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Simpleton Voice

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When a character will open his mouth to speak or make voices while having no dialogue, and the instant he/she does, you immediately know that this character is a dumb or pretty stupid character. Whether he's an over-muscled Mook or she's the Plucky Comic Relief, the one thing you can tell just by their voice is the fact that his elevator just doesn't go all the way to the top floor. Alternately, it is common for someone to put such a voice on to make fun of someone who supposedly doesn't grasp something obvious or just giving this to display The Ditz.

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Very common for this kind of voice in animated works, because allegedly such an obvious characterization tool that appeals to children. In The Golden Age of Animation, this sort of voice was used a lot by characters who were a parody of Lennie from the film adaptation of Of Mice and Men or to reference an goofball character.

When the character is male, generally expect a halting voice in the low registers, silly inflections in his voice, or else a high-pitched, nasally quavering, with most sentences beginning with the word 'duh'. When the character is female, expect a high-pitched nasally whine or an even higher-pitched squeak-fest. Often, characters with this voice will use poor grammar. Male characters often substitute the t or d sounds for the th sound, like saying "dat" for "that." A Valley Girl accent helps for common, female ditzes. They may occasionally utter a Stupidly Long Filler Sound, just to enhance their dimwitted nature at times.

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A very common characteristic of Mooks and The Ditz, as well the Moose Are Idiots, Dogs Are Dumb, Dumb Dinos or a Doofy Dodo characterization. Contrast Unintelligible Accent.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • This GEICO talking pothole mixes Valley Girl and a Southern drawl for her ditz voice. Subverted when "she" reveals herself to not so much be a ditz, as much as a snarky inanimate object. "Cuz I'm a POTHOLE!"

    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • Careless S. of Happy Heroes, while actually not that stupid, does have a major habit of forgetting stuff. The English dub made by Lookus reflects this characteristic by giving him a low-pitched, stupid-sounding voice.
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    Comic Books 
  • Moose from Archie Comics is written this way. He used to say "Duh—" before every line.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Wizards, Peace aka Necron 99 after being reprogrammed speaks for the first time in this tone.
    Peace: Peace wants love. Wants free. Will help.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Referenced in the novel version of Flowers for Algernon; Charlie notes that he had a stupid-sounding voice before his increase in intelligence, and he lapses back into it whenever he gets drunk.
  • Discworld trolls tend to have this type of voice. Detritus, the troll that tends to show up the most, says "dis," "dat" and "der" instead of "this", "that", and "the." (He also sometimes replaces "th" with "f", for example "fink" instead of "think".)
  • Crabbe and Goyle from the Harry Potter books. Both are dim-witted lackeys of Harry Potter's school nemesis Draco Malfoy. Even Malfoy himself at one point describes Goyle as being so slow that if he were any slower, he'd be going backwards. Crabbe speaks mainly a soft but deep grunt, Goyle speaks in a low, raspy voice. They sound equally dumb in the film versions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Ogrons in Doctor Who should be this, with one exception. In Day of the Daleks, the Controller confronts two Ogrons. The first one says, "We found...and destroyed...the enemy." The controller asks if there were any complications, and the second one replies, "No complications," in a perfectly normal voice.
  • Subverted in The Big Bang Theory: Bernadette speaks with a high, nasal, squeaky Dumb Blonde voice, but has a doctorate in Microbiology.
  • Big Bird's been created to have one on The Ed Sullivan Show before Sesame Street. After a couple of years into Sesame Street, his performer, Caroll Spinney, felt like the character worked better as a six-year-old than a simpleton, so the simpleton voice was phased out for a more childlike one.
  • Cat Valentine from Victorious and Sam & Cat. She originally started out with a more normal-sounding voice, but her voice got higher, slower and more baby-like as she became more ditzy.

    Music 
  • Booji Boy, mascot of Devo, a character portrayed by their singer Mark Mothersbaugh in a baby mask. Booji Boy exemplifies the band's philosophy of Devolution, and talks with a squeaky voice, known for such phrases as "We're all Devo".
  • Frank Zappa used many of these across his career, like the teenage doo wop singer voice he uses on used on several tracks on Freak Out.

    Radio 
  • Eccles from The Goon Show.
    • "Well, I'll say this much... I don't say much, but what I do say... don't make sense."
    • Spike Milligan admitted that Eccles' voice was based on Disney's Goofy (see below).
  • Edgar Bergen used this kind of voice for his dummy Mortimer Snerd, in contrast to the higher-pitched, sharp-witted Charlie McCarthy.

