Turning to an animal, wild or pet, for a Reaction Shot to a comedy moment. Sometimes included in a series of such shots from the humans in the room. Commonly used as a way to revitalize a dying joke.
Occasionally accompanied by an Inner Monologue or subtitled animal noises. The animal in question usually says something entirely unlike what the human character believes it is thinking.
See also Even the Dog Is Ashamed.
- There's a series of commercials for a pickup truck so awesome that all who lay eyes on its magnificence involuntarily drop their jaws - from people, to other trucks (their tailgates fall open), to a bear who drops a fish right out of its mouth.
- Ai Yori Aoshi: When Tina reveals the cage she bought for the ferret, which she decorated with gaudy ribbons and baubles, the ferret actually hisses at the sight of it.
- Cowboy Bebop: Ein the corgi in gets to give a few reaction shots, usually (apparently) disapproving of his human companions' behavior. Unbeknownst to any crew member but Ed, Ein is a sapient "data-dog."
- Dr. Slump: A bear that grew up in the Zoo is so awe-struck by a natural mountainscape, he briefly becomes photorealistic.
- Excel♡Saga: Menchi did this an awful lot.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers: When America goes Tsundere on England and turns him down, a whale that USA has just befriended gets a sad look in the background.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: A jungle python does this upon spotting Zeon mobile suits and promptly slithers away.
- Naruto: Happens at one point in the manga — perhaps a self-parody, given the number of reaction-shot-montages that had been in the series at that point.
- One Piece:
- Usopp adopts a secret identity of Sogeking. Aside from Luffy and Chopper, everyone, including a little girl's pet, recognize Usopp for who he is immediately.
- When Buggy is imprisoned, his crew is shown crying in grief. Richie the lion is also crying, although a thought-bubble over his head shows that he is thinking of food.
- Pokémon: Fairly common, since the titular creatures are usually around.
- Ranma ½: It is somewhat of a Running Gag to have some animals (mostly birds) gets googly-eyed and weirded out by whatever antics the human characters are indulging in, to lampshades the silliness. One stand-out is the eel that Ranma is carrying when attacked by Ryōga, who looks freaked out by the ensuing Juggle Fu with its fishbowl.
- Seitokai Yakuindomo: Shino and Aria are fond of making double entendres, which are typically reacted to with disapproval by Tsuda and Suzu. But when they are on a class trip without their straight men, they notice that it feels awkward with no one to respond. Until they feed a deer and compliment its "tongue technique", whereupon all the other deer look at them with a Sweat Drop.
- Sword Art Online: During the Calibur arc in the second season of the anime adaptation, Silica's tiny dragon Pina cries his agreement to everyone's "It's a trap".
- Snowy has demonstrated one of these in the trailer for The Adventures of Tintin (2011).
- Brave: Angus serves as silent and slightly sarcastic commentary throughout the film.
- Puss in Boots: Throughout the movie, one particular cat appears whenever drama ensues, always reacting by covering their mouth with one paw and going "oohh!"
- Done to death in The Road to El Dorado, but special mention to The Reveal of the titular city — Tulio, Miguel, and Altivo the horse all gasp and whisper "El Dorado!" simultaneously.
- Parodied in The Simpsons Movie.
Santa's Little Helper: I did things no dog should do, they will haunt me forever.
Bart: I love you too.
- Played straight with Pascal when Rapunzel figures out that the crown goes on her head, apparently hinting that she is the lost princess. Pascal gapes and his mouth gets huge, then he closes his mouth and shakes his head in disapproval.
- Maximus the horse gets plenty of these as well.
- Used in the French movie Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra when Cleopatra announces her palace will be built in three months. Most of the people in the scene get a reaction shot and mutter "Three months?", including a kitten whose meow sounds close to the word "month".
- In Galaxy Quest, there's the dog who gets confused when the limousine is beamed up into space.
