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"I will have to use stealth instead", said L and jumped in the broken window screaming.

Some people are amazing at stealth. These characters aren't.

When a potentially deadly and effective strategy is ruined (or logically should be but comically isn't) by the conspicuous way it is acted upon. Usually by a Battle Cry, an Attack Call, a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner, or something similar. Needless to say, characters who carry out this trope frequently cross into Too Dumb to Live territory, or at the very least aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

The calling card of Highly-Visible Ninja. Compare So Much for Stealth, when some small indication blows one's cover, Leeroy Jenkins, when one idiot ruins the careful plans of the rest of the party, and Overt Operative, who is terrible at espionage. Particularly spectacular versions of this trope may involve bursting through a nearby window or wall.

Trope Namer is a song from The Pirates of Penzance, which is all about parodying this trope.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, during Tanjiro and Giyu's fight with Akaza, Akaza becomes unable to sense Tanjiro's aura and, believing he's killed Tanjiro, turns his attention to Giyu. Tanjiro then takes the opportunity to attack Akaza from behind, but yells at Akaza as he does so, causing Giyu to curse Tanjiro for ruining his opportunity for a surprise attack.
  • In the dubbed version of Digimon: The Movie, Agumon and Tentomon enter the website where Keramon is feeding on computer data without him knowing. Agumon then suggests they sneak up on him quietly, only for Tentomon to shout "SUPER SHOCKER!" and fire his attack at the virus digimon, to which Agumon asks "That's quietly?"
  • In Dragon Ball, this trope preserves Son Goku's status as The Hero. His much weaker best friend Krillin has a signature attack, the Kienzan/Destructo Disk, that can cut through absolutely anything, including the most powerful enemies... so long as it actually hits them. This should mean that Krillin can take out anybody in the series (well, almost anybody), with Goku needing to do no more than provide a distraction. The problem is, Krillin feels compelled, even when trying to launch an ambush (the only way he has much chance of hitting the bad guys who are invariably much stronger and faster than him), to scream "KIENZAN!" at the top of his lungs. Thus, he never accomplishes more than slicing off an alien's tail early in Dragon Ball Z.
  • Dropkick on My Devil: Jashin always fails to sneak attack Yurine because she keeps saying her plans out loud instead of in her head.
  • Fairy Tail: "Subtle" is not in Natsu's vocabulary. When trying to sneak through Edolas, he keeps breaking cover and confronting people even though his powers don't work.
  • During the finale of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, the main characters are discussing how they're going to attack the Big Bad's fortress before deciding on a sneak attack. King Dedede, who had minutes before pulled a Heel–Face Turn, calls up said Big Bad on his cell phone and smugly announces that they're about to pull a sneak attack and there's nothing he can do about it. Cue the baddies.
  • Fate's pretty little skull in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha would have been sporting a nice, big fracture had Nanoha not screamed "Take this!" when attempting to bash Fate's head in from above during their final battle in the first season. More silent attempts by others have been more successful, and Nanoha herself gets better at it once she's not nine years old anymore.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has a sneak attack from behind by a suit that can turn invisible. And then the pilot not only yells but more importantly turns off its stealth and (accidentally) jumps onto its target's sword.note  Poor Nicol not only dies but crosses into Too Dumb to Live territory with this stunt.
  • One Piece:
    • Hero Monkey D Luffy is the epitome of this trope. "Subtle" is not in his vocabulary so when his crew suggests something like sneaking around, Luffy's go-to action is "Scream at the top of your lungs and punch the shit out of anyone standing in your way".
      • Perhaps the earliest example is Luffy and Usopp eavesdropping on Kuro and Jango plotting to kill Kaya. Luffy's first reaction is to jump up into plain sight and yell "HEY YOU JERKS, DON'T KILL KAYA!"
      • It's gotten to the point where entire plans are made that hinge on Luffy going Leeroy Jenkins while the rest do the stuff that actually requires some stealth.
    • During Ace's cover story, when trying to infiltrate The Marine G2 base, he winds up blowing his cover by punching out a Marine who talked smack about Whitebeard.
    • And then there's Zeo's attempt to sneak up on Brook using camouflage, which fails due to him calling his attack. Cue Zeo getting rewarded with a nice taste of Brook's sword.
    • A more serious, and frightening, example comes from Laffitte, who somehow infiltrated one of the most heavily defended buildings in the world while wearing tap-dancing shoes. The only reason he is noticed is because he announces his presence, and he has been in a room with a man who has Super-Senses.
  • The protagonists of Psyren at one time need to stealthily infiltrate a top-secret installation. What course of action do they take? Blast through the ceiling.
  • Countless times in Slayers, when someone wastes a perfectly good spell by shouting something to the effect of "You forgot about me!"
  • Black Star, of Soul Eater, would be the greatest ninja ever known if he could prevent himself from screaming at his potential targets as he approaches them. Demonstrated beautifully in his debut which opens with Black Star calmly stating some assassination strategies, immediately followed by him leaping right in front of his targets and shouting "I am here to assassinate you!" His partner Tsubaki's reaction says it all.
  • Spy X Family:
    • Agent "Daybreak" is this, being unnecessarily suspicious when infiltrating Eden College. Somehow, he doesn't get caught. It helps that Twilight decided it was more convenient for his mission if Daybreak completed his own mission and got the hell out of his way as fast as possible.
    • "Twilight" himself becomes this sometimes, such as what started as a side-mission to retrieve some stolen art pieces leads to two mass gunfights and even lands on a purse snatcher in broad daylight and delivers a Bond One-Liner surrounded by civilians.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Asterix series, the Roman high official's idea of a "stealthy search/escort party" is to have an entire parade organised.
  • In one issue of The Punisher a bad guy loudly announced his intention to attack Frank from behind. Frank, of course, snarked about it and blew his brains out. At once.
  • Superman:
    • At some point during Kryptonite Nevermore, Lois Lane and a pilot are captured by bandits. Later, the bandits have turned their backs on their hostages, and the pilot takes advantage of their distraction by lunging at the ringleader... after screaming "Smelly goat! I shall vanquish you!"
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, the alien criminal trio known as The Visitors slip into Linda Danvers's office noiselessly, packing firepower enough to kill a Kryptonian. She has not sensed them because her back is turned to them. So what does their leader do? Shouting her name and then shooting at her— uselessly, since she is fast enough to react to them and dodge his shot.
  • In Tintin album Flight 714, Spalding has all the passengers of the hijacked flight at gunpoint except Tintin, who is sneaking up behind him. Carreidas takes notice of this and calls on Tintin to surprise Spalding and take his gun, causing Spalding to turn around just in time to prevent this from happening.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Toward the end of the Snow Goons arc, the main characters sneak out of bed and go downstairs, shushing each other to keep quiet. Once they're out in the open, Calvin starts laughing loudly and yelling for the Snow Goons to die, waking his parents.
  • A couple of Dilbert strips involved the Pointy-Haired Boss telling a certain employee about an upcoming reorg, asking him to keep it to himself. The problem? Said employee is Loud Howard.

