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File:Musicman 6442.jpg

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,

Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Alma and Ethel, The Music Man, "Pick-a-Little"

A group of (usually) women whose sole purpose in life seems to be gossiping about other people, since that's all they do whenever they are on screen, and you never hear any mention of what they might be doing when off-screen.

Rarely used for exposition, although they can be if the author so desires. They will say mean things about different characters (and each other when they're apart), and if they get bored may come into the foreground and mess with the main characters' lives so that their gossip can be more interesting. They may be responsible for Gossip Evolution. In a Close Knit Community, they may account for the way everyone knows about everyone else.

Usually almost completely the same in terms of personality, so that their lines are completely interchangeable. The only reason that there's more than one is so they have somebody to talk to. Often they won't be named, or only the leader will be named.

Chances are, if your work is set in Victorian times, these characters will show up. Are often members of a Girl Posse, if the action is set in a high school. Sometimes serve as a Greek Chorus. Compare Those Two Guys and Chatty Hairdresser.

Examples of Gossipy Hens include:



Anime and Manga

  • A few of these appear in Peach Girl.
  • In an outtake of Berserk, Julius calls several handmaidens this...and adds a cluck, for good measure.

  Julius: Gossipy hens. *bukkawk!*

  • In the first scene of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a group of these make fun of Simon, helping to establish that although Kamina is friendly to him and the village chief considers him a hard worker, Simon doesn't really have a lot of incentive to stay in his village.
  • An episode of Paranoia Agent focuses on a group of these. They discuss rumors (and Blatant Lies) involving Li'l Slugger, and at the end of the episode, one of them returns home to discover her husband was the latest victim. Then she's more interested in what happened to him so that she can join in on the gossip with a 'real' example.
  • A small group of neighborhood women tend to gossip about the latest malady to hit the Moroboshi house in Urusei Yatsura.
  • A group of middle-aged women whom the three leads meet in Tokyo Godfathers fit this trope; their gossip helps point our heroes toward the mother of the abandoned baby they'd found.
  • At first, Miki Hosokawa from Hell Teacher Nube. She's still gossipy later, but not as much as she used to. Not to mention she's a bit of a subversion: despite being a gossip hen, Miki is repulsed when she sees her neighbor spread downright hurtful rumors that make people upset, and vows to not reach such extremes. When a ghost tricks her friends into believing she is spreading mean lies as well as secrets they confided in her, Miki is genuinely hurt at how angry they get at her and, after a brief Heroic BSOD, tries to clear her name. When she's succesful, the ghost tries to kill her.
  • Julie and Charlotte from Kaleido Star, before their Character Development.
  • The three women (I can't remember their names) from Victorian Romance Emma.
  • Yoriko Nikaido of You're Under Arrest is this, to the point of fellow officer Natsumi interceding when she talks about her collegues. She once ends up Bound and Gagged in the OVA when her friends find out that one of her gossip chains is wrong.
  • Mrs. Tachibana and her group of friends from Hot Gimmick. Hence why Hatsumi is so panicked when her son Ryoki sees the morning-after pill: being the wife of the landlord/her father's boss, she could easily tell Ryoki's dad that their family is not a good influence and get them kicked out, which would lead to the family being destitute.
  • In Heat Guy J, there are three prostitutes named Cynthia, Janis, and Vivian, who are up on all the gossip in Judoh, both from their clients and from the other people they encounter. They serve as informants to Daisuke.
  • Hong Kong from Axis Powers Hetalia, according to his newest profile which lists "gossip" among his interests. Confirmed in later strips.
    • Also Seychelles, in volume four. She has a lot of trouble keeping it to herself that a certain royal couple would be spending their honeymoon at her place...
  • Tomoe from Hanasaku Iroha.
    • Also, when a film crew comes to the inn to do some preparations for a shooting, there is a scene where Tomoe, Ohana and Nako sit in a tight circle and gossip about the film crew, and then when the serious and reserved Minko passes by, all three of them promptly make a calling gesture towards her.


Comics

  • One Astro City story is about an alien spy disguised as a human, gathering information on humanity in preparation for a full-scale invasion. He slowly begins to believe humanity is Not So Different from his own species, and is prepared to call off the invasion, but the group of Gossipy Hens he has to live near bug him to the point where he changes his mind and tells his superiors to proceed with the invasion.
  • The classic horror comic "Mister Mystery" gives us a particularly nasty trio in the appropriately titled "The Gossips!". This being a horror comic, the title gossips get a gory Karmic Death at the end.


Film

  • The other elephants in Dumbo.

