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You Can Talk?

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Calvin: You can talk?
Hobbes: Last time I checked, yes.
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The character stumbles upon a seemingly normal animal/inanimate object. Turning away from it, they hear a voice addressing them. Confused, they look around to see no one but the animal/object. When they finally realize it was the animal/object that spoke they freak out and exclaim their disbelief whilst stating the obvious.

Often coupled with: "Why didn't you say anything before?", which often gets a reply of "You Didn't Ask" or "I didn't have anything to say before". The animal/object may also be surprised that someone is able to understand them. May overlap with, and usually implies, It Can Think.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Uryu is asking Orihime who their master will be. Orihime says that the master was standing there the whole time. Yoruichi speaks up to tell Uryu that it is "he" who will be training them. Uryu predictably freaks out at the notion of a talking cat. After regaining his composure over the issue, Uryu calmly states he can't believe that there is such a thing as a talking cat. Later, when Yoruichi reveals her true, human form to Ichigo, she plays with this trope by telling him it was silly of him to believe that a cat could talk.
    • It doesn't help that one of the captains is an anthropomorphic wolf.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Erio and Caro had this reaction when Zafira spoke. This is an It Was His Sled moment for the audience, who knew he could do so, but he had never spoken in front of them before, and he was spending all his time in his wolf form.
  • This happens between Captain Shiki and Dr. Indigo in the One Piece movie Strong World. Dr. Indigo tries to explain something to Shiki through charades or mime or something. When Shiki doesn't get it, Indigo just comes out and says it, and Shiki gives the reaction with much surprise. This happens more than once.
    • Rob Lucci. He didn't talk for years, instead making it seem like his pigeon is talking instead. Why? No particular reason.
    • Corazon, aka Donquixote Rocinante, pretended for nearly his entire life to be mute. He'd actually eaten the Calm-Calm Fruit, allowing him to create sound-proof bubbles, allowing him to seem to be silent while actually holding secret conversations with Fleet Admiral Sengoku.
  • Japan from Hetalia: Axis Powers has this reaction after his cat Tama praises the tuna he's eating out loud. However, the strip ends after that, so we never see what comes from it.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the anime, one of the main characters is a Meowth with the ability to speak the human language. In this continuity, this is an ability that's pretty much unheard of for a Pokémon to possess (Pokémon that star in the movies tend to speak using telepathy). Naturally, new characters who meet Team Rocket's Meowth for the first time react in this manner (funnily enough, the episode in which Meowth debuts does not call attention to this at all).
    • The dub of Pokémon 2000 has Ash react like this to a talking Slowking, a change from the Japanese release that well-known dub critic Dogasu actually approved of.
    "Originally Satoshi just repeats the word "treasure" back at Yadoking. The reason I like the English line as much as I do is because you know what? It is weird that Yadoking can talk. And not just telepathy talking, either; Yadoking can talk talk. And yet nobody in the Japanese version acknowledges this or questions this or anything.
    Even if I look at the production side of things and think that Yadoking can talk because they wanted to give Hamada Masatoshi someone to voice that still doesn't explain why a pokemon can speak human language. Mr. Hamada could have just as easily voiced a random villager or something but no! He had to voice a Yadoking that can talk for some reason."
  • In Suzy's Zoo: Daisuki! Witzy, Witzy goes through a bit of this early on in the series, expressing surprise about this with both Boof and Patches, which are a stuffed bear and a stuffed giraffe respectively. He doesn't really make much a big deal about it, though, and after this the idea is dropped entirely. If a viewer misses these early episodes, they could easily not be blamed for believing that Witzy's friends are all just normal anthropomorphic animals.
  • This happens in Sailor Moon everytime one of the scouts first hear Luna talk to them.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: When Haruhi accidentally gives a calico cat the ability to talk, this is the SOS Brigade's general reaction. The cat immediately argues that maybe he's not really talking, but the noises he's making sound like intelligent conversation by sheer coincidence, exasperating Kyon.
  • In the first episode of Jewelpet Twinkle, Ruby ventures into the human world to find a human partner to study at the magic school in Jewelland with her. When she finds the human girl Akari, Ruby eats candies that make her able to communicate with her and asks for her name. Akari gives her name, and then freaks out since Ruby is a rabbit.
    Akari: The rabbit is talking!
  • A strange example in Kaiju Girl Caramelise with Rairi. After the two had first met, Kuroe had heard Rairi talk quite a bit with her makeup on. But when Rairi first gets her makeup washed off in front of Kuroe and is revealed to actually have a gorilla-like face, she makes a bunch of monkey-like vocalizations while frantically looking for her makeup kit and only starts talking normally again after reapplying the makeup. She decides to take the makeup off at the cafe after deeming Kuroe worth revealing her secret to — and when she talks like this, Kuroe mentally notes her own surprise.
  • During their first encounter in Kill la Kill, Ryuko reacts with horror to Senketsu speaking to her (as well as Senketsu demanding that she wear him).

