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 "Hey, wait a minute! Shoes don't go 'splut!'"



When an in-universe problem with sound effects is Played for Laughs with the characters noticing, you've got a Sound Defect.

Contrast Wacky Sound Effect for "wrong" sound effects not noticed by the characters and Special Effects Failure, which happens when the sound effect goes unintentionally wrong, regardless of the amusement factor of said error. Also contrast Unsound Effect, which uses something that isn't really a sound at all.

Examples of Sound Defect include:

Anime & Manga

  • In the Enies Lobby arc of One Piece, Usopp finds himself face to face with a rooster as he's trying desperately to sneak up to an enemy and snatch the key he needs. Usopp is worrying himself silly that the rooster will crow and awaken his opponent, only for it to tweet, causing Usopp to yell out in surprise at the wrong sound and awakening his opponent.

Comic Books

  • In the Flemish absurdist comic The Final The End, the main character is working at his desk when the phone rings.

 Sound FX: SLORF!

"I really must have that phone's onomatopoeia repaired."

  • In a Captain Klutz comic by Don Martin, Mad Scientist Dr. Rotten has his home-made missile blow up in his face, but seems more disappointed with the sound effect it produces: "Wango? After all those years of sweat and toil, my Rotten Atomic Missle goes 'Wango'?!"


  • In Laurence Olivier's film of William Shakespeare's Henry V (of all things!), during the Elizabethan-style production with which it opens, the Archbishop of Canterbury asks the Bishop of Ely, "Is it four o'clock?" A bell duly rings -- three times; we see Shakespeare himself rushing backstage, the bell rings once more, and Ely replies, "It is."

Live Action Tv

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? had this as a recurring game, called "Sound Effects", where they'd pull volunteers from the audience to make sound effects for a scene acted out by two of the comedians. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In a Saturday Night Live sketch called "Pranksters", Seth Meyers hosts a show where guests show video of themselves pulling pranks on other people, accompanied by wacky sound effects. When one psycho guest shows himself actually murdering a guy in the parking lot, the FX continue, much to the host's annoyance.
  • In one episode of Are You Being Served, the staff of Grace Brothers are performing a radio play. Captain Peacock's character arrives at a pub and asks for a pint. The sound effect of the pint being poured is created by a jug of water being poured into a bowl from a significant height, and sounds more like somebody urinating. Miss Brahms, playing the barmaid, says "I bet you were dying for that".
  • In a "Mama's Family" sketch on The Carol Burnett Show, Tim Conway started adlibbing about siamese circus elephants that were joined at the trunk. He went to make the trumpeting sound they made, and it came out sounding something like, "fnork!"... which sent the rest of the cast into hysterics.
  • One Russ Abbot sketch opened with a sound-effects man checking that he had all the effects necessary for a radio drama about an escape from a World War 2 prison camp. Unfortunately for him, when the recording started it was for a Regency romance, and the rest of the sketch covered his increasingly desperate attempts to match the sounds he had to the action.


  • The song "My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies" (covered by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band but possibly written much earlier) contains a reference:

 The only time he made a bungle

was when a tiger in the jungle

With a mighty roar, dropped dead

With bullets in its head

And Rob mooed like a cow instead.

  • In The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away", there's a section where the chorus sings "cello, cello, cello" because the band couldn't afford real cellos.

Newspaper Comics

  • In a Garfield gag, the doorbell only goes "Ding - ". When Garfield opens the door, there's a technician from Ed's Dong Repair.
    • In another, Garfield kicks Odie off the table with a "BLAGOONGA!" sound. He remarks on the unusual noise, then goes and tells Jon that "Odie needs tuning".
    • And in a third, he gets hit with a shoe that goes "SPLUT!" when it hits him. He looks off-panel and says "Shoes don't go 'splut'!", after which a pie hits him in the face with a SPLUT! sound effect.
    • Hell, an episode of Garfield and Friends once used this as its plot!
  • Calvin and Hobbes: "Scientific progress goes 'boink'?"



 Then somebody knocks on her door.

Sound FX: ring ring

Then somebody rings her doorbell.

Sound FX: knock knock

(frustrated) Then somebody knocks and rings at her door!

  • In his sketch The Mailman, another Dutch comedian, Andre Van Duin, had several problems with a prop doorbell. At first the bell doesn't work, so he decides to say the sound effect himself: "Bell." The second time the sound does work, and when his co-actor asks, "Did you ring the bell again?" Van Duin answers, "No, the sound technician did."



 Offscreen Voice: HALT!! Behold my power!

Sound FX: BURP!!

Proto Man: Burp?

Offscreen Voice: Sorry, wrong sound effect.

  • As shown in this The Gutters, you need a good letterer if you want your sound effect to make sense.
  • Sluggy Freelance did this one early in its run. They conclude they need a new sounds effects guy in the comic when an ominous crash of thunder goes, "MOOOO!"

Western Animation


 Orson Welles: The devastation is incredible! They're grinding up the bodies of human beings!

Sound Technician: Uses an eggbeater to grind up corn flakes

Welles: Now they're riding horses in the rain!

Sound Technician: Clacks coconut halves against a wooden board while pouring water into a metal tray

Welles: Now they're playing the xylophone while bowling near an airport!

Sound Technician: Holds up sign reading "Screw you" and leaves

  • Phineas and Ferb, "We Call It Maze": Dr. Doofenschmirtz complains that his echo must be broken, as the second to last echo says "cookie". Later, the same thing happens to Buford, but with the word "wombat".
  • A part of Duck Amuck has the tormenting animator replace the sound effects for Daffy. So when Daffy attempts to play the guitar, machine-gun sounds erupt, then the sound of a car horn. When Daffy throws down the guitar in disgust, there's a gunshot and the braying of a donkey. When Daffy tries to shout in protest, sounds of a rooster, a monkey, and a kookaburra come out.
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