An old photo album is opened up, and you're enjoying some reminders of your past...
Until "it" shows up. You didn't realize it at the time, but that picture makes you want to crawl under a rock. Worse, everyone else loves it, having plenty of laughs. Fortunately, this rarely has any lasting effects aside from everyone having a chuckle at your expense. If you're lucky, you are the only one with such a picture. This can apply to home videos and slideshows as well.
Can be used to show that I Was Quite a Fashion Victim.
For some reason, "Embarrassing baby pictures" often consist of the subject lying naked, butt-up on a fur rug.
Definitely Truth in Television: Amazingly Embarrassing Parents will rush to show their kids' friends these. It's a blessing in disguise to catch Mom showing these pictures to one's boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other; it's Mom's stamp of approval of him or her. A rarer variant would be the child finding old photos of their parents, and they would be the one having plenty of laughs instead.
Compare Old Shame.
- Sgt. Frog:
- At the start of an episode Aki, is showing everyone some old photos of Natsumi and Fuyuki when they were kids. She shows an old photo where after having wet the bed, Fuyuki has been hung on the washing line next to the blanket he soiled. Fuyuki quickly tries to cover up the photo.
- A whole episode revolves around Momoka enlisting the aid of Natsumi and Koyuki to steal a piece of art from her father's collection before Fuyuki can see it. It's a portrait of her as a baby... naked.
- Ranma ½: Genma shows embarrassing photos of Ranma to Ukyô and Akane as part of Ranma's training at one point. (Ranma is supposed to be learning how to keep his cool.)
- Mina has access to a bunch of these of Akira in the Dance in the Vampire Bund manga.
- In WORKING!!, Hiroomi has several pictures of Sôta as a child where Sôta is dressed as a girl. (As Sôta had only older sisters, and most of his clothes are hand-me-downs).
- In Kyou Kara Maou, Jenny (a.k.a. Miko) is always showing pictures of Yuuri from childhood. She used to dress him up like a girl because she wanted a daughter (but instead got sons).
- In the third volume of the High School DXD light novel, Issei's mother shows the members of the Occult Research Club a collection of these, including the obligatory "naked toddler at the beach" photo. The funny part, she's actually promised that she would do this when he had a lot of girlfriends, though her hopes dwindled as Issei became quite the pervert.
- Can apply to Jeremy in A Cruel God Reigns, although not in the cute "I'm so embarrassed!" way. It happens when he finds the photos Greg took of him being tortured which Ian kept in part so that if Jeremy was ever put on trial for Make It Look Like an Accident Vehicular Sabotage-ing Greg, he could claim self defense, and partly because he was in shock over the whole thing. This incident leads to one of Jeremy's biggest Freak Out! moments and doesn't help his slight case of Being Tortured Makes You Evil.
- Girls Bravo: In episode 13, Fukuyama uses a baby picture of Kirie wetting the bed to blackmail her into entering the "Girls Fight!" competition and offers to give it back only if she won. She advances all the way to the finals, where she's defeated by Lilica. Fukuyama calls it even and tears up the photo anyway, vowing to keep it a secret, since he at least got to see her in a g-string bikini.
- Itazura Na Kiss, where Nakoi has planty of baby photos of himself dressed in girl's clothing, as the mother wanted a daughter and didn't want to purchase new boy's clothing. This photo was used as blackmail by Kotoko in order to get tutoring.
- In Non Non Biyori, Natsumi finds a old video tape while cleaning her room. She thinks it contains old anime episodes, so she plays it. It turns out that it's actually a video of her as a child when she said she'd marry her brother.
- In Angel and Faith, Connor is confronted with some embarrassing old religious iconography.
Faith: "There's a resemblance, all right. What's that around your neck?"
Connor: "I used to wear the body parts of demons I'd killed." *Facepalm* "I was a kid."
- In one issue of Viz, Sid the Sexist actually manages to persuade a girl to come home with him - only for his mother to intercept them as they enter the house, drag them into the living room and proceed to totally ruin the whole thing by showing the girl albums upon albums of Sid's baby photos.
