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Disapproving Look

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Ed Tom Bell demonstrates what's called the "Implied Facepalm."

"Come on, seriously, it was a joke!
Okay, seriously, the stare's starting to creep me out. Stop it.
Uuuhh, it's like compressed parental disappointment made manifest in one toy canine.

Sometimes, when you need to show your disapproval, you don't need to speak. All you need to display your disapproval is that look. It's not quite an angry or tense look; it's more of a look that says "really?" Generally, the one giving the glance has his or her brow lowered a little bit, with either a flat face or very slight frown with pursed lips. Often, the glancer has arms folded for extra disapproval effect. Particularly effective if the character in question is wearing glasses and specifically looking over the tops of them as in the page image. Often, manually lowering the glasses heightens the effect.

This expression is commonly found on two types of characters. One is priests, clerics, or other religious figures. The other is the Housewife, generally the long-suffering variety, who tends to give this to both her bumbling husband and her misbehaving children.

In manga, this is accompanied with the Japanese onomatopoeia jii~ or jiro jiro, which indicates a long stare.

This look is also sometimes synonymous with the "Is Not Amused" meme.

Compare its "edgier" counterparts, Death Glare and Kubrick Stare. Facepalm and Fascinating Eyebrow both have nearly identical effects.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaitou Saint Tail: In the anime, when Sawatari switches his crush to Seira, the Only Sane Woman is Rina, who has this expression on her face.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Louis is a master of disapproving glares and he has a good Death Glare, too, depending on who he's levelling it at. Don't expect a smile from him unless you're one of his brothers or he's trying to manipulate you.
  • Otaku Elf: Koito gives this expression a lot, usually in response to her shrine god Elda's more ridiculous antics (such as trying to get out of her ceremonies), but sometimes right alongside Elda when another elf comes by and does something even more ridiculous.

    Comic Books 
  • Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade: When Superman asks Supergirl why she came to Earth, Kara replies that her evil, awful and abusive parents hated her and chained her to a rocket. Superman raises an eyebrow and stares silently. Then Kara relents and tells the real story.
  • Young Justice: Robin finds himself leveling unimpressed stares at other teammates who do things, sometimes unintentionally, to encourage Impulse's impulsive behavior.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Boondocks: Huey is famous for it. Particularly noticeable in the show, which is less dialogue heavy and has more moments of Huey just looking at people to get his skepticism or disapproval across, but even in the comic the Beat Panels of Huey just looking at someone who is being ignorant or foolish are common.

    Fan Works 
  • Ask Her Lustrousness, Yellow Diamond: Blue gives one to Yellow when calling her out about "getting flustered around humans".
  • Dumbledore gives Ringdemort one of these in The Parselmouth of Gryffindor after he once again demonstrates his inability to keep his emotions under control and pulls the rug from under his own feet by revealing the secret of the Horcruxes in his rant.
  • In Dear Children, this is a common reaction from background characters to the members of the Journalism Club, most especially to Cailin.
  • Implied in My Immortal with Voldemort's "dude-ur-so-retarded look."
  • Much Ado About Shakespeare: Love's Labours Won: In this fic, Archie and Horatio bet drinks and dinner that Archie can/can't speak "only in Sheakespeare" for 6 hours. At one point Horatio gets really annoyed at Archie for one particular quote and he only "fixes Archie with a flat stare" - the line that provokes this reaction is "Did'st ever hear a man so penitent?" when they are at the hat shop.
  • The Night Unfurls: While treading the muddy plains of Scathlocke, Sanakan has an internal narration on how she would jump in every puddle just to mess with Hugh if she were a little girl. As if sensing her thoughts, Hugh gives her an annoyed look, daring her to try something silly.
  • This look is known simply as "that look" by oghond in SOSchip, and it's given all the dang time. Most notably,it's the default look of Absent, both as a human and as an Oshawott.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The famous implied facepalm of No Country for Old Men. This often seems to be Tommy Lee Jones's default expression.
  • The banker in Being Homer Simpson, when Philippe continues to discuss his shares in Homer's voice.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Peter keeps being haunted by visions of the dead Captain Stacy giving him this look.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: This is Xavier's expression throughout the rocky ledge scene. He takes a dim view of Apocalypse's plans for planet-wide devastation and Magneto letting himself be used as a pawn in this mad man's schemes.
  • Home Alone: Uncle Frank tries to console Kate after she realizes that they left Kevin behind by comparing that to him forgetting his reading glasses, earning a scowl from his wife, Leslie.
  • The Suicide Squad: When Rick Flag asks Mission Control if anybody thought to check whether Weasel could swim, Amanda Waller gives her right-hand man John Economos a rather annoyed glance.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade had Indy smiling but his father giving one of those when a Nazi motorcyclist falls. As a Call-Back proving some things just pass on, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has Indy being the one giving the unamused look to a smiling Mutt as the Soviet spies crash.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The Fellowship of the Ring: There's a two-fer early in the film as Gandalf is riding into the Shire with Frodo, who is explaining how Gandalf has come to be labeled a "disturber of the peace" while an old Hobbit sees them and gives Gandalf a very disapproving look. Then the children of the Shire see him and come running, Gandalf setting off some fireworks to delight them. The old Hobbit watches them cheering with a boisterous laugh, then stops as his wife comes out and give him her own disapproving look.
    • The Return of the King: At the end, as Frodo and company ride back into the Shore from their adventure, dressed in Gondor regalia, the same old Hobbit from the first film watches and just shakes his head as they pass.

  • During the weighing of the wands in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry gets this from Fleur as he hastily tries to clean his wand, accidentally shooting some sparks in the process.
  • Coraline: Cat will stare like this at those who disappoint him.
  • In Divergent, Beatrice mentions her brother has one that she's memorized.
  • In Discworld people often get these from Granny Weatherwax. A particularly good description of one comes from the tax gatherer in Wyrd Sisters. When he was small, he'd gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar by his aunt and the look that Granny gave him was like that look, only worse. And he got the distinct sense that, somehow, she knew this.
  • The Dresden Files book Cold Days has Mab give Harry a brief look "somehow conveying layers of disapproval toward multiple aspects of my appearance, conduct, and situation."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon is often on the receiving end of these Looks, mostly from his room-mate Leonard or Penny.
    • Amy got four Disapproving Looks simultaneously from Leonard, Penny, Raj, and Sheldon when they were all administering Bernadette and Howard's wedding together, and Amy said that she would be happy to be Bernadette's maid of honour again should their marriage fall apart.
  • Hodgins does this on Bones once while lampshading it. “This is a disapproving look.”
  • Cheers: Diane gives them a lot, usually when someone—usually Sam—seems to be (often deliberately) Comically Missing the Point.
  • The Crown (2016): The default expression for traditionalist extraordinaire Tommy Lascelles. The Queen herself has many occasions to share this look.
  • On Dave's Old Porn, Dave Attell brings in other comedians to discuss (heavily censored) 70's porn films. He then brings in a star from those movies. On one episode he had Kathy Griffin and Tom Byron. When Attell asked Byron if he was still working, he responded that he was going to play Obi-Wan Kenobi in a porn Star Wars spoof. Griffin's "disapproving look" was hysterical alone, but she followed it up with a "slow clap" and the comment "Way to stay classy".
  • On Dinosaurs Earl was on the receiving end of one more than once from his wife, Fran.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor is on both ends of them in "The Family of Blood". It's his permanent emotion during the climax, sometimes edging into Death Glare. Doesn't help that he looks right at the camera more than once. Joan also adopts this look when the Doctor returns, cheerfully offering to let her travel with him, whilst completely overlooking all the mayhem and death he's left in his wake.
  • Emergency!: Nurse Dixie McCall and paramedic Roy DeSoto were both good at this kind of look, and often used it in place of a snarky comment.
  • On Firefly, this was practically Shepherd Book's default expression whenever he was around Mal.
  • In one episode of Fresh Off the Boat, Jessica asks Marvin to give her husband Louis an expression he immediately recognizes as "the neutral face of displeasure".
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will often gave this to Carlton when he was acting particularly childish. Uncle Phil also had a tendency to give on to anyone who was acting silly around him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Renly Baratheon gets one from his wife as he announces Brienne of Tarth's appointment to the Kingsguard. He's also been known to give them himself.
    • This is pretty much Roose's facial expression the entire time during 'Kill the Boy' when Ramsay is parading Theon/Reek around in front of Sansa and also when Robb helps Talisa take care of a Lannister footsoldier.