    Fan Works 
  • Death Note Abridged (Dogface701):
  • In Death Note Abridged Hikari Pop, Raye Penber stalks Light while loudly humming the Mission: Impossible theme.
  • From Death Note The Abridged Series 1 Kids Entertainment:
    Ooi: What's he talking about?
  • In Fighting Back, Weiss spots Jaune and Cinder having sex and tries to hide behind some trees. Given that her hair, skin, and dress are all bright white, Cinder wonders how Weiss thinks she's hidden at all.
  • During Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, Yuffie screams "SURPRISE ATTACK!!" when trying to ambush Rude and Tifa. Rude's forehead blinded Yuffie long enough for the Turks to flee or knock her out, and Tifa just charges Yuffie and punches her face while she's gloating.
  • Played for Laughs in Game Theory, when Arf tried to sneak past Fate to get at the ramen, which probably would have worked better if she hadn't been humming a song about ramen.
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami has one of the most amusing examples, quoted above, when L goes in to capture Mikami.
  • The MLP Loops: As with the trope namer, Loop 56.1 features a parody and subversion of this — the Mane Six and Celestia sneak through Canterlot Castle to retrieve the Elements from the vault they're in; they, Luna (who is elsewhere in the castle) and the guards all sing the song as they're doing so, but the guards make no effort to stop them, which Celestia guesses is due to the narrative causality of the Heartsong.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, All Might is running late for the U.A. Entrance Exam due to his Chronic Hero Syndrome and tries to sneak his way into the proctoring room with all the grace of a "ferocious liger". Then Aizawa catches him immediately, prompting the narration to point out that ligers aren't the stealthiest creatures in the animal kingdom.
  • In Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies, Ichigo and company's mission to imprison Mayuri involves carting him off kicking and screaming while dressed as Robin Hood and the Merry Men. Yamamoto even calls them "particularly unstealthy".
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: At one point in Nightmares Yet to Come, a chapter begins with Sunset Shimmer singing part of the trope-naming song, only for Lightning Dust to inform her she's doing it again. Sunset shoots back that she's doing it to focus since they're trying to break into a museum, and she's disabling the outside security. Once inside, she's far more stealthy.
  • In Ranma ½ fanfiction The More Things Change, Kunō's penchant for ruining his surprise attacks with a war cry is lampshaded:
    Narrator: Many observers of Tatewaki Kunō wonder why on earth Kunō totally ruins the element of surprise almost every single time whenever he charges at his foe with the ridiculous battle cry of "[insert name here] PREPARE TO DIE!" Many feel that it's the rough equivalent of yelling "here I come, beat me up!" Why does he constantly ruin his advantage time after time?
    It's still a mystery.
  • Supper Smash Bros: Mishonh From God:
    • In the reboot, Sara's "stealthest" plan to rescue Putin involves shooting the guards and yelling at Putin that she's here to rescue him.
    • Later on, Sara and her friends have to sneak into Galeem's house to rescue some captured Smashers. They somehow manage to have an all-out brawl with members of Antifa (complete with Stuff Blowing Up) without waking Galeem up.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi No Index, Kaori Kanazaki twice fails to sneak attack Shizuri Mugino because she called her Nanasen attack. After the second attempt, Mugino points out that Calling Your Attacks defeats the purpose of a sneak attack.
  • There's More Magic Out There: In chapter 12, Juleka uses her vampire powers to spy on Marinette and Adrien while they are hanging out. She does this by disguising herself... as a dire wolf... in the middle of Paris. Despite this, she still remains inconspicuous until she gets into a fight with Kagami, who was also spying on the pair but in her cat form.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series makes use of this when Tristan tries to sneak in a suit of armor.
    Tristan: This heavy suit of armor is perfect for sneaking around!
    Guard: Did I hear something just now? Nah, must've been the wind.
    Guard: Yeah, that's definitely the sound that wind makes.
  • A YuYu Hakusho fic mentioned how mice are loud, and thus Hiei's stealth was more comparable to a fish.
  • There is a fan-made Malfean Stealth Excellency charm for Exalted called "Subtle Like Nuclear Holocaust", in which the Infernal starts glowing brightly and has to scream "IGNORE ME!!!" at the top of their lungs every few seconds to maintain the charm.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Despicable Me 2, Lucy's idea of not making a sound is to kick down a door screaming. Ironically, she earlier chided Gru for his habit of shouting "Freeze Ray!" before firing, which gave her enough warning to counter with a flamethrower. She then defied this trope by announcing her lipstick taser after she fired it successfully.
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, Kronk sneaks out of the palace with the unconscious Kuzco in a sack, humming his own dramatic theme music as he goes. At one point he hides against a wall, holding the current note while a couple of peasants wander past. Of course, the fact that the wall is covered with enormous stone figures all pointing at him doesn't help his cause.
  • In Gnomeo & Juliet, Benny's idea of a costume for an "ultimate stealth" mission involves dressing as a daisy and strapping a spray can that rattles as he moves to his back.
  • Colonel Hathi's March in The Jungle Book (1967). While it's probably just for show the first time, the second time their method when searching for Mowgli even gets a Lampshade Hanging by Shere Khan, who simply sneaks past them.
    Shere Khan: Element of surprise? Ho! I say!
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po's attempt at "stealth mode" is... less than stellar. Then again, what would you expect from a 300-pound Giant Panda voiced by Jack Black?
  • In Shrek 2, Shrek and Donkey are listening in on Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother, and King Harold through a window. At one point, Charming says "Oh, thank you, mother." This prompts Donkey to blurt out "Mother?!" which promptly gives them away.
  • Treasure Planet: Almost happens when Jim and Ben are sneaking by the pirates to steal their dinghy. Surprisingly, no one wakes up.
  • In The Wind in the Willows, Toad sneaks into Toad Hall while singing. Loudly. It's just as well the weasels are throwing a rowdy party at the time and don't notice a thing.
