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Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting

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A pose that simultaneously asserts dominance and invites attacks on the groin.

Karkat Vantas, Homestuck

So... (turns chair around and sits) you're trying to Describe Edgy Backwards Chair Sitting Here.

Chairs are made to sit on. When most people sit on one, they usually lean their backs against the backrest and their legs forward. However, there is a more unusual way of sitting on one.

Instead of sitting normally in the chair, the sitter will turn the chair around and place legs on either side of the chair, typically using the back of the chair as an armrest.

There are many different reasons why a person would choose to sit this way. Not unlike wearing a baseball cap backwards or sideways, it could convey that the character is edgy but still approachable, slightly rebellious but not destructively so, to appear carefree or too bored to care, or too calm and collected to make a big deal about things, giving off a "cool" vibe, though it may backfire and give the appearance of looking Totally Radical instead. Alternatively, those who sit this way can try to use the back of the seat as a type of shield, so they can appear cool while clinging to the back as a form of protection to cover their insecurities.

If they simply want to talk to the person behind them without bothering to turn their seat around, it is not this trope. Typically seen in places where people congregate, such as think tank meetings or support groups.

A Sub-Trope of Characterizing Sitting Pose. A Sister Trope to Rebel Relaxation and Leaning on the Furniture. Compare Slouch of Villainy. See also Human Furniture Is a Pain in the Tail for another reason a character might want to sit in a chair backwards.

Also keep in mind that there is a narrative point to sitting like this, unlike merely sitting on a chair.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gunslinger Girl: In the first season opening title, Triela is shown sitting like this in a chair. Her pose is relaxed and calm, which is deceptive considering that in the previous scene she was running and shooting a pistol. She also fits the Rule-Abiding Rebel trope, as she is one of the more independent yet efficient members of the Agency.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Killua is shown sitting like this in the 1999 anime, showcasing his rebellious personality.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko, being an edgy person she is, is shown sitting like that when Aikuro explains the history of Life Fibers.
  • To Love Ru: An Eye Catch for the 2nd OVA features Mikan sitting on a chair backwards while naked except for socks and smiling.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted in The Evil Queen. Ryuji initially sits like this in the student council room as expected from his Japanese Delinquent personality, but a reminder from Makoto has him sitting in the chair properly since he's been trying to clean up his act recently.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Russell Hammond sits backwards when he finally sits down to give Wiliam an interview in Almost Famous.
  • Avatar: The leader of the marines sits this way when he's speaking to Jake in the cafeteria.
  • In Basic Instinct 2, Catherine Tramell does this while talking with her psychiatrist.
  • The Cheyenne Social Club: Used to establish Corey Bannister as an antagonist. Bannister, the only person in Cheyenne who doesn't treat John like a hero, turns a chair when sitting down at John's table. He tells John in an overtly menacing manner that he doesn't like John, because the Cheyenne Social Club (the town brothel which John has just inherited) once denied him service due to his poor hygiene.
  • Yang Lin from The Condemned is shown sitting backwards in a chair during an interrogation scene.
  • Hitler's Madman: The flamboyantly evil Reinhard Heydrich chooses to sit like this while he has the young girls of Lidice lined up against a wall to evaluate which can be put to use as sex slaves.
  • In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, William Brandt sits backwards when they discuss what to do after the failed motorcycle chase.
  • Mississippi Burning shows why this can be a bad idea; a Ku Klux Klan thug draws a chair (one where the back is a narrow horizontal bit on a frame rather than a single solid piece,) right up to The Hero FBI Agent and sits on it in this position to try and intimidate him, but as soon as he crosses a line, the agent reaches through the gap in the back of the chair and grabs the guys balls. And keeps hold of them for a while.
  • Pal Joey: Gladys sits down in reverse position when she brusquely interrupts Joey's conversation to demand to know why he abandoned her sister in Fresno.
  • Seven Beauties: Rarely has it been more terrifying when a morbidly obese Nazi concentration camp commandant in her underwear straddles a chair and watches Pasqualino shovel in food from a bowl on the floor. The commandant is giving a starving Pasqualino food so he'll have the energy to have sex with her — and if he doesn't, he dies.
  • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, one of Captain America's PSA announcements shows him sitting backwards in a rather awkward attempt to look "relatable" to the high school audience.

