Some characters in television are stoic and silent, speaking only when necessary. In a fight, they are reserved, focusing all of their attention on their opponent’s next move. Perhaps, instead of being silent, they are simply respectful and don’t want to lower themselves to the level of insults.
Other characters are very different. Nearly every word out of their mouth, when faced with an opponent, is a boast, a taunt, or an insult. Whether it is as part of deep psychological tactics to unsettle an opponent, an excess of energy from adrenaline, or simply because the character struggles to stop talking, some characters in television almost never stop trash talking.
10 Angelus Cracks Vampiric Witticisms (Angel)
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angelus’ initial appearance is a sign of darker things for the show, the tone getting more serious, and battles with him turning more tragic. In Angel, Angelus reappears, but faced with a conflict with many of Angel’s friends, he decides to treat the whole thing as a joke.
While battling Wesley, Gunn, Fred, and Faith, Angelus almost never stops talking, usually to belittle his opponents. As part of Angelus’ deeply psychological way of undermining his opponents, it often throws them off. At other times, such as advancing on Faith while declaring “Uh oh! Vampire with a gun,” he simply appears to be enjoying himself.
9 Jesse Pinkman Struggles To Speak Respectfully At All (Breaking Bad)
In Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman is notorious for his profanity-laden speech, preferring one word in particular to emphasize his words. In an unusual twist on this trope, he tends to reserve his trash-talking for arguments, conversations, and business discussions, instead of being deathly serious on the rare occasions, he has to physically harm somebody.
Nonetheless, in all non-violent forms of opposition, Jesse seems physically unable to resist trash talking. In one of the show’s more amusing moments, he quotes a lengthy section of Constitutional Law to Hank Schrader, following Walter’s advice, and then improvises with profanity on the end to rile up Hank.
8 Toph Beifong Learned Trash Talk In The Ring (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
All of the heroic cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender indulges in trash talk now and again, due to being young adults, and in a somewhat light-hearted children’s show. All of them mix insults into their fighting in variable amounts, with Sokka and Aang standing out. Nonetheless, both pale in comparison to Toph.
It is understandable that Toph engages in trash talk, given that she learned to fight in the Earthbending equivalent of Pro Wrestling, where insulting her opponents would have given her an edge in audience popularity. She carries the attitude with her, reserving it not just for enemies, but for training sessions, and conversations with friends.
7 The Joker Takes Nothing Seriously (Batman: The Animated Series)
In keeping with his comedic stylings, the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series prefers to view fights and conflicts as jokes or games, often not taking them seriously. As part of this, insults and taunts make up most of his dialogue during fights.
Part of the tension between Batman and the Joker is that Batman refuses to rise to the Joker’s trash talk, despite it clearly affecting him. As part of the two’s long game of crime and justice, the Joker yearns to make Batman break, and Batman can’t allow himself to.
6 Obi-Wan Kenobi Harnesses Sarcasm As A Weapon (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Despite his straight-laced Jedi ways, preferring to use diplomacy and reason, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also has a fine-tuned sense of sarcasm. He is quick to point out the darkly funny side of a situation, and he is not above gently mocking his friends.
When he does have to fight, Obi-Wan is quick to point his snark at enemies, mocking Maul, Ventress, Dooku, and more. It forms part of his technique using Soresu, where he attempts to tire out and bait his opponents into unsafe moves. By taunting them, he causes them to lash out or take risks to try and hurt him, which he can exploit.
5 Harry Dresden Trash Talks As A Coping Mechanism (Dresden Files)
The protagonist of the 2007 Dresden Files series, based on the books of the same name, Harry Dresden is a professional wizard who is called to fight against incredibly powerful creatures with nothing but his wits, luck, and relatively weaker magic.
As a result, in both the show and the books, Harry’s go-to is to insult the creatures as he fights. This is less to bother the creatures and more to put his own mind at rest, calming himself slightly by finding humor in the extreme danger he’s in.
4 Oberyn Martell Never Stops (Game of Thrones)
Even when he isn’t in a fight on Game of Thrones, Oberyn Martell makes clear his disdain for almost everybody around him. As a proud and anti-Lannister Dornishman in Lannister-controlled King’s Landing, he has plenty to layer his contempt on, and almost every sentence involves an insult, a boast, or mockery.
In his fight with The Mountain, Oberyn’s trash talk takes a darker turn. All he says to the knight is a recitation of his most egregious crime, again and again. Ultimately, it serves its purpose, baiting The Mountain into exhausting himself and nearly ensuring Oberyn’s victory.
3 The Doctor Trash Talks, But Doesn’t Fight (Doctor Who)
The Doctor from Doctor Who is another twist in the trope, in that whilst it is often employed during combat, they try to avoid fighting when at all possible. Nonetheless, they still employ plenty of trash talk, insulting the monsters menacing them and making jokes, even when it is inadvisable.
Instead, they use trash talk in many ways. In more than one episode, they have used it to deliver coded messages to a listener, letting them know what to do in a situation. They also sometimes use it as a distraction while they or somebody else carries out a plan, and more than once have turned the trash-talking into a poignant message that makes the monster question their actions.
2 Buffy Doesn’t Let Monsters Frighten Her (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Nearly every character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a font of sarcasm, prone to dropping witticisms during nearly any situation, including during fights. As the character most often involved in combat, Buffy gets plenty of chances to trash talk her opponents, from common vampires all the way to world-ending Big Bads.
To take down the Mayor, Buffy even weaponized trash talk directly. Getting the demon-transformed man’s attention, she began to taunt him with the memory of Faith Lehane, who Buffy nearly killed, and provoked him into chasing her into a mass of explosives.
1 Spider-Man Is The King Of Trash Talk (Spider-Man)
In every incarnation, Spider-Man serves as the epitome of trash talk, including on television. It’s commonly said that he never stops talking in combat, and throughout puts up a running commentary of references, insults, jokes, and asides that serve to annoy his opponents, buoy his spirits, and amuse the audience.
Spider-Man is so known for this that it is commonly taken as a true sign of danger when he stops trash talking. If he is fighting in silence, it is a good indication that his opponent has done something to truly incur his wrath.
Squid Game: Every Main Character, Ranked By Intelligence
About The Author