  • In Yellow Submarine, the Beatles narrowly manage to sneak into a building filled with instruments, surrounded by dozens of sleeping Blue Meanies. Amazingly, while the characters make a lot of noise while clamoring around inside, none of the Meanies actually wake up until one of them steps on a bagpipe that Ringo tossed outside the night before.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the '94 remake of Angels in the Outfield, Roger and JP are trying to stealthily watch a baseball game from a tree in the grounds near the stadium. Roger has binoculars to get a good view, while JP listens on a radio. They would've been able to enjoy the game from there just fine, but JP ends up alerting the nearby security guard by loudly exclaiming his frustration with the progress of the game.
  • In Back to the Future, the Libyans decide they need to turn their lights on just as they are approaching the mall parking lot, allowing Doc to see them coming, but subverted in that even with this it doesn't give Doc enough time to escape. Even stranger, they had their lights on when they passed Marty and Red so they chose to turn their lights off some time in between but then turned them on at pretty much the exact time when they would have wanted to have them off. Given the unreliability of the van they were driving (failing to restart for several attempts after a stall), it may have had faulty wiring.
  • In the 1959 version of The Bat, the Bat sneaks into the house, disables the telephones, and creeps past the sleeping occupants, only to then start chiselling his way through a wall.
  • At the end of Batman: The Movie, Batman proposes he and Robin leave the top floor office of a skyscraper "inconspicuously... through the window" and they proceed to climb slowly down the side of the mammoth building in broad daylight as the credits roll.
  • One of the few funny gags in The Christmas Season Massacre has the killer attempting to sneak up on someone with a running chainsaw. He somehow manages it... until he steps on a twig.
  • In Death Machines, the eponymous assassins' methods aren't exactly stealthy, including but are not limited to throwing bombs at opponents, throwing them from the sides of buildings, and hitting them with vehicles.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, they decide that the only way to get the Silver Surfer's board back from Dr. Doom is to use The Human Torch's new "powers" to combine all their abilities to allow him to fly, but also be as strong as The Thing, and be invisible so he can sneak up on Doom. It works perfectly and he gets to within 2 feet of Doom. But rather than just knock him out, he has to say "To quote a friend, It's clobbering time." thus blowing the cover and starting a drawn-out battle... all while the Earth is about to be destroyed. Great priorities there.
  • The Flash (2023)
    • When Barry Allen's younger Alternate Self discovers that he has superpowers, he immediately zooms off to try them out before Prime Barry has time to warn him about Required Secondary Powers. The friction of his running at Super-Speed sets his clothes on fire, and his panicked reaction causes a Disaster Dominoes multi-vehicle accident that results in him literally exposed to the world; stark naked in the middle of the street surrounded by a ring of fire while everything else is blacked out from a power cut. Fortunately he's at least smart enough to get out of there before someone shows up with a camera and blows his Secret Identity before his superhero career has even begun.
    • Then later they climb down a long ladder into a chamber surrounded by laboratories where various scientists are laboring away without noticing them...until Alternate Barry stumbles over a series of clang-y objects one after the other. Everyone stares at each other for a long moment until one of the scientists hits the Big Red Button to summon lots of guards with Kalashnikovs to shoot the infiltrators.
  • In Hot Shots! Part Deux, there is a scene where Topper Harley is trying to stealthily recover a set of keys from a sleeping guard and reaches through the window of the shack with a broom handle. He ends up knocking over a pepper shaker, smacking several other objects, jamming the broom in the guard's ear, nose, and eye, then activates a radio loudly playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" (and hastily switches it off) and then shoves the handle into a table fan that proceeds to chew up the handle like a circular saw. The guard sleeps through the whole thing until a mouse comes along and sneezes quietly (because it sniffs the pepper from the aforementioned pepper shaker).
  • In Judge Dredd, during the sentencing, the Block Overlord attempts to shoot Dredd when his back is turned only to give away his ambush with his battle cry.
    Block Overlord: Let me guess: Life. [draws gun] Yaaaaahh!!
    Judge Dredd: [turns around and shoots] Death. Court's adjourned.
  • Used in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. General Custer's quite the Leeroy Jenkins and doesn't understand why charging into battle while shouting "ATTACK!" might be counterproductive. His later plan involves a masterful bit of tactical deception... by his standards. In this case shouting "DON'T ATTACK!" before attacking.
  • In The Night of a Thousand Cats, Hugo's method of picking his victims by helicopter isn't exactly stealthy, what with the copious amount of noise and wind from the blades.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Graverobber is trying to silently rob graves — which would've gone really well if he hadn't belted "And it's my job... to steal and rob... GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVES!" halfway through his song. Hilarity Ensues, at least because of Shilo's face.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi has to kill General Grievous. He manages to sneak up behind him unnoticed, and of course he cuts his head off, right? Wrong, he says "Hello there," drawing the attention of an army of droids and Grievous himself. In fairness, he was serving as a distraction so that his reinforcements could arrive and he wouldn't have to fight the army by himself.
  • In The Rock, Stanley tries loudly to convince Mason not to abandon the mission.
    Mason: Some sniper's gonna get his ass.
  • Inverted in Star Trek III — the Enterprise is audibly counting down the time to self-destruct, but the Klingon mooks don't know what it means (they may not even understand English).
  • Heavily parodied in 1977 French movie Vous n'aurez pas l'Alsace et la Lorraine. Our hero the White Knight introduces himself with a hammy song number, and he seems to be compelled to sing it every time someone asks who he is (or "Who do you think you are?"). Including when infiltrating the King's castle and hiding from a guard patrol in the bedroom of a damsel; just after he begs her to keep silent, she asks "Who the Hell are you?" Cue the LOUD song with accompanying music alerting the guards.
    On m'appelle le Chevalier Blanc
    Je vais et je vole au secours d'innocents
    Dans la campagne résonne la poudre
    Je vais et je vole plus vif que la foudre!

