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A single episode of a show where characters are usually very talkative is done with everyone being silent, or at least not speaking in the sense that you could understand them if you couldn't see them. Emotion and narration is done with overdone gesticulations, punctuated music, or rebuses. There tends to be more Mickey Mousing than usual, because going completely without sound is boring and creepy.

Contrast to Lull Destruction. Subtrope of Silence Is Golden.

Examples of No Dialogue Episode include:


Anime and Manga

  • The Training montage chapter before the Submerged Fish Hunt in Tower of God.
  • The Ah! My Goddess spin-off Adventures of Mini Goddess has an episode with Urd going out on a rainy day.
  • Chapter 166 in Mahou Sensei Negima, focusing on Okochi Akira, an unusually quiet student, is done entirely without dialogue. Even when characters speak to each other, only pictures or one or two words are shown in the speech bubbles. Lampshaded by Chachazero holding a sign reading "This chapter is brought to you in near silence."
  • Lampshaded in Bakuman。: Niizuma Eiji writes a chapter of his manga with no words, only pictures and sound effects. The editors remark at how dangerous doing something like that is for ratings, but it ends up successful.
  • The first episode of Texhnolyze comes close, but it does have a few lines of dialogue towards the end.
  • Episode 9 of Mitsudomoe dedicates one of its segments to this trope. Other than a few lines of Angrish from Mitsuba, everything else is conveyed non-verbally.
  • The third short of Shinryaku! Ika Musume's fifth episode is done almost entirely without dialogue. A few "geso"s from Ika, a single line of narration and a brief exchange between Eiko and Sanae are all the speaking parts it has.
    • Happens again in episode 6.3 of Season 2.
  • The Muteki Kanban Musume manga has a chapter nearly devoid of dialogue. It also features one of the greatest rage faces in history after a blackbird steals a bit of Miki's lunch, after which, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Nichijou has one of these, in a sequence involving the exceptionally stressful final moments in the completion and subsequent destruction of a card tower.
  • Chapter 89 of the original Lupin III manga series went entirely without dialogue until the final page (possibly as a homage to cartoons like Tom and Jerry, which the author admits to being a fan of). The sequel series also did it, but in a much more serious way.


Comicbooks

  • The G.I. Joe comic book actually had entirely silent issues, where stories were told without dialogue, captions or even sound effects.
  • Marvel Comics used this gimmick in every single comic they published cover-dated February 2002, calling it "'Nuff Said Month". As well, around the time of 9/11, Marvel had most of its comics, for the most part, silent issues, with no dialogue or little.
    • The Uncanny X-Men issue of that month contains the best panel - a silent depiction of Banshee's scream destroying the Blob.
    • Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38 arguably had the most appropriate plot - Spider-Man fighting a gang of criminal mimes.
  • One Sin City short story titled, appropriately enough, "Silent Night". There's just one line spoken at the end.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man #133 was a rare comic book example.
  • Used in, of all things, an issue of Deadpool when Deadpool goes temporarily deaf.
  • An issue of Batman in which Batman is believed to be dead contains only two words near the end.
  • The ~2000 AD~ series Bob Byrne's Twisted Tales is a series of one-off strips, all of which have no dialogue at all. Byrne, the artist, came up with the idea when he got annoyed by letterers sticking speech bubbles all over his art.
  • From the same artist, Mister Amperduke is an entire Graphic Novel in which the closest thing we get to dialogue is the odd semiquaver to indicate a character whistling.
  • Issue #28 of The Powerpuff Girls (DC Comics) had a story--"Princess For A Day" (involving their school adversary Princess Morbucks) which had no dialogue, save for a two-word balloon just before the climax of the story.
  • The Doctor Who Magazine strip "Onomatopoeia" has no dialogue until the final two pages, relying instead on sound effects alone.
  • Alpha Flight had a dialogue-less section after James Hudson's death. Proved to be a nightmare of his widow.
  • Calvin and Hobbes frequently had strips with no dialogue, relying on the characters' gestures and shown emotions to convey the story.
  • Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson were working on a one-shot follow-up to their classic Manhunter run; when Goodwin died, Simonson reworked the idea into a silent story rather than write dialogue in Goodwin's place.


