There are a few different ways things can play out. In the classic comedy version, Bob must hide from Dave inside the house, or that very room, until he can escape. Popular hiding spots include: under the bed, in the closet, and behind the curtains. The Closet Shuffle may be involved. Alternately, Bob may opt to flee immediately—often by jumping out a window while still undressed.
Some versions will imply the above, rather than outright showing it, by beginning the scene with Dave and Alice together in their bedroom—then Bob pops out of some hiding spot, surprising both Dave and the audience with Alice's infidelity.
Or, Dave may catch his wife and her lover completely off-guard, usually in the form of a Home-Early Surprise. This is what's most likely to happen if the scene is being Played for Drama. But there's plenty of comedy potential for this approach, as well. Dave could have some hilariously unexpected reaction to the discovery. Alice and Bob could make up a really implausible explanation for what they were doing, naked in bed together—and Dave might even fall for it. Tends to be used to invoke a Plot-Inciting Infidelity.
Subtrope of Interrupted Intimacy.
- Red Ears: This is a frequent scenario in this erotic comic strip series and several variations on the theme have been thought up.
- In What About Witch Queen? this happens twice to the same couple. Once, Kristoff accidentally notices duchess Margaret cheating on her husband with Weselton spymaster Hunter while he's roaming around their castle. Second time, Eric, Margaret's husband, is sleeping after coming back late and hears somebody walking around the room. He thinks it's a servant, but it's strongly implied to be Hunter.
- Near the start of the Pokémon. fic Torn, Delia storms out of her house after she catches her new husband Will in bed with his ex. Will had only been using Delia as a rebound and married her only a few weeks after meeting her. Delia doesn't even get a chance to talk it out with Will afterwards. When she comes back home later she finds Will gone, with only a letter explaining how he left to be with his ex.
- Comically seen in Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams when Cheech hides under the bed as the husband and wife have sex and the bed collapses on him.
- Danny DeVito's character is introduced this way in Twins.
- The Last Boy Scout introduces Bruce Willis' character as the cuckolded husband in this scene... and as a cop, he correctly sniffs out that the other guy is hiding in the closet and nearly shoots him.
- In one of their films Laurel and Hardy are being pursued by their awful wives. As they run down an alley behind a hotel, one of the wives raises her shotgun and fires. At the sound of the shot men jump out of every window in the hotel, in their underwear and holding their pants, and run away.
- The Woman in Red: Teddy is about to have sex with Charlotte when her she gets a call from her husband to say he's come home early. He then has to hide outside on the window ledge to avoid them being caught together, with people below mistaking him for suicidal. They can then be heard having sex inside by Teddy.
- A humorous variation in The Spanish Apartment when one character's boyfriend shows up unexpectedly, she ends up hiding under the bed while her brother, previously the Annoying Younger Sibling, gets into bed with her lover and passes him off as his.
- In The Pink Panther (1963), Sir Charles Lytton is visiting his lover Simone in her hotel suite, when her husband Inspector Clouseau returns. A lengthy Closet Shuffle ensues, as Clouseau keeps almost discovering Charles.
- Early in Working Girl, Melanie Griffith's character walks in on her husband and his mistress.
- Throw Momma from the Train. Owen is hiding behind the couch upon which Margaret and Mr. Lopez are having sex...and takes the time to flip through an issue of Us Magazine. The phone rings, and Owen pushes it to where the oblivious Margaret can reach it leading to Margaret being able to have sex and carry on an intelligent telephone conversation with her agent at the same time.
- Referred to in The Descendants when a man confronts his wife's lover and asks him if he's ever been in his bedroom, which the man admits to.
- Also referred to in Closer. When Dan and Anna confess their affair to their respective partners, they answer "yes" when asked if they've ever brought them to the apartment.
- The protagonist of Silver Linings Playbook comes home to find his wife having a Shower of Love with her co-worker.
- Beaches. Hillary returns from a trip to find her husband sitting at the breakfast table with another woman—wearing her robe!
- The Eel: Played as dark as this trope can get, when Takuro comes home, finds his wife having sex with another man, picks up a knife, and murders her.
- In Backstreet Dreams, Dean walks in on Lucy in bed with Paco and kicks him out of the house. A minute later, he learns that Lucy let Paco beat Shane to stop him from crying. Dean kicks Lucy out, too.
- A popular topic in Russian Humour.
A man came home after a business trip. The same day in the middle of the night a naked man with a knife jumps out of the wardrobe and shouts: "I am fugitive criminal Ivanov!" and then run through the door. A few seconds after that another naked man jumps out of the wardrobe and shouts "I am police detective Petrov, have you seen where fugitive criminal Ivanov went?" The confused husband gestured to the door. "Thank you, citizen—SWAT team, follow me!"
