Oral Fixation Fixation

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"The only thing she learned was that a pen function was not like a real pen in the most important way there was. You could not chew it."

Sometimes a character will suck or chew on something as a form of characterization. These range from toothpicks and blades of straw or grass to lollipops and cigarettes. Smoking Is Cool is an example, and it's possible that some of these are a way to capture the look while the No Smoking rule is in force. An Oral Fixation might also be a sign they are an ex-smoker, having substituted one habit for another. When food is used, this can overlap with Erotic Eating.

In anime, having a piece of straw in one's mouth is a common depiction of a banchou, or juvenile delinquent gang-leader character. In America, the same thing just means the character is a hick, and in the UK it probably means they're a farmer.

Examples of Oral Fixation Fixation include:

Anime and Manga

  • Spoofed in Bleach with Shunsui Kyoraku, who sticks a blade of straw in his mouth because he thought it would look cool, but it turns out to be toxic.
  • In Pokémon, Ash's Treecko always had a tiny wood branch which makes him the most Badass of all of Ash's Pokémon (As Badass as you can get in Pokémon at least). He continues the habit when he evolves into Grovyle, but loses it temporarily when he evolved into Sceptile, as result of a Heroic BSOD.
    • ...only for him to instantly grab a new one just as he snapped out of said Heroic BSOD two episodes later.
  • Mello from Death Note is perpetually chomping a chocolate bar through every one of his appearances in the series.
    • Not to mention L, who mouths his thumbnail when he's thinking. Or excited. Or bored. Pretty much constantly, actually. When he's not eating sweets.
  • One of the minor Jonin in Naruto named Genma Shiranui constantly chews on what looks like a toothpick. Notably, when faced with the Sound 4, he spits it to block a kunai thrown at him, and it becomes apparent that it was actually a senbon.
    • Don't forget Orochimaru's creepy habit of licking his lips.
    • And Asuma is always smoking unless it serious.
  • One Piece's Sanji is rarely seen without a cigarette. It was changed to a lollipop in the 4Kids Macekre, and removed entirely for the edited Funimation dub.
    • One of the Marines, Smoker, is self explanatory—but with cigars (two at once) instead. 4Kids edited out the cigars while leaving the smoke (saying his body was making the smoke as part of the power) which also required the addition gaps in his teeth, while Funimation is planning to do the opposite: leave the cigars, remove the smoke.
  • Banchou Leomon from Digimon Savers chomps on a piece of straw.
  • Youichi Hiruma of Eyeshield 21 frequently chews and blows bubblegum, and has been seen with a cigarette once or twice. Rival quarterback the Kid is almost always seen with a blade of grass (or wheat, or something) in his mouth, as well.
  • Mizore Shirayuki from Rosario + Vampire always has a lollipop in her mouth. Yum. There is a reason for this though, she is a Yuki Onna and that lolipop is actually super-chilled to prevent her and her species from melting outside of their home
  • Gascogne from Vandread. Interestingly becomes plot-important when the weird metal thing turns out to transform into a key.
  • Koenma's pacifier in Yu Yu Hakusho: not so out of place in his infant form, but much more noticeable in his older and more Bishounen guise. Apparently, several centuries of soaking in a junior god's essence also makes it a fairly potent magical object.
  • Jack, from Shanghai Youma Kikai, is literally never seen without a cigarette.
    • Likewise, his Fullmetal Alchemist counterpart, Jean Havoc, is only seen without one in a few hospital scenes.
  • Hatsukoi Limited has Misaki Yamamoto and her habit of having a lollipop in her mouth.
    • With the reasoning being that the guy who first stuck one in her mouth could be her first crush.
  • Integra from Hellsing is constantly smoking.
    • There's a lot of Oral Fixation Fixation in Hellsing, considering many of the characters are smokers and the rest are vampires.
  • Sagara Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin is almost always seen with a completely stripped fish skeleton in his mouth, or a small plant if he is traveling.
  • Hermann Kaltz from Captain Tsubasa often has a small twig in his mouth.
  • Spanner from Katekyo Hitman Reborn is always shown with a lollipop, and in one anime Omake is revealed to make them himself (including natto flavour). Explained and lampshaded that the sugar boost is good for the brain.
    • Likewise, Gokudera in the manga always had a cigarette in his mouth.
  • In GetBackers, although not licking any other object per se, Psycho for Hire Takuma Fudou loves to constantly lick his lips. This can be seen as a trait that makes him more disturbing, or... something for Fetish Fuel. Or both.
  • Kio of Loveless is almost always eating a lollipop. And trying to get other people to eat them, too.
  • In Meitantei Holmes, Holmes keeps his pipe in his mouth almost all the time, even when it isn't lit. In one episode, he seals it so he can keep it on a non-smoking train.
  • Yami Bakura and Yami Marik of Yu-Gi-Oh! sometimes lick their lips.
  • In Black Butler II much focus is given to Alois's mouth and tongue, and he's constantly licking things like his mouth, among other things.
  • Kaneda of the Litchi Hikari Club is almost constantly hunched over chewing on his nails.
  • Mifune from Soul Eater always has a wheat in his mouth.
  • Saku, from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes always has a lollipop in her mouth.
  • Tessai, Ukyo's Beleaguered Assistant (and Battle Butler) always has an unlit corncob pipe in his mouth
  • Kyouko, in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is always shown eating snack foods, and even fights with a piece of Pocky in her mouth.
  • Amaimon in Blue Exorcist almost always has either a lollipop or one of his fingernails in his mouth.