    Theater 
  • In Bells Are Ringing, Ella adopts a "dumb chorus girl" voice during "Just In Time" when an audience gathers to watches her dance with Jeff, but goes back to singing in a normal voice before the song ends. (This was another role originated by Judy Holliday.)
  • The Wizard from Wicked, who describes himself as "This corn fed hick / Who thought it might be keen / To build a town of green / And a road of yellow brick." Of course, his seeming simple naivete and paternal air is hiding something much darker...

    Video Games 
  • Bob from The Twins speaks in a deep, muffled voice that is hard to understand, to enforce his role as Dumb Muscle.

    Web Animation 
  • The Flap-Jacks from CarnEvil have a rather Goofy-esque voice.
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Mad from speaks in an extremely exaggerated version of this trope, Played for Laughs. Most of his dialogue is nigh-unintelligible growls, but if you listen closely he is saying actual words... probably. Homestar Runner himself is a (somewhat) more subdued version of this trope.
  • In his review of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Yahtzee adopts this kind of voice to represent the Metal Gear franchise as a whole, to reflect how he views it as being lovably stupid.
    Yahtzee: Hey, Metal Gear? Why did you pretend MGS 2 would be about Solid Snake, then replace him twenty minutes in with a cross between an albino Barbie doll and Wesley Crusher?
    'Metal Gear': Duh, I'm sorry. I just wanted everyone to meet this cool new character I made up. He’s a cyborg and his nipples turn into shurikens!
    Yahtzee: Hey, Metal Gear? Why are all these emotionally traumatised young women thrusting their butts at the camera?
    'Metal Gear': Duh, I'm sorry. Looking at bums makes my willy feel nice.
  • Caboose from Red vs. Blue. Early episodes didn't have it, but Joel Heyman eventually got the voice to a "obvious moron" one, and the writing ramped up the character's stupidity as well. Joel also explained that Caboose speaks like a human does so to a dog or cat, "only everything to him is an animal".
  • Boyfriend seems to have this in the later videos of STA Studios Animations. Although it changed back.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Chick did it in her review of Spice World.
    Mel B: Girl power, feminism, you know what I mean?
    Chick: [in the stupidest voice she can manage] No. Do you?
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • Yellow Guy uses this voice, only emphasized by his short stature, noticeable slowness and status as a Butt-Monkey.
    • The Spinach Can from the fifth installment has one, which emphasizes the low quality of his/her song and helps invalidate his/her flimsy health advise.
    • Unlike the five preceding videos, the sixth video's Teacher is almost immediately revealed to be malicious and ignorant, and as such, the Lamp's voice is quite slurred in order to immediately convey his incompetence.
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Combine her high-pitched comical voice and her tendency not to be a deep thinker and you have Harley Quinn.
  • In The Proving Grounds: The Naming of Swords by Jeff C Wells, when Kelli Thunderhold, Paladin of Righteousness, is horrified to learn her sword's name is a Double Entendre
    Kelli: Stupid friggin' elves. Dad always told me not to buy an elf sword. He was all like, 'It's meteoric iron or nothing, Kelli!' And here’s me: 'Hurr durr durr, I’m gonna go on the Aethernet and buy an elf sword because I love mithril! Holy rainbow slaadcrap I love mithril so farking much!
    Eidey: This keeps remaining awesome. I love the voice you do when you're being 'you except stupid.'
  • Jon Bois: In Pretty Good: "The Dumbest Boy Alive", TheJosh is given this voice to go along with his insistence that working out every other day doesn't average to 3.5 workouts per week. Near the end of the video, TheJosh returns to say he was trolling and Jon drops the voice.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Invoked by Batman whenever he is being Bruce Wrayne in public, to strengthen his cover as a Rich Idiot With No Day Job. Bruce tends to downplay Batman's normal Badass Baritone and speak in a somewhat higher pitched and more cheerful voice, as well as using a much more simple vocabolary.
    • Harley Quinn spoke in the female variation, complete with a Jersey-like accent. In the episode "Mad Love", it's revealed that before she was brainwashed by the Joker, her she spoke in a lower pitched voice and the accent was more subtle. Also subverted; not only can she switch to a deeper, un-accented voice at will (as shown in the episode, "The Man Who Killed Batman"), but she's actually highly intelligent, not only having been a psychologist before her brainwashing, but able to pull off a perfectly good and understated gem heist on her own. The implication is that she acts like this because the Joker prefers for her to act stupid.
  • Catscratch: Waffle has the goofy high-pitched voice common to characters voiced by Kevin McDonald, which in this case indicates his ditzy character to viewers.
