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Totem Pole Trench

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A flawless plan by Warren Talcott.

"Are you seriously trying to make me jealous by flirting with what is very obviously just three kids stacked on top of each other under a trench coat?"
BoJack Horseman, BoJack Horseman

Two or more children (or just short people or not short people) pile up, one on another's shoulders, and put a Conspicuous Trenchcoat (and usually a fedora hat) over this pyramid to make them look like an adult or a tall man. Usually a Paper-Thin Disguise. A common gag involving this trope would be the person at the top asking for something like "Two tickets—I mean one, please". An unfortunate Ill-Timed Sneeze by one of the participants will make the whole pyramid collapse at the worst time possible.

There is usually a little Artistic License – Physics involved as in Real Life it is hard to move realistically as one person when standing on the shoulders of another (or having someone standing on your shoulders). True, anyone who has seen acrobats at a circus knows that standing like this is possible, but it still requires a lot of natural strength and coordination, and then years of practice on top of that — not something that can be done on a whim to get tickets to an R-rated movie.

A subtrope to Two Men, One Dress. A much more advanced form of the trick would be Mobile-Suit Human. For a much more extreme form of this trope, look to The Worm That Walks. A mechanical version would be Combining Mecha. An animal form of the trick would be Pantomime Animal. This trope is also a Stock Visual Metaphor for organizations or groups suffering internal quarrels or factionalism — see also We ARE Struggling Together, Jurisdiction Friction, or Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering.

Example Subpagess:

Other Examples:

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  • In a 2008 Capital One commercial, Santa Claus is supposed to depart for Christmas Eve but is too distracted customizing his Capital One credit card. It ends by showing two of the elves stacked up wearing Santa's suit heading for the sleigh.
  • In a 1998 Cocoa Pebbles commercial, Barney attempts to trick Fred as he normally does, only this time with Pebbles, Bam-Bam and Dino. Pebbles stands on top of Bam-Bam, and they pose as the Ghost of Christmas Past. In contrast, Barney plays the Ghost of Christmas Present while Dino plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. One of the rare instances where Pebbles actually talks.
  • Some flyers and banners advertising the 2013 D23 Expo show different Disney characters wearing Mickey Mouse's famous outfit from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. One shows Chip and Dale wearing the outfit with Chip on Dale's shoulders. Dale appears to be having more fun than Chip.
  • A series of Doritos commercials involve this trope where the participants perform this:
    • In this commercial, two boys do this to snag some Doritos from an adult-only party.
    • In this award-winning Super Bowl commercial, three dogs make several attempts to get into a grocery store to buy some Doritos but keep getting kicked out by the manager. Eventually, they successfully get in by pulling off a totem pole trench; the manager buys it, but the checker gets a little creeped out by it.
  • Two kids are shown doing this on a 1997 commercial promoting the home video release of the Nickelodeon movie Harriet the Spy.
  • In a 2017 Lunchables commercial, a jackelope and a platypus do this in a series of failed attempts to get into a restaurant.
  • In a 2009 M&M's commercial, Red and Yellow pose as the Easter Bunny comically with Red on the bottom.
    Yellow: Isn't Easter fun, Red?
    Red: Not from my perspective.
  • In this McDonald's commercial, the Fry Guys try to snag Ronald's French fries while disguised as a scarecrow, but they miss.
  • In a 2012 commercial for Munch Bunch, it shows an unusually-tall boy in a trench coat. It is soon revealed that Munch the Cow was underneath the coat propping the boy up on her shoulders.
  • A French commercial featuring The Smurfs have them pull this out, with Smurfette on top of three other Smurfs. Though they don't keep the charade very long.
  • Jake from State Farm: In "What If Not Tall?" pro basketball player Chris Paul complains that fellow player Boban Marjanović is 7'4". Marjanović is revealed to be two kids standing on top of each other, with the topmost one wearing a Latex Perfection mask.

