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Nosy Neighbor
aka: Nosy Neighbour

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Abner! Come quick!

A neighbor (usually female) who just cannot keep to herself. Usually a grotesquely stereotyped shrewish gossip — always on the lookout for delicious secrets and rumors about the characters, which is emphasized by showing her peering suspiciously around her curtains at least Once per Episode.

They usually come in two types. The female type (though not always female) is the epitome of niceness, which serves as an excuse for her chronic curiosity - she will show up on the characters' doorstep with a fresh-baked pie while peering inside over their shoulder. Sometimes the only problem with her is that she always shows up at the wrong time - Nosy Neighbors have a tendency to appear and initiate a long chat when there is something in the other room needing the character's attention that they would rather not let others know about.


The second type is closer to the Cranky Neighbor, and generally just wants to be left alone — until the main characters start acting suspiciously and he feels that he needs to protect his interests and verify that they are not doing anything that may disturb their peace. This usually ends with them going further and getting more involved than intended.

Occasionally a horror trope, when this starts to border serious stalking.

See also Secret Chaser for when there is some huge secret to be kept hidden from this neighbor. If it's not an impromptu pie delivery she's using as her tactic, she may pop over to ask "May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?".



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Sally the Witch, Sally's next-door neighbors qualify as a more innocent version of this. They're rather pleasant elders most of the time, it's just that their little neighbor happens to be a Magical Girl and at times they get caught in the middle of her magical mishaps by proxy, or at others they can't help being curious about it.

    Comic Books 
  • The Haverlin Brothers of Clean Room are an understated and heroic example. After they interrupt Chloe's suicide attempt they take a personal interest in checking in on her and protecting her house when she's away, including challenging intruders in her own kitchen.
  • Amusingly Tim Drake was actually Bruce's neighbor and figured out Bruce was Batman without Bruce having a clue until Tim got worried for Bruce's safety.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pretty much Mary Worth's whole schtick. The Comics Curmudgeon takes it to memetic levels; the whole world is her neighbor, and only her meddling can save it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mrs. MacDougall in That Darn Cat!. She uses a hearing aid to eavesdrop on her neighbours, watches them through her window, gossips about what she sees, and goes out late at night to spy on them when something unusual is happening.
  • My Favorite Martian: Tim's landlady, Mrs. Lorelei Brown.
  • Hard Candy: Judy Tokuda is the only character other than Jeff and Hayley to have any impact - she pops in at one point to ask about Jeff, nearly driving Hayley's carefully calculated plan off the rails.
  • Hitchcock's Rear Window: L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries spies on his neighbors out of boredom. The plot kicks off when he becomes convinced, correctly, that one neighbor had killed his wife.
  • Madeline "Matty" Crimmins from Stepfather II, a gossip and mail courier who digs through her neighbor's mail as a hobby. She winds up strangled to death by the killer.
  • Minnie and Roman in Rosemary's Baby inserted themselves into the lives of their much younger neighbors, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse, much to Rosemary's annoyance. As it turns out there's much more to it than that.
  • In Earth Girls Are Easy, Geena Davis's elderly neighbor uses a parabolic microphone to listen in.
  • Edward Scissorhands: All of the neighbours, who are very curious about Edward.
  • Everything Must Go: Nick Halsey has one, Samantha, who ends up reporting him to the police because he's living on his lawn.
  • Miss Thwaites in Gaslight is a very intrusive old lady from across the street.
  • Claire becomes this in What Lies Beneath, due to her genuine concern that the husband across the street has murdered his wife — she heard the woman crying and her vague explanations alluded to an abusive relationship, including outright saying, "I'm afraid that one day I'll just disappear", not seeing the wife for several days, as well as the husband's own vagueness about her absence. It turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • The Nearys in Close Encounters of the Third Kind have a nosy neighbor living next door to their house, always watching them from her window.
  • Hi in Canyon Passage is a relatively sympathetic example. He regards himself as "an observer of his fellow humans" rather than a snoop, and there is really not much else for an intellectual to do in Jacksonville expect people watch. He is peeking through George's shutters when he sees George stealing Mac's gold dust.
  • In Mystery Road, Mary's neighbour is a nosy old man who knows everything that goes on in the street. When Mary's house gets broken into, he refuses to tell Jay anything for fear of reprisals. However, he does nod almost imperceptibly when Jay asks him if the perpetrators were driving a gold Statesman. This is enough for Jay to go on.
  • In Fear, Inc., Joe's neighbour Bill is the captain of the local neighborhood watch and keeps a close eye on all the comings and goings.
  • In The Mad Magician, Gallico rents the upper floor of the Prentiss' house under guise of Ormond. Unfortunately for him, Alice Prentiss writes murder mysteries and fancies herself as a Mystery Writer Detective. Her snooping brings Ormond's wife Claire on to the scene, causing Gallico to murder her and abandon his refuge at the Prentiss house.
  • In I Saw What You Did, Amy Nelson is constantly spying on neighbour Steve Marek and looking for any opportunity to worm her way into his affections. When she discovers that he has murdered his wife, she thinks she has found it.
  • From Beyond the Grave: In "The Gatecrasher", Charlton's downstairs neighbour Mr, Jeffries knocks on his door to complain about the red liquid dripping down through his ceiling. He goes on to complain about the large number of young ladies Charlton has been bringing home, and the noise they have be making, and the hammering that has been going on at all hours of the night. Unfortunately for poor Mr. Jeffries the penny does not drop before Charlton uses a knife to rid himself of the problems a nosy neighbour can bring.
  • In Stag, one of the main threats of exposure the men face is Victor's neighbour Ben who keeps coming over to investigate the noises coming from Victor's house. Every time, one of the party-goers has to be sent out to divert him. Given the noises include gunshots and an imprisoned stripper kicking out the glass in in upstairs window in an attempt to escape, he is right to be suspicious.

