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Twitchy Eye
aka: Eye Twitch

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In fiction, a Twitchy Eye is never merely a facial tic — for some reason, a twitch reveals your state of mind.

The prevailing notion seems to be that an eye twitch denotes insanity, which can apply to a permanently mad person with a permanent tic, or an unstable character whose twitch manifests along with their madness. As such, it usually accompanies a Broken Smile, and sometimes overlaps with Mad Eye.

Of course, there are other emotions that give characters a Twitchy Eye, including anything from extreme annoyance, to horror, to caffeine. so much that *twitch twitch* has become a standard sound effect in anime and manga, as well as a standard anime gesture of slowly raising a clenched fist with a twitching eye. Might be the prelude to a Villainous Breakdown or a Heroic BSoD.

Other times it's not a mood, but an action — such as lying — that will bring about the twitch.

In Real Life, a twitching eyelid can be sign of emotional instability, but it's usually a sign of tiredness, severe stress, or a mineral deficiency.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass: When Viletta has been convinced by Shirley to pose in an anime-tight bikini, she gets a full on dose of this. With a little Foreshadowing:
    Viletta: You'll die a thousand deaths for this, Shirley.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: The Lunatic Magician does this when Marcille manages to hit back during their magic duel. It's even helpfully subtitled!
  • Happened once to Android 18 in a filler scene of Dragon Ball Z, in the Buu Saga, when Master Roshi had a chance to sexually harass her.
  • Kaname gets this a lot in the high school parts of Full Metal Panic!, mostly due to Sousuke.
  • Yukako in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable has the tendency for her left eye to twitch when she is stressed.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko does this when Gamagoori tells her all of her required duties as president of her newly-formed Fight Club.
  • Koihime†Musou: Kan'u develops an eye twitch when annoyed.
  • Kagami does this occasionally in Lucky Star, when she's trying to deal with Konata.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Natasha Zabikov gets one when a boy calls her "Old Lady."
  • In Naruto, Sasuke does this a few times in part one.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Max does this after Ash defeats Norman in a Pokémon battle.
  • Nenene in R.O.D the TV, multiple times in furious frustration with her new roommates.
  • Hiro-chan in Shadow Star has this shortly before she snaps.
  • The otherwise unflappable Xellos got an eye-twitch in Slayers TRY after Filia called him "raw garbage".
  • In Sonic X, Knuckles' eye has been seen twitching when he was extremely angry on a few occasions.
  • Tiger & Bunny: Karina gets this when she and the other heroes are asked to try to calm down the mayor's infant son, a telekinetic whose powers activate when he gets frustrated.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Pretty Boy Ryuji Otogi/Duke Devlin gets a twitchy eye when he's losing to Yami Yugi at a game of Dungeon Dice Monsters (Which he invented). Ouch.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Adam@home: Laura can get pretty annoyed at Adam's antics once in a while, and shows it by twitching.
  • Foxtrot: Said during an abysmal vacation:
    "Your eye twitches like that when you're happy right?"
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin’s Mom doesn’t take it very well when she finds out that Calvin has Chicken Pox and will have to stay in quarantine for a week.
    Mom: Calvin has to stay inside for a week?!
    Calvin’s Doctor: That’s a nasty twitch you’ve developed.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) fanfiction, Vivienne Graham has a twitch in her brow after snapping out of her PTSD-induced Berserker episode.
  • A New Problem: Horace's eyes twitch due to the stress of being the leader and processing Alfe's betrayal.
  • Anger Management: Lincoln's eye twitches in anger when Lynn steals his victory undies.
  • Burning Secret:
    • Lincoln’s eye twitches when he lies to Lisa, which cues her in that he is lying.
    • Chandler’s eye twitches when he’s struggling to keep up with his lie.
  • In Ask the Ryans, when Little Mac turns the "cheeseburgers in the gloves" insult back on him, Aran Ryan's eye twitches.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: From the first chapter:
    His right eyebrow started to twitch as his expectations came crashing down around him
