troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Right Behind Me

Vaarsuvius: As the shrew has perished, we are no longer bound by the anchor that has hung around our neck for weeks! Let her death ring in a new era of freedom for the "Order of the Stick"!
(beat)
Vaarsuvius: She is, naturally, directly behind me.
Miko: Naturally.

A character decides to vent some pent-up complaints about another character and the subject of their frustrations manages to arrive on scene just in time to overhear the best parts of it, if not the whole thing.

Exactly what happens next varies, but usually involves one or more of the following

  • Cue the Oh Crap reactions from Bob's friends, who are (naturally) the first to notice that Alice is standing right behind Bob.
  • If Bob doesn't take the hint, he might just obliviously continue with his rants, with the complaints getting even better. Or, he might only stop and wonder if "I take it by your silence that you agree with what I'm saying?"
  • On the other hand, given how the above has happened often enough to be Dead Horse Trope territory, a Genre Savvy Bob will probably stop and realize: "She's ... standing right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Finally, the complainer may make their presence known by interrupting Bob (say, clearing their throat with a loud "Ahem!"). And if Bob hasn't acknowledged it yet, he will now.
  • Occasionally, Bob will be made aware of Alice's presence and, after acknowledging her (typically in a friendly way, such as "Oh, hi Alice!"), will resume the littany of complaints and insults to the other person. This is typically done when Bob somehow has authority over Alice, and she must endure the comments without reaction. This slides the trope into I'm Standing Right Here at that point.

Engineered Public Confession is an invoked variation of this, and much less likely to be played comedically — e.g. the Big Bad makes his Just Between You and Me confession to his victim just as an authority figure (particularly the authority to arrest/kill him) is getting into earshot.

An obvious variation is Right in Front of Me. Contrast I'm Standing Right Here — where the speaker already knows (or should know) that the target of their conversation is right there with them — and Bilingual Backfire — when the speaker knows the target is there, but thinks they won't understand the language.

In-combat variations No, I Am Behind You and its response Snap to the Side remain popular.

Compare Last-Second Word Swap, Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults, And Here He Comes Now. Note that it can also be used as a basis for tricking someone to Look Behind You. Contrast Oblivious Mockery, when a character mocks some action in front of someone who did it, but without knowing it, and Scared of What's Behind You. Finally, see Stealth Hi/Bye for a version that doesn't land anybody in trouble.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • At least one commercial for a cellphone carrier ends in this way: the cellphone is a gift, and "her parents would freak if they knew she'd found it". Meanwhile, her friends (on the other end of a video line) are waving frantically in an attempt to warn her that they're standing right behind her.
  • Done in this ad from switzerland.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga Chibi Vampire (aka Karin) Maki spots Karin giving a lunch to Usui. She and the other girls then demand that Karin tell them all the sordid details of her obvious torrid love affair with him. Karin insists that He is Not My Boyfriend without success, given her Luminescent Blush. Finally she yells "I Don't Have Feelings for Usui-kun!", just as Usui comes around the corner behind her.
  • From one of the original Azumanga Daioh Yonkoma:
    Student A: Who do you prefer, Miss Tanizaki or Miss Kurosawa?
    (Yukari walks up behind Student A, curious)
    Student B: Uh, Miss Tanizaki, definitely.
    (Yukari perks up)
    Student A: (grinning snarkily) Man, you like the weird ones, huh?
    (Yukari lifts a chair over Student A's head, grinning psychotically)
    • In the anime version of this scene, Student A just gets hit in the head with a rolled-up magazine.
  • A variation occurs in the second volume of Fullmetal Alchemist. A random MP approaches Edward to warn him of a serial killer's presence in the area, shouting Ed's name loudly, which attracts the attention of said serial killer, who is standing just down the street. The next panel shows the MP explaining the situation to Ed — who can clearly see the very person he's being warned about looming over the MP's shoulder.
    • There's also the infamous King Bradley reveal as a Homunculus scene.
    • Another case. During Ed and Al fight with Scar, Ed tried to call Scar out about his killing on Winry's parents. Guess who hears it in the back alley, and what's the effect.
  • Similar to the Bob and George example, Runessa in StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise monologues what she's been planning to herself after she watches Teana leave. Then, after she had said enough incriminating evidence, Teana shoots her from behind, chiding her tendency of talking to herself and leaving her back open, and explaining to her the concept of one of her favorite spells, the Fake Silhouette.
  • In a Mahou Sensei Negima! chapter, Negi's classmate and childhood friend Anya, upon learning whom the master of the extratemporal keep Negi and his students were using to train is, pulls the closest girl aside and tries to convince her in a frantic under-voice to escape, lest the legendary undead mage Evangeline A.K. McDowell do something horrible to them all. Then a busty, leather-clad blonde woman with fangs and Glowing Eyes of Doom starts patting her on the head, asking "What will I do with you, Anya Cocolova?" Eva really didn't plan to do anything but scare Anya a bit, and in fact generally enjoys being told how powerful and evil she is (after all, it is not as if anyone who actually knows her will oblige her about the latter).
  • Another variation: In Eyeshield 21, Haruto Sakuraba finally gain his confidence, after hearing Takami's hope and compliment about him without him knowing, ending his Heroic BSOD.
  • A lovely one happens in the manga Change 123. Kosukegawa is praying at the temple for the courage to ask Motoko out. Standing behind him, unseen, Motoko replies sincerely, "And I hope we'll be very happy together." Aww.
  • Light Yagami and L in Death Note are often seen looming behind each other's shoulders, symbolic of how they're both playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with each other. A few fan-edits have hilariously summed up the series by putting two such alternating shots together with the altered dialogue.
    Light: Well played L, but you are too slow. Now I am the one standing behind you!
  • In Soul Eater the night before a big test, Black☆Star sneaks into Dr. Stein's lab to get a peek at the test. As he laughs to himself and compliments his ingenuity, the viewer sees a pair of Scary Shiny Glasses behind him. Cue Black☆Star slowly turning around, then the shot cuts to outside the lab and we hear a long, high-pitched scream.
  • Dai-Guard: Early on in the series, Dai-Guard's main pilot Shunsuke Akagi is going on about the team's new "tactical adviser" from the Army, Shirou Shirota. The rest of the lunch table looks on in shock as Akagi is mocking Shirota's manner of speech, causing him to stop and say "he's right behind me isn't he...?"
  • Miss Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch has a habit of saying or doing inappropriate things, often in front of her students. Almost invariably, the principal is standing behind her and promptly drags her away for a dressing-down. She eventually becomes wise to this, on one occasion realising she has said something that would anger the principal and wheeling around to find that for once he isn't lurking behind her.
  • Hinagiku of Hayate the Combat Butler gets clobbered by this in the current arc (starting at chapter 300), it's not quite the same effect of having Hayate himself hear her confession, but it does give blackmail bait.
  • Area no Kishi: This happens to Nishijima while bragging about a point he scored on one of the football team's top defenders in a practice match (after Kakeru spent most of the match wearing him down.)
    Nishijima: Suguru-san! Didn't I score a nice one today? The only forward on the team who can dodge Kunimitsu-san and score easily is me!
    Kunimitsu: (while cracking his knuckles) Dodge me easily, huh?
    Nishijima: Oooo owwow! Ouch!!
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo often gets taken by surprise by her crush and eventual boyfriend Aoyama this way, often when she's hoping he won't notice something or show up.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma often insults Akane or says the harsh truth about her without realizing she just entered into ear-shot, particularly in the manga. Akane expresses her displeasure over such moments with a punch or kick to the head.
  • Busou Renkin: In ch. 29, Kazuki Muto and Shusi Hayasaka hit the repeat button on this, jumping behind each other over and over until they end up a good distance away from the building they started in. Kazuki acts casual about it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the manga, when a game shop opened in front of the shop owned by Yugi's Grandfather, Yugi went there to buy the new game and Yugi asked his friends not to tell his grandfather. Yugi even complained about Grandfather being old-fashioned and it being the reason his shop had no business. Then he learned his Grandfather was behind him.
  • In a flashback in Saki Achiga-Hen, Himeko and Mairu are walking and talking about their team's lineup, including the decision to have Kirame be in the vanguard position instead of their fifth best player for the reason that while Kirame is not good enough to qualify, she is able to avoid going into negative points, preventing the team from prematurely being eliminated. Himeko says Kirame would be upset to hear that she's just being used as a sacrificial piece because she was happy to be chosen for the team, just as they pass under an overpass that Kirame is sitting on. Kirame, however, does not reveal herself or get upset, but instead resolves to do as well as possible in the role chosen for her.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata and Kagami both have moments of this with Kuroi-sensei, with her presence becoming known when she says, "I heard that." In Konata's case, this is followed by a swat to the head.
  • Ouran High School Host Club has episode 10 where Tamaki telling his gang about not to say anything bad about Haruhi's home, without even realizing Haruhi herself caught the entire conversation.

