Does This Remind You of Anything?
Capping a pen with one eye closed: harder than it looks?
"Second to get on, first to get off!"
Geoff Ramsey describing falling off a train, Let's Play - GTA V - Train Hopping

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.

Sub Tropes include:

See also Freud Was Right, which posits that characters can apply this to everything thanks to psychological subtext, and Freudian Slip, when the symbolism reveals what the character is really thinking.

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 CollegeHumor, 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.
    • One of the funnier ones involving the Dark Eldar are the ones among the kabals who secretly trade recordings of Wyches in the arena, as certain named ones are far more popular than others. While the Wyches fight purely gladiatorial combat, they must remain graceful and beautiful, and those who watch the recordings get an almost euphoric reaction to them. In other words, they're secretly trading bootleg sex tapes! (And since the gladiatorial fights are usually to the death, bootleg snuff tapes!)
    • A non-sexual example of this trope: The Imperium's citizens are encouraged by the official state religion, the Ministorum, to hate, fear, and persecute psykers, even though the Imperium could not function at all without themnote . We should also mention the entire Imperium, under that same state religion, worships a psyker.
    • Slaanesh, hermaphroditic god(dess) of hedonism, is one giant drug abuse metaphor. Seriously, his/her worshipers give us too many examples to choose from.
  • 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 Finian's 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.
  • The musical Hamilton, which tells the life of the first US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a style infused by hip-hop and R&B songs, came about when writer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda realised that the story of Hamilton's life was in many ways similar to the classic hip-hop Anti-Hero narrative. Both are about a young man from an impoverished and socially unrespectable background clawing himself up from the gutter to a position of power in an atmosphere of revolutionary violence, only to make many enemies along the way which eventually leads to his violent downfall.

    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 Original 
  • A Funny or Die video called "Pantsed" was about a young woman (co-writer June Diane Raphael) who, whenever she began to make out with a partner, would suddenly get pantsed. This is played out as a metaphor for constantly getting into abusive relationships. After her second pantsing in a row, June decides she's finished with men, and we see her in a car with a girl, wearing matching baseball caps and white t-shirts and singing an Ani DiFranco song, whereupon the girl asks her if her jeans are button-fly; told they are, the girl says "Good to know" and June looks worriedly out the window. The metaphor is lampshaded by June's friend:
    Casey: I guess getting pantsed is your destiny.
    June: [staring at herself in the mirror] Yeah, Case, maybe you're right. [montage of June standing with man without her pants on; sitting on floor, pants-less, tearful; stumbling out of hallway with her pants around her ankles] Why am I fighting it? I get pantsed. It's who I am.
    • Eventually, she meets a nice guy who says he wants to take their relationship to the next level, but he's then horrified when she spontaneously pulls down her own pants.
      Man: Fuck's wrong with you? [hastily putting on his shoes] Jesus Christ, June, I liked you.
      June: I thought you would like this.
      Man: Fuckin' skank. [heads for the door]
      June: "Skank", what are you saying? [shuffles after him, her pants around her ankles] What did you mean by "next level"?
      Man: [leaving] Jesus Christ, not this! [slams door]
      June: Stop! I'll pull them back up! I'LL PULL THEM BACK UP!