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Removed from the Picture

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Bob's relationship with Alice has fallen through, and he never wants to see her face again. Rather than just throw away all the pictures with her in it, he burns, cuts, tears, or marks over her face in every single photograph of Alice he has, or maybe just one really important one, like a wedding photo.

Alternatively, Alice is Bob's Stalker with a Crush, and has several photos of Bob and his girlfriend Carol, with Carol's face burned, cut, marked over, torn out, or otherwise mutilated, sometimes with her own face glued in. The photos may even be pasted all over a Room Full of Crazy. In these cases, it may not be that Alice actively hates Carol, just that she thinks that she deserves Bob more. (Or maybe she does actively hate Carol after all.)

Unperson is this being done for political reasons. Compare Burn Baby Burn and Paper Destruction of Anger, when the entire photo is burned, pulped, shredded, etc., not just Alice's face. Someone being removed from a Family Portrait of Characterization can be a sign of dislike or disinheritance.



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Bob Hates Alice

  • There's a commercial for Dell computers where it shows a series of pictures of a guy with his girlfriend. Midway through the commercial, it stops at one picture being shown in Windows Vista's picture app. The app then goes and crops the guy's girlfriend out of the pic. As you might guess, it reveals the guy sitting at a Dell PC doing this. (At the end where it shows off the PC, its monitor is showing a picture montage of the same guy and his new girlfriend.)

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Afro Samurai: Resurrection, Sio's photograph of herself, Jinno, her vassals, and Afro has Afro's face burned out of it.

    Comic Books 
  • Ignacia of Wildguard uses her heat vision to burn her own face from a photo after a particularly crappy day.
  • In Maus, as Art's father relates what happened to his family members that survived the Holocaust, he mentions how one of his brothers committed suicide when his lover left him. As he says it, we see a picture of that brother with the woman in question, her face burned out.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Coco, after Imelda's husband left her and never returned, she tore out the part of a family photo that had his face on it, determined to forget his memory. When Miguel helps his great-grandmother remember him, it turns out Coco saved the missing piece of the photograph.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In One Hour Photo, Sy has an entire wall of pictures of the Yorkin family. When he discovers that Will Yorkin cheated on his wife, he scratches Will's face off the pictures.
  • The Muppets reveals that after Kermit and Miss Piggy parted ways, Miss Piggy kept half of a photograph of their wedding in Manhattan Melodies. It eventually turns out that Kermit kept the other half. They show the pieces to each other backstage during the telethon.
  • A strange case is employed in Lovely Molly where Molly has cut out the horse heads in the photographs in her father's office, and pasted them over his head in the family album.
  • In That Thing You Do!, Faye tags along when her boyfriend Jimmy's band has its big break and goes on tour, but Jimmy's eye starts to wander as he meets female singers on the road, while the drummer, Guy, gets progressively more upset as he realizes he's in love with Faye. After Jimmy angrily walks out on Faye and Guy comforts her, Faye cries over a picture of Jimmy, her, and Guy sitting together (and Jimmy, just to make the point is looking away in the picture) and snips off the left part of the picture with Jimmy in it, leaving just her and Guy. The trimmed picture is used in the what happened afterwards credits accompanying confirmation that Guy and Faye lived Happily Ever After.
  • Funeral Parade of Roses: We see several repeated shots, in extreme close-up, of a cigarette burning a man's face out of a photo. Eventually it's revealed that Eddie's mother is burning Eddie's father's face out of a family photo, the father having abandoned the family 15 years before when Eddie was a small child. While this is meant to illustrate that the mother still burns with hatred for the father after all these years, it's also a Chekhov's Gun that is crucial to The Reveal.

  • Paprika: Dr. Tokita's face is cut out from one of Himuro's pictures.
  • In Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, Joey, having survived attempted murder by her husband (who believes her dead, as do the authorities), secretly returns to his house and, using cuticle scissors, cuts herself out of a wedding picture, which she places under his pillow. Her confidant Mick Stranahan immediately recognizes this as a typical feminine ploy; apparently, it happened to him with his third wife.
  • Defied in Shaman Blues - when Konstancja asks Witkacy why he hadn't cut her out of their picture together, he answers that if he'd done so, he couldn't've found a frame that the picture would fit to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cordelia does this when she breaks up with Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • The IT Crowd has a heartbroken Roy perfectly photoshop his ex out of all of their photos, hilariously leaving him alone on a seesaw etc...
  • Frasier: A portrait of Niles and Maris (unseen, of course). Following their separation, Niles hits the roof when he discovers he's been painted out with a tree. Well, not quite - Frasier, wincing, tells Niles not to look at the face of the skunk in the undergrowth.

  • A variation, though with a band rather than a couple: On the panorama that forms the cover of The Beatles Anthology CDs and DVDs, there's a poster of the band in their early days with Pete Best's face torn out.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: In "The Why of Fry", Leela, after she realized the guy she went on a date with was a jerk, gives Bender a picture of him to incinerate with one of his fire-burps. This results in a hole where his face was, and just that second, Fry comes in and Leela sees his face through the hole.
  • Skulker in Danny Phantom crushes a picture of his girlfriend, Ember after she criticized his hunting skills. He spent the rest of the episode trying to prove otherwise, but whether they got back together is never concluded.

