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Third-Person Person

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Dr. Lutz: Tell me, why do you insist on referring to yourself in the third person? It's intensely irritating!
Hercule Poirot: It helps Poirot to keep a distance from his genius.
Poirot, "The Labours of Hercules"

A Third-Person Person is a character who always refers to themselves in the third person. Folks from different cultures actually do this for wildly different reasons.

In Japanese media, this is a standard tic of very young children. As a result, girls who are childish or cutesy may be seen referring to themselves in this manner by their own name and their loved ones' names rather than using pronouns like (w)atashi. Due to the proliferation of Kawaisa, which conflates childishness and youth with femininity, it's roughly as feminine as referring to oneself with atashi, and males who refer to themselves in third-person are almost certainly implicated to be In Touch with His Feminine Side, if not outright Camp Gay. In older characters, however, it may be a sign of psychological issues, such as a very traumatic event in their past. It also may be a sign of humility, so samurai and noblewomen usually refer to themselves in the third person when talking to their lords, or just that the adult is a Manchild. If a character transitions into a Third-Person Person over the course of the series, watch out for signs of Yandere and/or The Mentally Disturbed, and keep tabs on all pointy objects.

It should be noted that third-person speak is about illeism (literally "that-ism" or "he-ism"; the Latin pronoun ille largely evolved into words for "the", "he", or the dummy "it" in Romance languages such as French or Spanish). In other words, you would refer to yourself not only by name, but also by a third-person pronoun (he, she, or they) as if you were talking about someone else. If the speaker does this only for a story in which they are revealed as the central character, it's …And That Little Girl Was Me or Narrator All Along.

The so-called "third person" in a Japanese (or East Asian for that matter) sense isn't the same as using "he" or "she" to talk about oneself, however. In fact, the "third person" for Japanese people stops at only using one's own name to substitute first-person pronouns (watashi, ore, boku, etc.). This may sound strange to Western ears, but anyone who does this still very much speaks in some sort of playful, childlike first person, not the actual third person that Westerners would think of. Nobody actually refers to themself as kare ("he"), kanojo ("she"), koitsu/soitsu/aitsu / kono/sono/ano hito ("they") (in fact, the so-called third-person pronouns in general aren't even commonly used to begin with, given Japanese people's value on people's names which makes it rude and crass to overuse these words). A misunderstanding of this phenomenon may cause some amateur fan translators to jump all over the place, using Western-style third-person speak in some places, while going back to first-person speak in others. The only feasible solutions to this translation predicament is to simply substitute every instance of "I" and "me" with the character's name and try to conform to European grammars with "is", "was", "has" and whatnot (which is of course actually infeasible because it will make the translation awkward to read and give the reader a false impression of a culture they're ignorant about), or just stick with "I" and "me", because at the end of the day, some things just gotta be Lost in Translation.

On the other side of the globe, Western characters who referred to themselves in the third person were traditionally seen as vain, unintelligent, egotistical, or self-absorbed — the implication being that he is so in awe of himself that even he views himself objectively. Or the character is a Hulk Speaking primitive. Or the character could be just a Cloudcuckoolander with a weird speech mannerism. An egotistical villain will especially refer to himself in this fashion if he has a cool or impressive-sounding name or title. Sometimes a character with Acquired Situational Narcissism will temporarily become a Third-Person Person as a sign of his suddenly expanded ego. There are examples of this trope used in the Japanese way, though, such as Elmo from Sesame Street, just as there are pompous egomaniacs who use the third person out of pure self-importance in Japanese works (a particularly famous example is Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure).

At the same time, many vain and self-centered people are very fond of using the pronoun "I"; in this context, the third person self-referral can be seen as exactly the opposite: a sign of self-irony and not taking oneself too seriously. In Eastern religions, like Hinduism or Buddhism, it may be a sign of enlightenment. Some, like Ma Yog Laxmi and Swami Ramdas, referred to themselves in this way in order to detach their true selves from temporary ones (Jnana Yoga actually encourages its practitioners to do this). Interestingly, according to latest psychological studies, this seems to be Truth in Television: individuals who think and speak of themselves in the third person tend to have greater wisdom, empathy, and better mental health due to the ability to distance emotionally from one's problems.

See also Hulk Speak and Verbal Tic; may also overlap with Narrating the Present. Almost as bad as people who insist their name has a "The" in there somewhere. Pokémon Speak is when a character says their name over and over because it's literally the only thing they can say.

For more examples of this trope, both real and fictional, check out a thematic category on The Other Wiki.

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  • A commercial for Progressive auto insurance has a guy who comes into "the Progressive store" to talk with Flo about auto insurance refers to himself in this manner, confusing her at first. Then another associate shows up and he gets confused as well, leading Flo to be all "Here we go again."

