Geralt: [completely unfazed] ... There's nothing behind me. I'm a Witcher, I'd have heard it. Just like I can hear your heart. Which is pounding. Like a liar's.
Alice is in a tight situation involving Bob. Maybe Bob wants money from her, or has a gun pointed at her head, or is just plain annoying.
Alice points past Bob's shoulder and yells, "Hey, what's that over there?!?", or "Look! A [insert improbable thing here]!" Bob looks. Alice legs it.
In the subversion, Bob doesn't look, but instead mocks Alice: "You'll think I'll fall for that?" or "That's the oldest trick in the book!" Unfortunately for Bob, deciding not to look drastically ramps up the probability that the thing Alice described is there, and it'll be something he's not going to like.
A variant is for Alice to just look past Bob with a quizzical expression, or to duck herself—this latter being an almost certain guarantee of Bob mocking Alice and then getting brained by the oncoming low bridge.
One of The Oldest Tricks in the Book; quite possibly the oldest, considering Real Life cases are recorded for monkeys. Telling the target their shoelace is untied or their fly is down are similar tricks, and are usually grouped with this one.
Related to We Need a Distraction. Also in the process of becoming a Discredited Trope (if not an outright Dead Horse Trope). Note, however, that just the two last words ("Behind you") are pure Paranoia Fuel on their own. Compare Snap to the Side. If the method involved deliberately having them look somewhere just in time to be killed/heavily injured by something, see Death by Looking Up. See "No Peeking!" Request when a characters asks another to turn or not look while they're performing an action.
- Bojangles did this twice in one of their commercials where one guy tells the other that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is behind him, but it turns out it's just a cardboard cutout. The second guy claims the same thing, to which the first sarcastically describes the racer ordering a specific meal. Turns out he's the real Dale when he corrects the guy:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dirty rice, Tim. It's dirty rice.
- In the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode "Travel Bodyguard", Banana Wolf tries to distract Wolnie by yelling that there's a goat nearby so that he can escape from Wolf Castle. It doesn't work.
- Eddie Izzard:
- His monologue on beekeeping depicts the process of honey-harvesting as walking into a hive and then saying "Look, there's a Ferrari over there!" so you can steal all the honey.
- Part of his Supermarket routine.
Izzard: Oh, look over there, there's a badger with a gun— New queue!
- In Bone, when Phoney and Smiley are cornered by a group of Vedu warriors, Smiley yells, "Look out! There's a swarm of angry bees behind you!" In this case, the bees are there, but the Vedu think it's this trope;
Vedu warrior: Are you trying to scare us? Nice try. It'll take more than a swarm full of six-legged flower suckers to scare us.
(Vedu notice the bees)
Bee: Fill your hands with swords! We're gonna tear you a new stamen an' pistil!
- When the cops and S.H.I.E.L.D get the drop on Spider-Man after his first encounter with Doctor Octopus in Ultimate Spider-Man and were arguing over who gets to take him away, Spidey gets the brief distraction he needs to dive into the water by pointing and saying "Hey, is that Charlton Heston?"
- Subverted in an Infinity War issue of Fantastic Four. The Puppet Master is being confronted by The Thing. The Puppet Master shockedly tells the Thing that a monstrous massive figure is behind him. Thing doesn't buy it. Thing then gets clobbered by his evil twin.
- The Incredible Hulk: Used during a "inside Bruce Banner's brain" sequence, as the gray Hulk distracts the green Hulk by saying, "Look! It's Lou Ferrigno!" before locking that aspect of Banner's mind away again.
- Subverted in another issue of Hulk saw the eponymous hero facing down his arch nemesis The Leader, only for the villain to warn him, "Rock's heading your way." This of course is met with extreme skepticism by the Hulk, who doesn't turn, and is summarily skewered by The Rock, once of the Leader's henchmen wearing a powerful shapeshifting battlesuit.
- Jubilee, during the period she was a vampire, uses this trick to sire Wolverine in the X-Men story arc Curse of the Mutants.
