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When I said I wanted thunder thighs, this isn't what I meant!
There are many everyday situations where people are only visible from the waist upwards; because they are sitting behind a desk, or seen through a frame. On television, it often happens that the lower half of somebody is off the screen and never seen at all. Because of this, it can be a surprise when somebody's lower half is revealed, perhaps revealing an unusual outfit below their waist. If they are lacking pants, and the audience is initially unaware, then it is Pants-Free. This can show an apparently human character to be a hybrid, such as a centaur or mermaid.

This can also happen when a character who normally wears an outfit obscuring their legs suddenly reveals them by wearing shorts, or a short skirt. A more extreme example is if only a character's head is visible for some time, and then suddenly their body is revealed. This can also be used to set up an Unsettling Gender-Reveal. This trope can also reveal somebody using a wheelchair.

Truth in Television, as there are many situations where somebody is only visible from the waist upwards, such as seen behind a desk, through a window, or on a screen, especially with the increase of video calls and conferencing, in which many people only make their upper half presentable, which can lead to unexpected reveals.

Sub-Trope of Reveal Shot. Often overlaps with Behind the Black, or Big Little Man, if the reveal shows somebody to be unexpectedly tall or short.


Scroll down to reveal the lower half of this trope: the examples!

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Delicious in Dungeon: The Lunatic Magician captures Falin Touden in Chapter 29; as he says he'll give them a new shape to replace their "inconvenient" body, their lower half starts to bubble with magic. When they reappear in Chapter 37, it's as a giant chimera with a feathered dragon body in place of their legs.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: All of the Monsters of the week are purchased by King Dedede through a company called NME. To do this he talks to an NME salesman through a video call. Said salesman appears to be an ordinary human businessman in a suit, which makes him a case of Non-Standard Character Design when compared to the rest of the cast, who are more cartoonish. At the end of the series, the salesman is seen in person for the very first time, where it's revealed that he has the same stubby legs that most of the characters have, making him extremely short and oddly proportioned.

    Comic Books 
  • One issue of Fantastic Four has The Trapster (also known as Paste Pot Pete) gain access to the Baxter Building through the roof. After blundering his way around the upper floors, not doing much damage, he encounters a receptionist at her desk and attempts to take her hostage. To Pete's great surprise, the receptionist judo throws him overhead and onto the floor. Pete's last thought before losing consciousness is that he was beaten by a dumb broad. An overhead view reveals the "broad" only appears human from the waist up; from there down, she's entirely mechanized and physically attached to the workstation. Pete was beaten by a robot, part of Reed's security system.
  • Miracleman: Used as the Framing Device twist of Evelyn Cream's last appearance (at least, before the Neil Gaiman continuation). The first few panels are close-ups of his face, with a completely serene expression as he narrates the events leading up to this point. The last page reveals all this internal monologuing is happening in his last second of life after his head got torn clean off his body.
  • Lampshaded in a silver-age Supergirl story. Students comment that it's too bad that their professor was wounded in Vietnam and uses a wheelchair. The reader knows that the professor is Jerro, a merman, and the wheelchair conceals a tank of water in which the lower half of his body is submerged.