- In The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds, Megan, Molly, and Danny have plenty of these of Luna and Celestia, since it was the three of them who raised the two.
- Turnabout Storm: Embarrassing photos of Rainbow Dash the victim was carrying are submitted to the courtroom in for all to see (except the viewers); cue massive laughter from the audience. Poor Rainbow Dash...
- Dr. Brainstorm's tenth-grade photo serves as this in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
Jack: Nice braces, by the way.
- Discussed in The Second Try. Fortunately for the child in question, any photos that might have been taken were lost when the family was sent back in time.
Asuka: And as good parents, it is of course our duty to take photos of her first birthday, wearing a cute hat and her whole face smeared full of cake to torture her with in a few years.
- In Belonging by writerzero, Beast Boy and Raven go to Kishar, who used to help raise Beast Boy when he was a kid, and is now training him. While he goes flying, she uses the opportunity to show Raven a few of his childhood photos... a good number of them having him naked. Beast Boy is scared out of his wits when he sees that.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic blog Ask the Royal Sisters Cadance gets her mother-in-law Twilight Velvet to give her an album of Shining's baby photos in one sketch. Celestia does to same with Cadance to Shining in another. When Shining and Cadance actually look at the photos, however, they find them cute and don't remember why they were so embarrassed in the first place.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po's father, Mr. Ping, packs a bundle for him to take away on his next adventure. Among the things he packs are paintings of Po during his childhood, including one of Po taking a piggy-back ride on his back. Po's True Companions are amused.
- In Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Max brings his girlfriend home from college to meet his dad. At one point while Max is proudly showing her old pictures of himself as a child graduating high school, Goofy brings in an enlarged photo of Max naked as a baby.
- Despicable Me has a scene where Gru's mother shows her adopted granddaughters an old photo of him as a kid wearing a "traditional" outfit, which is embarrassing as Margo thinks he looks like a girl and his mother agrees, adding that he looks like an ugly girl.
- In Bad Boys, Marcus's wife shows his partner Mike a photo of him with a fro.
- There's a scene in a French movie from the '70s where one of the character has an embarrassing old photo on his driving licence. His friends laugh at him but stop when they have to show theirs, which are even worse.
- During the party in the first quarter of The Descent, Juno brings out a photograph of her, Beth and Sarah; in it, they're obviously fresh from mountain-climbing, and sporting utterly manic grins. In the laughter that follows, even Beth mutters "look at the state of us." And then Sarah starts reminiscing on something her dead husband used to say and suddenly the scene isn't quite so funny anymore.
- In The Departed, that's how Sullivan thinks about Madolyn's childhood photograph and demands it being removed from the flat when she moves in with him.
- In Silver Streak, Gene Wilder is accused of being a murderer and appearing in the newspapers at the station is his old driver's license picture. When Richard Pryor points it out to him, Wilder's character finishes his sentence with "I hate that picture".
- In a non-comic use of this trope, Michéle, the protagonist of Elle, is dogged by a haunting photograph of her taken as a child, just after her father killed 27 of their neighbors after they objected to something he did related to Christmas, in which she is half-naked and covered with ash, staring vacantly toward the camera, that became the signature image related to her father's crime.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there's a Christmas decoration with a photo of Greg and Rodrick as young children bathing in the sink. This embarrasses Greg.
- In the book Penn and Teller's How to Play with Your Food, Penn & Teller have a cruel trick to avoid your parents showing embarrassing Halloween photos to your future dates.
- In Judy Blume's Fudge novels, Peter's parents have one of him as a toddler, naked and holding a broom.
- In Shaman Blues, Witkacy has an old picture of him with his ex hanging on the wall. It suddenly becomes very embarrassing to him when she pays him a visit.
- The Emerald City of Oz has an illustration (by long-time illustrator John R. Neill) of Dorothy and her friends (and Aunt Em and Uncle Henry) facing a statue of her as originally illustrated by W. W. Denslow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- The Millers' title sequence is a greatest hits parade of family photo trends over the past several decades. Most haven't aged particularly well. The title sequence is also a Freeze-Frame Bonus, because it's made up of collages of old photos of the cast that zoom out to become Miller family portraits. Freeze framing the sequence reveals some real life embarrassing old photos from the cast's past.
