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Eye Am Watching You

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So there's something off about the new guy. You want to keep him on his toes, let him know that he can't be at home just yet. You want him to know that you'll be watching him.

The wonders of nonverbal communication make saying all this without wasting your breath possible. Just perform these two simple gestures. Point to your eyes, preferably using the backward V-Sign: "I AM WATCHING" and point to your target: "YOU."

Details can vary, using different fingers when pointing at different things, but this is how you generally tell someone that you are watching them. Though generally a threatening gesture, it is known to have at times been used in a friendly or reassuring manner as well; communicating something to the effect of "I'll be seeing you", "I've got your back" or such. In many sign languages, the same gesture from one side of the face (not centered) translates as "see" or "I see you."


    open/close all folders 

  • The E-Trade Baby makes the gesture, possibly a reference to Meet the Parents.
  • The Burger King does this in one commercial during a news conference, while his spokesperson dismisses every question. The last question gets this response from the King.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: After the Cone Konchos are defeated and forced to clean up their mess, their boss expresses that they're still a threat by pointing at his own eyes and then pointing at Amato, glaring at him all the while.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seen in The War of the Worlds (latest version), with two soldiers.
  • Robert De Niro's character does this to Greg Focker in Meet the Parents and its sequels. It even provides the page quote at the top.
  • One of the Homeland Security agents does this repeatedly to the title characters in Ghostbusters (2016). The fact that the gesture comes after the man's made a complete ass of himself, multiple times, prompts some wicked snark from Jillian and Abby.
  • In The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, Lero Sombrero gives this gesture to Ruffy (the Oogieloves' pet goldfish) when Lola kisses him for good luck before sending him off to retrieve the last of their balloons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother uses this gesture to encourage his friends to "focus on the prize". Which is usually casual sex and/or hijinks.
  • Shirley on Community does this when she and Annie are deputized to monitor April Fools' Day.
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Vice-Principal Crubbs does this to Ned from time to time.
  • Doakes does this to Dexter in Dexter.
  • Glee:
    • Mike Chang does this to Coach Shannon Beiste after his girlfriend Tina mentions Beiste's name at an... inappropriate moment. While completely ignoring the fact that if he hadn't told Tina about how some of the other boys were using Beiste to, erm, cool off, she would never have used the method herself and therefore never mentioned the name...sometimes Mike's not all that bright, really.
    • Coach Sylvester does this too to Rachel after leaving Principal Higgins' office.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • An episode with Zachary Quinto promoting Star Trek (2009) has a Star Trek fan do this to him with his fingers in the Vulcan salute.
    • A 2018 episode features Robert Mueller doing the gesture toward Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump.
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, John Cleese does this to Terry Jones after he says the word mattress... twice.
  • On Some Girls, Holli does this at a school function to one of the nuns who had taken all the Hawaiian pizza slices. The nun repeats the gesture in kind.
  • A suspicious Clara does this to the Doctor on Doctor Who (in "The Caretaker") when he cancels their weekly adventure for something else he came up needing deep cover for. Naturally, she turns out to be right when the Doctor shows up at her school posing as the new caretaker.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody episode "Hotel Inspector" when hotel inspector Ilsa Shickelgrubermeiger becomes the Tipton Hotel's new manager after firing Mr. Moseby, she does this to bellhop Esteban after making him remove his war hero great grandfather's pin from his uniform.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan:
    • In episode 2, the local parker threatens Bambang this way to show he will watch Bambang if Bambang try to park people on his spot again.
    • In episode 61, Melani does this to Pipin after Pipin babbles to Melani's mother that Melani and Bambang were arguing last night. Pipin's body language shows that she doesn't get what pointing-to-the-eye means.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On WWE's fifth NXT season, when Maxine tried to marry Derrick Bateman, Bateman's disapproving mother gave her this gesture.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the opening fiction of Scion: God (1E), one of Sun Wukong's monkey guards does this to a visiting god from the Japanese pantheon.


    Theme Parks 
  • A gag in Universal Studios' Horror Make-Up Show has one of the hosts doing this several times to one of the kids in the audience, due to them believing that the kid threw a rock at their invention.

    Video Games 
  • Dave the Diver: After his first encounter with Sea Blue, when they (rightly) suspect him of setting off explosives underwater, Dave gets this gesture from Sea Blue's leader John Watson.
  • Drebin in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does a variation of this to Snake called "EYE HAVE YOU", which starts at the "eye" step, then he clenches a fist, then points to Snake.
  • In Office Jerk and Office Zombie, the Jerk and Zombie both do this as taunts. The Jerk does the standard version. The Zombie takes his right eye out, points at it, points at you, and then sticks the eye back in the socket.
  • The Sniper has this as one of his taunts in Team Fortress 2.


