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Starstruck Speechless

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Timmy: Oh, look, look, Grammy. It's M-M-M-Mi-Mi-MI—It's M-M-Mi-Mi-
Grandma: Mantovani?
Timmy: No. MICHAEL JACKSON!!!!
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This trope occurs when someone average has a run in with someone of a higher social status - such as a celebrity, royalty or a similar government position, or even just someone this person admires greatly. The ordinary person, in attempting to speak with them, can do nothing but stutter, stumble over their words, and say the completely wrong thing, purely out of being so nervous or in shock.

It can be quite the embarrassing moment for the average person, especially if they wind up completely humiliating themself in the process. The person of status, if they're a snob, might find this particularly amusing or, alternatively, disgraceful; if they're a nice person, however, they're much more likely to sympathize, or to try and help the person feel more comfortable in the conversation.

The important person may be a King Incognito, in which case the cause for surprise is finding out their true identity. This may also be caused by a Celeb Crush.

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Compare Cannot Spit It Out, Emotionally Tongue-Tied, and I'm Your Biggest Fan. If this is a hero meeting their idol, it's The Knights Who Say "Squee!".


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku is starstruck when he meets his lifelong idol, All Might, for the first time. He's only able to gape and Squee! until All Might reveals that he signed Izuku's notebook, snapping Izuku out of his stupor as he repeatedly bows and thanks him for it.
  • One Piece: When Bartolomeo tried to talk to his biggest idol, Luffy, for the first time, he stutters and gags his words. Only when Barto faces away from Luffy can he speak normally.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku meets All Might after the Prowler incident and is totally tongue-tied. He desperately tries to work up the nerve to say something, only to blurt out "I love you!", to his intense embarrassment. He's finally able to speak properly after All Might starts asking him questions.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Cars, Luigi and Guido are huge fans of Ferrari racing. At the end of the movie, Lighting calls in a favor to have Michael Schumacher Ferrari visit their tire shop. Luigi is so overcome with excitement he passes out. Then Schumacher says (in Italian) that he was told how fantastic Guido was, and Guido passes out.
  • Incredibles 2:
    • When Voyd meets Elastigirl, she starts stammering out of excitement over meeting her heroine.
    • A cab driver who is a big fan of Frozone finally meets his hero but he is so nervous that he mixes up his line.
      Cab driver: Hey, listen, you're my biggest fan.
      Frozone: Good to see you.
      Cab driver: [stammering] I'm your biggest fan. Shoot!
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • That Thing You Do!: Star-struck at meeting his idol Del Paxton, Guy blurts out, "You are my biggest fan."

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: When Ginny Weasley first meets Harry — the legendary Boy Who Lived — she scurries away, unable to speak to him. Later Discussed when she admits that she had to learn to lose the uncharacteristic Shrinking Violet behaviour and get to know him as a person.
  • The Goblin Emperor: Maia is left even more socially awkward than usual when he meets Nedaö Venchin, a famous prima soprano. This a Inverted Trope because as the emperor of the Elflands Maia is in-universe by far socially superior to the common-born Min Venchin. However Maia was raised in near complete isolation and he finds Min Venchin to be strikingly beautiful so his awkwardness makes sense, unfortunately, this does not protect Maia for being badly mocked, behind his back of course, regarding his crush.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A memorable one from The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon meets Stephen Hawking. Sheldon's clearly starstruck, but he's doing just about okay, until Hakwing points out that Sheldon made an elementary arithmetic error in his paper, causing Sheldon to wibble briefly before collapsing. Hawking deadpans "Great. Another fainter."
  • One episode of Blossom has her and Six going to visit NBC's offices. They run into Robert Stack and just stare at him slack-jawed while he asks them questions, the last one being "Are you alive?" before he walks off. They run into John Ratzenberger immediately afterward and are determined not to let it happen again. This time, he makes fun of Blossom's hat and walks off before they can speak.
  • Community: Exaggerated for laughs when Pierce surprises Troy with his idol, LeVar Burton. Troy spends the entire meeting in wide-eyed, silent catatonia, then has a Freak Out!, runs away, and huddles in a corner to sing the Reading Rainbow theme song and sob.
  • The Golden Girls: Dorothy intends to confront President George H. W. Bush about issues that matter to her when he stops by to visit the girls, but upon meeting him, she can barely speak and can only stutter his last name "Bush".
  • Hannah Montana: In the pilot, Lily breaks into Hannah's dressing room in order to look around and swipe something. When Hannah shows up, all Lily can do is freak out about meeting her idol and chases her around the room, rambling on an on. Lily then ends up finding out Hannah is really her best friend, Miley, and her tone immediately changes.
  • In Kenan & Kel, they are informed that the President wants to buy a shake and to remain calm, when the president enters and try to chat with them; Kenan, Kel, and Chris simply cannot even say their names properly, Kenan accidentally stuttering that his name is Kiki, Kel saying his name is Sharona, and Chris showing off he has radio on his car.
  • Felix's daughter in The Odd Couple idolizes Paul Williams and, upon meeting him, can't squeeze out even one word.

