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The Silent Bob

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"Heh, you don't say much, friend, but when you do, it's to the point and I salute you for it!"
Big Dan Teague, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

A speechless (or nearly speechless) Stoic who can hold entire conversations without saying a word. Usually, they'll look soulfully, blink, raise an eyebrow, or make another otherwise minuscule gesture and get their point across. In fact, they're usually better at communicating nonverbally than most of us are at communicating verbally.

This can overlap with any stereotypically quiet character type: The Voiceless, The Quiet One, the Silent Snarker, or the Heroic Mime. What matters is their uncanny ability to communicate complex thoughts non-verbally.

This can be done to preserve the badass factor of a speechless character without sacrificing his ability to communicate. Or it can be played for laughs, with other characters responding to the quiet guy's looks as if they're long, poignant soliloquies on the nature of love, life, or liberty. They may even inspire the odd Placebo Eureka Moment. More often than not, it turns into a Bilingual Dialogue with the other person just not talking.

Another aspect of this trope is that it's normally incredibly significant when these characters speak; either they have something profound to say which will give the heroes incredibly useful insight, or another character's irritant tendencies are thrown into sharp relief when they manage to push The Stoic to the breaking point and he loses his temper, or the character's silence is a joke, and whatever they have to say is the punchline thereof. No matter which it is, the fact is that the other characters always find it to be of note when the Silent Bob does deign to speak.

Very commonly a trait of the Optional Party Member, as he/she is often added at the last minute or as an extra feature in a port (or is deemed simply too much trouble to add to the script) and is given very little or no dialogue. However, what little they do say, no matter how groundbreaking or important to the plot it is, is completely ignored, because it is usually just inserted between other characters' speech in cutscenes.

This trope is named for Silent Bob, a character played by director Kevin Smith in all of The View Askewniverse movies, from Clerks to Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, who would only speak once or twice per movie, and instead said volumes with silence.

Compare The Speechless, The Voiceless, The Quiet One, and Silent Partner.


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  • The Bartles & James wine cooler campaign with Frank Bartles and Ed James (or rather, actors playing them as folksy old men.) They sat on a porch while Frank explained all about their new product, while Ed quietly tinkers with something, admires his handiwork, or sips a wine cooler. Frank monologues constantly put words in Ed's mouth ("Ed says...") — and Ed may or may not even acknowledge the camera — and ends with "..and thank you for your support."
  • In this old commercial for McDonald's from the 80's, Grimace is able to impress Donald Trump without saying a word.
  • Done with legendary American Football coach Bill Belichick in a series of Subway commercials where a person goes for an unhealthy fast-food option before running into Belichick and having a one-sided conversation interpreting his silent Death Glare as advice to go to Subway instead.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ume, the sound-effects man in Android Announcer Maico 2010, communicates solely by using his sound-effects machine.
  • Toono Satoru from the Boys' Love manga Awkward Silence is very, very quiet and it's a rare person who can tell how he feels from his facial expressions. He takes after his mother in this respect.
  • Enryu, a bodyguard/shinigami from a Bleach Filler Arc. One wonders how a Silent Bob would release his zanpakuto...
  • Schumann from Classi9 was never heard or seen saying anything, but his classmates, Liszt and Chopin are perfectly capable of holding a conversation with him.
  • Freddy from Cromartie High School never utters a word (which is why Kamiyama had to give him his name) He seems to communicate mainly through stares. Even when he "sings", he just basically stands there with a mic posing with his mouth open.
  • Doranichov from The Doraemons can't speak, but he usually communicates with gestures, and his exact contents of "speech" are depicted using pictures rather than text.
  • Gangsta. has the Silent Nicolas, who does occasionally talk but vastly prefers not to as a deaf man. Instead he mostly communicates via sign language.
  • Saki Maruyama from Girls und Panzer, who was compeletely silent until the very last episode, where she had a single line.
  • Gungrave leaves the impression that this is a result of being dead. But Brandon/Grave was a man of few words his whole life. His videogame incarnation never speaks with only one exception.
  • Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya, though it is only mentioned in the novels. Although she lacks any apparent facial expression, Kyon is somehow able to read what she is thinking from her face. It is never revealed if Kyon is actually right about his "emotion reading skill" or not. But when Kyon gets her to elaborate on her mission, boy does Nagato talk. And worse, it's all in Technobabble.
  • Assistant of Humanity Has Declined. Though the ability to understand him seems to be limited to "Watashi".
  • Komi from Komi Can't Communicate hardly ever talks out loud because of her overwhelming social anxiety. It's a common trait on her father's side of the family. Her father is just as silent as she is, and for much the same reason. Her brother Shousuke, on the other hand, is perfectly capable of communicating, he just actively chooses not to. Komi's grandmother is similarly stoic, but as the family matriarch is more prone to being assertive than her son and grandchildren.
  • Kuroko's Basketball: Mitobe doesn't talk at all, but the second-year members of Seirin High's basketball club can understand what he's trying to convey.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Admiral Eisenach somehow manages to command a space fleet through subtle hand gestures. When he does speak, his fellow officers are shocked, sometimes claiming they thought he was mute. The narrator even records the exact date he spoke, just as he does for other galaxy-shaking historical events.
  • Macross 7 has Veffidas, the drummer of Fire Bomber. She very rarely speaks, and never really emotes, but she seems almost physically incapable of not hitting something with her drumsticks at any given time.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has Kris, Vivio's bunny plushie Device. Unlike most other Devices, Kris isn't capable of speech. This does not stop it from communicating properly with everyone, somehow managing to convey complex ideas through a series of stares and twitches.
  • Seki of My Neighbor Seki will grunt and make other noises as he gets into his elaborate desktop games, but he has yet to have a word of dialogue (though he is apparently capable of speaking off-camera). A rare example of a main character (and the title character at that!) who doesn't speak. It evidently runs in the family as his mother and sister are also never shown speaking.
  • Zazie Rainyday of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, who has a way of holding entire conversations through a series of nods and ellipses.
    • Rule of Funny moment later on: During a Gaiden chapter of the latest Arc we get to check in on all the other characters not currently in Negi's party. Ayaka has a lively conversation with Zazie OVER THE PHONE. Yes, Zazie is her standard quiet self (she says 'bye' at the end of the call). Yes, Ayaka's details after the call are all entirely accurate. Yes, everyone in the room with Ayaka is just as confused as you are as to how this works.
    • She actually speaks in her appearance in Chapter 297. And from then on, while still quiet, she keeps talking when it's needed.
    • Zazie reappears in UQ Holder!, and readers unaware of her role in the previous series might not understand the fuss about Zazie talking just as much as any other character.
  • Zigzagged about in One Piece Film: Strong World. Indigo will mime his ideas and thoughts, and his crewmates act like they understand him for awhile before suddenly getting irritated and yelling at him to actually speak out loud, which he promptly does. When Shiki actually does understand him, he's genuinely surprised.
  • Mori-senpai from Ouran High School Host Club is an example of this, though he does speak more often than most silent characters of this type. He communicates often with facial expressions or gestures, and occasionally speaks. What's more, he generally only really speaks to Honey-senpai or when matters concern Honey-senpai.
  • Satsuki from Ranma ½. Only her fellow Yamato Nadeshiko Kasumi clearly understands what she says.