  • Mike from Graceland is on the receiving of one from all five of his roommates when he says "marijuana" instead of its various street names. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Home Improvement, "The Look" is discussed by Tim and his friends after Tim gets basketball season tickets and Jill gives him "The Look". Later in the same scene, Harry's wife gives him The Look, and all of his friends react in horror.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...": In the first shot of the dinner scene, Paul glowers at Lestat when he observes him smiling at Louis. The homophobic Paul suspects that Lestat's affection for his brother goes far beyond mere friendship (and his instincts are spot-on — Lestat intends to seduce Louis after the dinner).
    • "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self":
      • Florence has a displeased facial expression because she doesn't like how her son Louis presents himself, as she believes it's a telltale sign that he's gay.
        Florence: (in her mind) Look at his nails. He's getting his fingernails done. And the glasses? Some fashion certain men like him do. Lord. (sighs out loud)
      • Later, at the posh opera venue where black people aren't permitted inside unless they're a servant, an elderly white couple look down (both literally and figuratively) on Louis from the upper floor because they're racist and don't like seeing non-Caucasians in their midst.
    • "Is My Very Nature That of a Devil": Louis scowls at Lestat and Antoinette fooling around because he's understandably resentful that his insensitive boyfriend is seducing a woman right in front of him.
  • Law & Order: UK. After DS Matt Devlin makes a raunchy comment to CP Alesha Phillips, his partner DS Ronnie Brooks gives him an epic one of these.
  • Legion: In "Chapter 26", Charles Xavier is not at all pleased that David Haller dismisses Switch as a "no one" who's merely a means to an end, so he frowns at his son and firmly insists that "Everyone is someone, David."
  • In Lois & Clark, Superman frequently gave this look to lawbreakers, though usually minor ones. His glares were reserved for the likes of Lex Luthor and others like him.
  • In the Mama's Family show (and its predecessor sketches on The Carol Burnett Show), both Eunice (Carol Burnett) and Mama (Vicki Lawrence) often did this when they were angry with another character.
  • The Muppets: Any time Mahna Mahna starts improvising scat passages (rather than just saying his name, like he's supposed to) during his signature song, his singing partners the Snowths give him these until he falls back in line.
  • NCIS: The Gibbs Stare.
  • On n'demande qu'à en rire: Catherine Barma, if she finds a joke in poor taste.
  • Finch in Person of Interest rocks at these.
  • One Saturday Night Live sketch had its humor revolve around the shots of several coworkers giving disapproving glances to an employee who mistakenly submitted "You're the One that I Want" from Grease.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel. The title character gets a hilarious one from the King after the latter discovers he secretly wore armor to a duel.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "Errand of Mercy, Kirk backtracks from his objections to the Organians' interference and says, "Well, no one wants war...". Kor shoots him a clear "Speak for yourself!" glare.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
  • Supernatural:
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), Bobby gives Dean a scolding stare which verges on a Death Glare when Dean turns up with Sam. (Why? Because Sam had been dead, and Bobby knew it, and that meant Dean had to have done something he really shouldn't have to get him back. Like, you know, sell his soul.)
    • Sam has a tendency to give these to Dean when he's not taking things seriously enough for Sam's liking, or Dean made a joke in bad taste, or he's just had enough of Dean's antics and/or needling.
  • Teen Wolf: Derek gives one to Isaac as he tries to talk to him about Derek's sister.

