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Staring Kid

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"He [Big Bird] can't get the courage to even start skating, at which point this little girl stares at him. Just stares. Stares at the sad, hollow shell of a bird he's become."
Allison Pregler, reviewing Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Something unusual happens, and the camera pans out, revealing a small child staring intently at the subject in blank amazement. The context of this can vary widely. In romantic comedies, the staring children will be present any time the main couple argue or have an awkward romantic moment. In action movies, they can show up anytime something explodes or The Hero does something cool. This can be Played for Laughs by highlighting the absurdity of the moment, or Played for Drama to emphasize the horror of the event. It's sometimes accompanied by a "What are you looking at, kid?" or a dropped ice cream cone.

Using one of these is a good way to toy with breaking the Masquerade, since a child who reports seeing an unusual event may not be believed by adults.

If the child's staring is just a little too eerie for comfort, then it's a Creepy Child. May overlap with Deer in the Headlights and Things That Go "Bump" in the Night. Related to Innocent Bystander.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • Erza gets a whole group of them in Fairy Tail when she accidentally breaks into a men's public bath, complete with Corner of Woe.
    • In the manga, all the grown-up men are terrified and cover up with towels or steam, while a young boy with wide eyes just stares at her curiously and doesn't care to cover up.
  • In Lovely Complex, Otani gathers a small crowd of these after making a scene during the Beach Episode.
  • The kids watching Yukiho dig a hole in the sand in the anime adaptation of The Idolmaster.

    Films — Animated 
  • The kid on the tricycle, Rusty McAllister, from The Incredibles. After seeing Mr. Incredible lift his car in a fit of rage, he starts regularly coming to the Incredible family's driveway in hopes of seeing such feats again. He's there to witness the family defeat Syndrome and have their house blown up.
  • In Up a kid sees the house fly away.
  • In Finding Nemo, a kid in the dentist's waiting room reacts in horror at the commotion heard inside the office when Nemo escapes.
  • The little girl at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Lilo & Stitch has an age inversion. Lilo (Who is a 6 year old girl) is hurrying to her hula class, trying to change into her costume on the run when a rather large adult (recent tourist, going by the farmer's tan) stares at her. For bonus points, he's carrying an ice cream cone. Lilo snaps a picture of him before she hurries on her way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Innerspace, a child stares at Mr Igoe after he shoots a scientist with his gun hand.
  • There's a little kid in Bad Teacher that sits there with his jaw hanging open in two scenes.
  • In the first Transformers movie, a little girl sees Ironhide in her pool. Another kid later witnesses the fight between Optimus and Bonecrusher.
  • In the original Iron Man, when Tony takes the Mark II armor for a test flight, the first person to spot him is a gawking little boy on a ferris wheel who licks the ice cream right off his cone at the sight.
    • The little kid in Iron Man 2 who stands up to a runaway "Hammeroid" while wearing an Iron Man costume. The kid points his (fake) Repulsors at the behemoth, and it targets him as it would the real deal. Then the real Iron Man flies in, stands next to the kid and blasts it and flies away after offering a congratulatory "Nice work, kid!"
  • The first Spider-Man flick shows a kid gawking at falling debris while Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin. Spidey saves him right after shouting, "C'mon, move, kid!"
    • In Spider-Man 2 a long action chase sequence climaxes with Peter, out of costume, flipping backwards over a car and sticking a Three-Point Landing in a bravura display of strength and reflexes... then the camera pans around to land on two kids gawking at him.
      Amazed Kid: How'd you do that?
      Peter Parker: Uh... Work out, plenty of rest. You know, eat your green vegetables.
      Amazed Kid: That's what my mom is always saying. I just actually never believed her.
  • The boy on the beach stabbing the jellyfish in X-Men stares at the mutated Senator Kelly when he emerges from the water and his gill slits disappear into his back. Of course, nearly everyone else on the beach stares too (including Stan Lee in his usual cameo appearance).
  • The kid in The Lost World: Jurassic Park who sees a T-Rex in his window. "Mom, Dad, there's a T-rex in our backyard."
  • In Superman: The Movie, a teenaged Clark Kent runs alongside of a train- and keeps up with it. The only person who seems to notice is one little girl on the train... and her name just happens to be Lois....
    • Inverted by the two kids in Superman II who turn away in disgust when it looks like Superman isn't going to stop Zod and company's destruction of Metropolis. The judgment of kids works both ways on superheroes.
      Huh, Superman didn't even do nothing! Come on, let's go.
  • In the opening minutes of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a truck is barreling towards a group of ice cream truck customers, who all run away except one. The dangerous truck comes to a halt right in front of a kid who stays standing in place, staring. Parodying the sub-trope in which the staring kid is eating an ice cream cone (which usually splatters to the ground in shock), this child's ice cream remains perfectly intact for a few seconds, before the top scoop seems to fly to the right and fall to the ground for no reason.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, the TARDIS disappearing is sometimes accompanied by a child bystander looking on in awe, such as the group of children in "Closing Time".
  • Firefly: Jayne gets his own personal one in Jaynestown.
  • Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. You could actually make a drinking game out of this if you watched only the teasers.
  • One episode in Kamen Rider OOO involves a Mad Bomber at an amusement park, and Eiji finds the last bomb in a restroom with a kid at the sink. He yells at the kid to take cover as he dives at the bomb - and gets it just in time. After taking a few moments to realize he's not blown up and to compose himself; he sees the kid still there looking at him, apologizes for scaring him, and offers him clean underwear.note 
  • Used in the teaser of The X-Files episode "Fearful Symmetry."
  • In Breaking Bad, a young boy on a bike stumbles upon Todd, Walter, and Jesse while they're celebrating a successful train robbery and stares at them in silence. Since he's the only witness, Todd shoots him dead on the spot.


    Video Games 
  • Sara from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 stares at Leif in the Route B Chapter 16 while hiding in the forest, and Leif has to talk to her to make her join his cause.

    Web Original 
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny flash video ends with a little kid holding an ice cream cone witnessing the result in awe; it's the only person it can show, because everyone who took part is dead.

    Western Animation 
  • This kid was a recurring character in Megas XLR, standing around, drinking a Mega Slush or something, and proclaiming "cooooooool" at all the destruction going on in the episode.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: When Octis changes his holographic face to avoid recognition by the police, a little kid standing next to him notices and tries to get his mom's attention, who brushes him off.
  • In a Dexter's Laboratory episode, Dexter gets a little girl stalker, who just stares at him all the time with huge eyes.
  • The Invader Zim episode "The Frycook What Came From All That Space" has a staring alien kid gawking in horror at all the bizarre stunts Zim gets up to. No one else notices, not even the kid's mom.