Homestar: Mainly, I just want to keep [Marzipan and The Cheat] from making out.A mostly comedy trope. Two people are in the process of getting together and having a date. The more they try to keep it on the down-low, the more likely it is that everybody they know is spying on 'em... possibly with the specific goal of ruining the thing, which may result in a Bad Date. Truth in Television, although perhaps not as common as portrayed in fiction.
Strong Bad: Euw! The disgust! It won't wash off!
Strong Bad: Euw! The disgust! It won't wash off!
—Homestar Runner, "Date Nite"
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Anime and Manga
- Angel Densetsu: Ikuko, Ikuno and Takehisa follow Ryoko and Kinato around during a date and work to ensure that it isn't interrupted. Their efforts were completely in vain, as every important character in the series then proceeded to show up to do just that.
- Detective Conan: Sato and Takagi have a date in an Amusement Park with half the police force, trying to make it fail without being seen.
- You're Under Arrest!: Miyuki and Nakajima's date in the third OAV. Small subversion in that the date was per orders of their boss, after a rather bad misunderstanding that involved them and Natsumi.
- And further subverted in that Miyuki was fully aware that they were being watched the entire time. When the romantic moment is ruined by an All Officers dispatch call, Miyuki looks straight at the bush her partner is hiding in and tells Natsumi that they had better get going.
- Perhaps played more straight in their dates afterwards, which usually have these not far behind; except in second season when Miyuki and Ken went to the amusement park with a mechanic's daughter. It was a change of plan which their would-be peepers are not aware of (The two originally planned to go to someplace else).
- This happened in Mahou Sensei Negima!, during Negi's date with Nodoka at the school festival there were at least 5-6 other girls there watching 'em.
- Earlier on, it's subverted. A couple of girls see Negi and Konoka and follow them around, thinking they're on a date. They even call the class president to inform her of what's going on, and she promptly drags both herself and Negi's roommate Asuna over to find out. Turns out that Negi and Konoka were buying birthday presents for Asuna.
- Asuna's date with Takahata also has more than a few spies trailing along.
- Plus, Asuna and Negi's date in practice of that date had everyone aware of Negi's aged-self tagging along.
- And Konoka's and Setsuna's "outing". Really, it would be easier to count the times Akamatsu hasn't done this.
- He even took it to the next level; people seeing Date Peepers they know may decide to start spying on the spies, and in turn may be noticed and followed - to the point where almost nobody doing the peeping actually knows who's having the date, just that somewhere there is a date to be peeped on. It's implied to be so common as to be a standard Academy-wide student activity.
- When one of the girls in Wedding Peach tries to go out with the guy they are rivals for, the other two do this.
- The friends of main characters Haruna and Masaru in Monkey High! have become pure kings of this trope, spying on them at all times and popping up inopportune moments, even following them around school.
- Otomen also has this, though it's justified because Juta is basing his story off of Asuka and Ryo's relationship.
- Ranma ½: While Ranma and Akane have never technically been on a real date, whenever those two have a romantic (or assumed to be romantic) moment alone together at the Tendo's house, you can be sure that the Tendo and Saotome families are either spying or eavesdropping. They've also been real moment killers every now and then due to this.
- A more specific example would include the time when Akane was tricked into going on a date with Ryoga. At first, she thought it was a challenge and that somebody wanted to fight her... then she finds out it's not and that Ryoga thinks it an actual date. Ranma shows up out of jealousy, pisses her off, she gives him the good ol' megaton punch, then decides that she really will go on a date with Ryoga. Ranma shows up out of jealousy again and tries to mess it all up. Hilarity ensues.
- Let's just face it. Everybody has spied on Ranma and Akane at one time or another. The entire freaking school spied on them once.
- When Ranma goes on a date with an old man's spirit, Akane and the man's grandson follow them to spy. They watch from a bush, eventually.
- Turns up in Urusei Yatsura, of course, most notably a date between Miko Sakura and bumbling dark wizard Tsubame. One Running Gag during the story was the watchers trying to find places to hide, only to find them already occupied by other couples trying to get a little heavy petting in.
- Also happens in Maison Ikkoku, with Godai's grandma behind it. It's hardly surprising that all of his neighbors took part, considering how nosy they all are.
- See a pattern here? Rumiko Takahashi apparently likes this plot.
- Happens a few times in Sailor Moon; the first movie pretty much starts with the team spying on Usagi and Mamoru.
