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"Rear Window" Homage

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About as blatant as it gets.
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A commonly recurring Whole Plot Reference.

In a Rear Window Homage, the setup is clearly derived from Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window to varying degrees. Expect an injured or otherwise hobbled protagonist stuck in their own room conducting a criminal investigation from a fixed vantage point. The injured protagonist - patterned after Jimmy Stewart - is probably male, while the eager assistant - patterned after Grace Kelly - is far less physically imposing, inexperienced with confrontation, and probably female.

The climax of a Rear Window Homage will almost certainly involve the inexperienced partner getting caught by the suspected criminal in the middle of an attempted Rear Window Investigation. When the canon in question is pure comedy, the suspected crime is often vastly more serious than the real explanation; when the canon is more dramatic than comedic, however, expect to see the injured Rear Window Witness having to engage in a physical altercation despite their injury.

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Tropes shared by the Rear Window Homage and Rear Window itself include Window Watcher, The Stakeout, Exploring the Evil Lair, and, of course, Rear Window Witness and Rear Window Investigation. At some point the protagonist will probably find themselves spouting Cassandra Truth or promising the authorities It Was Here, I Swear!. If the investigator isn't an Amateur Sleuth, it's a case of Busman's Holiday. Can be used to provide the plot for a Bottle Episode. Occasionally a show will go out of its way to do an Affectionate Parody.


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Examples

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    Film — Live-Action 
  • Disturbia substitutes Stewart's broken leg for Kale's ankle monitor.
  • Done in a Syfy Channel Original Movie of all places, namely Abominable where a wheelchair bound man watches and tries to warn a group of women under attack next door... though here the attacker happens to be Sasquatch.

    Live Action TV 
  • Castle did a Rear Window Homage called "The Lives of Others" for their 100th episode. This is especially notable, as the situation was set up in-universe as a birthday present to give an injured Castle a fun mystery to work through while he recovered.
  • Fraser from Due South discovers a hospital conspiracy while recuperating from getting shot in the back. He's assisted by his attractive physical therapist, a Grace Kelly look-alike.
  • Get Smart: In the episode "Greer Window" Max is recovering from an injury at home when he spies some spies in the building next door stealing secret papers. 99 is sent to investigate.
  • Leverage. A season 5 episode titled "The Broken Wing Job" finds Parker laid up with a torn ACL, watching the patrons of the brew pub on the security cameras, when she finds that two of them are planning what appears to be a heist. She recruits one of the pub's waitresses to help her stop it.
  • Mathnet, already a spoof of Dragnet, has an episode called "The View From the Rear Terrace" in which Kate Monday injures her knee and becomes convinced her neighbor is building a bomb. Her partner George is busy with a case involving an anti-bank prankster, but still finds time to disprove her allegations, leading to an unintentional case of Crying Wolf when the neighbor finally does build a bomb. In the end it turns out the two of them were Working the Same Case.
  • When Reese from Person of Interest gets shot in the leg, he doesn't get time off: he gets installed in a hotel and tasked with monitoring his neighbors. He's assisted by Finch, who, while decidedly less attractive than Grace Kelly, fills the inexperienced-and-nonthreatening role perfectly. The final confrontation even features a crutch duel.
  • Raising Hope has "Murder, She Hoped," which came complete with faithful reproductions of some of Grace Kelly's more memorable outfits.
  • That '70s Show had a Halloween episode with various subplots drawn from Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds, all Hitchcock films. In the Rear Window subplot, Fez falls off a roof and ends up in a wheelchair, spying on the Pinciottis. Hyde performs the inevitable Rear Window Investigation.
  • Was also done in ALF, of course with Mr. Ochmonek as being the neighbor whom ALF suspects to have murdered his wife.
  • The 2point4 Children episode "Curiosity Killed the Cat" had Bill in bed with flu, watching Rhoda through a telescope and becoming convinced she'd killed her boyfriend. (She hadn't.) It even included a brief shot of a Hitchcock lookalike walking past Rhoda's door.

