Paper People

"Being paper thin, I'll just slip in quietly through the crack in the door! Hahahahahaha!"

This is when a character is quite literally paper-thin, as if they were a paper cutout. This can also apply to normally three-dimensional characters who have been flattened as a result of, say, a 300-pound weight being dropped on them.

Not to be confused with Flat Character.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In chapter 12 of Dr. Hitomi's Infirmary, Usui becomes one of these when a giant falls on her. It also turns her into a Fourth Wall Observer

     Comic Books  


  • What do you get when you run the Dynamic Duo over with a steamroller? Flatman and Ribbon.


  • Flat Stanley is about a boy who is flattened by a falling bulletin board.
  • Flatland has an entire paper-thin WORLD.
  • In one scene in A Wrinkle in Time, Meg finds herself transported briefly into a two-dimensional world, where she can't breathe ("a paper doll cannot gasp"), and her heart can't pump blood properly ("a knife-like, sideways beat"). It was, Mrs. Which explains, an oversight on her part (apparently she and her two companions were perfectly comfortable there). It's implied that they were paying a brief visit to the above-mentioned Flatland.
  • In Pyramids, one of Ptaclusp's sons accidentally becomes this trope due to the twisting of dimensions by the grossly-oversized Great Pyramid. He also tends to drift horizontally at a steady rate, as the "fourth dimension" of Time now runs that way for him.
  • The Beautiful Culpeppers is a children's book about a family of paper dolls owned by a little girl. They also have a 2-D paper house, which is tacked to a wall; they can go inside it, but we never get any details about what it's like in there.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Grimm has the flat folk — people who were crushed under the falling Beanstalk but weren't killed by it, and were squashed into two-dimensionality. Well, physical two-dimensionality. Humans native to the Grimm Lands are always two-dimensional in the literary sense.
  • The second edition of Dungeons & Dragons has the Duo-Dimension power, which lets a character use this trope. The follow-up power Duo-Dimensional Blade gives you a blade that has been Sharpened to a Single Atom. The latter power appeared in later editions as well.

     Video Games  

     Web Original  

  • This Whole Movie is built off this trope.
  • "The Reddish Radish" animation from Homestar Runner.
  • Mister Origami, a World-War II-era supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, was paper-thin and could fold himself into many different paper animal shapes... and assumed the abilities of the animal in question.

     Western Animation  

  • Kate Moss was portrayed this way on Family Guy.
  • In Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, the character Duchess appears like this whenever she turns around.
  • Paper Doll Man of The Impossibles, who used his powers to steal top secret plans from the Pentagon, as well as money.
  • The protagonist of Thin Pig makes better use of this than most, folding himself like origami into whatever form is necessary at the moment.
  • From a show within a show on Futurama: "Father! The kidnappers cut off one of my dimensions!"
    • Also, during The Beast With A Billion Backs, Fry and his date went on a 2D Tunnel of Love ride.
  • On Ugly Americans, a wizard rival of Leonard's is trapped between dimensions, manifesting himself as a paper cutout.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Pluto's Judgement Day", one of the cats testifying against Pluto is a chubby kitten whom Pluto chased into the path of a steamroller. After testifying he turns around, revealing that he - and the balloon he's carrying - is flat as a pancake.
  • During the first Jimmy Neutron/Fairly OddParents crossover special, when CG Jimmy is transported into Timmy's 2D world, he remarks that his depth is gone, and falls flat on the floor like a standee.
  • Teri the bear, a character from The Amazing World of Gumball, is a crumpled paper cutout. She changes clothes and sometimes facial expression with a pencil.
  • In The Problem Solverz episode "Zoo Cops", the characters are transported to another dimension, where everyone becomes this.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Lisa becomes self-conscious about her weigh and sees an advertisement where the child models are displayed like this.
    Girl: I hear she's back to her birth weight.
  • Turned Up to dimension in the animation One D by Mike Grimshaw, where all characters and props are lines.
  • In The Proud Family, Oscar Proud remarks he is so thin he "disappears if he turns sideways."

     Real Life  

  • Flatworms: They are what they say they are. Also: for a substantial proportion of them (the planarians, at minimum), cutting them up just gives you as many worms as pieces.
  • Ediacaran biota: So far as we can tell from the limited fossil record, these were also thin. Note that some believe that some Ediacarans were (at minimum) proto-mollusks, proto-echinoderms, and proto-chordates, and were thus more substantial.
  • Trichoplax adhaerens, sole member of the phylum Placozoa. These organisms are completely flat, composed of about three layers of cells.
  • Plane trees
    • More generally, the practice of espaliering, which trains trees to grow in a flat pattern.
  • Many artists enjoy making paper children, which, while not quite as alive as most examples of this trope, are photographed so as to appear to be interacting with the otherwise-three-dimensional world.

Horace: It's like we're cartoons! How horrible!