Russian Doll Image YKTTW Discussion

Russian Doll Image
(permanent link) added: 2009-07-14 19:28:02 sponsor: Wheezy (last reply: 2009-07-14 19:28:02)

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Do We Have This One??

An image that contains infinite replicas of itself. Related to the fractal.

Due to the "you just have to see it" nature of these images, I'm having a hard time describing them. So I'll give you an example which many of us have probably seen before:

A character is watching TV. If you look a bit closer at the screen, you see that he's watching...

Himself watching TV. Watching himself watching TV. Watching himself watching TV. Watching himself...

Seen It a Million Times.

See also Dream Within a Dream, and Russian Doll World, which is this trope on a cosmic level.


Live-Action TV
  • The first episode of The IT Crowd opens with one of these: A shot of Mr. Raynholm at his desk, with an identical scene on a picture hung on the wall. The camera then pans out to reveal another identical scene. When he starts talking, we see that we were actually looking at the picture on the real Mr. Raynholm's wall.
  • During Steve Martin's "I'm Me" song on Saturday Night Live, he notices a monitor showing live footage of him, thus creating this effect. "It's me, watching me, watching me!"

  • In comics it's referred to as an infinity cover.
  • An issue of Runaways has Victor, a cyborg who was (unknowingly) being used to spy on the team, discover the TV screen where the camera in his eyes feeds back to. The result is himself, watching himself watching himself, watching himself watching himself watching himself, watching himself watching himself watching...
  • In the Justice League episode "Wildcards" one shot has the Joker gesturing at a TV screen, which show him on Television in the same shot, and so on.
  • The cover of the Doom Patrol comic "The Painting that ate Paris" also has such a shot.
  • Perry Bible Fellowship example

  • In Spaceballs, the titular bad guys watch the Spaceballs video tape to find out where the heroes are. Hilarity Ensues when they get to the exact point in the tape that they are watching.
  • Happens in The Matrix Reloaded with the architect.

Western Animation
  • Used in the Venture Brothers when #21 and Dean are caught spying on the Murderous Moppets.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "A Brush With Oblivion" had one of these as Honker Muddlefoot's art project.

  • The last scene of The Smashing Pumpkins' "Ava Adore" video.

Video Games
  • Portal may be the first game to make it possible to walk (or fall) through one of these.

Real Life
  • Stand two mirrors opposite each other. Observe.
  • You can also achieve this by hooking a video camera up to a TV, then filming the TV.
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