  • Old Harry's Game: Edith apparently has one. When Satan cracks a tasteless joke, she gives him one that makes him stop guffawing and comment on just how powerful it is.

  • Interesting Times: After all the incentives, anger and/or discontent failed, Tybald simply falls on his trusty disapproving stare and/or facepalm whenever the team (usually Alvis) do something awfully stupid.
  • Pokémon Epoch: The moment Ronnie is up to her usual shenanigans, this look becomes Elliot's default expression.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, this is the iconic cleric Jozan's default expression around the iconic rogue Lidda practically any time they're interacting, as she's kind of his Berserk Button person. Observe.

    Video Games 
  • In several games in the Rhythm Heaven series, some of the characters will give the player character a disapproving look if you mess up the rhythm.
  • The Idolmaster:
    • Sachiko's default expression: she's noticeably more "sinister looking" than most of the others, even when she's honestly smiling.
    • Tokiko Zaizen, the dominatrix idol, has an angrier variant of it. Given her very vocal comments about the worthlessness of men, it becomes more readily obvious to everyone around.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards: Lose the Boss Rush mode, and the Game Over screen will show Kirby's friends giving him disappointed looks, while Kirby himself looks dejected.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Muzu aims one of these toward Link when the latter first enters the throne chamber of Zora's Domain, both due to Muzu's prejudice against Hylians and his resentment of Link in particular.
  • Warriors Orochi: Yukimura gives one to Yuan Shao for thinking his enemies are ghosts.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "See What Develops", Toothy gives one to Splendid when he carelessly pops Giggles's balloon hat.

  • Grrl Power: Sydney gives one to Detla upon hearing her suggestion for Ren's superhero name ("He Who Punch His Foes"). Detla admits that it doesn't sound good in English.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons, the Archmage God-Emperor Mottom gets one of these when her Curb-Stomp Battle is abruptly interrupted by Cio plastering her head-to-toe with animated paper dolls — a laughably weak move that still disrupts her death spell. It takes her from Unstoppable Rage to pure disgruntlement.
  • Zebra Girl: Viv gives one to Sandra here as she is threatening to kill the assassin who tried to kill her. Though it's Viv catching her off-guard with the following sentence that makes her stop:
    Viv: If that makes you happy.
    Sandra: O_O

    Web Original 
  • The "ಠ_ಠ" emote, usually referred to as the "Look of Disapproval". The two "eyes" come from two letters in the Kannada language spoken in part of India.
  • The Memetic Mutation of "Son, I am disappoint." usually had the father in question use this expression when able.

    Web Videos 
  • Jimquisition: According to Visceral's John Calhoun, people expect mobile games to have Freemium content in it, so a console horror game must include it as well. Jim tips down their glasses and sighs.
  • For the longest time, until he got animated intros, the opening to The Spoony Experiment showed a scene of Spoony slowly lowering his DM manual and glaring at someone offscreen, complete with a Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • The Victorian Way: When Mrs Crocombe, a wonderfully talented cook at Audley End House, talks about something she disapproves of (like, say, packet custard or tinned fruit), she looks through her glasses and looks very stern. She tells us that she has heard that SOME PEOPLE use their turbot kettles for steaming puddings (strict look) or that she doesn't appreciate when she's told there are 10 for dinner, but there are, in fact, 14. Even Lady Braybrooke deserves the look. She's probably lucky she's not in the kitchens.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Ben gave one to Kevin for stealing from a Forever Knight castle.
    • Ben's mother Sandra later gives him one until he can tell her and and his father who else is involved in the alien superhero cause
  • Kaijudo: Nigel gives The Choten one at the end of "Unmasked" and again at the end of "Dueling Partners". He also expressed his disapproval at poaching Rumbling Terrasaur horns. He doesn't seem to be agreeing with the The Choten lately.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Phineas and Ferb: Perry the Platypus's reaction to some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's more outlandish evil schemes is either a disapproving scowl or total bewilderment.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "MuscleBob BuffPants", Sandy gives Spongebob a well-deserved look of disapproval once it's exposed that he used fake rubber muscles.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Second Contact", a scowl forms on Boimler's face when Mariner convinces Tendi to visit the holodeck instead of reporting to Nurse Westlake, which was his suggestion and the more responsible thing to do.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Splinter frequently give these to his young charges.

Alternative Title(s): Implied Facepalm


Stern look


How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisapprovingLook

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