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Crush Filter
They say love is blind, but sometimes it hallucinates. Frankie has never looked so good.

In visual media, the shortcut to let the audience know that a character has a big crush on someone is to apply the Crush Filter. It's a very specific sort of Imagine Spot, sometimes augmented by the environment.

The viewer/audience sees the object of affection as they are in their normal appearance, even if they're not perfectly cleaned up, tidy, neat, or groomed.

The shot then changes to the crush's point of view, and the person they're crushing on is suddenly highlighted to romanticized perfection. The Hot Wind may come out of nowhere to tousle their hair fetchingly. If they're sweating, it's glistening and sparkling like magical dewdrops so they look pretty and rain-kissed rather than gross and sweaty. If they're not wearing makeup, it's suddenly there and absolutely perfect. The entire world has dropped into Slow Motion for them.

The light may suddenly become all soft and filtered, or full of inexplicable sparkles. Red and/or pink hearts may float around the person being filtered. Fireworks may go off, or other aspects of the environment may fall into place as if by magic.

If their gait is normally purposeful or unflinching, it is now, thanks to the magic of a crush, a slinky, sexy sway. The air may fill with the sound of singing angels, or some other appropriate romantic Mood Motif. How detailed the fantasy vision is will vary by how family-friendly the medium is.

The shot then returns to the object of the crush. If we get another look at the one with the crush, they may be displaying the Crush Blush.

There are innumerable combinations for the effects that show off the gorgeousness of someone affected by the crush filter — limited only by the imagination of the character (and the creative team).

The Crush Filter may also be part of a montage in which the besotted imagines meeting, courting, marrying, raising children with, growing old with, and finally dying happily beside the person they thus envision.

The Crush Filter can be applied for a long-term crush, a child's Precocious Crush on someone older, or for Love at First Sight.

The person being viewed through the crush filter is not Always Female, but frequently.

Sub-Trope to Imagine Spot. Related to Bishie Sparkle, Gaussian Girl, Holy Backlight, Hot Wind, Mood Motif, Heart Symbol, Everything's Better with Sparkles, Pretty Butterflies, Love Bubbles and Empathic Environment.


Examples

Advertising
  • In a 2014 Taco Bell ad, two random strangers - both eating Taco Bell items - sit down on a park bench and make eye contact with one another; the man takes a look at the woman and sees her in a series of Imagine Spots, from her being his new girlfriend in a boat on the lake with him, to being his bride on their wedding day, to being his wife and raising a family together. It becomes inverted for the woman, who rather than seeing the man as a potential boyfriend and husband, she's instead more interested in what he's eating, and her Imagine Spot takes place in the same boat, only her grabbing his food and pushing him into the water.

Anime and Manga
  • In One Piece, Boa Hancock once fantasized about Luffy being a total bishonen. In reality, he's... not so pretty (though not ugly either).

Film
  • Speed Racer and Trixie have a Love at First Sight mutual crush filter. The Wachowski siblings were behind the camera for this movie, so the entire background fell into animated hearts and roses relief around their first look at each other.
  • While Wyldstyle is explaining the different territories and Lord Business's obsession with segregating them to Emmet in The LEGO Movie, her words fall on deaf ears. Emmet, enraptured, hears only "Proper name, place name, backstory stuff. I'm so pretty. I like you, but I'm mad at you for some reason." Emmet only alienates himself further when he asks to hear the whole lesson again because he wasn't listening.
  • In Sky High, whenever Will Stronghold looks at Gwen, she gets backlit, soft focus, a cover version of Spandau Ballet's 'True' starts playing.
  • In Dasepo Sonyo, the first two times we see Anthony, it's from Poor Girl's perspective, and because she has a crush on him, he appears to be radiant. He's still good-looking without the crush filter on, but it's also clear that he's a smug, self-absorbed jerk. Anthony himself has a crush filter when he first sees Double Eyes, but it's quickly dispelled by the Unsettling Gender-Reveal.

Film Animated
  • In the animated adaptation of Persepolis, Marjane's French boyfriend appears to be handsome when they're dating, but then suddenly becomes hideous after they break up.
  • Rio has multiple examples:
    • Spoofed: Blu wakes in the environment where he's supposed to mate with Jewel. "Say you, Say me" is playing to set the mood thanks to Tulio. Jewel flies toward him looking like a radiant angel, and Blu looks stunned but hopeful; but the moment Tulio tried to set up is ruined because Jewel is offended at captivity and attacks Blu.
    • Played straight: Blu sees Jewel surrounded in diffuse glowing backlight in an otherwise darkened area during a bird rave, for the real crush filter.
    • The trope is played with to make for a mutual crush filter. Tulio and Linda each have one on seeing the other in their Blue Macaw costumes. Tulio's first look at Linda has her walking out of Holy Backlight to go from silhouette to visible. Linda's first look at Tulio has fireworks going off behind him in multiple colors — this is not entirely her imagination, as it's the beginning of Carnivale, and there are actually fireworks going off. The intro riff to "Say You, Say Me" begins to play before they lean in for a kiss — and fail to complete it because their costume beaks get in the way.

