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Mirror-Cracking Ugly

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Mirrors don't crack when I look in them. They scream and run away.

A common comedy trope, especially in western animation, a character's ugliness is frequently conveyed by his (or her) smiling into a mirror, and the mirror cracks as a result. A type of Informed Flaw sometimes, specially when it's featured in a visual medium.

Compare Rage Against the Reflection and Glass-Shattering Sound.


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  • This Timex commercial demonstrates a humorous exaggeration of the trope by having an old woman's gaze breaking not only her mirror, but also a man's glasses, a car window, and various other items made of glass except for the brand of watch being advertised.

    Anime and Manga 
  • A variation occurs in Yakitate!! Japan, where "mushroom head" Kinosita causes Yukino's TV screen to crack when the camera closes up to his face.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Season 3 episode 3 showcases Big M. being so ugly that it makes everyone who sees his face vomit. Besides that, though, one part of the episode has him look into a mirror, which breaks from his ugliness in an instant.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek has this happen when he smiles after brushing his teeth at the beginning of his first movie. Though considering as he prides himself on being disgusting and ugly, he probably takes this as a compliment.
  • Used during the musical selection "A Guy Like You" in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame after the gargoyles slap a giant 18th Century powder wig on Quasimodo only to find it makes him so ugly he cracks the mirror.
  • Gnorga, the queen of trolls in A Troll in Central Park. During her Villain Song, she passes a series of mirrors, each one cracking to a more severe degree than the last, until she torches the last one before it can crack.
  • In Mad Mad Mad Monsters, a prequel to Mad Monster Party, the Monster's bride at one point cracks a mirror by looking at it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Slipper and the Rose, one of Cinderella's stepsisters cracks a mirror by looking in it.
  • Used in the Three Stooges short "Gypped in the Penthouse" — Larry, wondering if he really is that ugly (after stopping a clock by looking at it), asks "Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fairest of Them All?" and it promptly shatters.
    Larry: I break more mirrors that way!
  • Done earlier with Mike Myers in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me when his smile caused his rear view mirror to crack.

  • The children's book The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit doesn't feature any mirrors, but the monster is so ugly that his presence cracks rocks, dries up ponds and kills plant life.
  • Occurs with the ogres in Piers Anthony's Xanth book series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A frequently recurring gag with Herman in The Munsters.
  • Same in the sketch comedy You Can't Do That on Television.
  • Uncle Arthur. Referenced in the unfortunate film version.
  • In Living Color!: Ugly Wanda turns this to her advantage in the Bram Stoker's Dracula spoof. Dracula has spent the skit wooing her, only to rue his success once he gets a good look at her. Desperate to leave he tells her he can't stand mirrors, and since there's one in her room, well...Ugly Wanda tells him she can take care of it. Staring into it, she recites "Mirror, mirror on the wall..." and it cracks.
  • In The Addams Family, Uncle Fester has this effect on mirrors.
  • Life Goes On. During an argument between siblings Becca and Corky, he snarkily accuses her of doing this.

  • In Monster Bash, when the Bride of Frankenstein practices her singing, she causes the display to shatter. However, it's unclear if this is due to her appearance or her voice, as neither one is extreme enough to invoke either trope.

  • In The Goon Show, Seagoon has been promoted to Lieutenant.
    Seagoon: Now, let me view myself in the commissioned-ranks-only mirror.
    Willium: Ooh, it's never done that before, mate.
    Seagoon: Well, I'll make damn sure it doesn't do it again. Take it out and shoot it!

