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Hide and No Seek

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"Edith, I left a present for you in the hallway. Why don't you go open it? The grownups have to argue now."

A type of Room Shuffle where the adults need some alone time but there are kids in the room. The adults will disguise an attempt to make the kids go away as a game, an errand, or something like that. With a bit of luck, it'll work.

Despite the obvious subtext in the explanation above, this trope doesn't only apply to sexual situations; G-rated examples include, but are not limited to, times when the adults need to talk about something the kids probably won't take too well (e.g. the death of a friend), or when they just need a break from playing with the kids.

Compare other types of Room Shuffle. Can overlap with Snipe Hunt and The Compliance Game. Also related is Hide-and-Seek Horror.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Paige did something like this to Jason in FoxTrot. During a game of freeze tag, he was left "frozen" in the yard while she went inside to watch TV.
    • Also happens with Peter sending Jason and Marcus out to play hide-and-seek so he can have some alone time with Denise.
  • A strip of Calvin and Hobbes had Hobbes counting as the "it" for hide-and-seek. The strip cuts to Calvin hiding behind a barrel, but after a while, Hobbes never shows up. Calvin gets suspicious and runs up to his room, where he catches Hobbes reading his comic books.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Lampshaded in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Carol Marcus wants to have a private talk with Captain Kirk without her son David or the others listening in.
    Carol Marcus: David, why don't you show Dr. McCoy and the Lieutenant our idea of food? [snip]
    David Marcus: This is just to give us something to do, isn't it. Come on.
  • While playing a game with the kids outside in Nacho Libre, Ignacio decides to talk to the hot new nun, Encarnacion.
    Ignacio: OK kids, new game. (dropkicks ball) Go get it!
  • Done in Life Is Beautiful to save the life of the narrator as the panicking Germans are executing every concentration camp prisoner they can get their hands on.
  • In the 2009 film The Blackout, Daniel and Elizabeth Pierce send their son, Tyler, down to the basement of their tenement ostensibly to get Christmas presents, but actually to get some alone time. Sadly, they're unaware that the monsters are entering the building through the basement drains...
  • In Lou, Hannah is introduced playing hide-and-seek with her daughter Vee. She later reveals to the title character that she started the game to get her daughter out of the way when her father started to get abusive. "Actually made it into a goddamn game. How pathetic is that?"

  • There is one about mother and father who wanted to have sex really bad, but their little son was at home. In order to get rid of him for long enough, they asked him to go to the balcony and look what all the neighbours were doing in the building across the street, reporting everything back to them so that they would know he was still at the balcony. While they were getting busy, their son's was heard describing what he saw: "There is a cat resting at an open window... And there's an old lady watering her flowers... And there's a little girl on a balcony, I bet her parents are fucking too".
  • Rodney Dangerfield used a variation of this in his standup.
    "My father used to play a game with me, it was called 'Hide and Go Fuck Yourself.'"