  • In Happy Heroes, Mr. Lightbulb's son Lightbulb Jr., being the young little boy he is, speaks like this.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf:
    • Large Ham Wolffy is prone to speaking about himself in the third person, for emphasis. Even more in Chinese.
    • Brother Tai speaks about himself as Brother Tai. Very hammy. More frequent in Chinese.
    • The goats and Wilie do it at times (it's not considered as hammy an act in Mandarin).

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County has a confusingly ungrammatical early strip where Cutter John soliloquizes as both "I, Cutter John" and "himself" in the same sentence.
  • Calvin and Hobbes has a short arc where Calvin demands that he be called "Calvin the Bold", going on to say that "Calvin the Bold will begin referring to himself in the third person." Then his dad knighted him with the name Mud, and the whole charade disappeared very quickly.
  • Garfield: Garfield does this whenever he becomes The Caped Avenger.
  • Bucky Katt from Get Fuzzy would occasionally refer to himself in the third person. For one thing, it was because of his ego but he also did it to tick off Rob.
  • Lucy van Pelt did this when she was very young, in early Peanuts strips.
  • Terry and the Pirates has several of these: Dragon Lady, Sanjak, Rouge, Klang...

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) fanfiction, San (the former left head of Ghidorah) when referring to himself doesn't use first-person pronouns, substituting them with "this one" or not using them altogether, due to the abuse he suffered from Ghidorah's other two heads over a Time Abyss long life convincing him that he's slow and worthless. This disappears as San's Character Development progresses, whilst his clone San-Who-Could-Have-Been/Youngest Brother (who lacks all of San's Character Development) continues being a Third-Person Person.
  • In the novelization of Arknights event story 'Mansfield Break', Jayston note  falls into this time to time. In this version, it is how Robin picks out that he is her employer. It seems that it is mostly used to add creepiness, as it makes the line where he goes One-Winged Angel very creepy note :
    Jayston: Jayston is just so happy, Anthony!
  • The quirky zombie priestess Adelleh from these two Looking for Group fanfic speaks like this, combining this with You No Take Candle.
  • Johnny Steps, the egotistical pseudo-DDR player in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. He does this to a lesser extent in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! as well.
  • Rando the copy-demon from Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged. Likely tied into his entirely fabricated egotistical rapper character within said series.
  • Likewise Recoome in Dragon Ball Abridged, as part of his Professional Wrestling theme.
  • Some fanfics, like Dead Men Tell No Tales, describe Tia Dalma as one of these. It may be the result of her broken English.
  • Stalkkus in the Fan Film Godzilla vs. the Kaiju Killer.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: Hatsuzakura's inner monologues are narrated like this. Konotegashiwa's using the soregashi pronoun is sometimes translated as referring to himself as "this humble warrior" in this manner. Sasanoyuki talks about his past self this way in his last kiwame letter.
  • Turnabout Storm: The GREAT and POWERFUL Trixie, of course. To the point when she doesn't do this Twilight knows something is up.
    • The idea that Trixie falls back on first-person speech when she loses her cool is common in fanfiction because it happened in canon first.
  • In the Supernatural fan-comics by "Lordwhat", Sam Winchester often refers to himself as 'Sam', actually complaining about someone else describing themself in the third person at one point.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: After the Crisis Crossover, Trixie Lulamoon is so amused by her grandstanding oddball counterpart that she's taken to using some of her mannerisms as a goof.
  • Tsukey from Hivefled. She's not childish or arrogant, just a little odd. Parts of her design were inspired by Emilie Autumn, and the song "Opheliac" includes the line "she speaks in third person so she can forget that she's me".
  • Resonance Days:
    • Though Oblivion doesn't speak like this anymore, she apparently used to, as a further signifier of her childish status. This foreshadows her true identity as one of the Third Person People to appear in the original material... though which one is anyone's guess.
    • Also Ticky Nikki, who is just plain nuts.
  • In the fan comic Friendship Is Tragic (not to be confused with the fanfic of the same name), the background unicorn usually known as Twinkleshine is actually Moondancer and refers to herself in third person. The result of this is that, except for her so-called friends, nopony knows that she is Moondancer, Equestria's most famous blogger, because everypony thinks that she just talks about Moondancer all the time and that her actual name is Twinkle. Once she actually tried to say "me" but found that she literally couldn't. Hilarity Ensues in the one-part comic in which Moondancer and The Great and Powerful Trixie meet — without really knowing.
    Moondancer: "Moondancer is greater than this Trixie!"
    Trixie: "Is that so? Well, Trixie would like to MEET this Moondancer!"
    Moondancer: "Well Moondancer would like to meet this Trixie!"
    Linky: "Should we..."
    Sparkler: "No, I want to see how long this goes on for."
  • Viktor Krum does it habitually in Blue Steel, much to his mother's annoyance.
    Ana: And what have I told you about speaking in the third person?
    Viktor: Is fun, and should continue?
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Izzy still talks this way sometimes, both as her real self and her video game character Wildcard.
  • In The Nightmare House, Lily Loud, after hearing her parents talk of paying the mortgage, has a nightmare about a monster named Mor-Gaj who speaks in third person.
  • A Certain Droll Hivemind: When talking to The Illegible Aino Sumiko, in the second chapter, and who has given her shopping list to a Third-Person Person, that has a habit of Narrating the Present:
    "Can you get me the stuff on this list?" she said, handing me a freshly written list. "I'll pay you back."
    Her handwriting is not very good.
    "'I can get such things,' Misaka confirms, though she struggles to read some of the things on the list," I said.
    Aino put her hands on her hips - which are not very prominent - and glared up at me. "Are you trying to be funny?" she asked.
    I did not answer. I do not know why people ask so many difficult questions.
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus: The fusion of Easter and Specter addresses the rest of White Gestalt with a Royal "We" to indicate that both components are fine. Gladion lampshades this trope.
    Gladion: Specter, you are referring to yourself in third-person. I think we should be concerned!
  • Vow of Nudity: Walburt the Barbarian slips into this on occasion, seemingly at random.
  • Standard etiquette among Vorta in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine postcanon fic we are the challengers of the unknown (and other fics by the same author) when addressing Founders is to refer to oneself as "this servant" or simply "one." Odo discourages this among the Vorta he personally works with.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Rock says... he is going to lay the smackdown on the jabronis who neglected to mention him here!
  • Not as common, but Mr. Kennedy (...KENNEDY!) still makes it a big deal in his pre-match promo.
  • It's not uncommon for wrestlers to use their title nicknames to refer to themselves. Triple H has been quite guilty of this lately (King of Kings going back on his throne, you know the deal)
  • Subverted in EVOLVE, where Sami Callihan seemed to be referring to himself in third person but was revealed to be in conversation with himself.
  • Kimberly has been a third person person since ending her SHINE losing streak.
  • "... and that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so!"

