Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears
O be careful little eyes what you see,
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love,
So, be careful little eyes what you see.
O be careful little ears, what you hear
— Popular Sunday School song
Perhaps someone is letting loose a torrent of profanity. Perhaps there's a streaker running past. Perhaps somebody is about to rip out somebody's heart. Whatever the case, there are children around, and they are being exposed to some highly inappropriate content. Quick! Cover their eyes/ears!
Usually it's a parent who will do this. This can be played for laughs if the "innocent" kid still understands what's going on (cf. The Simpsons
episode "Bart Sells His Soul" where Rod still curses after Flanders covered his ears).
Naturally, doing so only makes the "innocent" child want to see/hear the denied spectacle even more.
Compare Not in Front of the Kid
and "I Can't Look" Gesture
Anime and Manga
- A Progressive Insurance ad has a mother doing this to her kid's ears as Flo explains how auto insurance and car insurance are 'bundled'.
- One of the older delivery bots is upgraded in one of Shaw Communications' ads. Bud covers Bit's eyes with his clipboard to prevent him from seeing the supposedly unpleasant upgrade process (which includes lots of mechanical whirring noises) and Bit moves up and down to peek around Bud's clipboard.
- A Running Gag in Chobits. Every time Hideki acts strange in public, a woman's voice can be heard telling a child "Don't look at him, honey."
- One episode of Tenchi in Tokyo has Ayeka, Sasami, Ryoko, and Ryo Ohki watching a soap opera. When the action onscreen starts to heat up, Ayeka blushes in embarrassment and covers Sasami's eyes, who then covers Ryo Ohki's eyes. Guess whose eyes were glued to the screen?
- In the A Certain Magical Index light novels, Brunhild Eiktobel puts to sleep a little boy she's been watching over when she senses danger. The last thing she needed was for the boy to see the ensuing carnage when her attackers struck.
- Mizore casually covers Yukari's eyes in Rosario + Vampire Capu2 after Ruby trips and exposes herself, while a confused Yukari tries to look around her hand.
- Ana Satsujin: When Rio licks the ice-cream off Kurosu's face in an amusement park you can see a mom covering her young son's eyes.
- An inversion happens in the chapter "The Most Bizarre Bizarro Of All" from the Bizarro Comics anthology. When a Bizarro starts walking on his hands and generally acting too strange even by Bizarro standards, all the children tell the adults not to watch or listen. (It is Bizarro World, after all.)
- In the Secret Invasion Runaways/Young Avengers crossover, Chase hastily covers Molly and Klara's eyes after they stumble across a television display showing footage of the Young Avengers apparently getting slaughtered by the Skrulls.
- Earlier, when the group goes to New York to prove Cloak innocent of attacking Dagger, Chase also covers Molly's eyes and tells her not to look when they watch a video of the attack. While it's not made explicit what happens, given the reaction of, "Oh God, is he...?" and the reveal that the real culprit was a Stalker with a Crush who seemed deluded into thinking Dagger was his girlfriend, one could only imagine.
- In chapter 33 of Magical Troubleshooting Crossover Fighting Federation Ultra succubus Morrigan strips herself naked in an attempt to distract Wolverine during a match. Combat Commentator Hiroshi covers guest commentator Sana's eyes, which she protests, since she has the same basic anatomy as Morrigan.
- When Daryan is being to the detention after being found guilty, the police guard makes Trucy turn around and cover her ears when he tells Apollo what will be Daryan's fate in prison.
- In the 1994 remake of Angels in the Outfield, Roger covers up JP's ears when George Knox starts swearing during the game.
- In Spy Kids, the parents ask the kids to shut their eyes before beating up a bunch of Mooks.
- In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas covers a child bystander's eyes when one of the bad guys impales himself on a model building.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after Mike says "I hate chocolate," Grampa George begins to rant, "Well it's a good thing you're going to a chocolate factory, you ungrateful little-" At which point Charlie's ears are covered by Mr. Bucket, and we hear nothing until he removes them. Fair guess that it's swearing.
- In The War of the Worlds, Ray Ferrier blindfolds his daughter and tells her to cover her ears and sing her calming song so she won't see or hear as he kills Ogilvy.
- Used in the movie Old School, where Vince Vaughn's character sets up a system where he tells his child "earmuffs," and the kid will cover his ears, allowing adults to say what they will.
- Done in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the hilarious things being first that the scene isn't really worth an eye-covering anyway (a dancer in a leotard), and second that the youngest brother whose eyes are being covered is not a child.
- In Silent Hill, Rose tries to cover Sharon's eyes and ears as a cult is horribly, gorily slaughtered by the vengeful Alessa.
- In the trailer for the 1991 film adaptation of Naked Lunch.
William S. Burroughs:
When I started writing Naked Lunch
... people offered their opinions. "Disgusting" they said, "pornographic", "unamerican trash", "unpublishable". Well, it came out in 1959 and it found an audience. Town meetings, book burnings
, and an inquiry by the States Supreme Court. The book made quite a little impression. Now thirty years later Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom
, has turned it into a movie. Thirty feet tall, in living color. Cover your eyes America, run for your lives!
