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Glasses Pull
This event calls for a... DRAMATIC REMOVAL OF MY SPECTACLES.

The only advantage to wearing glasses is being able to do that dramatic removal. [removes glasses] My God! Holy mother of God.... I can't see a thing. Guess that's why I wear 'em.

A trope used extensively in B movies from the 50's and 60's. The capital-h Hero or scientist, to emphasize a point he's trying to make, takes his glasses off or puts them on before delivering a melodramatic line.

General Ripper: We must stop this creature before it destroys Topeka Google, Kansas!
Hollywood Nerd: But you can't use a nuclear missile, General! (whips off his glasses) It's immoral!

This is parodied in modern productions such that the scientist will put his glasses back on and whip them off again with nearly every line. Also used to parody Soap Opera doctors, whose glasses always come off when delivering bad news to the patient.

Authority figures like a Badass Grandpa or a Scary Librarian might look over the tops of their reading glasses, or carefully take them off, in order to give that person a more effective steely glare.

In Real Life, not many people with glasses whip them off after delivering a dramatic line, unless they're doing it on purpose.

A subtrope of Character Tics. See also The Glasses Come Off.

A Glass Pull should not be confused with an Ass Pull.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Parodied when Jack In the Box introduced their bacon and cheddar potato wedges and jalapeno poppers, running a television ad featuring a "doctor" extolling the wonderful health benefits of these new appetizers. He enters every single shot with his glasses on, then dramatically whips them off as he delivers his conclusions, at least five or six times total. And is never actually seen putting them back on during the course of said commercial.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Mousse of Ranma ½ likes to do this a lot, though part of the reason might be due to vanity and the fact he's pretty good looking when he's not sporting a massive pair of Opaque Nerd Glasses. Of course, because he's Blind Without 'Em, he invariably ends up making himself look stupid by, say, addressing the wrong person, or walking into something. Of course, he's not much better off with them on...
  • Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi... sort of. He wears a mask.
    • A smiley face mask. Made to look like his face. Before it was heavily scarred.
  • Vash of Trigun does this now and then. When those Scary Shiny Glasses are put on, you know things are switching from humor to drama. Notable examples include his fight with the Nebraska Family after they almost kill innocent people, and his first run-in with Legato.
  • Kamina pre-time-skip, and Simon many, many other times (both before and after the skip). Basically, if someone puts on glasses, something EPIC will be going down.
    • And not just putting them on - Yoko pulls off her "teacher" glasses (with an audible "schwing" sound) just before going to town on two Ganmen post-Time Skip.
  • In an unusual variation, you know shit's going down when Stiyl removes his cigarette in A Certain Magical Index.

    Comic Books 
  • Just hope Cyclops doesn't do this to you.