  • In Assassin's Creed : Forsaken, Haytham Kenway, the protagonist of the novel, finds himself on the receiving end of one. When infiltrating a Corsican farmyard converted into a rebel base in order to kidnap Lucio (a 21-year-old farmhand who is guarded by an Assassin) he encounters a group of Genoese scouts performing reconnaissance of the nearby area in a surprisingly stealthy manner. After avoiding them, he hears a small Genoese army moving through the forest aiming to kill the rebels at the aforementioned base he decides to assist the soldiers by killing two of the five sentries patrolling the perimeter due to the fact that the soldiers' (unlike their far more sensible and covert scouts) attempt to stealthily approach the base involves marching loudly and clumsily through the forest while swearing loudly in Italian. Due to this and the fact that the soldiers had split into two groups as to take the rebels by surprise, the soldiers are spotted and the rebels quickly mobilise, including Lucio's bodyguard, who decides to help the rebels and risk leaving Lucio unguarded. Haytham then decides to take advantage of the ensuing chaos via a Bavarian Fire Drill.
  • Discussed in Brotherband, when Thorn suggests a "subtle" strategy of going up the stairs from the prison cell they've just broken out of, and giving a Tap on the Head to anyone they meet on the way. When one of his friends complains that it's not very subtle, he shrugs that it's as subtle as he's capable of being. Since he's a One-Man Army and the prison is poorly guarded, it actually ends up working. Just not very subtly.
  • In Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle, Hugh the Hand does this deliberately so that his assassination attempt fails. (It works anyway: taking advantage of the distraction, the person who hired him gets a Back Stab in on the mark, inflicting a serious but ultimately non-fatal wound.)
  • In Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice book The Dark Portal, Arthur, Oswald, and Twit sneak into the sewers to look for Audrey. While Arthur and Oswald are trying to be as quiet as possible and warn Twit to do the same, he instead shouts Audrey's name as loudly as he can in spite of knowing that there are bloodthirsty rats around who would definitely hear them. And they do. They're almost killed before they happen to be rescued by Audrey and Piccadilly.
  • Discworld:
    • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: Malicia lives her life trying to apply storybook logic to real life. So in one scene when she's trying to be stealthy, the book describes her thought process of how if you are going to be stealthy, you ought to make it very obvious how stealthy you're being so anyone who sees you knows you're being stealthy and shouldn't notice you. So she "sneaks" around in cartoonishly exaggerated and highly obvious fashion, completely oblivious to the bemused stares she's attracting.
      Maurice and Keith just walked along behind her. No one even looked at them.
    • Captain Carrot is doing the same thing at the start of Night Watch Discworld, though he doesn't mean to. Carrot is just so honest he can't help it, and to make matters worse, he's The Hero and therefore always the center of attention whether he wants to be or not.
      Oh, he ducked and crept, and against all logic that made him more noticeable. He didn't understand the art of thinking himself invisible.
    • Another example: Crispin Horsefry in Going Postal sneaks off to a meeting one night, and the Igor who welcomes him offers:
      Igor: Allow me to take your highly notitheable black cloak, thur.
  • A Hole in the Fence: Grisón and his friends are constantly trying to sneak into the Forbidden Zone near the town, but they are always caught by the guards because they absolutely suck at sneaking around. They are noisy and impatient, shaking bushes and grass and crawling around clumsily, and as the brigadier Beauras annoyedly notes, they do not even notice their butts are showing above the grass when they try to sneak past him.
  • A large number of characters in James Fenimore Cooper's novels announce their presence by stepping on dry twigs.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel Ravnica, Agrus Kos tries to throw a spear into a half-demon's back while it is distracted. Unfortunately, he shouts as he throws it, causing the half-demon to turn around in time to block it.
    Agrus Kos: Oops.
    Bell Borca: Yeah, next time don't yell first.
  • In Paths of Darkness of the Drizzt series the legendarily skilled assassin Entreri arranges an even duel between him and Drizzt in an attempt to finally see which one of them is a better fighter. After he loses, he charges Drizzt from behind, shouting, and only survives because one of his allies protects him. Drizzt later concludes that he was trying to die.
  • In Secret City, the protagonist, mercenary Artyom, sneaks on powerful sorceress Kara about to merge herself with his soon-to-be-girlfriend Inga, aims his gun... and yells "Leave her alone!" As the narration puts it, this act was probably a result of a minor concussion he received minutes ago, and it nearly resulted in a Mutual Kill as Kara blasted Artyom across the room with a shower of magical arrows, gruesomely tearing him up, and he let out an erratic bullet spray that mortally wounded Kara and destroyed her Merging Machine. Artyom, however, survived due to some other Kara's enemies sending him through an emergency portal to hospital.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire gives us Benfred Tallhart and his band, the Wild Hares. Put it this way, when investigating possible Ironborn incursion near a strategically important, if ruined, fort, the usual thing to do would be to deploy scouts and spread out, keeping low like poachers on somebody else's property as you get a feel for what you might be up against. But, not these guys: they openly march bunched together along a major road... singing. Loudly. Guess what happens next?
  • A variation appears in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes; when their investigation of Dr. Jekyll takes Holmes and Watson to an Edinburgh brothel to interview the madam, Dr. Watson — as a respectable gentleman — is a bit self-conscious and tries to approach the location in as stealthy and unnoticed a fashion as possible. However, his attempt at stealth is so laughably ostentatious that Holmes, amused, tells him he might as well just walk in there normally, since anyone who might recognize Watson would also have to explain his own presence at the brothel, and Holmes and Watson at least have a legitimate reason to be there.
  • A minor example in An Unwelcome Quest: Gary demonstrates, in detail, his technique for moving around without making noise. The rest of the group gets it but asks if they have to repeatedly whisper "Silently" while doing so like Gary did.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, there's a scene in Eclipse where RiverClan cats attempt to sneak through ThunderClan's territory. Unused to thick undergrowth, they make a lot of noise just walking through, and then they have a whispered argument about how noisy they're being.
  • In David Lubar's Hidden Talents, Martin, pretending to be asleep, sees Torchie sneak back to bed "with all the grace of a moose on a floor of marbles".
  • Discussed, and later averted, in The Warrior's Apprentice, when Miles Vorkosigan is taking his first ship.
    Miles: You know, it might be better if we don't yell, going in. It's startling. It's bound to be a lot easier to hit people if they're not jumping around and ducking behind things.
    Mayhew: They do it that way on the vids...
    Miles: [who had originally been planning his own first rush very much along the lines just demonstrated, and for much the same reason] I guess it just doesn't look very heroic to sneak up behind somebody and shoot them in the back. I can't help thinking it would be more efficient, though.