  "Girls, have I got a trunkful of dirt..."

  • The sewing machine with two faces in The Brave Little Toaster.
  • A trio of church ladies in the musical of The Color Purple.
  • The two racist, bourgeois old ladies gossiping on their balconies in Moi et mon Blanc.
  • About 80% of the town from Edward Scissorhands seems to be composed of these.
  • Most of the supporting cast of Do the Right Thing.
  • The two quality-control ladies in Extract spend 90% of their shift gossiping, and the other 10% complaining about how no one else is ever doing their job. In fact, it's their willful negligence that causes the horrific accidental Groin Attack that kicks off the plot.
  • An all male example is used in Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring. A group of old farmers hang out in the village, talking about farming and rumors. They turn out to be pivotal to the plot of the two movies, as it is due to their inaction that Jean goes insane, and in the end they are the ones that confess about their knowledge of the spring and the cause of Jean's death to Manon.
  • Sylvia and the manicurist in The Women.
  • The rather unknown Anvilicious So Bad It's Good Mexican film Me llengua como un plato has a gossip hen as a protagonist.
  • When Amy (Elizabeth Taylor) and Beth (Margaret O'Brien) sneak into Mr. Lawrence's Christmas party in one of Little Women's movies of the book, they overhear some of these making snide comments about Marmee "training" Meg and Jo to be Gold diggers and marry rich guys. Amy is upset to the point of tears and Beth has an Heroic BSOD.


Literature

  • Petunia Dursley of Harry Potter fame is pretty much one of these without a second to gossip at.
  • A bunch of different characters in Jane Austen novels.
  • In Discworld, Vimes refers to these as "interchangeable Emmas". They also showed up at Susan's boarding school.
    • The less-developed characters among the UU wizards (i.e. the Chair, Lecturer and Wrangler) sometimes act like Gossipy Roosters, as their non-stop nattering, bickering, and reminiscing provides a sort of background accompaniment to whatever practical task Ridcully and Ponder are working on (or whatever the Dean and Bursar are messing up).
  • Gone with the Wind has quite a few of these, with Mrs. Merriwhether, Mrs. Meade and Mrs. Elsing filling the main part of the hens. However, a lot of other characters in the book can be considered gossipy hens as well, including Scarlett and Melanie.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's story "It's Perfectly True" has literal hens, though other animals who hang around the henhouses, including owls and pigeons, play their part in the Gossip Evolution.
  • A group of these gets a character to tell the story of Their Eyes Were Watching God to a friend.
  • Various female characters from L. M. Montgomery; for example, the women at the Ladies' Aid quilting bee in Anne of Ingleside.
  • Agatha Christie's Murder at the Vicarage had three old ladies (the "old pussies") who seemed like this. One of them turned out to be sharper than she looked - her name? Miss Jane Marple.
  • In Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop, Roy encounters a group of Gossipy Hens in Quarters. The fragmented bits of sniping he overhears are part of a breakthrough he has regarding the inward-turned and purposeless nature of his community and his need to go on his Hero's Journey.
  • There's an old (and rather sexist) nursery rhyme about the "gossips of the village" sitting around sipping tea and ignoring everything but their gab session. Know what that means?
  • The above mentioned old ladies that wonder if Meg is a Gold Digger in training in Little Women. It doesn't happen in the Christmas Party, though, but in the Moffat's household; Meg overhears them and manages to pull herself together a bit, but breaks down crying when in bed.
  • The Puritans, especially the women, in the first few chapters of The Scarlet Letter.
  • Pretty much everyone in the small town near to Heidi and her grandpa's cabin. In fact, some adaptations have one tagging along Aunt Dete for a while so she can go Mr. Exposition mode and explain both why is the old man living alone up there and why she's taking Heidi to live with him.
  • The 'nestie bodies' in The House With The Green Shutters, a very rare very vicious all-male example.
  • The society ladies of N____ in Dead Souls, especially those two in chapter #9.


Live Action TV


Music

  • Hilariously and mercilessly parodied in the song "La Vieja Julia" ("Old woman Julia") by the Chilean group Los Hijos de Putre. The title is also a Punny Name, since "la vieja Julia" sounds kinda like "la vieja culiá", which is a... very rude slang expression to refer to old women in Chile, alluding to how the narrator hates the old lady named Julia because she meddles in everything, talks shit about everyone and acts double-faced.
  • In the video for Taylor Swift's "White Horse", she learns about her boyfriend's infidelity through her best friend.
    • Two coworkers whisper about her in the cafeteria in the "Ours" music video.


Newspaper Comics

  • The "posse" in the comic strip Zits.
  • Susanita from Mafalda is a Hen in training. When she's not rambling about the many sons she'll have when she grows up, of course.
    • To make things worse (or funnier), Susanita's Housewife mother is exactly the same way. So much that even Susanita gets embarrassed when she spreads gossip in front of her and her friends.

 'Mrs. Chirusi (talking on the phone when the kids are playing): "Elvira told me all about Mecha and her husband, and I swear that looking back on it's fascina~ting!"

Kids *stop playing and stare at her*

Susanita: *looks like she wants to die*


Theater

  • A Streetcar Named Desire: Stella and Blanche occasionally fall into this trope. Stanley yells at them one point, "You hens cut out that cackling in there!"
  • The women's committee from The Music Man, as shown in their ensemble song "Pick a Little, Talk a Little." (The Movie interposes footage of actual chickens during this number.)
  • A rare male equivalent to this trope appears in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in the form of Solanio and Salarino, who play this role in the service of exposition.
  • The two Celestes from Sunday in The Park With George by Stephen Sondheim.
  • A group appears in Under Milk Wood.
  • Most older female characters in Street Scene who aren't Mrs. Maurrant (the subject of most of the gossip), Mrs. Fiorentino and Mrs. Jones in particular.
  • Carla and especially Daniela in In the Heights. To the point where Daniela knows about plot points the very next scene.
  • Britten's Peter Grimes has an entire town of these, and the males are just as bad. They have a tendency to grab pitchforks...
  • The middle school girls in 13, especially during the Gossip Evolution song.
  • The high school girls in Bye Bye Birdie in the song "The Telephone Hour"
  • The women of Our Town, especially Mrs. Soames. Lampshaded by Dr. Gibbs at one point.
  • Cyrano De Bergerac: Roxane lampshades at Act II Scene IV that she never has spoken to Christian, but she knows a lot about him because the Palace Royale is crowded with Gossipy Hens and they informed her that Christian loves her and that he has joined the Gascon Cadets:

 Cyrano: How know you then that he…?

Roxane: Oh! people talk

Gossip's chat

Has let me know...


Video Games

  • There are two old women who, along with a daughter, do this in Shadow of Destiny.
  • Coco in Riviera the Promised Land has dialogue consisting almost entirely of gossip about Fia and Lina. One of the voiced dramas features a mixed-gender group gossiping about Malice's parents.
  • The trio of housewives in Harvest Moon: [More] Friends of Mineral Town get together every day just to gossip.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker gives us Pompie and Vera, who seem to love gossiping about anything, particularly the local photographer. Also, there are two little girls who carry on in the same manner.


Web Comics


Web Original

  • The NPC student body of Dept Heaven Apocrypha tend to act this way at times. Seth, Meria, and Cierra got the worst of it, though...
  • The Gmod Idiot Box parodies this in Episode 5, with the two women in the store and later the one with her cell phone, who it seems the only sound they can make is chicken-clucking noises. They continue to do this even after their "conversation" partner is gone.


Western Animation

  • Patty and Selma from The Simpsons. They are indistinguishable in personality, have identical voices, and exist entirely to say belittling things. Especially if it's about Homer.
    • Indistinguishable in personality except for their love lives...
    • Ditto Reverend Lovejoy's wife Helen. In her first speaking appearance, "Life on the Fast Lane," she introduces herself as, "Helen Lovejoy, the gossipy wife of the minister."
      • Helen is joined in her hennism by Agnes Skinner, Edna Krabapple, Maude Flanders, and Luann Van Houten when introduced as The Springfield Investorettes. Marge is (temporarily) a member, but ends up more the target of the gossip rather than the instigator.
  • The (literal) hens from Disney's Chicken Little short.
  • One episode of Family Guy had a parody of The View where they just sat around clucking and one of them laid an egg.
  • The Looney Tunes short "Of Rice and Hen" features a particularly mean-spirited group targeting Miss Prissy.
  • Pops up in the Christmas special The Story Of Santa Claus, with a group of women gossiping outside the toy shop very early in the special.

 Gretchen: You nosy old hens!


Real Life

  • Hair salons are like a gossip congregation.
  • School girls, especially if they're part of a Girl Posse. Though schoolboys can also be quite gossip-happy when they want to be.
  • There are numerous WWII era propaganda posters about how careless gossiping may cause deaths of soldiers because of spies. Almost all the posters depict women.
  • Media and celebrity-specialized reporters are this Up to Eleven.
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