    Comic Books 
  • Milestone Comics has DMZ in the Blood Syndicate. He only ever says one word, and it's during the Crisis Crossover. "Damn."
  • The voice of Black Bolt of The Inhumans is immensely destructive and so he must never make even the tiniest sound if he's not trying to blow something up real good. However, he's mastered body language so well that he can communicate perfectly — many people are surprised by how well they understand him. (The best at understanding him is his wife and queen Medusa, who tends to speak for him most of the time in front of anyone who has problems.)
    • This depends very much on the writer. Sometimes, Black Bolt is this; other times, he uses a sophisticated, complex sign language. Either way, his queen and wife is the best as understanding and translating for him.
  • In the 2000AD strip Nikolai Dante, Nikolai's half-brother Viktor is believed to be mute. Not so. He completes the longest known Silent Bob in comics history by remaining speechless for fifteen years, saying his first and last words 6 episodes before the end of the saga: "Goodbye, Nikolai." The only other sounds he's made are belches and screeches when he activates his Weapons Crest, turning himself into a huge Romanov Eagle.
  • In The Sandman (1989) and Lucifer, Duma, the Angel of Silence, communicates this way with others. It's implied that he might be using a form of telepathy, or it might just be that his angelic/deific companions are experts at reading him. He does have the greatest example of a "Yes sir" in the history of literature... without saying a line.
  • Bark the Polarbear, a long-forgotten character from the video games, was reintroduced in the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) as a Silent Bob, teamed up with the psychotic and easily amused Bean the Duck. Bark is by far the more reasonable of the two, though he's yet to have had a single speech bubble. Not too different from Jay and Silent Bob, of course.
  • Varmints: The large, bearded man with a bearskin coat. He doesn't do much talking, but he does laugh at one point.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction; whilst the Titans' Animal Talk is now able to be translated through scenes being told from their POVs and through Vivienne's unlocked abilities, the mute human Lubyov communicates solely through her facial and body language.
  • In The Equestrian Civil Service Series, the ponies of the Royal Guard are taught to communicate without either words or visible motion. Demonstrated nicely in "The Other Princess":
    "Doleful! Long time no see! How’s the new post?"
    Doleful Shade, being a guardspony, remained motionless, yet managed to indicate with the particular nature of the motionlessness that, all things considered, it was all going quite well, really, and the the missus enjoyed the raise the promotion brought which meant she could take a few less shifts.
    "Well, that’s certainly good to hear. Look, you are a batpony with his head on straight, what do you think of…" Here Dotted, who, unlike veteran guardsponies, wasn’t an expert in immobile communication, jerked his head towards the door.
    Doleful indicated with particularly stiff immobility that, being sworn to the new princess' service it really couldn’t be his place to comment, but on a personal note, he himself had nothing to complain about.
  • Trump Card: This happens whenever Taylor and Tattletale interact. Tattletale's power lets her deduce large amounts of information from extremely tiny amounts of data, so when Taylor is copying that power each of them can convey complex concepts to the other with nothing more than a tiny gesture.
  • Unlike the original novels, where Kuyou Suou is incomprehensible, in You Got HaruhiRolled! she is understood just fine, despite having long underscores before and after all her words. This has stopped now that the 10th and 11th novels are released and she now speaks normally in canon.
  • Sakura is a milder example in Clockwork and a Teacup. She initially never speaks unless she has to but later just doesn't talk very much. The exception being when she talks to Ino who can understand every subtle expression she makes so Sakura rarely needs to say anything.