- Another example, with men of different nationalities react to walking in on their wives in bed with a lover:
American: Ma'am, I must ask you to leave my house immediately.
English: Excuse me, I seem to have come in at a bad time.
French: Oh, may I join you?
Russian: [during Soviet times] You slut! You're lying here, while they're selling fish around the corner!
- Three men arrive at the pearly gates at the same time. Saint Peter asks the first how he died. "I thought my wife was cheating on me, so I went home early and rushed into the bedroom. She was naked in bed but alone — then I spied a man out the kitchen window dressing himself as he ran down the front walk — I threw the refrigerator out the window at him and I had a heart attack from the strain." Saint Peter asks the second man how he died. "I was late for work and ran out the front door of my apartment building tying my tie when all of a sudden a refrigerator came down and crushed me to death!" Saint Peter turns to the third man and asks how he died. "Well, I was just sitting in this refrigerator, minding my own business..."
- A man arrives home early and finds his wife in their bed, only covered by a sheet.
"Uh, honey, why are you in the bed in the middle of the day, buck naked?"
"I... I have nothing to wear!"
"Oh please," the man replies, steps over to the wardrobe closet and yanks the door open. "Let's see... here's a green t-shirt... a red dress... blue jeans... Oh, hi, Jim... a purple blouse..."
- 1950's comic Myron Cohen told the joke of the man returning home to find his wife in bed and a man hiding in the closet. He challenges the man to explain why he's in there and the man shrugs nonchalantly and answers "Everybody gotta be someplace."
- In one of the Flashman novels, Flashman catches his wife and Lord Cardigan in the act. Lord Cardigan greets Flashman and calmly walks out the door. Despite the circumstances (not that he of all men is in any position to pass judgement), Flashman has to admire his sangfroid.
- Near the beginning of The Bone Clocks, Holly Sykes shows up unannounced at her boyfriend's place hoping to move in. Instead, she walks in on him in bed with her best friend, catching a good glimpse of her friend's naked body.
- In a Maeve Binchy novel a woman realizes that her boyfriend is cheating on her when she calls their home and not only does another woman answer, she realizes that the woman must be in their bedroom, because that's where the phone is.
- Subverted on several counts in La Reine Margot: it doesn't involve sex but two unmarried couples enjoying a private dinner (which for the standards of the time was just as bad, even though the lovers are too romantic to actually try anything funny), and the husband doesn't care that his wife has a lover since he has a mistress, and is actually on good terms with the lover. The one who does care is the king of France, who does not care to see his sister the queen of Navarre caught in an adultery scandal with all the diplomatic complications that would ensue. It culminates in one of the funniest scenes in the book where the king demands entry, the lights go out, there's a Closet Shuffle where Margot's lover Le Mole runs into her husband Henry (who was coming through the secret passage on unrelated business), and the queen grabs a man's hand.
"We are saved!" murmured Marguerite, seizing a hand which she took for that of La Mole. "The King thinks my husband is one of our guests."
"And I shall let him think so, madame, you may be sure," said Henry, answering the queen in the same tone.
- Wicked Good: Archer and her husband Wayne divorced when Rory was eleven, after Archer caught him with a member of his acting troupe.
- In the Heat of the Night: The plot of the 1990 episode "Triangle" is set up by one of these: An outwardly mild-mannered man, who is a community and church leader and presents himself and his family as the ideal all-American family ... kills his wife and her lover when he catches them in bed and in the act of hot, lustful sex. (FWIW, it's only afterward that his son reveals that their home life was not as his father made it out to be. And yes, the man is later caught, but only after the police track him and his daughter to their lakeside cabin, where he plans to rationalize his act to his daughter and hold her hostage to ensure his freedom.)
- Spoofed in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Strangers in the Night," where there is a whole crowd of lovers. The husband doesn't notice them, and eventually wanders off, ruining the sketch.
- My Name Is Earl: One Thanksgiving while Earl and Joy were still married and Joy was involved in an affair with Darnell, Earl came home with the turkey, and Darnell hid in the closet. Years later, Earl and Darnell bond over the naked dance Joy performed during that incident.
- In addition to a few straight examples, Two and a Half Men has an odd inversion: the lover is in the bed and the husband is in the closet. Except in this case the husband is actually a mannequin that Rose "married" in her latest scheme to win over Charlie.
- Subverted. In a Devious Maids episode, Adrian finds about his cheating wife, but wants to film it as evidence for divorce. He ends up paying, er, paymurdering his cuckolder bodyguard to leave.
- In the second What If? episode of Friends, Rachel, who's has been married to Barry for several years in this reality, walks in on him and a dog walker.
- One Life to Live. Nora's Sexy Secretary Georgie doctors photos to make it look as if she and Nora's husband Bo have engaged in this (they haven't).
- A Lifetime Movie of the Week has a woman coming home from a trip with her children to find her husband and his mistress cavorting—with the woman wearing her nightgown!.
- In the Cold Case episode "The War At Home'', the Victim of the Week discovered her husband's affair after walking in on them in their bedroom. (Ironically, neither he nor his mistress was her killer).
- General Hospital. Bobbie drives to her family's cabin to surprise her husband Tony for their anniversary and finds him in bed with his girlfriend Carly.
- Motherland: Fort Salem: When Tally is caught Gerit by his wife Hilary, it seems like this, but then gets subverted. It turns out Hilary not only knew about their affair, but set this up for her to find them. As a compromise, Hilary allowed Gerit to have sex with Tally so long as she could join them. However, Tally isn't interested in that idea.
- The Musketeers: Aramis is introduced in bed with Cardinal Richelieu's mistress. As they're getting dressed the Cardinal arrives unexpectedly which sends the mistress into a panic. She persuades Aramis to climb out the window to avoid being caught. He avoids the Cardinal but Athos and Porthos walk past and make fun of him for his antics.
- A plot in many country music Murder Ballads. Often set up by having the main protagonist tell how he had been on the road or at work for several days and not been home, and was looking to arrive at home early and by surprise to greet his wife and kindle some passion ... only to discover that the wife had been cheating on him — often because he was away for days on end and she needed someone to satisfy her sexual needs — when he walks in on his wife and another man making love in bed, and then he kills them both in a fit of rage. Songs of this genre have included "The Cold Hard Facts Of Life" by Porter Wagoner, "Blood Red and Goin' Down" by Tanya Tucker, "Radio Lover" by George Jones and "Papa Loved Mama" by Garth Brooks.
- This would be why R. Kelly is Trapped in the Closet.
- Happens in the video for Jill Sobule's song "I Kissed a Girl" (not to be confused with the song of the same name by Katy Perry). The video shows the story of two neighbor women in a 1950s-esque neighborhood, one of whom is married to Fabio, and one afternoon they act on their Unresolved Sexual Tension. Fabio comes home and greets his wife, who is in bed, while the neighbor woman is hiding under the bed.
- "Melody" by The Rolling Stones from Black and Blue
Open up, baby, you got someone else inside
I'm going to come get you dead or alive
- "Hideaway", the opening track of Mystery Jets 2008 album Young Love, starts with this:
I've been running around, running around
Don't make a sound, don't wanna get found
I've been hiding behind the blinds
But in my mind I don't want to be that kind of guy
- Trick's on him; he's been so indiscreet in other ways that the other man knows who he is and is plotting his revenge...
- The traditional song "Our Goodman" (Child Ballad #274, probably better known as "Seven Drunken Nights", as recorded by The Dubliners) involves a wife explaining away evidence of her adultery, with each explanation more of a stretch than the last. In the final verse, the husband catches his wife's lover in the bedroom. The wife tries to claim he's really a milkmaid, and the husband sarcastically notes that he's never seen a milkmaid with a beard before.
- In Jon Secada's song "Too Late, Too Soon", the protagonist takes an early flight to get back from a business trip. . . only to find his wife in bed with another man.
- Well, it's a bathroom adultery scene to be specific, but this is the basis of the whole song "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy:
Honey came in and she caught me red handed
Creeping with the girl next door
Picture this, we were both butt naked,
Banging on the bathroom floor
How could I forget that I had
Given her an extra key?
All this time she was standing there
She never took her eyes off me
- An off-screen example in the backstory of The Walking Dead. Lee catches his wife in bed with a state senator and murders him, ending up in police custody at the start of the game.
- The Perry Bible Fellowship has a funny one where couple are two Anole lizards, and the interloper sneaking out is a Chameleon.
- Hark! A Vagrant uses this setup for a joke about Canadian politeness. When the husband finds his wife in bed with another man, everyone involved apologises profusely, including the husband.
- A motivational style◊ poster (link currently non-functional) showing a Japanese business man arriving home, passing through a corridor with a Wall of Weapons, with his supposed wife in bed with another man on the other side of the wall, with the words: "This will not end well." Which is then subverted with a follow-up showing the three of them in bed together.
- In the first episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Bulma recounts walking in on Yamcha cheating on her, complete with a flashback about it.