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Comically Cross-Eyed

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Double viewing pleasure, according to Ben Turpin.

"Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed."
Austin Powers, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

People with crossed eyes or taking on a crossed eyes expression are a Stock Joke in popular culture. They are either seen as silly, crazy or stupid. Whenever they appear you may rest assured that they will see double, accidentally drop something out of their hands or speak with a goofy voice. Can be combined with a Maniac Tongue sticking out from under their lips.

In Real Life strabismus is a serious condition and poking fun of it is likely to offend some people, as it's a relatively common disorder. Despite this it's still an Acceptable Target in most circles, and mockery of strabismus is surprisingly common even in modern media.

They may also be shown to see double, note that this isn't always the case in real life, especially for people who have had strabismus since early childhood, as their brain has usually adapted by ignoring the image coming from the deviating eye.

See also Fish Eyes.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Bread Barbershop: In "Hello Sausage", one of the bully sausage dogs who torments Sausage has a constant cross-eyed expression that makes him look doofier than the other, more thuggish sausage dogs.

    Comic Books 
  • Nero: In Koeketiene Nero is reminded of the giant weasel in his basement (Long story!) from the previous story De Orde van de Wellustige Wezel ("The Order of the Voluptuous Weasel"). When he realizes he hasn't fed the animal yet he quickly runs down and notices the poor creature is literally "looking cross-eyed from hunger" (this is a pun on the Dutch expression scheel zien van de honger (looking cross-eyed from hunger).)
  • De Geuzen: In one album a soldier (shown from the back) reports to his officer that he saw four prisoners escape. The general says: "Four? We only held two people captive. How can this be?" To which the soldier replies (shown in close-up so that the reader can see he is cross-eyed): "Er... I don't know sir."

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Austin's standard reaction to being hit in the crotch, and when he over thinks about Time Travel.
  • Jour de fĂȘte: Francois the mailman is trying to get a villager to hammer a post into the ground. The villager keeps hitting the wrong end of the post. When Francois observes that the villager is cross-eyed, he puts a second nail on the left side of the post and tells the villager to keep aiming at the right side. After the villager hammers the left side nail into the ground, Francois turns him around to the other side and has him do it again.
  • Silent film comedian Ben Turpin was cross-eyed and used it as a part of his comedic persona. His contract had insured him in case his eyes would ever become straight.
    • 1932 film Make Me a Star is about a Comically Serious rube named Merton, an aspiring actor who thinks he's making a dramatic picture when it's actually a slapstick comedy. Merton, who believes in the movies as an expression of high dramatic art, disapproves of Slapstick and specifically dislikes the Comically Cross-Eyed trope. When he finds out that Ben Turpin, the patron saint of this trope, has been cast in his film, Merton is horrified. Baird the director, who is actually making a slapstick satire of westerns but doesn't want Merton to know what he's starring in, lies and says that Ben Turpin has always dreamed of playing a dramatic role.
    Merton: Those cross-eyed comedies are kind of debasing to a noble art.
  • One German soldier in La Grande Vadrouille is extremely cross-eyed, and yet is the one manning the anti-aircraft gun as the protagonists escape via glider. The movie shows this with a P.O.V. Cam, by defocusing the camera until there are two images of the plane. He ends up damaging the recon plane that was tailing the heroes, forcing its pilot to bail.
  • In Hot Shots!, Washout has both crossed and Fish Eyes. When he becomes an air traffic controller he wears glasses.
  • In Spaceballs, once the warning shots fired by Spaceball One have one hitting the ship itself, Dark Helmet complains ("I said fire across her nose, not up it!")... and it's revealed the gunner and the officer who got him the job are cross-eyed, explaining the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy trope.
  • Downplayed in Silence of the Lambs: one of the entomologists Starling consults about the cocoon found at the autopsy of one of Buffalo Bill's victims is noticeably cross-eyed (though not as bad as the comedy examples above). No gag is made of it; it just seems to hint at his good-natured dorkiness (which is confirmed when he ineptly flirts with Starling).
  • Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit is slightly cross-eyed to go with his goofy personality.
  • The title character in Steve Martin's The Jerk invents the "Opti-Grab," a novel accessory for glasses: a handle on the bridge of the nose that allows to take them on or off more easily. He makes millions selling them — until it's discovered that it causes users to become cross-eyed. When the case against him goes to trial, the judge and foreman of the jury turn out to both be cross-eyed, too.
  • Eddie's corpse in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.
  • Katherine in Chai Lai Angels: Dangerous Flowers. She is the pet minion of Creepy Crossdresser King Kong and comically inept due to her condition. Her errors include cutting off one of Kong's finger, and shooting him while attempting shoot one of the Chai Lais. It is eventually revealed that Katherine is actually The Mole for the Chai Lais, so how much of her ineptness is an act is unclear; especially as she stumbles coming down the stairs in Chai Lai headquarters.
  • Clarence The Cross Eyed Lion (1965) was about a visually impaired and tame king of beasts who is befriended by a physician's daughter. It was spun off for TV as Daktari.
  • During the sex scene between Mystique and Peter in Epic Movie, Peter asks for a larger bust and ass size, a "Mamabrow", and "big flabby grandma arms"/"bingo wings like a fat blue Britney Spears". During a close up shot of her face with her wiggling her tongue, her eyes are yellow and crossed eyed. This turns him on more.