  • In Season 8 episode 15 of Happy Heroes, Smart S. has to enter a village of Child Haters who won't let children in so that he can find one of the wands the Supermen are looking for. One of the things he tries to enter the village is to stand on top of another child and wear a trench coat to hide him, which doesn't work.
  • Simple Samosa: Carny, the carnival official at the entrance of the secret ride in "Carnival Chaos", is actually just three people stacked on top of each other and wearing a big trench coat to hide two of them.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Area 88 manga, Shin's injured legs and Mickey's injured hands force them to do this after stealing a guard's uniform to escape the Mafia's desert carrier.
  • Astro Boy:
    • In an early manga story, Astro does this with the independent lower half of another robot acting as the legs.
    • In the Astro Boy 1980 anime episode "The Light Ray Robot" Astro does this with Denko so Denko will help people.
  • Of all places, is played with in Berserk, where during the Eclipse, Ubik shows Griffith a vision on why Griffith wants to become one of the Godhand. In one panel, the old woman that Griffith interacts with in the vision turns out to be Ubik and Conrad standing on top of each other, half-wearing a mask of an old woman's face.
  • Happens twice in Bakuten Shoot Beyblade. In the second season's eighteenth episode, Rei, Kyōju, Takao, and Hiromi pull this to infiltrate Psychic's training center. Takao and Daichi repeat the trick in the third season's thirty-nineth episode in hopes of getting beyblade parts without needing to show a BEGA license (which they don't have).
  • In an episode of Blue Dragon, the "Dance of Love" Marumaro and Noi end up disguising themselves as one person so that Marumaro can use his shadow power to deactivate the Dragon Scales starting with Reina.
  • Seen in the "Little Darling" chapter of Hentai manga Cherry Town, where a young boy and a young girl do this... to sneak in a Love Hotel.
  • The Detective Boys' Club in Case Closed do in episode 13 "Kidnapped: Amy". Of course, in this case, they were forced to do it when they injure an actor (who they thought was a child murderer) and have to fill in for him at the community center play.
  • A variation of this was done on Digimon, though this one falls more under The Worm That Walks. In one episode, Davis tries to trick Veemon into Digivolving, and he does it by having a huge group of Numemon and Redvegimon pile up on each other wearing a costume that they put together. It was kind of obvious that the costume was not very well-patched, and the Numemon's eyes were clearly visible in some spots.
    Davis: That Digimon needs a new tailor!
    Veemon: I think he needs to see an eye doctor!
  • In Dragon Ball Z's Buu Saga, Trunks and Goten mug a masked fighter in order to enter the adults' division of the Tenkaichi Budokai after curb-stomping the under-16 division. The best part is that they actually fight pretty competently, holding their own against Android 18 for a good while (it helps that they are both ridiculously strong, so unlike most kids in this list, they would have no problem carrying each other). Everyone just writes "Mighty Mask" off as a weirdo with a lumpy torso and unusually short limbs who talks to himself a lot (and they completely fail to notice the eyeholes Goten poked in the suit). Master Roshi is sharp enough to figure things out early on and 18 catches on when the boys decide to go Super Saiyan, but nobody else figures it out until 18 exposes the boys by cutting through their costume with a Destructo Disc, getting them disqualified.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka and Sho Shibuya do this to beat up Sho's bullies. After kicking them, Onizuka pops his head out the middle of the coat, wearing a mask of Sho's face.
  • Performed in Guardian Fairy Michel when Michel and Joe pull one off in episode 13 to sneak in a police station.
  • In the fourth ending of Hanamaru Kindergarten; Anzu, Hiiragi, and Koume do this and dress as Yamamoto-sensei to trick Tsuchida-sensei.
  • In an episode of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! the "mentor mascots" do this while searching for the third pretty cure.
  • Done by Ruby and her friends in Jewelpet Sunshine by posing as a tour guide using fake human arms and legs in order to sneak into the human world.
  • Kochikame: "Asakusa Cinema Paradise" has Ryotsu and his two friends dress in a trenchcoat attempting to pay the price of one in a movie theater. Their disguise is blown.
  • K.O. Beast: The one-off character Don appears to be a giant Pig Man, but is pulling this trope by standing on his son's shoulders and wearing a concealing mantle. The disguise is as paper-thin as traditionally expected for a comedy, but none of the other characters realize until after Don is apparently blown in half during a fight.
  • This was also done in episode 5 of the Little Lulu anime, in an attempt to rescue Tubby from the Westside Gang. Lulu and Willy disguised themselves as Tubby's mother, with Lulu on top and Willy on the bottom. At first, the Westside Gang don't buy the act, since Lulu doesn't say anything, having Annie do the talking for her, but when she finally convinces the Westside Gang that Tubby's mother has a bad case of laryngitis and that if "she" doesn't see her son pretty soon, there's no telling what will happen. It would've worked too, had Lulu not gotten knocked off by the fence post above that served as the entrance to the Westside Gang's territory while entering and revealed Willy in front of the Westside Gang. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Lupin III: Dead or Alive has two children in the market, hidden inside an adult's cloak and mustache. They're Street Urchins, stealing apples from a stall.
  • A horizontal variant in the class trip arc of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun: the teacher scolds them that it's lights out, so Nozaki gets Sakura to hide everything but her head under her futon, while he hides his upper body (but his super-long legs are sticking out). He tries to pass it off as "Giant Sakura", but it's clear he didn't expect anyone to buy it.
  • Used by Kenichi and Hattori in an episode of Ninja Hattori to drink at a bar.
  • One Piece:
    • Used by Ace, Luffy, and Sabo in their past, to sneak into the city to perform Dine-N-Dash. in episode 496.
    • Also when Wapol's underlings Chess and Kuromarimo "fuse" to fight Chopper at Drum Island.
  • In episode 14 of Ouran High School Host Club, Hani (a short guy) and Mori (a tall guy) do this, as part of a stunt where Mori feeds Hani soba noodles, in order to impress girls. The girls think it's cute when Mori attempts to bring the noodles to Hani's mouth but ends up hitting his cheek instead.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the episode "The Punchy Pokémon", Jessie and James do this after stealing Giant's Coat (and his Hitmonlee) in order to enter a Fighting Pokémon tournament. Eventually, James complains that Jessie is too heavy and collapses from exhaustion.
    • In the episode "Will the Real Oak Please Stand Up?", Team Rocket decides to try and get food with James disguising himself as Professor Oak and Jessie disguised as Mary, the radio DJ. Meowth decides to come along with them by standing on top of Jessie's Wobbuffet wearing a trench coat posing as their loud-mouthed producer. Surprisingly, Wobbuffet didn't do very much to ruin the act (which you'd think he would) until the very end when he goes to the extreme to blow Meowth's cover and expose all of Team Rocket for the phonies they are.
    • Meowth and Wobbuffet pose as a guard in the episode "Luxray Vision!", along with Jessie and James posing as guards as well. This time, they make carefully sure Wobbuffet doesn't blow their cover until the time is just right.
    • Max and May perform the Bedsheet Ghost act like this in another episode.
  • The Amoeba Boys did this at least once in Power Puff Girls Z to blend in with humans. Their disguise ends up failing though causing them to get kicked out of a store.
  • In an episode of Psychic Squad the main three girls do this while infiltrating a school.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Kilik once had his two (very tiny) partners be the head for their disguise as a cloaked Arachnophobia soldier, although Kilik was tall enough to do it himself. When they start squirming around he pretends to be some experimental magical warrior by having one of them shoot fire out of the mask.
    • In episode 21 of the Soul Eater anime, Blair is fighting the (remaining) 5 Mizune sisters. She smashes four of the sisters with one spell... but the fifth sister behind her starts giggling madly. Activating the hivemind within the sisters (accompanied by speaking in sync and rhythmic finger-snapping), they do a Fusion Dance by stacking themselves atop of each other to form a large tower and the five combine to form... a Hot Witch. It Makes Sense in Context... we guess. Though the 5-Mizune witch has yet to do anything but provide Fanservice, in the manga two or three Mizune can combine together to form a teenage-looking girl (the one made from three looks a bit older) actually capable of fighting.
  • In Yakitate!! Japan, the Kaiser brothers are usually stacked on top of one another and covered by a wrap-around cloak. Normally more than one head protrudes from the cloak, but the cloak hides the actual way in which they're stacked (including their legs and feet), so when it finally gets revealed, it creates a great shock.
  • Yotsuba&!: Yotsuba and Jumbo do this, with Jumbo's shirt serving as trenchcoat. Given Jumbo's size and maturity, it sorta counts. Certainly, Asagi is willing to play along.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Insector Haga (Weevil Underwood) and Dinosaur Ryuzaki (Rex Raptor) try to enter the KC Grand Prix tournament by tying up another duelist and stealing his robe. It fails miserably, in episode 189 "Child's Play".
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V "Opening Duel!! Crow vs. Gongenzaka", Amanda, Tanner, and Frank try this to sneak into the stadium hosting the Friendship Cup.


    Comic Books 
  • In an Animaniacs comic, the Warner kids do this to fool Ralph with Yakko on top.
  • The Book of Bunny Suicides does this with a pile of rabbits dressed as Obi-Wan who jump out of their disguise to be impaled by Darth Vader's lightsaber.
  • Played with in Garulfo: in order to get by unquestioned, the heroes (one of which is in the body of a frog) wrap themselves in a moldy shroud, shaking a clacker and moaning "Leper! Leper!". Then they meet a Genre Savvy guard, who knows better than to back away, and knocks off the hood... to see a pair of bulbous yellow eyes on a wizened green body. He runs, fast.
  • The Little Unholy Bastards use this disguise to help The Goon by staking out the local burlesque club.
    "Hello, I am a grown man with a mustache that enjoys women shaking their boobies about."
  • This is a Running Gag in the French comic Kid Paddle, where Kid and his friends often try this wearing a Conspicuous Trenchcoat to enter a movie theater and watch horror films rated above their age. It never works, though not always in the expected way: in one case, the geek on top hears the cinema has obtained a brand-new sound system and demands a ticket for the movie using it (a saccharine kids movie about a duck).
  • Monty the Dinosaur: In "School", Sophie and one of her friends pull off this look to pose as Monty's father and get him enrolled in Sophie's school.
  • In Issue #7 of My Little Pony: Friends Forever, Pinkie Pie and Princess Luna play a series of pranks on the Canterlot castle guards. In one of these pranks, they scare one of them away by dressing up as a tall monster with Luna standing on her hind hooves with Pinkie on her shoulders.
  • In one of the back-up strips in Rivers of London: Body Work, a monstrous Pumpkin Person emerges from the Thames, takes down most of Peter's friends, and eventually turns out to be three kids in a coat. And then turns out to be All Just a Dream; a nightmare DI Stephanopoulis had when she fell asleep reading a book on adoption (which she bins).
  • In an Issue of The Simpsons Comic Book, Young Homer and Barney do this to sneak onto the set of a Michael Jackson music video.
  • In Issue #7 of Star Wars: Yoda, the Jedi Master makes himself appear human-sized for a covert meeting with a spy by standing on top of an astromech droid and covering both of them with a hooded cloak.
  • Opie and Ned in Varmints do this to get into a bar where kids aren't allowed. Ned acts as the head and refers to himself as "Casual Joe".

    Comic Strips 
  • One of Piraro's Bizarro comics shows a reporter addressing the camera, while in the background a mob of bemused interviewers crowd around two boys sitting on each other's shoulders: "Ladies and gentlemen, the leading candidate in this race has just been discovered to be a couple of kids in their dad's overcoat."
  • Like the Snow White example below, some of the meadow animals did this in a Bloom County strip to give a teenage girl a dance partner.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Once done by Calvin to get a ticket to a violent movie he's too young to see, using Hobbes as the top half of a Coat, Hat, Mask totem pole.note  The box office vendor, seeing Hobbes as a plush toy, is not convinced.
  • Crabgrass: Kevin and Miles use this technique when, while visiting a wrestling match, the boys have to find Miles' dad without letting anyone notice Kevin got his arms stuck in a championship belt. Miles ends up being the bottom half of the totem pole, and Kevin claims it's his own fault since he didn't call dibs. The first person they run into falls for it since he's wearing glasses, thinks Miles and Kevin are a wrestler, and pushes them into the locker room. A wrestler they encounter in there however sees through the disguise right away.
  • Taken to the extreme consequences in this strip by Joan Cornellà, where two kids stand on top of each other and wear a coat to buy alcohol and are reprimanded by a cop whose "legs" are apparently a third kid who's in on the other kids' plan.
  • The Far Side:
    • In one strip, three dogs do this to make an attempt to catch a cat they were chasing who went up a tree. The dogs disguise themselves as a woman and have the fire department get the cat down for them.
    • In another strip, two cats disguise themselves as a dog, but the dog discovers this by smelling.
  • Garfield: Garfield and Odie use Jon's shirt to bypass a ride's minumum height requirements.
  • This was done in Little Nemo in Slumberland with Nemo in blackface standing on top of Flip standing on top of Professor.
  • A variation in Ottifanten, which features anthropomorphized elephants. Two kids try this trope, but since the lower one has his trunk sticking out, they're mistaken for a flasher.
  • Variation in one Peanuts strip where Snoopy and his bird friends try to get into the cinema as "One senior citizen, please" by standing on each others' shoulders with a bowler hat on top. The catch? No coat.
  • A Tom Gauld strip in New Scientist has three small children in a lab coat pretend to be a research director, and order the laboratory to focus their research on "sweets" and "poo". The lab makes several groundbreaking discoveries in digestive health, and the children win the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

    Fan Works 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series:
    • In this fanfiction, the main pups stack up on each other wearing a trench coat and fedora and attempt to rescue one of their adopted brothers. In the disguise, it was Lucky on top, Cadpig in the middle, Rolly on the bottom, and Spot not participating.
    • In this fanfic, Lucky, Cadpig and Rolly do this to rescue Spot from a family of chicken hawks. Later on in the fanfic, Pongo and Perdita do this to rescue their puppies from Cruella (with Perdita on the bottom), and fortunately, Horace and Jasper were gullible enough to buy it despite all their mishaps.
    • In this fanfic, the main pups are involved in an endurance against Scorch and Vandella in order to save the farm from being sold to Cruella. In the final round, they perform this trope. Lucky, Cadpig and Rolly form one, while Scorch and Vandella form the other.
  • 101 Dalmatian Street:
    • In this fanfic, Dylan and Dolly do this to try to bust Summer and Spike out of the pound. Dolly was going to be the top half, but she ended up on the bottom being mindful of Dylan’s cat allergies. Though, given that she was the legs, her lack of patience caused her to move around a lot, which Dylan did his best to cover while they were being confronted by Pearl.
    • In this fanfic, Dylan and Roxy do this to sneak into a shop to buy supplies for an invention Dylan was working on.
    • In this fanfic, Destiny, Dallas and Deja Vu disguise themselves as Cruella to play a prank on the Dimitri trio.
  • This Air Buddies fanart features the Buddies piled up on each other in a trench coat with B-Dawg at the top wearing a hat. By the looks of things, it's not going very well since poor Budderball at the base is unable to support all his siblings at once while standing up.
  • In this All Dogs Go to Heaven fanfic, Charlie and Sasha do this to secretly watch David and Anne-Marie on their first date just to make sure everything goes well. Sasha ends up on the bottom, much to her displeasure.
  • Bluey:
  • In this Bolt fanfic, Bolt and Mittens do this to sneak into the mall so they can go shopping with Penny with Mittens on the bottom.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    • Double subverted: upon a tall man in a suit walking up to a fireworks stand, the worker recognizes him as Calvin and snatches his hat off... revealing a very angry man's face. Later, another tall man in a suit comes up, and the worker likewise exposes the head as a stuffed tiger.
    • Calvin later performs a singular variant using stilts and lampshades it shortly afterwards:
      Calvin: That was easy. Those kids on TV should try stuff like that instead of those silly growth machines and potions.
  • In a Clifford's Puppy Days fanfic, Clifford, Jorge and Daffodil do this while they're exploring a cruise ship that doesn't allow pets.
  • In The Conspiracy an apparently-delusional Harry claims that Dumbledore is actually several elves in a robe and fake beard.
  • Corn & Peg do this in this fanfic to stand in for an actor in a play with Corn on top and Peg on the bottom.
  • Digimon:
    • in these two fan arts have two Gatomons use a robot suit so they can be Kari for the night.
    • In this fanfiction, Patamon and Gatomon do this to sneak into the mall to do some Christmas shopping for the Digi-Destend children.
  • The Fox and the Hound:
    • In this fanfic, Tod and Copper do this to try to get Chief out of the pound.
    • In this fanfic, Tod and Vixey disguise themselves as a Jessica Rabbit lookalike.
  • In this Frozen fanfic, Anna and Elsa do this to try to rescue Kristoff from Prince Hans. Given that Elsa is the one underneath, their cover is soon blown when her ice powers start acting up freezing the disguise.
  • A Girl on Sheezy Art produced a web Manga regarding two midgets in a trench coat. It can be seen here. This may be NSFW.
  • In a Go, Dog. Go! fanfic, Tag and Scooch disguise themselves as a cop (with Scooch on top) to try to stop Frank and Beans from hogging pancakes from all the other dogs in Pawston.
  • In Harry Potter and the Return of Heritage Harry deals with a boggart in Dementor form by changing it into a bunch of pixies under a black cloak.
  • In Iron Man vs. Bruce Lee, a puppet stop-motion short, when Bruce Lee manages to deactivate the Iron Man armor, it falls apart to reveal... Merry and Pippin from The Lord of the Rings.
  • Kedabory's Muppet Mania: In Episode 2, Darwin, Teri, and Sussie enter the theatre stacked on top of each other in a trenchcoat as a gag.
  • In this fanfiction of The Lion King (1994), Simba and Nala do this to rescue Zazu from the hyenas. They sneak into the elephant graveyard using a hyena pelt so they can pass as a hyena themselves.
  • In a Littlest Pet Shop (2012) fanfic seen here, Sunil does a cross-dress while sitting on Penny Ling’s shoulders.
  • Lord Doom: Lord Doom starts out as just half a dozen tiny drones and a cloak, becoming more sophisticated as Taylor builds up her swarm. It's actually the source of most of "his" apparent powers; everyone (except Tattletale) thinks he has an invisible intangible Breaker state that can defeat Clockblocker's touch-based freezing and registers as non-living to Vista's spatial power.
  • Madagascar: A Little Wild:
    • In this fanfic, the main animals do this to sneak into Grand Central Station onto a train to go to Buffalo and attend a festival to try their famous Buffalo wings.
    • In this fanfic, Alex, Marty and Gloria disguise themselves as a doctor so that they can accompany Melman while he’s put under surgery.
    • In this fanfic, Alex, Marty and Gloria do this to pose as Kate’s secret admirer and go on a date with her as Melman (who was her real secret admirer) writes poetry about her.
  • In a Martha Speaks fanfic seen here, Martha and Skits do this to sneak into a cinema to see the new Courageous Collie Carlo movie getting past the infamous "No dogs allowed" rule that Martha despises.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In a fanfic called Rainbow Pie in the Eye, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie dress up as a gorilla to play a prank on the other main six (except Fluttershy).
    • Another fanfic called "Just Horsing Around" is about a human named Ryan who somehow stumbles into Equestria and befriends the main 6. At one point in the story, the main 6 take Ryan out to lunch, but little do they know, the Cutie Mark Crusaders were also at the restaurant spying on them using this classic disguise. Applejack notices them and is completely aware it's them, but she just tells Ryan to act like he doesn't notice.
    • In this fanfic, Diamond Tiara tries to get through a parent teacher conference about her slipping grades without her parents finding out. She has Silver Spoon, Snips and Snails come in posing as her parents. Cheerilee didn't buy it.
    • In this fanfic, Diamond Tiara tries to sneak into the Grand Galloping Gala (after her mother refuses to let her because she's too young) by standing on top of Silver Spoon and wearing an overcoat. Although, it didn't take long for the main six to see through their disguise.
    • In this fanfic, the Mane 6 go to a town called Anthrotrottia where the resident ponies are very tall and anthropomorphic. They perform this act to try to blend in.
    • There is a fanfic called Celestia’s Cake Plot, which takes place during the time when Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were fillies. In this fic, the sisters disguise themselves to sneak into a bakery so that Celestia could eat a cake that she wants to eat. Luna ends up on the bottom much to her displeasure.
