The Ten Commandments (1956). This is exactly what Pharoah Sethi kept calling him..."the old windbag". Possibly the Trope Namer.
    Jannes. The blessings of the God Amon-Ra be upon you, Great Prince! He has brought down the pride of Ethiopia! He has set his foot upon the crown of the south, he has raised Egypt to her greatest glory... blah blah...
    Sethi. The old windbag.
    Nefretiri. I agree with him.
  • In The Wrong Box, Joseph Finsbury excels at telling people about useless factoids - just ask the unfortunate carriage driver who was stuck listening to him talk about the frequencies of certain words in The Bible for hours on end.

  • Bored of the Rings, a parody of The Lord of the Rings. At one point Goddam (Gollum) starts to do this for no apparent reason.
    Goddam looked mournful. "I know how it is," he said. "I was in the war. Pinned down in a deadly hail of Jap fire..."
    Spam gagged, and his arm went limp. "Die," he suggested.
    Frito took a large loaf of raisin bread and crammed it into Goddam's mouth.
  • Curtains for Three: Judge Arnold, an aging lawyer featured in "The Gun with Wings," spends an entire hour talking about the legal issues of a court case related to the murder. According to Archie, only about two minutes worth of it are even remotely interesting or memorable.
  • Miss Bates from Emma frequently launches into rambling monologues that other characters barely pay attention to.
  • In Lord of the Rings, Bilbo has become this to most of his friends and neighbours.
  • Aahz of Myth Adventures apparently tells the most boring stories in the universe. Skeeve weaponizes it once: when Aahz is imprisoned inside the mouth of a sentient gargoyle, Skeeve just gets him to talk until the gargoyle yawns.
  • Mr Collins of Pride and Prejudice loves talking on and on about his shining clergyhood and how perfect and glorious his benefactor Lady Catherine is, no matter what the actual topic is at hand. He even manages to work in several lengthy digressions about his merits and Lady Catherine's while proposing marriage to Elizabeth.
  • Purdy in the Warrior Cats series. When he starts to tell a story, characters often find excuses to leave. Some of them fall asleep in the middle of his stories. Once, he actually did realize that the other cat fell asleep, and when they woke up, he informed them that they missed a lot of the story and so he'd better just start over at the beginning.
  • Owl in Winnie the Pooh is the Trope Codifier.
    "Half-an-hour," said Owl, settling himself comfortably. "That will just give me time to finish that story I was telling you about my Uncle Robert..."

    Live Action TV 
  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
  • Uncle Colm from Derry Girls may be the ultimate example as his long, droning voice is enough to put anyone into a coma and no one wants him around. He even broke a couple of police officers by his non-stop talk. The joke is that his stories are actually pretty wild (held hostage by the IRA, fighting robbers, meeting John F. Kennedy) but he tells them in such a dull way, no one wants to listen to them.
  • Father Austin Purcell in the Father Ted episode "Think Fast, Father Ted" has a long rambling monologue about boilers, lagging, and how much he's saved on his energy bills, which continues into the ending credits, long after everyone else has abandoned the conversation.
  • House of the Dragon: What Lord Lyman Beesbury has become by "The Lord of the Tides", meandering his way through dull reports on such topics as local wool taxation. Queen Alicent barely hides her exasperation with him and has no qualms about rather bluntly cutting him off.
  • Jonathan Higgins in Magnum, P.I. could qualify. Subverted in that he's told stories those around him (and the viewer) are supposed to find poignant, and once when he starts to tell a story, his sound is turned off, and when his sound is turned back on the people realize it could have been very entertaining. This tendency is mocked in the "Rashomon"-Style episode "I, Witness"; in T.C.'s recounting of a robbery Higgins spends the whole thing trying to come up with a previous incident that this reminds him of.
  • Monk has the minor recurring character Kevin Dorfman. Every subject he talks about has to be talked about in depth. Even if it's just egg salad. At his funeral in "Mr. Monk and the Magician," all of his family members are also shown to drone on and on, making Natalie suspect that it's a genetic trait. Case in point: Natalie has to use the excuse of being thirsty to be spared an endless conversation with Kevin's aunt, and she confides to Monk to having Photoshopped a picture of Kevin because it was impossible for her to get a photo of him without him talking.
  • Saturday Night Live: In the Digital Short "The Tangent", a man and a woman meet on the sidewalk and he goes into a long tangent after she asks him about a restaurant he went to the previous night. During his digression she leaves, he gets discovered as a new comic hit, goes onstage, films a movie, appears on Conan and his movie bombs. All this time he never stops talking.
  • In-universe, this is supposed to be Morn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Other characters will always mention that Morn is a motormouth who will "talk your ear off" with anything from long tales to bawdy jokes, deep philosophy and even singing. Of course, whenever the audience actually sees Morn, all he's doing is sitting at the bar and not saying a word so we only go by other characters' claims the guy never shuts up.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby". Frisby loves to tell tall tales about his past, much to the disgust of the regulars in his store.
  • According to his Top Gear co-hosts, James May is very much this. The production crew have even started getting in on the act. When James starts one of his digressions they often cut away to a card saying something along the lines of 'Much later' and then cut back to him still talking.

