Does This Remind You of Anything?

Capping a pen with one eye closed: harder than it looks?
Any situation which is made, sometimes for comic effect, sometimes for dramatic effect, to look like another situation — not in the sense that it is mistaken for that other situation by any of the characters, just in the sense that we the audience see the resemblance. The characters do not. Alternatively it can refer to an ersatz of something more familiar that the audience would immediately recognize in subtext, in order to make it look less Anvilicious, but it doesn't always succeed in fulfilling the latter. The situation doesn't always have to mean anything sexual, however it is the most common use of the trope.

This sort of situation can lead to a Mistaken for Index plot if some other character hears it out of context. If unintentionally done, this is Looks Like She Is Enjoying It. If it was done in a work meant for children this is Getting Crap Past the Radar. Similar to Innocent Innuendo/Visual Innuendo in that each of these tropes attempts to draw suggestive ideas from the audience; however Innocent Innuendo/Visual Innuendo attempt to trick the audience into thinking the situation is different from what it really is, whereas this trope is upfront about the situation and merely draws parallels to those suggestive ideas. I Thought It Meant Ironic Echo, which can easily use this trope's title as a Lampshade Hanging.

Subtropes include:

Example subpages

Examples without subpages

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    New Media 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd talking about the front cover of the game adaptation of Die Hard. At first glance the exploding building looks like the World Trade Center towers. Luckily for anyone's sensibilities, the game came out long before 9/11.
  • In Two Best Friends Play, Matt thinks that Disaster: Day of Crisis has 9/11 symbolism thanks to the collapsing buildings. Pat doesn't see it.
  • Episode 11 of Z! True Long Island Story had Zack Ryder catching his dad watching clips of John Morrison while vigorously moving his Shake Weight up and down.
  • A non-comedic and Squicky example occurs in Survival of the Fittest, with Alex White torturing Rosa Fiametta. His sadistic delight at her suffering while making jabs about her sex life, and the emphasis on her struggling and how he repeatedly stabs her, very quickly starts to look like... something else.
  • In the Moulin Rouge! review between Brentalfloss, The Nostalgia Critic and The Nostalgia Chick, Oancitizen interrupts to demand why he wasn't included in the crossover. But from the Nostalgia Duo's squirming, his irritation and Floss's complete confusion, it looks instead like a person catching their partner cheating.
  • In one of Balddumborat's Q&A videos as Derpy Hooves/Ditzy Doo, she is asked whether pegasus ponies wake up with "morning wing" (a reference to the "Wingboner" meme). The response: "Oh, gosh, yeah, we do sometimes. I mean, try sleeping on your back or side with a pair of wings. They really cramp up in the morning and feel horribly stiff. It takes a while to shake them out. But at least we don't have magic messes in the morning like unicorns!"
  • Snake's description on how he wants his weenie roasted in 'The Camping Webisode' of DSBT InsaniT, which is why Martha lets Andy get away with his perverted "Oh my!" without slapping him.
    Snake: Make my weenie warm on the inside, but still cold and slick on the outside. It'll slide down my throat easier that way.
  • Noob :
    • At some point, Gaea, female and very greedy, is alone with an older, male player whose dialogue suggests he's about to ask her for money. Her reaction to this? Looking very worried and blurting out the line "Don't come any closer, especially if you want what I think you want!".
    • A plotline involving a top player who turned up to be getting his avatar illegally enhanced beyond what game mechanics allow. Now, what would be the equivalent of that if the webseries was a sports story rather than about MMORPG players?
  • In Jake And Amir, the two title characters' bizarre friendship is often portrayed as a gay relationship. Amir constantly wants to spend time with Jake, becomes jealous when Jake spends time with other people, and, on one occasion, received a marriage certificate (from a drag queen) stating that the two were officially wed. Jake is more aware of the connotations and tries to avoid them, but a few episodes depict him as equally jealous when Amir has a girlfriend; in another arc, he gets temporarily transferred to California, and meets a sexy coworker, only to drive her off by thinking and talking about Amir nonstop. The whole situation is lampshaded in an episode featuring Pat and Sarah: Sarah points out that, to the casual observer, the two seem to be a married gay couple. Of course, this being College Humor, the episode has Jake and Amir by the elevators, fighting in a way that's deliberately designed to look like gay sex.


  • An extended gag in one of Denis Norden's monologues on My Word involves him finding an ex-girlfriend "walking the streets". Even after it becomes clear he means she's a traffic warden, the metaphor continues.
    "If it wasn't for men like you, there'd be no need for women like me!"