    • In this fanfic Pinkie Pie and Princess Luna do this to pose as a date for Princess Celestia at the Grand Galloping Galla. Their cover is eventually blown when Luna blasts Pinkie out of the disguise with her extreme sneeze, but fortunately, Celestia had a good sense of humor.
    • In this fanfic, Starlight Glimmer gets on Trixie’s shoulders, and they put on a long costume of Starlight’s body to masquerade around Ponyville getting other ponies to believe Starlight has grown a long body. This was inspired by an internet meme going around in 2020 of Starlight having a long body.
    • In this fanfic, the Cutie Mark Crusaders disguise themselves as a janitor to sneak into the School of Friendship and try to help Gallus get a better grade on his test.
    • In this fanfic the Mane 6 do this to sneak into the Flim Flam Brothers’ friendship university to see what they’re up to.
    • In this fanfic, the Student six disguise themselves as a house inspector to try to fool Cozy Glow and retrieve back a magical goblet that she stole. From top to bottom, the lineup was Sandbar, Smolder, Ocellus, Gallus, Silverstream and Yona.
    • There is an Equestria Girls fanfic where some of the Humane 7 disguise themselves as lab workers to sneak into a top secret lab and try to save Fluttershy, who is being held hostage by a scientist. Twilight Sparkle sits on Applejack’s shoulders, and Pinkie Pie sits on Rarity’s shoulders. This is a parody on the “Muppets from Space” example below.
  • My Little Pony: Make Your Mark:
    • In this fanfic, Opaline and Misty do this to sneak into Maretime Bay to try to capture Sparky. Misty stands on top of Opaline and wraps a trench coat around the two of them so that Opaline can stay hidden from the ponies in town. Misty continuously delays the mission by wanting to do other things, which drives Opaline insane.
  • Oliver & Company:
    • In this fanfic, Dodger and Rita do this to rescue Oliver from a crook.
    • In this fanfic, Oliver and Georgette do this to pose as a height-proportionate dance partner for Jenny so they could help her practice for her ballet recital.
  • PAW Patrol:
    • In a fanfic called "Pups in Disguise," the pups go to Ryder's award ceremony disguised as a human with Chase at the top. Given that Marshall is on the bottom pretty much made the whole plan a disaster waiting to happen, and Skye even points out the absurdity of the plan for that very reason! Part 2 of the story can be read here.
    • In another fanfic called "Pups Save the Dance Competition", Marshall and Chase do this to provide a girl with a height-proportionate dance partner for Adventure Bay's dance competition. Given that Chase is the one underneath, Mayor Humdinger sabotaged their plan by having his Kitty Katastrophe Krew shed their fur inside the coat causing Chase's allergies to start acting up rendering him unable to continue with the act. All hope seems lost at first until Everest steps in and agrees to take Chase's place as Marshall's legs.
    • In this fanfic, Marshall and Everest do this to sneak into a shop.
    • In this fanfic, Sweetie enlists Skye and Everest to help her masquerade as the Princess of Barkingburg. It doesn’t go as well as she had hoped.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
  • Two fans of the Hub's Pound Puppies series worked together on a role-play-styled fanfiction of it that involved this trope. In the fanfic, Lucky and Cookie do this to try to trick McLeish into selling them a pup for adoption with Lucky on top and Cookie on the bottom. Throughout the scene, they were both nervous about getting caught, but even though Lucky wasn't wearing any facial accessories (other than a hat), McLeish was too preoccupied to take the time to notice.
  • In Rita's Choice one Quibbler article is titled "Minister Bagnold Revealed to Be Three Kneazles and a Pixie Sharing a Robe".
  • In a Rock Dog fanfic, Bodi and Darma do this to sneak past Trey.
  • In this fanfic based on The Secret Life of Pets, Max and his friends do this to sneak into a theater to watch their owners perform in a play.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In this fanfic, Tails and Dulcy do this to try to rescue the other Freedom Fighters.
    • In this fanfic, Sally and Nicole disguise themselves as a pizza delivery guy to try to trick Dr. Robotnik into consuming a pizza infused with a substance Nicole made to track his thoughts.
    • In this fanfic, Cream, Tails and Amy disguise themselves as Vanilla and go on a date with Vector.
    • In this fanfic, Tails and Rouge disguise themselves as an attractive woman to try to rescue Vanilla.
    • In this fanfic, Amy, Blaze and Rouge do this to try to save Sonic, Tails and Knuckles from Mephiles who is holding them for ransom.
    • In this fanfic, Amy and Blaze disguise themselves as a flight attendant to sneak onto an airplane that Sonic and Silver have boarded when they discover Mephiles is on the plane too so that they could warn them about him.
    • In this fanfic, Zooey, Amy and Rouge disguise themselves as Tails’ mother so that they could attend a mother/son picnic.
  • In a Spyro the Dragon fanfic, Spyro, Ember and Cynder disguise themselves as a bigger dragon to try to fool the other dragons with Spyro on top. It doesn’t go so well.
    • In another fanfic, Spyro and Cynder do this to sneak into a store that’s being run by Gnorcs.
  • In a Super Mario Bros. fanfic, Yoshi and Birdo do this to sneak into a buffet restaurant being run by Bowser and the Koopalings. It ends disastrously.
  • Talking Tom and Friends: In this fanfic, Ginger and Angela do this at a costume party dressed as a Carmen Miranda lookalike with Ginger on Angela’s shoulders.
  • In Ticket, Stan and Ford want to see a movie but are too young and only have one ticket. They then spot a coat rack with a trenchcoat.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • This fanart shows Buster and Babs in a trench coat. They're using this disguise to try to escape from Elmyra. Buster seems fully confident this plan will work, while Babs is giving some kind of uncomfortable look, which could mean a number of things...
    • In this fanfic, Buster and Babs do this to attend a formal so Babs could meet Burt Badger and get a part in his new movie. At first, Babs was on top, but Buster kept complaining about how much the high heels were hurting his feet, so Babs generously traded places with him for a while; they eventually swap back.
    • In this fanfic, Babs and Fifi disguise themselves as Lola Bunny to play a trick on Bugs.
  • In TS!Underswap, one of the Greasers, Norman, is quite obviously this. Specifically, he's a Froggit, a Whimsun, and a Loox, as foreshadowed by his attacks in battle. You can spare him by revealing this, making him run away, and his components can be talked to at Grillby's after.
  • In a Who Framed Roger Rabbit fanfic, Roger and Jessica do this to sneak into a bar that doesn’t allow toons.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's This fancomic has the show's Half-Identical Twins Leo and Luna disguise themselves as Akiza Izinski in a bodysuit, mask, and costume based on Akiza with Luna on top.
  • In this Zootopia fanfic, Nick Wilde and Gazelle disguise themselves as a sexy new pop singer and try to seduce a panda so that he can give Nick money for a business he's trying to start.

