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Verbal Ticked

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The Verbal Tic version of Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping. A character with a weird speaking habit, such as rhyming all the time, using pseudo-archaic terms, outdated slang, or just any weird speech habit, starts to trip up after trying to keep up the speaking habit for a while. One common example is a constant rhymer who starts to trip up on his rhymes as the story progresses, either making nonsense rhymes, or forgetting to rhyme. Almost always Played for Laughs.

Note this is not a complete failure to keep up a verbal habit from the beginning, like Delusions of Eloquence. Nor a single attempt, like Mixed Metaphor. This is when the character is established to have the habit, but starts to falter as time goes on.

Related to Buffy Speak and Sophisticated as Hell, which can overlap if the person is known for big words, but starts to trip up after a while. Similarly, instances can fall into Mixed Metaphor, Metaphorgotten, Ice-Cream Koan, and several other 'failed' attempts at verbal tics. See also Alternate Catchphrase Inflection where someone says their catchphrase (not necessarily a verbal tic) but in a different tone of voice than usual.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix and Son, a (male) Roman sneaks into the Gaulish village dressed as a nanny, in an attempt to abduct a child. "His" speech is always prefaced with (Falsetto) to signify his disguise. When he gets mocked for being clobbered by the baby (who has gained super strength from the potion), his (Falsetto) drops to snap at the mocker.
  • In I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, Blue Beetle is shocked when Etrigan, a rhyming demon, says something that doesn't rhyme. He is also surprised at a weak, reaching rhyme earlier.
  • Batman villain Maxie Zeus suffers from the delusion that he is Zeus, King of the Gods and speaks in a deliberately grandiloquent style. After being defeated by Batman in one story, he remarks that Batman seems to have his scheme "all doped out". Batman comments that that didn't sound like a god, and he wonders how much of Zeus' insanity is just an act. Zeus replies "It pleases me to leave you wondering, mortal".
  • In Swamp Thing Swamp Thing is manipulated into going after the demon Etrigan by a witch. At first, Etrigan tryies to explain in his normal speaking habit, but after repeatedly trying to get the message across in verse to no avail, he finally gives up and just explains the situation in plain English.

  • Isaac Asimov's "Galley Slave": Professor Ninheimer normally hesitates in the middle of sentences, but when he begins ranting to Dr Calvin after the court case about his fear of robots taking over for writers/artists, he drops the hesitation due to anger.
  • Discworld: Igors are expected to lisp, and almost all of the "classic" ones do so. Though sometimes they lose it when under stress or trying to explain something complicated. Or simply expressing a sentence with excessive sibilants. Possibly because their master protested being sprayed with spittle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, with the Man Who Speaks Only in Anagrams:
    Palin: Ah, Ring Kichard, yes... but surely that's not an anagram, that's a Spoonerism.
    Idle: If you're going to split hairs, I'm going to piss off.
  • A Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Monster of the Week references it (but doesn't fall into it) when a Ranger is resisting his hate spell.
    Hate Master: Would you give in already!? Doing this is no snap! It really isn't easy talking all the time in rap!
  • A sad real-life example: on America's Got Talent, Afghanistan veteran Timothy Poe auditioned as a country singer. He spoke with a stutter that he claimed was a result of a brain injury from an RPG. His audition went perfectly, and at the end he spoke a full sentence without stuttering, which was seen by the audience and judges as a miracle. After the episode aired, it came out that Poe had lied about his service record and never received such an injury, so it is reasonable to assume that his speech impediment was also faked.

    Video Games 
  • Jaiver, one of the COs from Advance Wars: Dual Strike, doesn't quite speak in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, but certainly uses a lot of archaic terms and references to honor and combat. Near the end of the game, he starts to flub it up.
    Jaiver: Ho, Sir Clone of Sir Kanbei! I challenge your honor on the... er...f ield of honor!

    Jaiver: Let my sword and shield save the day from villainy most... villainous! Huzzah!
  • Subverted in Banjo-Tooie. Gruntilda speaks in rhyme for the entirety of the first game and during a portion of the second game's opening cutscenes before her sisters force her to stop. Though she's a bit annoyed, she speaks entirely normally for the rest of the game, without even going through a period of decay — implying that her tendency to rhyme before was entirely manufactured, if not well-manufactured. She gets back into the habit for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, presumably since her sisters are no longer around to stop her.

    Visual Novels 
  • Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet: Toffee drops their usual habit of making cat puns and saying "nya" a lot when opening up to Syrup about their master's insecurities. They get annoyed when Syrup points this out.
    Toffee: Meowow, can't I drop the shtick for a serious conversation? This is the last time I open up to you, nya.

    Web Comics 
  • Vriska Serket from Homestuck has a speech/typing quirk centered on the number eight. She substitutes "8" for both the letter "b" and for the "ate" sound. (For example, she would spell "be great" as "8e gr8" instead.) And if she repeats something, even punctuation, she repeats it eight times. But when Vriska gets upset, her quirk goes into overdrive and she just replaces random letters with "8" willy-nilly. And at one point, she shouts at someone she's romantically interested in, but ends the sentence with nine exclamation points. Much to her horror.

    Web Animation 
  • Cheat Commandos:
    • Crackotage speaks in rhyme, parodying Roadblock, though his subsequent appearances tend to show him getting lazier with his rhyming. This habit notably gets called out by Silent Rip in Commandos in the Classroom.
      Crackotage: Movie night is my favourite night. I think it is my favourite night! Hee hee hoo hoo!
      Silent Rip: Are you even trying anymore?
      Silent Rip: Ah, you can do it. Try another one.
      Crackotage: I think my rhymes are truly broke! Broke, broke, broke, broke, broke, broke, broke! Hoo-hoo, hweh-hweh!
    • He stops rhyming entirely after being fired from the Cheat Commandos, and starts again after he gets his job back, implying that he thinks of it as part of his job (ignoring the fact that rhyming is what got him fired in the first place).

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy outwits a sickeningly sweet Alien Invasion by making them so angry they start fumbling their rhymes, which breaks Cosmo and Wanda from their hypnosis, letting Timmy make a wish to help the allergic-to-cute Yugopotamians defeat them.
  • In Megas XLR, T-Bot, an obvious homage/parody of Mr. T, speaks constantly in rhymes. ("Feared as the baddest, the maddest, the worst you ever haddest bot in the quadrant!") His second-last line isn't quite as impressive.
    T-Bot: T-Bot doesn't know failure! Will, uh... lock you... in a trailer!
  • On Futurama, at a time of great distress, Hermes's "Sweet [noun] of [rhyming place name]!" becomes "Sweet something of someplace!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Zecora normally Rhymes on a Dime. In "A Health of Information", she gets sick with swamp fever and starts failing to rhyme as her condition worsens.
    Zecora: [coughs] That's marvelous, Fluttershy. I am quite impressed. While you are gone on your journey, I'll try not to be... worried.
    Fluttershy: [gasps] Oh, no. Zecora, you didn't rhyme! You must be getting worse.
    Zecora: Oh. No, no, no, not at all. Something... something... ball? [sneezes]