Look Behind You

aka: Look A Distraction

Look, it's the Goodyear Blimp!

Alice is in a tight situation involving Bob. Maybe Bob wants money from her, or has a gun pointed at her head, or is just plain annoying.

Alice points past Bob's shoulder and yells, "Hey, what's that over there?!?", or "Look! A [insert improbable thing here]!" Bob looks. Alice legs it.

In the subversion, Bob doesn't look, but instead mocks Alice: "You'll think I'll fall for that?" or "That's the oldest trick in the book!" Unfortunately for Bob, deciding not to look drastically ramps up the probability that the thing Alice described is there, and it'll be something he's not going to like.

A variant is for Alice to just look past Bob with a quizzical expression, or to duck herself—this latter being an almost certain guarantee of Bob mocking Alice and then getting brained by the oncoming low bridge.

One of The Oldest Tricks In The Book; quite possibly the oldest. Telling the target his shoelace is untied or his fly is down are similar tricks, and are usually grouped with this one.

Related to We Need a Distraction. Also in the process of becoming a Discredited Trope (if not an outright Dead Horse Trope). Note, however, that just the two last words (BEHIND YOU) are pure Paranoia Fuel on their own. Compare Snap to the Side. If the method involved deliberately having them look somewhere just in time to be killed/heavily injured by something, see Death by Looking Up.

Not to be confused with Look Around You, Right Behind Me, or the Viewer Stock Phrase yelled at blinkered horror movie victims. Compare and contrast with Scared of What's Behind You.

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  • Eddie Izzard's monologue on beekeeping depicts the process of honey-harvesting as walking into a hive and then saying "Look, there's a Ferrari over there!" so you can steal all the honey.
    • Also part of his Supermarket routine.
      Oh, look over there, there's a badger with a gun- NEW QUEUE!!

  • In Harry Potter fanfic A Black Comedy:
    Sirius: Wait.
    Remus: What?
    Sirius: Don't interrupt them.
    Remus: Why not?
    Sirius: Because I'm supposed to stall you.
    • And then, later: "You know telling someone you're stalling them," Harry criticized, "is poor stalling technique."
  • The Immortal Game: At one point, Sir Unimpressive pulls this off on some Puppets. Since the Puppets are mindless, it works.
  • In Triwizard Tales Harry points behind Voldemort with a look of terror and yells "What the hell is that?" then takes off when everyone in the graveyard turns to look. When Fudge and the other Tournament officials refuse to believe Harry's (edited) account of having "distracted" Voldemort he uses the same technique on them.
  • In Make a Wish Harry and Ron are dueling each other in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
    "Hey look," Harry said pointing over Ron's shoulder. "Parkinson's in the nip."
    "What?" Ron asked as he turned to look.
    Needless to say, Harry's first and last spell ended the match.

  • In the song "I Ran Away" by The Arrogant Worms, the Dirty Coward narrator escapes Satan with this trick.
    I'm hopin' that the devil smokes two packs a day, 'cause my day of reckoning is here and I ran away!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • FoxTrot had Paige invoking this trope on an ice cream vendor at the zoo, claiming that there is an escaped lion, tiger, and bull elephant in that order. By the time he even turns around, he notices that the ice cream cone he prepared for Paige had far too many swirls (about 16, with some drooping over the cone). He also mentioned that she did something similar the previous summer.
  • In the Pooch Cafe comic for March 9, 2011, Chazz uses "Look! Halley's Comet!"
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin once pulled this at dinner. His parents turned to look while Calvin quickly pushed his own dinner off his plate and onto theirs.
  • The very first time Garfield stole Jon's dinner, he used this trick. (And it wouldn't be the first time Jon would fall for it.)


  • Bleak Expectations: In the series 1 finale, as Pip Bin and Big Bad Mr. Benevolent are fighting in a church, Pip does this. Only he claims there's a penguin flying behind the altar. In Victorian London. Mr. Benevolent falls for it anyway, with a massive dose of Lampshade Hanging.
    Mr. Benevolent: What? A penguin, flying? But they're supposed to be flightless! Such an ornithological curiosity I have to see, even if it leaves me perilously off-guard for even a second!

    Tabletop Games 
  • In 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, the bard power "Timely Distraction" is made of this trope. It's even lampshaded in the flavor text:
    "Look! An owlbear!"


  • Played around with in BIONICLE: Krika tells Tahu, who has him cornered, to look behind him. Tahu asks Krika if he really thinks that Tahu is stupid enough to fall for that. Krika tells Tahu that he's counting on that, since there actually is something behind him. Tahu chances the look, and sure enough, four of Krika's allies are charging straight into the battle.

Alternative Title(s):

Look Over There, Look A Distraction