    Films — Animation 
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven, Charlie, Itchy and Anne-Marie do this to bet on horses as well as do other gambling.
  • In The Amazing Maurice, the Boss Man in charge of the ratcatchers is actually a swarm of rats in a coat and hat, controlled by the Rat King. This being Discworld, this is sometimes terrifying, sometimes hilarious (they aren't very coordinated) and sometimes both at once.
  • In The Angry Birds Movie, Judge Peckinpah stands upon a similarly-sized bird named Cyrus. Red lampshades this during his court trial—even went so far as to pull the robe off to prove it.
  • A weird case in Arthur and the Invisibles: the Minimoy King at first appears as an imposing figure (for 2 mm-tall characters, at least), but it's soon revealed he's no taller than the average Minimoy, but riding on top of a Yeti-like humanoid with another ferret-like creature standing in for a long beard and hiding the King's body.
  • In Arthur Christmas, three elves use this technique while they're delivering gifts. They were disguised as a nurse in a hospital.
  • In the Babar movie, Babar, Celeste and Zephir try to get past some rhinos by piling up on top of each other and wrapping up in a cloak, while Zephir puts a banana in his mouth. They would've succeeded, too, if Zephir hadn't gotten too enthusiastic.
  • In The Boss Baby, the title character and Tim steal the clothes of an Elvis impersonator and stack themselves atop each other to get onboard a plane headed for Las Vegas and stop Francis Francis' evil plan of eventually transferring the world's love to puppies with his Forever Puppy invention.
  • The Brave Little Toaster:
    • In the original movie, Kirby, Lampy, Toaster, and Blanky do this to disguise themselves as a phantom so they can scare Elmo St. Peters and save Radio from having his tubes taken by him.
    • In The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, during the "Remember that Day" segment, Kirby and a snake do something like this to make themselves look like Rob. This was another instance where the participants were not trying to fool anyone, but merely just playing around.
  • In the Aardman Animation film Chicken Run, the chickens attempt to escape by using this trope to impersonate the farmer's Gestapo-inspired wife during the pre-credits montage of failed attempts.
  • Despicable Me:
    • Margo does this in the short "Home Makeover" by balancing a Minion on top of her to trick the social worker by posing as Gru.
    • Three of the Minions do this in the Minions spin-off movie.
  • In Dumbo, after the clowns perform their first performance with Dumbo when he was demoted to a clown, we see silhouettes of the clowns backstage getting out of their costumes. One of the clowns turns out to be two short people stacked on top of each other.
  • In Disney's version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda is known for doing this to hide from the soldiers. She does this by carrying Djali on her shoulders and wrapping a blanket around them so they could pass as an old man.
  • Kronk's New Groove: Two kids pull off this trick in a dress to trick Kronk's dad into thinking they're Kronk's wife.
  • A variation of this was done on The Land Before Time. Towards the end of the film, Littlefoot, Spike, Ducky and Petrie get stuck in a tar pit while Cera is being chased by a herd of Pachycephalosaurus. The other four suddenly appear stacked up and covered with tar, and they unintentionally save her by scaring the Pachycephalosaurus' away, but Cera tells them that they didn't fool her.
  • Madagascar:
    • In the first film, Mason and Phil, the two chimpanzees, are caught buying train tickets while doing this.
      Mason: If you have any poo, fling it now.
    • The chimps also do this continuously in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, as the ridiculously flamboyant "King of Versailles". The penguins kinda get in on the act, too (the costume acts as a command center of sorts for them that helps them win at gambling).
  • In Oliver & Company, Tito, Francis and Einstein dress up as a pizza man to distract Sykes.
  • At the beginning of Piglet's Big Movie, Tigger and Pooh dress up as a tree as part of their plan to steal honey from a bee hive.
  • In The Rugrats Movie, the babies find an abandoned circus cart with a trenchcoat and hat inside. Some circus monkeys jump out and scare the babies.
  • Something like this was performed in The Secret Life of Pets. Tattoo and Ripper pose as a lady pushing a baby carriage with Snowball posing as the baby in the carriage.
  • Possibly the most famous example of this trope, complete with Ill-Timed Sneeze and everything, Dopey and Sneezy do this in Disney's version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A rare incidence in which the participants were not trying to fool anyone, but merely providing Snow White with a height-proportionate dance partner. Given that Sneezy's the one underneath, Dopey is soon blown out of the top of the guise by Sneezy's extreme sneeze, but he does get to dance with Snow White for a bit anyway.
  • A strange variant of this happens in The Star. Felix, Debra and Cyrus briefly pose as Herod's shadow while hiding behind a curtain.
  • In Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers Paul (a short pirate) piles himself on some monkeys while wearing a large pirate's jacket to make himself look more threatening.
  • Discussed in Toy Story 2 when Buzz Lightyear, Hamm, Rex, Slinky Dog and Mr. Potato Head are trying to figure out how to get into Al's Toy Barn. One toy suggests they stack up and disguise themselves as a pizza man.
    Hamm: How about a ham sandwich? With fries and a hot dog?
    Rex: What about me?
    Hamm: Eh, you can be the toy that comes with the meal.
  • Done when Madame Souza and the Triplets band together to retrieve Champion in The Triplets of Belleville.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers and Mini-Me do this in Goldmember with Mini-Me on the bottom.
  • In the 1995 Casper movie, Amber and Vick do this to try to ruin Kat's Halloween party. However, the plan backfires when Fatso, Stretch and Stinky come out of nowhere and scare them away, causing them to instead put on an entertaining show for the guests.
  • Done to truly astounding effect in The Court Jester, where three average-sized people suddenly become six little people. In the climax, a pair successfully sneaks into Hawkins' and Jean's execution, disguised as one soldier, to cut him loose. Actually more plausible than most examples: the little people are trained acrobats in-universe so they have no problem standing on each other, and the fact that it's clearly an adult's head on top makes it look more organic.
  • In the French movie Fantômas Unleashed, at a Boarding School, a pair of kids disguises as Fantômas (with a large black cloak) to give a scare to their dormitory supervisor.
  • In Hook, some of the Lost Boys do this to sneak onto Hook's ship.
  • In the Marx Brothers Horse Feathers students Chico and Harpo run their professor out of the classroom, and moments later the two return, Harpo in a fake beard on Chico's shoulders, dressed in the professor's mortarboard hat and gown.
  • Done in the Laurel and Hardy short Chickens Come Home as Ollie and Stan each try it sneaking an unconscious woman past their wives.
  • A standard technique of The Little Rascals. They even do it in the 1995 movie.
  • In Men in Black II, Jarra is revealed to be a small figure in a saucer along with his three small companions.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The extremely tall leader of the Knights Who Say Ni was originally suggested to be played by "Mike sitting on John's shoulders", but the final film has him portrayed by Michael Palin standing on a ladder.
  • The munchkins are introduced this way in Oz the Great and Powerful. Oz thinks they might be the mighty warriors he's looking for... until the tall men are revealed to be three-munchkin stacks.
  • In Rolli – Amazing Tales, Rölli and the Forest Fairy disguise themselves as a giant this way in order to scare Seesteinen and Lerkkanen for littering and making noise in the Rölli Forest. The Forest Fairy sits on Rölli's shoulders while she wears Lerkkanen's bowler hat, uses her long hair as a makeshift beard, and covers them with a quilt, but she lets Rölli do the threatening. The humans are confused rather than scared by this display, and when the quilt soon falls off, the heroes end up being chased by the men.
  • Done in the Mel Brooks film Silent Movie. Three normal-sized adults inexplicably attempt this to get into Burt Reynolds' house. Their explanation for being 15 feet tall is having a "glandular condition". Also a Chekhov's Gun as you see the steam roller when they first drive up to Burt Reynolds' house.
  • The aliens in Space Jam do this to sneak into basketball games and steal the talent from the top NBA players.
  • In Speed Racer, Chim-Chim climbs on Spritle's shoulders wearing a lab coat and hard hat in Spritle's attempt to figure out what the Royalton company is up to. It takes quite a long time for the people there to realize one of their co-workers looks like a chimpanzee.
  • In The Three Stooges short Dutiful But Dumb, Moe and Larry do this to get a photo of a movie star and his (latest) wife. Done again in Malice in the Palace, where Moe, Larry, and Shemp make themselves into a very tall spirit in order to scare Omigosh, Emir of Schmow, into giving them the Rootentooten Diamond.
  • During Sean Connery's Agamemnon scenes in Time Bandits, three dancers become six shorter dancers.