  • Happened in The Tamuli. Mirtai, a former slave, is telling her life-story as part of a 'ritual of passage into adulthood', and when she gets to a certain point, she asks the young princess Danae to fetch her some water, since all the talking has made her thirsty. Naturally, this heralds the beginning of a slightly more sordid part of her tale, which wasn't really appropriate for children. When one of the younger knights, a Chaste Hero if there ever was one, starts to flinch, she suggests that maybe he should go help Danae look for water. Since Danae is actually a reincarnation of the Child-Goddess Aphrael, she knows exactly what's going on, could still easily listen in if she wanted to, and is unlikely to be shocked by anything humans get up to. So she basically just played along, returning with water just when the story left the naughtier subject-matter, while at the same time making it clear that she was well aware of why she'd been asked to go.
  • Happens to Crying Wind as she explains in her autobiography My Searching Heart. She takes a while to get wise to the fact that nobody's looking for her, and swears to never play childrens' games again. When she becomes a mother, she must relearn these games.
  • Implied to have happened in Unimaa - Mika is asked to play hide-and-seek with the younger members of Frida's Friends Club, to which he says "I'm pretty good at that - my big sister Lumi has played with me before, and she's never found me at all." Mika also does this to them at the start of Act 3 as part of a distraction so he can go off to look for his two older siblings to help him return home.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of The Cosby Show has Cliff send Olivia upstairs to find his slippers because he doesn't want to play with her. He then tells her to find his yellow robe. However, Olivia becomes wise to his game because Rudy tells her that she's being tricked.
  • Full House:
    • Possibly referenced, at the end of the episode "Girls Will Be Boys", if Michelle's words to Aaron before he goins Michelle and their fellow peers are any indication.
      Michelle: "Okay, we'll play Hide-and-Seek. You hide and we'll try to find you. (Beat) Maybe."
    • Michelle pulls one such stunt when she tries to get Nicky and Alex to stop tailing her at the start of the episode "Under the Influence".
      Nicky and Alex: Let's play more, Michelle.
      Michelle: OK, how about hide and seek? You guys hide and I'll count. *Nicky and Alex run away to hide* To a million.
    • Again in "Under the Influence" episode, though implied and overlaps with Hypocritical Humor: When Michelle complains to Stephanie about having someone else tagging along everywhere, having just managed to get Nicky and Alex out of her hair, if only for a moment, Stephanie insinuates that Michelle acted the same way to Stephanie herself in the past as Nicky and Alex are now acting towards Michelle.
      Michelle: You know what it's like having little kids bugging you all day long?
      Stephanie: I guess you don't remember where you got that "count to a million" trick.
  • In the first season of Last Comic Standing, the other comics tricked Dat Phan (the eventual winner) into a game of hide-and-seek, waited for him to hide, and then went about their business as before.
  • Brought up on Malcolm in the Middle when Craig and Dewey are playing hide-and-seek. Dewey uncovers Craig hiding (fairly visibly) behind the curtains. When Craig says that no one's ever found him before, Dewey tells him it's because he's such a good hider.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "Blond and Blonder", Peg suggests that they play Twister while the kids are away. Al suggests a game of hide-and-go-seek instead, with Peg and Marcy doing the hiding. Al and Jefferson turn on the TV the moment they are sure Peg and Marcy are out of the room.note 
  • Played for laughs in Reba when Barbra Jean plays hide-and-seek with Henry so she can be alone.
  • Occurs in Scrubs when the Janitor is taking pictures of Doctor Cox playing dangerously with his son and a young girl spots him. He starts asking her to make silly faces for his camera:
    Janitor: Look happy... now look sad... now look like you're going away...

    Video Games 
  • The final sequence of What Remains of Edith Finch is a flashback to 11-year-old Edith. Her mother Edie and her great-grandmother Dawn start arguing, so Edie tells her about some (probably non-existent) present in the hallway. The trope is subverted in that in the end she clarifies that she sends Edith away because they are arguing.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "hiding", Strong Bad mentions that he's occasionally used hide-and-seek to keep Homestar out of his face, but he occasionally forgets that he's tried this ploy... for weeks, or even months, at a time.
    Strong Bad: (on finding Homestar in his bath tub) Homestar, what are you doing in here?!
    Homestar Runner: Remember last spring when you asked if I wanted to play hide-'n'-seek?
    Strong Bad: But I've taken at least three baths since then...
    Homestar Runner: (weary) Oh, I've been in here...
  • Red vs. Blue uses this in Caboose's Image Song Your Best Friend. Apparently,"hide-and-don't-seek" is Church's favorite game.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "Hot to the Touch", an accidental example is used to Hand Wave where the Never-Ending Pie-Throwing Robot went off to after his premiere episode "What is Life?"
    N.E.P.T.R.: I am the ultimate hide-and-seek champion! 15 months, 4 days, and 9 hours, and you guys could not find me. Haha!
    Jake: Oh plops, we forgot about the game!
  • Almost Naked Animals: In "The Night Shift", Bunny does this to ditch Howie; telling him to count up to a ridiculously high number while she goes off to bed.
  • In Camp Lazlo, Scoutmaster Lumpus wants to spend the day fishing, and tries to convince the scouts that "You can help me by NOT helping me." Of course, this results in Lumpus actually needing help...
  • On one episode of Monsters vs. Aliens (2013), Dr. Cockroach gets B.O.B. to play hide-and-seek so he can go away and let him work on a rocket to destroy an asteroid before it hits Earth. Unfortunately, B.O.B.'s hiding place is the fuel tank for the rocket, and so he ends up inside the rocket itself as it is about to launch.
  • On The Simpsons, Bart uses this as a pause button for his reluctant play-date with Ralph Wiggum, giving himself a chance to clean the syrup stains off of all his toys.
    Ralph: I've been in [the hallway closet] for two hours, and Bart still hasn't finded me!
  • In Timon & Pumbaa, Timon uses this to get rid of Pumbaa Jr. in "Never Neverglades."
  • In an episode of The Weekenders, Tino's divorced parents need to discuss him. Tino obligingly goes upstairs. "I'll just go organize my collection of Things That Aren't My Parents Having A Private Conversation."
  • The Owl House: The Collector reveals that this was done to him by his siblings The Archivists. The Archivists sent the Collector down to the Demon Realm to "see if the Titans want to play". Their true motivations for doing this remains unclear, given that there is some implication The Collector was sent down as bait.