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Naughty Birdwatching
Mannion: She's sure taking a long time in that shower!
Wiley: Yeah, honey, come on over here by the window!
Insignia: Don't you do it, honey! You take your own sweet time!
Stefanowski: There's another one over by the washbasin—taking a shampoo.
Insignia: Yeah. But why the hell don't she take her bathrobe off! That's a stupid damn way to take a shampoo!

The use of binoculars or telescopes for prurient, non-ornithological purposes. Typically consists of men ogling women who are busy getting undressed, taking a shower or having sex.

A favorite activity of The Peeping Tom. See also Binocular Shot.


Examples:

Film
  • Body Double. A man uses a telescope to watch a beautiful woman in another building who likes to do an erotic dance while scantily clad.
  • Stripes. A U.S. Army officer uses a telescope to watch female troops in a shower.
  • Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941 version) uses a high-powered astronomical telescope to ogle Gwen Conliffe.
  • Rush Hour 2, the hotel scene in Los Angeles.
  • In the film Almost Heroes, there is a scene where Leslie is admiring a woman bathing in a pond through his telescope. When Bartholomew asks him what he is looking at, Leslie lets him look, but the woman had moved and a man had taken her place. Hilarious misunderstanding ensues... but is quickly cut short when Leslie looks through again in response to Bartholomew's shock and moves the telescope to aim in the direction of the woman while chiding the man for taking her place.
  • Jeff in Rear Window spies on his neighbors out of boredom while he's laid up, including a shapely dancer he calls "Miss Torso". Then things get serious when he suspects one of them has murdered his wife.
  • Marty's father in Back to the Future.
    Marty: (disgusted) He's a Peeping Tom!
  • Jon Lovitz's character in the opening of Little Nicky, who is spying on a woman from a window. He falls out of the tree to his death and winds up in Hell.
  • In Radio Days, Joe and his friends start out searching for fighter planes with a pair of binoculars but end up far more entertained by a woman dancing naked in front of her window.
  • In My Bodyguard, Clifford and his father use a telescope to spy on people in other buildings from the balcony of their hotel suite.
  • Young Pink gets caught using binoculars to watch a woman undress while smoking in his room by his mother in The Wall. He was about 10 at the time.
  • Disney's Midnight Madness: when the Yellow Team arrives at the telescope for the next clue, the telescope is currently being used by a little boy viewing "Venus", a woman undressing.
  • Derek claims to be bird watching (at night) when teenage Jane catches him spying on her with binoculars in Tarzan (2013).

Literature
  • In Then Again, Maybe I Won't, a 1971 young adult novel written by Judy Blume, a boy discovers the girl next door likes to undress in front of the window. So he asks for some binoculars for Christmas for "bird watching" from his parents.
  • Subverted in Alas, Babylon. Mrs. Henry assumes her neighbor Randall is ogling her through his binoculars, but it turns out he's really watching her pet lovebirds, which he thinks are Carolina Parakeets, which went extinct some 40 years before the events of the story.
  • In "The Sandman" by E. T. A. Hoffmann, excessively romantic student Nathanael purchased a telescope specifically to watch an enigmatic girl in the neighbour's window and quickly fell for her head over heels. To buy it from the creepy merchant whom he suspected in being the evil alchemist who killed his father perhaps wasn't a good idea, though.
  • Robert Westall's Futuretrack Five has the Ests who spy on the Fens population via listening devices and binoculars whilst pretending to be birdwatchers.

Live-Action TV
  • Frasier and Niles use a telescope to spy into other apartments in Seattle. Their father despairs:
    Frasier: Oh my God... breathtaking.
    Niles: (impatient) Well, don't be greedy! Your turn was over forty seconds ago!
    Frasier: All right, all right, Niles, all right. [steps away] It's the penthouse unit, fourth from the left.
    Niles: (swooning) Oh, mama!
    Martin: You two know that what you're doing isn't right, don't you?
    Frasier: We're simply admiring a very rare Brancusi armchair, not a naked woman.
    Martin: (sighing) That's what I'm talking about.
  • George Jackson in the Inspector Morse episode "The Dead of Jericho".
  • A series of sketches on Alas Smith and Jones.
  • Odd variation on Last of the Summer Wine, where an adulterer uses birdwatching as an excuse to meet up with his lover in the privacy of a hut, but is so determined to ensure his knowledge of ornithology is good enough to withstand inspection that he spends half the time actually birdwatching, much to her disgust.
  • Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1 is ribbed about having a telescope on his roof to spy on his neighbors, a fact he doesn't exactly deny.
    Sam Carter: But, during the totality phase of the eclipse, you should be able to see matter spiraling towards it [the black hole].
    Jack O'Neill: "Actually, it's called the Accretion Disk."
    Daniel Jackson: "Well, I guess it's easy to understand why the local population would be afraid of something like that... [beat] what did you just say?"
    Jack O'Neill: "It's just an astronomical term."
    Sam Carter: "You didn't think the Colonel had a telescope on his roof just to look at the neighbors, did you?"
    Jack O'Neill: "Not initially."
  • In early seasons of Smallville Clark uses a telescope in his "fortress of solitude" (aka the loft in the barn) to admire his love interest/neighbor Lana Lang from afar.
  • In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, the Krelboyne are over at Malcolm's house and one asks if Malcolm plans to watch a meteor shower. Another suggests that after watching the meteor shower, they can watch Mrs. Feldman shower.
  • The Professionals. At the end of "Killer With A Long Arm" Cowley catches Bodie and Doyle sniggering over a long range sniper rifle they've captured. He takes a peek through the telescopic sight and sure enough finds it pointed at a scantily-dressed girl in an apartment a couple of miles away. Cowley chews out the shamefaced pair...then corrects their estimation of the girl's dimensions.
  • The Whitest Kids U Know did this once. 6 people died.
  • The Pilot Episode of Family Matters showed Eddie doing this before Carl came up to the attic for a father-son chat. Carl took the binoculars before leaving.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in an episode of NCIS, when a pair of Marines discover a murder while using a spy satellite to check out a female officer sunbathing nude on a naval base.
  • Subverted on The Big Bang Theory, where Raj is watching The Good Wife through a telescope while the guys are doing a moon experiment.
  • How to Be Indie: In "How to Get on Carlos Martinelli's Capital 'L' List, and Live", Indie thinks AJ is doing this when she walks in on him using his telescope, but he is actually just trying to observe an eclipse of the moon. However, when his friend Chuck learns that AJ has a view of their Hot Teacher's house (and that AJ has seen her in a towel), Chuck plays it staright (and gets busted by the teacher).

Music

Newspaper Comics
  • An old The Wizard of Id cartoon had an astronomer using his telescope for closer examination of a "heavenly body".
  • Oliver has fun with his telescope in Bloom County:
    Oliver: August 10th. 2:35 a.m.. Temp. 72 degrees. With Jupiter in its final phase, Pluto's moon is visible and startlingly radiant. As is Mary Lou Farnheimer's. No no - scratch that.

Radio
  • A Dead Ringers sketch (later redone for the TV version) has Patrick Moore claiming that he actually has no interest in astronomy, but was caught Naughty Birdwatching in The Fifties by the police and 'thinking quickly, I told them I was an astronomer. And they bought it! As did the BBC'.

Stand-Up Comedy
  • Larry The Cable Guy uses this in a joke:
    "I was seeing this girl for about six weeks, until someone took my binoculars."

Tabletop RPG
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement The Asylum and Other Tales, adventure "The Auction". An astronomer has a telescope in his apartment which he uses for his secret hobby, voyeurism.

Theatre
  • In the first scene of Mister Roberts, the sailors use their binoculars and spyglasses to spy on two attractive blonde twin nurses. One of them suggests that they could get a closer look without being seen by sneaking up on them as Mobile Shrubbery.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Bev does this quite enthusiastically when Heffer hosts a nudist's party in Rocko's backyard. Ed started it, "just to see what that weirdo next door was up to." Bev orders Ed to get the telescope. And who could forget that one moment when Heffer and Filburt filmed Rocko walking down a staircase completely NAAAKEEED, with no clothes on!?

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