  • Anne of Green Gables: Mrs. Rachel Lynde, a noted busybody prone to blunt criticism.
  • Much of Brian Aldiss's novel Report on Probability A is taken up with exhaustive descriptions of three men spying on a house from three of its outbuildings, attempting to catch a glimpse of the elusive Mr Mary's Wife through the windows.
  • Petunia Dursley of Harry Potter is noted several times to be far too interested in her neighbours' doings.
  • As far as Stephanie Crawford from To Kill a Mockingbird is concerned, she absolutely must know everything. She is a Gossipy Hen too.
  • Mrs. Cormaci from The Underland Chronicles is a well-intentioned and not especially annoying version, but any questions are awkward when you don't know have a good explanation.
  • Ravensong: Nora was known to be nosy.
  • Sir John and Mrs Jennings in Sense and Sensibility are good-natured gossips who take an eager interest in the romantic prospects of any young person who enters their field of vision (Mrs Jennings, it's noted, has two married daughters and is now seeking to marry off the rest of the world). Marianne Dashwood finds this extremely annoying and would give offense if Sir John and Mrs Jennings were capable of being offended. Elinor finds it tiresome, too, but she thinks that the pair's meddling is offset by their genuine kindness and generosity.
  • Gangsta Granny has the granny's neighbor who's always looking through her window.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Keeping Up Appearances: Inverted with Nice Girl Elizabeth who’s dragged away from her home by Hyacinth.
  • Alfred Hitchcock parodied his own film Rear Window with the episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called "Mr Blanchard's Secret", involving a Nosy Neighbor who is convinced her neighbor killed his never-seen wife.
  • ALF: Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek, Raquel more so than her husband, to the point where she spends most of her time spying on the neighbors with a looking glass and spreading rumors about them.
  • The next-door neighbors in Small Wonder were highly obnoxious versions of this trope, their casual antics often more memorable than any of the main plots, even ones where they were involved. The Dad/Inventor finally up and decided to use the android girl VICI as part of a plot to force these neighbors to move away, once and for all. It didn't work, but it made so much sense to try.
  • Bewitched: Gladys Kravitz is an iconic example, to the point that nosy neighbors are often referred to as "Mrs. Kravitz" types. She was forever spying through her window at the Stephens house across the street, catching glimpses which suggested something very strange was going on over there, but she could never convince her aloof husband, Abner.
  • Three's Company had Mr. Roeper and, later, Mr. Furley. The former fit the Cranky Neighbor trope much more, however, than the latter, who was actually more laid back.
  • Desperate Housewives: Nearly every character is a nosy neighbor in one way or another, but Martha Huber of Season 1 fits the description best.
  • One sketch Monty Python's Flying Circus has a pair of pepperpots manning a surveillance room that would make MI-5 jealous as they peer into living rooms by telescope and record the length of time their neighbors are at the doctor. And they are being monitored by a hidden camera placed by a different set of neighbors.
  • Aquí no hay quien viva: Pretty much the entire building would fit, but the most prominent ones are Marisa, Concha and Vicenta, the three elderly women from apartment 1-A.note  They are the anchors of "Radio Patio", where they tell the neighbors about what's going on in the building, have three spyholes on their door, and Marisa at least is known for having quite the sharp ear:
    Bea: (sarcastically) Please say it louder, they didn't hear you in apartment 1-A!
    Marisa: (from two floors below) Yes, we did! Thank you!
  • Justified in The Barrier. Emilia's neighbor Begoña is part of the government's surveillance network, so being far too curious and "just checking on people" when things best kept hidden are going on is her job.
  • WandaVision: Wanda's neighbor Agnes fits the first type, as she's always poking around in Wanda's life and showing up at her house at suspiciously convenient times. It's because she's actually a witch named Agatha Harkness who wants to know how Wanda created the sitcom Hex in the first place and then steal that power for herself. After Wanda drains Agatha of her power, she traps Agatha inside her own mind and overrides her personality with her sitcom persona of "Agnes the Nosy Neighbor." Keep in mind that this is the same fate that a Westview resident just told Wanda she'd rather die than experience again.