  • Mini-Me from the Austin Powers films. You might think he's The Voiceless (mostly he just makes the occasional squeal), but when performing Just the Two of Us, he speaks a single line "You and I", in an absurdly deep voice.
  • Midnight Mark from The Boat That Rocked. Most of his communication involves lighting a cigarette.
  • Bang-Bang from The Brothers Bloom manages to be a deadpan snarker with only roughly two lines throughout the movie.
  • Monica in Don Jon is a classic Silent Bob, communicating mostly by facial expressions (mainly eye-rolls) before finally saying something profound near the end.
  • Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. This is quite popular in slasher movies, as Michael Myers from Halloween has it too. Michael does at one point say something, only in the much reviled Rob Zombie remake sequel. It's "Die". (A monster is only truly scary if there is nothing humanizing about it. They need to stay silent or become defeatable, or worse, relatable.)
  • Sphinx in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). And yes, this involves both a phone call and the odd eloquence at the end of the movie.
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II: When confronted with the new cenobite almost 75% through the film, Tiffany's first word spoken is "Shit!"
  • Harpo of the Marx Brothers. It helps that he can communicate with props from the Hammerspace inside his coat, like the car horn he carries around. And he whistles a lot. It's possible but unconfirmed that he can be heard in Monkey Business, which opens with the brothers singing "Sweet Adeline" while hiding inside barrels on a ship. Notably, that's how the first mate can tell there are four stowaways despite not seeing them — Sweet Adeline is a song for a quartet.
  • In Mickey One, the Artist never speaks, but communicates through exaggerated facial expressions and gestures.
  • MonsterVerse: Many of the more prominent Kaiju/Titans, though bestial, have clearly-realized personalities which are communicated through their actions, their complex facial emoting, and their overall body language. The more expressive Kaiju include Godzilla and Kong themselves, and also Femuto, Ghidorah and Rodan.
  • Basil Hoffman's character in My Favorite Year.
  • Ocean's Eleven and sequels has Yen. Being Chinese, he doesn't know English (yet somehow the others are just OK with his Mandarin...). And most of the times where he does speak, swearing will be involved.
  • Gideon in Pinocchio.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu: Pikachu can communicate with Pokémon just fine, but Mr. Mime only speaks in gestures, being based on mime and all. Thus, Tim is capable of understanding what Mr. Mime is telling them.
  • The Sandman aka "Sandy" from Rise of the Guardians talks by making tiny images out of sand above his head. The other characters understand what he's saying... most of the time.
  • Sharkenstein: Hoskins, the boat driver, doesn't really talk. Rather, her uses hand gestures to communicate.
  • Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • In the Star Wars movies, R2-D2 speaks in an odd binary code that only C-3PO can truly interpret. Still, other characters — and even the viewers — often have no problem figuring out what he's trying to say (or at least his intent).
  • Those Two Guys from Suburban Commando. When they finally do talk, they have impossibly high-pitch voices, and Hogan says, "No wonder you never talk."
  • Killer Croc in Suicide Squad (2016). He snarls frequently, but hardly talks. When he does so, it's either intimidating or hilarious.
  • Up: During the Minor Kidroduction at the start, Carl hardly ever speaks as a child while Ellie hardly stops. Matter of fact, Ellie does all the talking when the two kids are together, and she even claims people who don't talk much are her type. In a case of irony, we never get to hear Ellie's voice as an adult or senior during the montage of Carl and Ellie's married life together.
  • Silent Bob, of course! Since he's played by Kevin Smith (the writer and director of the Askewniverse films), he has the fewest lines to memorize and some of the best dialogue, whether it's getting in a good joke, making with the wisdom, or saving the day. But the majority of the time, he just won't speak, which tends to frustrate Jay, as Bob is taciturn and the smart one. It never seems to occur to Jay that Bob is usually silent because Jay never shuts up and Bob can't get a word in edgewise.
    • Jay, possibly as a result of spending so much time around Bob, doesn't quite believe in the notion that what Bob says is profound just because he's sparing with his words; he finds Bob's speech in Chasing Amy (describing an experience of his own that mirrors Ben Affleck's situation and cautioning him against making the same mistake) largely pretentious, and lampshades the profundity aspect of this trope.
    • And in Clerks II, Bob is asked for advice... and "I got nothin'."
    • Bob caps off the gag in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot wherein his only spoken dialogue is reciting/adapting Alec Baldwin's monologue from Glengarry Glen Ross to distract The Klan while Jay saves his daughter and her multi-ethnic friends from being lynched.
  • The "Bull" in the Film of the Book Where the Wild Things Are doesn't talk for most of the movie, merely standing stoically to the side, unnerving and intimidating most of the other characters. When he finally does speak, he turns out to be kindhearted and sensitive.