    Film - Animated 
  • General Rogard does it when Kent suggests using a nuclear strike on The Iron Giant.
  • Cobra Bubbles on Lilo & Stitch first takes off his shades when he tells Nani that he's "the one they call when things go wrong".
  • Played with in Horton Hears a Who!. While answering the mayor's "hypothetical" question, Dr. LaRue whips off her safety glasses on the obvious dramatic line. In a later scene, she whips them off on an innocuous word so she can put them back on for the most dramatic line.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Spoofed (like almost every other trope) in Airplane!, when Captain Rex Kramer whips off his sunglasses to make a dramatic point, only to reveal another pair of sunglasses underneath, which are themselves whipped off to emphasize another dramatic line.
  • Brad whips off his glasses when Janet says his complaints to Frank N. Furter are "ungrateful" in The Rocky Horror Picture Show One common jeer at this is "Dun-da-da-DAH! Super Asshole!"
  • Daredevil took his sunglasses off to let the rain touch his eyes. When it rained on his girlfriend, his hearing allows him to "see" when water sprays on them so the eye-wear-removal makes A! Dramatic! Statement! The removal of the glasses was kind of a callback to earlier when she asked if she could remove his glasses. He was hesitant, as the blind gaze tends to bother people.
  • Hot Fuzz parodies the hell out of this in one scene where some form of eyewear is removed for basically every line. That one scene is the peak of it, but most of the times the detectives speak they remove some eyewear. However, for that scene, the detectives had multiple lines- so they were wearing riot helmets as well as their sunglasses, just for the sake of this trope.
  • Parodied in Batman Forever: Bruce Wayne and Edward Nigma meet at a gala event; Nigma has a sick admiration for Wayne, and has been trying to emulate/show him up. As they converse, Wayne casually removes his glasses, then puts them back on, etc. Whatever he does with them, Nigma immediately apes with his own pair, in a more dramatic fashion.
  • Played for laughs in Jurassic Park. Doctor Malcolm approaches triceratops feces, pulls his glasses and says, "That is one big pile of shit."
  • In Demon Hunters there is the part where Silent Jim whips off his sunglasses only to have another pair underneath.
  • This trope is parodied in 2012. The preteen son of the hero is wearing a pair of sun glasses with the tag still on, whilst in a Yellowstone gift shop. After he gets a call from mom, he takes off said glasses (cue dramatic zoom in of his face) and says, "mom wants us home".
  • Men In Black has one, courtesy of Will Smith:
    J: You know the difference between you and me? (dons shades) I make this look good!
    • The series as a whole would be exaggerating this trope to the point of satire if not for one major justification: The cool sunglasses are used to block the effects of the Neuraliser.
  • Back to the Future: Roads? "Where we're going we don't need (glasses flip) roads!" Played with, in that they're his rearview display, predating actual back-up cameras by 15-20 years.
  • Played achingly straight in The Chronicles of Riddick. Granted, with Riddick's sensitive eyes he has to put his goggles on when it gets too bright, but the amount of dramatic taking off of said goggles is excessive to the point of unintentional Running Gag. Seriously. Watch the movie and count how many times he takes them off or puts them on.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the Vegan Police repeatedly remove and replace their sunglasses whenever they say something dramatic. Which is frequently.
  • Sucker Punch: When either Blue or Doctor Gorski don their reading glasses to take a closer look at something, you know they are about to make an important discovery.
  • Done almost straight in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! when the scientist is examining a killer tomato the size of a beach ball.
    "Gentlemen, it's worse than we thought. This, God help us, is a cherry tomato!
  • Batman Begins
    • Jonathan Crane takes off his glasses quite frequently. Word of God says this was done intentionally to bring emphasis to Cillian Murphy's Creepy Blue Eyes.
    • Lucius Fox pulls his glasses to emphasize his Ironic Echo when it's revealed that Fox and Bruce swiped Wayne Enterprises out from under Earle.
      Fox: Didn't you get the memo?
  • Happens twice in Journey 2 The Mysterious Island. The first time is when Sean sees Kailani for the first time and removes his sunglasses, stunned by her beauty. The second is during the helicopter ride, when the helicopter runs into the storm and Hank and Gabato remove their sunglasses in shock.
  • In the famous and oft-parodied scene in Downfall (Der Untergang), Adolf Hitler slowly and deliberately removes his glasses after he is given the bad news that the enemy is advancing and that Steiner could not mobilize enough men to carry out the assault. He then explodes into a rage.
    • The scene is parodied frame-for-frame in the satirical sci-fi comedy Iron Sky, but with Presidential campaign manager Vivian Wagner doing the glasses pull and the outburst instead of Hitler.
  • In the biopic The Lady, Michael's Doctor removes his glasses before telling him he doesn't have very long to live, and that even he doesn't know exactly how long he has left.
  • The Avengers: Agent Coulson does this in the first scene of the film. Especially notable because those were sunglasses and the scene is set during the night.
  • In Always, Al pulls off his glasses after he sees Pete's plane blow up.
  • Agent Smith in The Matrix removes glasses to get "personal", when he's interrogating people.
  • In the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mikael Blomkvist is reviewing pictures from a parade that a presumed dead young girl attended the day she vanished. He slowly removes the glasses as upon viewing the pictures in rapid order, he watches the girl's expression change from happy to terrified and realizes that she may very well have been looking at her killer.
  • Glasses represent Kirk's age in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — He reluctantly puts them on to see the control panel, then quickly takes them off when he turns around to respond to Khan on the viewscreen.

    Literature 
  • In a rare literary example, happens in H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Curse of Yig."
    • "Dr. McNeill paused here and removed his glasses, as if a blurring of the objective world might make the reminiscent vision clearer."

    Live Action TV 
  • The L.A. Policeman Johnny investigating Kramer in the two part Seinfeld episode The Trip.
  • Alternately played straight and inverted by CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine, who punctuates every dramatic pronouncement by either removing his Cool Shades before he speaks or putting them on afterwards — most famously, his horrendously (and hilariously) over-the-top Quip to Black at the end of any given Cold Open (cue The Who's YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!). Special mention goes to this scene, which features Horatio taking off his glasses as he's coming out of a car...for the sole purpose of pulling this mere seconds later as the car explodes behind him. Caine's version of this trope probably deserves its own page by now — there are references to/jokes about it everywhere. The glasses "pull" has become such a signature for the character that when A&E began running reruns of the series, their promos had the announcer giving the name of the series and announcing its times...while all they showed on screen was the sunglasses sitting on a table.
    • Here is a You Tube clip that collects several dozen examples.
    • Parodied in this Weebl & Bob episode.
    • Also parodied by Jim Carrey.
    • And xkcd, here and here.
    • Also by Clay Yount (of Rob and Elliot), with a bonus reaction from an Incredibly Lame Pun.
    • And Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. "Looks like the rules... just got screwed."
    • And in this image on deviantART, but transferred to X-Men: First Class.
    • Parodied on an episode of Burn Notice by Sam Axe posing as a crime scene investigator, complete with horrendous Quip to Black. Made funnier because the show is set in Miami.
    • Also parodied in Sea World California's sea lion show: "Sea Lions Live", which is a rather amusing parody of popular TV shows of past and present played by the trainers and Seymour and Clyde, the staring sea lions. In one particular segment, they manage to parody CSI, CSI: Miami AND CSI: NY in rapid succession as the trainer wears the vest emblazoned with SLSI (Sea Lion Scene Investigation). On part stands out as one of the best parts of the show as they try to solve the murder and kidnap of a fish:
      Female Trainer dressed like Catherine: Smells like something here... is fishy...
      YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! cue imagination montage as trainer and sea lion shuffle across the stage, striking poses as the sea lion grins and winks at the audience.
    • Also done here by Phineas and Ferb.
    • Now House is in on it, too, making a dark joke about it when Kutner kills himself, and goofing around with it in the season bloopers.
    • Supernatural. In "Changing Channels" the Winchester brothers are stuck in what appears to be different TV shows, and upon entering a CSI-esque setting they begin to imitate Horatio Cane, with Glasses Pull and Dramatic Pause. It is hilarious...
    Dean: Calm down?! I am wearing sunglasses at night! Know who does that? No-talent douchebags!
    • NTSF:SD:SUV:: is basically a parody of all tech-driven cop shows ever, but has a special place in its heart for CSI: Miami. Is it any surprise the intro features lead character and Horatio Caine expy Trent Hauser doing standard and Caine pulls in the space of a split second?
    • Using these clips was a recurring bit on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, on par with the Walker, Texas Ranger lever for a time.
    • Replaying :the game: parodies this at the end of Hamlet :the game: with Horatio putting on new glasses over the previous ones.
    Horatio: Well... good night... (puts on glasses) sweet prince.
    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
    NOW LET'S JUST KILL THE HORATIO CAINE JOKE
    Horatio: King Hamlet... talk about... (puts on glasses) sibling rivalry.
    YEEEAAHHH
    Looks like it's curtains... (puts on glasses) for Polonius.
    YEEEAAHHH
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern... the check's... (puts on glasses) in the mail.
    YEEEAAHHH
    Looks like Ophelia... (puts on glasses) was drowning her sorrows.
    YEEEAAHHH
    Laertes... (puts on glasses) got the point.
    YEEEAAHHH
    Queen Gertrude... wine... (puts on giant glasses on top of all the other stacked-up pairs) and dyin'.
    YEEEAAHHH
    King Claudius... double... (presses button, millions of glasses fall from ceiling) the trouble.
    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
    HORATIO THEN BECAME FORTINBRAS'S ADVISOR OF COOL
    • The Daily Show used this too in a segment about Pope Benedict forgiving the Jews for killing Christ
    Y'know, if the Jews didn't kill Christ... You know what this means? The real killers are still out there. Time for CSI: Nazareth. Looks like the Son of God... got double-crossed.
    YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!
  • On Neds Declassified School Survival Guide, the vice principal always wears the same white suit and sunglasses (he's a parody of Crockett and Tubbs on Miami Vice). If he shows up in an episode, you can guarantee he will whip them off before the end of his dialogue, then replace them and walk away as he finishes speaking. Truly hilarious when he has many scenes in a single episode. Will also use them to glare dramatically after, yes, whipping them off.
    • At one point, he took off a pair of glasses to reveal another pair of glasses underneath them.
  • When attempting to seem sophisticated in order to impress Becky, Jesse practices this on Full House.
    Joey: Well, if anything else comes up, just take your glasses and say, "Interesting but terribly overrated."
    Jesse: Thanks. I'll try that. Okay. "Interesting, but terribly overrated."
    Joey: Congratulations, Jess. You are now a sophisticated intellectual.