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 1 episode 2 of the Flower Fairy animated series, Xia An'an goes to a store and receives a plush toy, which is actually the prince of Flower Fairy Country, Kukuru. When An'an goes home and investigates the plush after noticing how strange he looks, Kukuru reveals he can speak and asks An'an to stop feeling him since that's no way to treat a prince.
    An'an: I must be dreaming again. The plush can also speak.
    Kukuru: Kneel down and salute!
    [An'an screams and quickly throws Kukuru against the wall of her room]

    Comic Books 
  • In Alan Moore's Skizz from 2000 AD, the characters contrive a plan to break Skizz (an extra-terrestrial who crash-landed and stranded himself on Earth) out of an RAF airbase in Birmingham, not knowing that he has been taught English by his captors. When Loz discovers this, he has the following to say:
    Loz: You can talk! Well I'll be! We've had our budgie for seven years and all it can do is whistle.
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire:
  • Played for Laughs (well, as a joke, anyway) in Transmetropolitan: for Spider Jerusalem's first interview with presidential nominee Gary "The Smiler" Callahan, it's his sycophantic campaign manager who actually answers most of the questions, while Callahan just sits there, immobile... smiling. When Spider finally gets fed up and forces the issue, there's a long silence before Callahan extends his hand and re-introduces himself, prompting a reaction of mock horror.
  • At the beginning of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, Larry Trainor's Negative Spirit suddenly begins speaking after twenty-plus years. When queried on this, he responds that he "had nothing to say." Things quickly get weirder from there...
  • Atomic Robo: In The Shadow From Beyond Time, H. P. Lovecraft is quite, er, surprised to discover that Robo (whom he has mistaken for an armored pygmy) can speak.
    Lovecraft: Ah! Look, it's attempting to communicate. No doubt the savage thing knows the language like a housepet knows its reflection in the mirror. The sense is taken in, but the process, the meaning, is lost forever.
    Robo: Yer razzin' me.
    Lovecraft: See how it cobbles together a string of sounds not unlike words? Take. Us. To. Magic. Thunder. Man.
    Robo: Uh-huh.
    Lovecraft: Oh, back to its native grunts. I say, the poor beast is devolving before our eyes, Charles.
  • Superboy (1994): The anthropomorphic animals on a mysterious uncharted island are horrified to realize humans are sentient and capable of speech and the serum they'd been giving their human slaves was preventing them from doing so.
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    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In a Hetalia: Axis Powers doujin, Germany is transformed into a cat by England. Italy is out of the room at the time, so when he returns and sees a cat in Germany's place, he goes over to it and cuddles it. When Germany-cat starts talking, this is Italy's reaction. (Warning: Slightly NSFW.)
    Italy: Oh, there's a kitty! [picks up Germany-cat] Hi there!
    Germany-cat: What's going on...?
    Italy: ...Eh? Did you just...
    Germany-cat: WHAT'S THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!
    Italy: IT TALKS?!
  • This is Phoenix's immediate reaction in Turnabout Storm after seeing the source of the voice he was hearing after waking up from unconsciousness.
    Twilight Sparkle: Hey! You're a human, aren't you?
    Phoenix Wright: Yeah, I'm a human... *beat* WAIT, WHAT!?
    Twilight Sparkle: A human in Equestria, that's amazing!
    Phoenix Wright: Y-YOU'RE A TALKING HORSE!
  • Double Rainboom: Rainbow Dash says this to the monster when he surrenders. And the Powerpuff Girls say this to Rainbow Dash when she speaks to them.
  • Lampshaded in Calvin and Hobbes Get XTREME!:
    Hobbes: You can talk?
    Rabbit: So can you.
    Hobbes: Good point.
  • In Harry Potter, Unexpected Animagus (Warning-very NSFW!) Harry swears in Parseltongue when his summoned broom hits him in the head during the First Task and the dragon he's facing reprimands him, making them both do a double-take and yell the trope name simultaneously.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • During his Origins Episode, Tirek, his father, the Moochick, and several other centaurs come upon Heathspike (Spike's ancient ancestor), who's suffering from poisoning from dark magic crystals. To their shock, he's capable of speech which allows the Moochick to communicate with him. Justified, as Heathspike taught himself to speak, and thus it was a shock to them.
    • Ponies were originally non-sapient animals until the Rainbow of Light uplifted them. As a result, Moochick and Heathspike have this reaction when they stumble upon a fledgling pony community and the Alpha learns and says the word 'friend'.
  • The Bridge: While reminiscing about their first meeting, this was Xenilla's reaction to learning Destroyah was sapient and could talk.
  • Fate/Long Night: Illya summons Robert Baratheon and is surprised that he can speak, since Berserker shouldn't be able to speak. The thing is, Robert isn't Berserker, he's the Warrior's Champion.
  • In The Memento this is Harry and a snake's mutual reaction to Harry's first use of Parseltongue.
  • In Against My Nature this is Harry's reaction when he discovers that Chinese Fireballs, unlike other dragons, speak Parseltongue.
  • RWBY: Epic of Remnant: The other Servants become shocked when Berserker Lancelot regains his sanity and his ability to speak.
  • Ultra Fast Pony is a series about talking ponies. In episode 49, Sweetie Belle (one of said talking ponies) notices for the first time and exclaims, "Holy crap, guys! A talking pony!"
  • Played for Laughs in Sailor Moon Abridged:
    Serena: You can read?
    Luna: Serena, if I can talk of course I can read.
    Serena: ...You can talk?
  • In This Bites!, this reaction comes to newcomers that hear animals talk (including the animal in question) thanks to Soundbite translating their voices into human language.
    Strawhats (Minus Cross and Soundbite) and Vivi: YOU CAN TALK!?
    Carue: I CAN TAWK!?
  • Maybe the Last Archie Story: When Sabrina is kidnapped, Salem goes to Archie and his friends for help. Archie and Veronica remain speechless for several seconds before Archie manages to exclaim: "Y-y-you're a...cat!"