  • The title character from the song "Old Blevins" by The Austin Lounge Lizards. Blevins has some deep wisdom he wishes to share:
    He said blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah, in Tijuana, blah blah blah, back in 1963...

  • In later episodes of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, it becomes apparent that nobody at the Storyteller's club wants to hear his rambling stories, with the Musical Episode having them actually singing "Oh, dear God, he's off again/Who set him off this time then?" and the "biscuits" story having his current victim retract the question as soon as he says it reminds him of a story. (He ignores this, of course.)

  • Polonius in Hamlet
    Gertrude: More matter, with less art.

    Video Games 
  • Cranky Kong in the Donkey Kong Country universe.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has a sweet old grandmother who loves to tell stories. You need the help of a magical mask for Link to stay awake through that. To give an idea, the first story takes two hours to tell. The second takes an entire half a day.
  • An Oaken event involves the PC meeting a retired hero, who offers them one of the many treasures he's collected if they listen to a story about his glory days. Accepting costs them three points in Fatigue, a debuff more usually gotten by fighting bosses head-on. Afterwards, they narrate that they're not sure what they were more relieved by- receiving the treasure or the end of the story.
  • In the Paper Mario series, there is something of a running gag where Mario will run into an elderly, wise character. Said character will tell Mario that they have a story of vital importance to tell him, and that they'll try to cut back on the non-essential parts. They'll then start yammering some irrelevant story about their youth, while Mario falls asleep until the game jumps to the story's end, at which point the exposition character will grumpily demand to know if Mario actually paid attention and then give him the real advice/MacGuffin needed. At at least one point in Super Paper Mario, one such character calls Mario out on sleeping during a story.
  • Wendy Oldbag from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. As the name implies, she tends to rapidly prattle on and on when she gets agitated.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: Yakko, Wakko & Dot are at a Hollywood party where they meet Pip Pumphandle, who gives one long laborious story as he shakes Yakko's hand; Yakko passes Pip off to Dot, who passes him off to Wakko, who passes him off to his own fake disembodied hand as they try to get away... but no matter where they go, there Pip is continuing his pointless story. Ironically, when he finally gets to the point of his story the following morning and leaves, they find the silence deafening and run after him, begging to hear another story.
  • Family Guy has Buzz Killington, a Gay Nineties socialite who fits this bill with the joke being that he would be considered cool in his own era.
  • Grandpa Simpson on The Simpsons.
    "We can’t bust heads like we used to—but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don’t go anywhere, like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so I decided to go to Morganville which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So, I tied an onion to my belt which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel. And in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ‘em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah! The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..."
  • In The Smurfs (1981) episode "Memory Melons", the titular Memory Melon records Selwyn saying that he needs to "get rid of that bag of wind", which Tallulah thinks it means her and not something else entirely (like an actual bag of wind). This starts the marital spat between the couple.
  • Commander McBragg in Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. At first, McBragg's guest attempts to avoid another long, boring tale, but eventually gets sucked into it... and utters the inevitable pun at the end.