    Films — Animated 
  • Fantasia: The Pastoral Symphony sequence opens with a panning view of young women bathing waist-deep in a natural pool. Then one of them walks up out of the pool, revealing that she's a centauress.
  • Inverted in Hercules. When Herc arrives at the island of Philocetes the trainer of heroes, he sees what looks like a goat hiding under a bush, its hindquarters sticking out. He picks it up and realizes that the "goat" is really a satyr — Phil himself.
  • Subverted in The Little Mermaid, in that when the Prince first sees Ariel, he only sees her from the waist up, and believes she is a beautiful human: he does not know she is a mermaid.
  • Moana: Maui has trouble shapeshifting again right after reclaiming his magic hook, and at one point, he has a shark head and fins atop his human legs. After some attempts to change himself back, he appears to have regained his human top half... only for him to fall over and realise that his legs have turned into a shark tail.
  • Paprika: Dr Chiba discovers that Chairman Inui is behind the Parade Dream infesting the dreamworld, so once she's awake again, she goes to confront him at his greenhouse in the real world. Halfway through the conversation, he inexplicably gets out of his wheelchair and appears to glide across the floor, legs hidden by dense ferns. It's not until he moves out into the open that it's discovered that his lower half has been replaced by a huge mass of roots and creepers — revealing that Chiba is still dreaming and Inui is hacking the DC Mini to prevent her from waking up.
  • This happens in Shrek, as Lord Farquaad's short stature is revealed to the audience, Shrek and Fiona.
    • When Farquaad first appears and marches towards the torture chamber, the lower and upper halves of his body are seen in separate shots, giving him the impression of normality, until the next shot, where he is seen in full, alongside the guards.
    • When Shrek first sees Farquaad at the tournament, Farquaad is standing on his podium with only his upper half visible, so Shrek does not yet know how short he is. (A Deleted Scene of Shrek and Farquaad together would have followed on from this.)
    • When Fiona first meets Farquaad, he is on his horse, apparently of normal proportions, as his short legs are hidden by his armoured legs. When his men then dismount him and put him in front of Fiona, she is then shocked to see how short he is.
    • Shrek 2: When King Harold knocks on the door of the Poison Apple, a peephole opens, and a fierce eye appears. When the door is opened, it is revealed that the eye belongs to a cyclops.
  • Zootopia: The receptionist at the Naturist club is sitting behind a desk when he first appears, so neither Judy nor the audience notices that he's completely naked until he steps out to let the protagonists in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • By The Sea: When a man and a woman play with boards where they put their head through a hole to appear on top of a funny outfit, they are revealed to be wearing the same outfits as depicted on the board.
  • Clockwise: When Brian is desperately trying to find a tractor, he knocks on the door of what he believes is a farm, and sees the face of a man looking through a little window. When he is admitted, he begins to emphasise the urgency of his situation, then stops short as he sees that the man is wearing a monk's habit, and that he has entered a monastery.
  • The Crying Game: When Fergus and Dil become intimate and he starts to undress her, the camera pans down to Dil's groin area and the music stops as Fergus (and the audience) learn Dil's secret: she has a penis.
  • Due Date: When trying to cash a wire transfer at Western Union, Peter explodes at the desk clerk, insulting his veteran status, only for the guy to roll from behind the desk in a wheelchair, and then proceed to beat him with a Telescope Baton.
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: When Kimmy gets too into soul cycle, her friends go to her class and turn the lights on to reveal that the instructor isn't actually riding a stationary bike, he has a TV screen in front of him to create the illusion that he's on a bike, and when the screen is taken away, it's revealed that he's on a toilet.