  • Use of Weapons. Cheradenine Zakalwe finds himself stranded in a flood after a military defeat with a prisoner, a cross-eyed female enemy soldier who came close to killing him through dumb luck. It's just one more crazy thing that's happened to him that day, so he handles the situation a lot more philosophically than she does.
  • The Discworld has the character of fishmonger Verity Pushpram, known as "Hammerhead" because of her eye condition; she is presented as the Ankh-Morporkian dystopian version of Dublin's Molly Malone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Daktari. Clarence the cross-eyed lion was the shows's most popular character.
  • In Brazilian comedy show Casseta & Planeta, whenever host Maria Paula parodied Deborah Secco, she made to sure to amp the actress' slight strabismus to totally cross-eyed.
  • Atiza from Olmos y Robles.
  • This trope is behind the plot of The IT Crowd episode "Calendar Geeks": the highly-attractive women of the seventh floor decide to do a nude calendar to raise money for the cross-eyed, since one of them has a brother who suffers from the condition, and an overjoyed Roy gets asked to be the photographer. Of course, this is The IT Crowd, so shenanigans ensue. Partway through the episode, we even get to see an in-universe PSA about how the cross-eyed are people too.
  • British comedian Marty Feldman made a career out of being cross-eyed, capitalising on this as part of his borderline-lunatic persona: he moved from writing and performing for radio to getting his own TV series to showcase his mad comedy, and this ran for several series. The combination of lunatic grin and bulging mad crossed eyes made him a hypnotic presence in film and TV.
  • Malva from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has a mild case of crossed eyes. She is a lazy and comical old lady who reads maps upside down.


    Print Media 

    Puppet Shows 
  • A recurring gag in most Muppet productions is a character getting knocked over by something and falling down, then emerging with crossed eyes. It's common enough to have its own article on the Muppet Wiki. For specific examples:

  • The Antwerp puppet theatre tradition has a comedic cast character named De Schele (The Cross-Eyed One), who apart from being cross-eyed also speaks with a stutter. The accordionist of the theatre, who invites the people to the stage shows, is also nicknamed Schele Vanderlinden (Cross-Eyed Vanderlinden).
  • The Dutch play De Jantjes by Herman Bouber also features a sailor nicknamed De Schele (The Cross-Eyed One)
  • Josephine Baker performed a silly Ostrich dance during her shows, in which she often took on a goofy, cross-eyed expression.

    Video Games 
  • In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush goes cross-eyed in confusion if he tries to listen to the chess players on Lucre Island discuss their chess strategy.
  • While the cross-eyedness is not so much comedy as it is from him being a kabuki actor, Kyoshiro Senryo from Samurai Shodown tends to sport this kind of expression from time to time when doing his kabuki poses. It's especially pronounced in his win results screen in the 2019 game.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney: Crossing one's eyes becomes relevant in the fifth case as stereoscopy is a major plot point. When Susato and Iris demonstrate it to Ryunosuke, their sprites are animated with their eyes crossed, causing dissonance with their cute appearances. Ryunosuke comments that it freaks him out a little.