  • In The Black Company there's Silent. He has some kind of vow of silence, which he breaks but once naming the lady and thus sealing her magic power.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo features an old man who is almost completely paralyzed. He communicates with his granddaughter with a system of blinks, and is often described as having a particular expression that gets his point across. It turns out that he's something of a Retired Badass to boot.
  • The Auditors of the Discworld are a variation of this. Since speaking is a sign of individuality, which they abhor because it is so disorderly, instead they change reality to make it as if they had already spoken. Except they haven't. Trying to figure this out starts to cause noticeable mental strain for any living being they deal with.
    • Also in Discworld, the Librarian of Unseen University is a wizard who was turned into an orangutan by a magical accident. He communicates only by shrugs and the word 'ook' (and the occasional 'eek'), but the other wizards 'have just got into the habit of understanding him'.
  • Mac, the proprietor MacAnally's in The Dresden Files is a one-syllable sort of guy. It gets to the point that when Mac says a full sentence, Harry is stunned.
    "He... used grammar."
    • In Changes, Mac speaking in full sentences is a strong indication of how high the stakes have become. By the end of his speech, he is visibly drained.
    • Another surprise example in Changes is Mouse, Harry's dog. It's not that he tries to be silent — it's that no one else could understand him until that point.
    • Yoshimo, one of the young Wardens Harry meets in Dead Beat, speaks both seldom and tersely. One of the few times she does speak (a single word) is to tell a noisy opponent from War Cry to shut up already.
  • The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway features an entire troupe of literal Heroic Mimes, only one of whom ever speaks as he's the designated communicator.
  • In the Halo Expanded Universe novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, there's a character named Lucy, who is a Spartan-III of Beta Company. One of the only two survivors of the operation that saw the entirety of Beta Company wiped out except for her and one other male Spartan, she has been unable to speak since then, which is chalked up to post-traumatic stress. Nonetheless, she's still an effective officer and trainer who knows how to get her point across. In Halo: Glasslands she finally speaks, after punching Dr. Halsey in the face.
  • In most live-action adaptations of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (the darkest and scariest of the three) never speaks, but gets his point across to Scrooge just fine without doing so.
  • In The Malloreon, Toth is a subversion. He's a mute, and throughout the series he communicates with Durnik through obscure gestures that none of the other characters understand but which Durnik has no problem translating into complex ideas. It turns out Toth's people share a Group Consciousness, and his gestures are a cover for him implanting what he wants to convey directly into Durnik's mind, in a manner that's vaguely described but apparently distinct from the normal mind-to-mind communication some of the other characters are capable of.
  • In MARZENA we have Sandra, the female version of this trope and who communicates using 99.9% body language. Made more troubling by the Author using French Quotation marks for the few times where she does say anything.
  • Nina Tanleven: The majority of the ghosts in the series make no sounds, or at most a cry of rage or sorrow, getting their points across by mere gestures and expressions. Played with by Alida Fletcher in The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed, the first ghost whom Chris and Nine have met that actually speaks — they hear her calling for her father, but she never speaks directly to them, instead again relying on gestures and expressions. Also played with by Phoebe Watson, Alida’s younger sister, whose ghost speaks a single word right after she dies but otherwise just communicates through action.
  • In The Three Musketeers, Athos has shades of this. He's even trained his manservant to respond to entirely nonverbal cues and gestures.
  • The German novel series Die Wilden Fussballkerle give us Maxi "Tippkick" Maximilian. If he talks, it's important. Even on the phone he's usually silent. PlayedForDrama in his own book, when he loses his voice and nobody notices.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rongar from The Adventures of Sinbad, although in his case it wasn't exactly optional — he didn't have a tongue.
  • An All in the Family episode features a hippie couple, the girl of whom never speaks with her boyfriend explaining that she only talks with her eyes. Archie is predictably skeptical: "Open wide and let's hear the Gettysburg Address!" Even Mike and Gloria become frustrated with them, with Gloria yelling at the girl to shut up while the guy is in the middle of explaining yet another thing she's supposedly saying.
  • Subverted with Heartfire in Season 4 of Arrested Development. She only communicates through thoughts (which are shown as words in front of her onscreen), but everybody misinterprets her.
  • The Big Bang Theory plays it straight then subverts it in the The Bow Tie Asymmetry episode in which Amy and Sheldon get married. In that episode Amy's mother played by Kathy Bates never lets her husband played by Teller get a word in edgewise and always answer questions addressed to him in his place. That is until she makes a scene at the wedding and and Penny tells her to zip it. Only then does Mrs Fowler ask her husband to say something and he tells Penny "Thank you."
  • In an episode of Black Books, Manny and Bernard individually go to a counselor who simply listens to them talk through their problems until they come to a breakthrough all by themselves.
  • Silent Keith from the 2010 season of Canada's Worst Handyman was one of these.
  • Casey on Chuck is The Silent Bob by comparison with the rest of the cast. His tendency to respond to things that irritate, anger or amuse (mostly the first two) him with grunts is lampshaded frequently, to the point that Chuck even has a coding system to identify what a particular grunt means. Adam Baldwin is also a master with his facial expressions, and Casey is hilariously terrifying when his Berserk Button is being pushed (see Casey's steadily building rage when Morgan has to anger him to break his affliction with "couch lock" in "Chuck Versus the Couch Lock." He goes from paralyzed to Unstoppable Rage without being able to move or speak). Additionally, Casey can also be incredibly profound when he does break his silence on matters such as Chuck and Sarah's relationship.
  • Matt Rutherford in Glee throughout the first season, he has a total of two lines. He later returns in the final season and says hello to Mercedes and nothing else.
  • Death's skeletons in Horrible Histories.
  • Before the above, Disney was already doing this with Lanny in Lizzie McGuire. Mr. and Mrs. McGuire are amazed when Matt has a phone conversation with Lanny, who is always shown as being mute — yet Matt and Melina understand him perfectly.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Buzz Rodriguez. he doesn't speak until the Volunteering episode, mostly due to things being fine up to that point.
  • Tran in New Girl manages to be a Magical Asian and Nick identifies him as his best friend, despite uttering only one sentence on-screen, ever.
  • Darryl and Darryl from Newhart, except in the series finale.
  • Marilyn Whirlwind from Northern Exposure is the extremely laconic foil to the high-strung Dr. Fleischman.
  • The Butler in The Prisoner (1967) never uttered a sound, and was rather stoic, though he could be startled from time to time.
  • Mr. Foley from Remember WENN.
  • Giorgy from the SCTV "Hey Giorgy" sketch was a Silent Bob, even using a variation of the Coolidge line "You lose...Comrade!" (see Real Life below)
  • Effy from Skins; her tongue might have loosened a bit in the second season (after her lines in the first involved, basically, one cut-off monologue and a scream), but expressive tics and eyebrow twitches are still a major part of her communication strategy.
  • Morn from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Subversion: he is never shown talking, but other characters frequently comment on how gregarious, funny, charming, etc. he is.
    • One early episode actually shows Morn screaming, as part of a violent mob — but he has no audible lines; it's just crowd noise.
    • Expanded Universe material goes on to establish that, once he gets talking, the trick is getting him to shut up.
    • The Silent Bob is actually a Hat for one of the races in in Star Trek; exemplified by Grand Negus Zek's personal valet Maihar'du who has taken a vow of silence to anyone other than his lord. This is seen as quite common for the Hupyrian species.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lwaxana Troi's valet Mr. Homn. He speaks exactly one time, in "Haven": "Thank you for the drinks."
  • Norman the Doorman in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.

