Follow TV Tropes


Staring Contest

Go To

Mordecai: Hey! No laser pointers! That's not regulation!
Rigby: Street rules, man!
Regular Show, Peeps

A Staring Contest is a competition where a number of players (usually two) must lock sights with each other's eyes and stare as for as long as possible. The first player to look away or blink loses.

As an optional rule, the players may do anything they want (without touching the other player) to try to get the other player to look away or blink.


Compare Staring Down Cthulhu, which is a bit more extreme. May involve a Lightning Glare.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga  
  • In episode 12 of RIN-NE, Rokumon incorrectly recalls this event happening between Sakura and Ageha when the former sees the latter holding hands with Rinne. The narrator, and in this example, Rinne himself, state that this is not what happened.

     Comic Books  
  • In Judge Dredd, as of 2134, competitive staring is a professional sport in Mega-City one with a relatively small but growing following.
  • Issue #39 of The Powerpuff Girls ("Stared Straight," DC run) had Blossom and Buttercup in a staring contest. They are oblivious to Mojo Jojo's usual hijinks, so it's Bubbles who sets them right.

     Comic Strips  
  • A Garfield strip has the titular character initiate a staring contest against a goldfish. Then Jon informs him that fish don't have eyelids.
    • In another strip, after beating Jon and Odie, he notices his reflection in a mirror. He says that it will be a tough challenege.
  • Beetle Bailey: Sarge and Beetle are having one. Beetle gains an advantage because he falls asleep during it.

     Fan Works  
  • A more serious example in Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità.
    No one else is allowed to claim him; that thought ran through both of their minds as they glared at each other with a renewed vigor, orbs filled with raging jealousy and intense possessiveness.
  • Socrates attempts to have one with a duplicate of Andy in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series. Since the clone doesn't blink, he loses.
  • From Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space
    Steampunks wielding clockwork-activated switchblades got into futile staring contests with cyberpunks in their surgically-implanted mirrorshades.

  • In the Discworld novel Lords and Ladies, Granny Weatherwax is challenged to a staring contest with a twist by up-and-coming witch Diamanda. They won't be staring at each other, but at the sun.
  • Averted in Artemis Fowl, where Butler and an equally large bodyguard don't engage in this trope. Butler has previously shown that he has a very effective Death Glare, but here the narration notes that both men are blinking normally so as to avoid dry eyeballs, and that staring contests are for amateurs.

     Live Action TV  
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Weeping Angels ability (they can't move but can't be hurt, as they lock themselves out of time, when being looked at) forces you to get into these for your life. If you so much as blink, the Angel is going to Flash Step next to you and kill you before your eyelids have time to open again. They also have a second sneaky trick in that if you look them directly in the eye, they will animate the image of the angel in your retina, which will claw it's way out of your eye and kill you anyway. To be safe, you have to look at them, but NOT in the eye.
    • Then along comes the Silence, which if you look away you'll forget they ever existed. You must maintain contact with one of them, otherwise they'll kill you when you fail to remember them.
  • Big Train had a poorly drawn cartoon sketch of the World Stare-out Championships. A streaker even interrupted one of the matches.
  • The sketch comedy show Almost Live! once did a bit where two guys get into a staring contest that goes on for years, with one of them even getting married in the process, with the other guy being his best man. His wife finally gets fed up and storms out, her slamming the door behind her causing both men to blink simultaneously. They immediately start in on a "holding your breath" contest...
  • Parodied in BattleBots during a Cold Open in which host Kenny Florian is engaged in a staring contest with HUGE. Bear in mind that HUGE is one of the robots and is thus incapable of blinking (and doesn't have functional eyes in the first place). Kenny wins. HUGE is not happy.
  • A common gag in the early seasons of Frasier was the title character being stared at by Eddie, his father's Jack Russell Terrier. One time Frasier decided to try and turn it into one of these. He lost after about five seconds.
    Frasier: It's like his eyes turned into sorcerer's pinwheels and started spinning!
  • In the Broad City episode "Rat Pack," Jaimé and Ilana get in one with the exterminator over his $400 fee. The exterminator wins.

     Tabletop Games  
  • 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The original Oriental Adventures supplement has the Psychic Duel. When two opponents meet, they stare at each other, each testing their respective willpower and courage against the other. Normally, the loser of the duel acknowledges the other character as the winner and turns away. If combat occurs after the duel is over, the loser has a -1 penalty to their initiative, saving throws and "to hit" rolls.