Film

  • One bizarre retroactive application of this trope is with regards to silent movies. With the coming of DVD, it has become common for old silent film shorts, especially those that have fallen into public domain, to appear on budget-line VHS and DVD compilations. Especially with regards to "series" such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy films, it's common to see these referenced on these releases as "episodes".
  • Silent Movie: Made in 1976, with one word of spoken dialogue in the whole movie spoken by world-famous mime Marcel Marceau!. It is especially notable because it is a Mel Brooks film, who likes to add song and dance numbers to his movies.
  • Tom Hanks is speechless for most of Cast Away.
  • The Pixar film WALL-E has basically no dialogue for the first third or so of the film, with the characters consisting solely of Wall-E and Eve, who say nothing more than their names and "directive". This is no longer the case when they arrive on the Axiom, though, since the humans there do a lot of talking.


Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Hush", which was nominated for an Emmy. It featured demons rendering everyone in the town mute, because a real human voice was the only thing that could kill them. More than half of the episode had no dialogue, yet they still managed Buffy-Speak during the silent part.
  • Space: Above and Beyond: "Who Monitors the Birds?"
  • In one episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin and Harper become good friends due to their shared appreciation of silent movies (which Alex hates). After Alex messes up their friendship, they get back at her by turning the world into a silent movie, treating the audience to a few minutes of Deliberately Monochrome and Silence Is Golden.
  • Another live action example is 'The Invaders' episode of The Twilight Zone, which apart from Rod Serling's opening/closing narrations only has one line of dialogue and it's not spoken by lead actress Agnes Moorehead - who on reading the script asked where her part was - but by episode director Douglas Heyes as the Earth astronaut whose ship is being destroyed.
  • Fear an Phoist is a no-dialogue series.
  • Mr. Bean is a no-dialogue series.
  • Nearly the first half of The Prisoner episode "Many Happy Returns" plays out without a single line of intelligible dialogue (there are a couple of lines spoken in an unknown foreign language, but more in the background of a scene).
  • The Frasier episode "Three Valentines" features an act made up entirely of Niles preparing for a date, with his obsessing over fixing a loose thread on his pants ultimately wrecking the apartment, all while saying nothing besides gasps and grunts after a brief phone conversation at the start.
  • Two Guys and A Girl had The One Without Dialogue where we track the characters dealing with physical tasks that don't require any dialogue (except for a dream sequence dance scene)- Johnny needs to fix a toilet, Sharon needs to rescue her wedding ring, Pete chases after a woman on the subway etc. All the jokes come from their struggles with physical objects rather than dialogue.
  • The 77 Sunset Strip episode "The Silent Caper" (one of several episodes written by series co-star Roger Smith) is not only an hour show with no dialogue but predates all of the above. (Yes, including "The Invaders.")


Professional Wrestling

  • A recent segment of Raw was done without a word of dialogue. The Undertaker makes a return after a long absence. His music plays. The crowd cheers loudly. Before he can do or say anything, Triple H makes a surprise return after an even longer absence. The crowd goes nuts. The two of them stare each other down, and then turn to look at the Wrestlemania logo. The crowd explodes. More staredown, dueling chants, dueling taunts, not a word spoken.


Videogames


Webcomics


Web Originals

  • The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Good Son is a variant where all of the Critic's lines are done through cue cards and subtitles accentuated by music and stock noise (including a stock Evil Laugh) because Doug lost his voice he spent too much time yelling at it before reviewing it proper. The film clips do keep their dialogue, though.


