Pie-Eyed

During the 1920s and going into the 1930s, animated characters were sometimes drawn with eyes or pupils that were black and circular, but shaped like a pie that's had one slice removed from it, with the missing slice being an oversimplified representation of a radial light reflection. It is remembered today as one of the most iconic features of the Inkblot Cartoon Style. Pie-eyes were widespread until around the time color became the standard for most cartoons in the early 1940s, by which time the Inkblot Cartoon Style had fallen out of favor, and Western Animation as a whole had undergone significant Art Evolution. The style sometimes appeared in comics as well, particularly the Disney ones, and others based on characters that first appeared in animation.

When it shows up in modern media, it's usually as an homage or throwback. Parodies of the Inkblot Cartoon Style will almost always employ this along with Rubber Hose Limbs and the like.

See also Black Bead Eyes, which were also employed in black and white cartoons. Not to be confused with a slang term for being drunk, or with the results of a Pie in the Face.

Classic Examples:

Modern Examples and Homages

  • It was used in the 2 Stupid Dogs short "Hobo Hounds", which was made to look like an old silent cartoon.
  • Appropriately enough, when Pac-Man is pictured in his mascot form (as having arms and legs) he usually has these eyes. It shows up on the arcade cabinet art, and in later games such as Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures and Pac-Man World. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures also features this for most characters, while the 80's Pac-Man cartoon avoided it.
  • Most characters in My Life as a Teenage Robot, which uses a Retraux style, has most of the characters with a small "pie" taken out of their eye, though Jenny has eyes like Philips screws head.
  • In Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Don Patch sometimes has these eyes.
  • Toot Braunstein from Drawn Together, who is a parody of Betty Boop.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Truth or Square", Patchy shows a SpongeBob short in a 1920s style, where everything has this eye style.
    • Also, SpongeBob is comically pie-eyed when he learns that he will be the cashier in "Squid's Day Off".
  • The animated segment in Johnny Dangerously uses them, as it's done in a 1930s art style.
  • Cat clocks with moving eyes often are pie-eyed.
  • In the Powerpuff Girls episode "Silent Treatment", the girls gain these when they get trapped inside a silent cartoon.
  • Mostly everyone in the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon has this feature, a rare modern usage not meant as a throwback.
  • MOTHER 1 clay models had these kind of eyes on Ninten and Ana. Loid and Teddy's aren't apparent because they wear Opaque Nerd Glasses and Cool Shades respectively. This is another rare modern usage that is not a throwback. However, the characters in the two sequels feature Black Bead Eyes instead.
  • Mr. Hankey and his family from South Park. Also, in the episode "Red Sleigh Down", proximity to Christmas presents caused children to briefly morph into old-fashioned pie-eyed cartoons.
  • The song "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers had an Animated Music Video that paid homage to the Max and Dave Fleischer cartoons of the 1930's. Every character in the video is pie-eyed.
  • The Futurama episode "Reincarnation," which parodies several animation styles, gave these to the cast in the 1930s-style segment.
  • The characters in Happy Tree Friends.
  • GastroPhobia has a Western storyline drawn in this style.
  • Used in El Tigre by almost every character.
  • The Brownie from the animated segment in the Reefer Madness musical.
  • Homestar Runner: Coach Z's Old-Timey counterpart.
  • Most characters in Tony Comics have these eyes.
  • Kingdom Hearts II uses this for the Retraux segment, where Sora and company travel to the time of Steamboat Willie to help out Mickey Mouse.
  • The rebooted Mickey Mouse cartoons (2013-present) such as No Service have these eyes on everyone, with more consistency than the original black and white shorts.
  • Doggy D. Dachshund, whose shtick is being Jaded Washout from the appropriate era, has these.
  • Tony the Alp from Charby the Vampirate has them when deprived of his hat (which kind of depowers him).
  • The characters' models in some seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends have these.
  • Most of the male Toon characters in the webcomic Love Me Nice are pie-eyed, possibly as an homage to the old Inkblot style. One character, Roger, essentially is an Inkblot cartoon character.
  • Mr. Sparkle, the Japanese detergent mascot that happened to look like Homer in The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust", had them.
  • A Playmobil set with two vampire figures features these on the female vampire.
  • The Japanese version of Crash Bandicoot had characters with these eyes.

Alternative Title(s):

Pac Man Eyes, Pie Eyes