- Used in one of the early second season episodes of Code Geass when Lelouch and Shirley go to the mall together. Several of their friends from school follow them, since everyone knows Shirley has had a crush on Lelouch for a long time. Then there's the added twist that they are also being spied on by the Britannian government, since Lelouch is secretly Zero, a simultaneous Magnificent Bastard, Well-Intentioned Extremist, and Dark Messiah. Lelouch, naturally, proceeds to play everyone involved.
- In Maria-sama ga Miteru, Yoshino spies on the date between her grande soeur (and cousin) Rei and one of the winners of the Valentine's Day contest.
- The date doesn't even have to be real to invoke this trope. In Kamen no Maid Guy, when Naeka goes to the festival with the leader of the Breast Fanclub, she has the other two Fanclub members, her Those Two Guys and both of her maids spying on her. Kogarashi attempts to boost the romantic atmosphere (and it works), but Fubuki misunderstands and ends up ending the whole thing by knocking the leader's head through a tree when she flings a lamp at him.
- As pictured above, this trope was used in Naruto Konoha Gakuen Hen, a comedic omake inspired by the second Naruto Shippuden ED which is set in a High School A.U.. Naruto goes on a date with Hinata and they're spied on by Sakura, Ino, Shikamaru, Chouji, Kiba, Shino and even Sasuke.
- Subverted in The Prince of Tennis, where the three times this trope is invoked... it's NOT a date, but something else. Ryoma and Sakuno went out only to get her racket fixed by a Cool Old Guy that Ryoma knew beforehand, a gorgeous girl that Kawamura was seen with once was the mother of his Forgotten Childhood Friend, and An only said she was in a date with Momo to keep him from running away from their friendly outing.
- In Ah! My Goddess, Skuld discovered that her attempt at apologizing to her first serious crush was spied on by Keiichi and both her sisters. Urd just laughed it off, Keiichi tried to apologize while laughing nervously, but Belldandy looked positively mortified about what she was doing.
- Happened in one episode of Kodocha when Sana, Akito and Tsuyoshi spied on Asako as she went out with a co star from one of her films, under the impression she was cheating on Rei. Hilarity Ensues and of course, not everything is as it seems in the end.
- Eye Shield 21 plays with this. Sena finds a letter in his locker asking him to meet someone who is obviously a girl. Almost the entire Devil Bat team tries spying on him on this "date" for their own reasons. (The Huh-Huh Bros. can't believe Sena is getting some, Mamori is so happy to see him grow up, Suzuna is jealous, etc.) Turns out it's not a date, but a warning from their future opponent.
- Played completely straight in Ladies Versus Butlers! by Sernia Iori Flameheart when her classmate and rival Tomomi goes on a date with her childhood friend Akiharu to resolve her feelings towards him. Not that it works much, seeing as the guy is basically an Idiot Hero with a bad case of Obliviousness To Love and a certified Marriage To His Job.
- Ouran High School Host Club has this in the episode/chapter Hikaru and Haruhi go on a date. The other Host Club members are wearing Paper Thin Disguises as they peep. In the manga the club members plan to spy on Tamaki and Haruhi's first date... in Paper Thin Disguises.
- Though in both dates, they do their best to help out the couple in question. And for Tamaki, they even stop the Zuka club from trying to ruin his date.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu had Kaname going on a date. Sousuke and Kyoko however took it up on himself to make sure she's not disturbed. While the two were observing the date dressed in suits and wearing shades, some Yakuza started molesting Kaname. Cue Sousuke stealing his signature Bonta-kun costume and wiping the floor with the thugs without alerting Kaname to his presence - or so he thought; Kaname knew it was him when he shot one of the thugs out of habit then quickly stuffed the gun behind his back upon realizing it, she appreciated it anyway.
- Parodied in a Gundam SEED Destiny H-manga. As Athrun is about to snog Meer Campbell, several characters peek their heads in the doorway. When Athrun stops to look, they pull out cameras. His response is to shoot at them, which sends them scattering.
- The Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch manga nearly has this as a Running Gag with poor Rina and Hamasaki.
- Happens in chapter 26 of Kimi ni Todoke, although Sawako and Kazehaya weren't officially on a date.
- In episode 14 of Girls Bravo Fukuyama and Kirie follow Yukinari and Miharu around on their date.
- In To Love-Ru Darkness, Nana, Momo, Mea and Yami all group together to spy on a date between Run and Rito. Shortly after, Yui also begins to spy on the two, though doesn't join with Momo's group.
- In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi and his harem go back to the year 1970 to protect his parents from a time-traveling anomaly. While on a casual walk, the two are interrupted by Ryoko and Ayeka, who egg them on. Tenchi scolds them for, basically, risking a Grandfather Paradox.
