Reverse Telescopic Vision
aka: Backwards Binoculars
When you're looking through a pair of binoculars, or even a telescope, expect a Binocular Shot through the character's perspective. However, when a character who is a Cloudcuckoolander or The Ditz looks through the binoculars, expect to see him looking through the wrong end, which results in a faraway view through that character's perspective. The character will then think that the person or item that he's looking at is far away, until another character turns the binoculars around or until the ditzy character lowers the binoculars or telescope. Generally shows up in Comedy. See also Had the Silly Thing in Reverse.
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- This trope is as old as the telescope itself. Just look at this 18th century drawing, where a woman does this too.
Films — Animation
- Happens to Scuttle in The Little Mermaid:
Scuttle: Woah! Mermaid off the port bow! Ariel! How you doin', kid?!? (lowers his telescope to see Ariel right in front of him) Woah, what a swim.
- In The Spongebob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, Patrick is holding his binoculars backwards during a WWII-inspired scene.
Patrick: I think we have a few minutes before he gets here.
(SpongeBob flips the binoculars around)
Patrick: AAAHH! HE'S RIGHT ON TOP OF US!
Films — Live-Action
- A related phenomenon is found in the original Miracle On34th Street. A drunk character is handed a telephone handset, and holds it backwards (i.e. with the mouthpiece at her ear). Her husband tells her she's holding it backwards. She thanks him, then holds it upside down over her OTHER ear. See this in action here.
- On an episode of Radioactive: The local Cloudcuckoolander has recently acquired a new pair of binoculars, so he's looking through them at every opportunity he has. Eventually, he is looking at someone he knows in close-range! He raises his voice and waves:
"Hey! Over here!"
(he then lower his binoculars)
"Woah. How did you get here so fast??"
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Sparkle's Law, Pinkie Pie thinks she's a Hardboiled Detective. Her magnifying glass only works one way for some reason (don't ask) and she spends the entire investigation looking through it the wrong way. She even notices that it's making everything looks smaller, but she just thinks someone sabotaged it, and she keeps using it.
- In Turn Signals on a Land Raider, tank commander Kren is looking through binoculars and comments that he can juuuust make out an enemy Titan in the horizon. Turns out that he had the binoculars on backwards (and the titan was from an Epic 40,000 army with reduced-scale models), and the thing's actually less than 20 scale feet away.
- Happens in the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode "The Doom Funnel Rescue" to Captain Zidgel, when Fidgel tries warning the rest of the crew about a highly combustible gas tank at the gas station. Zidgel looks through the wrong end of Fidgel's binoculars and thinks that the tank is miles away, until Fidgel turns them around to which Zidgel then starts freaking out about it.
- In the Adventures from the Book of Virtues episode "Loyalty", Socrates takes his turn in looking through Zack's binoculars, but he looks at them through the wrong end.
- Likewise, at the beginning of the Mr. Bogus episode "Good Sport Bogus", Bogus does this, with a camera lens, before Tommy turns the lens around, to which when Bogus looks through it again, he freaks out upon seeing a close-up of Tommy's eyes.
- The Legend of Korra: In the episode "Skeletons In the Closet", Bolin uses a telescope backwards before quickly correcting himself.
- The Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Avast Ye Eds" has Ed look through a telescope to spot the Kanker sisters dressed as pirates. He looks through the wrong end, so Eddy tells him to throw it down to him and he looks to see the Kankers are close to him.
- Happens in at least one episode of The Simpsons:
Mr Burns: There he is! Far away in the distance!
- Done as a Running Gag in The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Roger Dodger" by Kowalski, who is supposed to be The Smart Guy.