  • The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds: Rarity has one when Megan tells her she actually was in attendance at the first Grand Galloping Gala.
    • Twilight Sparkle has one too, when his idol Star-Swirl the Bearded was referred to as a "nut", by those who knew him personally.
  • HERZ: Asuka's right eye often twitches when she is angry or jealous. Many characters get scared or worried when they see her eye twitching.
    "Oh no," said Kensuke, looking really worried.
    "What's wrong? All the readings are fine," said Kaori.
    "Look." Kensuke pointed to the videofeed's enlarged view of Asuka's face. Maya and Kaori leaned forward to take a closer look. Asuka's right eye and brow were definitely starting to twitch.
    "How much longer!? I've got to get out here! That ho is after my husband again!"
  • In Loved and Lost, Jewelius has this in the flashback scene of the 14th chapter when Twilight Sparkle pleads for him to cancel Princess Cadance's (whom he hates passionately) banishment and let her return to Canterlot. He has another one in the 17th chapter right before he chucks out of a window a guard who questioned him one too many times.
  • Lucy's Secret: Due to being tired from the late hour, when Lucy wakes up having wet the bed, she forgets to put her pants and undies in the washing machine.
  • The Power of the Equinox: K. Rool's Mad Eye is prone to twitching (often accompanied by an Ominous Visual Glitch) when he gets angry. Examples include when he overhears the Krew speculating on his fate during the opening; when he blows up Donkey Kong's banana horde and demands to know if he is "enough for you now"; and during The Stinger when he listens to Klump's idiocy.
    • When Dusty Joy shows her boss Peach Seed the East Wing hallway of Canterlot's castle in the condition which Dimmed Star left it in while passing through, his left eye twitches uncontrollably. Same thing happens with Dusty Joy — who has already worked overtime due to them being short-staffed — when he assigns her to clean up the mess as best as she can.
    • In the 24th chapter, Cheerilee's left eye twitches when Spike has finished explaining to her why he hasn't told Dimmed Star that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon bullied him yesterday.
  • Queen of All Oni:
    • Jade has one when, after getting curbstomped by Brother Light while trying to take the first tablet, he just gives it to her, saying she could have just asked from the beginning.
    • Hak Foo is starting to develop a regular one, whenever someone gets a mask instead of him.
  • Return to Krocodile Isle:
  • Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless: When Spike pushes Amy's Berserk Button and leaves Sweet Apple Acres, one of Amy's eyes twitch as she follows the baby dragon.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z: Yoshi when surrounded by mooks they hadn't seen earlier.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Kirito develops this (among other things) after a Breaking Speech from Rosalia mashes several of his Berserk Buttons.
  • In Teana's Travels' Book 0, an eye twitch is one of the few subtle warning signs that Teana was about to snap – warning signs that Nanoha and Vita, unfortunately, missed.
  • A New World, A New Way: Celestia develops one after her first attempt to get rid of Aegislash fails. She quickly stops trying after a couple of attempts.
  • In Worm crossover Echoes of Yesterday, the eye of PRT's fashion designer Arnold Adams twitches when Supergirl says her costume must include a cape, and that's non-negotiable:
    "They look good Arnold, but.. where's the cape?"
    Arnold's eye twitched and he readjusted his glasses, "Unofficial policy for the Brockton Bay ENE dress code; no capes."
  • Service with a Smile: Ruby's eye twitches after Pyrra, on Jaune's suggestion, goes to her with "I have this friend"....
  • In the Freedom Planet fanfic Little Miss Heropants, Carol does this when she is playing a video game and dies:
    Milla: Um, Carol? When was the last time you saved?
    Carol: (eye starts twitching)
  • In Irrational Fear, Lisa Loud's eye twitches, although she's just scared, not insane.
  • Rise of the Minisukas:
    • Ritsuko's eye twitches erratically when Leader and Shiki respond to her usual snark by flipping her the bird and then ignoring her entirely.
    • Shinji's eye twitches when Toji calls him "Shin-man" right after Shinji told him -again- to not call him that.
  • Transformers: MHA: Starscream is prone to this reaction whenever things don't go his way or his subordinates disrespect him, which happens very often.