  • Kacey Musgraves' "The Trailer Song" is dedicated to telling a nosy neighbor to mind her own business.

    Video Games 
  • This is a character type in We Happy Few. They're designed to make life more difficult for any Downers who like to employ stealth.
  • A rare playable version in Hello Neighbor. Where you try to break into your neighbor's house to find out his secrets.
  • Several heart events in Stardew Valley involve your player character eavesdropping on the private conversations of the other villagers, or sneaking into their homes, or both. Among other things, you learn about Pierre's "secret stash", and the secret liaisons between Lewis and Marnie.
  • The Lookout role from Town of Salem is a Properly Paranoid version of this. The Lookout can camp a house each night and see whom visits said player, which, given that there are actual killers running amok in the town, is one of the way to get information on said killers.

    Web Animation 
  • Meta Runner: In Season 2, Masa has one in the form of a man in an Expressive Mask who keeps barging into his low-tier apartment asking for money. However, the very end of Season 2 reveals this neighbor to be Dr. Sheridan in disguise.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Warrior Queen", a 50-year-old wife is watching Superman and Maxima fight at a construction site. Her husband, newspaper blocking his view, tells her to stop spying on the neighbors.
    Wife: Now they're kissing!
    Husband: Don't get any ideas!
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Barb always bursts into the house unannounced, and when she suspects that the Lunis' have a new pet, she's desperate to find out what it is.
  • SpongeBob and Patrick of Spongebob Squarepants are the first type. They're nice, generous, friendly fellows and all they want to do is include Squidward in their friendship and fun — but Sponge and Pat are obnoxious and foolish, lack tact, and don't adhere to boundaries. At best, SpongeBob and Patrick are nice guys and Squidward likes them — at worse, they're extremely annoying, and Squidward is frustrated by them.
    • Squidward is Type II, though he would never admit it. The plots of several episodes (Bubblestand, Snowball Effect, Club Spongebob, The Camping Episode, Idiot Box, etc) begin when Squidward is so overcome with frustrated curiosity that he cannot bring himself to keep his nose out of their antics.
  • Helen Lovejoy on The Simpsons is rather nosy about the lives of other Springfield families.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Gumball AND Darwin have a disturbing idol worship of the Robinsons to the point that they'd creep Dennis out.

Alternative Title(s): Nosy Neighbour


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