  • All the World's a Stage: When private detective Erast Fandorin believes he has made the breakthrough deduction and gets excited, he sits down in a chair backwards. Subbotin, the police detective sent to help him, follows his example.
    The investigators were like two mounted knights at a crossroads.
  • Blood on the Black Market: Gene and Mark the mooks are holding Hardboiled Detective Michael Shayne captive, but he wants to intimidate them and he's pretty sure he can talk his way out of the jam. So he "turned the other chair around and sat down facing its back", before addressing Gene and Mark and demanding they let him go.
  • In A Civil Campaign, the recently sex changed 'Lord Dono' is advised to adopt this as one of 'his' new masculine mannerisms. He probably copied it off Aral Vorkosigan, who seems to do it a great deal.
  • Demon Copperhead: Damon's abusive Wicked Stepfather Stoner does this when he comes home from work, on the same day that Damon has come home from foster care. "He turned one of the kitchen chairs around and sat in it backward, straddling it with his arms folded on the back." It's a clear effort to intimidate his 10-year-old stepson.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, angel Azjel sits backwards when meeting with demon As.
  • When Nick is being questioned by police in Gone Girl, he inwardly expresses his surprise that police actually sit like that.
  • David Gemmell lets his hero Druss the Legend sits like this... because he's old and cautious. This way he can get something between him and whoever he's talking to, get up without turning his back, and have easy access to his weapons.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun: Ian Fleming actually uses the word "bassackward" to describe how Scaramanga sits on a chair.
  • After saving Edward in The Prince and the Pauper, Miles Hendon sits on a chair this way in front of the new king. The court call for his head on a silver platter, but Edward has been saved by Miles enough times to let him get away with it.
  • The Sentence Is Death: DC Darren Mills, Detective Inspector Grunshaw's junior partner, sits down in chair "Christine Keeler-like" as Anthony spells out his theory of who killed Richard Pryce. He's trying to look cool, but Anthony already knows that he's an idiot and a thug.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Peter David's novel Imzadi:
    • Riker sits backwards a few times.
    • When Wesley Crusher reverses his chair at one point, Riker asks if he learned it from him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in the "Smashed" episode of Arrested Development, Tobias sits like this when starting the therapy session at the Austerity clinic but the clinic uses wide armchairs, making him do the splits.
  • Hilariously Played for Laughs in Barry. When Barry has his acting epiphany, Fusches tries to have a serious sit-down and attempts this. Except the chair has armrests. He fidgets and struggles for a couple of seconds before turning the chair properly.
  • On Battlestar Galactica (2003), the virtual Number 6 sits backwards to Dr. Baltar, the chair being the only thing she's wearing.
  • In an episode of Black Books, Manny attempts this way of sitting a few times after a prolonged stint with his birthday presents of an espresso machine and a box set of Columbo. Each time, he ends up crushing his testicles, with the last one provoking a high pitched reply of "That was a particularly bad one".
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • "The Audit": Detective Jake Peralta sits on a chair backwards close to Teddy, the auditor of their precinct, when he and Amy are on a stakeout. It's done in an attempt to appear friendly and approachable.
    • "Serve & Protect":
      • Mark Devereaux (played by Nathan Fillion) is an actor who plays Detective Cole Tracker on a show Serve & Protect. He's a crazy-ish actor who acts like his character all the time. He sits backwards on a chair when he "interrogates" a production assistant on the set in front of real detectives, Jake Peralta and Rosa Diaz.
      • Jake turns around his chair when he interrogates Mark Devereaux in the precinct. It's Mark's character's shtick and Jake wants to throw him off balance a bit. And he loves reenacting scenes from movies and TV shows. Rosa joins Jake in the fun and also sits backwards, while Mark only mumbles "a double Tracker".
      Mark Devereaux: That's my move!
      Jake: Oh, I'm aware.
  • Burnistoun has an entire sketch based around this trope. A policeman is able to instantly convince multiple suspects to confess merely by sitting backwards in his chair. There's a long gag where a husband struggles to sit backwards in a cushy armchair, and when he finally succeeds he instantly repairs his marriage with this display of trustworthiness. The lesson seems to be that sitting this way is a panacea for communication.
  • A Different World: This was Dwayne Wayne's only mode of sitting for the first several seasons, as he went from dorky, lovestruck ensemble member to legitimate romantic and comedic lead in the later seasons.
  • In an episode of Happy Days, Leather Tuscadero sits backwards while the Cunninghams and others discuss giving her a My Fair Lady-style makeover, making Mr. C doubt that it can be done.
  • iCarly: Gibby attempts to sit on a chair backwards when he's alone with Carly.
  • Dennis Finch in Just Shoot Me! sits backwards in one episode while talking to Maya, but because the chair has armrests, he simply falls backwards awkwardly.
  • Miami Vice: Tubbs sometimes sits backwards on a chair while interrogating people.
  • Murderville: While interrogating a suspect in "The Magician's Apprentice", Conan attempts to look intimidating by turning a chair around and sitting on it backwards. Terry comments that he almost looked cool.
  • Michael Scott of The Office (US) turns around his chair while trying to reach out to his employees in his own attempt at a diversity seminar.
  • In Benedict Cumberbatch's first hosting of Saturday Night Live, he advertises a backwards-facing toilet in the vein of Apple's 1984 commercial, describing it as cool and confident.
  • Saved by the Bell: This is AC Slater's default way of sitting. As the series predates most ironic uses of this trope, Slater manages to come across as cool and slightly (but harmlessly) rebellious.
  • Star Trek:
  • Crowley in Supernatural (once during an interrogation, once while blackmailing the Winchesters).
  • On Taxi, Tony always sits backwards.
  • Roger regularly sits backwards on What's Happening!! whenever the gang goes to Rob's Place.