    Films — Animation 
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie: The eponymous cat and mouse do this to each other once they both reveal they can talk. (It's worth noting that in their original theatrical shorts they did talk on occasion, though it typically was just for a quick gag.)
  • Shrek. Fiona's reaction to meeting Donkey for the first time:
    Donkey: Hi, Princess!
    Fiona: It talks!
    Shrek: Yeah, it's getting him to shut up that's the trick.
    • There is also the knight Donkey's owner tries selling him to, who isn't convinced that Donkey can talk because Donkey stays mute. Then he ends up levitating when some pixie dust gets on him in a scuffle, he exclaims "I can fly!" and the knights are shocked.
  • The Princess and the Frog
    • Tiana reacts this way to the transformed Prince Naveen. Later, she reacts the same way when she realizes she can talk with the La Bouff's dog Stella.
    • She later freaks out some frog-hunters by announcing, "And we talk too."
  • Played with in Hoodwinked!: Red Puckett comes across Japeth, a mountain goat who is rocking on the porch of his mine shack, strumming on a banjo, and yodeling:
    Red Puckett: Hello. I'm looking for Granny Puckett's house?
    Japeth: [singing] Graaaaaaaanneeee Puckeeeet...
    Red Puckett: Could you stop singing for one moment?
    Japeth: [singing] No I can't, I wish I could, but a mountain witch done put a spell on me, 37 years agoooooooo, and now I gotta sing every thing I saaaaaaaaayyyyyy...
    Red: [dryly] Everything?
    Japeth: [speaking] That's right.
    Red: You just talked! Just now!
    Japeth: Oh, did I? [singing] Did I? Dididididodadidididoooo... [Red glares at the camera, exasperated]
  • Up: The reaction of Carl and Russell when they first meet Dug. "Did that dog just say 'hi there'?"
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: This is Susan's second reaction when Dr. Cockroach introduces himself. Her first reaction is to yell "EWW!" and swat him with her spoon.
  • The Sword in the Stone:
    Wart: Oh, what a perfect stuffed owl
    Archimedes: Stuffed!? [huffs indignantly] I beg your pardon?
    Wart: He's alive, and he talks!
    Archimedes: And certainly a great deal better than you do!
  • In Tarzan, Jane says this after Tarzan repeats her line "Very nice", the first words he says in human.
  • In Toy Story, discovering that Woody can talk causes Sid to freak out.
  • In Pinocchio:
    • Gepetto's reaction to the puppet he made a few minutes before bedtime telling him he fell off the shelf; "Oh! You're talking!"
    • On Pleasure Island, the Coachman checks each Donkey Boy with this trope to see how transformed they are. Those who can still speak like a human are forced into a pen, while those who just bray are stripped of their clothes and shipped off to a salt mine or circus.
  • Bee Movie: The main character Barry breaks the forbidden rule of speaking to humans to thank Vanessa for saving him. She is shocked at first, even thinking she's gone crazy, but eventually warms up to it.
    Vanessa: How did you learn to do that?
    Barry: What?
    Vanessa: That-That-That...The talking thing?
    Barry: Oh. Same way you did, I guess. Mama, dada, honey. You pick it up.
  • Brother Bear: Happens when Kenai, after being turned into a bear, sees a pair of chipmunks arguing with each other and asks them how they do it.
  • In the DreamWorks film The Boss Baby, Tim asks this upon hearing his baby brother of the film's title carrying on a telephone conversation in his room.
    Tim: You can talk?
    Boss Baby: Uh, goo-goo ga-ga.
  • In The Little Mermaid, Eric is surprised when the shell is shattered and Ariel gets her voice back, as she had been up until then seemingly completely mute. He realizes she's the girl who saved him.
    Eric: You can talk. You're the one. It was you all along.
  • Happens in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, when Spike (a dog) confirms to the human Mane Six that Twilight is a pony princess from another dimension, and Rarity lets out a shocked cry of "He can talk?!". Later, near the end of the movie, Spike congratulates the girls on winning the climactic battle against Sunset Shimmer (which involved a lot of magic being thrown about) and a bystander overhears him.
    Brawly Beats: Did that dog just talk? Woah, weird!
    Spike: Seriously? The talking dog is the weird thing about all this?
  • In Pocahontas, John Smith reacts this way when Pocahontas introduces him to Grandmother Willow. He tells her that the tree is talking to him and she suggests that he talk back.
  • In Barbie And Chelsea The Lost Birthday, Chelsea has this reaction when she encounters an elephant named Kelsie that resembles own plush toy elephant, Kelsie. When she asks Kelsie why she can talk, she replies "Because I have a mouth." Later, she encounters a talking flower and has the same reaction.
    Chelsea: You can talk too?
    Flower: Sure! I may not have a fancy central nervous system like some people, but I have my talents.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cat in the Hat Movie: The kids do this when they discover their fish is talking.
    Sally: The fish is talking.
    Cat: Well, sure, he can talk, but is he saying anything? No. Not really.
  • Can Of Worms: In this Disney Channel Original Movie, the protagonist reacts to a talking alien dog this way.
  • Dr. Dolittle. Of course it wasn't just one animal, it was all the animals, which didn't really help matters.
  • Cats & Dogs: Lou's human family has been captured by Mr. Tinkles, and are quite surprised when he starts talking, and immediately invokes this trope. The young son thinks the talking cat is very cool and starts asking the kitty criminal if he is a mutant "'cause I read in this comic book once..." Tinkles mockingly replies, "Ohh I read this in a comic book. YOU MAKE ME SICK!"
  • In Rush Hour, there is a slight variation. When Lee, out of nowhere, starts speaking English, Carter is shocked. Lee tells him it's his own fault for assuming he was a stupid foreigner who couldn't speak the language.
  • A Characteristic Trope of the Planet of the Apes series, usually as a Wham Line.
    • In Planet of the Apes (1968), Taylor's "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" were the first words the apes had ever heard a human say. The apes don't actually say "He can talk!", but their reaction to it is obvious.
    • In Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Nova - normally The Speechless - manages to get out a cry of "Taylor!" at the climax.