- The Name of the Rose. When Inquisitor Bernado Gui catches a peasant girl inside the monastery, he declares her a witch and rips open her clothing to expose her breasts, causing the monks to avert their gaze in horror or cover their eyes. One monk does both, covering an eye and closing the other, which he quickly opens again for a peek.
- In Friends, Ross walks in with his son Ben just as Phoebe starts cussing out a game machine. He immediately dives to cover Ben's ears before shouting "Phoebe!" to get her attention and make her stop.
- There's a House episode where the mother of a preteen girl covers her daughter's ears so she won't hear the word "masturbation".
- An episode of Get Smart had Max communicating with a trapped Chief via Morse code. After Max bungles his rescue, Chief sends out some angry sounding taps. Max responds with "Watch your language, Chief. There is a lady present." When the angry taps continue, Max covers 99's ears.
- In an episode of Bones while discussing the case of the week in front of Booth's young son, Booth covers his son's ears and makes him sing a little song while the adults talk.
- In Ugly Betty Justin is repeatedly told to put his headphones on during the second episode, when he is still rather young.
- In one episode of Full House where it's learned Rebecca is expecting, the family congratulates Jesse, only for Jesse to think they're talking about a gig he got and say he couldn't have done it without lots of 'practice', resulting in Danny covering DJ and Stephanie's ears.
- In Atlantis, Hercules covers Pythagoras's eyes when Jason walks into the house naked.
- In Game of Thrones, A Pet the Dog moment for the ruthless Lord Tywin Lannister, who covers Tommen's eyes during Joffery's death scene.
- One episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Buffy telling Dawn to close her eyes, so Dawn doesn't see the oncoming death scene.
- In the first episode of Raising Hope, Jimmy has a one night stand with a woman who he doesn't know is a murderer. After she's caught, she phones him up later to tell him that she's pregnant. When she meets in at prison, she says there's no way they'll send a new mother to the electric chair. Cut to Jimmy and the baby sitting in the viewing box for the execution chamber. Jimmy covers the baby's eyes when the switch is thrown.
- A post-9/11 Blondie strip parodied the, um, excesses in airline security by having Dagwood have to repeatedly go through a metal detector, with the operator making him take off more clothes each time. He's in his underwear and the machine is still beeping when another guard comes up and tells the operator that the machine's broken. Cut to Dagwood on the plane begging the flight attendant to let him put his clothes back on before take-off, with a mother covering her kid's eyes elsewhere in the panel.
- This Heathcliff strip had a mother covering up her son's ears while a flock of birds are angrily swearing at Heathcliff, with the mother saying "Don't listen to the birds, honey".
- In a Garfield strip, when Garfield is watching TV, and hears that "viewer discretion advised", he covers Pooky's eyes.
- If Jack, known for her unusually foul mouth in Mass Effect 2, survived that game's endgame, in 3 she turns up as a teacher and makes a special effort not to swear in front of her students. Joker teases her that her Swear Jar could fund the war effort by itself. At which point Jack tells the kids to cover their ears and the scene cuts away.
- Invoked in Death Battle during the Deadpool vs Deathstroke fight. Deadpool breaks the fourth wall to tell all the children in the audience to cover their eyes right before he shoots Deathstroke in the eye.
- Eerie Cuties had a scene where Maria, misinterpreting a little incident between Layla and Brooke, "soothes" the girls by happily giving them Too Much Information from her own... fond memories. Brooke covers Nina's ears.
- In Yamara, a dark elf mother covers her son's eyes when the tour they're on visits an erotically-carved temple. Ironically, the tour members had already been tortured as part of their visit, but the boy's mom doesn't mind that, only the raunchy art.
- In Flaky Pastry, Sister Mona makes a little boy turn around before going Holy Retribution on Zintiel.
- In Brawl in the Family, the Halloween specials usually begin with Adelaide warning the audience to "send the little ones to bed early", before tuning in.
- In Hoofstuck, Sparkler covers Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle's eyes after they hear Rainbow Dash shout something about baby-making.
- The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings posters (for when the new NC-17 rating was issued in 1990) had illustrations for each rating; the one for "PG" (Parental Guidance Suggested) included a woman covering (presumably) her daughter's eyes the implication being that "some material may not be suitable for children." The PG-13 rating had the father covering one of her son's eyes, while the girl — still with both eyes covered — also covered the eyes of an anthropomorphic rabbit. (The rabbit, BTW, humorously appears in the NC-17 portion of the poster
wearing dark sunglasses!)
- In one scene from Little Miss Sunshine, the adults in the van were having an obscenity-filled conversation while young Olive listened to music on her headphones. The director made sure that nine-year-old Abigail Breslin, who played Olive, had the music on her headphones loud enough that she actually couldn't hear the conversation.