  • The Spice Girls perform the song "Naked" all sitting on high-backed chairs turned backwards, which also serve to protect their modesty, as they are apparently naked. Actually wearing flesh-coloured bodysuits.

    Photography & Illustration 


    Puppet Shows 
  • Thunderbirds: In "Cry Wolf", Alan sits backwards on a chair, while being praised for International Rescue's success in saving the boys.

  • Look Homeward, Angel: During an emotional conversation with Laura in which his feelings are coming to the surface, Eugene sits down, but he doesn't simply sit down in the chair, he "straddles it, facing her."

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama sits like this when captured by Relius's Astral Heat — in contrast to most of the other characters being physically restrained in some manner.
    Relius: What say you, Hazama? Surely you've had your fun.
  • In the first Mercenaries game, the player character (whichever one you choose) sits like this during the briefing in the opening, showing that you aren't technically under the authority of the person giving it.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rantaro Amami from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (whose Ultimate talent is unknown) showcases this position in his official art, as seen in the page image.


    Web Videos 
  • Brian in 5 Second Films skit "Jon Has a Problem tries sitting backward... on an armchair. It goes exactly as one would expect.
  • Ray of Achievement Hunter sits backwards during the planning session of their "Prison Break" heist. Being Ray, he lampshades this as him getting serious.

    Western Animation 
  • Patience, the Ice Elemental in Adventure Time, makes a huge show out of sitting this way to talk to some princesses. She makes a chair out of ice, turns it around, and exaggeratedly squats over it.
  • Mr. Corneille does this in his first scene in The Amazing World of Gumball as a transparent attempt to come off as a Cool Teacher and with the added bonus of switching into several other "relaxed" poses, since his debut episode was an Affectionate Parody of the kind of 90s Teen Drama you'd expect to play this straight.
  • Family Guy:
    • In an episode about sex ed, a visiting speaker who argues for chastity sits backwards as he tries to connect with his audience.
      Student: He's sitting informally like us! Let's hear what he has to say.
    • Also used in an earlier episode when Peter ran for school board president, and filmed a campaign ad of himself sitting at various desks in this way, even where there shouldn't logically be a desk, like a football field.
    • In one of the later episodes, Chris does this in Principal Shepherd’s office as an intimidation method when he finds out Shepherd’s been using the school as a porn studio.
  • When Mabel of Gravity Falls is left in charge of the Mystery Shack for three days in the episode "Boss Mabel", she reads an old business handbook from the 1980s. This inspires her to wear shoulder pads and to sit like this to appear approachable to her "employees".
  • An early episode of Hey Arnold! had Arnold's grandpa sit on a hardwood chair backwards while trying to convince his grandson not to worry too hard about his pet pig Abner running away. However, his statements that Abner won't come back aren't very reassuring.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Gangster Poker", Mr. Cat sees his friends playing poker completely wrong and decides to teach them, so he drags a chair to the table and sits on it backwards.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode, Ned realizes how pathetic his life looks to other people, and in his first attempt to prove he can be edgy, he tries sitting backwards.
    • In "Love is a Many Strangled Thing", Homer is sent into a group parenting therapy. He casually admits that he strangles Bart. The shrink is shocked and arranges that next time he sees Homer without other clients. He points out that he's going to sit backwards in his chair to emphasise to Homer just how horrible his strangling of his son is.


Video Example(s):


Mr. Cat's Poker Lesson

Mr. Cat teaches his friends about "gangster poker", the cooler, edgier version of poker, while sitting on a chair backwards.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / EdgyBackwardsChairSitting

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