- In a House episode, there's a photo which shows House as a cheerleader in high school. When Cuddy sees it, she dismisses it as fake; however, at the end of the episode, it's revealed to be real.
- On Friends the friends are looking at photos from Ross and Monica's childhood. Joey says he's found "Monica naked!" Ross, embarrassed, admits "No, no, that would be me again."
- In the Cold Case episode "Stand Up and Holler", Dets. Vera and Miller are showing each other pictures of themselves from high school during the Medley Exit.
- Criminal Minds:
- One of these is used to prove that yes, Emily Prentiss used to be a Goth. With terrible '80s Hair.
- In the episode "I Love You, Tommy Brown", Garcia is desperately trying to get Morgan to pick up the phone and one of the voicemails she leaves is:
Garcia: Derek Morgan, this is the 67th message I left you. If you don't answer I will be forced to show everyone that nude photo of you from art class, and not the good one either. I'm being serious.
- An early episode of Gilmore Girls has Lorelai hiding several of these from her daughter's boyfriend.
- Jeff's cynical campaign for school office is derailed by opponent Annie, who publicly airs an old audition video he'd done for MTV's "The Real World" where he's playing George Michael.
- One of Colorado's bars has photos showcasing Shirley's past as a barfly plastered all over its walls.
- Not super-embarrassing, but an episode of Power Rangers Dino Thunder has Kira and Dr. O going through his old Ranger stuff. She finds a picture of him from ten years ago and teases him about his long hair. Dr. O responds "Hey, it was in style at the time!" Of course, this is funnier for long-time fans, since the picture is a promotional image from Power Rangers' second season and depicts Tommy as the White Ranger.
- In White Collar, the infamous time when Peter grew a mustache. As a Continuity Nod, when there's a Whole Episode Flashback to that time period, Peter has the mustache until he's convinced to shave it off.
- Sal of Impractical Jokers has an unfortunate one that periodically crops up as an "Employee of the Year" photo, a slide in a presentation, etc.
- Barney of How I Met Your Mother has an Embarrassing Old Videotape, from his days as a lovelorn hippie. Robin has one as well; we're initially led to believe that it's porn, but it's actually a music video of her teenage one-hit-wonder "Let's Go To The Mall".
- In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Kevin uncovers a photo of Sergeant Bates doing jello shots off a naked guy in a Luchador mask.
- Just Shoot Me!: Elliot is about to go to a class reunion, noting how he used to frequently be picked on. Maya claims it couldn't have been that bad but then he shows her an old high school photo. She then exclaims, "Oh my God! You were a little fatty!"
- On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver actively invokes this on his segment on the so-called "Right to be Forgotten" (i.e. the argument that people should be able to take embarrassing pictures or stories about them off the internet, which, he points out, is pretty much impossible. He set up a campaign called "Mutually Assured Embarrassment," asking everyone to post the most embarrassing pictures of themselves so that they would not be hidden or revealed against one's will. He even includes a couple of himself- one as a child with a sweater with his own name on it (which he says isn't an example, because he actually kind of likes it), and one of him as an incredibly dorky teenager.
You better have fucking done that or I've made a horrible mistake. And I think I've just made a horrible mistake.
- On That '70s Show, Eric worries that Kitty will show Donna all his old pictures when they start hanging out (despite the fact that they grew up together and she was there during the awkward times). They both laugh at his fantasy sequence, and he eventually accepts how ridiculous he's being. Then the stinger is the two women going through a photo album, discussing all the embarrassing pictures of Eric.
- D-Generation X managed to pull this one off twice in the same segment. After Edge and Randy Orton dressed up as DX (complete with a fake nose and sideburns on Edge and leather chaps and a blonde wig on Orton), Triple H showed on the TitanTron a couple of photos Randy Orton had done in the past — one with him naked under a Modesty Towel — and implied the photos were very popular with the gay community. He then "accidentally" put a picture of Shawn Michaels (his partner) up on the screen; Shawn's Playgirl spread from the late 90s. Shawn is understandably not amused by this.