    • In Escape from the Planet of the Apes, a time-displaced Zira reveals to the humans of The '70s that she can talk with an angry outburst of "Because I loathe bananas!" Later in the film, Cornelius tells the story of how - in what is now the future, though to him it's ancient history - the ape uprising began when an ape named Aldo first spoke.
    He said "no".
    • In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Cornelius and Zira's son Caesar, watching enslaved apes being brutalized by cops, can't stop himself from shouting "LOUSY HUMAN BASTARDS!" The fallout of this outburst drives the plot, and ultimately causes the timeline to diverge from the version of events related by Cornelius in the previous movie. At the end of the film, when Caesar's revolution is moments from descending into brutality, Lisa the chimp utters her first word: "No."
    • Similarly, in the reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar's cry of "NO!" stuns everyone, human and ape alike, into silence. Likely a Mythology Gag callback to the examples above.
    • In the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it turns out that most of humanity did not know that apes had become intelligent because the humans are stunned by Caesar talking.
  • Subverted in Disney's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Mr. Beaver first speaks. Peter, Susan, and Edmund are shocked to hear an animal speak, while Lucy simply giggles.
    • Lampshaded moments later when Peter reminds Susan of a warning Mr. Beaver just gave them "Mr. Beaver just said..." with Susan responding "It's a beaver, it shouldn't be saying anything!"
  • The Cat from Outer Space, when Jake (the cat) first reveals his telepathy:
    Frank: You? That's you?
    Jake: Well, it isn't the mouse.
    Frank: But your lips aren't moving! You're not... speaking.
    Jake: Thought transference. Nothing exceptional where I come from.
  • From Kangaroo Jack: "You can talk?" "Yep. But more importantly, I can rap." But it turns out Jerry O'Connell had just been knocked unconscious and the kangaroo was just a kangaroo.
  • Little Nicky: With Mr. Beefy, a demonic bulldog pretending to be Nicky's pet.
    Todd: What's Nicky doing down there?
    Mr. Beefy: Trying to capture his brother in a flask and preserve the balance of good and evil on Earth.
    Todd: Did you just talk?
    Mr. Beefy: No.
  • A Tear Jerker example in The Elephant Man. Dr. Frederick Treves encourages John Merrick - a severely deformed man - to repeat a few simple phrases, including the beginning of the 23rd Psalm, so hospital administrator Mr. Carr Gomm will think his case is worth following up on. When the two doctors leave the room, the administrator's opinion is that John is parroting back stuff by rote and has no mentality to speak of. Cue John reciting the rest of the psalm from his room.
    Frederick: Tell me, John, how did you know the rest of the 23rd Psalm?
    John: I used to read the Bible every day. I know it very well. The Bible, and the Book of Common Prayer. The 23rd Psalm is very beautiful. It's my favorite.
    Frederick: ...Why didn't you tell me you could read?
    John: You did not ask me.... I was afraid to say too much. People always want me to be quiet, You wanted me to speak, but I was afraid. Forgive me.
  • Hocus Pocus: Quoted word for word by Max when an immortal cat, Thackery Binx, jumps on his chest after he slips on some water. (Binx is actually a human who has been forced by a witch's spell to live as a cat for the past 300 years.)
    Binx: Nice going, Max!
    Max: [eyes widen] You can talk.
    Binx: Yeah, no kidding!
  • The Bellboy: Jerry Lewis as the title character doesn't speak through the whole movie - until he does at the end. His co-workers are all surprised and ask why he hadn't spoken before, and he replies that no one had asked his opinion on anything.
  • In the live-action Disney Beauty and the Beast, this is Belle's reaction upon first entering the castle and hearing Lumiere talk.
    Belle: You can talk?
    Cogsworth: Well, of course [Lumiere] can talk! That's all he ever does!
  • Logan: Logan uses these exact words when Laura, who until now had only communicated with nods or screams of rage, reveals she can talk. And then she unloads on him with an extended angry rant in Spanish.
    Logan: I don't know how you got me here, but... thank you.
    Laura: De nada.
    Logan: Yeah. [realizes she just spoke] You can talk? [Laura nods] You can talk? [Laura nods again] What the fuck? Why in the fuck... What's all this bullshit's been for the last 2,000 fucking miles?
    Laura: [fast and angry] ¿Tú pretendes que hable contigo si siempre me insultas, si me gritas, si me intentas dejar tirada? Tú pretendes que abra la boca — (translated: Why do you want me to talk to you if you're always insulting me, yelling at me, if you try to leave me behind? You want me to open my mouth ...)
    Logan: SHUT THE FUCK UP!
  • The Pokémon Detective Pikachu film elicits this reaction from both the titular character and Tim, though the former is more like "You can understand me?!", which he actually finds a relief as everyone else just hears "Pika pika!" whenever he opens his mouth.
  • In the Christopher Robin film, this is Madeline Robin's general reaction to Pooh and the others at first. "Y-You're talking!"
  • In the Hocus Pocus, Thackery Binx was turned into a cat for trying to save his sister years earlier. In modern times, a boy, sister, and girlfriend try to destroy the witches after Max unintentionally brings back them to life. After realizing he did this, they encounter Binx. Angry with Max for having resurrected them, Binx says, "Nice going Max", "You can talk?" "Yeah, no kidding." "Now get the spell book, come on move it" (tries to scratch Max's face). Can everyone hear Binx though talk? That is unconfirmed.
  • In The Witches (2020), when the boy is wondering how he’s going to save Bruno (who has just been turned into a mouse and the witches that turned him are trying to kill him), his pet mouse Daisy suddenly speaks. He has this reaction.
    Daisy: I’ll fetch him!
    The Boy: …Did you just talk?!
  • A nonverbal example with Godzilla vs. Kong, where Jia, a deaf girl under the care of Kong, tells Dr. Ilene via sign language that Kong, who is chained aboard a boat, is "sad". When Dr. Ilene asks her how she knew, Jia replies that "Kong told her", and to everyone's surprise Kong demonstrates an ability to communicate with sign language: and he didn't let the humans know in fear of what they might do.