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The Addams Family (1992):
    • There was a gag in the episode "Itt's Over" where Uncle Fester caused a mirror to crack after looking in it while his brother Gomez was trying to cut his newly growing hair.
    • In "Little Big Thing", Granny Frump is stubborn about getting glasses and claims that she doesn't need them because she looks better without them, a point she finds proven when a mirror she's looking in shatters after she's removed one of the pairs she's trying on.
  • In the Breadwinners episode "Bad to the Duck Bone", SwaySway makes himself evil by eating a loaf of Dark Rye. When he looks in a hand mirror, it not only cracks but also explodes.
  • This trope turns up in the Bump in the Night episode "Beauty and the Bump" when Mr. Bumpy and friends are discussing ways they can free the antique princess doll from her glass case. Squishington mentions that he once saw Mr. Bumpy's face crack a mirror and proposes that his face can also affect glass. Bumpy figures that using his ugliness to break the glass case is worth a try and proves Squishington's claim of his ugliness breaking mirrors, but after that, his ugliness ends up breaking or melting everything around him except the princess's glass case.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "The Hunchback of Nowhere", Eustace says to the titular hunchback, "You've got a face that could crack a sink!"
  • The Cow and Chicken episode "The Ugliest Weenie" had Cow write a play about an ugly weenie that ends up becoming a production for the school's drama class, with her brother Chicken in the title role. The play's first musical number makes use of the gag of an ugly person causing a mirror to break by looking at it.
  • Played with in a Danger Mouse short. Sidekick Penfold tries to take advantage of a photo booth. The result: 'You have broken the lens. You have broken the lens.' (Then again, Greenback's minion Stiletto tampered with the booth to steal Penfold's photos.)
  • The Deputy Dawg Show used this gag in the episode "Duped Deputy", where Muskie Muskrat, Ty Coon, and Vincent Van Gopher stand on top of each other to disguise themselves as a criminal named Sid E. Slicker as part of a prank on Deputy Dawg. To test the effectiveness of the disguise, Muskie looks in a mirror and concludes that the disguise will work after the mirror cracks.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • In the episode "Beddy Bye", Cosmo, who had temporarily became hideous from sleep deprivation, not only cracks Timmy's mirror, he also cracks the Great Wall of China and causes a herd of antelopes far away to stop grazing near the end of the episode when his ugliness reaches its zenith.
    • In the episode "Bad Heir Day", Crocker cracks his mirror when he's contemplating how to get an heir.
      Crocker: Well, I guess marriage is out of the question.
  • A Cutaway Gag in the Family Guy episode "Save the Clam" depicts a very masculine-looking Kathleen Turner as being this and apologizing to the destroyed mirror frame.
    Turner: Sorry. Turns out you were right about me.
  • The Filmation's Ghostbusters episode "The Princess and the Troll" had a handsome prince turned into a troll by the episode's villain to prevent him from marrying his true love Princess Gwendolyn. At one point, the transformed prince looks into a hand mirror and causes it to shatter because of his ugliness.
  • Wade Duck in "The Ugly Duckling" U.S. Acres short on Garfield and Friends. Orson is telling Booker and Sheldon, two baby chicks, his version of "The Ugly Duckling." When confronting the Wicked Witch of the Wool and she asks "How Ugly Are You?" he answers, "I'm so ugly I need to sneak up on my mirror to shave!" (To prevent the mirror breaking as he could also stop a sundial with his face.)
  • The Gravedale High episode "Long Day's Gurney Into Night" had a brief scene where Duzer, a teenage gorgon, broke her mirror by looking into it.
  • Used in an episode of Hercules: The Animated Series where a temporarily human Medusa turns back into her gorgon self while the sun sets.
  • Kaz in Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi breaks a mirror by looking in it as a result of the girls trying to get him an unsuccessful makeover in "Stupid Cupids".
  • Looney Tunes: In Senorella and the Glass Hurache, a Mexican take on the Cinderella story, one of Senorella's mean stepsisters shatters a mirror by grinning into it.
  • In the Madballs episode "Gross Jokes", the scene at the beginning where the Madballs are introduced shows Freakella looking at herself in the mirror and being shocked when it suddenly breaks.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Yakity Sax", Rarity tries reversing a depressed Pinkie Pie's Color Failure with her makeup. Pinkie sneezes the makeup off, and looks even worse than before, shattering Rarity's mirror.
  • Yukk! from The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Show is a dog so ugly he has to wear a house on his head. Not only does he break mirrors (and destroys them so quickly that he's never seen his own face), but he is so ugly that when he uncovers his face, the earth shakes and anything in direct line of sight of his face is destroyed, and anyone catching a glimpse of it screams, passes out, and/or runs away. The audience, of course, never sees his face.
  • Used in The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Ren's Toothache". First, Ren's teeth are so bad that his smile causes the mirror to shatter. The next day, his teeth are so bad that smiling at the mirror causes his teeth to shatter.
  • The witch in the Fractured Fairy Tales short "The Witch's Broom".
  • Hogatha's mirror cracks when she inspects herself and sees that she has dry skin in The Smurfs episode "The Golden Smurf Award".
    Medusa: This is getting ugly. (She notices the mirror has cracked) Oh, who asked you? (Ad break, by next time it's seen, the mirror has formed a spiderweb-like series of cracks)
  • Played with in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Something Smells". SpongeBob gets bad breath and is wondering why everyone is avoiding him. Patrick thinks it's because he's ugly, and suggests "the reflection test". His reflection breaks the mirror with a hammer to get away from the smell.
  • Every time the Old Witch makes an appearance in Tales From The Cryptkeeper, a mirror breaks. She even broke the TV screen.
  • Tales from the Goose Lady used this in the episode "The Ugly Duck-Thing", where the Duck-Thing found a benefit to his ugliness by using it to save lives, such as freeing a baby who got its head stuck in a bottle by shattering the glass with his face and defusing a bomb by staring at the timer.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Carl drains Yin and Yang's cuteness, leaving them horrifically ugly, especially when they try to make their Cute Face. Luckily for them, the Monster of the Week happens to be made of very reflective ice...


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