     Video Games  
  • The fourth case in Ace Attorney Investigations reveals that Edgeworth once won a glaring contest against his own reflection. Somehow.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay, Guybrush places Hardtack and Trenchfoot into a staring contest, into which our hero can distract the pirate duo into looking behind them so he can place the Pyrite Parrot into the treasure chest, in hopes that he can find where they'll bury it along with one of the Summoning Artifacts later.
  • In Skylanders, Eye-Brawl is a two-man team of a flying eyeball and a headless giant. Their backstory starts with them having a staring contest, but since neither was capable of blinking, things escalated.
  • In Chapter 4 of King's Quest (2015), King Graham is goaded into one with his daughter, Princess Rosella. He doesn't really want to have one, but she reminds him that there's actually a law in Daventry which states that no one can refuse a staring contest when challenged by a member of the royal family - including members of the royal family.


     Web Videos  
  • SMBC Theater offers us the ultimate Staring Contest, which is quite extreme.
  • Key & Peele once pitted tattooed, scarred, and otherwise brutal looking thugs against a Cute Kitten named Snowball in a staring contest as a promotional clip for their movie Keanu. The kitten won each time.

     Western Animation  
  • Featured in Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi for Episode 10's Live Action Segment, where Ami attempts to hypnotize Yumi near the end of the contest. Yumi wins the contest when Ami sneezes, but Yumi does not stop staring at Ami.
  • In Courage the Cowardly Dog, Katz and Courage have an epic duel to the death in the form of a staring contest.
  • The Brak Show had a whole episode revolving around a staring contest. Dad is a champion of staring contests. While he easily tricks Brak into blinking, Zorak's a much harder target. Unfortunately for Zorak, the juices of his eyes start attracting wasps, which sting his eyeballs (And he STILL doesn't blink). He's dragged away to the hospital under protest, because he still wants to win. At the end of the episode, Dad's old nemesis, The Eye (A giant anthromorphic eyeball) says up and offers a challenge. Dad quickly goes back to his paper and mutters for him to go to hell.
  • A Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends short had Mac and Bloo having such a contest. It turned out Bloo wasn't blinking because he was hiding behind a cardboard cutout of himself.
  • In one episode of Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick does one with himself. In another, both he and Spongebob have one.
  • The Angry Beavers episode "Stare and Stare Alike" centers around this. Dagget and Norbert spend so much time trying to out-stare one another they forget what started the contest in the first place, and end up missing out on a call-in contest.
  • DuckTales (2017): As seen in "The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!", old rivals Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold apparently spend all their shared time in their Billionaires Club sitting in the middle of a room divided down the middle glaring hatefully at each other in "a vision-based battle of wills".
  • Referenced in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. After Owlman gives a Not So Different speech to Batman, Batman tells him that there is one difference between them: They both stared into the abyss, and had the abyss stare back at them... but Owlman blinked. Batman didn't.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Hat Luncheon", Bitsy has a staring contest with her dog Shampagne, and while she always wins, Shampagne doesn't seem to get the purpose of the contest.

     Real Life  
  • In Real Life, the easiest (though admittedly underhanded) way to win a staring contest is to blow gently into your opponent's eyes so that they will be forced to blink due to dryness.
  • Derren Brown once challenged random passersby to a staring contest. Somehow, without saying anything, he would cause the other person to feel very uncomfortable and close their eyes. In one case, a guy actually screamed and grabbed his head, until Derren helped him. This only fuels David Tennant's conclusion that Derren is a witch. See the contest here.
  • Viktor Suvorov described how, during his time in the Spy School, he was taught that no man can be recruited unless you can win a Staring Contest with him; otherwise, he has the stronger will. Suvorov spent quite a bit of time in the zoo, staring down tigers as practice.
  • Invoked during the Cuban Missile Crisis to describe the tense situation between the USA and USSR. At the time the US government established a blockade of Cuba with Soviet ships en route and within sight of the US Navy. The Soviets then turned around. The statement went "We've been eyeball to eyeball and I think the other guy just blinked."


Video Example(s):


You Suck at This

Bitsy has a staring contest with Shampagne, and while she always wins, Shampagne doesn't seem to get the purpose of the contest.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / StaringContest

Media sources:

Main / StaringContest