    Comics 
  • In Dilbert, the title character is infuriated that a linguistically-gifted monkey, Zimbu, has been promoted.
    Dilbert: What could be more humiliating than having to kiss up to a monkey?
    Zimbu: (behind him) Failing at it?
  • From Exiles: Morph is complaining about being stuck in Canada when his teammates suddenly go really quiet... "Wolverine is standing right behind me, isn't he?"
  • Humorous variation in an old Superman newspaper strip. The strip opens up with the villain giving himself a congratulatory speech for a job well done. Only to notice Superman's reflection in the mirror. Could also double as an OhCrap moment.
  • In the opening scene of Garth Ennis's Punisher, Frank has killed everyone involved in a drug deal except for a panicked thug, who he tells to clean up his life and get a haircut. As soon as the Punisher leaves, the thug calls his friend and tells him that the Punisher killed everybody but left all the drugs. He says "do you know what this means? I'm sitting on enough product to set me up for life." Then he realizes the Punisher is still behind him, and hangs up the phone before Frank snaps his neck and lights the warehouse on fire.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Raana Tey is standing over Zayne with two sabers when she comments "Now I'll have killed more then my fair share of padawans." Unfortanately for her, the sister of one of those padawans (whom Raana had conned into trying to murder Zayne) has just entered the room, and overhears everything. Raana promptly gets impaled through the back with a lightsaber by the sister, thereby fulfilling the prophecy Raana had tried so hard to avoid.
  • In Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #20, the Legion are discussing Supergirl, ignoring Dream Boy, who is trying to warn them she's listening to them.
    Cosmic Boy: She makes me nervous, Garth. I can't put my finger on it, but somethings not right about Supergirl. Oh, Boy. She's here... isn't she?
    Dream Boy: That's what I've been trying to tell you. She can hear every word...
  • In one Doonesbury strip, the Sarah Palin Doll is trying to get one of the other toys to kill Samantha when, "She's right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Happened to that guy who was making fun of Rorschach in Happy Harry's in the first chapter of Watchmen. Rorschach was a little angry, but he didn't want to point any fingers.
  • Happens to Brian in Knights of the Dinner Table when he was trying to persuade Dave to open a box of dice in Bob's absence. When Dave starts yammering about how this isn't right, Brian wonders what's up until he realises that Bob is standing right behind him. Cue the Big Ball of Violence.
    • Happens again when Bob and Dave are trying to sneak a peek at B.A.'s GM notes and B.A. returns.
  • The Joker gets one at the end of Legends of the Dark Knight #3 when he is explaining to his gang his latest plan to make Batman's life a misery, and then notices that they have gone oddly silent. "He's right behind me, isn't he?" is the last line of the issue.
  • In Gold Digger #202, Julia manages to pull this off on herself twice with her husband, and on the ''same subject, even.
    Julia: s-so what brings you down here at this hour?
    Theodore: Well, I thought I'd come watch my charming wife dig herself a nice, deep hole.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Chronicles of Narnia fanfiction Rumor Has It, a Calormene soldier shares some salacious gossip about the Narnian rulers with his cousin. It turns out that the nomads at the next table are really the Kings of Narnia and the Princes of Archenland in disguise, and less than pleased about the lies they hear.
  • Catherine and Lupin III fanfiction, Love Advice: Fujiko is singing an insulting song about Bantam Suits. She doesn't realize that Katherine is from behind having heard all that. Oops.
  • In Turnabout Storm, Spike tells Phoenix what a total nerd Twilight is just as Twilight walks into the room.
  • Hivefled's prequel Reprise features an IM variation. Gamzee, held captive by the Grand Highblood, manages to get hold of his computer and tries to message his friends. Suddenly, he gets a response from an unfamiliar username: "Did you know you're horrible at faking sleep?"
  • Inverted in Harry Potter: Dark Memories when Harry begins ranting about Quirrell's teaching, or lack thereof, and complimenting Snape—saying he'd rather have strict instruction than no instruction. Snape sneaks up behind him mid-rant.
  • The New Look Series: It's too bad Young Link doesn't have eyes on his neck; if he had he wouldn't have pretended to be Princess Peach, mockingly, as she witnessed the whole act.
  • In the rewritten version of Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie, Hobbes outright says the trope name (more or less) when Moe does this to Calvin.
  • The InuYasha Continuation Fic Beyond Tomorrow has such an example in chapter 13. Miroku and Sango are talking about how much trouble the Love Triangle between Inuyasha, Kikyo, and Kagome caused them in the past and how insensitive and stupid Inuyasha was back then... only to discover that Inuyasha and Kagome have arrived and overheard everything.
  • A Heartwarming version occurs in Alpha and Omega after Shinji realizes that he accidentally asked Aria to marry him.
    Shinji: "Even if... Even if I wasn't entirely sure, it doesn't matter."
    EDEN: "And why is that?"
    Shinji: "Because the question...still...stands. And if she were right here, EDEN, I'd turn to her and say: 'Aria T'loak, will you be my bondmate! (beat) And she is standing right behind me, isn't she?"
  • This happens in The Naruto fanfic Son of The Serpent when Naruto has come back from his training and encounters Tayuya who has her back to him and is going off about him leaving for three years without saying anything or contacting them as Naruto takes her ranting in stride and calmly speaks up and she stops and admits she misses him and then realizes he's behind her.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda, the kitchen scene: Po performs a hilarious impression of Master Shifu for the Furious Five, complete with noodle mustachios and soup-bowl ears, only to have Shifu appear right behind him and witness it all.
    • During the end credits sequence, we see how much Shifu has lightened up when he watches Tigress doing a similar impression with a good-humored expression on his face.
  • Happens in Hoodwinked, where Granny is dissing one of the Big Bad's minions.
  • In Home on the Range, Buck the Horse implies someone had been taking stupid lessons from the villain's buffalo, Junior. He then feels someone snorting down his back. Three guesses who it was.
  • Cartman goes through this with Kyle's mom Sheila as the insulted party in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, after his rendition of "Kyle's Mom Is a Bitch". Probably Cartman made his position even worse by finishing his musical number with an extended solo concluded enthusiastically with jazz hands. When Sheila walks behind him, causing the other children to gasp. Stan attempts to warn his friend: "Uhh, Cartman..." However, Cartman finishes the song, asks the other kids "What?", turns around to see Sheila, and remarks "Aw, fuck!" The next scene has Cartman getting V-chipped.
  • In Disney's Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Hiss are having a good laugh over the song "The Phony King of England" when Prince John enters the room. Hiss immediately starts singing lyrics praising PJ before the Sheriff corrects him ("... the sniveling, groveling —"). PJ throws a wine bottle at him.
  • When Merida of Brave realizes that the prince of the legend is also Mor'du, she then realizes Mor'du is right behind her.
  • A particularly sad example comes from All Dogs Go to Heaven, when Anne-Marie walks onto Charlie telling Itchy that he was only using her to make money.
  • Happens during the climax of Shark Tale when Oscar attempts to trap Don Lino in the whale wash he works at, only to realize he trapped Lenny by mistake. Once Oscar realizes this, guess who's right behind him...
  • The Special How to Train Your Dragon Short Film "Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon" features a scene where the main cast of kids (And Gobber) plan on trapping the titular dragon, only for it to find them first in this manner.
  • In Frozen, when Anna, Kristoff and Olaf are being chased by Elsa's snow-monster:
    Olaf: Hey, Anna! Sven! Where'd you guys go? We totally lost Marshmallow back there! (monster roars behind him) Hey, we were just talking about you! All good things, all good things...
  • In Lilo & Stitch has Nani threatening Lilo after Lilo locks her out of the house just as social worker Cobra Bubbles stops by to check on her.
    Nani: Oh, I'm going to stuff you into a blender and press "puree", then bake you into a pie and feed it to the social worker! And when he says "Mmm, this is great. What's your secret?", I'm going to say...(turns around and sees Bubbles; she gasps) Love...and nurturing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Around the World in 80 Days (2004), the villain makes a speech denouncing Queen Victoria in front of a horrified crowd. At the end he says, "She's right behind me, isn't she?" Her Royal Majesty is revealed.
  • Done in both City Slickers movies, both by Billy Crystal's character, Mitch. "Didn't you guys see? The man was hanging the hired help! And, did you notice his eyes? He has crazy eyes. He's a lunatic! We are going into the wilderness being led by a lunatic! He's behind me, isn't he?"
  • A rather sadistic example occurs in Dog Soldiers. One of the soldiers makes his way to the barn in order to retrieve still functioning car, narrowly avoids a werewolf and drives back to the house. Cut to him seating behind the wheel, something breathing down the back of his neck and "You're behind me, aren't you?". No points for guessing what follows.
  • Gets Bob and George fired and thrown out of Big Edna's burger joint in UHF.
    • Wait, so Bob and George have a character hear their conversation right behind them just offscreen? WOW.
  • Near the end of the Doom movie, Pinky is holding a gun on Sarge after Sarge just shot and killed his rookie team member for disobeying Sarge's order to kill a room full of unarmed civilians . After telling Sarge several times to drop his gun, he notices Sarge's eyes suddenly widen in surprise. Pinky, to his credit, immediately understands what it means and is able to utter "Aw, there's something behind me, isn't there?" just before one of the nastier mutant monsters grabs him from behind and bounces him off the walls several times.
  • In Chinatown, Jake tells an off-color joke while Mrs. Mulwray stands right behind him in his office doorway. He ignores the efforts of his associates to either shut him up or draw his attention to the visitor.
  • Eric's boss in Miss Congeniality does not appreciate Eric's Photoshopping him into a bikini.
    Eric: "He's right behind me, isn't he?"
  • RoboCop (1987): Bob Morton mocks Dick Jones in the executive washroom. Naturally, Jones is in one of the cubicles. Jones is already pissed off about the whole RoboCop project, Morton's now crossed the line and will soon be entering a world of pain.
  • From the James Bond franchise:
    • In GoldenEye, Tanner refers to M as "the evil queen of numbers", then closes his eyes in horror after Bond clears his throat in a "by the way..." sort of fashion:
    M: If I want sarcasm, Mr Tanner, I can get it from my children.
    Moneypenny: Don't pull the wool over my eyes, James. You may be able to fool the old man, but...
    M(exiting his office): That will be all, Moneypenny. And I'll thank you not to call me "The Old Man".
  • Scooby-Doo (live-action): Shaggy and Scooby are hiding from the ghost in the beginning of the movie and Shaggy says to Scooby "He's right behind me, isn't he?"
  • Land of the Lost (2009): Will Ferrell's character, of the T. rex — "He's right behind me, isn't he?"
  • In The American President, Annette Benning's lobbyist character viciously criticizes President Shepherd to his staff — only to discover that, yes, he just entered the room behind her. When she tries to apologize later, he reminds her that getting viciously criticized is part of his job.
    Benning: If your President believes that then he is the President of Fairy Tale Land.
    President Shepard: Well let's take him out back and beat the shit out of him.
  • Batman. At the party. In the room with the armor. Really, let's not kid ourselves: Batman specializes in random appearances and disappearances when someone is talking.
  • The Dark Knight: At a party, Harvey Dent says "Please tell me it isn't Wayne. The man's a complete..." as Bruce walks up behind him and puts him in a choke hold. In this case though, Bruce wasn't being malicious; the Joker had just crashed the party and Bruce was taking him to a panic room.
  • Inverted in Minority Report, as the focus was on the wrath of the discoverer instead of the pain of the person snuck up on while doing something wrong. An example of what kind of event could lead to a "crime of passion" that would trigger a red-ball scramble of the Precrime interceptor team. Howard Marks comes home early to find his wife cheating on him. In her passion with the other man, the amorous couple don't notice Howard standing right next to the bed and sobbing, until he manages to stutter out the reason for his unexpected return — "I...I forgot my glasses..." Trigger this trope from the wife and the other man, and a slow focus on Howard as he finds his glasses and the nearest sharp object...
  • In American Wedding, Stifler is telling Finch about how he's going to be having hot, sweet sex with Cadence, sucking on her breasts... and then he turns around.
  • Subverted in Nothing But Trouble. Humpty-Hump calls Purdah an "ugly, cross-burning, redneck, peckerwood, police bitch" with Purdah standing right behind him, telling him to get inside for his trial. While it's implied that Purdah heard what he called her, Humpty doesn't care.
  • Blackhawk Down: Played for Laughs. A low-ranking Ranger is doing a spot-on imitation of his company commander, right down to the southern accent, rhetorical questions, and Hooahs, when said commander walks up behind him and addresses the troops before putting the errant troop into a headlock.
    Captain Steele:Pretty funny, Hooah?
  • Subverted in Caddyshack, when Rodney Dangerfield is commenting on the ugliness of a hat in the country club's shop. He turns around to see the Judge is right behind him and wearing the exact same hat, tells him it looks good on him, then turns back to his companion to roll his eyes and snicker at the Judge.
  • In the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when a line of students was formed at the Gryffindor common room entrance, Ron Weasley guesses it was because Neville Longbottom forgot the password again. Neville was next to him and heard the comment.
  • Tightrope (1984). Clint Eastwood's character Detective Block is trying to avoid rape victim advocate Beryl.
    Uniformed Officer: Beryl Thibodeaux from the rape something or other wants to see you.
    Block: Where is she?
    Officer: In the reception room.
    Block: Tell her I'm out.
    Officer: I did. She said she'd wait.
    Block: Good. Tell her I'm out of town.
    [Wes turns around and sees Beryl standing there; she gives him a sarcastic grin]
    Beryl: Welcome back.
  • A staple of Laurel and Hardy films - The Music Box has a classic example with a policeman. Woody Allen, in fact, wrote an essay where he describes chatting up a beautiful woman at a bar "unaware that her stevedore boyfriend had entered with Laurel and Hardy timing and was standing behind me."
  • It happened quite often in The Three Stooges. Moe would wait until Curly or Larry noticed he was standing behind them before slapping them or poking their eyes.
  • In Four Weddings and a Funeral, after being seated at a table with six of his ex-girlfriends, Charles complains "I seem to be trapped in the wedding from hell, the ghosts of girlfriends past at every turn. Next thing you know, I'll meet Henrietta and the horror will be complete." He turns to the woman that's just walked up: "Hello Hen, how are you?"
  • "There's something behind me, isn't there?" is used twice as an Ironic Echo in Jack the Giant Slayer.
    • Jack thinks the bullies are really scared of him after he defends the princess. But its the Elmont and the Royal Guardians they're scared of, and he realizes it.
    • Elmont himself says it when the giant army is about destroy the same Guardians, and they stop for no apparent reason. Jack is behind the Guardians with the Crown. Hence the Ironic Echo.
  • V for Vendetta uses a variation; Lewis Prothero is watching a propaganda program he made for the Norsefire party, during which he makes a speech attacking V for opposing the party, and expresses the opinion that he'd like nothing more than a face-to-face with V so he could give him a piece of his mind. The program ends, Prothero turns off the TV, and sees V's distinctive mask reflected in the now-blank TV screen...

