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Shouting Free-for-All

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"Have you ever been present at a meeting of the New York legislature? They speak very fast and very loud and nobody listens to anybody else, with the result that nothing ever gets done."
Lewis Morris, 1776

It stands to reason that everyone has an opinion. It also stands to reason that every now and then, everyone wishes to express their opinion. And sometimes, everyone wants to express their opinions all at the same time, as loudly as possible. Thus begins a shouting-free-for-all.

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This is a situation where an entire room is in an argument; people are shouting and yelling, sometimes on their feet, getting into each other's faces, and the whole situation drowns out the points anyone is making (if they're making any points at all), and renders any form of debate practically useless.

The reasons such arguments come up are many and varied, and they can occur with just about any group with more than five people. They are often viewed from the perspective of someone off to the side, often the Only Sane Man. This person is quite often the one to bring the argument to an end, either by providing the answer everyone is looking for or interjecting with a Noisy Shut-Up. Other times, they just watch with a rueful shake of the head.

If they yell each other's names, that's a Rocky Roll Call. Not to be confused with someone offering to "shout" at a pub, prompting everyone present to order drinks.

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Examples

Film - Live Action

  • The Fellowship of the Ring: During the Council of Elrond, after the impossibility of the task before them is laid out, the council jumps to their feet all yelling and shouting at each other, with the exception of Frodo, who sits to the side staring at the One Ring until he gets up and offers to take it to Mordor himself.
  • The Hunt for Red October: During the briefing, after it's revealed that the Soviet navy has sailed with orders to find Red October and sink her, the entire room erupts with discussions. Ryan listens at one end of the table, looking at the images of the sub's captain, Marco Ramius, until he has a realization that makes him pound the table with an exclamation of, "You son of a bitch!" The shouting immediately quiets.
    National Security Advisor Pelt: Something to add to our "discussion", Dr. Ryan?
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  • After the posse catches the bandit family in Rango, the whole town of Dirt riots and storms up to the Sheriff's door shouting.
  • The Thing (1982). After MacReady is accused (in his absence) of being a Thing, the others discuss when he might have been converted. They accuse each other of being Things and all start shouting at each other.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: According to Jack, this is how the pirate lords conduct politics, in addition to things being randomly hurled across the room at one another. He even triggers one after the council has been silenced by voting for Elizabeth as Pirate King, something which everyone at the table takes exception to.
  • Serenity. Captain Mal tells his crew that they're going to disguise their ship as a Reaver vessel so it can pass through the Reaver blockade. They all start shouting in disagreement with his decision. The shouting only ends when Mal shoots the nearby survivor of an Alliance ship crash.

Live-Action TV

  • An episode of 30 Rock has a couple clips of a Show Within a Show called Sports Shouting, which has a screen divided into quarters, each one showing a sports commentator trying to drown out the other three. Tracy Jordan, a frequent guest on the program, appears in one clip just wordlessly screaming.
  • Babylon 5: In Season 5, after war breaks out between the Alliance and the Centauri Republic, the member representatives file into Sheridan's office to demand why he hasn't yet ordered the White Star fleet into action. When Zack tries to get them to calm down, they all start yelling. Sheridan watches the ruckus from his desk, silently getting more and more frustrated and angry until he finally explodes.
    Sheridan: That's enough...I said that's ENOUGH!
  • House of Anubis: One scene in season 1 involves the characters trying to make themselves breakfast, with disastrous results. Besides the kitchen being an absolute mess, everyone's yelling at each other and getting in everyone else's way, until Fabian finally puts a stop to the chaos and they all speak calmly.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: This is what the Gang considers a standard way of exchanging opinions: screaming over each other no matter how inappropriate the setting (at the bar, fancy restaurants, court, etc.)
  • John Adams: During Adams' time as Vice President, which makes him president of the US Senate, but unable to participate unless there's a vote to conduct, there's a scene where the entire Senate is in furious debate over some matter. All the senators are on their feet, yelling at each other, while Adams, bored out of his mind, sits at the front desk reading a newspaper, occasionally looking over the noisy chamber and sighing.

Theatre

  • 1776: Not actually seen, but Lewis Morris describes meetings of the New York legislature as everyone speaking very fast and loud without listening to anyone else as he apologetically explains to the congress why his delegation has never received any instructions from said legislature.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: "Notes" and its reprise are this in song form, with everyone of importance at the Opera Populaire receiving threatening notes from the Phantom, accusing others of being in league with him, and arguing over what to do about it.
  • In Sunday in the Park with George, near the end of the first act, all the characters begin shouting over each other until George puts them back in the positions he painted them in and they sing "Sunday."

Video Games

  • This is an actual game mechanic in Danganronpa, called Nonstop Debates. During these sequences, characters talk and yell back and forth at each other as the protagonist/player tries to find relevant statements to either contradict or prove with Truth Bullets, while simultaneously shooting down unhelpful "white noise" that represents characters' thoughts and background mutterings. In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair sometimes characters will interrupt your rebuttal with their own refutation, leading to a Rebuttal Showdown.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony introduces Mass Panic Debate, a harder version of the Nonstop Debate, where the characters frantically shout all at once, making the game even more confusing as the screen becomes a mess of panicked statements.

Web Animation

  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "unnatural", the citizens of Free Country USA call an "emergency town meeting" to deal with the 100-foot tall rampaging Bubs. Strong Bad describes it by saying "We needed an organized forum for people to shout out their ideas all at the same time!" Strong Bad wants to kill him, Strong Sad wants to try and understand him, The Cheat inexplicably appears twice, Coach Z suggests they "run the picket fence at 'im", Marzipan is hung up on the idea that the giant Bubs is a trick of perception, and Homestar thinks that instead of Bubs turning giant, everyone else has been turned into ants ("We must protect the queen! I have six legs!").

Western Animation

  • Doug: In "Doug's Christmas Story", Doug calls all his fantasy personas to figure out how to get Porkchop out of the pound. After several attempts fail, they all start arguing and shouting all at once until Doug realizes he shouldn't be trying to solve the problem the way they would anyway. He then decides to take care of it his way.
  • Family Guy: In the season nine premiere "And Then There Were Fewer", after experiencing a murder, all of the party guests begin accusing and arguing with each other, resulting in all of them shouting over each other. Peter, however, is arguing about something completely off-topic and inconsequential.
  • In The Loud House short "Slice of Life", Lincoln and his sisters argue over the last slice of pizza. They start out speaking coherently and one at a time, but then they start yelling all at once which makes them indecipherable.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Ticket Master", Twilight's friends argue with each other over who deserves her second ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, at least until Twilight yells "QUIET!!!".
  • A Running Gag in South Park has angry crowds all talk over one another, yelling "Rabble rabble rabble!" instead of anything coherent. In "I'm a Little Bit Country," not only do the townsfolk rabble on while yelling at each other over whether the Iraq War is a good idea, but a flashback shows the Founding Fathers similarly yelling over each other when debating whether to go to war with Britain.

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