Any situation which is made, sometimes for comic effect, sometimes for dramatic effect, to look like another situation — not in the sense that it is mistaken for that other situation by any of the characters, just in the sense that we the audience see the resemblance; the characters do not. Alternatively, it can refer to an ersatz of something more familiar that the audience would immediately recognize in subtext, in order to make it look less Anvilicious, but it doesn't always succeed in fulfilling the latter. The situation doesn't always have to mean anything sexual, however it is the most common use of the trope.
This sort of situation can lead to a Mistaken for Index plot if some other character hears it out of context. May result in Getting Crap Past the Radar if it alludes to something that would normally get censored. Similar to Innocent Innuendo/Visual Innuendo in that each of these tropes attempts to draw suggestive ideas from the audience; however Innocent Innuendo/Visual Innuendo attempt to trick the audience into thinking the situation is different from what it really is, whereas this trope is upfront about the situation and merely draws parallels to those suggestive ideas. Not to be confused with Ironic Echo, which can easily use this trope's title as a Lampshade Hanging.
Sub Tropes include:
- Sexual meanings: Did They or Didn't They?, Erotic Eating, Consuming Passion, G-Rated Sex, Double Entendre and its sister trope Lampshaded Double Entendre, Compensating for Something, Phallic Weapon and Visual Innuendo
- Political/moral meanings: Fantastic Racism, Space Jews, No Blood for Phlebotinum, A Nazi by Any Other Name, Fictional Political Party, Putting on the Reich, Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?, Rainbow Lens, and Ripped from the Headlines
- Drug-related meanings: I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!, Fantastic Drug, Drunk on Milk, High on Catnip, G-Rated Drug, Uncoffee
- Birth symbolism: Not Really a Birth Scene
- Ending by Ascending: someone going up a staircase into a bright light is reminiscent of a Stairway to Heaven
See also Freud Was Right, which posits that characters can apply this to everything thanks to psychological subtext, and Freudian Slip, when the symbolism reveals what the character is really thinking. Compare also That Came Out Wrong, when the words that someone say unintentionally "reminds" the listener of something else.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Films Animated
- Films Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- In the Noonbory and the Super 7 episode "Pongdybory's Cold Feet", Pongdybory insists he can still drive despite his cold being a blatant impairment.
- Happy Heroes: In season 13 episode 28, after an incident set by the queen of Planet Gray which causes Big M. to lose, the king imposes laws so that his residents don't speak about the incident nor the name of the queen... for many years. In the real world, that's similar to how Chinese censorship works.
- Big Finish Doctor Who Special The Last Adventure: In The Red House, the transformation from Wolverine to proto-human is treated very much like drug-taking: with a sensory rush, some people being unable to deal with it, and others becoming addicted to the sensation. And local law enforcement is looking to stamp the practise out, and hunts down the illegal parties where it takes place.
- As the player progresses in The Machine Bride Of Pin Bot, the eponymous Machine makes remarks like "I feel...strange..." and "Yes! Yes!" In some instances, she just out-and-out moans orgasmically.
- The playfield for WhizBang Pinball's Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons is filled with these and Double Entendre, usually involving the three sexy Farmer's Daughters and their big melons.
Hellen: Who don't like big juicy melons?
- The backglass of Bally's Playboy pinball includes the magazine's tiny "Femlin" mascot straddling a champaign bottle between her legs.
- Silverball Mania shows a naked (chrome) man who is... "playing" a pinball machine rather enthusiastically.
- Find Us Alive is being written and produced during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and it shows in its themes. Its premise—being trapped and having to cope with a new way of living—is especially resonant post-2020. Harley summarizes it neatly:
How did we as a species get so good at turning everything mundane? I mean- look at me. Im sitting here longing for the days of my previous status quo. You know, the status quo where I worked for a secret shadow-government organization that contains and studies things that literally break every law known to science. That was my normal. For years. Its amazing, the things you can... get used to.
- Invoked by the Interstitial Actual Play players when discussing how Roxanne and Ennora are separate entities despite their similarities, and agreeing that referring to the latter with the former's name would be equivalent to deadnaming them.