  • During a massive battle in The Wheel of Time series, Osan'gar/Aginor gets the idea to sneak up on Rand and Nynaeve and grab the power-amplifying Choedan Kal access keys away from them. Unfortunately, while Osan'gar can hold his own in a one-on-one fight, he is a Mad Scientist who has never been anywhere near a real battlefield. Predictability (and death by friendly fire) ensues.
    ...he began to skulk from tree to tree in what he imagined was a stealthy manner. It was toward the key that he skulked.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Arrested Development involves Tobias attempting to sneak into the house of the lawyer prosecuting George Bluth and get a look at her files. The task falls to him because he alleges that he's a master of stealth. It theoretically should be an easy job, since the lawyer is totally blind, but Tobias' version of "stealth" mostly involves useless, unnecessary, and largely unsuccessful acrobatics performed a few inches away from the homeowner, failed attempts to not make noise, and trying out her perfume under the logic of disguising his scent. So she's very obviously aware of his presence the entire time he's there. In fact, the only reason he doesn't get caught immediately is that she's not actually blind, and has to pretend to not realize he's there in order to keep faking it.
  • One of the many reasons the Babylon 5 episode "Grey 17 Is Missing" is considered one of the worst episodes of the show is that the "ultimate predator" is about as subtle as a sledgehammer in a bell factory. At least part of it was the director's fault, as J. Michael Straczynski had called for a Nothing Is Scarier approach where the monster was always in shadow, but the director chose to show the monster in too much light.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This causes problems when the Scooby Gang work with special forces soldier Riley Finn. Riley works for the Initiative, a Government Agency of Fiction that tracks down demons and vampires to capture them alive for experimentation, whereas Buffy and her friends act as The Bait to lure them into attacking so they can be killed. This means Riley has to tell off the Scoobies for munching chips and talking loudly while he's trying to sneak through a graveyard.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Time and the Rani", a monster spends an episode and a half stalking the heroes, then finally gets the drop on them, pops up from behind a rock a foot away, and roars triumphantly for ten seconds.
    • Going back further: In "The Mind Robber", Jamie sees a Redcoat and charges at him with his knife — only as he does so he roars his battle cry "Creag an tuire!", alerting the Redcoat to his presence, who then turns and shoots him dead on. Fortunately they are in the Land of Fiction, so instead of dying, Jamie is turned into a cardboard cutout.
    • He's still doing it the very last time we see him in his original run as a companion in "The War Games" (he has the partial excuse of the Time Lords having wiped his memory of most of his time with the Doctor, but it seems an automatic response regardless). The Doctor, viewing Jamie's antics remotely, chuckles with amusement.
  • A The Facts of Life episode, parodying Slasher Films, features Tootie sneaking around, with stacatto musical stings accentuating every step. At least until she yells at the music editor to knock it off.
  • In Firefly, after Zoe spends several minutes lecturing a newbie about the importance of stealth and silence on the battlefield, Mal comes running in, screaming challenges and firing randomly.
    Zoe: 'Course there are other schools of thought.
  • In Galavant Galavant and Richard go to kill Kingsley while getting increasingly drunk and singing loudly about their secret mission. It's been established that musical numbers in the show are really happening and are quite noticeable to those around them, so it's no surprise they get caught. Although, to their credit, the first time they encounter guards, they do manage to sneak past them quite effectively.
  • Let the Blood Run Free had Matron Dorothy Conniving-Bitch, who snuck around while saying "Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak". Subverted only by virtue of it being the least OTT thing about the show.
  • Subverted in Monty Python's Flying Circus in one sketch where a married couple is in bed and the wife is being courted by a succession of paramours who sneak into the bedroom (including a Mexican rhythm combo, who actually ask the husband where his wife is). Several times the husband wakes up, asking if his wife just heard something, and the wife assures him it was just the plumbing or a tree branch outside, excuses he always happily accepts. He eventually gets up to use the bathroom, somehow missing the roomful of people as he does so. (The "punchline", in typical Python fashion, is deliberately anticlimactic: in a cut to the bathroom, we see the husband is having an illicit tryst of his own but is worried his wife is starting to suspect something.)
  • MythBusters:
    • One myth investigated was whether or not someone could sneakily climb up and down an airduct by using magnets. It was "busted" as while the magnets themselves were reliable, they ended up making such ridiculously loud clanging noises that made it completely impossible to be "stealthy".
      Rob Lee: Here's some key phrases from the surreptitious entry heist manual: Be the breeze [CLANG]. As light as a feather [CRASH BONG]. The footfall of a kitten [KRASH KLANGKING BOM CRASH].
      Adam: Why, Thor, the god of thunder is trying to enter my building!
    • Invoked by Adam in the Escape From Alcatraz myth:
      Adam: [while pounding on seam of escape raft with a mallet: bang bang bang] Wait! Was that a guard? [Beat] No! [BANG BANG BANG]note 
    • Another prison escape myth (can salsa be used to erode through the bars) had Adam making a very noisy drill from a vacuum he "stole."
    • In the safe cracking myth, it was mentioned that the safe is stated to take professional safe crackers five minutes to crack. Of course, it is also shown that the professionals don't need to worry about stealth, so it is less "putting your ear to hear the tumblers move" (or even "pry off the lock and push the tumblers into place with wire", which, unlike the stethoscope method, actually worked) and more "smash it with sledgehammers."
  • Odd Squad: Noisemaker wears a variety of instruments all over his body that makes sounds whenever he moves. When the gang of villains are attempting to sneak through Squad headquarters in "Flawed Squad", the others keep turning to stare at him because of the noise. He thinks it's because of his heavy breathing.
  • Pixelface: After Alexia destroys Clairparker's favourite shirt, Kiki loans Clairparker one of her outfits. After Claireparker wears it in her game, she discovers it's very hard to hide from zombies when your outfit literally lights up and glows in the dark.
  • Rose in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, while invisible, decides to yell out while she's attacking. Invisibility attacks do not work like that.
  • Star Trek:
    • The "silent countdown" mode for the Self-Destruct Mechanism in the various series seems to apply here. While the application seems obvious enough (by having a self-destruct that won't alert the enemies as it counts down), this is ruined by the fact that it has a ship-wide alert declaring that it's been activated. Strangely, in at least one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the silent countdown of the auto-destruct apparently worked perfectly, including no announcement over the ship's comm system to alert the bad guys — or the rest of the crew. That being said, it's called a silent countdown, and not a silent self-destruction sequence.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise the Xindi are constructing a massive super-weapon capable of destroying Earth, all this before Humans even knew they existed. Instead of building the thing and then launching it wiping humanity out before they knew what hit them, they send a prototype which informs humanity of their existence and opens them to attack.
  • On The Wire, 221 Towers is put under surveillance for the first time but Kima doesn't like doing stakeout duty with Carver and Herc because they "got no creep".