  • Meg White is the Silent Bob of that pair. Of course, when she does speak, it's pure sex in audio form.
  • Ninja Brian from Ninja sex party is this, combined with a fair dose of badass.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ron Simmons of WWE, leading up to his singular and simple catchphrase: "Damn!"
  • During the late 1990s, Edge, Christian and Gangrel. When they were known as The Brood. Though they all became more chatty over time, during their early days, they never spoke a single word.
  • WWE Diva Jazz rarely ever spoke. Part because she usually had Teddy Long as her mouthpiece, part because she had a scowl that said more than words could.
  • Brock Lesnar rarely speaks, due to the fact that his voice is a bit too high pitched to be intimidating (and he's not a great talker anyway) so Paul Heyman often serves as his mouthpiece.
  • From October 1996 to January 1998, Sting never spoke on camera to add mystique to his new Crow-esque persona.

  • Sheriff Earl in All Shook Up.
  • Susan the Silent in Finian's Rainbow, who communicates through dance. She finally talks near the end of the show, when a wish makes it possible for her.
  • In the musical Once Upon a Mattress, the King has been cursed with muteness. As a result, all his "lines" are delivered by miming. He even features in two songs! But when he does get the chance to speak, boy, does he ever relish in it (the kindest you could say about his wife is that she's a domineering, insufferable shrew. The most accurate you could say about his wife is not fit for public conversation).
  • Lucky in Waiting for Godot is silent through most of the play, until he is asked to 'think', when he issues forth a three page speech of fractured philosophical gibberish.