    Films — Animation 
  • Darla Dimple from Cats Don't Dance does this whenever she's straining to keep up her sickly sweet persona.
  • Encanto: Luisa's Nervous Tic is her eye twitching, which tips off both Dolores and Mirabel that something's up with her.
  • The Incredibles: After Kari has been putting up with Jack-Jack throughout the whole of the movie, she manages to freak out the new "babysitter" with one of these.
  • Ed the hyena from The Lion King. He's the least sane from their pack and quite a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Shifu does this when Oogway chooses Po as the Dragon Warrior. This only serves as an early warning signal for the horror that he unleashes on Po.
    • Mantis does something similar when Po first meets the Furious Five.
      Po: You're so much bigger than your action figures! Except for you Mantis, — you're about the same.
      [Mantis twitches one of his antennae]
  • Lord Shen of Kung Fu Panda 2 also has a tendency to develop an eye twitch during his particularly unstable moments.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree: Gloriosa Daisy's left lower eyelid begins twitching as the problems in Camp Everfree and campers' requests are piling up, another hint of her eroding stat of mind. Then her other eye twitches too when she reveals herself to Twilight and Sunset in the Crystal Cave.
  • A brief example appears in The Princess and the Frog: "I was startin' to think that wishin' on stars was for babies and.. crazy people.."
  • Sir Ruber of the movie Quest for Camelot, one of the characters with a permanent tic, starts out with a slight Twitchy Eye that gets worse and worse throughout the film, until his whole face is practically quivering.
  • Russell being dragged across the Big Bad's window induces a slight eye twitch in the latter in Up.
  • In WALL•E, the cleaning robot M-O waffles over leaving the lit floor line that he's followed with obsessive precision (to the point where he stopped his entire crew from proceeding until it appeared). When he finally jumps off to go clean the 100% contaminated WALL•E, his eye-lights visibly twitch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Amélie, Amelie's mother has developed an eye twitch as a sign of shot nerves.
  • Variation: In the documentary Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded the eyes of people in still photographs will suddenly, subtlety move while they are being described as paranoid, high, murderous, or all three at once.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: After it becomes sentient courtesy of being taken over by Ghidorah's subconsciousness, Mechagodzilla has a variation, twitching its neck spasmodically when it lays its optics on Godzilla for the first time.
  • Several characters played by Kitano Takeshi have a twitchy eye, most memorably Nishi in Fireworks, whose eye twitch announces an imminent outburst of sudden violence.
  • Juan Wild (the hunchback played by Klaus Kinski) in For a Few Dollars More has a tic that affects the entire left side of his face. It's especially dwelt-on in the scene where Mortimer insults him by striking a match off his hump; it's clear that Wild is working very hard to contain his desire to retaliate.
  • Quirrell has this in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone due to his nerves, his generally anxious manner, and his current role as a host for Voldemort.
  • Johnny English Reborn: Johnny's right eye gets triggered whenever the word "Mozambique" is spoken in his presence.
  • In The Kid, while trying to make a sandwich for his younger self, Bruce Willis's left eye starts to noticeably twitch.
  • Kylo Ren's lower lid twitches fairly often in The Last Jedi during his intense Force Skype conversations with Rey.
  • One of Chief Inspector Charles La Rousse Dreyfus' eyes twitches more and more in the The Pink Panther movies, as Inspector Clouseau drives him insane. At one point it's gotten frantic; he's then placed in a straitjacket and taken away to an asylum.
  • In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation after the disaster that is the Christmas dinner Clark has been planning causes all of his relatives to try and leave, he tries to get them to stay with a Cluster F-Bomb laden speech. When Art, his wife's uncle calls him goofy, Clark calmly tells him to not piss him off, all while involuntarily blinking.
  • Seed of Chucky: Glen, who is the genderless offspring between the eponymous killer doll Chucky and his dollified girlfriend Tiffany, always has a notable twitch in his/her eye whenever he's anxious or goes into an Ax-Crazy episode. He also tends to wet his pants.
  • The anchorwoman in the film version of V for Vendetta was said to blink involuntarily when she reported a story she knew was a lie.

  • A man went into a job interview and his eye winked through the whole process. The interviewer said "Look, you are well qualified, but I'm afraid that facial tic will throw off clients." The man replied - "Funny you mention that, because all I have to do is take aspirin and the winking goes away - watch" and the man began dumping out his pockets looking for aspirin. In most of his pockets, however, were condoms. Finally, once a pile of condom packages of every sort piled up on the desk the man found two aspirin, took them, and the wink totally stopped. "Well, that worked," the interviewer admitted, but why do you have all the condoms? We don't want our clients to think you're a womanizer!" "It's quite simple sir," the guy said, "have you ever walked into a drugstore, winking like crazy, and asked for aspirin?"

