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Thinker Pose

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"The Thinker, huh? I know what he's thinking about! 'How come there's no TV set?'"

Auguste Rodin's famous sculpture "The Thinker"note  has been imitated countless times as a stock pose. Rodin actually took this pose from Classical Greece; sculptures and paintings of people positioned similarly are generally meant to convey introspection and melancholy.

A common gag in comedy shows of less good taste is to have a character do this pose while seated on a toilet.

A subtrope of Art Imitates Art.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yakitate!! Japan: The bread statue made by Team Japan. Kawachi Kyousuke covered in bread by Team Japan after he broke the bread statue made by said team.
  • In Code Geass episode 17, Lelouch was in this pose for an art class.
  • In Ranma ½', Ranma can be seen in this pose occasionally such as during the martial arts eating story arc.
  • In an episode of the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Ed and Al have a fight during which Ed uses pillars of stone made with alchemy to force Al to imitate the statue's pose.
  • Those Who Hunt Elves: When the main characters open an art museum for a contest, Junpei decides he's going to sculpt. His artistic abilities being what they are, it's quickly decided he's going to pose as a statue instead when they see him adopt the pose by accident. It comes in useful when robbers attack and don't see him sitting still.
  • In Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Sora does the Thinker pose on a park bench after confessing his love to Rino and got rejected. Tanaka, who was passing by, immediately lampshades this.
  • In March Comes in Like a Lion, Rei takes this pose while watching over Hina and Momo at a swimming pool. Taking note of the pose, Smith and his other shogi colleagues correctly deduce that Rei's "engagement" to Hina is pretty much only in his head at that point.
  • One episode of the Time Bokan series Time Patrol tai Otasukeman has Tomamot asking the Terrible Trio to go back to Rodin's time and force him to include a dog statue together with the Thinker statue, as part of his plan to rewrite history.

  • Rodin's statue is of course the trope maker, but the standard view from the side is not the original intended perspective: the Thinker was meant to be at the top of a 20-foot structure gazing down on the viewer as if in judgment, not gazing off at nothing in particular while lost on thought. (An artist's scale model of the full piece was made and is in the Rodin museum in France.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In The Family Circus, one of the kids saw the statue during a school trip and remarked, "He's trying to remember where he left his clothes."
  • In one Pearls Before Swine treasury, Stephan Pastis includes a picture of himself in this pose, saying that it's the moment when he conceived of the strip. (He then admits that he doesn't remember what he was thinking about.)

    Films — Animation 
  • Dimitri, a character from the 20th Century Fox film Anastasia, does one of these next to the actual sculpture during a musical number in Paris.
  • Tía Victoria from Coco is frequently seen with this, to fit her stern personality.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace does this pose while pondering about the connection between a missing football player and a female cop. His pet monkey imitated him while he does it.
  • The Thinker statue himself appears in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Turns out he's not very bright after all, and is more interested with impressing women than doing any actual thinking. The German dub made it doubly funny by giving the ripped dude a broad Austrian accent that's clearly meant to evoke Arnold Schwarzenegger in his early days.
  • Speaking of Schwarzenegger, the very last thing seen in Conan the Barbarian is an older Conan, now king of Aquilonia, sitting on his throne with a similar pose.
  • In Crocodile Dundee, Mike sees a bidet in his hotel room and asks what the thing is for. Sue is embarrassed to tell and says he will figure it out. He sits on it and ponders, rubbing his chin.
  • The Merch of Zack Snyder's Justice League includes a T-shirt with Darkseid in such a pose.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Dobie Gillis at the beginning of each episode of his show.
  • CSI: Miami has Horatio doing it once under the shadow of the Rio De Janeiro's Jesus the Redeemer statue. There was much Narm.
  • Bruce Forsyth would often appear in silhouette at the start of his shows in a similar (but standing) pose.
  • A sketch from The Electric Company (1971) showed someone (Bill Cosby?) in a Thinker Pose, in an attempt to teach the kids at home about "th".
  • Concentration awarded a trophy called "The Connie" in its annual Challenge of Champions. This trophy was modeled after the famous statue.
  • In an early episode of Scrubs, JD is switched around from doctor to patient, and imagines himself as The Thinker when a mass of interns study him.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "The Duel" (AKA "The Even Chance"): Horatio sits and rubs his chin before his first Duel to the Death. He looks rather gloomy and troubled.
  • In the Saturday Night Live sketch "Sculpture Class", Terrence Maddox offers to pose as "The Thinker", or a variation of the pose, "The Stinker".
  • After learning about "The Naked Man" (surprising your date by taking off all your clothes while they are out of the room) in How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Barney decide to try it for themselves. While discussing said idea over the phone (while they are both stark naked, mind you), they come up with several different poses they could strike when their respective dates return; one of Ted's suggestions is The Thinker.
  • A CGI version of the statue appears in the opening of the game show Jeopardy.