    Puppet Shows 
  • This is a permanent feature of the puppet for Alain Delon (see Real Life below) in Les Guignols de l'Info.
  • The Muppets: Animal sometimes does this as part of his Hulk Speak.
  • Elmo of Sesame Street does this; it's part of the reason he's so adorable. Not so much ego as he hasn't learned pronouns yet. As such, he will also sometimes refer to someone he's talking to directly in the third person, for example, "Elmo thinks Abby could ask Julia to play again" instead of "I think you could ask Julia to play again."
    • The Mexican version, Plaza Sesamo, has Lola doing it as well, since she's the show's Elmo equivalent.

  • Mitch Benn spends part of one episode of Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music in the third person for tax purposes.
  • Most of the cast of The Navy Lark would slip in and out of whenever it was funny, but C.P.O. Pertwee and Fatso Johnson would do it more than most.
  • Denis King of Hello Cheeky would do this whenever he had just told a terrible, terrible joke. Usually the statement would go along the lines of "How does he think of them?" or "He's working well tonight!"

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: "SNOWFLAME HAS NO CONCEPT OF TIME!"
  • Dad: Dad always refers to himself in his own narrative as "Dad", such as:
    "Hmm...Someday, Dad will have the greatest shed in the neighborhood and the universe."
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • The Bad Future version of Gohan does it once for a gag when Bulma asks if Mr. Gohan would like to stay for dinner.
      Gohan: Mr. Gohan would.
    • In the commentary for that episode, they mention that they considered having him accept Bulma's later offer of staying the night, what with her being single and thus very interested in his, ah...
      Gohan: [same delivery] Mr. Gohan wood.
  • Final Fantasy VII Abridged: Tseng speaks as if he's narrating a movie trailer, and while he refers to himself in third-person, it's never by his actual name, but usually various overwrought qualifiers to make himself sound cooler.
  • Bowl from French Baguette Intelligence refers to himself in third person.
  • Waluigi within the Mario Party TV series, as voiced by The Reverend Inferno.
  • Rafale from Noob: La Quête Légendaire doesn't do it all the time, but still regularly enough for another character to notice and make clear she considers it a little annoying.
  • Caveman of The Time... Guys fame talk like this, but Caveman's prodigious cave-telligence imply this done more for style.
  • Episode 25 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has Johnny Steps refers to himself in the third person because "it makes him a bad guy"

Alternative Title(s): Illeism



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