- In The Hangover Part III, Alan obtains a giraffe and is happily driving down the freeway, towing the giraffe on a cart behind him. His car approaches an overhead bridge - cue the giraffe flapping its ears back in panic.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron are flying a car to Hogwarts with Hedwig in the back seat. They all see a train about to crush them and react with alarm. Including Hedwig.
- I Am Curious (Yellow): Lena and Borje have sex in a tree, of all places (it's a big tree, supposedly "the biggest tree in Europe"). As they're humping, a cow turns to look, in a shot that is further lampshaded by a big "?" superimposed on the screen over the cow's face.
- Occurs with prairie dogs in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull who observe Indy's arrival on a rocket sled.
- Jade Dynasty: Bi Yao tries to steal the Fire Stick from a sleeping Xiao Fan while a monkey and a dog are in the room. She pushes him out of the way, then he falls on top of her and knocks her down. The camera cuts to the monkey, whose mouth drops open and who makes a disbelieving sound.
- James Bond:
- Moonraker infamously used this trope during a chase scene with 007 riding a gondola-hovercraft through the Piazza San Marco, which is greeted by reaction shots from bystanders, including a dog and a pigeon that does a Double Take...poorly.
- Octopussy likewise has a camel reaction shot to an Indian taxicab jumping off a ramp.
- In The Legend of Zorro, Zorro manages to land his horse on top of a moving carriage train, only to notice that it's about to enter a tunnel. There's a shot of the horse's eyes widening.
- In Men in Black, Edgar the Bug walks up to the front desk in the morgue and rings the bell. After nobody comes, he rings it again, and then a third time, at which point, the shot changes to a cat hissing.
- In Oliver!, when the titular character first enters the hideout of Fagin's thieves, everyone stops talking and stares at him, including an owl.
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- Jack the monkey gets several reaction shots. One particular shot, where Jack smiles right as Barbosa explains why They Named the Monkey Jack, was actually a complete coincidence and a Throw It In.
- The donkey in the first movie gets one. In the Rifftrax, Kevin hangs a lampshade on it:
Kevin: Oh, animal reaction shots! Is there any funnier shot?
- The Thin Man series: a favourite trick of Asta the dog.
- There's an awesome one in Thor: when Thor goes striding into a pet shop demanding a horse, the puppies look up at him in apparent curiosity◊.
- The Norwegian teen film, Turn Me On, Dammit opens with a scene where the protagonist's dog watches her lying on the floor, enthusiastically masturbating while listening to a phone sex operator.
- The Villain: Whiskey the horse gets into this territory a few times, such as his watching his "owner" Cactus Jack accidentally create a deadly Powder Trail, and giving a cheerful whinny at the end when Charming Jones chooses Jack over Handsome Stranger.
- Early in Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, the goats watch a wizard go up the mountain. A little later, they look up again. There's nothing on the road, but they still watch it go up.
- An early scene in The Lord of the Rings gives us the inner thoughts of a fox observing the curiosity of hobbits sleeping out in the woods.
- Inverted on CSI: NY, when the handler of a beagle at a dog show accuses Mac of having reduced his dog almost to tears with his intrusive murder investigation. Cut to the dog's face, which shows no discernible expression whatsoever, indicating that the handler's worries are entirely a delusion brought on by anthropomorphism.
- When a joke by Britta falls flat in Community episode "The Art of Discourse", the goatnote gets a reaction shot.
- Mocked by Jon Stewart in this interview on The Daily Show, in which Tom Selleck insists its use in a serious scene in Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise is justified.
- Lamely done in a Danielle Steel TV Movie. As a villain attacks the heroine in the stables, the camera pans up and away to a horse, reacting with fear at what he's seeing.
- Happens a lot in The Goodies, most notably in the "Kitten Kong" episode, and in the "Royal Command" episode.
- In one challenge on Impractical Jokers, Murr has to pretend to be a zookeeper who quits because he's tired of all the penguin drama. Throughout his diatribe, the cameras repeatedly cut to the penguins who are no doubt confused as to why some guy is yelling at them.
