In a Beach Episode, characters can play a prank by outlining words or shapes on a sunbathing target so that when the Tan Lines develop, said words or shapes are displayed on the body. Alternatively, this may happen accidentally or even intentionally. Compare with Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!. In the Beach Episode, Shinka and Sanae (who also suffered an Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn) do this on each other's backs, and neither knows what the other did until the next episode.
- A story in an Archie comic, in which Archie is dating Veronica, has Archie wondering about getting a tattoo or something for Veronica, then dozing off at the beach under a blanket with two small tears in it. On waking up, he discovers that he's one-upped the other beachgoers by getting 'branded' with a 'V'. On his forehead, no less.
- In one early issue of Supreme Power, Superman-expy Hyperion visits a confessional, seeking guidance for how to handle his realization that The Government is using him for not-so-nice ends. At one point, Hyperion briefly loses his temper at the priest's vague guidance, causing Hyperion's eyes to flare. When the priest leaves the confessional, he's left with a strange patterned tan - the result of Hyperion's heat vision shining through the grill of the confessional.
- In Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Asshole Victim Harris falls alseep in the sun and gets "Dork" written on his chest in sunscreen by prankster Eric Lassard, the Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Mahoney. Cut to random strangers on the beach addressing him, "Hi, dork."
- In Surf's Up, a penguin is seen sunbathing, his flipper resting on his belly. When he moves the flipper, it leaves an outline on his sunburned underside.
- In The Inbetweeners, Simon reluctantly rubs suntan lotion onto Will's back, except for a portion Simon scrapes away with his fingernail in the shape of a penis. Will's love interest, Alison, then points out the embarrassing results.
- House: A patient sees House during his clinic hours about weird white spots he acquired while sunbathing, believing it to be some kind of rash. House uses his combined skills of Doctor Jerk and Sherlock Scan to figure out that the man's son is a practical jokester with coins in his pocket; he placed the coins on his dad while he was sleeping.
- An old Benny Hill gag has Benny walking down a beach and seeing a tough guy sitting in the sand who has the tan line on his back of a bikini top.
- In another Benny Hill longform sketch, Benny plays a movie spy à la James Bond or Mr. Steed. The camera zooms in on him while he's wearing some sunglasses; he dramatially whips them off to reveal...another pair of sunglasses. He then takes those off to reveal a strip of white skin across his face while the rest is tanned bordering on sunburned.
- MAD artist Al Jaffee drew a young woman sunning herself prone on a public beach. Two mischievous boys positioned a cardboard cutout of a hand just above the middle of the woman's back. This created an untanned silhouette of the fake hand, which went unnoticed until the woman returned home. Her husband noticed the "handprint" and began to rail at his wife for dallying with another man.
- In a Zits, Jeremy spelled out 'SARA' in sunburn using an actual stencil. This worked well till Sara was so touched by his gesture that she hugged him.
- FoxTrot: When Paige fell asleep while sunbaking, Jason went looking for the magnetic letters from the refrigerator to spell out a message on her back, but his mother stopped him.
- Garfield Sunday comic for July 13, 1997◊. In the title panel we see Jon's suntanned chest with the word "Garfield" on it. Garfield is nearby grinning and holding a bottle of sun block, which he applied to Jon before his tanning session to "write" the word there.
- In the Neil Simon play The Star-Spangled Girl, we're told that Andy spends time with the landlady in lieu of paying rent. At one point they go surfing; Andy later describes his sunburn in detail, saying that he has the outline of a bird from where a seagull passed over them while they were out at sea waiting in vain for waves.
- A Barbie-like doll called "Suntan Tuesday Taylor" was actually able to tan in the sun. A commercial showed girls putting a star-shaped sticker on the doll before tanning, followed by the results.
- One of Strong Bad's suggestions for breaching a sensitive topic to a colleague involves writing it in a "reverse sunburn on your brother's giant, square, billboard-sized back". Cue Strong Mad peeling off the top of his singlet to reveal the message Strong Bad had left there for Coach Z: "Your tiny bathing suit demeans us all".
- In the Futurama episode "The Deep South", Bender steals Amy's parasol while she's sunbathing (to use as a fishing hook). Later on, she wakes up with sunburn and gets angry. Bender protests that he put sunblock on her - cut to a shot of her back:
"Honk if Bender Is Great"
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer volunteers at a Habitat For Humanity build. He takes off his wedding ring so it won't get paint stained, and Cookie Kwan thinks he's recently divorced or widowed because of the tan line on his finger.
- Tanning stickers in different shapes can be placed on a person's body when she goes out tanning. When the person is finished tanning, the sticker is removed, leaving a little untanned spot in the shape of the sticker.