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • George Carlin's 1991 routine "Rockets and Penises in the Persian Gulf" points out all of the phallic and sexual innuendos of the first Gulf War. "Imagine an American President using the sexual slang of a thirteen-year-old to describe his foreign policy."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Descriptions of the biological principles behind Tyranid biomorphs are uncomfortably sexual. Especially the Pyrovore.
    • Absolutely anything to do with the Dark Eldar. Torturing people to death then eating their souls is essentially their version of sex, and it just gets worse from there. "My playthings break so easily." And on a related matter, absolutely anything to do with Slaanesh.
  • In one of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tie-in novels, the signature characters Albrecht and the Margrave each take out their respective ancestral BFS. Albrecht is pleased to note that his is bigger.
  • Paranoia is loaded with political and social commentary, but while sticking to themes on the Red Scare does a variation with mutants. All of them are executed upon discovery except for a small few who are forced to wear yellow armbands at all times (black if their uniform is yellow) and not allowed the same privileges or freedoms as the rest of Alpha Complex, which already doesn't have much. Player opinion is out on whether or not this is meant to represent Jewish people or oppressed minorities in general.

  • There are parallels drawn in Angels In America between God's abandonment of Heaven and Louis' abandonment of Prior.
    Belize: Abandoned.
    Prior: Yes.
    Belize: I smell a motif. The man that got away.
    Prior: Well it occurred to me.
  • In Finians Rainbow, when Finian learns Og the leprechaun came to America without a passport, he threatens to have him deported. As Og starts to flee, Finian accuses him: "You're a member of a subversive underground group takin' its orders from Dublin!"
  • Wicked: "What Is This Feeling?" begins with this lyric: "What is this feeling so sudden and new? I felt the moment I laid eyes on you. My pulse is rushing. My head is reeling. My face is flushing. What is this feeling fervid as a flame? Does it have a name? Yes. Loathing. Unadulterated loathing". Sorry darlings, but that isn't loathing; it's lust. Then again, they have been confirmed to have romantic interest in each other, and Stephen Schwartz (composer) did this intentionally to highlight the irony of using common phrases from love songs in a song about hate instead.
  • In the Shrek musical adaptation, Pinocchio shouts "I'm good, I'm wood, get used to it!" during a song titled "Freak Flag" which rallies the Fairy Tales creatures against Farquaad. Already sounding more like a song for a gay pride parade than a theme for any Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
  • In The Pajama Game, when Sid is trying to con Gladys out of the key to the account books (which is dangling around her neck), the dialogue makes it sound as if he's asking for the key to her chastity belt ("I'm a desperate man, and I hate to ask a cute kid like you to do me a favor, but...").
  • In Aida, the imprisoned Aida is alone with her captor Radames. He takes off his shirt, saying, "Do you know what's going to happen now?" Several actresses in the role play Aida as being VERY fearful that he's about to force himself on her. He instead orders her to wash his back, something that at the very least is meant to similarly degrade her, at worst, meant to symbolize a rape.
  • In the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera (and The Movie made from it), the song The Music of the Night could be seen as an attempted seduction. The lyrics are highly-suggestive euphemisms (The Phantom is singing about his Music and the Dark/Night, but could just as easily be substituted for sex). Christine faints towards the end of the song, so ultimately nothing happens.
  • Brand by Henrik Ibsen has a jarring Christmas scene involving a homeless mother and her child knocking at Brand's door, begging for clothes for her frozen child. The scene plays heavily into the legends of St. Martin and other saints, sharing their clothes with a beggar in the snow, who turns out to be Christ. It also plays in on the Christmas gospel, with the mother Mary seeking shelter and giving birth (at Christmas, of course) to Jesus himself. To drive the point home, Brand`s own son is dead, and his wife grieves over her dead son. But given the Christmas references, it is impossible not to share with the paupers. The scene makes an anvilicious Tear Jerker, because we know this is breaking Agnes completely.
  • In Thrill Me, "Roadster" is honestly about child murder, and not anything sexual. And if you can find a show that can say, "Feel the power of my engine," without making it about sex, you have an incredibly skilled performer.
  • In Into the Woods, there is a clear parallel between the Big Bad Wolf and Prince Charming; they are played by the same actor. Reminds me of the warnings that all males can be predators.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Grisaia No Rakuen, having stayed away all night without eating anything, Makina and Michiru instantly fall upon a container of jam and messily devouring it. A similarly hungry and sleep deprived Sachi follows in moments later, asking Amane whether she thinks it sounds like two girls competing to get something a bit more risque in their mouths before continue to try making triple blowjob sound effects.

    Web Video 
  • The Minute Physics video The Hairy Ball Theorem, which is about the topological theorem of that name which states that you can't comb a ball totally flat if it's covered entirely with hair. The narrator then goes on to say things like "don't go wasting your time playing around with a hairy ball to try to prove this wrong". At the end, the narrator says that, since the theorem applies not only to balls but any 3-dimensional objects without any holes, the next time a mathematician gives you trouble, you should ask them if they can comb a hairy banana.
  • In RWBY, Pyrrha unlocks Jaune's Aura so he can use magic like the other students. The ritual involves a lot of touching and a vow of protection that sounds romantic if taken out of context. And Pyrrha feels exhausted afterwards. And she is canonically attracted to Jaune. Do you see where we're going here?
    Blogger:...and I just noticed that Pyrrha actually strokes his chest. (...) Just real casually drags her hand down his torso while she’s meshing souls with a boy she met a couple hours ago.