    Video Games 
  • This is a common but not universal trait for male protagonists in H-games. It's lampshaded in the collaboration scenario of Monster Girl Quest! Paradox RPG, which brings together the protagonists of seven H-games. Three of them (Lars, Novissa and Lauratt) never talk yet are readily understood by other characters, while the remaining four talk freely.
  • Despite Boris the Wolf not speaking a word while he's with Henry in Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapters 2 and 3, Henry seems to understand him quite well. He understands that Boris will only give him the lever to open the safe house door once he's given Boris soup, he understands that Boris is too frightened to walk down the dark hallway without a light near him, and so on.
  • The player character from Dark Souls is never heard to speak. However, he/she can respond yes or no to questions, and dialogue from other characters implies that they do in fact speak. For example, Quelaag's Sister's dialogue implies that the player character is crying.
  • Ward, after becoming permanently mute in Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Kimahri of Final Fantasy X remains silent most of the time, and doesn't say a word for a long time after his initial appearance, so when his mouth opens, you listen.
    • It gets to the point that his first line of dialogue isn't until you're about a quarter of the way through the game (roughly at the 12-hour mark).
  • Golden Sun player characters are traditionally limited to pantomime and nodding/shaking yes or no to questions (which always seem to end in "But Thou Must!")... but only when you're playing as them. In the first game, Felix is very aloof toward the player characters but a devoted protector to the hostages, and Isaac is The Silent Bob. In The Lost Age, Felix is The Silent Bob, and Isaac's new speaking role reveals that he gets abrasive under pressure.
    • Felix gets a grand total of two lines in TLA, and one of them is a Visible Silence. The other is a mistake (his portrait gets displayed instead of Sheba's in order to say: "Why?").
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn continues the trend, but plays with it a bit more. Matthew ("Mut" in the Japanese versions) is far more expressive than his predecessors thanks partly to the new emoticon reactions, and in the American version he even has a rather specific reaction to encountering Arcanus in the final dungeon. However, the dialogue his friends have around him mentions that he is this in-universe, to the point of being reluctant to introduce himself when asked.
      That's Matthew. He doesn't talk much.
  • Kevin Smith in Killer7, appropriately enough. The creators claim they weren't familiar with the real-life director.
  • Inverted by the Elcor from Mass Effect. Their body language is too subtle for any other species to detect (and their voices utterly monotone), so they must verbally declare each and every emotion.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has Quiet, a Cold Sniper who, throughout most of the game, never speaks a word. The most vocalization she is observed doing is humming while sniping. This is not because she can't speak, but because she is infected with an English language-attuned strain of vocal cord parasites, a bioweapon that could possibly destroy the world by robbing it of its most common language if she ever spoke in English. The most she talks is with Code Talker in Navajo, and the one time she is forced to speak in English to save Snake's life, she immediately disappears into the desert to ensure her parasites die with her.
  • In Moshi Monsters there is the chief of the Woolly Green Hoodoos who is said to be "the strong silent type" and "words are not his thing, man".
  • In Mother 3, the protagonist is always silent. Once they retire the title, they can speak again, and sometimes cutscenes will go back to an earlier conversation and reveal what the now vocal character said.
    • An NPC, Leder, never utters a single word and people acknowledge it. When Leder DOES speak, he reveals an Awful Truth to Lucas about the history of the island, revealing how everyone on the island was brainwashed to prevent a second global apocalypse from happening.
  • Taken very literally in Overwatch. Ashe's robot butler is named B.O.B. and doesn't talk, but is rather expressive with his body language and blinking.
  • Red from Pokémon Gold and Silver speaks only in ellipses, as a nod to his role in the previous games.
  • Giorgio, the silent limousine driver in Roundabout never speaks and only communicates with facial expressions, eye rolling, eyebrow raising, and silent sighing. Everyone understands her perfectly without her saying a single word.
  • The Playa gets this treatment in the first Saints Row, only speaking four times in total: once at the end of the three individual gang storylines, and once in the final mission. They become much more talkative in the later games, including the ability to choose a voice for them (in the first game their voice is dependent on what race you set them as).
  • SongBird Symphony: Egbert, an egg with only two feet poking out. Player Character Birb always answers as if Egbert talked.
  • Edgar Fenn from Spirits of Anglerwood Forest. He has full conversations with numerous characters using only his expressions. He only speaks twice, but we don't actually hear him, instead hearing other characters repeat what he just said.
  • The Suikoden series, with the exception of III, has all of it's heroes as Heroic Mimes, their only emotion readable by expressions on their faces. While the first two games are limited by PSX graphics, they do show surprise and confusion. Suikoden V, however, gives the main character a wide variety of expressions and conveys his emotions with his only dialogue being player choices.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario is possibly the epitome of this trope in Paper Mario. All he has to do is open his mouth for three seconds to say a whole sentence.
    • It gets to ridiculous extremes in Super Mario RPG where Mario can not only bounce all over the place and flail his arms about to tell his side of the story, he can shapeshift into other characters as he explains the situation.
  • Volt is this in Tales of Symphonia, speaking only in Visible Silence and not even making noise during his fight (aside from the lightning strikes that occur when he attacks.) He also doubles as The Unintelligible, since everyone acknowledges that he's indeed communicating, but only Raine can actually understand what he's "saying".
  • The player character in Zettai Hero Project never speaks a word of dialogue, but he can say volumes with a single Sweat Drop.

    Web Animation 
  • Raincloud from Friendship is Witchcraft. Never speaks, and doesn't even have any expressions (because she's literally a rain cloud), yet she's somehow able to have a "conversation" with Rainbow Dash in her first scene.
    Rainbow Dash: Now, careful Raincloud!
    Raincloud: ...
    Rainbow Dash: Yeah. It's a mystery.
  • Literally every single character on Happy Tree Friends.
  • The Poopsmith from Homestar Runner.
  • Gradient Joe from Bugbo. He doesn't speak a word, and yet he's incredibly smart and frequently comes up with clever solutions to problems he and his friends face.
  • Sips's faithful sidekick Sneeze from Dingo Doodles Fool's Gold series has no tongue, but can communicate his thoughts fluently with Sips and the rest of the party, using only his facial expressions. And the occasional flick of his switchblades.