Alice Loves Bob

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In the Spider-Man story "The Death of Jeanne De Wolff" Spidey is looking through Jeanne's belongings after she was murdered (in search of clues and finds that she's saved just about every picture of Spider-Man taken... And cut out pictures of his (then GF) Black Cat (although they had broken up by the time Jeanne was murdered.)

    Film — Live-Action 
  • When Julia and Larry come to the house in Hellraiser, Julia finds a photo of Frank and another woman among his possessions. She tears off the corner with the woman on it and keeps the part with Frank.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Kat in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, back in her Dark Action Girl days. She tore a picture of Tommy and Kim, in half, and kept the half with Tommy in it.
  • An early episode of Castle has the titular writer-sleuth realize that a photo of the family she works for in the home of a nanny is the same as the photo he saw in the family's home, except with the mother cropped out of the picture so it looks like the father, the nanny, and the kids are a standard nuclear family. Of course, this is a clue that the nanny did it.

    Visual Novels 
  • In SHUFFLE!, after Rin and Asa start going out together, Primula finds some photos of Rin and Asa together, and notices that in each one, Kaede has drawn over Asa's face with a pen. She makes it downstairs just as Kaede starts attacking Asa in a jealous rage.

    Western Animation 
  • Fry does this to a picture of Lars and Leela in Futurama: Bender's Big Score.
  • In the X-Men animated series, Wolverine keeps a picture of Jean and Scott in his room that has Scott's face sliced out.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Back to the Woods", James Woods steals Peter's identity and tapes a picture of his head over Peter's in a wedding photo with him and Lois. Humorously, it's a live-action photograph of Woods!
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Karai has a picture given to her by the Shredder of her mother. It's torn in half; seeing the full picture in Splinter's lair convinces her that Splinter is, in fact, her actual father. In this case, it's implied to be Shredder who tore the picture, as he desired Karai's mother and hated her father.


    Anime and Manga 
  • Kallen Kouzuki from Code Geass thinks that her Japanese mother has become a slave to the Britannians out of fear and cowardice, so she places a sticker on their family picture that covers Mrs. Kouzuki's face. When Kallen sees that her mom actually chose slavery for her, she takes the sticker off.
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Domon Kasshu goes around showing half a photograph to people and asking if they've seen the man depicted therein. A few episodes later we learn that "that man" is in fact his older brother Kyoji, who is responsible for the death of their mother and the imprisonment of their father only not really, and that the second half of the photograph shows the family together and happy; young Domon is even sitting on Kyoji's shoulders.
  • Porco Rosso has destroyed or vandalized all pictures that shows him as a human as a sign of the guilt, despair and self-loathing that may have turned him into a pig in the first place.

    Comic Books 
  • In Maus, we see family photos where the faces of those who fought in the Nazi army were clipped out.
  • Rivers of London: In Night Witch, Lesley May has a photo of herself and Peter Grant from their graduation with her own face scribbled out, implied to be due to a combination of trauma over what happened to her face and internal conflict over her decision to join the Faceless Man.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): After Vanessa has been Mind Raped into resenting and hating Diana and Cassie by Dr. Psycho and Circe Cassie finds old pictures of Vanessa and Diana in Nessi's room with Diana's face scratched out.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Coco, Miguel's family has a photo of Mama Coco as a little girl with her father's face torn out, a symbol that they never forgave him for abandoning them to pursue a music career. When Miguel accidentally breaks the frame, he discovers a hidden fold on the photo with a familiar guitar on it, convincing him that his great-great-grandfather is famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz. It later turns out that Hector is his actual great-great-grandfather, which is proven when Coco reveals that she kept the torn part with his face.
  • Inverted at the end of Lilo & Stitch; the first part of the credits ends with a shot of the photograph of Lilo and Nani with their deceased parents, with a cut-out of Stitch strategically placed so that it looks like he's sitting with them, symbolizing that he's now part of their ohana.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Home Movie has this trope prominently displayed on the cover, which depicts a desecrated photo the father finds in his psycho kids' clubhouse.
  • Cy in One Hour Photo does this to all the pictures he's collected of his favorite family, when he discovers the father is an adulterer.
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation, Calvin Canboro has his sister Eileen photoshopped from the family photo he has with her and their brother Tom since she had been Caught Up in the Rapture.
  • Colt in Visiting Hours has a copy of the wedding picture of his parents, which has the side with his mother torn out since she hurt his father badly before disappearing.
  • After Nina is honour-murdered by her family in When Darkness Falls, they destroy all photos of her and trash them.
  • The photo in Back to the Future, where changes in the timeline cause the disappearance first of Marty's older siblings, then of Marty himself in a photo that Marty brought from 1985 to 1955. There is no emotional reason for this change of course, nor is it caused by any human agency, just the timeline.
  • At the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione erases herself from all family photos when she wipes her parents' memories of her.
  • Uncle Buck: The title character is the Black Sheep of the family, whose brother reluctantly calls him in to watch the children in an emergency. Buck is mostly a congenial Manchild, but has a moment of quiet melancholy when he sees that he's been removed from all the family photos, including his brother's wedding picture.