    Web Original 
  • The I'm watching you rage face, which is of the third phase of the motions.
  • The website Kisscartoon has a waiting screen during which the system checks out if the visitor isn't a bot. This features a cartoon cat animated to do the gesture directly toward you with its paw.

    Web Videos 
  • Flander's Company: In Season 4, Armand Trueman makes the gesture toward Dr. Shredder in a video-conference, noting that he's suspiciously always back for the season's climax.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens a few times in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Apparently in the Avatarverse, instead of using the index and middle fingers to point to their eyes, they use the index and pinky fingers, which has a considerably more badass "mess with the bull, get the horns" connotation added on.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • Parodied in "O.T.: The Outside Toilet". Max Flush, the shady man looking for the high-tech toilet Gene is hiding from him, does this gesture while standing outside the Belchers' restaurant. Gene thinks he's plotting to steal Gene's eyes and swap them with his own.
    • In "Tweentrepeneurs", Tina ends up owing money to Edith Cranwrinkle for a shipment of googly eyes for the student-run business. She sees Edith standing outside the playground of Wagstaff Elementary, where she makes this gesture with her own eyes, then with a pair of googly eyes stuck to her hand.
  • Family Guy: "Let's use our see..."
  • An Oktoberfest beer-guard does this to Fry in an episode of Futurama.
  • The Legend of Korra inherits the index-and-pinky version of the gesture from its predecessor.
    • Chief Lin Beifong does this to Korra as she's leaving the police interrogation room. Korra does the same back, wearing an exaggerated angry expression.
    • She later does this to some thugs in "The Stakeout", complete with the same "Water Tribe" gesture Sokka does in the previous series.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "28 Pranks Later", Rainbow Dash gets this treatment from Harry the Bear, who is still mad about Rainbow playing a mean-spirited prank on Fluttershy earlier in the episode.
    • "Sparkle's Seven": Shining Armor lacking fingers, he cannot make the gesture toward Twilight after finding her "sniffing the flowers" in the castle's courtyard... but his body language conveys the message pretty well, with him walking backward while glaring at his sister, and then his head poking right back on the frame with his horn pointing at her.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In the episode "No More Bunny Business", Perry the Platypus does this to Dennis the Bunny.
    • In the episode "One Good Turn," Stacey does this to her little sister, Ginger. Ginger doesn't quite get it.
      Ginger: That's our secret sign for "I love you, sis"... I think.
    • In the Grand Finale "Last Day of Summer", Candace gives one to the boys as they all go inside at the end. This is later followed by a smile and a point.
  • In various episodes of Sonic Boom, Sticks has a tendency to do this if she thinks someone is untrustworthy. For example, in Two Good To Be True, Eggman backspaces before he says outright that he's going to attack them next Tuesday, cueing this reaction from her.
  • Total Drama: Happens a few times.
    • After already mocking Chef's dress once and getting tied down for it in "3:10 to Crazytown", Chris does it again during the award ceremony. This time, Chef curtly answers by pointing two fingers at his own eyes and then to Chris. Chris takes the hint and backs off.
    • In "Dial M for Merger", Courtney suspects that Beth stole her PDA when she hands it back, to which Beth replies she only found it. Courtney's reply is to gesture from her eyes to Beth.
    • In "Walk Like an Egyptian, Part 2", Chris comes running when he hears Duncan sing, but Duncan insists he was hearing things and that Chris'll never get him to sing. Chris performs the eye-to-eye gesture to indicate he knows Duncan is lying.
    • After Scuba Bear attacks Sugar and Samey in "A Blast from the Past", it turns to both teams each, points at its own eyes, then at them. Once they got the message that Scuba Bear is a threat during the challenge, it goes back in hiding underwater.
  • Agent/Headmaster Phil Coulson does this to Spider-Man in Ultimate Spider-Man (2012).
  • WordGirl: One episode had WordGirl herself appear on TV to give a rather intimidating message to any bad guys out there wanting to possibly commit crimes while she's taking some much-needed recreation time, ending it by her doing this before leaving.


Video Example(s):


The Wolf

As Puss and company gets away with the map to the Wishing Star, the Wolf shows up again, watching on. He then picks up some coins from the ground and places them over his eyes before performing this gesture. A nonverbal declaration that he's not going to stop hunting Puss until he's dead.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / EyeAmWatchingYou

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