  • Someone once observed that "English is three languages stacked on top of one another in a trenchcoat pretending to be one language."

  • In The Adventures of Captain Vrungel, the captain and his friend are using it to ride a plane with only one ticket for both of them. The problems start when the Captain (he's the one below) gets bored and decides to smoke a pipe.
  • In The Bully Brothers: Making the Grade, the titular characters do this to pose as their mother for a Parent-Teacher Conference.
  • George and Harold do this in one of the Captain Underpants books, to pose as an adult to get an invention off of Melvin's genius parents. They only start to suspect something's wrong when George's hands are what takes the gadget (as Harold — who was on top — is white and George is black), but have their minds erased almost immediately after.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • A Hat Full of Sky has a whole bunch of six inch-high Nac Mac Feegle working together to move a scarecrow to disguise themselves as a "bigjob". Said Feegles uses the same trick in Wintersmith. It helps that, although everyone notices how weird they look, whenever someone tells them to get lost they just start waving around scads of money.
    • In Moving Pictures, the ticket lady at the movie theater suspects one of the wizards of being this, when she spots his (fake!) false beard.
    • And in The Science of Discworld 2, the wizards disguise the Librarian and the Luggage with a large Elizabethan dress.
  • In the children's novel Down Town, Cary's first uncanny encounter is with an apparent bag lady. The accompanying illustration makes it clear that this is actually a whole lot of tiny humanoid creatures dressed up in old clothes.
  • In Ellen Raskin's Figgs and Phantoms, Mona Lisa Figg sometimes stood on her midget uncle's shoulders to create the "Figg-Newton Giant" so they could "inconspicuously" move books her uncle felt deserved more attention from the bottom shelves of his and his partner's store to the top shelves where more people would notice them.
  • In the Good Times Travel Agency book "Adventures In Ancient Greece", the Binkerton twins do this to sneak Emma into watching the games. They eventually end up getting their cover blown by their Annoying Younger Sibling Libby.
  • Slytherin students use this to impersonate Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Knowing why the culprits are doing this (Harry is afraid of Dementors), the teachers are not amused — especially not McGonagall.
  • The King's Stilts: Eric pulls off a one-person version by standing on the stilts and wearing a robe over them to make himself look like a tall man.
  • In Kirby and the Dangerous Gourmet Mansion!?, Kirby and King Dedede try to attend Madame Parfaitsky's birthday party by disguising themselves as Meta Knight's (female) dance partner. They do this by having Dedede wear a dress large enough to cover his whole body, while Kirby, the "head", rides around on his head.
  • In Mary Karr's childhood memoir The Liar's Club, Mary climbs on her sister Lecia's shoulders and dons a long painter's smock. The two spend the afternoon staggering around the neighborhood, trying to convince people to give donations the American Cancer Society (which they intend on keeping for themselves). It doesn't fool anyone.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Kingdoms of Light features Khaxan Munderucu, an incredibly powerful giant evil spellcaster. He's really twenty-two goblin mages in a giant all combining their magic.
  • In Miss Nelson is Back three of the ringleaders of room 207 disguise themselves as Miss Nelson.
  • A rather creepy science-fiction version appears in The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A small swarm of Watchmaker Moties (miniature semi-sentient aliens) try to leave the cruiser MacArthur by hiding inside a space suit and using the occupant's head to disguise themselves.
  • In a children's book called The Red Fox Monster, Dan the Dog and Tabby Cat snag Red Fox's clothes and use it to disguise themselves as Red Fox so they can scare away oncoming animals by jumping out and shouting, "Dinnertime!" They even scare away Red Fox himself!
  • In The Roman Mysteries novel The Colossus of Rhodes, a midget pretends to be a giant by riding on the shoulders of his bodyguard, concealed by a long cloak.
  • Used for a heist in the French detective series San-Antonio. To sneak inside a museum, circus artists use four dwarves and two contortionists. The contortionists walk in bent on themselves to look like dwarves inside their coats, and the dwarves walk in two by two in totem-pole trenches. Once out of view inside, the contortionists stand up and exchange coats with two of the dwarves. Then the four of them exit along with the rest of the visitors, making it seem like the same number of people that went in are going out, while in fact two dwarves stay inside after the closing hour.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: In The Carnivorous Carnival, Violet and Klaus use this to pose as a two-headed person.
  • Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School... Well, the title pretty much says it all!
  • A similar trick was used unsuccessfully in Welkin Weasels: Thunder Oak, involving nine ferrets in a human-sized suit of armor.
  • The Book of Bunny Suicides has three of the bunnies disguise themselves as Obi-Wan Kenobi so they can impale themselves on Darth Vader's lightsaber.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed in Castle. One victim happens to have just run a con on a first-grade classroom; forensic evidence says that his murderer was between 5'3" and 6' tall, so the cops conclude that the first-graders probably couldn't have done it unless they were using this trope.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Shirley's sons disguise themselves so Abed's cousin can go play. (Overlap with Hiding in a Hijab because Abed's cousin wearing a long black dress and a veil was the reason they could do it.)
  • For Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Salsa on the all-athletes seasonette of Dancing with the Stars, Kareem's pro partner Lindsay Arnold, in order to make up for their massive height difference, achieved a similar effect by means of starting off the dance sitting on the shoulders of troupe dancer Hayley Erbert while both women had long skirts on.
  • Spoofed in a first-season episode of The Eric Andre Show in a skit where Andre enters a car dealership as the top half of a two-adult TPT, complete with a fedora, asking to buy a car in an obviously fake low voice. The owner of the establishment, for whatever reason, becomes extremely unnerved by Eric's antics, repeatedly saying he "don't trust like that" and demands for Eric to unbutton the coat, which Eric considers sexually inappropriate.
  • In Season 5 of Face/Off, Roy turned his (normal-sized) model into a pair of undead midgets in a trench coat. It was so funny that the judges themselves laughed out loud. Worth noting is that the original design had the midget on top screaming, but one of the judges pointed out that this was more creepy than amusing and suggested making him a Cigar Chomper instead, which worked wonders.
  • First of the Summer Wine: Two guys are shown doing this at the very end of "Ain't Love Dangerous".
  • Referenced on The Golden Girls, when Dorothy finds out that Sophia has only one ticket to a papal mass that they both wanted to go to:
    Sophia: We'll get one of those really long overcoats, I'll stand on your shoulders, and...
    Dorothy: And what? Blend in with the circus folk?
  • Bill attempts this (balancing a mannequin on his shoulders) in The Goodies episode "South Africa".
  • In Guest from the Future Alisa and Yulia disguise themselves as an adult to get by the pirates.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: In "Honey, I'm Wrestling with a Problem and the Chief", Nick and his friend, Joel, do this wearing a long trench coat, a hat and a fake beard, and they do this to sneak into a wrestling arena to try to help Wayne and police chief Jake. Joel brings along his accordion and tries to play "Pop! Goes the Weasel" to see if Jake could hear it and fight better so he could win.
  • Referenced in How I Met Your Mother. Marshal claims he was mugged by a monkey, but later confides to Barney and Ted that it was an actual mugger, and he just didn't want Lily to buy a gun. Cue Barney: "Are you sure it wasn't two monkeys stacked on top of each other with a trench coat?"
  • Done in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in "Alien Rangers of Aquitar", the two-part premiere of the Mighty Morphin' Alien Rangers miniseries that served to wrap up the show. After the Rangers get turned into little kids, several of them get caught at a disaster scene and are taken back to the police station. Kat and Tommy pretend to be Billy's mom by wearing a coat and having Kat stand on Tommy's shoulders so that they'll be let go. It helps that the police officer they talked to couldn't see very well.
  • This occurs in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during the final season. In the episode where Mike and the robots make fun of a German adaptation of Hamlet, Crow and Servo dress up as a ghost and try to get Mike to believe that they're the ghost of his father. Mike tells them that his father was still living, so the robots kept changing their identity to other people in Mike's family tree, but everyone they tried turned out to be a relative who was still living.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: In "Not so Sweet Charity", Nicky, Ricky and Dicky do this to sneak into the pet grooming store where Joey works to apologize for themselves, however their cover is blown when Dawn, Mae and Natlee arrive into the store also dressed in a long coat and they both start fighting in the store only for their disguises to fall off.
  • Rome: Lucius Vorenus becomes famous after leaping into the arena to save his friend Titus Pullo after he'd been condemned to death. In a theatre play commemorating the event, a giant gladiator that Vorenus fought is portrayed in this fashion.
  • According to a Saturday Night Live spoof of Broadview security, this is one of the major dangers women living alone in a five bedroom house face, along with rabbis, grandfathers, k.d. lang, and the guy from the Broadview commercials.
  • Scrubs:
    • J.D. often enlists either Turk or Elliot to help him masquerade as "the world's most giant doctor". The punchline is that there really is a giant doctor at Sacred Heart, who punctuates these scenes by complaining about J.D. borrowing his coat without permission.
      J.D.: We tried giant black doctor, Turk. People ran.
    • At the end of one episode, Elliot comes up with the idea with J.D. to attempt the "triple giant doctor". They attempt it with J.D. on top, Lonnie in the middle, and Elliot on the bottom. It doesn't go very well.
  • Done to allow two Jamanese "snakks" to avoid "big" police in the British Series A Small Problem.
  • Done in "Commercial Breaks" The Suite Life of Zack & Cody to predictable ends.
  • Done in "When 6021 Met 4267" That's So Raven with Cory and Stanley.
    Stanley: [while attempting to do a deep voice] What's happenin', my brotha.
  • Ted: John and Ted do this in the third episode to shoplift a birthday gift for a bully. It goes badly since John can't see under the trenchcoat.
  • The Thundermans: In "On the Straight and Arrow", Billy and Nora dress up as the family's gardener to keep their parents from finding out that they are skipping school with Billy on top and Nora on the bottom. Things go well until they try to take down a hornets' nest, causing their costume to fall apart; their parents witness this and think the gardener split in half.
  • In the Ultra Q episode "The Underground Super Express Goes West", a bootblack and cafe waiter successfully sneak onto the maiden voyage of a high-speed train thanks to/despite wearing this disguise.
  • This was actually shown on an episode of What Would You Do? (Nickelodeon). In this instance, they showed a dwarf who wanted to ride a water slide, which had a height requirement, and he was too short. He soon found a kid who was also too short to ride, so he got the kid on his shoulders and used a blanket to cover them up with. This may have just been set up, but it was shown in real time.
  • A The Whitest Kids U' Know sketch took this to a ridiculous level, especially considering that the two guys in the trenchcoat (Trevor and Sam) are both well over six feet tall, they end up going home with two girls (Zach and Timmy) doing the exact same thing.
  • In Hamish and Andy‘s Asia Gap Year, Hamish & Andy do this with Chinese locals in a attempt to prove if locals purchase souvenirs for lower prices than tourists.