  • In Jemjammer, when Vicky asks why Annie keeps failing stealth rolls, she points out that Jylliana is wearing noisy chain mail. This lack of stealth comes up a few times.
    Annie: I go clink clank clink clonk!

    Puppet Shows 
  • From the obscure '00s Puppet sitcom Greg the Bunny, Tardy the Turtle was told to be quiet during a paintball game so he wouldn't give away their position. He affirms that he understands, then starts singing "I am singing the quiet song, the quiet song, the quiet song."
  • In the Jim Henson television special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic, the song "Bunny Stew" is sung by the farmer's dog as he is following Bean. Most of the lyrics are about how stealthy the dog is being, and despite him singing them rather loudly, Bean doesn't seem to notice him.

  • Bleak Expectations: At one point, series Big Bad Mr. Benevolent employs a gang of Cockney thief boys to rob unsuspecting Londoners of their valuables. This is accomplished by sending a drugged-out opium addict to distract a mark with small talk, as the boys surround them, before yelling out "Nick it, nick it, nick it!" and running away with their loot. The one time anyone notices, they shrug it off on the justification that the kids' needs were greater. After the kids not only took their stuff but also all their clothes as well.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Discussed in BattleTech in the write-up of a type of Battle Armor that's designed for reconnaissance. The suit has a higher ground speed than most BA suits of similar size but lacks jump jets because noisily rocketing up to the height of a five-story building on a column of fire tends to give your presence away to the enemy no matter how much stealth gear you use.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In games that play with a 1 on the D20 roll being an automatic failure, some groups, to defuse the tension and frustration of the fumble, will play up their failure to comedic levels. A perfectly-executed daylight assassination that leaves no evidence can, with one roll, turn into the character running at the target while screaming "I AM AMBUSHING YOU!!!" and then tripping over their own feet.
    • In the 3.5 corebook, there's a nearly-sarcastic note that you can't use Bardic Inspiration (Which involves singing or playing a song to give another character a bonus to their skills) to improve a Move Silently check.
    • The Marshal base class from the Miniatures Handbook motivates others with his force of personality. Mechanically, this is done by auras which allow him to apply his Charisma modifier to various checks. You can choose an aura that adds to Dexterity-based checks and skill checks, which means that you can make a party sneak better by telling them to be quiet. When combined with a Bard ACF that allows them to play a song granting bonuses to Move Silently, the results are hilarious.
  • Ninja Burger gives players a bonus to attacks if they're willing to shout a sufficiently impressive Battle Cry during combat... the instruction manual notes that this is entirely antithetic to Ninjutsu, and even the game itself (where just being seen at all requires the player character to cut off a finger in dishonor), but it's what the Ninja do in movies, so that's what the game runs with.
  • In Paranoia, Friend Computer is happy to assist before you even ask! This extremely helpful and welcome assistance can take the form of playing jaunty tunes perfect for sneaking during a stealth mission.
  • Warhammer gives us an Orc army that was briefly famous for their stealthy night raids until the boyz started bellowing the new battle cry: "Youz can't see us!".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer on how to take out an enemy scout: "Recite the Litany of Stealth to decrease your chances of being heard". However, if one looks in the back of the book, where the litanies, blessings, and prayers are, one will note the absence of a "Litany of Stealth". In other words, to kill an enemy scout without being heard, shut the frak up! There is, however, the Prayer of Invisibility (which is to be whispered), used when hiding in ambush.
    • It's mentioned that Ork camps can easily be sneaked up on by bands of Chaos Marines since seeing intruders makes all Orks "WAAGGH ATTAK!" rather than "raise alarm." Gunfire doesn't attract much attention either, since random shots are the norm rather than the exception.
    • It's well known that Blood Axe Clan Orks know that camouflage is good. Therefore they like to slap it on everything and use strong, contrasting colours so you can see it better.
    • A popular fan theory is that Orks will paint themselves purple to make themselves sneaky, because, really, who has ever seen a purple ork?