    Web Animation 

  • Bee in Ennui GO! is a spacey, borderline Cloudcuckoolander whose eyes are so crossed that her irises have formed spirals.
  • In Latchkey Kingdom, this is the reason Debbie Hives wears an eyepatch: Both her eyes are fine individually.

    Western Animation 
  • Many old Cloudcuckoolander cartoon characters like Daffy Duck, Screwy Squirrel and Woody Woodpecker have a tendency to take on goofy cross-eyed expressions, complete with a Maniac Tongue, in their oldest incarnations.
  • Looney Tunes
    • The short Porky's Duck Hunt features a cross-eyed hunter whose gun barrels are also crooked. When he tries to shoot down a duck, he ends up shooting planes!
    • In Rebel Without Claws, Confederate messenger Tweety gets captured by Union intercepter Sylvester and is put before a firing squad, but Sylvester gets shot instead because all the soldiers are cross-eyed.
    Sylvester: It's a good thing I've got nine lives. With this army, I'll need 'em.
    • The was the default expression of practically all the denizens of Porky in Wackyland. The Dodo is a subversion(!) as he has no sclerae.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Last Exit to Springfield", Principal Skinner tells a student to straighten his eyes.
    Student: But I can't!
    Skinner: Oops! Sorry, Quigley.
    • In "Hurricane Neddy", Lisa is mistaken for a pineapple by a wall-eyed old lady.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: There's one grey, blonde-maned fan favorite pegasus pony, who has a bubble cutie mark and crossed (or rarely opposite-facing) eyes. The cross-eye was originally an animation mistake, but she became one of the more popular characters in the show and even received a Fan Nickname: Derpy Hooves. This nickname became canon in the episode "The Last Roundup" before some people complained that it was offensive and the creators backpedaled, editing the episode to remove said name. She was later given the more innocent name Muffins in the episode "Slice of Life", and packaging for her merchandise generally shows a picture of a muffin instead of a name. The episode also focuses on her long enough to show that her eyes' positions aren't fixed, instead listing around as she turns her head, implying it's some kind of lazy eye ailment.
  • Private of The Penguins of Madagascar has outward cross-eyes, giving him a constantly goofy expression, which is in line with him being childishly naive. He's still The Heart of the team, and considered the cutest one, and is often the Only Sane Man compared to his Ax-Crazy comrades.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob sometimes crosses his eyes to look extra silly for the sake of a gag.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: Stimpy is also prone to crossing his eyes now and then.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick kind", Doofus Rick, one of Rick's alternate reality versions who is less intelligent but more kindhearted than the other Ricks, is cross-eyed.
  • Anything the Mexico-based Gamma Productions animated for Jay Ward and Total Television (such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales and Underdog) would often give characters a cross-eyed look, even on more serious or competent characters!
  • Total Drama: While a giant animatronic monster stomps around in "Monster Cash", Chris announces that the challenges will be movie-based and the starter challenge revolves around the monster movie genre. Because this is obvious, he ends his announcement with "Duh!" while crossing his eyes.

    Real Life 
  • Grand Prince Vasily II of Moscow had a son, who was nicknamed Vasily the Cross-Eyed by historians.
  • In the early 2010s an opossum named Heidi had a cross-eyed look on her face and became a meme as a result.
  • Otters are often associated with looking cross-eyed. In some languages, like Dutch, "schele otter" ("cross-eyed otter") is an insult. This despite the fact that in real life otters aren't cross eyed at all.
  • Bruno Gesche, one of Adolf Hitler's handpicked bodyguards, was cross-eyed, causing Hitler to joke that he was more worried about being shot by him than an assassin. Knowing about the risks of Bodyguard Betrayal, Hitler was more interested in personal loyalty than ability.
  • According to several of his SNL castmates, Chris Farley would often try and get them to crack up during sketches by staring cross-eyed at them from offstage.
  • Julia Boggs Grant, first lady to Ulysses S. Grant, had strabismus, and so her photographs usually showed her in profile, although this didn't stop her from being an avid reader and skilled pianist. Ulysses didn't seem to mind.
    "Did I not see you and fall in love with you with these same eyes? I like them just as they are, and now, remember, you are not to interfere with them. They are mine and let me tell you, Mrs. Grant, you had better not make any experiments, as I might not like you half so well with any other eyes."