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Scooby Stack

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When your characters need to see what's going on in that room over there, but they don't quite wanna risk coming all the way out into the open...

...when your characters all want to see rather than just sending one person to check so they can come back and tell the others, what do you do?

The Scooby Stack! We've all seen it in cartoons and comedies: one head pops out from behind a corner or doorframe. Another head pops out above the first. And one more above that. Given the heights involved, it may seem that the one on the bottom is on his or her hands and knees, and/or maybe the one(s) above him are on somebody's back.

Because Cartoon Physics works differently, you can even get a Scooby Stack of people popping out from behind a tree or other item too thin for the thinnest person to hide behind.

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Though Scooby-Doo's Meddling Kids gets credit for Trope Namer, this trope may be Older than You Think.

Occasionally thwarted by someone surprising them by opening the door so they all fall on top of each other.

Not to be confused with the tall, stacked sandwiches enjoyed by Scooby and Shaggy.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Done by a four-member gospel choir in a video ad for Gain Flings laundry additive.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 5 episode 39, the other Supermen form a stack when they peek around an appliance in their house and find Sweet S. timing how fast Careful S. can solve a Rubik's Cube.
  • In Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Animals & Plants episode 1, the goats peak around the door to the knowledge treasure-house and their heads are all in a column.
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    Anime and Manga 
  • Done in episode 19 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
  • At least once on Eureka Seven, with the crew snooping on Renton and Eureka. Moondoggie is always on the bottom.
  • This scene from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.
  • When investigating Mugen Academy in Sailor Moon, the "Inner Senshi" get a Sailor Stack, but they get discovered by a security guard and their resulting panic causes them to fall over (except Makoto, who was standing in back, being the tallest of them, and not leaning on anyone else).
  • Comes up every now and then in Nerima Daikon Brothers, and lampshaded in episode 5, where the main characters pop up from behind a door, stacked horizontally, and stay in place until Hideki points out what they're doing.
  • Occurs in Bleach anime episode 138. While Captain Ukitake is talking to Rukia in the Soul society, his two lieutenants and Orihime Inoue perform one of these at the side of the doorway.
  • Ash and two Pokémon form one in a sewer during the Pokémon episode "Leading a Stray!"
  • FLCL episode "Full Swing": Haruko, Naota's father and the robot Canti look through the center of a door.
  • Yui, Mio and Ritsu from K-On! do it to spy on Tsumugi and Azusa. Then Azusa makes them fall.
  • In the final episode of Omamori Himari, we get a Scooby Stack featuring the entire Extended Harem. It's so tall, the camera has to pan up to have room for them all, and even then, the Ojou has to walk out into plain view since there's no more room along the doorframe.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team:
    • Original series episode 7. While Taro is in the hot springs changing room, his 3 personal maids form a stack around the corner of the door.
    • La Verite episode 8. Three of the security maids protecting Taro during a trip to the city stack themselves behind a vending machine while following him.
  • Happens twice in Persona 4: The Animation. Once when Chie and Yosuke spy on Kanji and Naoto and again when the rest of the group spies on Kanji and Hanako on the camping trip.
  • Persona 5: The Animation: The Phantom Thieves pull one while in Futaba's palace.
  • Mars Daybreak has one in Episode 13 where Clara, Poipoider, Milch, Grahms, Enora and a robot were watching a lovely scene between Aki and Selina.
  • In Ghost Stories, the group does this and Hajime (in the English Dub) points out how he's "on top".
  • The entire Five-Man Band of Majestic Prince does this when checking out the arrival of the Sixth Ranger.
  • Played with in episode 28 of Combat Mecha Xabungle, where we see a modest stack of two (Jiron and Rag), but then the camera switches to show behind the corner of the wall, and it turns out Rag was practically laying over Jiron's back to attain the effect.
  • THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls' sixth episode has six characters stacking up behind a door to listen in on an interview.
  • Hyakunichikan!!: Sakura, Komugi, Chiho, and Takumi all do this in Chapter 16 to spy on Kanami.

    Comic Books 
  • Used in DC's Legionnaires #44 with Sensor, Umbra, and Magno.
  • Often used in Lucky Luke with the Daltons. Considering their relative sizes, it is a Justified Trope.
  • Beasts of Burden: In "The Unfamiliar", the dogs pile on top of each other to peek out at a passing black cat. Pugsley is on the bottom; Whitey stands on him, and Jack leans on Whitey. Rex and Ace, being the tallest, can poke out their heads without any apparent need to stand on anyone.

    Fan Works 
  • Used in this fan-made YouTube video featuring five of the Disney Dudes forming a boy band after Cinderella, Belle, Mulan, Ariel, and Jasmine break up with them.

    Film 
  • At least as old as 1922 and the Harold Lloyd film Grandma's Boy (1922). Seen briefly from some villagers astonished to see Harold carrying the dangerous hobo into town in a baby's stroller.
  • The Three Stooges did this all the time.
  • The Little Rascals may also have done it a few times.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000): At the end of the movie the Angels arrive at Charlie's beach house and do this through the front door.
  • The film adaptation of the musical On the Town has this when Ozzie, Claire, Chip, Hildy and Gabey are hiding behind a corner on top of the Empire State Building.
  • Happens in The Spanish Apartment when the tenants want to find out how the negotiation between Xavier and the landlord is going, but don't dare get involved themselves.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Beast, Angel, Darwin, Banshee and Mystique do one despite Havok's warning for them to keep back because of how unpredictable his powers are.
  • Done in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Happens in the animated version of Asterix and Cleopatra. Caesar sends three triplet Egyptian mercenaries to capture Getafix on the building site. They stack at the corner of a tent.
  • Done in Ghostbusters II when the Scoleri brothers wreak havoc in the courtroom.
  • The French guards do this in Monty Python and the Holy Grail upon investigating the Trojan Rabbit. John Cleese admits on the commentary that it's actually really hard to get that kind of shot in real life.
  • This Japanese poster and the 2009/3D Blu-ray cover of Monsters, Inc. show Sully, Randall, Roz, Celia, and Mike poking their heads through Boo's door. The 2002 VHS and DVD covers have a downplayed version with just Sully and Mike.
  • Funeral Parade of Roses: Some of the other girls in the bar do this when watching Eddie and Leda's Cat Fight.
  • 1958 B-Movie The Wild Women Of Wongo features this in a scene wherein a group of primative women are stalking some men; combining the trope with Behind a Stick as described above, the gals sequentially poke their heads out from behind a narrow tree.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the dwarfs do this twice, once when entering their home and second with entering their bedroom. No doubt a case of Recycled Animation, as both times, Dopey appears on the bottom going through the beards.
  • In Turning Red, the four main girls do this while spying on Daisy Mart worker Devon. While their heads seem perfectly stacked, the camera briefly cuts outside of the store before they break up the stack, allowing us to see how they pulled it off: Miriam is at the bottom on her hands and knees, Priya is standing normally, Abby is above Priya by standing on Miriam's back, and Mei is at the very top by standing on the building's radiator.

    Literature 
  • It happens in the short story "The Blue Celeb" by Desmond Warzel; the narrator even name-checks the Three Stooges when describing it.
  • Stick Dog: Stick Dog and his friends do this in the beginning of Chapter 9 of "Stick Dog Wants A Hot Dog".