    Literature 
  • Adrian Mole: In The Wilderness Years, Adrian's love interest Bianca is working in a shop, where her legs are hidden behind the counter. When they are suddenly revealed as she helps to carry goods into the shop, Adrian is not very impressed by her legs, thinking they are too bony.
  • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon: In the last story of the first book, bartender Mike Callahan is moving around behind the bar as usual, getting drinks, and so on. Then narrator Jake Stonebender gets an accidental look behind the bar and sees that Callahan is sitting on thin air with his legs in the lotus position.
  • The Dunwich Horror: For the first half of the story Wilbur Whateley is only seen or described from the waist up; his lower body is always concealed with long pants. When he is found dead and his body is examined, the reason is quickly clear: from the waist up he looks human, but below the waist he looks like his father Yog-Sothoth.
  • Frog and Toad: In "The Swim", Toad asks Frog not to look while he gets into the water because he is wearing an Old-Timey Bathing Suit. Some other animals come along and refuse to look away when Toad wants to get out of the water, so he has to reveal his swimsuit to them, and they all laugh.
  • One Have I Got News for You spinoff book includes a picture supposedly shot from behind the desk at which the three regularsnote  always sit. In the picture Ian is wearing prison trousers and a ball and chain, Angus has a scantily-clad young woman crouching under the desk beside him, and Paul is a merman.
  • Henry Danger: In "Massage Chair" when Piper first appears, she is only seen from the torso up; when Henry takes a look down, her lower body is shown for the first time, revealing her right leg has become extremely muscular and bulky as a result of not switching push legs while scootering for a week.
  • Mr. Men: A book of Mr Men stories shows Mr Tickle planning to tickle another Mr Man who is wading in a pond, sailing a toy boat. Mr Tickle jumps into the pond, and finds it unexpectedly deep; then the boat sailor steps out, revealing the long legs of Mr Tall.
  • Wild Cards: In the story A Dose of Reality, a reclusive female doctor who has been indoctrinated by her bigoted, anti-wild card family, goes to work in the Jokertown Clinic initially just so she could get her hands into research that would allow her to craft a virus to kill all wild carders. When she first meets Dr. Bradley Finn, she sees him behind a counter and is attracted to this handsome stranger. He comes from behind the counter and is revealed as a centaur, causing her to be appalled. The whole point of the story is how she gradually realizes Finn really is the marvellous, handsome man she initially thought he was.
  • The Worst Witch: In the book The Worst Witch Strikes Again, Enid pokes her head around Mildred's door, tells Mildred not to laugh, then brings the rest of herself into the room, revealing her sports kit: a pair of vast black shorts pulled up underneath her arms, bought by her mother, who buys everything with growing room for her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Russian comedy sketch show Big Difference, one short was parodying the show Sex with Anfisa Chekhova. The Ms. Fanservice dressed actress stands up at one point, showing she is wearing plain pants and house slippers, and explains she is sitting behind the desk all the time anyway. The real Anfisa Chekhova was sitting in the audience watching it. Once it was done, she came up onto the scene and stated that part is very much Truth in Television.
  • Blackadder: In "Potato" in series 2, Blackadder meets Captain Rum, who has his legs hidden, and says that he bets that Blackadder has never seen his own legs sliced clean off. When Blackadder snidely says "well, neither have yours", Captain Rum reveals that his legs are two wooden stumps.
  • Blockbusters: The contestants mostly sit behind a desk, and their lower half is only revealed if they take part in a gold run. One contestant who wore very outlandish outfits said "if only you could see my shorts", which were revealed when he went for a gold run, and gave his legs a wiggle.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In the pilot, Jake appears to be adhering to Captain Holt's new dress code policy on ties while sitting at a desk, but stands up to reveal he's wearing a Speedo instead of pants. Holt turns the tables on Jake's disrespect by calling the whole squad in to see him.
  • Chalk: Played with on two occasions.
    • When the normally suited Eric Slatt wears a football outfit with shorts, his wife Janet exclaims "Good gracious, the lower half! After all these years of marriage, I assumed you stopped at the waist", implying a sexless marriage.
    • When Eric's trousers become jammed in a filing cabinet and he has to cut them off, he sits behind the desk to keep this shameful fact hidden. The pupils soon realise that something is up, and begin chanting "Mr Slatt's got no trousers". Eric tries everything he can to avoid getting up from behind the desk.
  • Ghosts (US): Although the audience knows Trevor is pantless as soon as he comes on screen, Sam initially sees him when he's standing behind a couch, meaning it's quite a shock to her when she finds he's missing his pants. In the episode "Trevor's Pants," the cold open shows Trevor from the waist-up, then the camera pans down to reveal that he's wearing pants after all.
  • Invoked once on Impractical Jokers when Murr is in an office behind a desk. The other guys make him get up to reveal that he's wearing a long pink skirt.
  • Keeping Up Appearances:
    • In "What to wear when yachting", Richard is alarmed by the sight of his own legs, as if he has never seen them before, when Hyacinth makes him wear shorts.
      Richard: I feel peculiar when I see these terrible white things.
      Hyacinth: What terrible white things?
      Richard: My knees! Why the devil do I have to wear shorts?
      Hyacinth: If shorts are good enough for the Royal Navy, I see no reason why you should complain.
    • In "Please mind your head", Hyacinth and Richard emerge from the door of where they live, wearing tweed outfits, with only the top half visible. Richard mutters that he prefers being dressed in his normal clothes; then it is revealed that they are both wearing riding gear. This becomes a Brick Joke when they are met by Elizabeth and Emmet, and Emmet gets out of the car to reveal his own riding gear.
  • The Office (UK): In the second series episode "Party", everyone glances at and comments on David Brent's shoes, which are not revealed to the audience. Later, he suddenly puts his feet on the desk during a meeting, revealing ankle boots with a very high heel.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: When Grover shows up at the window of the Jacksons' rental cabin in the middle of a storm, Percy is at first mad at him since Grover recently got him expelled... until Grover comes inside and Percy sees Grover's legs. Percy tries to get the anxious Grover's attention, before finally blurting out, "Grover, why is there half a goat in your pants?" The camera pans down to Grover's goat legs poking out of his shorts, revealing he's a satyr.
  • The Thin Blue Line: In "Kids Today", the normally highly regimented and uniformed Inspector Fowler surprises everyone by wearing shorts, just before taking young offenders on a camping trip. Detective Inspector Grim mocks him with "lovely legs, Raymond".
  • In the The X-Files episode "The Amazing Maleeni", in investigating the death of Herman Pinchbeck, agents Mulder and Scully pay a visit to his twin brother Albert at the bank the latter works at. Given that the victim was dead for a while, but the victim was seen performing stage magic just days before, Mulder accuses Albert of impersonating his brother, even though Albert is in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace, claiming to be a victim of a car accident. Albert then gets out of his desk, revealing that both legs were amputated below the knee, causing Mulder to wince at his theory being shot down like that.