    Literature 
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, after crashing the flying car, Harry and Ron are peeking in the window of the Great Hall at the feast. The dialogue goes like this:
    Harry: Hang on, there's an empty chair at the staff table. Where's Snape?
    Ron: Maybe he's ill!
    Harry: Maybe he left, because he missed out on the Defence Against the Dark Arts job again!
    Ron: Or he might have been sacked! I mean, everyone hates him—
    Snape: (from behind them) Or maybe he's waiting to hear why you two didn't arrive on the school train.
    • A much less amusing incident happens in the first book, where Ron is complaining about what a "nightmare" Hermione is while she's right behind him. Being an insecure preteen girl, she runs off to cry in the bathroom for hours.
    • Later invoked when Hermione makes Malfoy think Moody, who Malfoy is terrified of, is right behind him.
  • In Homesick: My Own Story Jean Fritz describes an incident where a Communist agitator made a speech in front of the YMCA where her father was director. Her father slipped behind the agitator and winked at the crowd until he finally figured out what everyone was laughing about.
  • In the Kate Daniels novel Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, a third party innocently asks Kate how Curran's attempts at romance with her are going. She spits over her shoulder to ward away evil, insults him, and says that what he really wants is a "Can I" girl. "Can I kiss your ass, your Majesty?" When Kate realizes the others aren't laughing, she says, "And he's right behind me, isn't he?" Curran sits down and tells Kate that she may, indeed, kiss his ass.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, the Talking Horse Bree explains to his traveling companions why Aslan isn't a real lion. In a very superior tone and attitude, so he misses the way his audience is reacting to the very-much-a-lion Aslan is sneaking up behind him. Just as Bree explains how ridiculous it would be for Aslan to have whiskers, guess what touches him.
    • Since Aslan is Narnia's not-so-subtle Jesus metaphor, this may have been intended to mock people who oppose standard Christianity in the old theological argument about whether Jesus can be human and God at the same time.
  • Inverted — or something — in on The Hardy Boys: Casefiles book when the boys are being held at gunpoint by a bad guy. One of the Boys tells her their friend is sneaking up on her, planning to knock her out. She doesn't believe them. * CLUNK*
  • In Neal Asher's Brass Man, given the title character's well-deserved reputation for bloody carnage, the looks on the faces of the two compatriots that prompt Tabrouth's resigned "It's right behind me, isn't it?" are quite understandable...
  • Happens to Robert Langdon when he first meets Inoue Sato in The Lost Symbol. He's expecting a man, not a petite Asian woman who's had throat cancer.
  • Towards the end of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novel The Two Swords, the drow priestess Kaer'lic thinks she has just killed Drizzt Do'Urden and the orc king Obould Many-Arrows, who had been her ally. She proceeds to go on a rant about how disgusting and pathetic she finds orcs, ending it with the equivalent of 'they can both go to hell'. Her partner Tos'un's eyes go wide, and he proceeds to squeal and run away. Obould grabs her by her hair, gives her an Ironic Echo from her rant, and tears her throat out with his teeth. He spits it back into her face and lets her bleed to death in the snow.
  • In the opening of Red Iron Nights, Garrett's arrival at Morley's place triggers an exodus by patrons who assume he's into another of his weird cases. An irate Garrett protests, on the Genre Savvy grounds that there's always a woman involved in cases like that, and no woman is present. Naturally, he then realizes that everyone in the bar is looking Right Behind Him...
  • Older Than Radio: In the Victorian era novel "North and South": Upon hearing of Mr. Thornton's earlier rudeness, Margaret announces that she is disappointed in him, at which point "there was a slight noise behind her. Both she and Nicholas turned round at the same moment, and there stood Mr. Thornton, with a look of displeased surprise upon his face". Oops.
  • In The Dresden Files, He Who Walks Behind is always behind whoever he is...walking...behind.... The only way young Harry is able to beat him is by watching for his reflections and launching a fire spell over his shoulder that blows up a gas station.
  • A more serious version occurs in Thunderball when James Bond is overheard asking Moneypenny to check out the Tong symbol he'd seen tattooed on Count Lippe. Lippe wrongly assumes Bond is investigating him and tries to arrange a fatal accident.
  • Done in the Ranger's Apprentice book "The Sorcerer of the North":
    Will: [Crowley's] becoming too much of a creature of habit. He's used that hide [to conceal himself with] for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now.
    Halt: Well, perhaps not everyone.
    Will: All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?
    Halt: Long in the tooth? Well, that's one option. Mind you, his silent movement skills are as good as ever.
    Will: He's standing behind me, isn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: He's been there for a while, hasn't he?
    Halt: *nods*
    Will: Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?
  • In Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling the eponymous trickster team used this on purpose, to tell their victims, especially teachers, things which could get them in trouble otherwise.
    M'Turk: You see, he begins by bullying little chaps; then he bullies the big chaps; then he bullies some one who isn't connected with the College, and then he catches it. Serves him jolly well right... I beg your pardon, sir. I didn't see you were coming down the staircase.
  • Non-verbal example In the very first Animorphs book. Jake and Marco go to the zoo to acquire animal morphs but are spotted by security. They see two doors to go through, and the first one brings them face-to-face with a rhino. So, they choose the second door, which leads to a lush jungle. Jake turns around to talk to Marco, only to notice that Marco, normally a tan Hispanic guy, is very pale, and deduces that whatever animal inhabits the place is Right Behind Him. He asks what it is with a forced calmness.
    "Um, Jake? It's a tiger."
  • In Noob, Omega Zell finds out he'll be interviewed by a woman when he will apply for his dream guild. Guess who happened to be behind him while he was badmouthing (and being quite sexist towards) the woman in question.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Invoked in Happy Endings, episode 18, Season 2 'Party of Six' by Max.
    Max: You know who would love this place? That barely legal junkbox that Dave brought to Penny's birthday last year. You know the one with the tramp stamp, and the tongue ring and the bad hat and she's right behind me isn't she?
    Jane: (Confused) Nooo.
    Max: Oh that's cause she's over there. *points*
  • On Red Dwarf, Rimmer unleashes a stream of fat jokes targeted at Captain Hollister, with Lister as the one trying to stop him: "A man whose family crest consists of two cream buns and a profiterole! A man whose idea of a light snack is... he's standing Right Behind Me, isn't he?"
    • Done once again in "Back to Earth", where, once again, Rimmer is unleashing a verbal assault on the new female crewmember Katerina Bartikovsky. The task of warning him that she's standing right behind him now falls to Kryten, who ends up complimenting Bartikovsky's breasts to make his point.
  • In The Thin Blue Line episode "Fly on the Wall", the precinct is being filmed for a documentary on what usually happens at police stations. Inspector Fowler isn't keen on this at all, and thinking that he isn't being recorded, expresses to his officers what he really feels about the crew being there, not realizing in the middle of his rambling they've come up behind him, despite subtle hints from his fellow officers.
  • 7th Heaven: The family hears about Matt's and Mary's "uncanny impersonation of your grandparents" and ask them to put on the same performance they did for Lucy's boyfriend. They go a little too far before Matt realizes, "They're... standing right behind us, aren't they?"
    • This must be a favorite sitcom trope, because this is almost exactly what happens in an episode of The Cosby Show, in which Elvin mimics Cliff, to Rudy and Vanessa's delight. He kicks the act into high gear and is having so much fun that he doesn't notice the now-horrified looks on the girls' faces, only to finally turn around and see a thoroughly unamused Cliff standing there.
  • Subverted in Veronica Mars: The title character is asked about the hated Celeste Kane, and sarcastically describes her as a paragon of humanity. Meanwhile Kane has appeared right behind her.
  • In the Ally McBeal episode "Girls Night Out", Richard Fish almost tells Mark that Cindy (who Mark is interested in) is really a man, and instead says she's a virgin. Mark asks Richard if they were in the law firm's unisex bathroom having the same conversation, what would happen? Richard hangs a lampshade by saying he would turn around and Cindy would be standing there. Mark says, "Flush flush." Richard turns around to see a shocked and angry Cindy staring at him.
    • This happens damn near Once an Episode in Ally, usually in the unisex.
    • One time, Ally and Georgia think Billy is in one of the stalls, so they start loudly proclaiming what a great lover he is. Billy walks up behind them in the middle of it, having just entered the room. Turns out it was John Cage in the stall.
  • In NCIS, Gibbs, as a retired US Marine sniper, is trained to do this sort of thing, only with the aim of killing people. Tony is usually the one who gets snuck up on, but it has happened to almost everyone in the main cast at least once — this trope, along with the Dope Slap that follows most of the time, is one of the show's most prominent Running Gags. Once an Episode may be pushing it, but there are still too many examples to list; here are a few:
    • In the episode, "Stakeout", Abby has the "He's right behind me, isn't he?" reaction after making a comment about Gibbs's lack of technical savvy. Gibbs is not, in fact, behind her... but does a Stealth Hi/Bye at the end of the scene and may have overheard her comments anyhow.
    • Eventually they lampshade it with a Christmas episode:
    Abby: What do you get the guy who has nothing and wants nothing?
    Ducky: (as Gibbs appears behind Abby) A pair of squeaky shoes.
    • Lampshaded before that in the second season ("Caught On Tape"). Tony mentions the "creepy way Gibbs used to sneak up on us", when Kate objects to the "used to" part, Tony says he can smell the Bengay on Gibbs' sore knee from a mile away. Cue Gibbs leaning out from behind him.
    Tony: Knee feeling better, boss?
    Gibbs: Much.
    • From the same episode, Kate and Abby know Tony is there and make their conversation sound as suggestive and focused on his wildest dreams as humanly possible, only to reveal they're talking about Kate's new dog. Named "Toni".
    • During a citywide blackout in the season 7 episode "Power Down", Tony starts joking about how Gibbs will feel perfectly comfortable during the crisis:
    Tony: You don't need electricity to use hand tools and drink Bourbon.
    (pause as McGee and Ziva, who are trapped in an elevator and can't see Tony at all, exchange knowing looks)
    McGee: He's standing right behind you, isn't he?
    (cut to Tony with Gibbs behind him)
    Tony: (quietly) Yes, he is.
    • In the episode "Bounce", Tony temporarily takes over Gibbs' role, and McGee starts complaining about him to Ziva:
    McGee: He walks around with that peacock strut, and that smirk. It's like...heh, he's behind me, isn't he?
    Tony: Smirking.
    McGee: Good timing. How long were you standing back there?
    Tony: About two minutes.
    • In one episode, Abby gets so fed up with Gibbs' stealth that she placed bubble wrap on the floor at the entrance to her laboratory so that the noise would alert her when someone enters. Gibbs did not like her idea, so he soon ordered her to get rid of it.
  • Altered in several instances in Season Three of Boston Legal. Although technically a case of Right in Front of Me, Denny Crane isn't really aware that his (usually until then) girlfriend Bethany is standing between him and the person he's actually talking to because she's a dwarf.
  • Used in Boy Meets World where Cory does not like Shawn's new girlfriend, Jennifer (played by future T-X Kristanna Loken).
    Cory: May I speak freely?
    Shawn: I don't think that's wise.
    Cory: Well, maybe I'm just not wise, but I think Jennifer — or should I say Zathrak the Undead, is a stuck-up, manipulative, cold-blooded... oh, she's right behind me anticipating my head meat, isn't she?
    Jennifer: Hello, Cory.
    Cory: All hail Zathrak!
  • Used hilariously in Black Books, when Bernard thinks they've seen the last of the thuggish gangster he and Manny are meant to be teaching how to read for an upcoming book reading.
    Bernard: And that drongo, Danny! (Danny enters the bookshop quietly, Manny notices) As if you could ever teach a thug like that!
    Manny: Bernard, shut up.
    Bernard: Gus, I admit, was genuine underworld, because he has to get on a stepladder to pee, but that huge gunk...
    Fran: (has also noticed Danny) Bernard, Bernard...
    Bernard: I wish I could see him again, y'know, because I'd have him, like that...
    Danny: Feel a bit woozy. Always get a bit dizzy before the screams.
  • This happened a few times in Sports Night. One example involved Casey complaining about Dana to Isaac. It was a bit of a variation, though, in that the bystander typically just smirked and enjoyed the show, rather than trying to warn him of the person behind him.
  • Happens on The Golden Girls as Rose is poking fun at Dorothy, making specific mention of how she'd have to "stand on a chair to tell it all to her face." Dorothy, who had been listening for a good while but had gone unnoticed, grabs a chair and audibly sets it between herself and the still oblivious Rose, finally getting the latter's attention:
  • Happens on The Office as Jim is doing an impersonation of Stanley, only for Stanley to appear out of the bathroom and sniff, "I do NOT think that is funny." (Once he leaves, Jim and Pam simultaneously say "I do NOT think that is funny!" in their best Stanley voices.)
  • Used dramatically and with serious repercussions in the third season premiere of Dexter. Debra, who's aiming for the rank of detective sergeant on a big-name case, reveals that the victim, the brother of an ADA and a friend of Lt. LaGuerta's, was a drug addict... just as the ADA and LaGuerta enter behind her. She gets pulled from the case.
  • Both subverted and played straight in one episode of iCarly: when Mr. Howard rants about how Principal Franklin is a "weak, spineless fool," Principal Franklin is nowhere in sight... But Mr. Howard's rant IS being broadcast, live, on the most popular webshow in America. Later, after declaring that he doesn't care what Principal Franklin thinks, the Principal is truly right behind him, and to add insult to injury, he was watching the show and heard the first rant.
    • Another episode had Carly's old (and very possessive) best friend boasting to Sam that she was trying to get her out of the picture and have Carly for herself. Guess who was right behind her and promptly called the friendship off.
  • Done in this clip of The Daily Show when Jon Stewart gets a little cocky about being allowed to hang out with "real" news people.
    Jon Stewart: (silly voice) My name's Sam Donaldson and I have a Website! I'm in the Internets!
    Peter Jennings: (makes frantic "cut" gestures, pointing over Jon's shoulder)
  • In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Paternity", in a tangentially related murder case, it comes out that the father of the boy who discovered his nanny's body is not his biological father. Elliot and Olivia engage in a rather loud argument about whether or not they have the right to inform him as they enter the main hallway. Guess who's sitting on a bench behind them?
  • In Friends, Chandler complains about the bracelet Joey got him, calling it the "Woman Repeller", the "eyesore from the Liberace house of crap" and the "reject from the Mr. T collection", and says: "I pity the fool who puts on my jewelry, I do, I do!". Joey is right behind him.
    • Also averted in a Halloween episode. When a few of the gang are discussing who can win in an arm wrestle, Phoebe comes up. Joey claims that Phoebe has this incredible strength, gets worried, and asks if she's right behind him. Monica looks behind him, sees Phoebe on the other side of the crowded room, and tells him he's in the clear.
  • In an episode of Hogan's Heroes, Col. Klink calls General Burkhalter a "nasty old tub of lard" and says that he had been deliberately avoiding him/ignoring his calls, only to find that he's right behind him. Burkhalter then cancels Klink's leave, saying "I really am a nasty old tub of lard."
  • House (the character) uses this on occasion to indirectly tell someone something nobody wants him to tell them. In the season 7 premier, he initiates an argument with Cuddy regarding his interest in having a boy donate a piece of his lung to his sister knowing fully that he'll overhear it and offer to give up his lung.
  • Angel. Cordelia and Wesley are explaining the Angel/Buffy relationship to Fred via Bad Bad Acting.
    Wes (as Angel): Kiss me!
    Cordelia (as Buffy): Bite me!
    Angel (entering): Why don't you both bite me.
  • In one early episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander reads the paper while complaining about Buffy's obsession with Angel, giving the expected "who cares about that vampire freak" line. Angel is right behind him, and Xander turns, completely unflinching, to Angel, says hello and continues his rant.
  • A similar subversion in the second episode of Fawlty Towers, when Sybill is complaining about O'Reilly the builder:
    Sybil: He's shoddy, he doesn't care, he's a liar, he's incompetent, he's lazy, he's nothing but a half-witted, thick Irish joke!
    Basil: Oh, hello, O'Reilly, we were just talking about you. And then we started talking about this other Irish builder we used to know. God, he was awful...
    Sybil: No, Mr O'Reilly, I was talking about you.
  • The West Wing enjoys this trope (and variations thereof).
    • When Margaret (Leo's secretary) ushers Ainsely Hayes into Leo's office for her job interview, Leo closes the door and asks Ainsely about Margaret. Ainsely compliments her and then Leo says:
      Leo: Well, She'll be happy to hear that. She's standing right outside the door. (thumps the door)
      Margaret: Ow.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force has this in "Inner Strength". Green Ranger Xander, a rather proud fellow, has this when Daggeron, mentor Udonna's old friend, becomes the rangers' teacher. Xander interprets him as a difficult taskmaster, and he rants to the other rangers:
    Xander: Guys, you have to agree. Daggeron's got to go. (Daggeron approaches) And I know what it is. He's singled me out 'cause of my good looks. He's probably just jealous 'cause he can't get a date of his own. (The other rangers start warning him) He's overbearing. He's petty. He's standing right behind me. Isn't he?
  • In an episode of Rescue Me:
    Lou: There's only one Tommy Gavin and I don't think any of us wanna be him.
    Tommy: (walking up) What?
    Lou: I don't think any of us wanna be him, and by him I mean you.
    Tommy: You're not even gonna try to—
    Lou: Nope.
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "The Train", a dying prime minister does not realize that his designated successor means to become a tyrant. Our heroes take the prime minister, his successor and the successor's aide on a simulated train ride, and simulate a crash. The successor and his aide are informed that the prime minister had burned to death, and the successor takes the oath of office and orders his aide to start the Reign of Terror. That's when our heroes strike the set and Oh Crap, he's Not Quite Dead. The successor is ordered to resign.
  • The Middleman, obviously, puts its own spin on it.
    Wendy: I'm using you for kindling.
    Puppet!Vlad Tepes: I have a few friends standing behind you who might disagree.
    Wendy: That might have worked in 1459, but today's woman is a little more savvy... You created vampire puppet minions and they're all standing behind me, aren't they?
    Puppet!Vlad Tepes: Guilty!
  • A hilarious example in the first episode of Titus:
    Titus: ... and I made more last year than you did any year of your life, what do you think about that?
    Dad: (pops beer, alerting everyone to his presence) I think without me pushing you, you never would've made it.
  • This is played with in Tomica Hero Rescue Fire
    Tatsuya: What a surprise, Tsubasa is really nice towards kids!
    Yuuma: Tsubasa? That's different from the image he gives off.
    Qsuke: If you gossip about him he'll appear...
  • Played straight, for laughs, in an episode of Space: Above and Beyond, where the Wildcards discuss what they'll all do after the war is over, and speculate on their squadron commander, who has been a Marine since birth.
    Lt. Paul Wang: Can you imagine if he was anything else? Like a plumber?
    Wang: (imitating Lt. Col. McQueen) Okay, listen up. This one's in the kitchen. I'm here to fix your faucet, so check your six. I'm gonna replace the strainer part, and I'm gonna replace the washer. It's gonna be a real knife fight. Now I'm gonna utilize a monkey wrench and perhaps even a plunger. And when I'm done, you'll have water.
    (McQueen enters)
    Wang: It'll be hot, and it'll be cold. And one more thing.
    (Wang flips table)
    Wang: It's okay to be scared. (realizes McQueen is standing behind him) Sir, sir, it... It's the greatest form of flattery. Sir.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Radar telling Colonel Blake that Frank Burns wants to see him.
    Blake: Well, tell him I'm not in!
    Radar: Yes, sir. (starts to walk out of Blake's office; Burns walks in while Blake's back is turned) Sir?
    Blake: (his back turned to the door, as he pours himself a drink) Frank Burns has to be the biggest horse's patoot on this post.
    Burns: You think so?
    • M*A*S*H was very fond of these. At one point, Frank yells at Radar that he can't play tricks on him because (paraphrased), "I'm not that old moron you work for." Later in the same episode, he tells his suspicious wife that Major Houlihan is nothing but a "war horse" and an "army mule"... while she's listening on the other phone.
  • From the Doctor Who episode "Flesh and Stone":
    River Song: If he's dead back there, I'll never forgive myself. And if he's alive, I'll never forgive him. And Doctor, you're standing Right Behind Me, aren't you?
    The Doctor: Yeah.
    River Song: (turns around to see the Doctor grinning smugly at her) I hate you.
  • The Closer likes this, though without the actual line. In one episode, Provenza is mimicking/mocking Brenda's accent and crime scene handling techniques, only for her to speak up, from behind him, with her infamous "Thank yew" Catch Phrase (and an Oh Crap expression on his face). Played with in a later episode, Brenda storms into the room, ranting and demanding that the rest of the team tell her where Flynn and Provenza are; in the middle of the rant, they walk in behind her, and the others clue her in by motioning for her to turn around (since they can't get a word in edgewise). Played with as the people who are Right Behind Me are the ones in for the embarrassment.
  • Supernatural has one in the episode "The Third Man" when they're praying for Castiel to turn up.
    Sam: I told you, the son of a bitch never answers! (sees Dean looking at something right behind him) He's right behind me, isn't he?
    • Not played for laughs in "The Man Who Would Be King". Sam & Bobby suspect Castiel of working in secret with demon Crowley; while they're arguing over this possibility with Dean, Castiel is shown to be standing behind them. As it turns out, he's invisible to everyone in the room. Later Cas turns up to save them from some demons sent by Crowley, and the boys apologise for doubting him. Castiel pretends to be hurt that they didn't just ask about their suspicions but says he'll forgive them, making a joke that inadvertently reveals he was listening in on their earlier conversation.
  • Danger: UXB. Lieutenant Ash delivers a defused bomb to Dr Gillespie and his daughter Susan, who are building a Heath Robinson contraption in their backyard for steaming explosives out of unexploded German bombs. Ash later reports to his superiors on the phone, deriding the device as completely impractical and describing Gillespie as the proverbial Mad Scientist who even has a Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter — said daughter has just entered the room behind him.
  • In one episode of Sherlock, John takes his date, Sarah, to a Chinese circus that Sherlock recommended, only to become furious when Sherlock invites himself along to continue investigating a case. One scene has them arguing in a hallway while Sarah is off somewhere else.
    John: Has it not occured to you that I might have other things on my mind?
    Sherlock: *exasperated* Like what?
    John: *pulls an epic "are you serious" face* You are kidding, right? You're showing up while I'm....
    Sherlock: What?
    John: *loudly* WHILE I'M TRYING TO GET OFF WITH SARAH! *Sarah walks up behind him at this exact moment and he tries to play it off* Heeyyyy....
  • On the "Eggsit Strategy" episode of The King of Queens, this trope is satirized. Carrie is talking to her coworkers about her boss, Mr. Kaplan, in an unflattering way. When her coworkers have blank looks on their faces, she is worried that her boss is standing right behind her, but he isn't.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "Hyde's Christmas Rager", Eric drunkenly mocks Red: "I'm Red! I don't like parties... 'cause I'm a big, bald, party pooper!" He then turns around, sees Red behind him, and makes matters even worse by throwing up on his shoes.
  • In Becker, when John is being chewed out again by Reggie and Linda for not immediately telling them about Craig two-timing them and being married. A rant ensues:
    Becker: Look, let... let's get something straight. In the future, I don't want to know anything. If either of you have any secrets I don't want to know. If either of you think they have something that I might like to know, I don't want to know. In fact, if anything happens to anybody anyplace, anytime, please don't tell me 'cause as I may have mentioned, I don't want to know! You know whose fault this is, you know when you come right down to it, it's Margaret that big-mouth busybody, you know she just... she's the one who told me to get involved with this in the first place. You know, she's really brave when she's pushing other people around but when it's her turn to tell you guys something where the hell is she?
    Margaret: Right behind you.
    Becker: ...Now that I would have liked to have known.
    • In another episode this is subverted Margaret starts saying things about Becker while he's sitting behind her. He starts to say something, but without even turning around she says she knows he's behind her.
  • Heartbeat. One of the policeman is doing an impersonation of humorless Sergeant Blaketon just as he enters the room. Fortunately the imitation is of him saying "Never believe a word that Claude Greengrass says". Needless to say Blaketon approves this sensible policy.
  • In Castle, Ryan and Castle are talking about a suspect, who apparently had special relationships with many women in a hospital but wasn't sleeping with any of them.
    Castle: No, makes no sense. (Beckett walks up) Why spend all that time listening to women and buying them things if you're not gonna try and sleep with them? (notices Beckett) Beckett's here.
  • This happens several times on Yes Dear, where an adult says something unflattering about his/her son or nephew, only to turn around and realize said relative is behind the adult and taking in the whole statement all along.
  • An episode of California Dreams has Tiffany talking about Matt's breakup to Jenny without realizing Matt is standing behind her despite Jenny's subtle hints. By the time Tiffany becomes aware after Jenny makes an obvious hint, it's already too late and Jenny isn't happy: "What did you think I was doing — scratch my neck?"
  • It happens on Hannah Montana as well, notably when a female school bully is terrorizing Miley in the lunch room, who is venting about it to Lilly.
  • Married... with Children: As Al was telling Griff he's skipping work to help Kelly, Gary was entering the shop. Trying to warn Al, Griff said her (yes, that Gary is a woman) name. Not understanding, Al told Griff not to fear the boss and ranted until he saw her.
    Al Please, don't fire me.
  • It happens a lot in El Chavo del ocho and El Chapulín Colorado. The person being insulted usually taps the person's shoulder, and he answers by telling him "Hold on" without even turning around. At least, not turning around until the third time, at which point he realizes the mistake.
  • It happens in the awesome Saturday Night Live sketch Hamm and Buble. The episode's host and musical guest, Jon Hamm and Michael Buble, respectively were opening a restaurant called "Hamm and Buble", with Buble as a performer. As soon as Hamm stepped away, a frightened Buble promptly revealed that Hamm was in fact holding him prisoner and forcing him into the endeavor, begging viewers to call the police, then whispering, "I have a feeling he's standing Right Behind Me" (which he was, in fact). He does this all to the tune of his classic "I Haven't Met You Yet".
  • A variation from an episode of Blackadder the Third: Blackadder has finally had enough of the Prince's stupidity and leaves (with a parting insult for Baldrick). After he walks out Baldrick mutters "Goodbye, you pasty-faced, big-nosed, rubber-necked bastard." He slowly looks up just as Blackadder re-enters the room, having been in earshot the whole time.
    • What really sells this is the Studio Audience; they laugh a bit at Baldrick's insult, then absolutely bust up laughing as Baldrick looks up.
  • Lampshaded in Home and Away. Liam talks about how he's having trouble adjusting to coming home to "a crazy Dolly Parton wannabe". After seeing Bianca's reaction, he asks if Irene is behind him. She is.
  • On Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Tyler frustratedly insults a bully who was picking on him and Nicole, to Nicole. Fortunately, they got bailed out fairly quickly afterwards.
  • In Dirk Gently, Dirk explains to Macduff the fractured relationship he has with his cleaner.
    Dirk: It's like a horror movie for OCD sufferers, with Elaina as the vampric witch of the piece.
    (Macduff attempts to indicate behind Dirk with his eyebrows}
    Dirk: ... But she's got a heart of gold really. Salt of the earth. Lovely woman.
  • This exchange in the Criminal Minds episode "The Bittersweet Science".
    Garcia: (via webcam) Okay, Rossi, out with it. Is Hotch dating anyone?
    Rossi: (leans in to the webcam) I. Don't. Know
    Reid: You know, statistically, widowed men start dating much faster than females, but Hotch is refuting the data. It's been two years and 19 days.
    Garcia: Venus has aligned with Mars, which means love is in the air and maybe we will have weekends off.
    Morgan: (sees Hotch and clears throat to warn Garcia)
    Garcia: What? Is he standing there? He's standing there, isn't he?
    Hotch: Hello, Garcia.
    • Garcia even lampshades this a second time when she first meets Alex Blake
    Garcia: (after everyone falls silent) Oh my God, I'm doing that thing when I'm talking and the person is right...behind...me.
    Blake: You must be Penelope.
  • Frasier - "When There's Smoke, There's Fired" - Bulldog and KACL's new owner.
  • Mad Men - The night after a party at the Drapers', Harry is talking to Stan about what he'd do to Megan - who walks up behind him as he gets more...descriptive.
    Harry: I would've just stood up and grabbed her little French behind and pushed her through those cheap-post-four-walls.
    Stan: Hi, Megan.
    Harry: Very funny. God, what I would do to her...
  • In the Sports Night episode "The Apology", Dan is supposed to be meeting with CSC executives, but he's decided to make them wait:
    Casey: Go to your meeting.
    Dan: I told you, I'm making them wait.
    Casey: No, you're making them mad.
    Dan: No, I am making them anxious.
    Casey: (sees Isaac come into the room) I think you're just making them mad. I think Isaac specifically is mad.
    Dan: No, Isaac's on my team. Isaac understands me. Isaac has a highly developed sense of right and wrong, and he is hip to my battle plan.
    Casey: Dan, he's standing right behind you.
    Dan: (turns around) How you doing? Casey and I were just talking about your highly developed sense of right and wrong, and I was just saying...
    Isaac: Go sit your sorry ass down in that meeting.
    Dan: On my way, sir.
  • On an episode of ROY, Roy is doing an impersonation of the headmaster, unaware that the head has just stepped out the classroom behind him. He finally notices his friend's frantic stop gestures and finishes with "He's behind me, isn't he?".
  • A non-funny version on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Phil blasts Will for revealing his humble beginnings to a newspaper, unaware that his increasingly hurt and angry mother is standing behind him until she finally blasts him for being ashamed of his upbringing. And a typical one in another episode when Phil is boasting about how he stands up to Vivian if and when she tries bossing him around, only to look downright terrified when she sharply speaks up. To make matters worse, this is the second time in the episode that this has happened, the first incident somehow failing to make him Genre Savvy.
  • From an episode of Suits: Mike has just learned that Harvey is about to fire a senior accountant at a firm because he lied about his degree - exactly what Mike himself has also done.
    Harvey: Relax. That's not going to happen to you.
    Mike: But I would get fired if Jessica found out?
    Jessica: Found out what?
  • On ER, Doug and other staff members are hanging out in the lounge discussing Kerry Weaver, whom none of them can stand. Doug begins mocking and mimicking her, much to everyone else's delight. Suddenly he freezes and looks over their shoulders. They turn around to see a genuinely hurt Weaver standing there.
  • On Revenge, Nolan's expressing mock sympathy to Emily about her (staged, which Nolan doesn't know) breakup with Aiden when Aiden comes up behind him and says hello.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which as a Joss Whedon production is naturally trope-ridden, features Agent Ward using this trope to the word: "Last time we saw this guy he was a homicidal maniac...he's standing right behind me, isn't he?"
  • Rome. Cisero is paying his respects to Brutus and the fellow conspirators in the murder of Julius Caesar, but complains when he finds they've left Marc Antony alive. Cisero then decides he's got urgent business in the country and makes to leave, but not before saluting the "immortal liberators" from the tyrannic Caesar. Cisero then turns and bumps into Marc Antony who's just entered the room. Everyone enjoys his discomfiture.
  • In an episode of Neds Declassified School Survival Guide, Missy taunts Mose by saying that she's cheated her way onto the honor roll for years and despite Mose's best attempts, she will never get caught. Unfortunately, the teachers were right behind her and they promptly throw her honor wall plaque into the trash.

    Radio 
  • A sketch on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme parodies this with a guy who launches into a tirade against his new boss, trailing off with "...and he's right behind me, isn't he?" His coworkers respond with "No... of course not, we'd have said something." He then reveals, with the air of a man admitting to a compulsive disorder, that he's a sitcom character, and really needs the "scene" to resolve itself humorously, and gets more and more anxious at the lack of a punchline. However, as the boss is out of the office there's nothing to be done, until;
    Colleague: Don't worry, I'll handle this - my brother's a sitcom character too. What's that you say about the new boss, Colin?
    Colin: He's ugly and stupid and bald and awful!
    Colleague: He's also in charge of who gets a Christmas bonus this year.
    Colin: ...and I won't hear a word said against him! Ohthankyousomuch.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • Pretty much the entire point of Slender.
  • In Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP), Dorne says some not-completely-pleasant things to Roddick about their mutual friend Millie. Guess what happens. Not pretty.
  • Invoked in the Team Fortress 2 short "Meet the Spy", as a form of Tempting Fate:
    BLU Soldier: All right, who's ready to go find this Spy?
    RED Spy: Right behind you.
    (Gory Discretion Shot)
    • Spy also got his theme in the same update, named "Right Behind You".
  • Wing Commander Prophecy: The player character starts bad-mouthing Commodore Blair. Inevitably, he appears. At which point the rookie goes into full generic recruit greeting a senior officer mode.
  • This happens with a boss in Iji if you do a pacifist run, thus letting you stay pacifist.
  • Early on in Kingdom Hearts, when Donald Duck first discovers that King Mickey has left on a secret mission:
    Donald: We've got a problem, Goofy! But don't tell anyone...
    Goofy: (looking past Donald) Queen Minnie?
    Donald: Not even the queen!
    Goofy: Daisy?
    Donald: No, it's top secret!
    Goofy: G'morning, ladies.
    (Donald winces when he realizes that Queen Minnie and Daisy are standing behind him)
  • There's one quest in the online RPG AdventureQuest which includes the phrase "The giant sea monster is right behind me, isn't it?" early on. The sea monster in question really is giant, too, as it was seen knocking a pirate captain's ship (Captain Rhubarb's, to be extact) over in the background as if it were a bath toy.
  • In Etna mode of Disgaea, a prinny starts bragging about how he'd like to beat Etna to a pulp, not realizing that she's standing right behind him. Her reaction?
    "Even if you were just joking, I'm still gonna kill you!♥"
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam is given the chance to interrupt two Sarif employees discussing the fact that he was kicked out of the police force following a scandal, and politely inform them that he chose to resign in the hopes of preserving his integrity.
  • After the Sur'Kesh mission in Mass Effect 3, you can overhear Mordin giving advice to Joker on how he can have sex with EDI's new body. At the end...
    Joker: Hey, can you make sure not to tell Shepard about this?
    Mordin: Guarantee Shepard won't hear about it from me.
    Joker: ...(s)he's standing right there, isn't (s)he?
  • In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, Moneybags laments how much money he's lost due to Ripto's invasion of Avalar, and if Ripto was here right now, he'd give him a piece of his mind, as he was a boxer at university. Ripto and Gulp are creeping up behind him the entire time, and he doesn't realise until he's finished his monologue.
    Ripto: Boo.
  • Moebius in Legacy of Kain Defiance gloats about how he used his Chess Master skills to bring about Kain's demise, only for Kain to reveal that he not only survived, but is currently standing right behind him.
  • At one point in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, Nanaca mimics her brother Juris's harsh tone, only for him to approach right behind her.
  • Sakura Wars 3: In chapter 8, Father Leno tells Ogami to tell Erica not to come back to the convent because her constant clumsiness keeps causing them trouble. Unfortunately, Erica has just reentered the room and runs off completely heartbroken.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai Yamato often acts and talks as if Miyako is right behind him, even when he's alone in his room - because she usually is. In one particular storyline, when Gakuto and Moro are complaining to Yamato about how scary girls are, Yamato wisely keeps quiet, predicting - accurately - the imminent arrival (and subsequent beatdown initiated by) the girls of the family. It certainly helps that at that point, he was still going steady with his girlfriend.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, late in Emi's route, if you choose to talk to her mother, Emi will suddenly appear on scene, having overheard a significant part of the conversation, and throw Hisao out of the house. Averted in Hanako's route; while Lilly and Hisao talk about Hanako's birthday, Lilly hears Hanako returning and cuts off the conversation before she can find out.

    Web Animation 
  • Played with in Homestar Runner. In the Strong Bad Email animal, Strong Bad remarks that his made-up animal Sterrance is "way cuter than that smelly old washed-up The Cheat". When the Cheat turns out to be standing next to Strong Bad, and understandably annoyed, SB says to him "I know you heard me, and I stand by it!"
    • An even stranger version in an easter egg of Strong Bad Email Cliffhangers is where Homestar starts talking about how he thinks Homestar (IE himself) stole Strong Bad's computer. Strong Bad asks if he's confessing and he tries to cover it up. A similar occurrence happens in another Easter Egg with Bubs and Coach Z.
    • Not addressed by name, but in SBEmail #55, Strong Bad calls for The Cheat, and then his brother Strong Mad after talking about them, only to be startled by them already standing next to him before he can finish yelling.
  • In Part 3 of Red vs. Blue Chapter 7's ODST... thing, Church is making very bad analogies about the sheer badassery that is Sergeant Johnson ending with "he can be anywhere, any place, at any time...he's right behind me right now, isn't he?" And Johnson is directly behind him.
    • This is both subverted and played straight in that, despite the fact that Johnson is on the same side as Church (subversion), the results still are not pretty (played straight).
  • RWBY: In Episode 10, Weiss and Ruby argue about all the reasons why Ruby is a terrible choice for team leader. Declaring that Ozpin made a mistake, Weiss storms off. A dejected Ruby turns around to find Ozpin standing directly behind her and realises he's overheard every single word.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • A variation in the second episode of Superman: The Animated Series:
    Perry: Good timing, Lois. I want you to be the first to know I'm hiring a new guy on the city desk
    Lois: Is he cute?
    Perry: Umm... you tell me.
    Lois: Oh. Hi.
    Clark: Hello.
  • Justice League Unlimited had this with a slight twist in the beginning of ''The Once and Future Thing,'' as it didn't involve insults...at least not exactly.
    Green Lantern: Anyway, why are we always talking about my love life? What's going on between you and Diana?
    Batman: Nothing. She's a respected colleague.
    Green Lantern: Uh-huh.
    Batman: I don't have time to pursue a relationship. My work is too important to allow any distractions. Diana is a remarkable woman, she's a valued friend. She's... standing right behind me, isn't she?
    Wonder Woman: Don't let that stop you — keep digging.
  • Parodied on Futurama in "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back":
    Bender: That pencil-pushing scazwag. Why, if she were here, I'd... uh-oh. She's right behind me, isn't she?
    (camera angle changes)
    Morgan: No, I'm in front of you.
    Bender: (high-pitched scream)
  • Danny Phantom: In The Million Dollar Ghost, Danny complains to his friends about his Bumbling Dad.
    Danny: Did you see the way all those ghost hunters were laughing at him? How embarrassing! We're all gonna have to live with my dad's goof-ups for the rest of our lives.
    (Sam clears her throat)
    Danny: He's right behind me, isn't he?
    Jack: (sadly) Yes, I'm afraid he is.
  • Rugrats: The babies have figured out Angelica is the one who broke Tommy's clown lamp, but instead of denying it, she just gloats.
    Angelica: Yeah, I did it. And I'd break it again if I had the chance. But you know what? There's nothing you babies can do about it 'cause you can't talk! Ha-ha! I did it! I did it! I did it...
    Didi: Angelica!
    Angelica: Oops.
  • Subverted in an episode of Three Delivery; Sid does an unflattering impersonation of the strict and grumpy Mr. Wu, but despite Tobey and Sue's expressions, doesn't realize Mr. Wu is behind him until he interrupts Sid... by congratulating him, mistaking the impression for actually telling the other two off.
  • Subverted in Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time: Kim has defeated two main villains and taunts them about it.
    Duff Killigan: Oh, it's not just the two of us, lassie.
    Kim: Oh, and I'm supposed to be surprised that Drakken is right behind me?
    Drakken: (appearing behind her) How does she do that!?!
    Kim: A ninja, you're not.
  • Humourously parodied on The Secret Saturdays where after Argost runs off, Doc notes that their mission is over, but then a monster appears behind Doc, as they are trying to get him to turn around, he says, "No, the mission is over, I don't care about the monster behind me."
  • In an episode of Robotboy, Tommy and Gus are bad-mouthing Protoboy, Robotboy's psycho brother in front of Robotboy. What they don't know is that Protoboy has switched bodies with Robotboy and can hear everything they say about him. He tries to restrain himself, but it gets violent anyway.
  • Subverted and lampshaded in Slappy Squirrel's very first short from Animaniacs: when talking about the cartoon's antagonist, Doug the Dog, she notices when Skippy goes into a frozen take. Genre Savvy to a fault, she whips a giant club out of her purse and clonks Doug without even looking back.
  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofensmirtz mistakes a deep-voiced woman for a man, and rambles to Perry the Platypus about how often that must happen to her... then slowly realizes she's stepped out of her car to give him a thrashing and is standing right behind him.
  • In the Toonsylvania episode, "Baby Human", Igor creates a baby... human... thing... that has a ferocious appetite and runs wild throughout the castle. While searching for it in the basement...
    Dr. Vic: What? Why are you looking at me like th— Oh dear. The baby's on my head, isn't it?
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, the moment Shirley the Loon leaves the practice room, the four snooty swan dancers make mocking comments about her personality and accent. Cut to a devastated Shirley opening the door a while later, saying she forgot her shoes. This might have been intentional though.
  • Parodied on Family Guy, where a corpse in a blue suit is dropped into the ocean. We then cut to a pair of fish having a conversation, one saying, "You know what I hate? A guy in a blue suit!" and then when his conversation partner makes a pained face as the body floats by, the fish adds "... there's one right behind me, isn't there?"
  • On one episode of The Proud Family (Tiger Whisperer):
    (Oscar is trying to leave to see a basketball game before his wife catches him)
    Oscar: You know women can't stand to see men having fun without 'em. Of course, that's the only way a man can have fun. (laughs) She's right behind me, isn't she?
    Felix: 'Fraid so, pumpkin-head.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius keeps listing off multiple insults to the huge monster that keeps beating him up. In every instance, it's right behind him.
  • Happens to Reef when he is trying to persuade Fin to let him into Ty's room during the Stoked! episode "Board and Confused".
  • Happens in the My Gym Partners A Monkey episode "Robo Frog 3000", with one of the shortest intervals ever between uttering the comment and realising that the individual in question (in this case a robotic warthog) is right behind them.
  • At the beginning of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Revenge of the Trees", Steve is making fun of his boss, Dr. Weird ("Gentlemen! Fill me with barbecue sauce, 'cause I'm dumb as hell!"), and quite unable to understand a Mexican janitor's attempts to warn him that Dr. Weird's giant disembodied head is behind him, about to bite his head off.
  • The season 1 finale has American Dragon Jake Long mocking Rotwood by singing a song about him. However, Rotwood caught him from behind and that's how Jake got sent to the principal's office.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Devil May Hare" Bugs Bunny is warning a fawn about Taz: "He's a mean, vicious, nasty, no good, baggy-eyed, marble-headed ignoramorous! He's a stupid... " only to realize that Taz is standing right behind him, his response "Flattery will get you nowhere" and tries to bite his face off.
    • In Baseball Bugs, Bugs is mocking the Gashouse Gorillas team and says he can beat them all by himself. He closes his eyes as he continues his rant, and opens them to see the team surrounding him, causing him to utter a nervous "What's up, doc?".
  • Happens in the Eek! The Cat episode "Paws", when the titular cat keeps talking about a cut on his finger as the still-gigantic goldfish rises from the water. He screams.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee had this happen to the title character:
    June: I mean, there is no question that Marcus is a ninth-degree babe with the great hair and the cute smile, but that doesn't change the fact that he's standing right behind me, right?
  • The Simpsons: One Christmas Episode had Homer being called out for his selfishness by some coworkers. Homer then described Mr. Burns as being more selfish and mentioned other aspects about him. Fortunately, Mr. Burns assumed he was talking about a woman who works at the plant. Said woman soon appeared.
    • In another episode, Homer arrived more than 24 hours late for work and commented how good it was Mr. Burns didn't catch him. He then heard Mr. Burns' ahem sound. Rather than turning around to see his boss, Homer tried to use his sense of touch to settle doubts. Once he was sure Mr. Burns was behind him, he stated he won't get in trouble if he doesn't turn around and see Mr. Burns. Smithers was accepting this until Mr. Burns turned Homer's chair.
  • Garfield and Friends: In the episode "Jumping Jon", Garfield hosted a segment called "Great Moments in Stupidity". One of Jon's moments was Jon flirting with a karate teacher's girlfriend while insulting said teacher. Three guesses on who the huge man behind Jon readying himself to deliver a beating was. The first two don't count.
  • In Six Teen, Jen starts badmouthing her boss right as the man appears behind her. She catches her self and changes her rant too little too late.
  • An episode of Regular Show has Rigby insulting his boss and talking about how he doesn't care about getting his work done. He is immediately fired, but gets another chance, again. However, Benson gets the last laugh when he subjects Rigby to having his mentor be Muscle Man when the former begs for his job back in the same episode.
    • Also happens when Benson is replaced as boss. Guess who the victim is this time?
  • This happens in Franklin in "Franklin and the Puppet Play." Beaver had been directing a puppet production of Little Red Riding Hood, but was so bossy she managed to completely get on Bear, Franklin and Goose's nerves. The group starts using the puppets to make fun of her while she's not around, but then she enters the room. Goose notices what happened and gets Bear's attention, but Franklin keeps going, unaware that Beaver is in the room, until he realizes that he's no longer getting a response from Goose and Bear. He then looks up, and Beaver sobs and runs away.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Happens when K'nuckles is mocking Worthington in "Who's Moochin' Who?".
  • In Big Top Scooby-Doo!, Shaggy is talking to the others about the werewolf when he notices them staring silently at him. He asks "You'd tell me if the werewolf was right behind me, wouldn't you?". Naturally, it is.
  • Johnny Bravo offered a much nicer version of this trope than usual: When Johnny fails to make enough money to buy a Mother's Day gift, Little Suzy advises him to just tell his Momma how he feels. Dejected, Johnny sits on the front step of his house and wonders what he could say. Of course, Momma comes out the front door at the start of Johnny's speech and, after hearing him talk about how much she means to him, sweeps Johnny up in a big hug and says that having a sweet son like him is the best present of all.

    Real Life 
  • According to his own account, Harlan Ellison was fired after his first day in Walt Disney Studios for jokingly suggesting a pornographic animated film — Roy Disney was right behind him.
  • There exists a tape of a British journalist doing a live broadcast at a political event, speaking critically of the fact that few of the reporters at the event were willing to ask the hard questions, preferring to curry favour with Prime Minister Thatcher. As he concluded his rant, the camera moved aside to show a very amused Ms. Thatcher and her entourage had come up behind him. The journalist, without bothering to look, moaned, "She's right behind me, isn't she?"
  • Although not standing right behind someone, this situation sometimes happens on The Internet due to Lurkers, Sock Puppets, or just simply because users do not suspecting another user of being around.
  • Frequently the source of Laser-Guided Karma on Not Always Right and spinoff sites. Claim to know the owner for discounts or while abusing the employees? The owner's behind you. Mistreat the customers or your subordinate employees? Your boss (or worse, somebody from corporate) is behind you.
  • Brazilian website chargesdotcomdotbr once mocked 2002 Presidential candidate Ciro Gomes over his refusal of the support from impeached President Fernando Collor de Melo. In that story, Gomes was being interviewed over his decision and listed Collor's faults. The now deceased Antônio Carlos Magalhães, who used to be a big political name in the state of Bahia back then, showed up behind Ciro Gomes and assumed the candidate was talking about him. In the end, Ciro Gomes was trying to explain he was talking about Collor.
  • In the 9/11 documentary filmed by the Naudet brothers. The two had been separated during the whole thing and each feared that the other was dead. One of them has gotten back to the firehouse and is pestering the returning firefighters as to whether or not they know where his brother is. One of them finally tells him, "Yes, he's behind you." The man turns around to see his brother walking into the firehouse and the two proceed to collapse in each others arms and weep tears of relief that each other is alive.


Nobody Here But Us BirdsInvisibility IndexSee the Invisible
A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an EnigmaStock PhrasesRight Under Their Noses
Revealing HugAlice and BobRight in Front of Me
Ridiculous ProcrastinatorComedy TropesRight in Front of Me
Releasing from the PromiseImageSource/Web ComicsSave the Villain

alternative title(s): Right Behind You
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
218816
0