- During the 2016 Presidential election season, The Hidden Almanac ran a storyline about a local election for District Court Judge, growing more pointed as it goes on.
- An extended gag in one of Denis Norden's monologues on My Word! involves him finding an ex-girlfriend "walking the streets". Even after it becomes clear he means she's a traffic warden, the metaphor continues.
"If it wasn't for men like you, there'd be no need for women like me!"
- George Carlin's 1991 routine "Rockets and Penises in the Persian Gulf" points out all of the phallic and sexual innuendos of the first Gulf War. "Imagine an American President using the sexual slang of a thirteen-year-old to describe his foreign policy."
- Paranoia is loaded with political and social commentary, but while sticking to themes on the Red Scare does a variation with mutants. All of them are executed upon discovery except for a small few who are forced to wear yellow armbands at all times (black if their uniform is yellow) and not allowed the same privileges or freedoms as the rest of Alpha Complex, which already doesn't have much. Player opinion is out on whether or not this is meant to represent Jewish people or oppressed minorities in general.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Descriptions of the biological principles behind Tyranid biomorphs are uncomfortably sexual. Especially the Pyrovore.
- Absolutely anything to do with the Dark Eldar. Torturing people to death then eating their souls is essentially their version of sex, and it just gets worse from there. "My playthings break so easily." And on a related matter, absolutely anything to do with Slaanesh.
- One of the funnier ones involving the Dark Eldar are the ones among the kabals who secretly trade recordings of Wyches in the arena, as certain named ones are far more popular than others. While the Wyches fight purely gladiatorial combat, they must remain graceful and beautiful, and those who watch the recordings get an almost euphoric reaction to them. In other words, they're secretly trading bootleg sex tapes! (And since the gladiatorial fights are usually to the death, bootleg snuff tapes!)
- A non-sexual example of this trope: The Imperium's citizens are encouraged by the official state religion, the Ministorum, to hate, fear, and persecute psykers, even though the Imperium could not function at all without themnote . We should also mention the entire Imperium, under that same state religion, worships a psyker. Note that for the most part this is entirely justified: untrained psykers fall to Chaos even faster than regular humans, as their powers make daemonic invasions much easier.
- Slaanesh, hermaphroditic god(dess) of hedonism, is one giant drug abuse metaphor. Seriously, his/her worshipers give us too many examples to choose from.
- In one of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tie-in novels, the signature characters Albrecht and the Margrave each take out their respective ancestral BFS. Albrecht is pleased to note that his is bigger.
- Ace Attorney:
- In the first game, Manfred von Karma was shot in the right shoulder just before he murdered Gregory Edgeworth. In the second, his daughter Franziska is also shot in the right shoulder. By this point, Franziska has gotten over her father, and has pretty much banished his name from the family for being a killer, so her being shot in the exactly the same way he was, right before he killed, is an extremely karmic moment.
- In the third game, Godot prosecutes a case where someone died from a poisoned cup of coffee. Later it's revealed that he himself almost died, and was knocked into a coma, by this same method. The case is full of parallels, such as the fact the defendant is a young woman just like Dahlia was, and Godot's mention of how the defendant is a "classy lady" for using coffee to hide the bitterness of poison. It's also, tragically in a rather ironic way, the case where we first see something that came about due to Godot being poisoned. Namely, that he can't see red on a white background.
- An example of a subverted one is in case 3 of the first game. Jack Hammer, an actor, at first was thought to have been stabbed with a spear but it turns out he died from being pushed of some stairs onto a spiked-fence. 5 years prior, the victim himself (allegedly accidentally) pushed a fellow actor from the same stairs and onto the same spiked fence while filming a scene, killing them. What makes this worse, is that the person who killed Hammer did so in self-defense, when Hammer himself went to get his revenge on them for his treatment after that accident he had caused. Thus it's more then likely that Hammer was accidentally killed in the exact same way and place that he accidentally killed someone himself, due to the fact that he had accidentally killed said previously mentioned someone.