Comic Books

  • Batman examples:
    • Detective Harvey Bullock. In the comics he's generally chomping on a cigar; in the animated series, it's a toothpick.
    • And then of course there's Matches Malone.
    • Also, Harley Quinn often chews bubble gum when out of costume.
  • Lucky Luke originally smoked, until he traded his cigarette for a blade of grass.
    • Lampshaded in Marcel Dalton: "Cigar? -I stopped. -I forgot. Blade of grass? -No thanks, I'm stopping."
  • Parodied in the comic Van Von Hunter: the title character (a vampire hunter) constantly chews a toothpick. His sidekick finally asks about it, just in time for him to dramatically reveal that it's really a miniature stake.
  • Herbie and his lollipops from the comic Herbie
  • In IDW's version of Transformers, Kupp is given a cigar-like piece of metal that he chews on.
  • Dr. Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, is hardly ever seen without a pipe in his mouth. During 52, he admits that he doesn't smoke, and that the pipe is "just to chew on." Another character directly namedrops this as an oral fixation.


  • Rusty of the Ocean's Eleven trilogy is almost always eating something during his scenes. It may be a second to finish up or he'll eat through the whole scene.
  • There are two of them in the Disney animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Commander Rourke chomps on a matchstick and Mrs. Packard is constantly smoking cigarettes.
  • Telly Savalas's character in Lisa and the Devil alternates between lollipops and cigarettes—to comic effect, at first, but it gets creepier as the film goes on. Since it's Telly one gathers that it's a Shout-Out all the way through.
  • Chow Yun-Fat's characters can be seen chewing on toothpicks, matchsticks, and cigarettes in John Woo's various movies.
  • In Back to The Future, one of Biff Tannen's sidekicks always chews on a match.
    • Thus his name, "Match." It's in the credits.
  • Parodied in the Godzilla movie: when passing a control point, the French take bubble gum and chew emphatically because "It makes [them] look more American."
    • The funny part is that it actually does.
  • David Warner's character in Felony is always chewing something (in addition to the scenery).
  • Parodied in Hot Fuzz, as Sergeant Angel returns to town chewing on a toothpick.
  • General Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove and his cigar. The Freudian aspect is to some extent lampshaded (or at least made all the more obvious) by his obsession with, um, precious bodily fluids.
  • Megget in The Longest Yard (The Adam Sandler version) is seen chewing toothpicks for the entirety of the movie.
  • Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) in Cobra.
  • The Renegade Russian in The Soldier (1982) chews on a toothpick.
  • The Joker in The Dark Knight uses this trope to creepy effect, but it's not so much a sucking or chewing action as a repetitive licking of his own lips...
  • Vanko in Iron Man 2 frequently chews on a toothpick.
  • Dr. Furano in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl has a habit of biting his fingernails. This eventually leads him to discover the full properties of vampire blood.
  • Dr. Block spends most of Planet Terror with a medical thermometer between his teeth. He claims it's to help him "Maintain [his] level of stress," But it's probably more about John Brolin looking totally Badass while doing it.
  • The sketchy guy at the bowling alley ("That's why they call me Pal.") hitting on 15-year-old Tia in Uncle Buck is playing with a toothpick. He ends up not looking sexy or badass when he gets stuck with it propping his mouth open.
  • Penny Pingleton from Hairspray is constantly sucking on lollipops. Amanda Bynes was said to have eaten about 40 of them a day!
  • The engineer from Executive Decision (forgot his name, Wiki Magic required!) always chews a straw. It becomes important later.


  • Da Chief Root from Artemis Fowl does keeps a cigar in his mouth, like in the Nero Wolfe example below, because actually lighting cigars is against regulations (good thing, too, as it's apparently a "fungus cigar").
  • In the novel Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison, the character Pilate is described as always chewing something: orange seeds, pine needles, a rubber band.
  • The character Mars Bar in the novel Maniac Magee gets his nickname from his love of candy bars. He habitually holds one in his teeth like a fat cigar. Near the end, another character begins calling him Snickers.
  • Gwen, one of the two Kid Detectives in the Something Queer [is going on] series, taps her braces when she is thinking hard, a habit which tends to annoy the people around her.
  • Mr. Sir from Holes constantly chewed sunflower seeds. He used to smoke, but chewed seeds after he quit.
  • Beaver, from Stephen King's Dreamcatcher, is constantly chewing on toothpicks. It leads, indirectly, to his death.
  • Ce'Nedra in The Belgariad habitually chews on her hair when nervous or thinking.
  • Nero Wolfe: Police Inspector Cramer has a cigar in his mouth almost all the time - he hardly ever smokes it, he just chomps it. And this is not a bow to Politically Correct views of smoking, as the character was doing this in stories published before World War II.
  • That Hideous Strength, Major Hardcastle always has a cheroot in her mouth; she hardly ever lights it. When she does. . .WATCH OUT.

Live Action TV

  • The Fonz from Happy Days chews on a toothpick a lot of the time.
  • Kojak and his lollipops. The lollipops specifically replaced cigarettes.
  • Spoofed in Mystery Science Theater 3000. During the movie The Thing That Couldn't Die, a cowboy with a ridiculously long and skinny cigar in his mouth prompts the quip "Nothing like smoking a Slim Jim."
    • In Laserblast Crow mocks the cigarette chomping deputy "What do you mean I have oral fixation?"
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Office", Monk found a chewed toothpick at the scene of the crime, and commented that it meant the murderer was trying to be a tough guy... at which point he, and the viewer, first notice that Captain Stottlemeyer is a perpetual toothpick-chewer.
    • In one episode, Monk has to solve a murder at a hotel, and is helped by a member of the Hotel security team. The security officer likes to pretend she's a real police officer, but all of her knowledge on police work (and officer stereotypes) are based on movies and TV shows. She chews toothpicks to complete the "police officer" look. At one point she offers Monk one, which he awkwardly accepts after she tells him they're individually wrapped.
  • In the "Two A-Holes..." sketch series from Saturday Night Live, the title characters go around constantly chewing gum. In one sketch, they were told to take their gum out. They did so, but their mouth motions continued anyway, apparently out of habit.
  • DJ from Sh15uya seems very fond of lollipops, too.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tenth Doctor has a tendency to lick things or put things in his mouth unusually often. Apparently, he has special Time Lord senses in his tongue—but we think it's just the Fan Service. (He seems to do this a lot less after Rose leaves at the end of Series 2. Hmm...)
    • The Eleventh Doctor tries tasting some grass once to figure out what's going on. Amy asks him if he's always been that disgusting, and he tries to explain that it's a fairly recent development. He never does it again.
    • D.I. Peter Carlisle in the BBC miniseries Blackpool is almost always eating, & also played by David Tennant. More Fan Service here.
    • Plus, he licks his lips in a very manic way when playing Barty Crouch Junior, so it's probably a Tennant thing. On the commentary for the second series episode "The Impossible Planet", David Tennant stops the conversation dead when he says that he wants to chew on the Ood tentacles... and then describes what they would feel like in his mouth. In detail.
    • Had anyone noticed that sometimes when Rose is smiling, she bites her lower lip in a sort-of cute way?
  • Colbert Report field reports are not complete without an unlikely object getting licked. Stephen once licked a meteorite.
  • Geoffrey Tennant on Slings and Arrows chews razor blades. This is an homage to noted Shakespearean director John Barton, who apparently did this in real life.
  • Director Leon Vance of NCIS is a toothpick chewer. At one point, he even tries to motivate McGee by giving him a freshly wrapped toothpick of his own.
    • Which McGee promptly stabs himself inside the cheek with. Toothpicks apparently take some skill.
    • Mrs. Vance has also been shown to strongly dislike the toothpick.
  • Jerry Espenson on Boston Legal chews a wooden cigarette due to his Aspergers. Alan Shore and Denny Crane prefer big cigars.
    • In one episode Denny is disgruntled by Shirley's conciliatory approach to a case and smokes a rather pathetic cigar.

Shirley: Small cigar.
Denny: Seems appropriate for our wimpy defense.

  • Mulder of The X-Files tends to put things like paper clips in his mouth, although from the second season onward he's also a big fan of sunflower seeds.
  • Dr Chase from House seems to be constantly putting pens in his mouth, especially in the earlier seasons.
  • Don Eppes from Numb3rs is often seen chewing gum during climactic moments—he seems to do it when he's keyed up, waiting for a suspect to appear.

Newspaper Comics

  • Duke in the Doonesbury comic strip always has a lit cigarette in a cigarette holder hanging from his mouth. The character is based on Hunter S. Thompson, who made signature use of cigarette holders.
  • One time in Peanuts Charlie Brown found what he thought was the Little Red-Haired Girl's dropped pencil and saw that she had chewed on it. "She's human!"

Professional Wrestling

  • Professional wrestler Scott Hall usually chews a toothpick during promos.

Video Games

  • Cid from Final Fantasy VII. Lighter and Softer'd into a toothpick in Kingdom Hearts.
    • He can even use his cigarettes in battle, by using them to light dynamite.
    • Every tenth battle, it's a cigar instead.
  • One of Mitsurugi's costumes in Soul Calibur 2 gives him a blade of grass/wheat.
  • Juan Corrida, one of the victims in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney constantly has a piece of straw in his mouth- except in the photo of the crime scene, of course.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations, Detective Badd appears at first to be your standard hardboiled cop, smoking a cigarette, but it's actually a lollipop. (And as he sucks on it... his speech pauses... dramatically...)
  • In the game Wing Commander, Captain Ian "Hunter" St. John constantly has a cigar in his mouth.
  • In The World Ends With You, Koki Kariya's lollipop is sort of his personal signature item to the point Beat tends to refer to him has "Lollipop" - subverted, though, as he never actually has it in his mouth when he appears, instead holding it. Rather delicately.
    • It's actually bean paste.
  • You can equip a blade of grass just to invoke this trope in Ragnarok Online.
  • Detective Magnotta, Christopher Walken's character in Ripper, can simply not keep a cigar out of his mouth for more than five minutes. And he doesn't really even smoke them.
  • In Bayonetta, the titular character is frequently seen with a lollipop. Additionally, by pressing the button corresponding to the type of lollipop boost you want and holding it down until the lollipop comes onscreen, you can actually change the color of Bayonetta's lollipop and get a (usually) much-needed boost. The best part? This doesn't count as a used item.
  • Command & Conquer: General Carville shows this at times.
  • Captain Keyes in the first Halo game chews a tobacco pipe. The books explain that he's not allowed to smoke it while onboard a spacecraft, because of the contained atmosphere.
    • The books also say that it's his grandfather's pipe.
  • In the first StarCraft game, the image avatar for the Firebat unit was depicted with a cigarette in his mouth.
  • The Engineer in the Half Life Expansion Pack Opposing Force always had a lit cigarette in his mouth, which he uses to ignite his blowtorch when asked to break a door open.
  • Red and most other Caninu of Solatorobo tend to like chewing on bones, and even have a variety of bite styles to express different personalities. Apparently, girls are considered delinquints if they walk around chewing on them.
  • In Mortal Kombat games (specifically 10 and 11) Cassie Cage likes to chew bubble gum, even using it in one of her Fatalities.