    Literature 
  • Point Horror novel The Window: A young woman accompanies her friends on a ski trip and ends up spraining her ankle. Stranded in her room and bored, she begins spying on the other cabins with a pair of binoculars. Sure enough, she witnesses a murder and the killer him/herself, though she can't tell who it is—it quickly doubles as a Locked Room Mystery when she realizes it has to be one of the friends she's traveling with—and ends up playing a nail-biting cat-and-mouse game trying to figure out exactly who it is without tipping them off.

    Western Animation 
  • The Flintstones: "Alvin Brickrock Presents" is all about Fred and Barney spying on their new neighbor, Alvin Brickrock, whose wife they believe has been stuffed in a trunk.
  • Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats has "Rear Cat Window," in which Heathcliff breaks his leg and witnesses what he believes is the dognapping of neighbor dog Spike.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: "Ed's Dead" features Rocko spying on the Bigheads from his window and becoming convinced that Beverly killed her husband. Just in case anyone is confused about what it's based on, the opening has Heffer doing an impersonation of Alfred Hitchcock.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "Bart of Darkness," Bart breaks his leg, holes up in his room, and, after spying on his neighbors with a telescope, becomes convinced that Ned Flanders has murdered his wife. One of the things Bart sees through his rear window is Jimmy Stewart with a broken leg, looking out of his rear window, paranoid that the boy is coming after him.
  • Family Guy: In one episode, Brian (who moved out of the Griffin household in a previous episode) looks out his window and thinks he sees Principal Shepherd disposing of his wife's body; things follow along the traditional "Rear Window" Homage path from there.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the short, "Rear Window Pain" (part of "Psychic Fun-Omenon Day"), Plucky breaks his leg, and Babs gives him a pair of binoculars as a present. Plucky uses the binoculars to spy on unsuspecting citizens. When he sees Elmer Fudd growing eggplants and talking to them as if they were his children, he thinks Elmer is making clones of himself. It later turned out that he was making eggplants for an eggplant-parmesan recipe, and he was planning to give some to his neighbors. At the end of the short, Elmer complains about Plucky accusing him of cloning, believing it to be impossible. When he isn't looking, his eggplants turn into purple-colored Elmer clones, who say, "He don't know us vewy well, do he?".
    • In the episode, "Grandma's Dead," Duncan Duff, Elmyra's younger brother, is sick and has to stay home from school. To pass the time, he watches a parody of "Rear Window" on his TV, which gives him the idea to snoop on his neighbors. Thanks to some shenanigans with Elmyra's hamster, Duncan comes to believe that his grandmother has been offed by Mr. Bump. Grandma isn't even dead in the first place.
  • Home Movies: In the episode "Definite Possible Murder," Brendon is laid up with a leg injury. He spies on his new neighbor, Raymond Burley, a man who might possibly be involved in some questionably suspicious behavior.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho!: The episode "Cheer Window" is this, with Elanor as L. B. Jeffries, cheerleader Chelsea as Lars Thorwald, and Zack and Deuce as Lisa Carol Fremont and Stella, respectively. However, instead of Chelsea being wrongfully accused by Elanor of murdering someone, she's wrongfully accused of helping the Great White Butt take over Mabletown. He just wants to learn cheerleading.
  • Ruby Gloom gives us "Poe-Ranoia", where Poe the Raven sprains his leg and is placed in a wheelchair. However, his incessant demands force the characters to place him in Skull Boy's room with only a window to the house next door, a telescope, and a simple communication system. From there, Poe sees a new neighbor moving in and believes that he has numerous instruments of torture and murder. It turns out that the new neighbor's devices are actually amusement park rides!
    Video Games 
  • Zombies, Run! In the spin-off audio play "Zombies, Run! The Way of All Flesh," Chris Mcshell plays the injured (blinded) investigator and Jody Marsh plays the eager assistant.

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