    Gamebooks 
  • In the GrailQuest adventure gamebook series, at the start of The Gateway of Doom:
    Pip: You can talk! You're a talking snake!
    Snake: Don't be silly, I'm a talking wizard in the form of a snake.

    Jokes 
  • There was a joke about a kid that refuses to say a first word, then asks for the salt at the table one day. When the parents are surprised he comments that it is the first time the table wasn't set properly and so there was no need to say anything.
  • A variant of that joke has the son of university professors who is seemingly retarded, the parents start spelling out things like "intellectually inferior" because they don't want him to know what they're saying, and he says "You left out an 'l'". This may be Truth in Television.
  • The old joke about a British couple who adopt a German baby, who does not talk. After several tests they find nothing wrong with the baby, but when he is five he is served apple strudel, and German child says: "This apple strudel is tepid." The parents ask the child why he had not said anything after all this time and the child says: "Up until now everything had been satisfactory."
  • There's a joke about a frog asking a girl to kiss him and turn him into a prince. The girl grabs the frog instead, because "men come and go, but a talking frog is worth something!"
  • A Gender Flip involves a male engineer-type-person finding a frog-ified woman, with a similar reaction: "I don't have time for a girlfriend. But a talking frog, now that's cool!"
  • The following joke, also seen in the page image:
    Two muffins are sitting in the oven. The first one says, "Gee, it sure is hot in here." The second one goes, "Eek! A talking muffin!"
  • A related joke:
    A man is riding his horse down a road when he meets a rabbit. The rabbit tells him, "Good morning!" and bounds away. The man says to himself, "I didn't know rabbits could talk." "Neither did I," says the horse.
  • A man knocks on the door of a farmhouse. He tells the farmer "Listen, I was driving past your farm when my car broke down. I got out to fix it and I heard a voice say 'It's the carburetor!' I turned, and all I saw was this brown horse." The farmer says "Well, don't you listen to him! He don't know nothin' 'bout cars!"
  • There's a classic "Shaggy Dog" Story that uses this as an Anti-Humor punchline. In short, two talking racehorses are good friends. The faster of the two keeps promising the slower one that he'll let him win a race, then he keeps breaking that promise. After several such betrayals, the slower horse decides he's had enough and he yells at the faster horse for being a jerk. A nearby dog chimes in to agree with the slow horse. Both horses look at the dog in astonishment. "Wow! A talking dog!"
  • A West African folktale has a farmer harvesting yams with a digging stick, until one of the yams shouts "Man, put down that stick!" The farmer drops the stick, which says "Put me down gently!" He tells his brother, a fisherman, who laughs at him until his fish-trap says "What are you laughing at him for?" And on and on, until the farmer and four or five other people bring their amazing experiences to the king. The king says they've obviously been out in the sun too long. As they leave, the king mutters "that kind of nonsense upsets the whole community." His chair speaks up, "Fantastic, isn't it? Imagine, a talking yam!"
  • There is a story of a businessman seeing a sign that says "For Sale: Talking dog. $25". Curious he visits the farm and finds out that the dog really can talk and it tells him about his adventures spying on the Germans, rescuing orphans etc. The businessman asks the farmer why he's selling him so cheap and the farmer says "Because he's a liar. He never did any of that shit"

    Literature 
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • In Eragon, when Solembum the werecat speaks to Eragon telepathically the first time, Eragon utters: "You said that!" followed by the reply: "Who else?"
    • In Eldest, Roran does this with Saphira. Even though she doesn't speak to him directly, Roran exclaims "She speaks!" when Eragon repeats her words to him for the first time. Saphira is amused by this and chooses to follow it up by speaking to him directly in his mind. "What? Did you think I was as mute as a rock lizard?"
  • Terry Pratchett loves playing with this one.
    • In Moving Pictures Victor feels self-conscious about the trope, and rehearses to himself several different ways of saying it, all of which seem equally daft.
    Gaspode: I expect you're wondering how come I can talk?
    Victor: Hadn't given it a thought.
    • Malicia's reaction to the talking rats in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Oddly, not her reaction to the talking cat, since that fits better with her idea of how stories go.
    • In The Wee Free Men, the toad's reply is "You've only got my word for it. You can't prove anything." No surprise here, he's a polymorphed human lawyer.
    • It's kind of a joke in Discworld that people always have this reaction to Gaspode, despite living in a setting where such a thing is hardly implausible. It's explained in the books that adults have ideas about what "must" be real and what must not be, so their minds edit out a lot of what comes through their senses.
    • Averted by Brutha's reaction to the Great God Om in the form of a telepathic tortoise. At first he assumes Om must be a demon, but later decides he may just be a normal tortoise because no self-respecting demon would take a form like that.
    Om: How many talking tortoises have you met?
    Brutha: Well, they might all talk. They just might not say anything when I'm there.
    • Subverted in Sourcery where Rincewind meets what appears to be a very well-spoken snake, but is too embarrassed to mention it. Eventually, when the snake asks to come with him, he refers to it as a snake, only for the person sitting obscured in the darkness near the snake to stand up, offended at the description.
    • Rincewind comes up against the trope again in The Last Continent. He thinks it's a bit odd that there are talking sheep in the pub. He doesn't want to bring it up with the bartender because there's a certain logical disconnect in asking a talking crocodile if he thinks it's odd.
  • Oz series:
    • When Dorothy meets the Scarecrow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, she has this reaction.
    • This happens again in a later novel to Toto. All animals can talk in Oz, Toto just doesn't like doing it.
  • Human example: In Pamela Jekel's Kipling pastiche The Third Jungle Book, there's a scene where the teenage Wild Child Mowgli is being held captive by a group of elephant traders. Although by this time he has learned human speech, he decides to keep quiet in their presence so he can eavesdrop on them without their knowing he can understand. He only breaks his silence when a rogue elephant breaks free and he tells its young handler to run for his life, much to the boy's astonishment.
  • The Dresden Files: In Changes, after being turned into a dog by the "crazy death Sidhe lady", Harry is shocked to discover that his Evil-Detecting Dog can talk.
    Mouse: That bitch.
    Harry: [after being turned back into a human] You can talk. How come I never hear you talk?
    Lea: Because you don't know how to listen.
  • The protagonist in Randolph Stow's Midnite reacts this way when his cat reveals he can talk. The cat didn't feel the need to talk before, but figured the man could use a friend after the recent death of his father.
  • In Donald Keith's Mutiny in the Time Machine the preteen protagonists end up in the distant future early on in the book. The Boy Scout troop which captures them is shocked that "wild men" can "phonate."
  • Tanya Huff has talking cats in her Keepers Chronicles series. Long Hot Summoning, book 3 of the series, is set in a magical Otherside shopping mall populated with once-human teenagers who have been transformed into elves. After a conversation between Austin the cat and Kris the elf, this exchange happens.
    Kris: You can talk.
    Austin: So can you.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Aquabats! Super Show!, in the episode "Cobraman!":
    Cobraman: Hahahahahahahaha! I thank you so very much, Bat Commander, for being such a gentleman and letting me go.
    Eaglebones Falconhawk: He can talk!
  • The Benny Hill Show: In a parody of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Steve Austin and Jamie Summers have a baby. They're worried about him not talking yet even though he's [six?] years old. He takes a suck from his bottle, and spits it out.
    Baby: This is terrible!
    Austin: *Gasp!* You can talk! Why didn't you talk before?
    Baby: Up until now the food's been OK.
  • Doctor Who: In "Resolution", when a group of soldiers confront a mysterious "drone" which is actually a Dalek in Improvised Armour, one of the soldiers is heard expressing surprise when it demands the soldiers surrender.
  • This was basically what Wilbur Post invokes when Mister Ed first speaks.
    Wilbur: [to himself] It's been a long time since I had a horse.
    Mister Ed: It's been a long time since I was a pony!
  • Once Upon a Time: Prince Charming reacts this way when he first meets Jiminy Cricket.
    Charming: You can talk!
    Jiminy: And you can listen.

