When you're looking through a pair of binoculars, or even a telescope, expect a Binocular Shot through the character's perspective. However, when a character who is a Cloudcuckoolander or The Ditz looks through the binoculars, expect to see them looking through the wrong end, which results in a faraway view through that character's perspective. The character will then think that the person or item that they're looking at is far away, until another character turns the binoculars around or until the ditzy character lowers the binoculars or telescope. Generally shows up in Comedy.
See also Had the Silly Thing in Reverse.
- In episode 10-B of Jewelpet: Magical Change, the baby Jewelpet Labra looks through a reversed telescope and panics because she thinks the Earth is shrinking. She tells this to her friends and they believe her, leading to wacky hijinx as they try to avoid the end of the world.
- This trope is as old as the telescope itself. Just look at this 18th century drawing, where a man holds one the wrong way for a woman to look into.
- The Little Mermaid (1989): Happens to Scuttle:
Scuttle: WHOA!! MERMAID OFF THE PORT BOW! ARIEL, HOW YA DOIN' KID?! (lowers his telescope to see Ariel right in front of him) Whoa, what a swim.
- In The Spongebob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, Patrick is holding his binoculars backwards during a WWII-inspired scene.
Patrick: I think we have a few minutes before he gets here.
(SpongeBob flips the binoculars around)
Patrick: AAAHH! HE'S RIGHT ON TOP OF US!
- A related phenomenon is found in the original Miracle on 34th Street. A drunk character is handed a telephone handset, and holds it backwards (i.e. with the mouthpiece at her ear). Her husband tells her she's holding it backwards. She thanks him, then holds it upside down over her OTHER ear. See this in action here.
- In War for the Planet of the Apes, Bad Ape tries to look through binoculars to spy on the Alpha Omega base, where Caesar and his brethren are being held prisoner. He is worried about how far away it looks until an annoyed Maurice flips them over.
- The "person turns out to be right in front of me" bit was played with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Jack spots Davy Jones from a distance from the correct end of a telescope...yet when he puts the telescope down, Jones is right in front of him, having teleported there in the split-second interim.
- Zombieland: Double Tap: When Madison tries looking through binoculars, this happens. She sees Tallahassee and says he looks really small before repeatedly raising and lowering the binoculars while saying "You're tiny, now you're not."
- In the original The Mysterious Benedict Society book, Kate reveals to the other members of the Society that her kaleidoscope is actually a spyglass in disguise. Constance tries it out, but complains to Kate that it's a terrible spyglass, that it makes everything look far away.
Kate turned the spyglass around and handed it back to her.
- Troy from Community believes for a while that looking through the wrong end of a telescope can "shrink your enemies". He uses binoculars in the next season, so he likely grew out of this.
- On an episode of Radioactive: The local Cloudcuckoolander has recently acquired a new pair of binoculars, so he's looking through them at every opportunity he has. Eventually, he is looking at someone he knows in close-range! He raises his voice and waves:
"Hey! Over here!"
(he then lower his binoculars)
"Woah. How did you get here so fast??"
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Sparkle's Law, Pinkie Pie thinks she's a Hardboiled Detective. Her magnifying glass only works one way for some reason (don't ask) and she spends the entire investigation looking through it the wrong way. She even notices that it's making everything looks smaller, but she just thinks someone sabotaged it, and she keeps using it.
- In Turn Signals on a Land Raider, tank commander Kren is looking through binoculars and comments that he can juuuust make out an enemy Titan in the horizon. Turns out that he had the binoculars on backwards (and the titan was from an Epic 40,000 army with reduced-scale models), and the thing's actually less than 20 scale feet away.
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent, the Hopeless with Tech Sigrun once used binoculars the wrong way.
- Happens in the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode "The Doom Funnel Rescue" to Captain Zidgel, when Fidgel tries warning the rest of the crew about a highly combustible gas tank at the gas station. Zidgel looks through the wrong end of Fidgel's binoculars and thinks that the tank is miles away, until Fidgel turns them around to which Zidgel then starts freaking out about it.
Zidgel: Hey, pipe down over there! Guy can't even hear himself think around here. Good grief, that thing is miles away, I don't know why you guys are so— (Fidgel turns binoculars around) (gasps) SWEET SPAWNING SALMON, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!
- In the Adventures from the Book of Virtues episode "Loyalty", Socrates takes his turn in looking through Zack's binoculars, but he looks at them through the wrong end.
- Likewise, at the beginning of the Mr. Bogus episode "Good Sport Bogus", Bogus does this, with a camera lens, before Tommy turns the lens around, to which when Bogus looks through it again, he freaks out upon seeing a close-up of Tommy's eyes.
- The Legend of Korra: In the episode "Skeletons In the Closet", Bolin uses a telescope backwards before quickly correcting himself.
- The Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Avast Ye Eds" has Ed look through a telescope to spot the Kanker sisters dressed as pirates. He looks through the wrong end, so Eddy tells him to throw it down to him and he looks to see the Kankers are close to him.
- Happens in at least one episode of The Simpsons:
Mr Burns: There he is! Far away in the distance!
- Done as a Running Gag in The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Roger Dodger" by Kowalski, who is supposed to be The Smart Guy.
- In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "The Junkmen Cometh" Jimmy tells Sheen to keep an eye out with some binoculars for the "Moonie Man" (made up by Brobot who just wanted Jimmy to come to the Moon and play with him) and Sheen sees a dark figure he believes is the Moonie Man. Since he is looking into the binoculars backwards, he appears "tiny and very far away" according to Sheen. Jimmy grabs the binoculars and hands them back to Sheen the correct way and they see that the figure (actually Brobot trying to scare them) is right in their faces.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Bus", as part of a ham-fisted plan to teach the kids about the dangers of truancy by staging a hijacking, Banana Bob attempts to jump on the school bus and misses because he was looking at it through binoculars that made it look closer than it really was. When he looks through the binoculars again he has them backwards, so he thinks the bus is farther away and ends up getting flattened.
- Amphibia: In "Commander Anne", Anne does this while trying to locate the enemy forces, which makes it too late to alert the others when she finds them since they're actually close enough to attack.
- Elinor Wonders Why: Happens to Elinor in 'Bird Song':
Elinor: Hmm! That doesn't look right. These are supposed to make things look closer, not further away! (looks at binoculars and realizes mistake) Oh. (giggles, then fixes it) Oops.