- Used in one of the first X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics. The agent Winter has found a pair of stranded New Republic pilots and doesn't know if they're who they claim they are, so trains a blaster on them. One of them tells her◊ that there's a local predator creeping up on her; she asks if they really think she'll fall for that, they set up for Stab the Scorpion - and she fires behind herself without looking. "I believe you.◊".
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) specifically issue 27 of Sonic Universe. Silver the Hedgehog has found himself in yet another alternate Mobius, battling alongside that universe's Freedom Fighters against Enerjak, who has hammered Silver into the ground like a hammer, singlehandedly beat the entire team, and has the leader on the ropes. He's taunting her mercilessly then stops and asks "Why are you smiling?" Cue a psychically powered pillar of energy to erupt behind him and truly pissed off Silver ready and raring to go for next issue's Final Battle.
- Later, Honey The Cat uses this trick to defeat Tails in their match during the Tournament Arc.
- Sonic X: A bad guy distracts Charmy by asking "Hey, what's that over there?"
- Empowered: Emp is fond of using "look out, it's the Maidman!" to distract criminals for a sucker punch. And the one time they didn't fall for it, Maidman was actually there. Maidman, for his part, approves of this tactic, both because he likes Emp being a Combat Pragmatist and it enhances his reputation by just a little bit.
- In a one-page story of Monica's Gang, Bucky (Titi) was standing up with his back turned on a slope. When Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) showed up, he screamed about a Latão (Brazilian-Portuguese for "Big Can") and ran away. Because of Jimmy's Elmuh Fudd Syndwome and Bucky's teeth, Bucky assumed Jimmy was calling him a Ratão (Big Rat) and didn't notice a big trash can (Popularly known among Brazilians as "Latão") coming towards him down the slope.
- The Superman Adventures:
Jimmy: Darkseid? You mean that guy standing behind you with a face like he just ate a wasp's nest?Kalibak (turning around): Master...Jimmy (tackling him): Hah! Made ya look!
- In issue 28, Jimmy Olsen (in Superman's body) gets Kalibak to turn around during a fight.
- The 38th issue has Mr. Mxyzptlk distract the Daily Planet staff by asking if he sees Lex Luthor in a dress.
- The second ever issue of Wildcats ends with Maul bearing down on a Daemonite baddie. When the bad guy warns Maul that there's something behind him, Maul almost laughs. "Do I look that stupid?" Turns out that there really is something behind him — Youngblood. Badrock opines that, yeah, Maul does kind of look that stupid.
- Batman: Black and White: In the comedic "Batsman: Swarming Scourge of the Underworld", Batsman's version of Batman's traditional Stealth Hi/Bye involves shouting "Look out! The Joker's got a bomb!" and jumping out the window while Commissioner Gordon panics and turns to look.
- Conan the Barbarian pulled off the subversion when he was fighting a bunch of cultists who had summoned a gorilla-monster-god thing. The narration even explicitly calls attention to the fact that it's "the oldest trick in the book", but as it turns out, the gorilla-god was actually sneaking up on the cultist Conan was saying it to. Cue Gory Discretion Shot.
- Sometimes used by Paperinik, especially in the non-Paperinik New Adventures stories. Most notably, in one occasion a time-travelling Paperinik used his left hand to distract someone from a power jab to the face from his right hand, and he did it on his past self.
- Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: The villain from The Flintstones segment uses the "look over there" trick, prompting Daphne to comment that she "knew that trick was old, but this is ridiculous".
- Tintin villains often fall for this trick. From The Broken Ear:
Alonzo (pressing his rifle into Tintin's stomach): Now listen carefully! There's one more round left in this gun. On the count of three if you haven't talked, I swear that bullet's for you! One!...two!...
Tintin (pointing off to Alonzo's right): Look out! A snake!!!...
Alonzo (turning): Where?
Tintin (uppercutting him): Here!
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin pulls this at dinner in one strip. His parents turn to look while Calvin quickly pushes his own dinner off his plate and onto theirs.
Calvin's Dad: What did he see?
