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Turning to an animal, wild or pet, for a reaction shot to a comedy moment. Sometimes included in a series of such shots from the humans in the room. Commonly used as a way to revitalize a dying joke.
Occasionally accompanied by an Inner Monologue or subtitled animal noises. The animal in question usually says something entirely unlike what the human character believes it is thinking.
See also Even the Dog Is Ashamed.
Anime and Manga
- Naruto: Happens at one point in the manga -- perhaps a self-parody, given the number of reaction-shot-montages that had been in the series at that point.
- Excel Saga : Menchi did this an awful lot.
- Pokémon: Fairly common, since the titular creatures are usually around.
- Cowboy Bebop : Ein the corgi in gets to give a few reaction shots, usually (apparently) disapproving of his human companions' behavior. Unbeknownst to any crew member but Ed, Ein is a sapient "data-dog.".
- One Piece
- Usopp adopts a secret identity of Sogeking. Except for Luffy and Chopper, everyone, including a little girl's pet, recognize Usopp for who he is immediately.
- When Buggy is imprisoned, his crew is shown crying in grief. Richie the lion is also crying, although a thought-bubble over his head shows that he is thinking of food.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: When America goes Tsundere on England and turns him down, a whale that USA has just befriended is all " =(" in the background.
- Dr. Slump: A bear that grew up in the Zoo takes in the awe of the mountain scape before him.
Film - Animated
- Parodied in The Simpsons Movie.
Santa's Little Helper: I did things no dog should do, they will haunt me forever.
Bart: I love you too.
- The "subtitled animal noise" variant often appears in the show itself, particularly in the twelfth season.
- Done to death in The Road to El Dorado.
- Tangled: Played straight with Pascal when Rapunzel figures out that the crown goes on her head, apparently hinting that she is the lost princess. Pascal gapes and his mouth gets huge, then he closes his mouth and shakes his head in disapproval.
- Maximus the horse gets plenty of these as well.
- Pocahontas: When the language barrier is overcome by what looks like natural magic and Pocahontas "listening with her heart", the raccoon and the hummingbird both perform a Jaw Drop.
Film - Live-Action
- The James Bond film Moonraker infamously used this trope during a chase scene with 007 riding a gondola, to which a bird does a Double Take at the passing vehicle.
- The ending scene in The Backup Plan.
- The Tom Hanks movie The Burbs has one of these.
- Occurs with prairie dogs in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
- The Thin Man series: a favourite trick of Asta the dog.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
Kevin: Oh, animal reaction shots! Is there any funnier shot?
- Used in the French movie Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre when