Created By: captainpatJuly 5, 2012 Last Edited By: ArivneJuly 20, 2013

Nothing Like The Picture

A character discovers that the object in the picture looks nothing like the picture.

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Trope
A character is given a picture of a person, place, or thing. When they see the object in the picture first-hand they find out it looks nothing like the picture. It's usually in worst shape than what's in the picture.

Sister Trope of Very False Advertising

Examples:

Advertising
  • In an Orkin insecticide commercial, a lady meets someone from an online dating service to find out that the termite she meets looks nothing like the hot 20-something male in his photo. After a parody of the lady placing a restraining order on the "creeper", the insecticide comes in and kills the stalker.

Anime and Manga
  • In Medaka Box, the student council is given a request to find a student's lost puppy. All they have is drawing of a cute puppy to go on. Zenkichi finds the dog and discovers, much to his horror, that's it's not a puppy but vicious looking Russian wolfhound.

Literature
  • In The Game this is one of the tricks the PU As use, specifically Style or Mystery takes a picture with a beautiful woman, and then switches it out to a picture of him and an overweight woman, adding "Looks like the camera really does add 10 pounds" or some equivalent statement.

Live Action TV
  • In the Victorious special "Locked up", Tora asks the Yerbanian hotal manager why the hotel looks so different from the pictures on it's website. It turns out it's because those are pictures of another hotel.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon puts Penny's picture & profile up on a dating website on the theory that if she gets a boyfriend she won't bother him about a MMORPG she's become addicted to. He invites one of the men over, who Penny brushes off. (She doesn't know about the plan.)
    Tom: I'm sorry, dude, she didn't look anything like her picture.
    Leonard: They never do.
  • In a skit on You Cant Do That On Television, Lisa compains to Barth that the burger she was given looks nothing like the one in the picture of the restaurant's wall. Barth counters that the burger in her hand actually is in fact the same burger from the picture, which was taken six months ago.
  • In Red Dwarf, Lister gets a do-it-yourself Marilyn Monroe-bot kit. The face on the box looks like Marilyn Monroe, but the face in the kit looks like a badly painted mask.

Video Games
  • In Luigis Mansion, Luigi wins a free mansion from a contest he didn't even enter. When he sees it for the first time it looks like Haunted House and nothing like the nice picture he was given.

Western Animation
  • In The Boondocks Grandad tries to use myspace to date beautiful women. Almost all of women turn out to be nowhere near as attractive as their profile picture. The sole exception was a woman named Luna, who turns out to be a sociopath.
  • The Simpsons: Homer tries to build a backyard barbecue, which ends up looking nothing like the picture - because he built it wrong.
  • In the The Looney Tunes Show episode "Fish and Visitors" Yosemite Sam meets his large and burly mail order Russian bride for the first time. He points out that she looks nothing like the picture she sent him. She them pulls out a picture of a Barbarian Hero and point outs neither does Sam.

Real Life
  • Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves on the basis of a very flattering portrait of her. When she did not live up to the picture, he divorced her.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • July 5, 2012
    piscula
    • In The Game this is one of the tricks the PU As use, specifically Style or Mystery takes a picture with a beautiful woman, and then switches it out to a picture of him and an overweight woman, adding "Looks like the camera really does add 10 pounds" or some equivalent statement.
  • July 5, 2012
    DmM
    Real Life: Henry VIII married Anne of Cleeves on the basis of a very flattering portrait of her. Needless to say, he expressing very forceful disappointment when she turned out to look somewhat different from her depiction...
  • July 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • The Simpsons: Homer tries to build a backyard barbecue, which ends up looking nothing like the picture - because he built it wrong.
    • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon puts Penny's picture & profile up on a dating website on the theory that if she gets a boyfriend she won't bother him about a MMORPG she's become addicted to. He invites one of the men over, who Penny brushes off. (She doesn't know about the plan.)
      Tom: I'm sorry, dude, she didn't look anything like her picture.
      Leonard: They never do.
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    • In an insecticide commercial a few years back, a lady meets someone from an online dating service to find out that the roach she meets looks nothing like the hot 20-something male in his photo. After a parody of the lady placing a restraining order on the "creeper", the insecticide comes in and kills the stalker.
  • July 11, 2012
    captainpat
    bump
  • July 11, 2012
    planswalker
    mega thanks to whoever cleaned up my example.
  • July 11, 2012
    Antigone3
    Nitpick -- Henry VIII wasn't all that forceful about his disappointment. He just divorced Anne of Cleves, he didn't kill her.
  • July 11, 2012
    DmM
    ^ Whoops, wrong wife... I shouldn't have made that mistake, I'm a historian...
  • July 13, 2012
    NightNymph
    Would the Buffy The Vampire Slayer example from "Fear Itself" count? After looking at the drawing depiction of the demon Gachnar, the gang was expecting a large, ugly, scary demon. But in a case of Stopped Reading Too Soon on the description, they were all surprised when the actual demon turned out to be about six inches tall, making him "cute" and not at all frightening.
    Buffy: This is Gachnar?
    Xander: Big overture. Little show.
  • September 25, 2012
    captainpat
    ^ don't think so since it looks exactly like it's picture.
  • September 30, 2012
    tardigrade
    The burger scene in "Falling Down".
  • September 30, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Anne of Cleves has too many 'e's I think... not sure
  • September 30, 2012
    SAMAS
    • In a skit on You Cant Do That On Television, Lisa compains to Barth that the burger she was given looks nothing like the one in the picture of the restaurant's wall. Barth counters that the burger in her hand actually is in fact the same burger from the picture, which was taken six months ago.

  • September 30, 2012
    Amaryllis
    Part of the point of The Treachery Of Images.
  • November 4, 2012
    Met
    In Red Dwarf, Lister gets a do-it-yourself Marylin Monroe-bot kit. The face on the box looks like Marylin Monroe, but the face in the kit looks like a badly painted mask.
  • July 20, 2013
    Chabal2
    A common gag where fast food restaurants are involved (and Truth In Television) when the burger in the picture is maybe a third the size of the one on the box (I think Mother Goose And Grimm had such a strip).
  • July 20, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    ^Fun fact: burgers prepared for ads are only half cooked so they'll look bigger & jucier. ("Milk" is white paint, unless someone actually has to drink it.)

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