  • Champions of Far'aus: The Stage Thief doesn't speak (likely to help conceal their identity), even with the member of Sarengal's cult they work with. Since their face is concealed, they can't use facial expressions to convey how they feel either, so they have to use body language and exaggerated movements to get their point across, such as tapping their feet impatiently when they expect to be payed by the cultist inspecting their latest batch of stolen loot.
  • Girl Genius: Punch, one of the Heterodyne Boys' creations and assistants, was unable to speak. Heterodyne shows often characterized him as "big, slow, and stupid," but in truth he was smart, strong, loyal, kind, and dignified, and he and his counterpart Judy had no trouble communicating. Now that Gil fixed him, he can talk, but he won't shut up.
  • Flying Man and Friends: Mr. Stinky, one of two characters, does not speak, nor does he use thought bubbles. But Flying Man somehow still manages to carry on conversations with him.
  • Keychain of Creation: Ragara Karen traded her voice to Berengire, the Weaver of Voices.
  • Lackadaisy: Viktor speaks, but communicates more effectively with facial expression. In this preview comic, he and Mordecai have a mild argument. Victor never says a word. Mordecai reacts entirely to Viktor's facial expressions.
  • Lil' Char and the Gang: Despite Bulbasaur only speaking in Pokémon Speak, his friends can understand him perfectly. It seems like the older 'mons have more trouble, though.
  • Never Satisfied: Broom Girl. So far she has yet to say more than a single sentence at a time, but she and Tetsu coordinate seamlessly.
  • Outsider:
    • A Zig-Zagging Trope for the Loroi as a whole. They generally play it straight, as they rely on their sanzai ability for normal conversation and speak aloud only in unusual circumstances but are quite "vocal" in their facial expressions, body language, and actions. This strip is a prime example, showing Beryl and Cloud's reactions to Fireblade using her TK abilities to manhandle the human main character, Alex Jardin. However, during a space battle, Jardin sees that all the officers are speaking in the Trade Language; Beryl explains that with everything going on, vocal communication is more efficient than sanzai, and its limited range makes vocal communication between ships necessary. Later on, the diplomatic officer Tempo notes that her caste, the Mizol, is trained in spoken language and negotiation, to better serve their functions.
    • Justified by the Unsheathed's traditional vow to not speak outside of danger. Fireblade, the one Unsheathed who is part of the main cast, is yet to speak, but it's very obvious through her body language and actions that she has a low opinion of Jardin and doesn't trust him one iota.
  • Penny and Aggie: Jack talks when he needs to, but hardly ever needs to.
  • Scandinavia and the World: Finland rarely speaks, and if he does, it's Finnish, unless Sister Sweden forces him to or he's in the sauna.
  • Strays: Feral is mute, but his wide hand gestures, combined with Unsound Effect, make him perfectly understandable.
  • Touhou Journal brings us Reimu, able to hold kindly conversations with other characters without ever speaking a word. There are other characters who are also silent, such as Kisume, fellow miko Sanae, and Unzan, all of which identify very strongly with Reimu. The speaking characters often lampshade this.

    Web Original 
  • Balabalalde in the "Improfanfic" series Dark Heart High has so many bandage shaped Power Limiters over his entire body and face, he communicates exclusively by blinking his right eye and moving his head. This is played straight and funny throughout the series.

    Web Video 
  • Jonathan, Ophthalmology's Loyal Scribe in the Dr Glaucomflecken series communicates entirely through terse nods and simple facial expressions. He is able to carry entire conversations this way, even over the phone.

    Western Animation 
  • Ms. Mimi in one episode Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps communicates with the titular character and her friends through writing notes, head shakes, and music. All because she has laryngitis.
    • In fact, early in the episode, an yogurt selling mouse greets Angelina and Vici by using a bell in his cart and waving his hand on them.
  • A minor character from the Avatar: The Last Airbender series, called Longshot. He's an expert archer who is part of Jet's group. At first he's just a background character, but when Jet reappears in Season 2, intent on reforming himself and making a new life, Longshot is one of only two characters from the group with him, and although he never speaks the others frequently react to his looks as though he does. (Often with replies like "That's deep", or "Good point", and so on.) Probably a bit of a Silent Bob homage. (Like Bob, he does break his silence, but only at the very end, when Jet is dying and he tells the main character's group to go ahead of them and catch the Evil Chancellor responsible.)
    • This trope was specifically mentioned in the Avatar: The Abridged Series and called "Silent Bob Syndrome". Because he couldn't object, Jet called him by whatever insulting name he could think up.
  • Troubadour, one of Babar's ministers in the original 1989-2000 series is an small elephant that never speaks but his body language express his feelings easily.
  • In Camp WWE, Goldust is so good at communicating through pantomime that he can somehow make himself understood over the phone.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Courage tends to do this when trying to explain something to Eustace or Muriel by shapeshifting into various things. The only sounds he makes in these events are various... grunts, for the lack of a better term. However, he tends to talk normally otherwise.
  • King of the Hill: Boomhauer isn't silent, exactly, but his complete and utter unintelligibility goes unnoticed by most characters, especially Hank, who according to Bobby often quotes Boomhauer's wisdom.
  • Mr. Funny in The Mr. Men Show. He only honks during Season 2 of the show run.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Rescue at Midnight Castle", Habbit, the Moochick's long-suffering rabbit assistant, never speaks out loud, and communicates purely through body languages, pointing, tapping the Moochick's shoulder and a variety of exasperated facial expressions.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: DJ Pon-3 is depicted this way in her Rainbow Rocks animated short as well as the film itself, communicating solely with gestures. In the novelization, she only talks through text messages, possibly due to actually being The Speechless. The Lower-Deck Episode shows that the same goes for her main universe counterpart as well.
  • Jumbo Ninja of Oh No! It's An Alien Invasion usually speaks with actions, not with words.
  • Snoopy is this in almost every Peanuts animated special and movie, most notably What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!. Creator Charles Schulz had considered many ways to animate his thoughts into speech, before deciding not to have him speak at all and communicate only in pantomime, which worked out rather well.
  • Pete the Cat on Pete the Cat. He normally isn't even depicted with a visible mouth, but his friends can usually still understand what he's trying to tell them. He usually talks or sings about Once per Episode, generally to express the episode's Aesop.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Ferb Fletcher, who despite being a main character, only speaks about once or twice per episode. He also rarely shows facial expressions, but can usually be interpreted by others, especially his brother Phineas. Sometimes they do fail to, though, usually for humorous effect.
    • Perry is an even better example, given that he can't speak, only purr. And, though Doofenshmirtz has shown to be able to understand what he "says", Perry is mostly just understood by facial expressions and some small actions (like greeting with his hat, pointing or even facepalming). In the episode "Minor Monogram," however, Doof expressly states that he pretends Perry is talking about recent movies he's seen.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sunspot and Moonbeam do not talk, but use body language and sound effects to communicate.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding", teenage Maggie is described as being a chatterbox — but then she merely rolls her eyes at her father in silence.
    • She's also supposed to have an angelic singing voice, but she gets cut off just as she's preparing to do so. All the audience gets is the sound of her inhaling.
    • Lampshaded in "Three Gays of the Condo" where Homer says that his only worthwhile creation was Lisa. When Maggie takes offense, Homer replies with "Prove me wrong, Silent Bob."
      • Notably, Maggie has said exactly two words in actually canonical episodes: her first word, "Daddy" and later, "Ja."
      • Don't forget when the kids were fostered by the Flanders and nearly baptized...on the way to the river, Maggie spins her head around ala The Exorcist and says "Daddily doodily!"
      • "Sequel?"
    • Maggie can Silent Bob with the best of them, canon be damned.
  • Tangled: The Series: Angry and Red are two girl thieves that Eugene and Lance rescued from thugs in exchange of their own freedom. Red does not says much, but when she does, it is to deliver an Armor-Piercing Response:
  • In Theodore Tugboat, some of the docks are characters who only ever say a certain phrase — like "Uh-huh," or "Nope," which often leads to the character facing a moral dilemma in the story extracting profound wisdom.
  • In Tom and Jerry, both Tom and Jerry almost never speak in the shorts, usually leaving the talking to other characters. There were occasional times where both protagonists would speak, usually briefly as a gag or when singing. A particular gag about their voices was they were never consistent. Tom often switched from having the smooth voice of a Jazz musician, an eerie echoing voice, or a stereotypical Simpleton Voice, sometimes all in the same cartoon. In one short, Jerry narrates the story about Tom losing the love of his life in the voice of an older gentleman.
  • B from Total Drama Revenge of the Island, is not known for speaking. He even has his own personal interpreter to communicate what he wants to say.
  • Mayor Edsel from Transformers: Animated, who communicates solely with body language interpreted by his aide.
    • In Transformers: Prime, Soundwave rarely says anything, but on occasion will play back a voice clip of another character talking (with some distortion reminiscent of G1 Soundwave's voice).
      • He finally talks after being captured by the Autobots, right before crashing his own hard drive.
  • Gromit, of Wallace & Gromit fame. While he does not say anything, apart from rare yelp or bark, he remains nonverbal but his single eyebrow speaks volumes.