  • Discworld:
    • Mr Teatime in Hogfather has an odd twitch whenever his name is mispronounced.
    • In Jingo, Lord Vetinari tells Vimes that the reason he doesn't like Captain Carrot in the room when Vimes is being debriefed is that Carrot tends to eye-twitch whenever Vimes tells a direct lie.
      Vetinari: I just can't stand to see his poor face twitch all the time.
    • In Nanny Ogg's Cookbook there's a special section on how to talk to Granny Weatherwax. This includes not praising other witches, since her expression will go all solid, apart from a muscle under one eye.
    • In Thief of Time, Mr. White, the leader of the Human Auditors, develops this while becoming increasingly unstable:
      Miss Brown: For our purposes, [humans] are no longer a factor. Time has ended. They are fossils. The skin under one of your eyes is twitching.
      Mr. White: You are guilty of inappropriate thought. They exist. Therefore we must study them in every detail. I wish to try a further experiment. My eye is functioning perfectly.
  • The Dresden Files: In Skin Game, Nicodemus Archleone begins to suffer from this after only two days being exposed to Harry "First-Person Smartass" Dresden.
  • The First Law: Glokta's ruined eye (along with his face, sometimes) tends to begin twitching/blinking uncontrollably when he's nervous, lying, or any other time it's inconvenient to look like he's not utterly composed. He Lampshades it in his thoughts, calling it "treacherous jelly".
  • In the novel The Golden Goblet, the main character's villainous half-brother has a permanent tic in one eye that makes him look even more sinister.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart's Valentine's Day antics really irritate McGonagall.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent's eye twitches once when his conscious mind finally registers the bulldozer he's seen repeatedly outside his house that morning.
  • In the novelization of Resident Evil 0, it's mentioned that Birkin's paranoia has caused him to develop a facial tic. Though, it's a slight subversion because it's actually on the corner of his mouth rather than his eye.
  • Stephanie Plum starts to suffer from this whenever she's around her family for too long. Going home for dinner or to do laundry is ok, but if she has to move in for a day or two due to issues related to her job, the twitch will get worse and worse.
  • Prince Andrei Bolkonsky developed facial tics in War and Peace, but that was probably due to a degenerative disease. The way it's written sounds like his personality (he was a curmudgeonly sort) was getting the best of him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Are You Being Served? episode "Gambling Fever", Captain Peacock says when he was hooked on gambling, he had one. It returns in the episode, and at the end of the episode, everyone else has one too.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon has this (among other tics) when things don't go his way (for instance people interrupting him when he wants to show off his knowledge, or not being able to answer a question to a quiz).
  • Captain Darling from the fourth season of Blackadder suffers this, probably down to stress from his wartime environment and having to deal with General Melchett daily. (Actor Tim McInnerny had a hard time getting rid of this tic for months after filming ended.)
  • Boy Meets World: Topanga begins to develop a really nasty one during the preparations for her wedding to Cory, which, naturally, are full of wacky hijinks as Eric... "helps".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander briefly developed an eye twitch every time anyone mentioned Faith, after they'd had sex together.
  • Diane of Cheers exhibits this whenever she is under a lot of stress, but with her mouth instead of an eye. When she shows up on Frasier, her life is so bad that anytime someone mentions a play she is hoping to run her whole head snaps back from the force of the twitch.
  • In Family Matters, Carl developed one from dealing with Steve Urkel for so many years. It went away after a therapy session… until he saw his bill.
  • The Grand Tour: Clarkson and May are supposed to be on a refined grand tour when Hammond shows up in an obnoxiously loud and unrefined Dodge Hellcat. Whenever he revs it, May develops a twitch in his left eye, signalling a willingness to kill Hammond.
  • Barney in How I Met Your Mother does this occasionally, most notably when he was trying (and failing) to hide his fear at being on the receiving end of another slap from Marshall on Slapsgiving.
  • It Ain't Half Hot, Mum: Sergeant Major Williams' eye tends to twitch when ever he is starting to lose his temper. Which is to say, always.
  • On Just Shoot Me!, Dennis realizes Nina is trying to keep a secret because of her "I've got an itch to snitch" twitch.
  • On MacGyver, Jack Dalton's left eye always twitches when he lies. It's so well known at the Phoenix Foundation there's a notice in the ladies' room warning about it.
  • Peter on The Monkees sometimes displays this tic when he is nervous or startled.
    Davy: Are you nervous?
    Peter: Nervous? Don't be silly! Look at how slowly I'm twitching.
  • On The Nanny, C.C. Babcock has it happen whenever she sees Fran Fine and Maxwell Sheffield getting along. It first occurs in season one's "Here Comes the Brood".
    Fran: [to the Sheffield children] Now everybody say goodbye to Daddy...
    C.C.: "Daddy"? Did I miss the wedding? [her eye twitches]
    Niles: That twitch becomes you. Is it new?
  • In Pushing Daisies, Ned's eye twitches when he lies.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Galadriel's left eye often twitches when she's holding in extreme emotions, like biting her tongue in front of the High King.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured Jack, a genetically-engineered super-genius who was unstable and borderline paranoid, in two episodes. He was very twitchy.
  • Data's Evil Twin Lore in Star Trek: The Next Generation had a facial tic when first discovered and activated.

