Follow TV Tropes


Profile View Gag

Go To
This example as presented by a... present.

Often Played for Laughs, this is when something seems small when viewed from the front, but when you turn it to the side, it turns out to actually be very long. The fun thing about this trope is that it can be done with almost any object. A big part of this trope's comedy value comes from the Oh, Crap! reaction that other characters may get from it, if they were hoping that the object really was small.

May lead to a Plank Gag. Subtrope of Depth Deception and sister trope to Big Little Man.


    open/close all folders 

  • There was a commercial for a lawn mower brand where a woman we see from the front tells her husband "It's time." He takes this to mean it's time to mow the lawn and uses the advertised mower to do so. She tells him again and he continues his lawn mowing. Finally, she yells "It's time!" and turns to the side to reveal she's heavily pregnant. He finishes quickly and takes her to the hospital.
  • A Terrible Interviewees Montage had actors auditioning for an advertisement for air freshener. One man is so awful he doesn't get the part until he turns his head to sniff and reveals his enormous nose.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 8 episode 5 of Happy Heroes, Huo Haha inficts different spells on the Supermen. Smart S. is commented on as looking normal, but then he turns around and reveals himself to have been turned flat.

    Comic Books 
  • One Rubrique-à-Brac stripis a Fractured Fairy Tale where a handsome prince sees a beautiful sheperdess (always from the front, as does the reader), but never manages to get close enough to talk to her. He finally approaches her from the side, suddenly mumbles an apology and gets the hell out of there, the confused sheperdess turning her head to look at him and revealing her nose juts out of her face like a trireme's ram. The dejected prince then laments that you can't see people from the side and the front at the same time... and turning his head to face the audience for the first time, revealing his own face is half-handsome, half-ugly.

    Films — Animation 
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: According to Professor Poopypants, the human brain contains a lobe called the "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatus", which controls laughter. He builds a ray to destroy this lobe in whoever it zaps so that people will stop laughing at him. When he shoots it at George and Harold, it doesn't work like it did with the other kids. Poopypants is dumbfounded, so he flips around his diagram of George and Harold's brains to find that their Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatuses take up most of their brains, with the other parts flat on one side.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: When Sweet Mayhem's spaceship approaches the Systar System, at first we only see a lone, ordinary round planet. But then we get a side view, and the system is revealed to be composed of many planets with fantastic shapes, which were previously aligned perfectly.
  • In Toy Story, the toys are watching the kids attending Andy's birthday party, and panic over how large and impressive the gifts are. Slinky Dog points out one kid with what appears to be a small, cube-shaped present. But then the kid turns to the side, revealing that the present is really long. Cue more screaming and wailing from the toys.

    Films — Live Action 
  • A truly horrific example of this appears in Avengers: Infinity War when Thanos brings Gamora in to see her imprisoned sister Nebula, who initially appears to be suspended in midair by a forcefield but otherwise unharmed. Then as Gamora walks around Nebula, it's revealed that Nebula's cybernetic body only appears whole from the front and she has been deconstructed, stretched out lengthwise like an exploded-view schematic drawing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In this short scene from The Benny Hill Show, a soccer player is standing facing the camera, and appears normal until he turns to kick at the ball as it passes him, and reveals that his boots have extraordinarily long toes.
  • Easily one of the most horrific examples ever put to screen, Hannibal features one of the major characters, Beverly Katz. At the climax of the previous episode, she is seen in combat with the eponymous character. The next episode, it looks like she has been trapped in glass. Then, the camera pans around, and it's revealed he cut her INTO STRIPS, and placed those strips in separate glass cases. Nightmare Fuel indeed.
  • The children's game show Incredible Games had a game where an object had to be identified at first from an extreme close-up; then the camera would slowly move away, revealing more of the object. Once, this object looked like a ball, but was actually a potato peeler, filmed from the handle end.

    Video Games 
  • One of the cutscenes featuring Parappa The Rapper in the spinoff sequel Um Jammer Lammy has his crush Sunny Funny holding up a dress she would like to wear. PaRappa expresses his pleasure and asks to see it from the side. Predictably, she turns and appears line-thin; PaRappa continues the compliments regardless.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Brian Griffin's House of Payne", Brian meets with two network executives who look normal when facing front, but their profiles reveal they have extremely long noses.
    • In another episode, this is Played for Laughs when Quagmire tries to hit on a beautiful woman who turns out to be morbidly obese from the sides.
  • "Pluto's Judgement Day": In the courtroom nightmare sequence, a plump-looking cat testifies against Pluto, claiming that Pluto chased him right into a steamroller, causing him to get Squashed Flat. The cat turns to the side, revealing that he is actually flat as paper.
  • The 1937 Warner Bros. cartoon Speaking of the Weather, which spoofs popular books of the day, depicts a caricature of actor William Powell in his role as detective Nick Charles from The Thin Man. When viewed from the front, Powell seems normal, from the side, however, he's drawn stick thin to where he could hide completely behind a pencil.
  • The gag was repeated in another "books-come-to-life" short, Have You Got Any Castles; only this time, Powell walks into a cookbook to eat, and he emerges with his side view now having a very large bulge in the back.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, the Simpsons walk by Apu, who is facing the camera, wearing a baby carrier pouch with one of his babies. But then he turns to the side, revealing that the pouch actually extends outwards to carry all eight of them.
  • At one point in Swing, You Sinners!, we see a creature that looks like a circle with a face and legs dancing. Then it turns to the side, and we see that not only is its body long rather than sphere-shaped, but there are two identical creatures behind it.
  • The classic Tom and Jerry short Heavenly Puss has the Judgement of the Dead for cats. One unfortunate is Aloysius, who initially looks like just a very rotund cat... until the Heavenly Gatekeeper clarifies that he 'didn't see the steamroller coming,' whereupon Aloysius promptly turns side on, showing that he was Squashed Flat and was presumably a normal feline shape before his unfortunate demise.
  • Towards the end of the 1964 Woody Woodpecker cartoon "Freeway Fracas", the antagonist, a costruction worker trying to get rid of Woody's tree, ends up getting Squashed Flat by a steamroller. In the following scene, he is shown facing the camera as his boss congratulates him for getting the freeway built. The construction worker then turns and walks away, revealing he is still flattened.

    Real Life 
  • Panniers from the 18th century can have this effect. Sideways, they're pretty unnoticeable. Up front, they can be as wide as two dinner tables. Cartoonists from the 18th century had a field day with this.
  • An episode of World's Dumbest... had someone walking out of an electronic store in an oddly stiff fashion, always facing the security cameras. When he got outside, a different angle revealed why; he was carrying a very thin but very large TV under one arm, relying on this effect to avoid detection by the people watching the cameras. (It didn't work.)
  • This teddy bear, which was advertised as being 6'6" tall, but the product image was carefully photographed to make it look like the legs were in similar proportion to the arms, hiding that fact that about 4' of the advertised 6'5" foot height is just its absurdly-long legs.