    Music 
  • Katy Perry's "E.T." music video features Katy herself as an alien life form slowly morphing into a humanoid appearance as she approaches an abandoned Earth planet. The lower half of Katy's body is completely obscured by her long skirt throughout most of the video, until the ending scene where she lifts up her skirt and reveals her legs are gazelle-like.

    Theatre 
  • The Rocky Horror Show: Dr. Scott is a wheelchair-using scientist who has come to the castle to investigate Frank-N-Furter and crew wishing to uncover that they are aliens. He wears a business suit and has a blanket over his legs until Frank activates a device that makes everyone join in a floor show against their will, after which he is forced to get up and dance revealing that he is wearing stockings and high heels and women's underwear.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Haunted Mansion: In the Stretching Room portion of most versions of the ride, what appear to be simple portraits turn out to be more sinister as the room's stretching reveals the bottom half of the pictures, showing the subjects in macabre situations. By way of example, one man is revealed to be standing atop a barrel of gunpowder holding a candle.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls: The introduction to Quelaag shows off a beautiful, naked woman barely covered up by her hair...and then the camera pans down, revealing she's fused to a horrific spider from the waist down.
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes: In the intro cutscene to "Research and Development", the LexCorp receptionist only has her upper body visible when Batman and Superman request to see Lex Luthor. After the alarm sounds and LexBots come out, the receptionist is shown to have robot legs before she busts out of her disguise and reveals herself to be a silver LexBot.
  • Ms. 'Splosion Man: The game's Final Boss is the Bride, who at first seems like a human female with large breasts and a white dress. However, phase 2 of the fight reveals the Bride to be a giant purple monster with a human-shaped upper head, with the breasts revealed to be its eyes and the dress revealed to be a face veil that it tears off.
  • Prey: When Tommy finally finds Jen, his girlfriend, they're kept in some kind of medical pod, but seem to be intact. Then they complain that they can't feel their legs, and the pod bursts open. It turns out they've been fused to a monster from the waist down, and that monster wants Tommy's blood, forcing Tommy to kill them in self-defence and as an act of mercy.
  • Ripper: During Quinlan's first meeting with Soap Beattie, the latter is sitting behind the front counter of his shop, lower half out of view. During the conversation, Quinlan asks why Catherine was seeing him, hinting that he suspects that Catherine was up to something...whereupon Soap emerges from behind the desk, revealing that he's in a wheelchair.
    Soap: Easy, cowboy. Mine hasn't worked in years. Besides, Catherine didn't dig the training wheels. I was a source and that was it.

    Webcomics 
  • In Brat-Halla, the young Norse gods are sent to school where the Goddess Hel is their homeroom teacher. She outwardly takes the form of a sympathetic and approachable girl at most in her early twenties. But she is also the Goddess of Death and, as she reminds her students, has a Meaningful Name. When some of the boys in her class develop the inevitable crush and begin to behave inappropriately, she employs Shock Therapy to get them out of it and shows them exactly why she never wears anything other than fully covering jeans on her lower body. The Goddess Hel is half living woman and half rotting corpse. In this webcomic, Hel is fully living female from the waist up. When her jeans come off, the boys are suitably horrified.
  • Housepets!: In "the Gallifrax Protocol", Grape, Peanut, Tarot, and Max, all four bipedal, anthropomorphic animals, travel to a different universe. After they enter it, all seems normal, aside from the characters being placed oddly low on the panels. Grape notices she's suddenly the same height as the diminutive Tarot and looks down...
  • Itty Bitty from Kid Radd is a shopkeeper NPC, and is thus only ever seen from behind a counter. When he first steps away from the counter, it's revealed his entire lower body isn't even rendered and he's just a floating torso.
  • Rusty and Co.: When Y.T. the lamia is first introduced, she's standing behind a rock outcropping hiding her lower body, hence Mimic and Presti mistake her for some green-skinned humanoid. Only when she attacks with her constricting tail do they realize she's a snakewoman.
  • In The Wotch this is how the readers are introduced to minor character Allison "Ally" Taverner. She's a convenience store clerk and owner, in her first appearance Jason asks her if she's seen anything unusual that evening whilst on the search for a werecat (long story). Ally replies from behind her counter no it's been a quiet night... but after Jason leaves we cut to the other side of the counter revealing she's a centaur. A later strip reveals she's under a perception filter spell that only certain people can see through.