  • Eminem has one, which got noticeably worse after he got sober. It's not clear if it's a nervous tic or a result of his childhood brain damage, but it works well with his Ax-Crazy persona.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Kristoph Gavin, who is normally a Smug Smiler, starts doing this when he begins to let lose his composure. It continues even after his Villainous Breakdown.
    • During the "Perceive" tutorial in Dual Destinies, Damien Tenma has this as his "tell".
  • The Jackbox Party Pack:
    • One of the notes during the writing pause after the Sea Minus crashes into a rubber duck and starts sinking in "Joke Boat" has Captain Chuck Hull claim to be "a little stressed" with a drawing of him crushing a stress toy's body so hard its head inflates to nearly as big as his own, eye twitching merrily the whole time.
    • One of M. Bubbles's lines in "Job Job" is to claim that the faster you answer the questions, "the less time I have to spend alone with my thoughts!" followed by a prominent eye twitch.
  • Count Veger in Jak and Daxter gets one when he finds out the Precursors are ottsels.
  • In Mario Strikers Charged, this may happen to Luigi if a ball (or more than one ball) gets in the net. Yes, Luigi.
  • Portal 2 gives us a robotic example in Wheatley the Personality Core. He gets damaged early in the game and, from that point until the showdown with the Disc-One Final Boss, he has a short circuit that randomly causes him to spasm and give off sparks. Since his body is intended to resemble a robotic eyeball inside a frame, the effect is strongly evocative of a twitchy eye in a human. This actually works as Foreshadowing that Wheatley is not as sane as he appears to be.
  • Psychonauts:
    • Fred Bonaparte has eye twitches... even after he's cured by Raz.
      Gloria: Leave? Here?
      Fred: Yeah, this place is for crazy people! And I don't know about you, but I ain't crazy no more! (eyetwitch)
    • Boyd seems to have a twitchy eye as well. It's most noticeable when Raz first meets him outside the asylum ruins.
  • In Punch-Out!! Wii, should you lose to Aran Ryan in Title Defense, his win animation ends with his right eyenote  twitching.
  • Silent Hill: A twitchy eye is one of the first signs you get that there's something that's not right about Lisa.
  • In Yandere Simulator, the titular Yandere-chan will begin to have sporadic eye- and head-twitching if her sanity level is too low usually caused by killing a student.

    Web Animation 
  • The Green Azumarill:
    • In "Green Azumarill How To's: More Ways to Get Your Annoying Friend to Stop Being Annoying", during method 5, Angie grabs Green while screaming and demanding the Pelipper working at the delivery services to ship Green. However, after the plane takes off, Green is teleported out of the plane by an Abra he met, and when Angie learns about this, her eye ends up twitching, before moving on to method 6.
    • In "My Pokemon Heartgold & Soulsilver Randomized Soul Link Nuzlocke Experience (feat. xShirokuuma)", during the randomized Sudowoodo encounter, Green finds a Darkrai, and he is hyped up for this moment... only for Shiro to accidentally knock out the Farfetch’d he encountered, meaning Green misses out on Darkrai. Having had bad luck with encountering good Pokémon on his end up to this point, Green’s eye twitches, with it getting faster until he glares at Shiro and growls.
  • Sonic for Hire: At the start of Season 4, having lost entire fortune and mafia business, Sonic tries working at Burger Time with Knuckles, until Tails shows up and treats him like a total loser before throwing a milkshake at his face and drives off, making Sonic twitch his eye which then leads to:
    Knuckles: Where are you going? Your shift just started!
    Sonic: Well... I'm definitely not going to smoke crack in the bathroom and then burn this place down with my crackpipe.