Web Comics

  • Dave from Narbonic was almost never seen without a cigarette in his mouth... until he went back in time and changed the past so that he never started smoking. It became a Running Gag that he would mention how he used to smoke and no one else would remember it.
  • Merlu of Juathuur - straw version.
  • Brent, a character from Misfile, chews on toothpicks.
  • Carlita and Shanna from Elf Blood are rarely depicted without a cigarette in their mouths. Shanna even chain-smokes when she's stressed or particularly upset.

Western Animation

  • Jet from Avatar: The Last Airbender constantly chews on and holds a blade of grass in his mouth, but he loses it along with much of his badassery when he gets brainwashed. Sokka even tries to see if replacing it would help. It doesn't.
  • Although it probably wouldn't, since he's got the 'countryside' and 'banchou' things going and a cigarette would give a rather different impression. Plus, the invention of the cigarette-rolling-machine is a classic instance of supply generating demand - pipes and snuff being the order of the day before then. Even if the Fire Nation had invented one, where would a poor earth kingdom bandit get them?
  • Two in G.I. Joe; Breaker is literally always chewing gum and is willing to disobey a direct order to discard it, while Clutch, somewhat similarly, has been known to chew on the same toothpick for months.
  • King of the Hill's Dale Gribble is rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth.

Dale: My oral fixation!

  • Slim, a one-shot character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), usually chewed a match. Another one-shot character, Spuds, would chew on a stick.
  • Maggie Simpson of The Simpsons and her pacifier.
  • Played for laughs in one episode of The Fairly OddParents with Cosmo and his wand, to show off his ditz status.
  • Det. Harvey Bullock on Batman: The Animated Series constantly chewed a toothpick, in a way that made it rather clear he either used to smoke, or still did when the camera and censors weren't around. Once used for Squick, when he flicked it at his officious landlord. It stuck.
  • Bugs Bunny and his carrots, which were kind of a substitute for a cigar.
  • An Ogdenville farmer on the Simpsons has a piece of straw in his mouth.
  • Newborn filly Pumpkin Cake in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has the odd habit of chewing on just about anything she can find—except food. Tableclothes, bath towels, stuffed toys, rubber chickens, etc.

Real Life

  • Winston Churchill kept a cigar in his mouth pretty much from dawn until bedtime. At home he would just kind of chew on them unlit, and even had special sticky-paper bands made up to help hold them together.
  • His pal Franklin D. Roosevelt was a cigarette-in-a-holder guy, and was depicted that way everywhere—except, weirdly, in his official memorial sculpture in Washington.
  • David Tennant uses this trope an almost suspicious amount, as seen above in the Live Action TV section.
  • Doug Walker. If there's a giving-a-blowjob joke to be made, then by God, he will make it.
  • Hayden Panettiere seems to have this weird compulsion to lick things.
  • Dave Grohl is always seen chewing gum on stage, including whilst singing.
  • Baseball players in general chew gum or tobacco (as per personal preference). Supposedly, it relaxes them in what is normally a stressful situation, and in particular it also helps keep the mouth moist in the dry baseball diamond.