- SHUFFLE! has two potential love interests, one Handsome Lech, and one Camera Fiend set up a date for a couple. Don't expect them to let the date happen naturally.
- Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo has a beach episode where two people in a love triangle go out on a date. The third one isn't quite happy with that.
- This is basically the whole premise of episode 12 of Heroman.
- Mashiro and Jin get followed by Misaki and Sorata in Mahiro's research date (Love Hotel included) in The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.
- And in episode 9, In episode 9, Mashiro and Nanami follow Sorata and Rita to a hotel. However, Rita was Genre Savvy enough to realize that they'd be following, so she greets them the instant they show up. Then she takes all of them to an art exhibit to show off Mashiro's final painting before she returns home to England.
- Played all over the place in Infinite Stratos. Laura and Rin follow Charlotte and Ichika on a date. When Laura finds the peepers and is told what's going on, she shrugs and tries to just join the date, but Laura and Rin stop her.
- Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai has Chihiro, Kuzumi, and Kadota checking in on Yugami during his date with Fujisawa.
- In My Monster Secret, Asahi and a female character cannot go out anywhere or have a private conversation without someone spying on them; with the twist that the people spying are usually Shippers On Deck who planned the "date" in the first place. First, Youko plans to make Asahi and Aizawa go to the amusement park to spy on them, but fails. Then she (along with Shiho) succeeds in the summer festival. Later Karen and Akane conspire to make Youko and Asahi go to the amusement park, the same way Karen did for Youko's parents in the past. Even later, in chapter 100 Youko's mom and Akane use surveillance cameras to observe their (this time real) date and comment it like some kind of sports event.
- In Centaur no Nayami (A Centaur's Life Stateside), the main characters follow their friend Sasasuul on her date at an art museum. However, since she's an exchange student from reclusive Antarctica, she's also being tracked by security services and the three are almost picked up as terrorists.
- In Aizawa San Multiplies, Nakamura, Ozeki, and Shiki watch the first date between Shino and Souta long enough to confirm that they're holding hands and thus moving forward in their relationship before leaving them to their date.
- The core of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic "Once Bitten, Twice Shy"'s humour lies in the Gambit Pileup between two vastly different sets of Date Peepers trying to give Twilight and Fluttershy help on their dates. Fluttershy's team: a down-to-earth farmer and a sophisticated dressmaker. Twilight's: a reckless speedster and a lunatic who is literally too weird for magic to explain. Is it any wonder everything went to Yeah That Place?
- Briefly discussed in another My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, A Delicate Balance. Pinkie expresses her intent to follow Applejack and Twilight on their date, but ultimately gets talked out of it by Rarity.
- Averted in Non-Date. This is what Nora and Yang think they're doing. In reality, they're just watching two friends hang out together.
Blake: Hold on. How do we know this is a date?Yang: How do we know that it isn't?
- MLP Next Generation: Know Fear!: When Starburst and Golden Delicious admit to their feelings for each other and go on a date, their friends Claire, Cotton Candy, Prism Bolt and June follow them (though the latter's only there to keep the first three from interfering). And it turns out that Star and Del knew they were there the whole time, they just ignored them.
- A variation in Wasabi: as Jean Reno's Disappeared Dad character and his daughter are on a bonding Shopping Montage, they are followed around by the Yakuza men. Hilarity Ensues as Reno uses creative ways to deal with them without her noticing.
- The "lovely" date between Darla and Alfalfa (including sabotage by the members of the gang) in The Little Rascals movie.
- Vada and Thomas J follow Vada's Father and Shelley on the Bingo date in My Girl. She yells "Bingo!" in from the window and Hilarity Ensues.
- Not just dates. Ceiling River is watching you procreate.
- A highly comedic subversion happens in Shoot 'em Up. The baby alerts the hero to the presence of multiple hitmen during sex with his Love Interest. He ends up dealing with them all without breaking stride, so to speak.
- Stargate: When Daniel has a sensitive conversation with Shau'ri and admits his attraction by sharing a long kiss with her, two local boys look in on them, apparently highly amused at this development.
Live Action TV
- Parks and Recreation has a twist on this. Leslie and Ben think that Ann and Chris are going out on an illicit date (Chris is Ann's boss and fraternization is forbidden), so they trail Ann to a restaurant, peek in the window—and find out that Ann is dating Tom.
- A hobby of Dr. House vis a vis Wilson, Cuddy... pretty much everybody.
- 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven...
- In Power Rangers Dino Thunder, the other Rangers use their surveillance equipment to spy on Ethan as he has his first date with Cassidy. When things start going wrong, Tommy Oliver actually uses his invisibility power to provide assistance.