- Buck the dog in Married... with Children has many reaction shots, with snarky voice-over thoughts. This continues after he dies and is reincarnated, unbeknownst to the Bundys, as their "new" dog Lucky.
- An unplanned one occurred in one episode of MythBusters. As Jamie and Adam got ready for a small-scale test of the "Antacid Jail Break" myth, Jamie's dog Zero can be seen coming down the stairs to the shop, then suddenly stopping. Immediately after that, the glass box they were using for the test shattered. (Post-production and The Narrator immediately pointed out Zero's apparent savvy.)
- Our Miss Brooks: Mrs. Davis' pet cat Minerva and Mr. Boynton's pet frog Mcdougall occasionally take an interest in people's conversations. For example, in "The Magic Tree," Mrs. Davis' cat Minerva reacts furiously to Miss Brooks' recital of "A Visit From St. Nicholas."
Miss Brooks: 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
Miss Brooks: Oops. Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you, Minerva.
- Pushing Daisies: Ned has a dream where his powers suddenly wear off and he and Chuck can touch each other. They start to tear each other's clothes off, and there's a shot of Ned's dog, Digby, holding his paw over his eyes.
- In Sea Monsters, there's a scene where one of the titular monsters capsizes Nigel Marven's boat. Immediately afterward, a Pteranodon that had taken up residence on his boat is seen shrieking in panic.
- An episode of Spaced begins with the sound of the landlady's daughter Amber (in the flat upstairs) screaming abuse at her mother and storming out, making so much noise in the process that she wakes the whole house. We get close ups of each of the main characters waking up and saying "Amber" in various tones of voice. The sequence ends with a close up of Colin (the dog) waking up and making a noise that sounds very much like "Amber." The
- The Grammar Squirrel in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, commenting on a grammatical argument in the previous strip.
- Done in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Particularly notable in that Kiki is normally Too Dumb to Live, so when she says, "I'm just a ferret, and even I know this is going to end badly...", that's saying something.
- The famous viral video of a dramatic pan-in to a prairie dog, in reaction to nothing in particular. Parodied countless times, such as in South Park and Total Drama.
- Brad Jones often uses his cat Lloyd for this effect, primarily for The Cinema Snob and DVD-R Hell.
- Cream Heroes runs on this trope, especially in the Kittisaurus videos. Put something before seven (later ten) cats and see what they do. Reactions range from surprised, curious, disgusted to outright fearful. And that's before they decide to attack whatever is before them.
- Phelous had a running joke of pointing these out, in which he laughed at the "stupid surprised animal." It started with the "stupid surprised panther" briefly seen in Anaconda.
- Universe Falls: The Series: In episode 6, the introduction of "Waddlesmelon" prompts a reaction shot from the original Waddles that appears to be a mix of "jealous" and "weirded out".
- Molly of Denali: Suki provides some cute ones, especially when she thinks Molly's "Yes" or "No" remarks on the phone are addressed to her instead.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 5, Episode 9 ("Slice of Life") features a scene of Gummy (Pinky Pie's pet crocodilian, who is portrayed as relatively sapient to the mane cast of equines in the series as crocodilians are relative to humans) waxing philosophical with his inner monologue as he watches the Ponyville denizens scrambling to make it to Cranky and Matilda's wedding. The monologue is juxtaposed with the same blank, eye-licking expression Gummy customarily displays, making it a particularly humorous and memorable example.
- Total Drama:
- At the end of "That's off the Chain", Lindsay goes on her swearing tirade against Heather and we get to see a shot of a loon looking surprised at what Lindsay is saying, just like the other contestants. After Lindsay's "The Reason You Suck" Speech ends with her calling Heather's shoes tacky, everybody starts laughing, including the loon.
- After Heather is disqualified from the competition in "I Triple Dog Dare You", she unleashes a scream of defeat that is loud enough to be heard from Playa de Losers. After that, the scene cuts to a terrified squirrel.