  • In Sly Fox's song "Let's Go All the Way", the first verse starts with the words "Sitting with the Thinker, trying to work it out." The two band members replicate the pose in the music video.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Eugene O'Neill's play The Hairy Ape, the protagonist frequently adopts this pose. In the final scene, the pose is instead done by a gorilla he is observing in a zoo.

    Video Games 
  • On the foreground during the final battle of Altered Beast there are some statues, or petrified humans. One on the left looks like the Thinker, and another one is The Scream.
  • Tomodachi Life and its spinoff Miitomo: Independent Miis have this as their idle pose when they're currently content (instead of, for example, dancing when happy or shaking their bodies with anger if they're Outgoing Miis). Mii of any personality can also display this as they pace around their apartments without you entering.
  • The Bioshock 2 DLC, Minerva's Den, has a Thinker-like statue in the titular location's lobby, made by Sander Cohen, though it was made more for the RODIN supercomputer which was nicknamed after the original statue.
  • One of Winston's unlockable victory poses in Overwatch is based on and named after The Thinker.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo depicts main character Hisao Nakai in the Thinker pose in one of the images featured in the beginning of one of Rin Tezuka's acts. Rin herself is depicted as the Venus De Milo (she's born without arms).
  • In the first Phoenix Wright game, a clock shaped like the Thinker is key to the first two cases of the game.

    Western Animation 
  • The statue appears in Superman: The Animated Series episode "Mxyzpixilated", where he is animated to attack Superman, who punches his head off.
  • Goliath from Gargoyles took this pose, while cursed. He would also take it after the spell was broken, usually when he was troubled or saddened.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Foghorn Leghorn once froze into this pose after being covered with quick-drying cement.
    • "It's Hummer Time" uses a similar gag. A progressively incensed Bully Bulldog forces a bird-hunting cat, who accidentally pesters him through a series of progressively disproportionate punishments; one of these involves a cement-mixer and an oddly specific choice of statue. By the end he ends up joining him in the bird-bath.
    • A construction worker at war against Bugs Bunny hits a high-voltage line and flashes into a bunch of neon images of the guy in various poses including The Thinker.
  • Tako from Sushi Pack has a tendency to strike this pose while having his inner monologues.
  • Jake from My Gym Partner's a Monkey does this during a particularly chaotic situation, leading the other animals to believe he is a natural leader.
  • On Family Guy this is how philosopher Thomas Griffin is pictured in the Griffin book of genealogy. He only breaks the pose to utter "why" when his wife pleads with him to get a job.
  • An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog has the family locked in The Louvre overnight, where the works of art come to life during a rare planetary alignment. The Mona Lisa falls in love with The Thinker at first sight, only to leave him for his indecision. The Thinker moves to another piece of artwork and forces Eustace to take his place.
  • Mighty Mouse sits atop The Thinker itself assuming the same pose in "The Electronic Mousetrap" as he sees the cats terrorizing mice with the titular contraption in his mind's eye.
  • During Popeye's beating of Bluto in My Artistical Temperature, he dumps a large wad of clay on him and molds him into the Thinker pose.
  • One of Terry Gilliam's animation sequences in Monty Python's Flying Circus shows The Thinker with a thought balloon silently thinking, "I think, therefore I am." Then a giant human hand (the Animator's?) enters the frame and pops the thought balloon. The Thinker has a split-second to comically give an Oh, Crap! look before vanishing into nothing.


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