- Luke, Rani, and Clyde in The Sarah Jane Adventures, although they don't know that it's a date at first. They thought she was hunting aliens.
- White Collar: Peter has to pretend to be a wealthy bachelor as part of a sting to catch Black Widow Selena. When she suggests they go to his place, he panics (since that would probably result in her figuring out that he's married), so he takes her to Neal's apartment instead, calling ahead so he can commandeer Neal's dinner with Sara. Neal and Sara get the call at the last minute and sneak into a side room to spy on Peter and Selena.
- During the big field trip finale movie of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide:
Crony: Would someone just kiss someone already!?
- The Art of Fighting Team ending in The King of Fighters XI. Poor King... it had to happen the first time she wears a pretty dress on screen, doesn't it?
- Inverted in The King of Fighters: KYO. Kyo Kusanagi and Shingo Yabuki spy on what it looks like a date between Goro Daimon and a beautiful Office Lady — but it turns out it was just a work meeting. Then the lady, a Hot Teacher named Jokyojou, tells the rather embarrassed and angry Daimon "Well... who says we can't go out, huh?" So they go into a proper date... and by KOF 2000, they're very Happily Married and already have a kid.
- Not quite a date, but Anastasia and Joachim spy on Yuri and Karin during their blossoming romance in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. Anastasia is rooting on Yuri to kiss her, which he fails to do, and since she turns out to be his time-traveler mother, so much the better.
- The first appearance of the gym leader Misty in Pokémon Gold and Silver has you interrupting her date in Route 25.
- Kyou Fujibayashi has a tendency to do this in CLANNAD. She pretty much orchestrates the entirety of Tomoya's relationship with her sister, either from the shadows or more commonly directly, but she also interferes on Kotomi's route.
- This is the entire premise of Kitty Powers' Matchmaker, where the player watches their clients' blind dates through hidden cameras and offers advice through the client's earpiece.
- In the Homestar Runner cartoon "Date Nite", Homestar and Strong Bad sneak along on Marzipan and the Cheat's date, and try (and fail) several times to sabotage it.
- Done by◊ Alisa in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Fan Web Comic Nanoha R'r when she noticed that Nanoha and Fate were getting a little too close for comfort.
- Early on in Girls with Slingshots.
- We now have an official confirmation of this trope in Misfile.
- This happens in Sakana when Jiro finally gets on a date, and his big brother Taro and his best friend Taisei decide to spy on him because they are afraid he could get hurt in some way due to his shyness and his bad experiences with women. Might be not the best idea that they dragged Yuudai along, though.
- Bad Abbie! No biscuit!
- Practically a tradition (lampshaded here) among the staff of General Protection Fault. Ki spies on two different dates of Nick's (one of which leads directly to their Relationship Upgrade from co-workers to dating), then Nick and Dexter scope out a lunch date of Sharon's.
- In Ménage à 3, after Zii has fixed Gary up with his first-ever date, with Sonya, she naturally wants to see how it goes - and she brings DiDi along. (Their disguises leave something to be desired.) By coincidence, Yuki and Kiley are also in the same restaurant.
- Happened in an episode of Doug where the entire non-adult cast spied on Doug and Patty's first date.
- In The Replacements, Reilly's entire family (including the talking car), spied on her first date, even going so far as to impersonate the wait staff in the restaurant.
- Danny Phantom: Both Danny and Sam spied on each other with their respective date with assumptions that their not-quite-not-yet-significant-other is up to no good. Not in the same episode.
- Hey Arnold!: Helga loved doing this.
- Jenny, Brad, Sheldon and Tucker all spied on Nora Wakeman during her dates in "Mama Drama" on My Life as a Teenage Robot though Nora wasn't really trying to keep her romantic life secret.
- Sheldon also went to great extents with this when Jenny had a date.
- An episode of Family Guy has Peter going into Overprotective Dad mode and infiltrating Meg's date dressed as a stereotypical Chinese man.
Meg: Dad, what are you doing here!?Peter: Pee-tah? Who Pee-tah?Meg: I didn't say "Peter", I said "Dad".Peter: Ooohh.
- Brian and Stewie also intruded at a date between Meg and Mayor West in an attempt to bring him down with a teenage sex scandal.
- The Steven Universe episode "We Need To Talk" had the Gems spy on Greg and Rose while they're trying to fuse. Amethyst doesn't even bother to hide herself and just waves at them when they are spotted.
- In an episode of W.I.T.C.H., Elyon is annoyed and ultimately driven to tears when her friends ruin her date with a new beau by constantly interrupting them because they think he's a monster in disguise. Turns out, he's not. Not that they were particularly subtle about it.