  • In The Demonata, Kernel finds a photo of his family in his mother's room... except he is scrawled out of the photo.
  • In Among Others, Mori goes to live with her father after she and her sister have a fight with their mother that ends with the sister dead and Mori seriously injured. After Mori's mother finds out where she's gone, she starts sending Mori old family photos with Mori burned out of them. Since Mori's mother is a witch, there's more to this than just an expression of her feelings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Zigzagged, inverted, then zigzagged some more hilariously in an episode of Seinfeld. George steals an old photo off his boss's desk that he is in the background of in order to get himself airbrushed out so his boss won't recognize him in it and fire him for what happened that day. The photo guy takes out his boss instead, then airbrushes George out but replaces his boss with a crude hand-drawn cartoon. So George gets his boss to do a skin cancer screening at work as a pretext to get a shirtless photo of him to put back into the photo. George's boss relates the story about the photo and the day he and his sons threw this bald fat guy's stuff into the ocean. George loses it and tells him it was him and that he was in the photo until he broke in and stole it to airbrush himself out. Turns out he hadn't recognized George in the photo because, "You've really lost a lot of hair."
  • In the finale of The Shield, after Vic has betrayed Ronnie and an on-the-run Shane has committed murder-suicide with his family, we see Vic putting a photo on his new desk that just shows him with Curtis "Lem" Lemansky, the only member of the team that he didn't betray or didn't betray him. The photo originally showed all four of the team together, but Ronnie and Shane were cut out.
  • The X-Files episode "Eve" ends with a rather horrifying inversion of the traditional "remove spouse, leave the children": Mrs Reardon rips up a family photo and burns the half that shows her daughter. Little Cindy Reardon killed her own dad.

    Video Games 
  • A fourth character was originally planned for LucasArts' The Dig, and the game's box art was originally drawn with four characters in space suits, but when the fourth character was dropped, the box art was altered to show only three characters - though the cover of the novelization in audio book format still shows the old four-character version.
  • The photographs in Irisu Syndrome! look normal at the beginning of the game, but are mutilated over the course of the plot. Characters who've vanished and are probably dead are blacked out. Getting a better score and preventing one character's death returns her picture to normal. Getting an even better score reveals she probably died in a different way, and whites out her picture instead. Getting a high score in the expansion pack saves her again and returns the picture to normal again.
  • Near the beginning of Half-Life 2, Dr. Kleiner access his experimental teleporter by rotating a picture on a wall. If you take a close look at the picture, it's a group shot of Gordon Freeman and the rest of the Black Mesa Anomalous Materials team, with Dr. Wallace Breen's face whited out and then crossed out. Of course, Breen is currently The Quisling for a totalitarian, poverty-stricken Earth, so some animosity is to be expected.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Snatcher, JUNKER mechanic Harry Benson has a photograph of himself when he was still a child that has the surrounding portion ripped out, omitting the faces of his supposedly dead parents. It later turns out that his parents are none other than Gillian and Jamie, the main character and his wife, who were kept in cryogenic sleep for decades and are now younger than their own child, who is now in his 50's.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, Kazuaki has a marked-out photograph of his dead brother Nageki, although his feelings towards the subject in the photo are far more complicated than simple love or hatred:
    Kazuaki: That was a photo of the most important bird in my life. I thought we could live through anything, just the two of us. day I looked around, and I was alone. [...] As I looked at the photo every day, I realized I couldn't tell anymore. Couldn't tell if I felt love when I saw that face, or if...if I felt hatred. After a while, I couldn't stand to see it anymore. But even as I tried to forget, some part of me didn't want to.
  • Grisaia no Kajitsu: On her route Michiru removes herself from all the pictures she have taken with the other girls of Mihama, symbolising how she given up on life and they are better off without her.

  • In Satan and Me, Satan tears out Michael's face from Nat's pictures when he learns the guy's name.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragon Quest"; Spike adds a cutout of himself to a group photo of the ponies once he realizes he considers them his family.
    • Played straight in "Bloom and Gloom"; one of Apple Bloom's nightmares involves her family disowning her when she gets a non-apple cutie mark, complete with them snipping her out of their photos.
  • The Flintstones: In "Room for Two", Fred smashes a stone engraving of Barney, which reads "My Pal, Barney Rubble", after he votes against him for Grand Poobah of the Water Buffalo lodge.
    Fred: That picture has got to go! It should read "My Pal, Barney Traitor!"
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries, Gooey has a picture of Meathead and Ricardo, which he's taped a picture of himself on top of Ricardo's face. Gooey and Meathead have a...complicated friendship.
  • In one episode of Detentionaire, we are shown a picture of Alexander Nigma and his prize students (the future founders of Mann, Wurst, and Finnwich) which has a floating tuft of hair on one end. The tuft of hair belongs to resident Walking Spoiler Lo Ping, who defected after learning the true motives of the company's benefactor.

Alternative Title(s): Burned Out Of The Photo


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