Live-Action TV
  • MASH. In "Germ Warfare," Hawkeye joins Dish for coffee in the Mess Tent, where he visualizes her out of uniform (literally), and also wearing her hair down (she had it in a bun); she's aware of his daydreaming.
    Dish: Is this a new one, or are you undressing me with your eyes again?
    Hawkeye: *Snaps out of it* Well, if I did it with my hands, I'd get killed, right?
  • Seinfeld.
    • In "The Reverse Peephole," when Jerry's naked Girl of the Week finally starts wearing clothes again, Jerry keeps visualizing her in the nude, including imagining her brushing out her long blonde locks. It then becomes inverted for the girl, who she visualizes Jerry naked, scratching himself like a gorilla.
    • In "The Junk Mail," Elaine meets a guy at the coffee shop, and although he appears to be just your average joe, from her perspective, his eyes appear piercing (usually with special lighting brightening them), a handsome smile, all accompanied by a harp stringer.
  • How I Met Your Mother: James Van Der Beek plays an old boyfriend of Robin's. When we see him objectively he's fat, balding, and has bad skin & teeth. When we see him from Robin's perspective he looks like...James van der Beek.
  • The Brady Bunch: Marsha develops a crush on her dentist, Dr. Vogel, and sees him through the crush filter.
  • One episode of Salute Your Shorts started with Budnick seeing Deena, who he normally can't stand, wearing a white dress, with a Holy Backlight, when in reality she's wearing black and sneezing from hayfever. The rest of the episode and the next one deals with him and his sudden crush on her.

Music
  • The Carpenters' song "Close To You" seems to be a crush-filtered person describing the phenomenon:
    Why do birds suddenly appear
    Every time you are near?
    Just like me, they long to be
    Close to you
    Why do stars fall down from the sky
    Every time you walk by?
    Just like me, they long to be
    Close to you
    On the day that you were born the angels got together
    And decided to create a dream come true
    So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair
    Golden starlight in your eyes of blue

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Spike sees Rarity this way. She's aware of it and has no problem taking advantage of it.
    • In "The Best Night Ever", Rarity sees Prince Blueblood in Crush Vision, with sparkles around him.
    • "Simple Ways": Rarity has a crush on writer Trenderhoof and sees him this way. Trenderhoof actually has a crush on Applejack and sees her this way, even with sweat, dirt, and apple mush all over her face.
    • In "A Friend Indeed", Cranky Doodle may or may not have envisioned Matilda through the crush filter. His first look at her has her through diffused sunlight with butterflies fluttering around. That could just be a nice day in Ponyville.
  • Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends:
    • "Good Wilt Hunting" The nerd boys who discovered Coco see Frankie this way. Her pointy wild ponytail becomes curled. Her face suddenly becomes made up like you'd see in a magazine, and she has curves that she lacks in reality. The edges of the screen blur into soft focus around her. Butterflies also flutter around her (which may be part of the filter or just imaginary friends, given the environment).
  • Avatar The Last Airbender
    • "The Fortuneteller". Katara poses and asks how she looks. Aang takes a look and sees her through his Crush filter: soft focus and sparkles.
    • "The Beach". Zuko flings off his robe. Doves soar skyward in the background. And a bunch of girls on the beach giggle and coo in admiration.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • For Isabella, the crush filter goes Up to Eleven. Isabella doesn't just see Phineas in an ultra-idealized fashion. Her fantasy filter turns him into a long-haired romantic hero from a novel, or a pegasus-centaur. Hers is so intense that it distracts her completely from whatever is going on, and she calls it "Phineas Land".
    • Ferb's Love at First Sight reaction to seeing Vanessa generates flowers and rainbows behind her, the Hot Wind, and a music change. But Ferb's outward reaction gives nothing away.
    • "Love At First Byte" has Norm the robot seeing Chloe the robot for the first time. We get a POV shot of her through his eyes. It is tinted bright red because he's overheating from the sight of her.
  • Kick Buttowski
    • Played with. Kick develops the crush, but is so used to denying crushes that he doesn't get the vision change. He just started spending more time with the stunt-girl for his sister's favorite show.
    • Played straight. Gunther develops a crush on Wacky Jackie and sees her with the filter, making her a radiant beauty and far less ...wacky.
  • Teen Titans Go!. In "Legs," Raven is seen without her cloak, which excites Beast Boy when he's able to see that She's Got Legs; a Running Gag throughout the rest of the episode involves Beast Boy ogling her legs, and in close-ups, her legs are drawn far more detailed and anatomically correct.
  • Dexters Laboratory: When Mandark first lays eyes on Dee Dee, his vision of her is having sparkling, almond-shaped eyes with a captivating gaze; her blonde hair shining like actual gold; and leaving a trail of sparkling fairy dust in her wake as she gracefully passes him by.
  • Littlest Pet Shop:
    • "Sweet Pepper": The first time Pepper and Captain Cuddles lay eyes on each other, there's a mutual rosy pink soft focus Crush Filter on each of them for the other.
  • Fish Hooks:
    • "Pool Party Panic": When Bea shows up to the pool party in her new swimsuit, Oscar looks up at her, and she's got Holy Backlight. Then someone does a cannonball and splashes behind her. The water catches the light and surrounds her in cascading sparkles.
  • El Tigre: A played with example. Rodrigo, laying eyes on Maria as Plata Peligrosa for the first time in a while sees her with Holy Backlight and sparkles surrounding her. He has never stopped loving Maria, but this is her heroic crime-fighting alter-ego.

Crack! Oh My Back!Film TropesDark World
Chubby ChaserAttraction TropesDevoted to You
Creator CameoAnimation TropesCrush Parade
Mood MotifMusic TropesDrone of Dread
Crowded Cast ShotComedy TropesCrush Parade
Crush BlushLove TropesCry into Chest

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