Created By: LancelotG on June 9, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 19, 2017

Back Away Slowly

...when someone just said or did something completely insane.

Name Space:
Page Type:
Maybe it's the local Cloud Cuckoolander on his game—or maybe It Makes Sense in Context, but either way, someone just crossed the bounds of sanity, and the only way to react is to stare into the person's eyes, and Back Away Slowly.

Needs More Examples.


Western Animation
  • Invader Zim
    • Gaz backs away after Dib yells "Gaz! Taste me--I'M DELICIOUS!"
    • And again in the episode "Bestest Friend" Zim goes up to a kid and says he's looking to see if he's interested in being his friend and the kid says "I was born with webbed fish toes, like some kind of horrible fish boy. Wanna see?" and Zim quickly backs away with a disturbed look on his face.

Video Games

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • June 9, 2011
    Does it count if they're all sitting down and they just shimmy away slightly? Like when someone farted?
  • June 9, 2011
    Sometimes used with angry wild animals, as well.
  • June 9, 2011
    Is this about the action, or telling them to "Put down the ______ and back away slowly!"
  • June 9, 2011
    Walking Backwards. Or at least it's related.
  • August 15, 2011
    Or when someone is royally cheesed off.

  • September 1, 2011
    Here's an example from xkcd.

    And here's one from Murphys Law.
  • September 2, 2011
    A chipmunk says it to his friend in Brother Bear when Kenai starts taking to them.
  • September 2, 2011
    Done with Peter at least once on Family Guy.
  • September 8, 2011
    • In the episode "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Hotel" of The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody, everyone, including hotel staff, was trying to find the secret treasure hidden somewhere in the Tipton. They start to bicker and Arwin randomly shouts, "DOGS HAVE CLEANER TONGUES THAN PEOPLE!" Everyone slowly backs away.
    • In the episode "Arrgh!" of Sponge Bob Square Pants:
      Patrick: I'm so loyal, I haven't bathed in weeks!
      Spongebob: But we've only been gone a few hours.
      Patrick: I know!
      *Spongebob slides away*

    I think if this trope is done, it should include sliding or shimmying away. The main idea of this trope should be people getting weirded or grossed out and moving away because of that, since Walking Backwards is more about people getting frightened and moving away in terror.

  • September 9, 2011
    Invoked by Jamie Hyneman as he and Adam replace a flat tire with a chunk of tree trunk.
  • January 10, 2012
    Just saw this in Lost, S 06 E 05, "Sundown". The Temple is being attacked by the smoke monster. Sayid's just killed Dogen and Lennon and Ben comes in to say "Come on, I know a way out of here. There's still time." In response to this, Sayid smiles like a madman and says "Not for me." Ben then quietly backs out of the room without a word.
  • January 11, 2012
    • In an episode of Samantha Who, Samantha finds the women responsible for hitting her with a car: a jealous former lover of her then-current boyfriend. After confronting her, she turns to leave only to be told, "You shouldn't turn your back on me again." Sam scoffs, fails at pretending to be fearless, and then backs away slowly.
  • January 22, 2012
    obviously, related to Oh Crap
  • March 5, 2012
    I always thought of this kind of thing as a mix between Screw This Im Outta Here and I Have Nothing To Say To That. With that definition in mind:

  • March 6, 2012
    • And again in the episode "Bestest Friend" Zim goes up to a kid and says he's looking to see if he's interested in being his friend and the kid says "I was born with webbed fish toes, like some kind of horrible fish boy. Wanna see?" and Zim quickly backs away with a disturbed look on his face.
  • March 7, 2012
    A Budweiser television commercial (when they were pushing their "Born on" dating system) had the "beer police" on a bullhorn advising someone with bad beer, "Sir, put down the skanky beer and back slowly away!"
  • March 7, 2012
    ^Skunky beer, not skanky.
  • March 7, 2012
    Eh, I've heard it both ways. :-)
  • June 17, 2012
    What's with ykttw? Did everyone just back away slowly? :]
  • June 17, 2012
    Played Up To Eleven in The Simpsons episode "The Sweetest Apu" when Homer catches Apu cheating with the Squishi girl.
  • December 28, 2016
    The latest episode of Homestar Runner has the entire group backing away from the supremely creepy Strong Glad.
  • December 28, 2016
    • The Force Awakens: In one scene, a Stormtrooper walks in on Kylo Ren having a fit, to which he slowly backs out of the room.
  • December 28, 2016
    Anyone knows what was the context of that Memetic Mutation moment from Simpsons where Homer retreads into a bush?
  • December 29, 2016
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added media section titles.
      • Namespaced work names.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
  • April 4, 2017
  • April 13, 2017
    Truth In Television. A lot of people will do this when confronted by anything that can hurt them... the backing away allows them to maintain eye contact while increasing distance, and it's down slowly so as not to startle the would-be attacker.
  • April 13, 2017
    Related to Ill Pretend I Didnt Hear That, as it's sometimes used to visually disavow what one is seeing.

    • Used as the punchline to a visual gag between two airmen in Independence Day: Jimmy is demonstrating how kneeling makes it easier to kiss a superior's butt, when Steve's engagement ring for Jasmine falls out of his locker and Jimmy picks it up. Another airman walks in just in time to see what looks like Jimmy proposing to Steve; he carefully backs out of the room. (This was during the "Don't ask, don't tell" period of American military policy)
  • April 13, 2017
    • The Fairly Odd Parents: In "That's Life!", Mrs. Turner wins a gardening contest and is awarded a prize tulip, which instantly wilts because "Everything I touch DIIIIIIES!" Everyone present takes a step back.
      Mr. Turner: Oh, Dinkleburg! Care to give my wife a congratulatory hand touch?
  • April 13, 2017
    The wild animal scenario is covered under Nice Kitty.
  • April 19, 2017