Created By: joacokubrick on July 6, 2012 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on March 13, 2013

Identical From Behind Gag

When a chaser catches up to his prey in a crowd but it turns out to be a very similar stranger.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
AKA Sorry, I Thought You Were Someone Else

A guy or girl is either chasing their lover who is about to disappear forever or a cop is chasing a fugitive. They spot them in the crowd but when they finally catch up and forcefully turn them around it's just a random incredibly similar looking stranger. The random stranger is for some reason also dressed almost exactly like the fugitive. When done purposely it could be a Decoy Getaway and Lost in a Crowd.

Film (Live Action)

  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Adam Sandler sees a hot blonde dressed as a Playboy bunny but when he calls out she turns out to be David Spade.
  • The Departed Matt Damon's character realizes he's being chased by someone with a baseball cap so he waits behind a truck. He finally jumps out and stabs some random Asian guy wearing a cap.
  • In Conversationswith Other Women the Man during most of his twenties keeps running up to women from behind him that resemble his Love Interest.
  • A classic example in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, with Rooney coming up behind someone he thinks is Ferris and saying "Les jeux sont faits. 'Translation: the game is up'. Your ass is mine." SHE then turns around and spits soda on him.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Scott calls out to Lucas Lee but is ignored. When he goes up and turns him around, it's not Lee but his Body Double.

TV
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney spends some time trying to figure out who's been mysteriously cockblocking him, and chases a mysterious blond out of a bar. The first blond he grabs and asks if he ever slept with her and then seriously screwed her over. He realizes it wasn't her, leaves, asks for her number, then leaves again and grabs the right blond.
  • Parodied on an episode of Scrubs when Cox grabs Turk's shoulder from behind, only instead of Turk (bald black man), it's a petite, bald black woman. Later, JD goes to get Carla, only it's a mustachiod hispanic man with long hair and a mustache.
  • An episode of Bones has a terrorist with a dioxin bomb about to blow up a peace conferene. At one point Booth nabs who he thinks is the guy, but he turns around and it's someone else.
  • In Angel, when Fred is on the run from her brainwashed friends, she loses them by taking off her jacket and giving it to a stranger with similar hair. In the time in takes her pursuers to see the stranger from the front, Fred manages to hide.

Literature
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mystery 'Have His Carcass', inverted. Bunter thinks a man coming out of a room is not the same who went in, but when he turns, he recognizes the back and, deducing a disguise, follows.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • July 6, 2012
    Ryusui
    Identical Navel Twins? What...what the hell is that supposed to mean? That doesn't describe the trope at all!
  • July 6, 2012
    surgoshan
    And wouldn't this be covered by Identical Stranger?
  • July 6, 2012
    joacokubrick
    sorry ryusi, english is not my first language. i mistook navel for nape. in any case i was more interested in finding other movies where this happened.
  • July 7, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ This is a very specific trope that I've seen often. It's distinct from Identical Stranger because the two people look the same from behind but not from in front.

    Identical From Behind Pursuit?

    I've definitely seen this on YKTTW before. I don't know if it was launched, but I can't find it now.
  • July 7, 2012
    Ryusui
    Oh, I do know this trope. But it's a bit more wide-reaching than the trope description would suggest - I remember a Sesame Street book from my childhood using the trope, where someone mistakes a stranger for a parental figure and gets a nasty surprise when they see the person from the front!

    Might I suggest Rear View Decoy?
  • July 7, 2012
    TonyG
    In Bolt, the title character thinks he sees his enemy the Green-Eyed Man from behind and goes after him. Not only is it not him, but since Bolt's reality up until then had been a TV show, there is no actual Green-Eyed Man in the first place. Also, since Bolt's "superpowers" are also fake, he is unable to subdue the stranger with a karate chop once he catches up.
  • July 7, 2012
    Crassus
    "Footsteps in the Fog" (1955)

    A master attempts to murder his housekeeper after she leaves the house. Bashes in the wrong woman's head.

    "North by Northwest" (1959)

    Police pursue Roger Thornhill in Chicago train station, knowing he stole a porter's uniform. They spin around every porter in the station, based merely on their uniforms.
  • July 7, 2012
    surgoshan
    Now I get it, definitely not Identical Stranger.

    • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney spends some time trying to figure out who's been mysteriously cockblocking him, and chases a mysterious blond out of a bar. The first blond he grabs and asks if he ever slept with her and then seriously screwed her over. He realizes it wasn't her, leaves, asks for her number, then leaves again and grabs the right blond.
    • Parodied on an episode of Scrubs when Cox grabs Turk's shoulder from behind, only instead of Turk (bald black man), it's a petite, bald black woman. Later, JD goes to get Carla, only it's a mustachiod hispanic man with long hair and a mustache.
  • July 7, 2012
    abk0100
    In Angel, when Fred is on the run from her brainwashed friends, she loses them by taking off her jacket and giving it to a stranger with similar hair. In the time in takes her pursuers to see the stranger from the front, Fred manages to hide.
  • July 7, 2012
    kjnoren
    Some ideas for a better name:

    I think having "gag" in the name can help make clear that this is a trope that happens relatively quickly - the mistake is made and resolved in short order.
  • July 7, 2012
    Goldfritha
    • In Dorothy L Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey mystery Have His Carcass, inverted. Bunter thinks a man coming out of a room is not the same who went in, but when he turns, he recognizes the back and, deducing a disguise, follows.
  • July 7, 2012
    Mauri
    Played straight in Girly. When Winter finds a faerie that is identical to Otra by behind.
  • July 7, 2012
    keltic07
    This happens to the Man in *Conversationswith Other Women
  • July 8, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • Deliberately invoked in Avatar The Last Airbender. When the police are searching for Aang at a party, their description is "a boy with a headband". When Aang escapes, the other kids put on headbands to confuse them.
  • July 8, 2012
    Duncan
    A classic example in Ferris Buellers Day Off, with Rooney coming up behind someone he thinks is Ferris and saying "Les jeux sont faits. Translation: the game is up. Your ass is mine." SHE then turns around and spits soda on him.
  • July 8, 2012
    TBeholder
  • July 9, 2012
    randomsurfer
    An episode of Bones has a terrorist with a dioxin bomb about to blow up a peace conferene. At one point Booth nabs who he thinks is the guy, but he turns around and it's someone else.
  • July 9, 2012
    kjnoren
    Film:

    • In the Swedish classic comedy Äppelkriget one of the Lindberg brothers tries to pick up a nice, tall, blonde woman at a night club. When she turns around she is revealed as a man, who is very much not amused.
  • July 9, 2012
    abk0100
    No, don't add "gag" to the name. It's unnecessary. This trope is only a gag some of the time.
  • July 11, 2012
    joacokubrick
    I added "gag" because when suggested it made sense. I could put it to a vote, but I think it's a gag most of the time.
  • July 11, 2012
    Luigifan
    This can actually be Truth In Television...
  • July 12, 2012
    Fren
    Spaceballs, specifically the scene where Dark Helmet captures the stunt doubles of Lone Starr's group.
  • December 9, 2012
    Chernoskill
    • In Crocodile Dundee, Mick runs after what he thinks is his friend Sue, but as the person turns it's really just a man with long blonde hair and rather feminine clothing.
  • December 9, 2012
    tuypo1
    i vote to remove gag

  • December 9, 2012
    McKathlin
    The music video for Smash Mouth's "I'm a Believer" has this happen repeatedly; he chases after someone with long blonde hair like his beloved's, but when the person turns around, it's some random dude.
  • December 9, 2012
    GoldenDarkness
    The second Home Alone movie does this trick to separate Kevin from his family, as he mistakes someone for his dad this way. Kevin doesn't confirm the man's identity though, and only realizes he made a mistake when he realizes his flight took him to New York instead of Miami.
  • December 10, 2012
    robinjohnson
    This happens to Eddie when he is chasing Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and he ends up being chased himself.
  • December 10, 2012
    KZN02
    Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri accidentally stabs Nozumo from behind because of this, and that she was trying to act like The Ditz.
  • December 10, 2012
    troacctid
    Cut Apart is a similar way to fake the audience out.
  • March 13, 2013
    Hodor
    • In an episode of Game Of Thrones, Arya is shown looking for her friend Jaqen among the Lannister soldiers at Harrenhal, so that she can request that he assassinate someone for her. Jaqen has red hair with some black and white streaks in front, and Arya initially grabs the wrong person, a random Lannister with red hair that he wore at the same length as Jaqen.
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