    Music 
  • In his take on Peter and the Wolf, "Weird Al" Yankovic has Peter go "Wow! A talking bird!" when the bird appears.
  • Frank Zappa's "Stink-Foot" has this, with a dog and his owner having a short philosophical conversation before the owner exclaims, "You can't say that." Mind you, the owner and the dog had already been talking for a short while before this.
  • They Might Be Giants has the song, "It Said Something", which is entirely about an inanimate object saying something to the narrator. He also notes that the object tells him exactly what he was thinking, overlapping with Hearing Voices.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Jim Henson Hour, Jim has this reaction when he realizes that his friend the Lion (who will appear in a The Storyteller segment) can talk.
    Jim Henson: Are you ever gonna talk on our show?
    Lion: ...I doubt it...
  • Téléfrançais!: Jacques reacts this way when he first meets Ananas the talking pineapple, which leads the two to argue over whether or not a talking pineapple is possible.

    Theatre 
  • In Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer initially mistakes his long-missing and heavily surgically-altered brother for a particularly grotesque statue, so one can imagine his shock when it addresses him by name.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II starts as a normal plant (except it eats blood), but as it grows it gains sentience (bopping to the music in "Ya Never Know") and eventually the ability to speak.
    Audrey II: Feed me!
    Seymour: I beg your pardon?
    Audrey II: FEED ME!
    Seymour: Twoey! You talked! You opened up your trap... your thing... and you said—
    Audrey II: FEED ME, KRELBORN, FEED ME NOW!

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy
    Aeris: It talks?
    Red: I'll talk as much as you want later, Miss.
    • In a similar vein, the party in Final Fantasy VI is surprised to discover that Mog can talk after rescuing him from falling off a cliff.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, the ruler of Lindblum, Regent Cid, is transformed into an oglop and later a frog. By the time the party starts traveling with him on the ship Blue Narciss, the notoriously frog-hungry Quina Quen is the only member of the party who hasn't met him before then.
      Quina: F-Frog... Is talking... Maybe I eat it...?
      Zidane: Hey, Quina loves frogs, so you'd better watch out.
      Cid: I'm not worried. I had more enemies as an oglop. <ribbit>
    • In Final Fantasy X, Tidus gets a brief look of shock when he first hears Kimahri speak. This is justified because of Kimahri's character roughly 1/4 of the game.
    • Sorban, a turtle-like beastman in Final Fantasy XIV, is shocked to see turtle talking to him. Sorban exclaims "By the kami! A talking turtle!" Tataru and the player character slowly turn to him and are dumbfounded that Sorban doesn't see the irony. Tataru can only say "I...don't even know where to begin with that one."
  • Persona 5:
    • A running gag in the game is that everyone who first hears Morgana talking reacts in some freaked out or confused fashion.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, after Kasumi has her first Palace experience, Morgana explain the basics of Palaces and Personas to her, and then points out that there's something else that should be surprising her...
      Kasumi: Hm...? A cat's talking!?
      Morgana: Took you long enough! And, I am NOT a cat! I am Morgana!
  • In Day of the Tentacle, Hoagie is surprised to discover that horses can talk. The horse explains that "maybe they never had anything to say to you."
  • Jay's Journey
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the hero always has the reaction the first time a Pokémon speaks to them (Considering that they're normally unintelligible), though it's implied that they're simply able to understand them as a result of their transformation and that Translation Convention is in effect.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The Dragonborn can react this way upon first meeting Clavicus Vile's talking "dog" Barbas. He'll lampshade your choice of words, saying that there's far more insane things in Tamriel than him.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, this is Rean's reaction after "meeting the conditions" before the battle against the Spiegel and being transported to an alternate dimension where he discovers that Emma's cat, Celine, can talk.
    Celine: Yes, yes, quite eloquently, too. But that's not important right now.
  • In Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, this is Eryn's reaction in the Vile God timeline when Ethel asks her and Sherman for help because Dorfa is after her because in the original timeline, she would only speak using "Kill, kill, kill" and variants of it.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora gets super shocked when Quasimodo's gargoyle friends come to life from behind him.
    Sora: I know... Whoa! Talking Gargoyles?!
    Laverne: Excuse us for havin' personality.
  • In Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, Sophie does this upon returning to her atelier at the beginning of the game and having the book (Plachta) talk to her.
    Sophie: Whaaaaat!? The book...! The book is talking!?
    Book: Please just calm down. People are able to talk. It's not strange for a book to talk too.
  • In Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, the main character has a Recurring Dream wherein he tries to enter a tower on an island, but the stairs to the tower is blocked by a deer. When Di tries to shoo the deer away, it starts talking to him.
    Di: You... You can speak?
    Deer: Flawless deduction... detective.
  • In Puyo Puyo 7, if you play as Ringo, the part where the Primp Town characters first meet squirrel-bear Risukuma has Amitie reacting to him speaking with a surprised "He can talk?"

    Web Animation 
  • ASDF Movie:
    Guy: Hello, Parking Meter.
    Parking Meter: Hello.
    Guy: [shocked expression]

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius, written by the same person as Buck Godot, often has this trope pop up with Krosp, Emperor of all Cats. Half the time it's subverted by people not caring, due to living in a world with much, much weirder things than a talking cat. (In fact, this is immediately lampshaded by Krosp on his second line ever.)
  • In The Order of the Stick, Vaarsuvius knew that his familiar Blackwing could speak Common, but thought that Blackwing wouldn't because it was demeaning. Turns out, that was only partly true. Blackwing considered speaking in Common to Vaarsuvius to be demeaning.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja he says this to Yoshi. The alt text jokes that he responds with, "And I can SING!" This is an unusual example because Yoshi genuinely couldn't talk in his last appearance, but has since been turned into an Uplifted Animal.
  • Despite having the ability removed (in favor of a spring, no less.) Various characters in Bob and George have this reaction whenever Rush speaks.
  • In Godslave, when Anpu choses to speak for the first time, Edith's shocked face just screams this very question.

    Western Animation 
  • These are Elisa's first words to Goliath in Gargoyles after she falls off the Eyrie Building. Once talking's been established, she corrects herself mid-sentence.
    Elisa: You can talk? What—Who are you?"
  • In Young Justice (another Weisman production), when Aqualad, Robin, and Kid Flash discover and free Superboy, Kid Flash blurts out "He can talk?", to Superboy... who doesn't take it so smoothly.
    Kid Flash: He can talk?
    Superboy: Yes, he can.
    Kid Flash: Hey it's not like I said "it".
  • Series Creator Greg Weisman likes to reference his work from time to time, as it's even reiterated in the non-canonical The Spectacular Spider-Man/Gargoyles crossover, this time the ol' Webhead throws the jab at Goliath, and takes offence at his reading habits. Hilarity Ensues.
    Goliath: The Bugle was right about you: you are a threat and a menace!
    Spidey: Wait, you can talk? And read?! And what you read is the Jolly One's editorials?!
  • Futurama
    • Nibbler has this happen quite a few times.
      Fry: [nods in agreement until he realizes] Gaah! D-D-Did you just talk?
      Nibbler: Indeed. And I have other amazing powers as well.
      Fry: Like what?
      [Nibbler knocks Fry unconscious and drags him away]
    • Inverted in the third movie, where Nibbler holds an entire conversation with the main cast before realizing this time they weren't in utter shock about his ability to talk. They point out that the last time he talked (in the first movie), he forgot to wipe their memories. Nibbler then becomes understandably frustrated that no one bothered to tell him this, since he'd been acting like a housepet ever since and did a lot of embarrassing things while they knew he was sentient.
    • In the show's second run, he continues his policy of behaving like a dumb animal except when it suits him, although there's no longer any need for him to maintain his cover.
    • Nibbler actually reacts this way towards the cat leader in "That Darn Katz".
    Nibbler: You can talk!
    Cat leader: You can talk?
    Nibbler: How ironic. Two hyper-intelligent beings pretending to be ordinary house pets.
    Cat leader: Say, do you know Obliteron? He pretends to be a hamster, but—
    Amy: Yeah, that's really great. Can you please tell us what's going on?!
  • Family Guy: Peter reacted to Brian this way once, after Brian had lived with (and spoken with) Peter for years.
    Brian: [My therapist] thinks I'm in love.
    Peter: Oh my god! You can talk!
    Brian: ...
    Peter: ...
    Brian: ...Never mind.
  • Played with in the VeggieTales story "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed":
    Laura Carrot: You're a talking weed!
    Rumor Weed: I'm a talking weed; you're a talking carrot. Your point was?
  • In The Fluppy Dogs Pilot Movie, Tipi is talking with the girl who discovers her true nature and can only annoyingly repeat the stock phrase in astonishment to which Tipi responds "I wish you wouldn't be saying that, I've been talking ever since I was three."
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983):
    • Prince Adam introduces a young boy to Cringer, who of course runs and hides. The boy says "Hi, kitty-cat!" Cringer responds with "I'm not a Kitty! My name's Cringer and you scared me!" The boy says "Wow! You can talk!" Cringer says, "Doesn't everybody?"
    • This happens to Adam and Cringer again in the pilot episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power, Into Etheria.
      Innkeeper: Welcome to the Laughing Swan, stranger. How may we serve you today?
      Cringer: Uh, how about a little chow?
      Innkeeper: Your, uh, your animal, he uh, he speaks?
      Adam: Well, doesn't everybody?
  • In the original My Little Pony cartoon, when Firefly asks Megan (who is used to real horses) for help, the first thing out of her mouth is "Talking pony!"
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy has a massive fear of adult dragons and avoids them whenever possible. However, she becomes immediately fascinated upon meeting Spike, a baby dragon (since he's far too small to eat her), and learns from their encounter that dragons can talk.
  • The Planet of the Apes example above is Parodied on The Simpsons, in the episode "A Fish Called Selma", with Troy McClure's "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!":