    Real Life 
  • Mimes, by definition, are supposed to be this, performers who entertain with body language alone. (Just how good one is at it is another story.)
  • The ironically named Teller of illusionist duo Penn & Teller. Teller is small, silent, subtle and extremely polite, while Penn is big, loud, flashy, long-winded and obnoxious. Penn behaves like this in every public appearance and never breaks character, giving them a unique advantage as magicians: everyone's so used to Penn's distracting behavior, it never occurs to them it's deliberate misdirection.
    • Teller does, however, speak freely when he is not "in character", i.e. after shows to fans and in print and radio interviews (though in the latter he often jokes that he can't be the real Teller — because, of course, Teller never talks). In stage and television appearances he is always silent, though on some rare occasions he has been shown speaking in documentaries with his face obscured.
    • In interviews, Teller has said his silence on stage goes back to his early years of performing at frat parties; if he remained silent, people were less inclined to heckle and throw beer and instead focused on his performance. Today, if you see him perform one of his solo tricks, you may have trouble discerning whether you're watching magic or performance art; his silence just makes it that much more poignant.
    • Additionally, Penn Jillette has said that in their magic shows, Teller talks at least once during every show — but it has to be a gimmick. Things like being inaudible because a loud woodchipper is drowning out his voice, or speaking audibly but while pretending to be an animatronic puppet of himself, or simply arguing with Penn off-mic.
    • This tradition continues in Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, too: Penn jokes in one episode about how Teller yells at him a lot. In the opening of another episode, Penn brands Teller, who is just barely offscreen, causing him to scream "MOTHERFUCKER!", and Penn to exclaim "Hey cool, he can talk!". And the episode on hypnosis starts with Teller speaking in a loud and dramatic voice for a good 35 seconds (he's trying to hypnotize Penn), though he's only seen from the neck down as the camera focuses on Penn lying down.
    • To show just how powerful the Silent Bob effect is: Once, while hosting at a magic convention, they switched roles. They were introduced as "Teller & Penn", and Teller spoke while Penn stayed silent. It brought the house down.
      Teller: "My name is Teller, and this is my partner Penn Jillette: we are Teller & Penn."
      Audience: *goes wild*
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, went from February 22, 2006 through January 14, 2013 without speaking to the lawyers before him preferring to issue almost all his opinions via writing, a streak of close to seven years. He broke his silence to say, according to official transcripts, "Well — he did not" in response to a joke before being drowned out by the noise of the courtroom. As of now, his streak is a record for the Court. Thomas himself has said (in a speech to high school students in 2000) "I just think that it's more in my nature to listen rather than to ask a bunch of questions, and they get asked anyway."
  • American president Calvin Coolidge (nicknamed "Silent Cal"), who famously was told by a woman at a dinner party that a friend of hers had bet her she couldn't get Coolidge to say at least three words to her all evening. Coolidge's response? "You lose."
    • Or, in Dave Barry's retelling of it: "Fuck you."
    • Upon hearing about Coolidge's death in 1933, writer Dorothy Parker joked "How could they tell?"

Alternative Title(s): Silent Bob