  • Drive (Dave Kellett): Nosh does this when he learns that he has to go to Tesskil, whose inhabitants, the Tesskans, lost a war with his own species, the Veetans.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • This is supposedly The Tell in poker of the Patterner in Exterminatus Now. To clarify: the Patterner is an Expy of Tzeentch, Warhammer 40,000's god of Magnificent, manipulative bastardry. When he's shown preparing to deal, he has at least five decks of cards floating around him and held in all four hands, and he displays he's bluffing when his eye (which is not only all of his head, but floats around separate from his body) twitches.
  • Frankie and Stein's male half of the titular duo has an eyetwitch fairly regularly, generally when he has a wonderful idea. It also appears to be genetic, as it has been seen in his cousin. It may be contagious, as it has also been spotted in Karl's friend Adam, and the female half of the titular duo, Frankie.
  • Homestuck:
    • Karkat gets one in the Alterniabound flash game, while demanding that Gamzee stop dancing.
    • Jack's had a long two years on the run from the revenge-driven Parcel Mistress, so the sudden appearance of these kids who he's pretty sure he killed already doesn't exactly help his mood.
    • Jane has this while Jake spiels about his conflicted feelings (but is oblivious to hers).
  • Invoked by Dave Davenport in Narbonic, as part of a threat.
    Dave Davenport: Here's the situation: Right now, you need a mad-scientist liaison. I'm a mad scientist. You're going to hire me.
    Dave Conspiracy: And what will you do if we refuse?
    Dave Davenport: You know, I have no idea. [twitch]
  • The OCD-suffering Hannelore of Questionable Content does this when Marten unthinkingly jokes about spreading garbage around her apartment.