  • On The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, people do this all the time, sometimes putting on glasses beforehand in order to whip them off. At one point, Stephen Colbert actually put on a pair of glasses over the one he was already wearing, citing the theory that, if taking off glasses automatically makes things serious, putting on another pair should lighten the mood.
    • During a rant on the January 21, 2010, episode of The Daily Show, Jon puts on and removes six different pairs of glasses, mostly one at a time, as he turns from camera to camera emphasizing almost every sentence, culminating in a pair of reading glasses worn over some novelty 2010 New Year's glasses, removed one after the other to emphasize two consecutive statements. He was making fun of Keith Olbermann, who made a point of doing this when responding to the rant the next day.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, "City Limits", Tom Servo notes that Kim Catrall's character in the movie is only wearing glasses so she can pull them off dramatically.
  • Giles does this frequently in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He even lampshades it in a tie-in comic when he has his arm in a sling and is unable to remove them.
    • Also lampshaded in "All the Way" when Xander/Anya start snogging passionately to celebrate their engagement.
    Buffy: Is that why you're always cleaning your glasses? So you don't have to see what we're doing?
    Giles: Tell no one.
    • It all becomes too much for Buffy when she's caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop — she snatches them from Giles' hand and crushes them underfoot.
    • In the season 2 finale, a smirking Angelus cleans Giles glasses for him while he's tied to a chair and tortured by having his fingers broken.
    • Noticably averted in the finale of Season 5. When Giles murders Ben he makes a point of putting his glasses on, as if refusing to spare himself the horror of what he's about to do.
  • On The West Wing, Josh Lyman threatens a Congressman over a vote.
    Josh: President Bartlet is a good man. He has a good heart. He doesn't hold grudges. (whips out sunglasses, puts them on, walks off, then turns back) That's what he pays me for.
    • President Bartlet also has a tendency to whip off his glasses whenever Leo tells him anything dramatic. (Or when Charlie informs him that the Butterball has a hotline.) Of course, he wears reading glasses, so he's usually looking up from whatever dramatic memo Leo put in his hands.
  • Parodied in M*A*S*H by the ridiculous Colonel Flagg, who whips off his sunglasses only to reveal a second pair of sunglasses.
  • Oh, so often on Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined). Roslin and Adama are particularly fond of the trope with their spectacles, and lawyer Romo Lampkin does much the same with his usual sunglasses.
    • Seeing as Romo has rather piercing eyes, it's clear he does this for effect (along with everything else he does).
  • Cowley from The Professionals does this with his specs.
  • Richard Hammond of Top Gear does this during the American Road Trip special, upon seeing New Orleans one year after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Scrubs: Played with when the brain trust decides to make sure Keith is a suitable husband for Elliot.
    Ted: We can't control what kind of husband he'll be...
    Janitor: (pauses) Lloyd, give me those glasses. Say that again in exactly the same way. (puts on glasses)
    Ted: We can't... CONTROL what kind of husband he'll be...
    Janitor: (removes glasses) Or can we?
  • The IT Crowd: "Hang on, let me put on some slightly larger glasses..."
  • Saturday Night Live: guest Alec Baldwin, on Mike Myers' "How to Be a Handsome Actor" instructional, demonstrates the fine points of spinning in an office chair to face the camera, whipping off one's glasses, signing a paper without looking at it, and picking up a ringing phone and immediately talking into it.
  • From How I Met Your Mother we have Barney's video resume. Between questions from the interviewer (Barney with an accent), Barney puts on his glasses just so he can take them off when he's answering the next question.
  • Ashes to Ashes DCI Keats loves doing this with his glasses - mainly to look cool, but also to underscore how much more human he appears without the glasses.
  • A variant was used on Airwolf, where Stringfellow Hawke would pull off his glasses and not say a thing.
  • In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor does this on occasion.
  • In a Mr. Show sketch, a documentary show host takes his glasses off whenever he makes a statement. When the camera cuts back to him, they're back on again.
  • One episode of Reno 911! had Dangle taking a dramatic pause then lampshading it. Everybody else hams it up for the rest of the scene, with Jones doing this apropos of nothing.
  • In one episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, Oscar Goldman is introduced to a girl who claims to be able to read minds. She demonstrates her power by telling Oscar exactly what he's thinking, and the surprised Oscar, to show just how surprised he is, whips off his glasses.
  • In 'The Sky Lift' episode (season 5) of Curb Your Enthusiasm, protagonist Larry does this when accusing Richard Lewis' nurse of hiding Mickey Mantle's 500 homerun ball inside her ample vagina.
  • The "Sally Jensen, Kid Lawyer" sketch of Sonny With A Chance/So Random! features Sally constantly removing and replacing her glasses in a dramatic fashion.
  • An episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had Jimmy and guest Jeff Daniels play a Mad Libs-like game called "Dramatic Turns" where they would take turns saying "That may be, but…", pulling off their own glasses, and dramatically reading an audience-written cue card.
  • On Murder, She Wrote if Jessica is wearing her reading glasses at the end of an act she will usually take them off to express shock.

    Music Videos 
  • Winning, during the call and response Schmoyoho removes his shades to reveal a second pair.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Peanuts uses a nonverbal variation: a number of Peppermint Patty strips have the last panel with Marcie moving her glasses to the top of her head and as she rolls her eyes at Patty's antics - probably because the Opaque Nerd Glasses mean we wouldn't see the eye roll otherwise.

    Other 
  • The "Mother of God" meme is an image of a shocked man removing his sunglasses. Examples here (some may be NSFW).

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • Jim Gaffigan's bit about this trope provides the page quote.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Cartman of South Park donned a pair of glasses just to whip them off one line later when he was presenting the "shocking" facts about the 9/11 conspiracy in "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce."
  • An episode of Galaxy High used the same identical-glasses-underneath gag as Airplane!.
  • Parodied on The Fairly OddParents, with "Doctor Rip Studwell", patterned after Soap Opera docs. He took his glasses off for bad news, put them on for good news.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "Aren't you a little young to know about all these old detective shows?" "Yes. Yes we... are." (YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!)
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Jimmy constantly putting on sunglasses just to invoke this trope.
  • Rainbow Dash does this with a pair of goggles in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Swarm of the Century."
    "Time to take out the adorable trash."
    • Inverted in "Wonderbolt Academy", when Spitfire takes off and folds her sunglasses to glare at Rainbow when she smells dissent.
  • On The Simpsons Homer does this from time to time when shown wearing his reading glasses.

    Real Life 
  • Towards the end of The American Revolution, it was beginning to look like the makeshift government wasn't going to be able to pay the army for its service. George Washington's officers called a meeting to discuss possible retaliations, which included pulling out into the backwoods and letting Congress defend itself, or even turning against it outright. Washington made a speech to them about how this would totally suck and they shouldn't do it, which they were not in the mood to hear. Then at the end he pulled out a letter from Congress explaining the government's financial problems, along with his reading glasses, and reportedly said something like, "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray but half-blind in the service of my country." This served as a massive guilt trip, and after he'd read the letter and left, the officers unanimously voted to accept Congress's leadership and forget the idea of rebellion. A rare instance of this trope working because it makes the invoker look weaker, but that just goes to show the accuracy of the man's Genre Savviness.
  • In terms of body language, someone pulling off their glasses generally means that they're either trying to artificially make you more receptive to them by removing a barrier, or they're about to lie to you, removing their glasses so that they won't be looking you (clearly) in the eye.
    • To be fair, it is generally very rude to speak to someone while wearing sunglasses, especially upon first meeting them. Eye contact is important in most cultures, as it can be a judge of honesty, intent, and attention.
  • In terms of public speaking, the glasses removal trick can actually work fairly well, if done carefully. For example, some people first learning how to handle witnesses in court, or doing opening or closing arguments, will start fidgeting with their clothes or their glasses. One way to take the latter and make it work is to channel it; when you get to a question or line in your argument where you're really trying to make a point, draw attention to it by taking off your glasses and using them as a "prop" if you will by gesturing with the hand you have them in. (Granted, over doing it will make you look hammier than Horatio Caine, but careful application is very effective!) Law school witness examination classes actually occasionally bring this up as a useful trick to have in your arsenal.
  • Go watch the clips of Walter Cronkite reporting on the Kennedy assassination. He invokes this trope repeatedly, most famously in his "From Dallas, Texas..." announcement of the President's death. It appears that Cronkite keeps putting on his reading glasses to scan bulletins as they are handed to him, then takes them off as he faces the camera to avoid reflecting glare from the lights.
    • Cronkite was also genuinely affected by the events that he was covering—events that he was learning of at the same time he was reporting them. He wasn't intentionally invoking this trope, but it nevertheless helped to highlight the seriousness of each development.
  • One of these two "Lakers Bros"


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