- The Invasion of Nintendo
- In Resident Evil 2, if you search Wesker's (yep, that Wesker) desk in the precinct 50 times (or so) you can find some film you can develop (developing another piece of film is the solution to a puzzle). Or you can just see it here.
- Apparently, Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has one, but it's never actually shown to the player.
- In Endless Frontier, after the main protagonist Haken Browning learned of his origins as an Super Soldier Artificial Human, his Robot Girl companion Aschen Brodel reminds him that she has in her memory banks video footage of him growing up from infancy. He demands that the data be deleted.
- Guybrush Threepwood teases his wife when he sees a portrait of her as a baby, with her grandfather, in Escape from Monkey Island. He stops when she threatens to take out HIS baby pictures.
- Homestar Runner:
- In the early Strong Bad Email "stand-up", Strong Sad waits for Strong Bad to leave before showing the audience a video of a young Strong Bad performing a very awkward stand-up comedy routine.
- Strong Bad watches this trope play out on TV in "sibbie". He even describes it as such: "Oh, this is the one where the guy's mom shows the guy's girlfriend the pictures of the guy when he was a baby."
- Sam & Mickey: In "The Attic", we have Barbie's old home Betamax videos.
Yasmin: (watching the videos with Barbie's "little sisters" during The Stinger) I like your kindergarten dance concert, but my favorite is where you're a baby and you poop on your momma's white pantsuit, and she tells you that "you'll never amount to anything". So funny!Barbie: (to Ken) Let's go to Home Depot and buy a mallet. I'm smashing that Betamax player when they go to sleep.
- There's a scene in Wapsi Square where Monica is embarrassed by a bunch of her teenage photos where she's wearing nerdy glasses and hair. Later on she shows one to her friends and they think it's cute. And she does replicate the look later on for a night in with some other (supernatural) friends, so...
- In Questionable Content, there exists a photo of Marten as a small child innocently waving around a giant (think "size of his torso") floppy dildo, which his mother insists is the cutest thing ever. We get to see it at one point, and it actually is pretty cute.
- In Something*Positive, when Davan's family was having a get together for Thanksgiving, his father promised his mother to only show his girlfriend, Branwen, his trophies and art pieces. So Davan's father proceeded to give Branwen a slideshow consisting of Davan's "performance pieces" over the years, such as, "Look mommy, I have a peepee".
- Cheap Thrills: Shortly before Jeordie's graduation, his mom shows his girlfriend photos of him as a baby bathing in the bathtub, dressed as a fireman, and dressed in a pink onesie, to Jeordie's complete embarrassment.
- Adventure Time: "Memory of a Memory" features a variant; Finn pulls Marceline into his memories, and Marceline accidentally sees a scene of Finn as a toddler, dancing in his underwear and singing a silly song.
Young Finn: I'm a buff baby that can dance like a man!
I can shake-a my fanny, I can shake-a my can!
I'm a tough tootin' baby, I can punch-a your buns!
Punch-a your buns, I can punch-a your buns!
If you're an evil witch, I will punch you for fun!
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- According to the episode "The Secret Box", an embarrassing snapshot of SpongeBob at the Christmas party can be found in Patrick's secret box.
- When thinking of how to scare the Flying Dutchman while he's trapped inside his mind in the Halloween Episode "The Legend of Boo-kini Bottom", SpongeBob notes that he really gets scared when his mother shows people his naked baby pictures, which gives him the idea to scare the Flying Dutchman by thinking up himself as a giant naked infant.
- Kim Possible:
- Whilst clearing out Ron's garage, Kim finds a video labelled "Ron's Big Day", which Ron begs Kim to take her hands off. At the end of the episode we discover why — the tape is of a young Ron using the toilet.
- Kim, on the other hand, has a fair few.
- Biker Mice from Mars. In the episode "A Scent, a Memory, a Far Distant Cheese", Charley, Modo and Throttle get a hold of Vinnie's very embarrassing baby picture. Oddly plot relevant, as it is used to help defeat that episode's villains.