    Music Videos 
  • The flash video to "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Virus Alert" contains a brief scene of a group of viruses doing this to steal someone's credit card identity.

  • The Cool Kids Table game "Dan, Danny, and Daniel" uses the "Three Things in a Trenchcoat" system, in which the players each play a person in the trench coat trying to sneak into something. The three players here are each different versions of Danny Devito.
  • A recurring bit in The Hidden Almanac is for a famous historical figure to turn out to be an example of this.
    • The tale of a much-admired socialite who cut a swathe through high society before being unmasked as sixteen crows wearing a trenchcoat.
    • A popular singer who died of heartworm, which is not normally fatal to humans. "Further investigation revealed that the singer was, in fact, two golden retrievers in a tie-dyed sundress."
    • Taken to a whole new level when Mord mentions that one of his former colleagues "was later revealed to be an epic poem about tadpoles".
  • Al Kennedy of House to Astonish has described the original version of Monet from Generation X as "two kids in a big coat". This wasn't exactly the case.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Skeeter and Bobby do this on "A Family Thing (Pilot)" Cousin Skeeter.
  • Crash & Bernstein: In "Shorty Crash" , Crash and a midget attempt this to get onto a ride they are too short for. They succeeded even though their disguise fell off halfway in.
  • In an episode of Fraggle Rock, the main Fraggles use a cloak to disguise themselves as Sir Hubris so they can get the Gorgs to leave forever. The plan worked, but when Gobo and Red overheard that the Gorgs were about to do something that would wind up killing all the Fraggles, they had to cease what the Gorgs were doing by proving that Sir Hubris was them all along.
  • On an episode of Mongrels, Nelson and Marion try to sneak into an office building by performing this act. Though, Nelson soon realizes the act won't work due to their physical appearance, that is until he figures it would be better to just sneak in through an open window.
  • The Muppets:
    • In Muppets from Space, the Muppets in Gonzo's rescue party do this to disguise themselves as doctors, at one point getting a weird look from a real doctor. Kermit stands on top of Fozzie and Pepe stands on top of Miss Piggy.
    • Done again in the 2011 movie, with Fozzie, Scooter, Kermit, Gonzo, Rowlf and Animal each operating one limb of a human disguise to sneak into Miss Piggy's office.
      Miss Piggy: [triple Head Desk] I can't believe I fell for "Muppet Man"!
  • Strange Hill High: In "The Lost and Found Boy", Mitchell, Becky and Templeton do this to pose as Templeton's grandmother in order to gain access to the lost and found.
  • In the Jim Henson TV special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic, all of the bunnies dress up as a giant bunny to try to scare away the dog who was ruining their picnic. This part was actually discussed by the characters throughout the special's climax.
  • In an episode of Under the Umbrella Tree, the three main puppets attempted to do this with Gloria on top.

    Tabletop Games 


  • There was once a Christmas-themed Disney figurine called "Three Cheers for Mickey". It was of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy stacked up and wearing a Santa Claus suit with Mickey on top, Donald in the middle, and Goofy on the bottom.

    Video Games 
  • In Angry Birds Star Wars the Darth Vader pig is shown in cutscenes as three pigs stacked on top of each other with the top one wearing the helmet, presumably to imitate the original Darth Vader's height, but they make no attempt to hide it.
  • In Backpack Hero, defeating the Ultra Knight makes them split into three enemies controlling one big suit of armor: the Legman (who controls the legs), the Muscle (who controls the torso and arms), and the Head Honcho (who controls the helmet).
  • Big Boy Boxing: One of the opponents you face is "Mr. Adyltmen", who is actually three kids dressed up in a trenchcoat padded with pillows to sneak into the tournament.
  • One of the customer types in Cake Mania 4: Main Street is an "invisible man" which turns out to be two children carrying out this trope.
  • In Chicory: A Colorful Tale, there's an NPC in the Dinners Transit Office called "An Adult", who's actually three kids in a trench coat. They try to pass themselves as an adult to get a transit pass, but while they're terrible at it, they manage to steal Pizza's pass if the latter relents and gives it to them. Not that that's Plum's problem since he can just give them a new one.
  • Coral Island: One of the sidequests you can do for the ironically-named Giants, who are Invisible to Adults, is to help two of them construct a disguise that consists of a hat, mask, and long-coat so they can interact with the citizens of Starlet Town.
  • In The Darkside Detective, three kids attempt to fake a Bigfoot sighting by standing on each other's shoulders and wearing an improvised Bigfoot costume. Unusually for the trope, they find it realistically difficult to move around like that, and can't get very far without falling over.
  • Dark Souls has a more disturbing take on this trope, as the boss Pinwheel seems to be a family that has been fused together into one undead body that is hidden under a cloak.
  • The special character "Woof" in Death Road to Canada is actually three dogs in a trench coat. When defeated he will split into three dogs. You can keep the other three if you have room in your party.
  • A soft example of this is the Scurvy Crew, three pirate crabs that act as the second boss of Donkey Kong Country Returns. Although they do not wear trench coat nor hat, they pile up to form a tower and attack Donkey and Diddy several times during the fight.
  • Black Comedy indie video game Double Hitler is equal parts QWOP and Surgeon Simulator 2013, which suggests that Hitler was in fact two small boys made up with a false mustache and a large trenchcoat to look like an adult, bumbling their way through various aspects of Hitler's life. The disguise is beyond paper thin in how unconvincing it is, and the game actually suggests that the Nazis were all extremely gullible idiots who couldn't tell the difference between a grown man and two boys pretending to be one, or indeed, between a grown man and a balloon with a face drawn on it.
  • Dr. Mario World has Dr. Goomba Tower, which is literally just three Goomba's on top of each other wearing an ill-fitting doctors coat and Otolaryngologists's mirror on top of the head of the top Goomba.
  • Mentioned in Final Fantasy XIV — "The Will to Live", a main story quest in Stormblood has the player Dressing as the Enemy, and they must pick which of the three variously-sized Garleans Mugged for Disguise to steal a uniform from. If a tiny Lalafell player tries to take the outfit from the giant Roegadyn, the game will gravely inform them that this could only perhaps work "if there were three of you standing on each other's shoulders".
  • In Homescapes, the president of the now-defunct Elite Bookworm Club sends the paraphenalia to Austin so he can revive the club, with his father William as the new president. Patrick comments that the official president's robe is big enough to fit two of him, briefly imagining one William sitting on the other's shoulders while wearing the robe.
  • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms features Hew Maan who is actually three kobolds in a trenchcoat. He has the ability "Hello, fellow humans!" which gives him a bonus based on how many "other" humans are in the party. One of his upgrades is to correct himself that he meant to say he is a member of some other race, and count those instead.
  • In "Fleeing The Complex" of the Henry Stickmin Series, an optional choice has Henry wearing a trench coat with Ellie to get past some guards. However, being taller turns out completely useless in this context, and the guards just arrest them anyway.
    FAIL: I don't see how being taller was supposed to help there.
  • In the Jungle Book video game on the Sega Genesis, the Level 6 boss is known as "The Witch Doctor", but it's actually three monkeys stacked up on each other using a big witch doctor mask to cover them.
  • Kingdom Hearts χ features a Heartless enemy called the Wibble Wobble, which consists of multiple small Heartless stacked on top of each other inside a coat. It appears in the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs world and is a parody of the use of this trope in the movie, and also has some Underground Monkey variants, all of which follow this trope.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Larry can meet a trenchcoat flasher on the sidewalk by the hotel. When you look at the flasher, the narrator comments that it's really a little person standing on the shoulders of another. They're both still flashers, though.
  • A trio of Scarabs in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots track down Snake this way in the first half of the game's third act.
  • A variation in NieR: Automata: the Goliath Biped Smash Mooks are actually colonies of smaller Machine Lifeforms each controlling one section of a massive body, as seen by the multiple machine heads sticking out of them.
  • In Paper Mario, the Koopa Bros. use a variation on this. Their first form in their battle is the four of them dressed up in a strange-looking Bowser costume, though it's more like a very primitive mecha than an actual costume. During the end credits of the game, they use the remains of their costume to create a parade float.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the bestiary entry on the Lady of Pain includes a rumor that she is actually six giant squirrels with a headdress, a robe and a ring of levitation.
  • In Plants vs Zombies Adventures, two imps appear when the trenchcoat is knocked off the imposter zombie.
  • The Pokémon Dipplin displays a variation of this trope, consisting of two "wyrms" inside a single apple that give off the appearance of a single being similar to its pre-evolution, Applin. Despite this, Dipplin isn't much bigger than Applin, being 1'4" to Applin's 0'8". This was meant to foreshadow its evolution into Hydrapple, which is more of a general Two Men, One Dress example consisting of seven "syrpents" inside the apple that randomly pop out to give the impression of a hydra with one to five heads.
  • A recent iOS game called “Rascal Riches” focuses on three raccoons who go around a big city in a trench coat to do some gambling for money and jewelry.
  • Sam & Max do a variation of this in the original Sam & Max Hit the Road game. They make a bigfoot disguise to infiltrate a bigfoot party. Sam's snout sticks out of the middle of the costume, but this being a Sam & Max game, nobody notices even when they're talking to each other. Only one bigfoot asks if Max is really having an argument with his belly button.
  • Scrabdackle: A collection of dust motes huddled beneath a trench coat can be found near the bridge to the Wizard Academy. They seem to be trying to masquerade as a wizard, and are doing so poorly.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island two monkeys, in the wedding dress, as part of Elaine's cunning plan to defeat LeChuck that Guybrush inadvertently spoils.
  • In Slime Rancher, one of the NPC's that offers quests to the player is actually several slimes wearing a trench coat and a hat. His messages suggest that he has difficulty writing and he asks for nothing but various chickens, as expected from these weird but cute creatures.
  • In the intermissions of the SpongeBob SquigglePants level titled "B-Movie", an audience is shown watching an old Slasher Movie where Squidward is chased by a mysterious killer. Upon winning or losing the level, it's revealed that the killer was actually SpongeBob and Patrick stacked on top of one another in a costume.
  • A really bizarre example of this is in Spyro the Dragon (1998). The boss of the Artisans world is Toasty, a really tall, pumpkin headed creature in a black robe donning a witch's hat and wielding a Sinister Scythe. After you flame him twice, he's revealed to be a sheep standing on stilts. Although you might be able to figure this out beforehand because the first time you flame him, you can hear him bleat, and there are even times when the sheep peeks out of the robe.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Montana's Movie Madness, the boss of the Monster Movie stage is Montana Max in a Frankenstein costume. When defeated, he is revealed to be stacked atop Roderick Rat.
  • The Wizard enemy in Wario Land II is really two Pirate Gooms wearing a robe.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A variant is used in the Uldum questline. The player and several NPCs need to escape their centauroid captors, so they gather the distinctive armor of the local guards. They then form the shape of a centaur with three people: One standing at the front wearing the helm, one standing a bit behind them, and a third being held horizontally between the two. Smoke from a fire the player set hides them but creates the silhouette of a centaur, allowing them to escape in the chaos.
    • In Valdrakken, spies are using illusions to hide themselves as local citizens. One possibility on dispelling an illusion is to discover that a towering draknoid was actually three goblins sitting on each other's shoulders.