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Thanksgiving episode of Friends had half the cast looking around a bolted door like this for most of the episode. It was lampshaded by Chandler, who referred to them as "the floating heads".
  • The kids in El Chavo del ocho did it when spying on Doña Clotilde's house. Somewhat justified given that they all vary in heights, so it works for them.
  • Pushing Daisies episode "Dim Sum Lose Sum".
  • Heroes S3 episode "Our Father".
  • Sandglass: Tae-joon's mom's runs a sleazy bar and boarding house that caters to young students, and is frequented by bar girls. In one scene the students peek through a door at the bar girls, who are probably prostitutes, doing their laundry.
  • Done a lot on Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • That's So Raven has the three main characters look around the corner like this in one episode.
  • Done in an episode of Hannah Montana where Oliver, Lilly and Miley are stacked up like this watching Jackson fail to persuade Robbie Ray to up his curfew.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan plays with this trope in episode 57. When they want to peek Alan's love confession, Mami Bibir's head pops out behind the wall and Bambang's pops out right below it. Then, Prima's foot pops out instead.note  After Prima is ordered to record, Bambang and Prima's heads are stacked up, but Mami Bibir's is besides Bambang's instead.
  • The unaired pilot for the Red Dwarf American remake features this when the cast first encounters the Cat.
  • The 2000 TNT Original version of Don Quixote did this at one point, with Don, Sancho Panza, and Sancho's donkey all peering around a boulder.
  • Misfits has one with Curtis, Simon, and Rudy pondering the presence of Seth the Power Broker in the Community Centre.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer used this in the episode "What's My Line, Part II." When Xander and Cordelia are leaving Buffy's house they peek around a corner Scooby-Stack-style. This episode also features the first labeling of the Buffy crew as the "Scooby Gang."
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor, Clara, Angie, and Artie stick their heads out of the TARDIS door in the episode "Nightmare In Silver".
    • The Second Doctor and his companions while they are peeking out of a London Underground tunnel in "The Web of Fear".
  • The X-Files: Agents Mulder and Scully look this way into Izzy Berkowitz's room in "Post-modern Prometheus". Mrs Berkowitz is looking directly, standing in front of the door.
  • Ultraman Mebius episode "An Old Friend's Visit". Complete with anime sound effects.
  • Often used in promotional shots for sitcoms. Frasier has a promo photo where the cast, including Eddie the wonder-dog, are stacked around the doorframe of Frasier's apartment, with Frasier at the bottom looking rather put-upon. Everybody Loves Raymond used a similar promo photo, with Ray at the bottom trying vainly to shoo them out of his house.
  • In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, the entire gang are trapped in Barney's apartment and don't wish to be spotted by him, but they peek at him and his date through a door and their stacked heads form the stock pose.
  • Ally McBeal: When Ally is breaking up with Larry, the entire office spy on her and try to learn the latest gossip or see how she's coping. At one point, they all (minus Richard who is in LA) stick their heads in her door and immediately pull them out when Ally notices them.
  • In Step by Step, Cody, JT and Mark peek into their kitchen, all at once, to spy on their new neighbour who asked them to use their phone and who they believe is a thief hiding from the police.
  • Kids' show Big Barn Farm on the UK channel CBeebies has the farmyard animal characters do this on occasion. Unintentionally hilarious given the vast difference in the animals' sizes (small pig to full-grown donkey). Also, the special effects look like they were edited with Adobe Flash, making it even more hilarious.
  • Appears in the first episode of Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories, when Tim, Eric, and Zach peek around a corner in a haunted mansion.

    Music 

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Done in episode 9 of RWBY by team JNPR and three of the four members of RWBY as Wiess realises they're late for class and rushes off. Lampshaded when JNPR all fall on top of each other.
  • College University did this once - with Parks, Jay, and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
  • Hardly Working deconstructs this in its sketch "Snooping": Each consecutive person on top crushes the bottom guy more and more until his head explodes.
  • In the "Gay Chicken" episode of commodoreHUSTLE, Alex, Kathleen and Kathleen's cat do this when Morgan asks whether he can stay with them for a few days.
    Graham: ...we're full.
  • The painters in Nukazooka's "Chroma Crisis - A Splatoon Fight" hear a car honking, so they peer around a corner to see who it is (it's the property owner, who gives his approval of their paint job).
  • The kittens in this photo.
  • The otters in this photo.

    Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo, as the Trope Namer naturally.
  • You can also spot the Scooby Stack on every one of the Hanna-Barbera teenage sleuth cartoons:
  • Happens in the title sequence and in-show on Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks.
  • Jimmy, Sheen and Carl do it in a mystery-solving episode of Jimmy Neutron.
  • Used many, many times in Looney Tunes shorts.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot in "Mama Drama" has the Behind a Stick example.
  • Total Drama:
    • From top to bottom, Bridgette and Courtney peer past the stage curtain in "Not Quite Famous" to look at Harold, whom they are resigned to accept as their last hope to win the talent show.
    • In "Total Drama Drama Drama Drama Island", from top to bottom, Eva, Izzy, and Noah peer around the corner of the communal bathrooms in search for Justin and the briefcase containing one million dollar that he stole from them.
  • Played With in one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants that focuses on SpongeBob trying to train Gary, his pet snail, for the coming snail race. After unsuccessfully trying to get Gary to practice sprints a couple of times, but Gary immediately goes to watch the television, Squidward leans in a nearby window to taunt Spongebob and boast about his purebred snail's chances of success. Cue Patrick leaning in the window above, boasting about his "snail"(it's actually a rock). Squidward lampshades when he asks what Patrick is standing on, cutting to the outside of the windows to see Patrick actually standing on Squidward's back. When Squidward later leaves, Patrick falls out of the window he's in and then pops back in Squidward's window.
  • Jay, Cole and Zane do it behind a column in the first episode of Ninjago: The Way of the Ninja.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity and Pinkie Pie do this when they watch Twilight enter the cave in "Dragonshy".
    • Big Macintosh, Applejack and Granny Smith in "The Cutie Pox". It's been turned into a macro.
    • Pinkie Pie, Carrot Cake and Cup Cake peek in on the sleeping Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake in "Baby Cakes".
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders peer on top of each other from a train door in "Just for Sidekicks". They also assume this formation in the Cold Open for "The Show Stoppers," following Applejack's collapse into the wall of the clubhouse they inherit.
    • In "Castle Mane-ia", this happens when the ponies peer at Pinkie Pie, the Pony of Shadows playing the organ.
  • Done in Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels with the goofy spies Sneak, Snoop and Snitch.
  • In one episode of Super Mario World, Mario and Luigi peer behind a wall to spy on Cheatsy with Yoshi sticking his head vertically in between them.
  • Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Adventures has Lemon, Raspberry, Blueberry and Plum all Scooby Stacking in Lemon's doorway doing the "after you; no, after you" schtick to avoid being the first to say something they fear will hurt Lemon's feelings.
  • The Legend of Korra has one in "The Guide". The adult and child halves of Tenzin's family each peep in on opposite sides of a doorway.
  • In the episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender called "Sokka's Master", Aang and Katara do this while watching Sokka create his space sword. Also lampshaded in "The Blind Bandit" when Aang, Katara, and Sokka all peer out from behind a bush whilst sneaking around the Beifong estate, and then the camera flips around to show how ridiculous they look all schmooped up together.
  • The Beatles do this in the first-season opening of their ABC cartoon show. They do it a couple of times in some episodes as well ("There's a Place" is one).
  • In The Little Rascals episode "The Zero Hero", Spanky, Buckwheat and Porky do this as they watch Darla and Captain Muscles' encounter with the bank robbers.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 135, the main four are all called to the show's director's office. Feeling nervous, they all poke their heads through the door at the same time, creating a Scooby Stack.
  • In the Ready Jet Go!, Jet, Sean, Sydney, Mindy, and Sunspot form one behind Jet's house while looking at the snow geese in "Freebird".
  • The Griffin family assumes one in Transformers: Rescue Bots episode "Phantom of the Sea", which had a number of homages to Scooby-Doo.
  • Let's Go Luna!: Andy, Carmen, and Leo do this behind a traffic pole in "Honey In Paris".

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