  • Not Always Right presents the tale of the cashier who can make their eyelid twitch on command and weaponizes it against unruly customers.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Atomic Betty: Maximus IQ does this after Galactic Guardian HQ is destroyed, because Noah and Minimus accidentally do it before he can.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, this is how Kevin can tell that Ben is lying. It even becomes a minor plot point in one episode.
  • Kevin does this in the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Charm School" when he and Rook finish making his car indestructible and celebrate their hard work... only for one of Charmcaster's spells to get deflected at it and transport it to another dimension.
    Rook: [realizing what they forgot] Magic.
    Kevin: I blame myself.
  • Roodaka's eye twitches in BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows as she expresses her demand for the corpses of the Toa.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • Louise Belcher gets a twitchy eye, especially when she's angry.
    • Louise gets it from Linda, who gets a twitchy eye whenever she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  • Bonkers: Detective Piquel ("pih-kell" not "pickle"; basically an Expy of Det. Valiant) develops one after about two days with his manic Toon partner Bonkers (averted with Bonkers' second, younger and more adaptable partner).
  • DC Super Hero Girls (2019): Diana, in the midst of a Heroic BSoD over getting an A-, develops one, mixed with a Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • Duck Dodgers: In "The Queen is Wild", an annoying "Happy Cat" alarm clock keeps disrupting Dodgers' sleep. After he's apparently "killed" it and it starts up again, he develops an eye tic and goes after it in earnest.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In one episode wherein various female characters are competing in the annual Miss Dimmsdale beauty competition, Timmy gets a twitchy eye when his mother (one of the contestants) shows off that an old swimsuit of hers (in this case, a bikini) still fits.
    • In "Class Clown", Timmy finds out that the flower he has just given to Trixie is actually a carnivorous alien who will awaken to devour her at midnight. He rushes to her house, but is stopped at the door by her father, who ponders whether he should let the boy in. As Timmy is slowly inspected, his eye twitches from sheer anxiety.
    • Trixie during her Sanity Slippage (see the image above) in "Just the Two of Us!".
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum:
    • The lunch lady in the episode "Little Glop of Horrors" does this when Fanboy insults her glop.
    • Not to mention Lenny, who even has an anti-stress twitch cream.
  • The Futurama episode "I Dated a Robot" ends with a shot of Fry doing this after being forced to destroy his robot Lucy-Liu girlfriend, and then watch Bender start making out with the real Ms. Liu (or at least her head; it's complicated).
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy uses this a lot. Mostly with Billy's mom and her Broken Smile.
  • Invader Zim: Any character will get twitchy whenever they start feeling crazy, but particularly Gaz and the so-happy-it's-freaky experiment, Nick. For many of the other "normal" humans, it can be interpreted as showing how the stress of living in such a Crapsack World has them perpetually near the breaking point, such that they twitch whenever something pushes them just a little bit further.
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise does this after Cerbee and Beezy ruin her private picnic with Jimmy. She then is paralyzed with rage, breathing deeply and heavily in one spot for hours.
  • Justice League: In "Injustice for All", Lex Luthor gets this when the other members of the Injustice Gang stare quietly at him for letting Batman alive instead of killing him.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat does this a lot, usually when somebody around him does something stupid.
  • The Legend of Korra: In the second episode of Book 1, Korra does this when the radio suddenly turns off, denying her from knowing what happened in the pro-bending match.
  • Looney Tunes: Wile E. Coyote often gets a twitch during his Oh, Crap! moments.
  • Megas XLR has Magnanimous get one after being sucked through a portable black hole. And he lampshades it.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): Mickey Mouse does this in the short "Fire Escape" when he sees the giant rabbit baby.
  • Used on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic almost as often as Quivering Eyes, usually when somepony is undergoing Sanity Slippage.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Skipper gets this when trying (and failing) to stop a plumber from exposing them. That's not exactly what causes the twitchy eye, it's the fact that he thinks just like Skipper. Skipper even lampshades it.
    Skipper: Does this eye look weird to anyone?
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • Buttercup does this in "Nuthin' Special" in a scene where her sisters keep matching her in showing off special powers.
    • Buttercup gets one in "Sun Scream" whilst lying down on a bed.
    • Buttercup and Bubbles do this at one point in "The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!".
  • Ready Jet Go!: As part of his Sanity Slippage, Carrot gets one at one point in "Castaway Carrot".
  • Sealab 2021: Captain Murphy has this moment when his finds out his Happy Cake oven has gone missing.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: As an illustration of how worn down all the princesses' nerves are after a month of nonstop combat in "The Frozen Forest", these are exhibited by both Glimmer (at the prospect of Frosta being added to the Best Friends Squad) and Perfuma (when Mermista steals her chair just to be The Gadfly).
  • The Simpsons:
    • In a parody of Amadeus, Lisa, as Salieri, does this when the emperor declares all music other than Beethoven obsolete, making her schemes against Mozart all for nothing. She then hails a coach for the nearest asylum and rides off, cackling hysterically.