- The Simpsons:
- In an episode, Bart is watching a video of embarrassing things that have happened to the family in years gone past. Bart says that he wants to take it to school... until he sees his younger self on the toilet.
- In a later season, Bart and Lisa use an old camera to take a picture of a forest fire for a contest to see what will go on the cover of the new phone book. When Marge develops the roll of film, she finds an old picture of toddler Bart and Lisa sharing a toilet. That one wins the contest.
- Double Subversion in "Barting Over", an even later episode. Lisa found a video tape which she thought was labeled "Bart Sad", but turned out to be "Bart's Ad". It was a commercial for a very-dangerous cure for bad baby breath; he was the "before" baby. It was still enough for Nelson to mock him about. More than just being embarrassing, though, it showed Bart that he had earned a lot of money which Homer spent to cover up another photo, this one of him dropping Bart off a balcony.
- A tie-in book called "The Simpsons' Family Album" did, indeed, feature a much younger Bart naked, butt-up on a bearskin rug. As the cover illustration.
- Truth in Television: An embarrassing baby photo became the basis for Tweety's character design.
- One episode of Doug has a subversion. Patti is at his house and Doug's mom is showing her photos while Doug is in another room, only able to hear the reactions. It turns out the photos aren't of him, but of his dog.
- Subverted in the series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Katara, wanting to cheer everyone up, attempts this. It doesn't work, and in fact ends up bringing the mood down further, because...
- In Code Lyoko episode "Cold Sweat", thanks to Odd an embarrassing photo of Yumi ends up in the school newspaper. As pictured above, it shows her disguised as a fairy for Halloween, with a blonde wig and pink dress. Pink really isn't Yumi's color.
- Home Movies:
- Brendon and his mom go to dinner at the Funny Foreigner kid's house to make up for Brendon's making fun of him. Everyone there is laughing it up at an old video Brendon's mom had sent to a contest that shows little Brendon peeing himself. It made the evening news.
- In another episode, Brendon makes a "Behind the Music"-style documentary of Duane's band — including a standard naked-on-bearskin-rug baby picture of Duane, with the same cap-over-eyes sullen face.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- This gem. Doofenshmirtz will never live it down. It's also a bit of a Continuity Nod because he mentions the video was lost. In a previous episode, a lot of his junk was dumped out of his aircraft.
- Also, the recurring photo that the OWCA use as his ID. "Yeah, that picture's gonna haunt me."
- In "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?" Linda shows Jeremy a video of Candace as a baby in the bath tub, oblivious to the fact that Candace is right there watching this in Perry's body.
- An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes centers on Jimmy and his friends finding an embarrassing old video of Lucius. Heloise, being the sadist she is, not only puts it up on Spew Tube, but makes sure it's shown at a rally for all of Miseryville to see.
- Happened a few times on KaBlam!:
- In "Cramming Cartoons Since 1627", Henry's mom shows June and her father (and since they're on a show, EVERYONE) pictures of Henry in a Pilgrim costume for his elementary-school Thanksgiving pageant. Not to be outdone, June's dad shows off home movies of baby June taking a bath.
- In "Going the Extra Mile", when Ryan wins a contest to spend the day with Henry and June, he shows the viewers rare footage of the duo when they were little. June is shown in a diaper commercial, while Henry is shown getting kicked by a cow on America's Nuttiest Home Videos, which are embarrassing to them.
- The Powerpuff Girls have a good laugh after viewing Mojo Jojo's baby photos.
- In the Futurama episode "The Prisioner of Benda", we see Amy Wong's employee of the year photo from 2997. She was quite fat back then. It's also a Continuity Nod to "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", where the preteen Amy is depicted as being pudgy.
Amy: [to Farnsworth] Would you please take that down? It's making me hungry.
- In the Parents Day episode of Recess, Spinelli's parents show the gang a picture of her as a baby naked with her butt sticking in the air.
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "An Elk For Heffer" Heffer casually asks Elkie if she would like to see some embarrassing pictures of himself as a child.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
- In the episode "Call of the Cutie", Cheerilee shows a picture of herself from around the time she first got her cutie mark, and the kids all laugh at her outdated '80s fashion.
