Created By: Xzenu on January 16, 2011 Last Edited By: falver on June 28, 2012

Big Brother Loves Watching

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Trope
Rolling Updates * Needs More Examples

So, Big Brother Is Watching? That violates our personal integrity. But can we at least expect him to be professional about his work? Or does he in fact enjoy his job a little bit too much?

This trope comes into play when surveillance is being misused by people who take a personal interest in the target - sexually or not.

Usually, but not always, a Sub-Trope of Big Brother Is Watching. For example, a shop having a security camera is not necessarily Big Brother Is Watching in itself - but if the security guard focus on pretty ladies using the dressing room, then it's still this trope. If the person using the security camera that way is some teenage boy who isn't supposed to be in the control room in the first place (he sneaked in for this very purpose) then it is instead Little Brother Loves Watching.


Examples

Comic Books
  • Om Dilbert, this is one of the ways in which Catbert the evil director of Human Resources can abuse his power. (While the Pointy-Haired Boss also misuse the trust employees are suposed to have for him by reading their private mails and such, he does it to secure his own power over them - thus not this trope.)
  • In V for Vendetta (the graphic novel version only), the government officials in charge of monitoring civilian activity enjoy listening in on people's personal lives, including the activities of a certain Bishop...

Film
  • Much of the early scenes in The Tourist are shown from the point of view of cops watching Elise through hidden cameras and such. They are pretty creepy about it, too. Zooming in her ass, speculating whether or not she's wearing panties. this early scene gets retroactively creepier later in the movie, as it turns out she's one of their coworkers.
  • In The Lives of Others, the protagonist is a Secret Police officer who starts taking a personal interest in his targets, an interest that leads him down a part of corruption and crime. This is actually a Heel–Face Turn, since the system he works for is evil in the first place.
  • Essentially the entire plot of the Sharon Stone vehicle Sliver.
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Magenta and Columbia get off while watching surveillance of Rocky and Janet going at it.
  • The good guys in Blue Thunder enjoy picking up audio of people having sex from the helicopter.
  • In True Lies, agent Harry Tasker uses agency resources and personnel simply to determine if his wife is having an affair.

Live-Action TV
  • In Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, the show pay several people to watch a house under a pretense that it is for keeping America safe from terrorists. However, all but one of these newbie secret police employees neglect watching the particular house they was supposed to be watching, instead using all the fancy equipment to spy on the neighbor's sexlife.

Western Animation
  • On The Simpsons cameras were put up in Springfield to catch illegal activity, but Ned Flanders and others used them as opportunities to nag people about public displays of affection and whatnot.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • January 16, 2011
    AmazinglyEnough
    In V For Vendetta (the graphic novel), the government officials in charge of monitoring civilian activity enjoy listening in on people's personal lives, including the activities of a certain Bishop...
  • January 16, 2011
    randomsurfer
    On The Simpsons cameras were put up in Springfield to catch illegal activity, but Ned Flanders and others used them as opportunities to nag people about public displays of affection and whatnot.
  • February 24, 2011
    robybang
    • Philip Noyce in Ira Levin's Sliver. He set up the entire apartment complex with hidden cameras because he's a voyeur.
  • February 25, 2011
    Arivne
    In the OP description: surveilence -> surveillance.
  • February 25, 2011
    Duncan
    In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Magenta and Columbia get off while watching surveillance of Rocky and Janet going at it.
  • April 8, 2011
    neoYTPism
    The Penn And Teller Bullshit example might provide a good page quotation...
  • February 5, 2012
    Xzenu
    Graveyard bump!
  • May 18, 2012
    TrustBen
    The good guys in Blue Thunder enjoy picking up audio of people having sex from the helicopter.
  • May 19, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    In True Lies, agent Harry Tasker uses agency resources and personnel simply to determine if his wife is having an affair.

  • June 26, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    The voyeur angle was played up in This Poster for the 1956 adaptation of Nineteen Eighty Four
  • June 28, 2012
    Xzenu
    Lumpenprole's example is a valid media example, but the media is not "film". How should we categorize it? I think "Advertising", since a film poster can count as an advertisement for the film.

    Regardless of this, it may make a decent page illustration.
  • June 28, 2012
    Astaroth
    In John Grisham's The Firm (definitely in the Book, not sure about the film), the Mafia hire surveillance experts to keep tabs on Mitch. One of them uses his equipment to eavesdrop on an intimate moment between Mitch and his wife.
  • June 28, 2012
    falver
    Death Note Has our Magnificent Bastard L watching everything going on in his hotel. ...And then the other Catch-Kira-Task-Force watching Light-Misa-L's date.
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