  • The Aria most likely to be listed as the intended target of G&S's parodic attack is "Écoute, compagnon, écoute" from Carmen. A very loud song about how sneaky you have to be to smuggle cigarettes.
  • In the Broadway musical Falsettos, a sweet moment in the hospital between Whizzer and Marvin is interrupted by their friends, whose dialogue of increasing decibels is as followed:
    Dr Charlotte: Sh... Maybe he's tired.
    Cordelia: Sh... Maybe he's waiting for us.
    Charlotte: Sh... Maybe he's waiting for a visit
By this point, Marvin and Whizzer have heard them, and welcome the two in to complete the romantic quarter.
  • "The Battle of Yorktown" from Hamilton is a loud, boisterous song about the acts of espionage, stealth and guile that the Americans needed to use to win the titular battle.
  • In Les Misérables, Jean Valjean sneaks out of the Bishop's house after stealing the silver... and is immediately captured.
    And when the house was still/I got up in the night/Took the silver, took my flight!
  • The Pirates of Penzance:
    • The Trope Namer is the eponymous parodic song from Gilbert and Sullivan's play. In it, the title pirates are sneaking up on Major-General Stanley's house, while singing at the top of their lungs (it's marked fortississimo in the score and has trumpets and crashing cymbals) about how quiet and sneaky they are being, with the occasional "shush! quiet!" for good measure.
      With cat-like tread (KER-THUMP!)
      Upon our prey we steal (KER-THUMP!)
      In silence dread (KER-THUMP!)
      Our cautious way we feel (KER-THUMP!)
      We never speak a word (KER-THUMP!)
      A fly's foot-fall would be DISTIIINCTLY heard.... (TRUMPETS)
    • On top of all this, it's even a subversion — the sleeping Major-General "thought he heard a noise," goes out to check, completely fails to notice the pirates and policemen hiding about the house, and is about to go back to bed when his daughters wake up and... well, just go see the show.
    • To further reinforce the trope, Gilbert and Sullivan stealthily made use of the famous Anvil Chorus theme for the chorus of the song.
      Policemen and Pirates: He thought he heard a noise... HA HA!
    • And the lines quoted above are followed by the policemen accompanying them ("Tarantara, tarantara") without the pirates realizing the policemen are there. Definitely Oper(ett)a Logic there. And shortly after the end of the song, the Pirates move to hide, singing the line "Yes yes, the Major General comes". It's then repeated by the Policemen. Then it's repeated by the Major General himself, as he leaves his house.
    • Modern G&S adaptations like to ratchet up the absurdity even more:
      • In some productions for the chorus, they'll pull out hats with brightly glittering sequins and start a chorus line. There's a particularly good example here. The fun really starts around the two-minute mark.
      • One Broadway production has the Pirate King "accidentally" strike a cymbal in the Orchestra pit with his sword, even before the song starts.
      • In one version a pirate actually discusses the plot with a policeman during the song, without ever realizing that it is a policeman!
      • In another version, the pirates start robbing the General while his back is turned, carrying a harp, a large statue, a large painting, and a suit of armor. Then the police chief pretends to be the suit of armor and they cart him off.
      • This version has a kilted pirate getting the burglar tools dropped on his foot, yelling and hopping around a bit, as if they weren't loud enough already.
      • The King's Singers, an a capella group, once covered the Trope Namer on a G&S tribute album. They missed the point and sang very quietly. It was terribly disappointing.