Calvin's Mom: An opportunity.
- FoxTrot has Paige invoking this trope on an ice cream vendor at the zoo, claiming that there is an escaped lion, tiger, and bull elephant in that order. By the time he even turns around, he notices that the ice cream cone he prepared for Paige has far too many swirls (about 16, with some drooping over the cone). He also mentions that she did something similar the previous summer.
Mouse: Look, a banana cream pie!
- The very first time Garfield steals Jon's dinner, he uses this trick. And it won't be the first time Jon will fall for it.
- Garfield stops chasing a mouse when the mouse uses that trick.
Garfield: He's gone, isn't he?
- Hsu and Chan:
- Hsu attempts to gain the edge in a swordfight with lifelong rival Akira Yamamoto by resorting to this tactic. However, while Akira is distracted, Hsu laughs at him for falling for the ruse, missing the opportunity to strike and finding himself caught off guard instead.
- Played straight multiple times when confronted by obese nerds. The brothers commonly point behind the nerd and shout "Look, a gallon of pecan ripple" or "Look, a display of Princess Leia slave girl lingerie." This tactic hasn't failed yet.
- In Violence Man, three mob thugs attempt a distraction for Violence Man so that they can escape him. Eventually one shouts "WE HAVE SCRABBLE IN THE CAR!", which surprisingly succeeds in distracting him for a few seconds.
- All Because of Uncle Gary: Greta gets out of having sex with Ed Norwell by claiming to see a flying train somewhere. It doesn't quite work out, as Ed spots her sneaking out of his room and ends up chasing her home in his underwear.
Greta: Hang on a minute, is that a flying train over there?
Ed: A train? Where? Where?
- Arc Corp: Ruby does this in Chapter 25, when Yang is grilling her and Qrow about anomalies. Yang scoffs at the attempt, only to glance over anyway and realize that Ruby is pointing at a disheveled young child who looked like they just got mauled by something.
Ruby: Oh, look, a distraction!
Yang: That's not going to— (sees little girl covered in blood) Fuck me. Okay, that's a good distraction.
- Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Marisa attempts getting out of making a promise to Patchouli and Alice with this method. It doesn't work quite as well as she would've liked.
Marisa: SOMETHING UNSEEABLE IS IN THE WAY!
- Fate/Starry Night: While fighting Rin, Ritsuka suddenly tells her to look behind her. She is insulted and asks if he thinks she's stupid, forcing him to blast a mud girl before she can attack Rin.
- The Fundamental Essence of Villainy: Izuku manages to escape Eraserhead at the USJ using, of all things, a "there's something on your shirt" joke.
Izuku: Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Eraserhead! Apologies for sticking my nose in your business, but I was just stamping my ‘good samaritan’ card for the day, and figured you all could use some help!
Eraserhead: [activates his quirk] You're under arrest.
Izuku: Fine, I guess I had that coming, but before we even get into that, you got some blood on your shirt.
Eraserhead: [looks down, before realizing, only to find Izuku gone]
- In Gold Poisons, Nie Huaisang yells that he sees the Yiling Patriarch at one point to distract Jin Zixun. It works.
- In the Ranma ½/Sailor Moon crossover Hell Hath No Fury, Minako does this to her fellow scouts so she can go beat up Ranma. Ami knows exactly what's she doing but can't resist looking herself.
- The Immortal Game: At one point, Sir Unimpressive pulls this off on some Puppets. Since the Puppets are mindless, it works.
- In the Kim Possible/Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover "Kim Possible: The Next Generation", the final confrontation sees Kim and Ron trying to stop Lore using the Pan-Dimensional Vortex Inducer to power a weapon that could destroy Earth. While Lore is literally crushing Kim's legs as she tries to disable the device, Ron attacks Lore from behind, and when Lore turns to look at him, Ron points out that he's just the "funny sidekick" to the "beautiful hero"; Lore turns back around to see that Kim has removed the PDVI and is pointing a phaser at him.