    Podcasts 
  • Listen to This Podcast When... has an episode entitled "Listen to This Podcast When You Just Met Justin McElroy and He Was Great But You Feel Like You Could Have Done Better". It reminds you that you probably didn't embarrass yourself really badly, but even if you did, just think of it as a learning experience!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When the character debuted, Dolph Ziggler's gimmick was to introduce himself to everyone repeatedly. When Vince McMahon showed up, poor Dolph was speechless until Vince got fed up and left.

    Video Games 
  • In The Sims 4's "Get Famous" expansion, NPCs who spot a celebrity will initially go into a bout of squeeing and, if the celebrity's fame level is high enough, will faint for a few moments before getting back up again.
  • Downplayed in Drawn to Life. Jowee, who is usually an outgoing extrovert, is noticably more nervous and quiet when talking to his hero, the famous adventurer Indee.

    Web Video 
  • The Cry of Mann: When on the phone with who she's told is George Washington, Agent Martinez can barely say a single word, and just stutters out of nervousness.

    Western Animation 
  • In Dave the Barbarian, Fang is about to meet her biggest hero, Strom the Slayer, and assist a parade to ask for his autograph. But when Strom passes by, she freezes completely (even falling off without breaking pose).
  • DuckTales (2017): Webby, a Duck family history nut, ends up overwhelmed when she gets to meet Scrooge's parents. She doesn't snap out of it until they are on the car back home.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • In episode "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic", SpongeBob meets Kevin, an expert in jellyfishing. When SpongeBob gets close, he stares at Kevin and only manages to repeat "Hi Kevin" over and over, only snapping out of it when Kevin threatens to call security.
    • In "Christmas Who?", Squidward dresses up for Santa Claus when the real Santa doesn't show up. Spongebob, believing he's unexpectedly meeting the real Santa, is only able to repeatedly stammer "S-s-s-s-s-Santa..." until Squidward makes him stop.
  • We Bare Bears: In "The Mall", Panda and his human counterpart Tom are waiting in line to meet pop singer Estellar (played by Estelle, who sings the show's theme song) when they get in an altercation with two other people on the line, who chase them across the mall. In the end, they all meet Estellar, and Panda, Tom, and the two bullies chasing them are so starstruck that all they can do is stand there in a blissful trance and say "Estellar".
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Boyz4Now", Louise is initially tongue-tied when facing her newfound (and very first) celebrity crush Boo Boo... before getting overwhelmed by a desire to slap him across the face.
  • On Rugrats Chaz gets to meet Pat Sajack. All he can do is stutter "P-p-pat S-s-sejack!"

    Real Life 
  • Joan Rivers, famous for her sarcastic and often offensive humor at the expense of other celebrities, once interviewed Fred Rogers and was quickly reduced by his kind and sincere words to a star-struck, tongue-tied, flustered fangirl.
  • John Mulaney tells a story about meeting Bill Clinton as a kid that left his mom melting and unable to talk. His parents had gone to undergrad with him at Georgetown (they all went to the same law school too but at different times). Since Georgetown is in the middle of Washington DC, they had an informal policy of making sure the girls were walked home at night by a guy. His mom had been walked home by him several times and had a little crush on him. By the time he was running for president (some 25 odd years later), Mrs Mulaney took John as her date to an alumni fundraiser. She pushed him to the front to get to talk to Clinton, not expecting him to remember her from college. He did because according to John, "he never forgets a bitch ever" and she melted then and there without really being able to talk so John got to talk to him instead.

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