    Web Animation 
  • Dr. Schnoz's "blimp thing" in GEOWeasel is bright red and giant, yet still tries to convince the people seeing it "you never saw us".
  • Given that he has No Indoor Voice (or as Strong Bad puts it, "zero volume control"), any time Strong Mad of Homestar Runner needs to be quiet leads to this.
    Strong Bad: [whispering] Hey, biggest bro. Mom says to keep it down 'cause baby Strong Sad's sleeping.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, the Ultramarines' idea of "stealth" when returning the Artifacts of Vulkan to the Salamanders is to drive a gigantic tank right through the Salamanders' fortress-monastery while blasting their theme song, smash it through a wall into the Forgefather's bedroom, then beat a retreat while screaming about their own glory a bit quieter than usual. The Salamanders fail to notice.
    [Stolen Land Raider thunders past a pair of Salamander Terminators with the Ultramarines Chant blasting at full volume]
    Salamander 1: It's really quiet today.
    Salamander 2: YES!
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • The human counterparts of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie have essentially the same experience as the namesake ponies (see below) in the "Pinkie Spy" short.
      • Pinkie Pie's attempts at stealth are more conspicuous than anything else, with party balloons and a giant boom mic being just the tip of the iceberg. Her ridiculous outfits include a wig looking like a bush, a tree disguise, a bunny suit... and the "camouflage" one, looking like army fatigues but entirely in shades of pink.
        Rainbow Dash: That's, like, the opposite of camouflage!
      • Not that Rainbow Dash is much better. Beside her abuse of the Unnecessary Combat Roll, when upset at Pinkie she starts yelling that they need to stay quiet. Of course, her shouting eventually gets them noticed.
    • Rainbow Dash still hasn't learned by Holidays Unwrapped, where she bursts out of a snowman to pelt Rarity with snowballs... by yelling first "SNEAK ATTACK... that you aren't expecting." Naturally, Rarity sees the snowballs coming and stops them with a diamond shield.
  • OverSimplified; in the "Russian Revolution" video, Lenin asks his chief "financier" Josef Stalin to have a "Quiet" heist that won't attract attention from the authorities and criticism from the moderate Socialists. Stalin's idea of "quiet" is an attack in broad daylight with dual-wielding assault rifles and high explosives.
    "If this isn't quiet, then I don't know what is!"
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • When Caboose goes to sneak by the Red Base, he makes a fairly good job of it except for the fact that he loudly whispers "I am sneaking, I am sneaking..." as he moves a matter of metres away from the Red team members. And then he moves his piece of cover with him, right along Grif's line of sight. Amazingly, Grif is the only one who seems to notice anything.
    • Also happens when Tex, Tucker, and Church are assaulting a compound. Tex rather unstealthily dispatches several guards who continuously scream and fire their weapons, and none of the other guards seem to notice. Until Tucker talks.
    • Grif does this in season 15 when breaking into the Blues and Reds' base. It gets him caught and thrown into prison. But it was, in his words, "a pretty fucking sweet diversion" for Locus, who frees him along with the rest of the Reds and Blues.

    Web Original 


    Web Videos 
  • Lampshaded in Demyx Time, with Demyx proposing that the entire Organization sneaks up on Sora and ambushes him, screaming "ATTACK!". He's laughed at until Marluxia proposes that they all take it in turns to monologue in front of him before attacking. Xemnas commends this approach. Demyx tries to get some credibility back by suggesting that they all sidle up, before suddenly screaming "We are NOT going to attack you!" Needless to say, not a lot of progress is made.
  • Freddie Wong of course parodies this in SplinterCell: Light Bulb Assassin.
  • On Outside Xbox, it's become a Running Gag that Mike will never carry out a Hitman objective in the stealthy, "correct" way when an option involving firearms or explosives is available.
  • To Boldly Flee:
    • Lupa asks Todd to very discreetly keep an eye on Linkara and Nostalgia Chick to see if they're up to anything, and he confidently assures her that he's a ninja. And cut to:
      Todd: Hey! Linkara! Nostalgia Chick! Are you guys doing anything evil and/or suspicious in there?
    • By the same token, Mechakara's assimilation of the crew goes unnoticed by almost everyone despite openly talking about how he wants them to fail and making two members of the crew look like Seven of Nine and RoboCop, so the latter can't even move without constant robot noises.
  • Vinesauce: During Vinny's streams of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, one of the tracks on his helicopter just has the infamous sounds of Loud Nigra, leading to the glorious sight of a screaming helicopter trying to be stealthy.

    Real Life 
  • The Silk Road, an anonymous drug dealing ring, was undone by a string of laughable slip-ups that defeated the whole purpose of using Tor for the server. Highlights include the head honcho using the same screen name on a website about shrooms and on a job offers website, asking at Stack Overflow for details on how to connect to Tor, and registering for all of the above with an email made of his full name and linked to his college profile. He also discussed his illegal drug-selling website on his Linkedin page which also was created using his real personal information.
  • Every so many months there's a story of some thief who successfully breaks into someone's house... only to be caught when they use the homeowner's laptop to access their Facebook or Twitter. Similarly, a stolen mobile phone automatically uploading the thief's selfies to the rightful owner's cloud drive.
  • Periodically, plans are made to assassinate someone by using multiple missiles to blow up their house.
    • Case in point, one of the alternatives in the covert operation to kill Osama bin Laden carried out by the U.S. Government was to use their state-of-the-art B-2 Spirit stealth bomber to sneak over the Pakistan border and quietly deliver a few (read:32) guided penetrator bombs, a.k.a. "Bunker Busters", to Bin Laden's compound, in order to both destroy the compound and any hidden escape tunnels or shelters the terrorist leader may have had. Apparently, the effects of the bombs would have been akin to a significant earthquake going on in the middle of the city. Thankfully, such a plan was wisely disregarded in favor of a raid by SEAL Team 6, likely because it would be much easier for the Pakistani government (the country where Bin Laden sought asylum in) to forgive a small, temporary incursion of special operations soldiers going after one man as opposed to cratering a chunk of one of their cities and the civilian casualties that would incur.
  • Speaking of cats, they will freeze, lower their stance as close to the ground as possible, and move extremely slowly if they think they are in danger. Unfortunately, when they do this around human furniture rather than natural environments, the result looks a bit silly.
  • A burglar in Russia who broke into an apartment while its owners were on holiday was arrested after getting drunk and playing the piano loud enough to wake the neighbours.
  • Animals that hunt by stealth will instinctively start to practice at a young age. In captivity, where this is most easily observed, they are very conspicuous about this because they don't realize they aren't camouflaged. At times they "hunt" their parents who play along by ignoring them.
  • To humans, a tiger's orange stripes stick out against green vegetation, making them look like this trope. However, a tiger's normal prey like deer and wild boar can't tell the difference between orange and green because they have bichromatic vision instead of trichromatic vision like humans: to them, a tiger is about the same color as the grass and leaves around it. This is one of the reasons that such animals spend a lot of time around monkeys, which like humans have trichromatic vision and have an easier time spotting tigers.


Video Example(s):


"Daybreak of the East"

While trying to infiltrate Eden College, Loid/Agent Twilight encounters Daybreak. Simply put, Daybreak is an incompetent buffoon who sees himself as Twilight's equal, but he fails every basic step in the infiltration rulebook. He somehow manages to not get caught.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (26 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFool

Media sources: