Character Filibuster

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"For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who--[63 pages of pure speech]--will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
John Galt, Atlas Shrugged
"Eventually, the question you ask stops being 'Who is John Galt?' and becomes 'When will John Galt shut up?'"
Anonymous

Happens when a character has started talking and just... won't... stop. Discussing and ranting for far longer than any normal person who's not a college sophomore would, they launch into well thought-out and outlined philosophical essays, complete with introductions and supporting points. Something any normal person might take weeks to write, rewrite, and organize before presenting, this character seemingly makes it up off the top of his head.

Not only is the length of the speech generally unrealistic (provided that the scene is not in court or during a speech, when it is usually acceptable, or in a situation where a character's only viable option is to stand up and just keep talking), the audience is amazingly quiet: never interrupting or leaving, and even remembering specific points during their speech. Bonus points if no real time has seemed to pass (for example, it is still before breakfast when the discussion has ended, when it easily took over an hour to read). In literature, this is indicative that the work was probably written in the Victorian era.

When the character is explaining the author's views, it's also an Author Filibuster. See also Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic. God help you if this overlaps with Motor Mouth. When a character is filibustering for an in-universe reason, they are Holding the Floor. Usually becomes a Wall of Text if used in a comic. Can be a Fridge Logic result of a story having an orally-based Framing Device - "Wait, is he still telling this tale to the guys round the campfire? How did he pronounce the chapter breaks?"[1]

Often considered Bad Writing, but Tropes Are Not Necessarily Bad, and the opinion any specific reader has of any Character Filibuster is usually (but not always) a product of whether or not the reader agrees with the point being made, or if the point being made is petty enough to be funny.

Examples of Character Filibuster include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Itsuki Koizumi from Suzumiya Haruhi. He constantly, constantly explains complex philosophical/metaphysical (or sometimes physics or math) theories without any reason. Usually, this is made rather creepy, not only because of his smile, but also because the stuff he talks makes you feel uneasy. But all in all this is actually awesome because the person he typically tells it to, Kyon, doesn't give a crap. And if Koizumi really does make Kyon feel uneasy about it, he will just say "Just kidding, that's not what I really think, at all." Even in their home-made movie he lapses into this, taking up almost a minute of screentime.
    • Kyon himself also slips into this at times, though usually as the Narrator rather than in his actual actions.
      • Inverted by Kyon himself in one of the later novels where he wishes he could instantly come up with a massive speech to make Mikuru feel better about how useless she is, but he cannot think of a thing to say that will not spoil the future. She thanks him for the effort, though, and cheers up.
    • Itsuki's long speeches usually add some context to a particular arc or story subplot. However: if you get a badly translated copy (Japan to english) of the light novels, you are, to put it delicately, completely screwed.
      • Lampshaded when Kyon slips into the theater to watch Itsuki's performance during the culture fair. Itsuki's droning monologue, punctuated with the usual hand gestures, keeps Kyon's puzzled attention for a few minutes before he nods off.
  • Sergeant Keroro gives one of these about how kids can't deal with the cold in one of the manga chapters. Before he begins Fuyuki groans that they're about to lose fans as the manga has only just been turned into an anime (well only just at the time the chapter was written). When he's done (2 pages later) he finds Fuyuki and Natsumi have stopped listening to him and snuggled back under their kotatsu.
  • Happens at least Once an Episode in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, with Itoshiki's ramblings about the episode's theme. Usually punctuated at some point with his Catch Phrase about how whatever he was rambling about "has left him in despair".
  • November 11's first appearance begins with him giving a rather lengthy rant about secondhand smoke, which has gotten repeated twice now and is threatening to become a Running Gag.
  • Professor Itsuki of Moyashimon sometimes goes off on lengthy and philosophical speeches about science and fermentation processes. Justified by the fact that he is a professor lecturing to his seminar students.
  • The Major's famous speech in which he details how he loves every last aspect of war. The version in the OVA clocks in at more than six minutes long. Tends to be tolerated (if not outright enjoyed) due to how Crazy Awesome it is.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In Chick tracts, there's always Uncle Bob or Lil' Susy, to helpfully preach how you are a sinner and you are bound to Hell, and the only way to avoid it is Jesus.
  • Used painfully straight by the Mexican political cartoonists Rius and El Fisgon, using the characters Gumaro and La Beba Toloache in their respective works, Rius actually lampshades it in one strip: On it, the cops from Trastupijes go to Gumaro's house to ask him for help, Nopaltzin is the one who greets them and out of nowhere he starts talking about the "real" figure of Jesus, the cops puzzledly look each other and ask him why he is telling them that, Nopaltzin answers that it's because Gumaro made him memorize that, as a reprieve for getting drunk again.
  • In Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem is prone to these, but the way he delivers them is Crazy Awesome enough to make them entertaining.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington has an actual character filibuster in the senate. Never before has a political filibuster been so dramatic.
  • The movie 12 Angry Men is full of these—although some characters do show a few signs of semi-realistic dialogue when their speeches break down.
  • Memorably subverted / parodied in Billy Madison. Billy is required to give one of these describing how a work of literature reflects the changes the Industrial Revolution had on the modern novel as part of the climactic general knowledge quiz. He elects to compare the Industrial Revolution to a children's story called "The Puppy Who Lost His Way", and the scene cuts to the ending of the seemingly inspirational and well-informed monologue he gives on the subject. Then Billy turns to the headmaster to find out how he did, and this is the response:

Headmaster: [Completely deadpan] Mr. Madison, what you've just said... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Peter Graves's speech at the end of It Conquered the World.
    • Became a running joke on Mystery Science Theater 3000 after they riffed the movie. "He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature..."
  • Played for laughs in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, where Robin of Loxley has a habit of filibustering, and gently lulling the townspeople to sleep in the process.
  • Jet Li's portrayal of Wong Fei Hung in Once Upon a Time in China and America shows him to be a sleep-inducing public speaker. (It doesn't help that his audience are miners just coming off a long shift, but still...) At the end of the movie, he offers to make speech at a dedication and is quickly turned down.
  • Played for laughs in Down With Love. The protagonist, a best-selling author, delivers the extremely long speech she's been saving up for years. What really makes it the way it's all done in one shot followed by a cut to Ewan McGregor with a priceless look on his face. Starts at 3:13. (a transcript of it at the IMDb has 22 lines!)
  • In The Mole People, John Agar just will not shut up. Probably would have been more tolerable if they'd spread the speeches around more among the characters, instead of making one the know-it-all.
  • In the execrable Horror of the Red Planet/The Wizard of Mars John Carradine appears at the end as a literal Talking Head. Which he does For about fifteen minutes of screen time, interrupted perhaps twice by questions from the remarkably dim cast. Proving once again that Money, Dear Boy triumphs over Art.
  • V from V for Vendetta. For some, though, his monologues and speeches are often the highlight of the film.
  • The protagonist of the Bollywood film Guru has one of these at the end justifying his rapacious business practices. It wins over an initially hostile crowd, just like Howard Roarke's similar speech in The Fountainhead (both book and movie).
  • Paddy Chayefsky was in love with this trope. Howard Beale's multiple-page rants in Network are the best example.
  • The Detective Conan Non-Serial Movie used both recurring Little Miss Snarker Ai and one-off Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds Hiroki to filibuster over the hereditary nature of Japanese society. It is sometimes quite jarring to see Hiroki filibustering at around 30–35 minutes into the movie, while for the rest of it he was an extreme Woobie.
  • It's based on a true story, but we don't know how much is real: during the Clay Shaw trial in JFK, Jim Garrison talks for 8 minutes in final summation (that brought Kevin Costner to real tears).
    • Speaking of Kevin Costner, he gives a rather epic off-the-cuff speech in Bull Durham when asked, "well, what do you believe then?", though unlike most such examples it's very ribald.
  • In a Running Gag, Mr Smith of Shoot Em Up tends to rant about minor things that annoy him. In this case, it's excused for three reasons: One, either his rants or what he does after them tend to be funny and/or awesome; two, other characters frequently note that they neither know nor care what he's talking about; and three, it sets up his awesome verbal smackdown of the villain at the end.
  • In Don Juan Demarco, the title character (played by Johnny Depp) has a couple speeches explaining what it takes to be the World's Greatest Lover (it's very much to Depp's acting credit that he manages to deliver these convincingly.) His analyst Dr. Mickler (Marlon Brando) does a more tongue-in-cheek one, complete with playful fake accent, about being the World's Greatest Psychiatrist.
  • Good Will Hunting features a long rant from the eponymous character about possibly working for the NSA.

Will: Why shouldn't I work for the NSA? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at the NSA and somebody puts a code on my desk, something no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East, and once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot, just like it wasn't them when their number got called, 'cause they were all pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie over there takin' shrapnel in the ass. He comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price -- and, of course, the oil companies used the little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices; a cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, of course, and maybe they even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's walkin' to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids; and meanwhile he's starvin', 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure, fuck it; while I'm at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • General Jerima Precklesdough in Felsic Current speaks in nothing but filibusters. His run-on sentences tend to be so convoluted that none but the most astute and intellectual of listeners (and readers!) can keep up with him. This makes taking orders from him a particularly grueling challenge for his troops. He's also been known to lose himself within the mazes of his own verbal meanderings, to his great amusement.
  • Perhaps the ultimate example of this comes from Atlas Shrugged, as the page quote indicates. Though including a full quote would be impossible, because Galt's speech goes on for three hours and sixty-three pages.
    • The full speech can be found at http://galtse.cx (the URL serving as a reference to a certain well-known Shock Site). The fact that it weighs in at just over 180 kilobytes of plain text should tell you something. For those who are curious: It's 32,962 words long.
    • Ayn Rand lives by this trope. Characters in most of her books will lapse into extended monologues about their philosophies on life whether justified (as in the above example) or not (as in the middle of a conversation), to the point that pretty much all of her books are obvious author tracts.
  • This was the main point of ancient philosophical dialogues, where the setting and characters were present only to lend the appropriate framework (and often authoritative weight by placing the words in the mouths of well-respected and conveniently deceased classical scholars) for one (sometimes more) to outline an entire philosophical argument.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Iliad cycles between speeches that go on for over a hundred lines, often in the middle of a pitched battle, punctuated by someone's skull being splattered.
  • Plato's Symposium consists of many long speeches on the nature of love in between people getting happily drunk and Alcibiades explaining how Socrates broke his heart.
  • This happens quite frequently in The Last of the Mohicans and the rest of The Leatherstocking Tales. In fact, Hawkeye's introduction in Last of the Mohicans has him doing one of these. Then Chingachgook joins in the fun.
  • Anything by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who is (in)famous for this. That includes Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov.
  • In Stephen King's fourth Dark Tower novel, Wizard and Glass, Roland tells the story of his becoming a gunslinger, his first love, and the beginning of his quest for the Tower, an epic tale that spans months and takes up three-fourths of the seven-hundred-page-plus novel, in a single evening, without pausing. It's implied that, due to the wonky nature of time in Mid-World, that the universe itself obliged Roland's need to share the information.
  • A quarter of Frankenstein was just the monster's monologue. Hell, 99 percent of Frankenstein is the eponymous character's monologue! That 25 percent is a monologue within a monologue!
    • That is nothing. Percy Bysshe Shelley decided to improves his wife's prose by inserting monologues of his own personal philosophy into the book. This results in page long essays on Mr. Shelley's complaints of New Media Are Evil inserted into a university professer's lecture, or his political views inserted into letters between friends . Some points Mr. Shelley only inserted a single sentence, but the writing style is so jarringly out of place it stands out like a sore thumb. This is a drinking game, take one shot every time yo come across an "improvement": by the end you will so hammered you won't remember when you grew a second hand.
  • Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is a pretty interesting period work right up until the socialist characters start to talk. The book practically ends with a character discussion group...
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin. One lazy afternoon Augustine St. Clare delivers a monologue about his upbringing, his twin brother, the differences between him and said brother, and his dislike of slavery in general (though he still owns slaves). It goes for pages and pages, but his cousin never interrupts. The annotator of the annotated edition even confesses that it makes his eyes glaze. But if your eyes don't glaze over, it can be quite beautiful even though it's improbable.
  • In War and Peace, Prince Andrei gives a long Character Filibuster about why who's commanding what army doesn't really matter before the Battle of Borodino. This also applies to anytime a letter by one of the characters is featured in the story.
  • Characters in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind often fall prey to this, as a result of being used by the author as mouthpieces for his personal philosophy.
    • A particularly egregious example occurs in "The Pillars of Creation," where Richard Rahl lectures some poor foolish isolated communist-types on the error of their ways—for three whole chapters (60+ pages)! Such is the power of his oratory that he manages to convince the entire group that their people have been living incorrectly for millennia, and converts them to laissez-faire capitalism and a reductive materialist philosophy on the spot, which results in severe infighting, the phenomenon of crime and murder - which didn't exist in this culture before and which eventually ends in their complete enslavement and annihilation, as the infighting and alien concept of "crime" (along with the removal of the magical barrier) has weakened and divided them so severely. Not to mention that their once-thriving spiritual tradition is all but eliminated, and they are transformed from pacifists in to beserking, Blood Knight warriors
  • The Discworld book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents features a brief rant from Malicia about how stupid and childish the Mr. Bunnsy books (Discworld's equivalent to the works of Beatrix Potter) are. But since Malicia is an unlikeable, Wrong Genre Savvy know-it-all (not to mention she doesn't care that she's inadvertently dispirited a rat who regarded Mr. Bunnsy Has an Adventure as a Bible for rats), it comes off as a Take That towards the people who have that sort of attitude towards children's literature.
    • Mr Nutt, from Unseen Academicals, speaks in multi-paragraph lectures. There's even a bit of an explanation for why Talking Is a Free Action: people tend to get a bit dazed by it.
    • Lord Vetinari gets a few big speeches in later Discworld books, like his discussion with Drumknott on the nature of freedom ("Freedom may be the natural state of mankind, but so is sitting in a tree and eating your dinner while it's still wriggling.") in Going Postal.
    • Granny Weatherwax gets one in A Hat Full of Sky, going on about how Miss Level helping people in need even when they're stupid and ungrateful is what witchcraft is all about, and not Mrs. Earwig's "wizard magic in a dress".
  • Jean Paul Sartre did this in his novels all too often. The Reprieve has a notable example.
  • In the Animorphs book The Hork-Bajir Chronicles one of these is used as a framing device; a Hork-Bajir tells the novel's story to Tobias in a single, uninterrupted sitting. Being able to memorize and recite long passages word for word appears to be an innate ability of the Hork-Bajir species.
    • Also the Ellimist Chronicles, with the eponymous Ellimist having stopped time to talk to someone before they die. If the "stopped time" part didn't give you a hint, this guy's a Power, so his memory and preparation are hardly suspect.
  • Subverted in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The book begins with the eponymous yankee telling his story orally as a Framing Device, but after about a chapter he gets tired and hands the listener his journal to read instead.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo has multiple examples, including a lengthy speech from Abbe Faria about how he learned about the treasure, a long explanation of a minor character's Backstory by a Roman innkeeper, and a history of the downfall of Ali Pasha by his daughter Haydee.
  • Early in The Culture novel Use Of Weapons, protagonist Cheradenine Zakalwe confronts an "Ethnarch" on a primitive planet who has been subjecting other ethnicities to forced relocation by train and mass executions by sneaking into that Ethnarch's bedroom at night. While holding the Ethnarch at gunpoint, Zakalwe breaks into a long explanation about why this is bad, who the Culture is, and what they do to people who indulge in such abuses, and how he should Beware the Nice Ones. The Ethnarch attempts to shut him up with a pistol hidden in his bed, but Zakalwe had already removed all the bullets from it. He continues to explain that the Culture will only subject him to a comfortable imprisonment rather than death. This turns out to be only Zakalwe invoking a long-winded Hope Spot for the Ethnarch, saying that he went freelance years ago, then shooting him in the head.
  • John C. Wright's The Golden Oecumene trilogy does this. Especially in the third book, where Phaethon and Nothing (which is, in fact, an AI trapped in a black hole) engage in a lengthy philosophical discussion on the bridge of Phaethon's thousand-kilometer Adamantium starship. This is in the middle of exchanges of gunfire using the most powerful weapons of the past ten thousand years.
    • Nothing is trying a We Can Rule Together here—its thus incumbent upon it to explain to the hero at length why its POV is allegedly so superior. Phaethon could have restrained the impulse to answer it at such length, admitted.
    • Somewhat justified as the whole trilogy is riffing on the conceits of Opera: people pretending to be other people, dramatic soliloquies, etc.
      • If one is familiar with Wright, as a man rather than as an artist, it makes sense. That's pretty much what happens when a classically-educated, somewhat literal-minded man sets out to write "Space Opera".
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, Federation Councillor Bera chim Gleer of Tellar is infamous for these. According to one novel, Star Trek: Articles of the Federation, he's never had a speech on the council floor go shorter than forty-five minutes...and that was when he had a cold. Usually it's twice that, minimum.
  • Arguably Roger in The Vampire Chronicles: Memnoch the Devil. Lestat does this from time to time, the worst example being all of Chapter 16 in Blood Canticle, wherein he stops the plot to explain why he's in love with a character despite their complete lack of chemistry.
    • Lestat also takes time in the preface of Blood Canticle to complain about the fans' reaction to Memnoch the Devil, saying more or less that he gave them a glimpse into the mysteries of Heaven and Hell and all they wanted was "the fancy fiend" with glamorous leather and heavy motorcycles. He assures them that there's plenty of traditional badassery to go around but that he'll get to it when he's good and ready. Then again, that might be a full-on Author Filibuster, as well as Chapter 7 of the same novel, which has nothing to do with the plot or the series, but is a three page rave about the new Pope and some Saint in Mexico.
  • Mary Malone does this in the third book of His Dark Materials about her life from living as a (moderate) nun to her deconversion. However, contrary to what some may think, her rant about atheism is actually her own opinion, not Pullman's.
  • Spider Robinson's short story "God is an Iron" ends with the main character going on an impromptu very eloquent rant about the ironic nature of the world. Lampshaded when the character listening says: "you talk good on your feet".
  • All of Psmith's dialogue is in oratory, despite the fact that he regards himself as "a man of few words". It's Played for Laughs, as very rarely is he ranting about anything serious.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Julia "Terminator" Sugarbaker on Designing Women is this trope personified. She does this on an almost Once an Episode basis, preaching her liberal views to the other characters and the audience. Ironically, she was played by Dixie Carter, a staunch Republican who got so fed up with it that she cut a deal with the producers: every time they made her rant about something she didn't agree with, she got to do a musical number.
  • In Babylon 5, Londo once asks Vir if he believes in fate. He has to interrupt about a minute in to Vir's rather complex philosophy on the subject to demand a yes or no.
    • In the Season 1 episode "Infection", Commander Sinclair gives a long philosophical speech during a fistfight with a deadly alien.
  • 7th Heaven. Once an Episode? Try once between every commercial break.
  • Top Gear. Presenter James May is basically the Character Filibuster made flesh. He often goes on rants so long-winded or into such meticulous detail about physics, they've actually Lampshaded it by fading out between scenes, coming back later to find that he is still talking.
  • Boston Legal, Once an Episode. It got so bad and so continuous and so integrated and so expected that nearly every case in the last series featured the judge telling the filibusterer to Get On With It already.
    • Justified Trope. That's what a closing argument is. In real life, if the case is big enough, closing arguments can go on for days.
  • Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters, in spades... God bless 'im.
  • David Mitchell launches into these on most comedy panel shows he appears on.
  • Happens more than Once an Episode in Grey's Anatomy.
  • Judd Hirsch's character's rant in the teaser of the first episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Justified, though.
  • Steve's legendary rants in Coupling on subjects such as cushions, locks on bathrooms and lesbian porn.
  • One Japanese variety show once had a segment in which a couple of highschool students did a movie parody of Charlie's Angels. One of the students was so impressively good at this trope that at one point the camera (an industrial, movie-business type of camera, mind!) literally stopped working before he stopped.
  • Subject to a lot of parody and lampshading on Frasier; Frasier Crane loves doing these and—unfortunately for the people subjected to them—will launch into one at the drop of a hat.
    • It only makes sense that Frasier managed to hook up with Diane Chambers on Cheers. She has frequently made long-winded speeches, novels, and even answering machine messages.
    • Frasier's biggest one has got to be the time he spent an entire episode parked at the exit of a parking garage refusing to pay the $2.00 fee because he didn't actually park after entering it, while bending the ears of the ticket guard's and the angry crowd behind him about stupid rules. Niles, who is stuck in the car with him, calls him an idiot for fifteen minutes before Frasier finally realizes that maybe he's wrong, and he should stop feeling the need to filibuster all the time, leading to this priceless exchange:

Frasier: You know, we wouldn't be in this mess if it weren't for you and your ridiculous birdcage!
Niles: *look of indignant outrage*
Frasier: Oh come on, I can only change one character flaw at a time!

  • Parodied on Green Acres. Oliver would sometimes go into a long winded speech about how great America is and/or how it was great because of farmers accompanied by a fife playing either "Yankee Doodle" or "Battle Hymn of the Republic". At one point, everyone just got bored and left, even the unseen fife player.
  • Mr. Smoke-Too-Much, in the "Travel Agent Sketch" on Monty Python's Flying Cirus, takes this to perhaps its ultimate extreme.
  • Sherlock's long and extremely detailed account of how he figured out that John Watson served in Afghanistan and used his alcoholic sibling's mobile phone might qualify as this, though it's not as preachy or philosophical as some of the other examples on this page and he has to be prodded into giving any explanation longer than "it's obvious to me because I'm so smart".
  • The entire run of How I Met Your Mother is one long character filibuster of a 51-year-old Ted Mosby insisting upon telling his son and daughter the whole story of how he met their mother. Which means not just telling them how they were introduced and how they fell in love, but all the backstory for his character development up to that point: why did they fall in love? To answer that, Ted paints a picture of his personality and life, and in order to do that, Ted takes it upon himself to not describe, but demonstrate, through Show, Don't Tell, all the events important to said development, all the backstory explaining said events, all the unrelated events that are essential to understanding that backstory, all the character traits of his friends that explain those unrelated events, and all the even more unrelated events that illustrate the character traits that explain the unrelated events that explain the backstory that explains the important events that constitute the character development that led Ted to her. All of which is played out in explicit, detailed, semi-chronological, tangent-filled story-form. Luckily, the comedy, the sitcom format and the mysteries makes it interesting and entertaining to us, but the poor kids...
  • Sheldon is prone to this if anyone says something he has even the most remote knowledge in; more so if he does know. And when he tried to teach Penny physics...


Radio Drama[edit | hide]


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in the play Sheik, Rattle and Roll where the Prince keeps launching into 'inspirational' speeches at the drop of a hat, which generally either bewilder his audience or send them to sleep.
  • Used in Charles Mee's Wintertime repeatedly, each time with a different character. What makes it even worse is that he fancies himself a poet, and all these speeches are in [poorly written] verse....
  • The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice has two scenes in which one character does practically all the talking: the opening scene, in which Mrs. Zero talks on and on to her husband; and the court scene, in which Mr. Zero's rambling defense of his crime and his miserable way of life is interrupted only once, by twelve voices shouting "GUILTY!" in unison.
  • Shakespeare does this alot, as expected, usually justified, but occasionally to show a character is a pompous windbag, or to expound upon subjects close to him, like theater. For example, see Hamlet, where the eponymous character launches into a lengthy rant about various forms of crappy acting, including Milking the Giant Cow, after waylaying a group of players arriving to perform at the royal court.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Metal Gear Solid series has a lot of these, usually by the villains. Metal Gear Solid 2 has three in one Cutscene (admittedly, it was broken up by a boss fight, at least), one of which was an Author Filibuster also.
  • Played for Laughs in Tales of Symphonia. Raine's lectures are treated as a Fate Worse Than Death, and in one dungeon you don't have to listen to her. Her lecture will loop in the background until you find two guys trying to blow up the ruins they're visiting.
  • In Sam and Max Freelance Police, Sam frequently uses this, turning it into a running gag.
  • It may be important exposition, but it's confusing and it never ever stops, so the rallying cry of many Fate/stay night players on the third day has become "SHUT UP, KOTOMINE."
    • This continues throughout the game as necessary. In particular, at the end, Kotomine talks quite a bit about the nature of good and evil, but at that point the "Shut up, Kotomine" changes in nature a little.
    • It even gets lampshaded in an early Tiger Dojo (one of the ones for making a Too Dumb to Live choice) where Ilya claims to have been using the ctrl key to fast-forward through all the exposition, and Taiga says that it may be boring, but you do need to listen to it, sadly.
  • BioShock (series) features a number of these from Andrew Ryan. They're intentionally meant to be provocative.
    • Given whom the game is paying homage/parody too, that's not too surprising.
  • Poor Medoute gets saddled with delivering a lot of these in Blaze Union, since as the Cool Big Sis of the team, the writers seem to have decided that she should always explain and summarize the Aesop of the day. This gets obnoxious after the route divide, where her heritage is dealt with using a nearly-identical speech every time.
  • Parodied in episode 4 of Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People. Marzipan convinces Strong Bad to let her have an eight-minute spiel on saving the rain forest in Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, but Strong Bad fast-forwards through most of it.
  • Also done in the Enter the Dominatrix DLC for Saints Row 4, where Kinzie goes off on what is supposed to be a fifteen-minute egotistical monologue explaining the current plot point, and a detailed breakdown of the 'totally brilliant' methods by which she solved it. Pierce fast-forwards through the whole thing.
    • And then played with later when Pierce (and the audience) expresses total befuddlement at how a scene transition just happened and asks how that was even possible, and Kinzie reminds him that she already explained the whole thing earlier but Pierce fast-forwarded over her explanation.
  • Anachronox: Grumpos has this as an ability called 'yammer'. He will just keep on talking and talking and talking until an NPC finally gives in. It's done as a minigame where you have to keep inflating one or the other of his lungs to let him keep going.
  • Mass Effect 2: There's that one Krogan during Mordin's loyalty mission who decides it'd be a good idea to proclaim his own and his clan's superiority instead of killing Shepard on sight. This encounter might also "coincidentally" be that one time where Paragon players activated a Renegade action prompt.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a fervent priest of Talos will stand before the statue of his god outside Dragonsreach and Jorvaskrr and shout a constant, unending sermon extolling the virtues of Talos and maligning the Thalmor who tried to ban his worship. Since you're likely going to be constantly running back and forth between Dragonsreach, Jorvaskrr, and your house in the city, you'll be hearing him a lot.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • While technically it's The Nostalgia Critic's job to rant about whatever annoys him, sometimes he'll go on long, vitriolic rants like on how awful it is when parents put pressure on their kids or how dreams don't always come true. As his childhood sucked hard, it's pretty clear that they've hit a nerve in him.
  • Ryori Holloway in The Gungan Council. Some Jedi been bad? Here's this humongous monologue for ya...


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The whole Animaniacs episode "Chairman of the Bored" is a perfect illustration of this trope.
  • Foghorn Leghorn. All the time. On at least one occasion, he's forcibly delayed the Iris Out just to get the last word in.
  • Brian from Family Guy (before he just full-on became the writers' mouthpiece).
  • When SpongeBob SquarePants is made hall monitor, he gives an acceptance speech so long (he even quotes a long speech from another hall monitor) that class is over by the time he's finished.
  • The eponymous detective on Duckman was known to do this on occasion, the most memorable probably being his lengthy rant about the insanity of modern life in the episode "A Room with a Belleview".
  • Pathological liar Staci from Total Drama Revenge of the Island will constantly talk about her ancestors and their supposed contributions to society.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Many people with Asperger's Syndrome tend to start in on fairly spectacular rants if confronted with a subject they're interested in, which can often lead to a rather scary-looking Wall of Text in online discussions or direct quotations.
    • Even neuro-typical people can turn into full-fledged Demosthenes if they get started on a subject that passion them.
  • People who have from ADHD are known to indulge in "logorrhea," which is a fancy medical term for this trope.[2]
  • Dictators. Think Fidel Castro.
    • Extending on that - virtually any politician, really. Although Fiddy probably does hold a record or two, what with that certain seven-hour speech.
    • Che Guevara's own account of meeting Fidel Castro for the first time involves Che's then-girlfriend asking him an off-the-cuff question and Fidel's answer taking four hours.
    • Hugo Chavez. He's known for making seven hour speeches fairly often. That fact and Chavez's political views led to a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the king of Spain when he told Chavez to shut up.
    • There's also Muammar Gaddafi's speech at the United Nations. It went on for over 90 minutes and his translator collapsed from the strain of translating the ramblings.
  • While he was running for Parliament, French-born English writer Hilaire Belloc was giving a speech, when a heckler called out, "Who won Waterloo?" Belloc, a military historian among other things, proceeded to give him a rundown of the precise role played by each of the commanders on the winning side. Fair to bet that particular heckler ended up wishing he hadn't opened his mouth.
  • Filibustering is a well known parliamentary method used as far back as Ancient Rome. In an attempt to delay the passing of a piece of legislature a representative gives a speech that goes on...and on...and on...
    • Sometimes they aren't even real speeches. Frequently they're nothing more than a senator reading every single entry of a phone book.
    • Reality Is Unrealistic in this case in the USA at least. Rules are in place that with a sufficiently large minority, a party can just invoke the filibuster without ever having to actually stand up there and talk. Many people feel this completely defeats the point of the whole thing by writing a loophole into the rules to make it easier to simply obstruct passage or prevent any debate.
      • Others believe it prevents a tyranny of the majority,preventing a small majority from enacting legislation nearly half the country (or their elected representatives at least) disagree with. Which side you're on usually depends on whether your party is currently the majority or the minority
      • A Character Filibuster can take place in the Senate, however, when the Senator currently speaking simply does not stop, and no rule can make them, which is useful when those opposing a piece of legislation cannot muster the votes for the above method. Senator Strom Thurmond holds the record for the longest such filibuster at 24 hours and 18 minutes.
  • A formation of enlisted men is a captive audience some NCO's and officers just can't resist. There's probably also some "Let's see how long they can stand there" sadism behind it, but the content usually amounts to, "See, I'm not such a bad guy?" or "I'm your worst hardass nightmare!"
  1. One way would be that this would be a break for the storyteller/listeners to go to the bathroom, sleep, eat, etc., or that that was simply the amount of story told each evening--so the first campfire we see and the last are 30 chapters/days apart.
  2. It means "word flow". The resemblance to the word "diarrhea", i.e. "poop flow", is not a coincidence.