- In Make a Wish, Harry and Ron are dueling each other in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"Hey look," Harry said pointing over Ron's shoulder. "Parkinson's in the nip."
"What?" Ron asked as he turned to look.
Needless to say, Harry's first and last spell ended the match.
Isabelle Malfoy: Father, look, a distraction while I act unladylike.
- In New Game Plus (2022), this is how Izuku gets an opening to land a hit on Mirko during his Provisional License Exam.
Izuku: Oh my God! Is that Hawks up there!?
Mirko: What!? Keigo! What the hell are you-
- In Ninja Wizard Book 4 Luna claims to see a dragon during a duel with Suki and wins when Suki turns to look.
- Nymphadora's Beau:
Arthur dropped the cloak hood, revealing his face. "Oh good it's you Tonks, for a moment I was worried. Why are you back? Did something come up?"
"In a way Arthur, hey, what's that?" Nym pointed to his back. Arthur turned quickly... then felt a spell hit him in the back and things went dark.
- In the first chapter of Old West, Sheriff Rango is held at gunpoint by three mercenaries and this trick is the first thing that comes to his mind.
"Look! Hawk!" He shouted as he pointed his finger at the sky.
Whether by instinct or luck, all three mercenaries turned in fear to look at the sky, ducking low and covering themselves as if they feared talons would spear them as any moment. When nothing came however, they stood and Tomson quickly spun around, only to see the end of Rango's tail ducking behind an alley.
- In O Tempora, Snape looks over Harry's shoulder during an awkward conversation and says "Oh look, is that Regulus Black being chased by a merman?" Harry rolls his eyes as he turns around — only to spot Regulus waving at them from the Black Lake outside the Slytherin common room window.
- Pony POV Series:
- In a flashback, Discord gets into a fight with Celestia's brother Leo, the god of Strength and Gravity. When Leo grabs him, he boasts, "Who's your daddy?" Discord points and shouts, "HIM!" Shocked, Leo lets go and turns around, as Discord's father Havoc is one of the most powerful beings in the universe and The Dreaded for a good reason. Havoc isn't there, then Discord hits him. Leo says he can't believe he fell for that.
- Makarov goes One-Winged Angel and proclaims himself a god. Shining Armor looks over his shoulder and tells him to look behind him. Makarov misinterprets him and thinks he's saying to look to the past, then boasts that he controls the past, present, and future. Shining says to physically look behind him. This time, he turns around, and comes face to face with The Blank Wolf.
- Rise of the Minisukas: Shinji has to resort to this to distract Jet Alone Kai as they are fighting. He just took a blow to the head, so it's forgivable that's the best he can do at the spur of the moment.
- In the Shining and Sweet chapter "Cough Up", Brigit gets Aran to take his medicine by telling him there's a moose in the yard, which makes him come out from under the blanket, giving Disco Kid the chance to shove the spoon in his mouth.
- This Bites!:
- Cross pulls this twice in Little Garden to convince someone from Baroque Works that a T-rex is right behind them. The first time, it's Soundbite using his powers. The second, there really is one.
- Right before Cross is about to be cuffed, Soundbite begins sounding alarm bells, warning them that something dangerous is coming. Tashigi is skeptical... and then comes the Advancing Wall of Doom.
- In Triwizard Tales Harry points behind Voldemort with a look of terror and yells "What the hell is that?", then takes off when everyone in the graveyard turns to look. When Fudge and the Tournament officials refuse to believe Harry's (edited) account of having "distracted" Voldemort, he uses the same technique on them.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Two For The Price Of One, Self-Insert Eddard Stark, during the Greyjoy's Rebellion, decides to Troll a Drowned Man by doing this. Much to his shame, it works.
SI!Eddard: [points behind the Drowned Man attacking him] OH, NO, IT'S THE DROWNED GOD!
[Every Drowned Man in earsight proceeds to turn and look. Eddard proceeds to kill the closest Drowned Men.]
- At one point in The Winx Club Loops, Stormy manages to escape a pissed-off Darcy and Musa when Icy actually shouts "Look! A distraction!".
- The Worst Prisoner: There's a Running Gag of someone shouting "Look, is that X in a sequinned tutu?" causing someone to actually look and either get captured or allow the heroes to escape.
- Celtic Mythology: Cu Chulainn once fought a duel with the warrior woman Aife. She shattered his sword, but when she was about to finish him off, he shouted that her chariot and horses had fallen off a cliff. When she turned around to look, he attacked her from behind and overpowered her.
- When cheating in Jack*Bot, Pin*Bot says something to this extent.
- Carlito learned the "Look up at that, now look down at this!" trick in the World Wrestling League from La Parka Jr. Carlito thought it was really clever.
- Sakura Hirota distracted Luscious Latasha at a REINA show by pointing and shouting "OBAMA!"
- Ivelisse Vélez successfully stopped rival Power Stable VALkyrie from kidnapping her injured teammate La Rosa Negra at SHINE 33, but had to abandon her healthy teammate Amanda Carolina Rodriguez for a minute to do so, resulting in Las Sicarias failing to acquire the Tag Team Title belts. While VALkyrie were beating up Kimber Lee, half of the other Tag Title contenders, later in the night, Las Sicarias decided to rescue her and get revenge, starting with Negra poking VALkyrie muscle Andrea in the back before retreating as quickly as she could manage while Velez and ACR picked off more vulnerable members.
- The Muppet Show:
- In the Cleo Laine episode, Fuzzie tells Kermit this when the latter is about to introduce Cleo's first number. Fozzie then pushes Kermit off stage when he looks, so he can introduce Cleo to impress his visiting mother.
- In the "Just in Time" sketch in the Cloris Leachman episode, Cloris shouts "Look! Up there! Quick!" when Sweetums starts threatening her. When he announces that he's not going to fall for that old gag, a coconut from the island's lone palm tree falls on his head.
- Bleak Expectations: In the series 1 finale, as Pip Bin and Big Bad Mr. Benevolent are fighting in a church, Pip does this. Only he claims there's a penguin flying behind the altar. In Victorian London. Mr. Benevolent falls for it anyway, with a massive dose of Lampshade Hanging.
Mr. Benevolent: What? A penguin, flying? But they're supposed to be flightless! Such an ornithological curiosity I have to see, even if it leaves me perilously off-guard for even a second!
- In Pantomime, a standard Audience Participation line, "It's behind you!" is often triggered not by a spoken line but by most of the panto audience knowing what's expected of them.
- In Jasper in Deadland, Gretchen beats Rhadamanthus in an arm wrestle by pointing at something behind him.
- In The Complete History of America (abridged), Jo Chi Minh tells Spade Diamond to look at a monk setting himself on fire, Slipping a Mickey into Spade's drink while he looks away.
Spade: A monk on fire? I don't see a monk on fire.
Jo: Oh, he must have gone out. They don't make monks like they used to.
- In Sherlock Holmes, Holmes uses this trick to handcuff Moriarty after getting him to place his hands within convenient reach.
- Played around with in BIONICLE: Krika tells Tahu, who has him cornered, to look behind him. Tahu asks Krika if he really thinks that Tahu is stupid enough to fall for that. Krika tells Tahu that he's counting on that, since there actually is something behind him. Tahu chances the look, and sure enough, four of Krika's allies are charging straight into the battle.
- Wulffmorgenthaler: Subverted in this strip, when a gazelle caught bluffing at poker warns the other players about an incoming lion.
- The first storyline of A Modest Destiny had Maxim pull this from time to time. However, he took it to the next level by substituting an "escape dummy" (a giant stuffed doll of himself on a scarecrow frame) before running off.
- In El Goonish Shive, characters distract each other with some variant of "Hey, is that a demonic duck of some sort?" It always is. (except for once there was a picket sign instead, stating that the demonic duck was on strike. This caused the distraction to fail.) Occasionally he complains about feeling used.
Demonic Duck: Everywhere I go I get used as some sort of distraction.
- From Girl Genius, we have this instance: Von Zinzer: "Uh... hey, check it out." - though in this case not only does the target look, but there's actually something to see.
- In The Heroes Of Middlecenter: "Look, a distracting thing!"
- Played with throughout Bob and George, usually accompanied with the phrase "yoink." Parodied here.
- Bob and George also loves double-subverting this. Someone would try it. The other person wouldn't fall for it, but the first character would run off anyway.
- The image on the main page comes from when Proto Man pulled this one on Mynd. Before turning around, Mynd explained, "I know this is probably a trick, but I can't take the chance that it's not."
- Starting from very early in the strip. In the same sequence, again.
- A subtle version: Megaman asks about the bombs, which causes Bomb Man to look away to explain about the pile.
- In this Nodwick strip, Nodwick, Yeagar, and Artax have lured a giant demon towards a lake full of holy water that they are standing in front of. Artax yells this warning to him, and the guy says, "Sorry magic boy, you're going to have to come up with something slightly more original. Telling me my shoelace is untied won't work either." Unfortunately for him, Artax isn't bluffing; Piffany, who is piloting an angel-shaped Humongous Mecha, does a cannonball into the lake, dousing him and melting him into sludge.
- A strip in Venus Envy uses a literal variant on this that actually works: "Gah! Lookout! A distraction!"
- That's actually a running gag in Venus envy. It showed up in other webcomics too.
- Used in this Ctrl+Alt+Del comic.
- In Freefall: "Helix! Look! It's an obvious distraction!" "Where?! ... I don't see any obvious distraction."
- Later, with other robots: "Look! It's Bill Gates!"
- San Three Kingdoms Comic, a Romance of the Three Kingdoms webcomic, has a Running Gag of avoiding discussions by pointing behind and yelling "LOOK! BAOZI FAIRY!!" then the pointer escape as people try to look for it. It's currently an unused gag, it either fails or must use a variation to pull it off. (Using "Baozi" on Zhang Fei won't work. Use 'Wine', however...)
- A "bait" variant here:
Lucca: Could I please be allowed to distract you for just a moment?
- Captain SNES: The Game Masta has also used the "three-headed monkey" line a couple of times as a Shout-Out to the Monkey Island games.
- Legendary Frog used it in his Resident Evil flash cartoon, only Brad doesn't even wait to see if they look, he just runs like hell.
- And let us not forget how Zeromus (the representation of Alex's hatred) was tricked into turning around three times. Naturally, the moment he finally catches on and refuses to look, the thing Bob and Alex are talking about (a naked Alanis Morisette, the representation of Alex's cynicism) actually is behind him.
- Captain SNES: The Game Masta has also used the "three-headed monkey" line a couple of times as a Shout-Out to the Monkey Island games.
- However, in this Sequential Art strip, it fails.
- Occurs once in Jack in this strip
- Lampshaded in this Looking for Group comic.
- In Tale of the Cave: "HEY LOOK, A DISTRACTION!"
- There's a Double Subversion in this◊ Irregular Webcomic! strip.
- Emergency Exit does this...it works because Eddie collects distractions.
- Red Mage tries it against Sarda in 8-Bit Theater, with amusing results.
Red Mage: It's not a plan anyone will like.
Black Mage: Nothing you have said or done has ever been anything anyone has ever liked.
Red Mage: You'll like this less. But first, uh, Sarda! What is that behind you!
Sarda: Surely you must be kidding.
Red Mage: No! It's right behind you and oh man you better look right now or—ooh!
Black Mage: This is your idea of a plan.
Sarda: I'm going to turn around and, oh look, there's nothing there. What a "surprise" that is, oh gosh. And then...
(Sarda turns around, but everyone is gone)
Sarda: I knew that would happen, but I'm mad about it anyway.
- Brooke Lynn in Eerie Cuties found a distraction for a succubus effortlessly. Talk about snake wisdom...
- In General Protection Fault, as Nick and Fooker break into Trent's house for the evidence that he's behind the safe droppings, he finds them and aims a shotgun at them with one hand while holding the evidence with another. They distract him by telling him Steve Forbes is behind him before taking the evidence and escaping.
- Inverted in xkcd, where this is used to prevent the mark from looking.
- Keychain of Creation: "It's the Kukla!". To explain the joke: The Kukla is a dragon the size of a mountain range, its appearance would be an apocalyptic event, and the idea that anyone needs to have it pointed out would be patently ridiculous, so the fact that the security team has fallen for it multiple times is just hilarious.
- In Men in Hats, Aram loves distracting people this way.
- Joel in Weregeek distracts Abbie by "A girl with a Nyan Cat hairband".
- Precocious: Kaitlyn, watch out! ...
- The Order of the Stick:
- In "Good to the Last Drip", Vaarsuvius is so busy attempting to Disintegrate Qarr that only the small imp notices an ancient black dragon with a personal vendetta approaching from behind.
- In strip #1008, Wrecan manages to distract vampire Durkon from delivering a killing blow to Roy. He can't do more to help, as he's bound by the rules of the Godsmoot.
Wrecan: SNEAK ATTACK FROM BEHIND — is a thing I absolutely cannot do, because it would be against the rules.
- Discussed in Paranatural:
Forge: SPECTRAL, BEHIND YOU!!
Spender: Aha! I won't fall for THAT a sixth time!
Vile Spirit sneaking up on Spender: ...
Alt Text: In Spender's defense, one of those was a "Whatever you do, DON'T look behind you" which is really tricky
- Willa uses it twice in Latchkey Kingdom, in the chapter "Titan". As a very Terse Talker, her specific technique is to dramatically point up and to the right, and wait until the target's gaze follows.
- 5 Second Films: One sketch has Brian distract his table partner by saying “Hey, is that Elvis?” When he turns around to look, Brian switches their cups. As it turns out, the table partner saw it coming and switched their seating positions, and so Brian switched the cups back to their original owners.
- Red vs. Blue:
- In The Defenestrator, one of the fan applications to the Evil League of Evil:
The Defenestrator: Look! Captain Distraction!
The Whisk: [drops her fighting stance and turns around] Where?
[The Defenestrator punches the Whisk, causing her to fall over]
- The Evil Overlord List has tips on how to counter this.
- If I have the hero cornered and am about to finish him off and he says "Look out behind you!!" I will not laugh and say "You don't expect me to fall for that old trick, do you?" Instead I will take a step to the side and half turn. That way I can still keep my weapon trained on the hero, I can scan the area behind me, and if anything was heading for me it will now be heading for him.
- It also deals with the inversion of this trope (no verbal warning for actual danger):
If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.
- Some of Wukeywukey's AGK episodes use this, but in this episode, Leopold says, "Oh my goodness! That cactus didn't floss his teeth!" Later on, the dentist says that the cactus Leopold mentioned flosses twice daily. The scene then changes back to the dentist's office, and the cactus is seen flossing his teeth.
- Spoofed in Smash Kingdom Melee, where Mr. Game and Watch and Peach are fighting, and the Ultimate Chimera approaches behind her, and Mr. Game and Watch attempts to warn her, but she doesn't listen, apparently misinterpreting his warnings. Finally, he resorts to holding a big sign that says "Look behind you, Bitch!" And Peach then finally understands what he's trying to say, and turns around, only to end up in the jaws of the Ultimate Chimera.
- Happens in the first episode in Sonic Goes to Chaos High School. Sonic says to Amy, "Look! Super Sonic!" Amy falls for it and Sonic escapes.
- The Newgrounds animation Legend Without Zelda BOD1 involved this, in one part, with Navi tricking Mido into thinking that there is a beetle.
- Neil from The Legend of Neil distracts some moblins by pointing and yelling "I'm distracting you!" They fall for it.
- Similar to its source material, Goku attempts to warn Freeza from getting hit with his own weapon in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Unlike the source material, Freeza proves to be Wrong Genre Savvy when he ignores and insults Goku for his warnings and ends up getting split in half.