Western Animation

  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dim" has Dexter replacing a burnt out lightbulb in his lab, with no dialogue until the last 3 seconds.
    • Several shorts are dialogue-less, such as the one where Dad goes golfing...or tries to.
  • Another case where the only line of dialog occurs at the very end is a Tiny Toon Adventures episode parodying the Fantasia short "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", with Buster as the "apprentice" and Bugs as the "sorcerer".
    • Tiny Toon Adventures also did a silent short called "Sound Off" in black-and-white 1920s style animation, complete with screen-filling cards containing text of any dialogue that would have been spoken had it been done normally. The story is framed as a history class at Acme Looniversity.
      • The short "The Kite," one of the most atypical segments of the show, is also dialogue-free.
      • The episode "C Flat or B Sharp" where the only dialogue is near the beginning where Yosemite Sam gives Buster, Plucky, and Hamton instructions on moving the piano.
  • Kids Next Door episode "Operation: THE-FLY"
  • The Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode "Ikkakujuu".
  • Samurai Jack was famous for doing this (and doing it very well) for dramatic effect in most action sequences. The cartoon is almost a no dialogue series considering how many times it happened. Jack himself has no dialogue in a few episodes. Particularly notable is "The Four Seasons of Death", where only one character in one segment has any lines at all.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars but it comes easier as each episode is only about 4 minutes.
  • The Fairly Odd Parents, "Pipe Down": A few minutes in, Timmy wishes for the town to be silent, thus pushing the episode into this category until the end, where he has to wish for sound to return so that he can make a wish to stop a meteor in collision course with the Earth.
  • Another partial No Dialogue Episode is "Powerprof" in The Powerpuff Girls: Aside from the opening narration, the rest of the opening segment is dialog-free. The other segments have dialog as normal. The episode "Silent Treatment" (which has the girls plopped into a silent movie) effects this, even if dialogue cards are used.
  • The Angry Beavers episode "Silent But Deadly" has the beavers stuck in their house surrounded by sleeping wolverines. The entire episode is largely silent (except with music) due to the brothers attempting to escape without waking the predators up. A pseudovariation occured in a later episode in which the brothers had a competition to not talk. (They solved this by carting around giant tape players with tapes that had words on them so they could communicate. Yes, it's that kind of show.)
  • The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Fatal Contraption", in which Rocko buys a living food processor, features no dialogue except for an announcer saying "Buy this! Food-O-Matic 2000!"
  • SpongeBob SquarePants mini-episode "Reef Blower" contains no dialogue at all, except "You!" which was not heard, only appearing in subtitle on the bottom of the screen.
  • The Bugs Bunny short Baton Bunny in which he plays a conductor is his only cartoon with no dialogue, although in the early short Rhapsody Rabbit was mostly silent Bugs had three lines of dialogue "Eh, what's up, doc? Who? Franz Liszt? Never heard of him. Wrong number.", "Fi-ga-ro! Fi-ga-ro!", and "Look, one hand! No hands!"
  • The Leonardo segment of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "The Shredder Strikes Back, Pt. 1" is done in this manner; it's not immediately noticeable, however, since the characters do continue to grunt and do battle noises. The comic book issue this episode was based on, Leonardo #1, also used the technique.
  • Two Stupid Dogs had an episode that was not only silent but was drawn in a style similar to old silent cartoons and was in black and white.
  • Hanna-Barbera actually had a continuous series with no talking. "Blastoff Buzzard" was a Road Runner-esque segment of their 1977 show The CB Bears.
  • The Pinky and The Brain short "The Brain's Apprentice", in a parody of the Sorcerer's Apprentice, features Brain building a robot but Pinky shuts it down. When he activates it he accidentally creates thousands of clones that almost do succeed in taking over the world, but Brain interferes and only at the last minute does he realize what could've been. the cartoon contained no dialogue except for the garbled gibberish spoken by the humans.
    • There was also the Animaniacs episode "Ragmuffins" which features the Warner siblings getting jobs as chefs in a bakery, the cartoon is in black and white and done in the style of a 1920's cartoon.
  • There was an episode of Cat Dog which was styled as a black-and-white silent movie, due to simultaneous epidemics of color-blindness and laryngitis.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Both "Appa's Lost Days" and "The Tale of Momo" segment of "Tales of Ba Sing Se". Both subverted (as there is some spoken dialogue, though they are few and far between), and played straight, as most of the vocal sounds are coming from the animal stars of the episode.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Tri-Stone Area": the characters speak solely in minimally-intelligible "cave talk", with occasional cutaways to photo-animation of the creators explaining what's going on, in case anyone isn't following.
  • The DVD for Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman included "Chase Me", a no-dialogue short featuring Batman pursuing Catwoman.
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