    Web Videos 
  • In the CollegeHumor parody short "Ice Age in 4D", an alternate timeline in the 6D segment results in one of a pair of twin girls disappearing; her distraught sister is delighted when the screen flashes and she reappears. As the sisters happily hug, the camera pans out to reveal that they now have the lower bodies of giant slugs.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In the season one episode "Dragon Breath", Jake brings a girl to his school dance so he could impress his crush. One of the girls that Fu Dog introduces is Veronica, who seemingly looked normal behind a food cart until it was removed to reveal her Eight hairy spider legs. Jake immediately retreated.
  • In the CatDog episode “Spaced Out”, the titular characters, while stuck inside a movie they were watching, rescue the beautiful Princess Kitaen from the main villain. They only see her attractive face at first, which encourages the previously reluctant Cat to go along with the rescue, however after her cell door is opened it’s revealed that the rest of her body is that of a grotesque, slimy, plant-like monster, much to Cat's horror.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: A Running Gag with news anchor Chet Ubetcha. He's often shown sitting at his newsdesk before some outside force reveals his short stature.
  • Family Guy: Joe Swanson's first appearance has him blocked by a hedge, making it seem like he was short. The illusion held up until he rolled up to join a softball game and Peter learned Joe's in a wheelchair.
  • In one episode of Hercules: The Animated Series, Tempest is in a bar full of centaurs. The bartender is surprised when he sees her legs and realises she's a human (in a shot that mimics this trope).
  • MAD: In "Cliffordfield", Sesame Street is under attack by a radioactive Clifford. When Oscar the Grouch decides to leave his trash can to avoid getting stomped, he is shown to have a pair of feminine-looking legs, much to everyone's shock. He then tells them "What? It's from my mother's side!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Marge in Chains" Mayor Quimby is holding a press conference, claiming that he cancelled his Bahamas vacation to oversee the flu plaguing Springfield. At first, the live footage shown on TV shows him in the Mayor's office wearing a suit and tie, it then cuts to the actual filming location in question, showing what's off camera. First, it reveals that Quimby isn't wearing proper pants, but swim trunks, before panning out to reveal that the office is just a set on the beach, revealing that Quimby is lying about cancelling his vacation.
    • One Treehouse of Horror segment had the family visit an island where Dr. Hibbert is turning the people of Springfield into half-animal hybrids. Homer is poking around the stable when he runs into Ned Flanders who at first looks normal. Then, Ned opens the gate he's standing behind to reveal his upper body is now mounted on the body of a cow.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Just One Bite", after Squidward Tentacles gets addicted to eating Krabby Patties SpongeBob warns him of the consequences. Squidward sarcastically asks SpongeBob if he'll blow up after eating too many Krabby Patties, to which the latter responds that it will go to his thighs first, and then he'll blow up. Cue Squidward's gigantic thighs showing up after being shown from the waist up in the previous scene.
    • At the end of the episode "Clams", Mr. Krabs rises out of the sea after a vicious struggle with the clam that ate his millionth dollar. At first, only his head and his left arm (holding the money) can be seen; he claims that after much struggle, he and the clam had a deal, which is how he can get his money back. When Spongebob asks him what the clam got in return, Krabs jumps up into the ship saying "nothing important" - while he has lost every part of his body sans his head and left arm.

 
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"My Thighs?"

Squidward gets massive thighs after he indulges in too many Krabby Patties due to his addiction to them. Squidward asks SpongeBob if he'll blow up after eating too many Krabby Patties, to which the latter responds that it will go to his thighs first, and then he will blow up, which shortly happens afterward. Poor Squidward.

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Main / LowerHalfReveal

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