    Visual Novels 
  • Havenfall Is for Lovers: In JD's fourth season, they and the heroine head to a supernatural nightclub. The bouncer outside turns out to be three tiny bouncers in a trenchcoat.

    Web Animation 
  • Possibly the goofiest non-biped use of this trope ever: Ranzar's Tanktoon features a T-34 and a T-50 Russian tanks outwitting a Mauschen by... stacking themselves one atop the other, taping fake hair and a mustache on the visible tank, and draping a gray tarp over themselves, pretending to be the Pz 38 na which, in these cartoons, is the analogue for Hitler. Not only is this positively silly, with them being tanks and all, but the Pz 38 na is also much smaller than either Russian tank on its own, let alone the two of them stacked together. The Mauschen still falls for it, at least until the tarp falls off.
  • Deconstructed in this Cyanide and Happiness short.


    Web Original 
  • A well-known meme is claiming that something is really "[number] [animals] in a trenchcoat." For example: "I am not a Troper, I'm really five very small lizards in a trenchcoat."
  • How to Hero mentions three kids in a trench coat when listing superheroes that are made up of multiple different individuals here.
  • This satirical article by Eve Penzer for Reductress, in which a woman unlucky in love can't seem to stop dating immature men who each turn out to be two kids in a trenchcoat. (But she's got high hopes for her new guy, and really respects his commitment to recovering from alcoholism indicated by his unwillingness to meet her at a bar.)
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-018-J, a trench coat that when worn by two or more children, makes everyone else (including other kids) think that they are one adult. It can fit at least 75 kids in the coat.
  • Puella Magi Adfligo Systema: #414:
    You have to admit the thought of her sitting on Kirika's shoulders, wearing a trenchcoat, and hobnobbing with all the highpowered financiers to be a pretty appealing mental image, though.

  • One of the suspects in Murdle, a daily Wordle and Clue-inspired Murder Mystery game, is implied to be this. Babyface Blue, who is represented by a baby emoji, is the tallest suspect at 7'8", referred to with they/them pronouns (without their profile explicitly calling them non-binary like the other they/them-using suspect, Mx. Tangerine), says "Wait until our mom hears about this!" if caught, and has a bio that starts off with Suspiciously Specific Denial of them being a fully grown man and not two kids in a trenchcoat, followed by saying they do typically adult things associated with this trope, such as buying beer and seeing R-rated movies. Their gallery picture depicts them as having a childlike face.

    Web Videos 
  • One of Scott DeWitt's fillers for Extra Credits has Scott state that Dan is, in fact, a grown adult and not children in a trenchcoat, plus a picture of Dan in a trenchcoat, with a short leg poking out around chest height.
  • This happened in a Funny or Die sketch starring Kate Mara and Elliot Page called Tiny Detectives .
  • On a video called Nintendo’s Failed Consoles, while reviewing the Virtual Boy, the commentator mentions the guy on the title screen for Tetris looks like two kids performing this trope.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Pop Rocks and Coke!", after Chef Pee Pee explodes from eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coca-Cola at the same time (It Makes Sense in Context), Junior and Cody are forced to substitute for him. They wear Chef Pee Pee's outfit, with Junior forming the head and arms and Cody forming the legs. What is even more ridiculous is that Bowser mistakes them for Chef Pee Pee himself, and admits about giving up Junior for adoption. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Chef Pee Pee was alive the whole time and played a prank on Junior.
  • There are a few videos that people have posted on YouTube of people doing this with their friends. These are a few examples.
  • Critical Role:
    • In Campaign 1 episode 102, Scanlan suggests doing this with a cultist's robes to blend in, with Pike on his shoulders. Pike points out it should be the other way around (as she's a lot stronger than him). Scanlan enthusiastically agrees, and since the robes' sleeves are much too long, he ends up using Mythcarver and his flute to puppet the arms.
    • In Campaign 2 Episode 53, the Mighty Nein meet the mysterious Madam Musk, a potion merchant wearing a long cloak. It doesn't take long for the party to suss out that "she" is actually five kobolds working together under the cloak.
  • Honest Trailers uses this as a metaphor in the trailer for Speed, which it describes as "three action scenes, stacked on top of each other, under a trenchcoat, pretending to be a movie."

    Real Life 


The Simpsons - Totem Pole Trench

Perhaps Homer shouldn't have said he was Shaquille O'Neal, not that would've done them any good...

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / TotemPoleTrench

Media sources: