When a person, more often than not a woman, is shown behind a backlighted screen of some kind, usually during a conversation with a man. The person is often undressing while doing so.
Expect her to have to bend down. A lot. Slowly
. Expect also that the screen—which is apparently supposed to ensure some form of modesty—will be as thin as paper and positioned right in front of a source of light, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination and thus utterly defeating its supposed purpose.
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Anime and Manga
- Played in a sophisticated manner in Le Petit Spirou, where the curvaceous Maths teacher is seen waiting for a car lift. It's dark and headlights casts a clean shadow of her against a nearby wall. Add the fact her skirt is rather sheer, and that's about as nude as a fully dressed person's shadow can be. Cue slow motion walking.
- Quite a lot of this in Sin City.
- Lyla Lay in Paperinik New Adventures when she changes from her normal clothes to her Time Police armor in the 1997 special.
- Just about every title sequence of a James Bond movie will feature these. See page image for the idea.
- Played with in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Eddy sees what he thinks is the silhouette of Jessica Rabbit in a hotel window, but once he gets up there, much to his horror it turns out to be Lena Hyena from Li'l Abner.
- Speaking of rabbits, Lola Bunny intentionally makes one as she enters the arena at the start of the game in Space Jam.
- Austin Powers
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Alotta Fagina did one of these in her room while Austin sat there watching.
- Played with in the second Austin Powers movie, with the tent scene.
- Used in some Busby Berkeley Numbers.
- The second The Cannonball Run movie had some girls changing in the back seat with a blanket hanging in front—when a track pulls up behind with high beams to highlight them perfectly. Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise (who think that the ladies are nuns—they're actually just actresses just playing nuns) are practially biting their lips in the front seat.
- Spoofed in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult when Tanya (Anna Nicole Smith) undresses behind a screen but reveals a Biggus Dickus, much to the chagrin of Frank Drebin and Rocco.
- Played straight in The Shadow, when Penelope Ann Miller's character strips behind one of these while talking to Alec Baldwin's character.
- In Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler does this to Sherlock Holmes.
- Played around with in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Robin and Marian are both behind a curtain that they don't know is see-through, and Robin, as he finishes an incredibly overdone opera-style love song, drops to one knee, causing his sword scabbard to rise up like a...you know.
- A character arc point in A Very Brady Sequel revolves around Greg and Marcia watching each other in this way. Then, they figure out that, well, if Roy is alive, then, well...yeah.
- In Leap Year, this trope is played with when Amy Adams showers, unaware that her love interest is watching her silhouette through the curtain—he points this out to embarrass her, and then gives her a similar show.
- Nicolette Sheridan got one in Beverly Hills Ninja. And so did Chris Farley.
- In No Good Deed, Erin has a shower in front of Jack who is tied to a chair. As Jack tries to escape in the foreground, in the background, we see Erin's shapely body behind the shower door.
- In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, when the T-X walks down the street naked, her whole body from behind is covered in shadow. It's quite sexy.
Live Action TV
- Willow in a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ohhhh.
- T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) in the "Carbon Creek" episode of Enterprise.
- Rachel does it in the hospital during the "Laryngitis" episode of Glee, prompting Finn's rendition of "Jessie's Girl".
- Eureka's Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) while taking a shower in "Momstrosity".
- In an episode of Seinfeld George visits his mother at the hospital and sees the silhouette of her roommate getting a sponge bath from a sexy nurse. He revisits at the same time the next day just to see that happen again.
- In the episode when he and Jerry are Mistaken for Gay, he sees the exact same thing happen with a male nurse and a male patient.
- Truck Stop features the "Mudflap girl" silhouette on a playfield road sign, along with the caption "Dangerous Curves".
- The Crystal Flash move in Super Metroid has Samus surrounded by a blinding corona of energy, with only her silhouette, either stark naked or in her skintight "Zero Suit" visible-it's even more apparent in the "official artwork", that she's naked as the day she was born and shows a very nice view of her bottom.
- Happened at least once on Futurama.
- In a nice Parent Service, Minerva Mink does this in Animaniacs.
- Subverted in The Prince of Egypt: The silhouette turns out to be a bound bodyguard's.
- Happens to Mulan in the beginning of the movie, as she is getting changed at the Matchmaker's.
- The "mudflap girl" silhouette, popularized since The Seventies on semi tractors and pickup trucks, is arguably the most famous version of this trope.