- In The Eden of Grisaia, having stayed away all night without eating anything, Makina and Michiru instantly fall upon a container of jam and messily devouring it. A similarly hungry and sleep deprived Sachi follows in moments later, asking Amane whether she thinks it sounds like two girls competing to get something a bit more risque in their mouths before continue to try making triple blowjob sound effects.
- To make a point about perspective in Ever17, You (which is, incidentally, not a second-person pronoun, but a nickname for the character's incredibly long given name) has Kid try to put a pen back in its cap with one eye closed. This is made all the more amusing by the pair's Unresolved Sexual Tension, along with You being two years older.
- To anyone listening to the conversation but not actually seeing what they're doing, it sounds exactly like a porn movie. You is probably aware of that.
- This trope is exactly what the authors were aiming for in that scene; the things those two say in that scene are right out of a hentai. Which is a bit ironic considering this is one of those visual novels without any actual H scene.
- In a different scene near the beginning of Kid/Coco's route, You attempts to make Kid laugh off his amnesia. If you refuse to do so, she'll resort to... sticking her finger up Sara's nose. Sara proceeds to moan sensually as "she and her senpai become one."
- Fate/stay night reveals in its third route, Heaven's Feel, that Sakura is subjected to torture every night in the basement by her adopted grandfather by being violated by the bugs he can create using his powers. Not to mention that her adopted older brother Shinji regularly beats her and rapes her. Then when this is revealed about Sakura and that she's become a vessel for the Holy Grail (which contains Angra Mainyu, who will use her to be "born"), the Sinister Minister Kirei Kotomine refuses to prevent this because he believes all things have the right to exist (and because he wants to destroy the world), which eventually leads to Sakura's boyfriend Shirou fighting him for her.
- Monster Prom: Zoe's attempt to live life as a high-school girl is framed as an allegory for a transgender person undergoing transition. She is sometimes identified as Z'Gord by the cultists and other members of the student body, and is exclusively referred to as Z'Gord by Leonard, hateful little bastard that he is. Throughout the game, Zoe repeatedly says that she doesn't want to be known as Z'Gord anymore and just wants to live a normal life. Add on top of that the fact that Zoe's voice actor is non-binary, the parallels are obviously intentional.
- Tsukihime: Makes Shiki's killing of Arcueid is somewhat... questionable.
Arcueid: It was your first time and you were that skilled?
- Also, during the scene where he stalks her prior to this, he makes several references towards getting excited about "wanting to *** her", and the "long hard object in his pants". After a couple screens of this, it's mentioned that the blanked-out four-letter word is kill, and the object he's talking about is his knife. Then after Arcueid has been killed by Shiki, she chases him down to "make him take responsibility" for his actions. Not helped that the player can have Shiki can rape her in an act of craziness in an alleyway, which later results in Arcueid giving into her vampiric impulses and killing him.
- In Volume 4, Sun has never before visited Menagerie so Blake explains the history of the island continent. As a sop to equality, the kingdoms' leaders gave the Faunus an isolated, out-of-the-way continent that is two-thirds desert and therefore only habitable along its coastal regions. This has been used to relocate and confine the Faunus away from other kingdoms, crowding them into limited space and expecting them to disappear from radars of other kingdoms' leaders. Not only is Menagerie an unsubtle reference to the use of Australia as a dumping ground for the undesirables of European and American societies, and the continuing plight of the Aboriginal Australians, but it's even located on the south-eastern portion of Remnant's world map.
- In Blake's Volume 5 Character Short, Ilia reveals she was able to attend school in Atlas only by hiding her Faunus heritage. She was able to pass for human and wasn't even allowed to tell her human friends anything about her own family to protect the secret. As a result, she was forced to go along with the Faunus racism her human friends indulged in to avoid suspicion. She tells Blake that she's often asked why she bothers to fight for Faunus rights when she can have an easier life "passing for human". In real life, "passing" is a term that refers to people from disadvantaged groups, such as racial, ethnic, gender or sexual orientation, who pass as another group to escape segregation, discrimination and persecution.