Cheerilee: Yes, I know, but honestly, that's how everypony was wearing their mane back then.
- In "Ponyville Confidential", Apple Bloom tries to interview Granny Smith for a story for the school newspaper, but Granny Smith is more interested in going over old family albums, including a few embarrassing baby pictures of Apple Bloom.
- In "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows", Applejack thinks this of her own baby picture on her birth certificate.
- In the episode "Call of the Cutie", Cheerilee shows a picture of herself from around the time she first got her cutie mark, and the kids all laugh at her outdated '80s fashion.
- In the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode, "Tuckered Out", Jenny, Brad, and Sheldon show a bunch of old home movies of Tuck to his second grade class as revenge for how badly he treated them when he directed a movie about Jenny. These include a young Tuck being potty-trained, urinating on a Mall Santa out of fear, and the infamous "naked-baby-on-fur-rug" photo.
- The House of Mouse episode "Max's Embarrassing Date" has Mickey introducing a cartoon and saying that Max loved it since he was "a tiny tot in diapers" and proceeds to show a baby picture of Max on a tricycle.
- Near the beginning of the Gravity Falls episode "The Inconveniencing", Mabel embarrasses her brother Dipper in front of his crush Wendy by showing a picture of Dipper, aged five, in a lamb costume.
Dipper: Now is not the time to talk about the Lamby Dance!
- In the All Grown Up! episode, "Petition This", Kimi starts a petition drive to ban the use of cell phones from school. Around the same time, Tommy is preparing a movie for the Finsters' tenth wedding anniversary, using pictures from the present and the past. Angelica, who isn't going to stand for Kimi's petition, browses Tommy's computer for a photo embarrassing enough to humiliate Kimi while Tommy has fallen asleep from all his hard work. She settles on one of Kimi's Rugrats counterpart sitting on a potty chair and crying, which she puts on posters with a speech balloon saying "Quick! Someone hand me a cell phone!"
- The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show has Mr. Peabody's foster parents show a slideshow of family pictures to an audience on Mr. Peabody's TV show. When Sherman zooms in to highlight the zits on his high school band picture, the normally unfettered Mr. Peabody has a breakdown.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Infernal Slumber", Mac is embarrassed when Eduardo finds and photographs one of Mac's baby pictures, which depicts him bathing in the sink with his rear end visible.
- The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Baxter and Bananas: Monkey See, Monkey Don't" had Baxter's animate sock monkey Bananas manipulate Baxter into going along with his plan by threatening to show the guests Baxter's parents invited over a baby picture of Baxter lying on his belly naked.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Growing Pains", Flash Thompson is shown to have a photo of himself running with no pants on when he was four years old.
- At the end of The Superhero Squad Show episode "Mother of Doom", Doctor Doom's mother gets back at her son by posting embarrassing pictures of him on Maskbook, which are unseen by the audience.
- In an episode of Daria, Sandi continually tries to harass Quinn about her relationship to Daria, but Quinn, without confirming or denying it, not-so-subtly mentions that she has a picture of Sandi when she was in elementary school with huge braces, but has decided not to show the picture to anyone out of the goodness of her heart... or at least not yet. Sandi quickly backs off.
- Non-fictional example: There was one You've Been Framed video where a little boy having a bath is having an argument with his mother. The mother tells the boy that one day she will show this video to his girlfriend.
- Jack Coleman discussing the most embarrassing roles of his past (complete with a picture of his mulleted 80's haircut) on Television Without Pity's "The H.R.G. Blog"
- The Ellen DeGeneres show has a segment called "Bad Paid-for Photos", where viewers send in or showcase live their embarrassing old photographs. Most of these are studio or school photos, and tend to be "bad" because of 80s hair, glasses, sweaters or a combination of a few. One of the staffers on the show was dressed up as a girl by his mother when he was a child, because his mother really wanted a daughter. Squick.
- Colin Baker did a series of cheesy photos for... something in the Seventies. One of them became a mini-meme. Say hello to Seventies Porn Colin◊.
- The blog Awkward Family Photos revolves around this trope.