    Ape: Help, the human is about to escape!
    Troy McClure: Get your paws off me, you dirty ape!
    Ape: *Gasp* He can talk!
    Group of Apes: He can talk! He can talk! He can talk! He can talk! He can talk! He can talk!
    Troy McClure: I can siiiiiinngggg!
  • In the pilot for Teacher's Pet, the main character is initially surprised that his dog can talk and masquerades as a student, but then asks how long he was able to do so and asks is his pet cat and bird can do the same thing.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Megas XLR
    Jamie: You mean, that thing can talk?
    Space Rhino: [points at Jamie] You mean, that thing can talk?
  • In several episodes of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, everyone reacted in surprise when normally quiet-spoken little Velma uttered "Jinkies!"
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, everyone but SpongeBob is amazed when his "Bubble Buddy" turns out to be alive and capable of speech. The episode ends with Squidward looking at a random bubble and giving it a tentative greeting.
  • In a Whole Episode Flashback of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, when June gains her powers for the first time.
    June: You can talk!?
    Monroe: You can hear me!?
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, the Titans find themselves chasing a green alien dog, mistaking it for their friend Beast Boy. When it starts talking, they are as gobsmacked as they were when it licked Raven's face with a prehensile tentacle-tongue and then flowed through a closed grate like some kind of Blob Monster. Raven in particular angrily asks why it didn't tell them they had the wrong green dog before, but is rebuked with the fact that the alien found their efforts to catch him too entertaining.
  • This happens in X-Men: Evolution when Hank is mistaken for Bigfoot and captured. It's particularly funny because Hank is known for his eloquence and habit of quoting Shakespeare.
  • One episode of Men in Black has Agents J and K working with Agent C aboard his submarine. C spends a lot of time ranting about (among many other things) spending so much of his time cooped up in the sub with only a single silent alien crewmate for company. Toward the end of the episode, the alien speaks for the first time. When C asks him why he kept silent for so long, he answers "Couldn't get a word in edgewise".
  • Odd variation in a Looney Tunes where farmer Elmer Fudd's barnyard duck Daffy is perpetually bothering the family dog. Mrs. Fudd, with the reverend coming over for supper, ponders what to cook - the dog excitedly starts playing charades with her, miming 'roast duck'. When she guesses wrong several times (including 'roast dog') he shouts "NO! Roast D-U-C-K! DUCK! Sheeesh!"
  • A running gag in cartoons with Michigan J. Frog is one character discovering the frog can sing, then trying to convince others of it but just looking crazy.
  • In "A Fish Tale" from Goldie & Bear, after Bear catches the huge fish Big Bart, he celebrates by shouting that he caught him, to which Big Bart replies something like "Yeah, you caught me." Bear is immediately surprised that the fish can talk, since all of the small fish up to that point had been non-anthro.
  • Doc McStuffins:
    • The flashback in "Bringing Home Baby" shows that his was Doc's reaction along with general confusion when she first got her magic stethoscope and heard her stuffed animals talking for the first time.
    • In "First Responders to the Rescue," the boy Dev has this reaction when he discovers Chilly in his room, searching for Dev's hurt toy, and Chilly slips up and talks.
  • The Powerpuff Girls say this verbatim in the episode "Horn Sweet Horn".
  • In "The Great Tortoise Rescue" from Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin has this reaction when he first meets Tolly Tortoise, suffering under the mistaken impression that he is actually a giant nut, despite Peter and the others' insistence that he's a tortoise. Shortly afterwards...
    Tolly: Mr. Tolly Tortoise. What! Wait a second. You're Nutkin, aren't you? I remember you when you were knee-high to a twig.
    Nutkin: [giggles] The nut's trying to make friends with me! Isn't that sweet?
  • In the Baby Looney Tunes episode "War of the Weirds, the babies, minus Taz, have this reaction when Marvin agrees to play with them. Up until then, he only shyly mumbled. Taz's justification on why Marvin never talked to them before was because he didn't know them, as they had been ostracizing him because they found him "weird", to the point of never introducing themselves to him.
  • Kaeloo: Parodied. Kaeloo tells Mr. Cat that her psychotherapist can't talk, then the psychotherapist speaks up to let her know that he can. Kaeloo is shocked, and the doctor reveals that the only reason he never spoke was that Kaeloo is a talkative Motor Mouth and he couldn't get a word in.
  • A pair of Popeye cartoons by Gene Deitch focused on a talking dog named Roger. He'll only talk to Popeye, although at the end of the first installment he eventually talks to Olive.
  • Dragon Tales:
    • In "To Fly With Dragons," the premiere story, when Cassie and Ord first fly down to Max and Emmy and Emmy hears Ord whisper Cassie's name, her reaction is "Wow, you talk!" Cassie replies "So do you!"
    • In "Knot a Problem," Max and Emmy meet a magical merry-go-round and are surprised that the ponies on it can walk and talk.

 
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Jacques Meets Ananas

Jacques meets a talking pineapple and is in utter disbelief.

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