    • If you pay careful attention, you can see Ned Flanders twitch an eye during "Hurricane Neddy" after the rebuilt house falls down, just before he puts his glasses back on and completely loses his shit.
    • When Moe attempts to remake his bar into a family restaurant, all the customers quickly annoy him to his breaking point. What sets him off on a G-Rated Cluster F-Bomb barrage is a child complaining, during Moe's eye-twitch of anger, that her soda was too cold.
    • "New Kids on the Blecch" has L.T. Smash's eye twitch when commandeering a naval ship to blow up the MAD headquarters.
  • Tweek of South Park, in addition to his overall jitteriness, has a perpetually twitchy eye.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Bummer Vacation", SpongeBob does this when Patrick meets him in his house. "I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU PATRICK!"
    • In "Jellyfish Hunter", Mr. Krabs briefly does this after learning from Fred that the Jellyfish Jelly is the greatest thing he has ever eaten (after being given one by SpongeBob, and the rest of the customers love it), and will come back for lunch every day for the rest of his life, meaning that Mr. Krabs will get to make more money out of the newfound patties being served.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks:
    • Lieutenant Shaxs has a Hair-Trigger Temper that is signaled by the twitch one one lower eyelid. So much so that even the portrait used at his funeral has his eye twitching and vein-popping in rage.
    • Grimp, a Ferengi who is putting on an act of being Obviously Evil has a twitchy eye, in addition to all the other stereotypically "evil Ferengi" signs.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Over the course of season 3's Citadel arc, prison warden Osi Sobeck develops one of these as the Republic strike team and the prisoners they rescued continue to elude his forces.
  • Steven Universe: In "Rocknaldo", Ronaldo wakes up Steven in the middle of the night. After Ronaldo hits a milk carton which spills some of its content in Steven's face, Steven's eye has a minor twitch.
  • Storm Hawks: Stork has a habit of twitching an eye when he's stressed or excited.
  • Teen Titans: Characters occasionally do this when annoyed or enraged, such as in "Cyborg the Barbarian" when hero-wannabe Krall is upstaged by Cyborg.
  • The Tick has the character of Big Shot, a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of The Punisher. He gets all eye-twitchy whenever he shoots, fights, or even says the word "gun". This is indicative of some pretty deep-seated mental trauma, as he is prone to collapsing into uncontrollable sobbing while screaming "Why didn't you love me, Mommy?!"
  • Total Drama: Twitching eyes are in use for a variety of reasons.
    • Gwen gets stung with Cody's epipen in "The Am-AH-Zon Race" and becomes overall disheveled and twitchy, which includes the occasional eye twitch.
    • Cody's left eye twitches from the sight of Sierra going mad with rage against and making short work of the baboons that have abducted him in "African Lying Safari".
    • In "Ice Ice Baby", Scott is severely disturbed by Dawn's deduction that he wasn't held enough as a child. He goes into a Troubled Fetal Position with lots of eye twitching.
    • Duncan assures the audience in "Moon Madness" that he's not jealous about Courtney's interest in Scott. His twitching eye says otherwise.
    • Scarlett's left eye gets twitchy when Max calls her good enough to become his "sidekick" in "A Blast From the Past". Up until that point, she had viewed their surface teamwork to be a partnership.
  • Transformers:
    • Megatron of Transformers: Animated no doubt appreciates Lugnut's unswerving loyalty, especially in comparison with Starscream's constant backstabbing, but once in a while gets a twitching optical sensor when Lugnut overdoes the fawning adulation. "Just...go." * twitch twitch*
    • Earlier in the franchise, Galvatron starts to exhibit a serious twitch towards the end of the fight with Hot Rod in Transformers: The Movie. Justified, given that his day has gone quite south, he's had his psychic leash yanked for much of the movie, and he later has a reputation for being, well, just plain nuts.
  • VeggieTales:
    • Miss Achmetha has this as a character trait, and comes up pretty much every time she's used.
    • A subtle one in Duke and the Great Pie War done by Duke (played by Larry):
      Duke: I'll take the king's brother on! I'll even take on Otis the Elevated! ...By the way, who is the king's brother?
      Madame Blueberry's character: Otis the Elevated.
      Duke: *Stunned Silence, eye twitch right before cut to black*
  • The Venture Brothers: Brock Samson has a very twitchy eye that manifests when he enters one of his Unstoppable Rages. This happens especially when killing people who have threatened his Family...or run him over with a truck, while he's returning the favor. When he appears in Poker Night 2, this is one of his "tells" to indicate he has a bad hand.
  • Wakfu: Nox sometimes twitches one of the eye lenses in his Expressive Mask, and "sane" is not one of the words that best describe him.
  • In Welcome to the Wayne, this happens to Julia's right eye halfway into "Like a Happy, Happy Bird" after witnessing Wayne Entities, and ends up giving her heterochromia(left blue, right green).

    Real Life 
  • "Opsoclonus" is a term that just broadly refers to any kind of uncontrolled eye movement. A lateral twitch is specifically called "Nystagmus" and can be a sign of an underlying neurological problem if it persists.
  • Can also be a physical tic / compulsion for people with anxiety, OCD and/or Tourettes.

Alternative Title(s): Eye Twitch



A deep voiced, perverted deviant who loves booze and swears more than a sailor. He also happens to be an adorable little furball

How well does it match the trope?

4.22 (9 votes)

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Main / SnarkyNonHumanSidekick

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