  • Discussed in The Critic, when Jay's boss, Duke Phillips (who speaks with a southern accent) meets Jay's new assistant, Alice (who is also southern). He notes to her about how as southerners, they have to work extra hard in New York because as soon as people hear them talk, they're immediately dismissed as illiterate, country bumpkins.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Cosmo has an extremely high pitched voice. In fact, thanks to his Flanderisation from "goofy but smart" to "straight up idiot", his voice got progressively higher. In the original Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts, he was pretty intelligent ( probably even smarter than WANDA ) and had a deep and smooth voice. In first few seasons, when he was goofier and less intelligent, but not to terrible levels, he had higher voice, but it still had a natural tone to it. In later seasons, when he became Too Dumb to Live, he has voice so high you would swear that either his original voice actor got replaced or that his voice is digitally edited to sound like that.
  • Chris Griffin from Family Guy. This wasn't actually the intention; Seth Green went into the audition and decided to do his impression of Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs as a joke, but ended up getting the part. Inevitably, this is referenced in a cut-away gag where Chris does an impression of Buffalo Bill dancing naked (and tucked back) in front of a mirror.
    • And in the original version of the Pilot, his voice is more of a typical low-pitched simpleton voice.
    • For that matter, Barry in American Dad!, who has the same voice, only slightly more affected. Well, it isn't his real voice but the voice he has while heavily drugged to suppress his true, evil personality. His real voice is a cultured accent.
  • Used in the Futurama episode "Fear of a Bot Planet" where the crew meets the council of robot elders. They promote human hunts to distract from their bigger problems.
    Elder 1: Like our crippling lugnut shortage.
    Elder 2: And an incompetent group of robot elders.
    Elder 3: Duh, that's for sure.
    Elder 1: Quiet, Jimmy!
    • Igner (of Mom's three sons) can also qualify as this. The irony comes in when we learn his father is Professor Farnsworth!
  • Hyuck! Goofy (1932), first appearing in the early days of the sound era, may have been the very first cartoon character with a voice like this. Bill Farmer is capable of pulling off the voice while still giving Goofy an impressive emotional range in modern productions.
  • Beezy from Jimmy Two-Shoes. According to his voice actor, Brian Froud, it was originally a bad impression of Brad Garrett that then just evolved into "this dog-like, child-like voice".
  • Pinky and the Brain: Pinky speaks in a heavy Cockney accent to emphasize his simplemindedness.
  • Homer Simpson is the leader of a small crowd of such characters from The Simpsons that also include his friend Barney Gumble (whose exaggerated slurred drawl is because he's almost always drunk), Cletus (who has stereotypical "yokel" voice), and Chief Wiggum (who has a comical nasally voice) and his son Ralph (who uses a vacuous-sounding high-pitched variation). However, Homer is definitely one of the most iconic examples in western animation.
    • Parodied/subverted with Oxford "Ox" Haas, one of the soldiers Grampa Simpson served with in World War II in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish." He spoke with this voice, and looked exactly like the kind of person who would.
      Burns: How many of you are familiar with the concept of a "Tontine"?
      [beat; all stare at Burns silently, until Ox raises his hand]
      Burns: All right, Ox. Why don't you take us through it?
      Ox: Duh, essentially, we all enter into a contract whereby the last surviving participant becomes the sole possessor of...all them purty pictures.
    • In one Imagine Spot where Lisa imagines her future after losing her intelligence, she's inexplicably gained a southern accent.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Patrick Star is one of the top examples in western animation; most probably first heard the stereotypical low-pitched, goofy-sounding dopey kind of voice associated with this trope from him. However, up until Season 9, the Japanese dub of the TV seriesnote  gave Patrick a high-pitched voice similar to Masako Nozawa's Goku.
    • Peter Browngardt, aka Uncle Grandpa, makes a guest appearance in the Season 10 episode "Patrick's Coupon" as the Ice Cream King and used Uncle G's voice. The similarity between the voices is uncanny. In the German version, they brought back Patrick's original German voice to voice the Ice Cream King.

    Real Life 
  • Actor Bill Fagerbakke (who is quite intelligent, urbane, and friendly in person) has made a career out of this trope, and he does it by only very slightly exaggerating the way he naturally speaks. In addition to voicing Patrick Star in Spongebob Squarepants, Broadway in Gargoyles and Bulkhead in Transformers: Animated, Fagerbakke played Tom Cullen in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand and Dauber on Coach; all of them had the "big dumb doofus" form of this trope.
  • Similar to the above, the French actor and singer Bourvil made his Signature Style of playing Butt Monkeys speaking like this, also by exaggerating his normal speech pattern. Though it is notable that he was equally good in dramatic roles.
  • Studies done on rural American Accents found that a disproportionate amount of preschoolers who spoke with vernacular rural accents (Vermont, Appalachia, etc.) were placed in special education classes for it.

 
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