- The Nostalgia Critic pulled off the ultimate "Look, a distraction" on Tamara, Malcolm and Jim in his review of The Country Bears:
Critic: (deadpan) Look, I'm getting away.Tamara: STOP HIM!
- The web novel Through the Motions goes back and forth on this: a customer tries to get Deanna to look out the window as he tries to steal some gum. She recognizes it as an obvious trick and keeps an eye on him while the next customer in line, as well as one of her co-workers, takes the bait. It's only after the would-be thief leaves the store that she turns around and finds out that he wasn't lying: she sees the customer who left ahead of him using magic to protect herself from a heavy rainstorm.
- In the Father Tucker episode "Rest for the Wicked", Father Tucker shouts "Look, Johnny, the transfiguration" to distract Johnny from seeing Father Tucker burn his sleeping bag.
- In the Scott The Woz episode "It's Awesome Baby!", Jeb tells the Supreme Leader (which manages to take over the world and makes the video game Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby!" College Hoops the only game on Earth) that Dick Vitale is right behind him, after the latter attempts to execute the guys for knowing about Madden NFL. The Supreme Leader knows Jeb is lying, but falls for it anyway because he doesn't want to take any chances.
- A real life example would be Operation Fortitude, where the allies fooled the Germans into thinking the real liberation forces landing in Normandy were actually a diversion, so that the Germans would keep the majority of their armed forces where they expected the real liberation force to land.
- Likewise, earlier they'd convinced the Germans that the coming attack on Sicily was a diversion and the real attack would be a two-pronged assault on Sardinia and Greece. Winston Churchill said anyone but a fool would know the target must be Sicily, but British intelligence made the Germans believe that was what they wanted them to think.
- Of course, the irony is D-Day WAS a diversion, but more to give the Eastern front some breathing room.
- If anyone says, "Look, an X!" to someone in emoted tones, people around them will almost always look around. A great way to use this as a joke is simply, "Look, a distraction!"
- Also good: "Look, a gullible!"
- Variants of this line were used when The Texas Seven escaped from the John Connally Unit in Karnes County, Texas. Whenever someone walked into a room they were trying to escape from, they used some form of, "Hey, what's that behind you?" and managed to trick sixteen people this way.
- Another example of this as a prank is to hold up your hand, say "Hey look at this," then when that person looks, slap them with the other hand.
- Almost as cruel is to point and ask: "What's that thing on your shirt?" - and then, once they're looking down, bring up the pointing finger to hit them in the nose.
- A much simpler version is to say: "Look at my thumb" - and then, once the victim is staring at your thumb, remark: "Gee, you're dumb." In Animal House, this gag is coupled with a "Hey, You!" Haymaker.
- Wild Bill Hickok once saved his own life by doing this. A drunken man with a rifle had the drop on him, when Hickok looked past him and yelled, "Don't shoot! He's just drunk!" The man spun to face Hickok's imaginary friends and was shot through the temple.
- A glorious example was recorded in the 17th century 'Schoole of the Noble':
"The Master and usher of a school had upon occasion appointed the field, and their weapon was each of them a two-handed sword, and meeting at the place appointed said the Master, 'Thou art not so good as thy word.' The usher asked him why. 'Marry,' said he, 'thou promisest to bring nobody with thee and yet looke yonder what a number of people are coming towards thee.' The usher no sooner looked about, but the Master smote off his head, and afterwards meeting with some of his friends said, 'I have taught my man a new tricke in the field,' said he, 'which he never learned before.'
- At Everfree Northwest 2012 (a fan convention for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), some of the guest speakers at a VA panel tried to dodge awkward or spoiler-y questions by saying "Look, there's a moose!" It quickly became a running gag through the panel, and briefly went memetic.
- On being arrested in his apartment by police, La Résistance fighter Max Manus said "Look!" and pointed at a painting, then jumped out the window. The movie apparently felt the audience wouldn't believe this, so had him striking a policeman before jumping.
- There is a documented case of an adolescent baboon using the trope on some adults who intended to punish him for bullying.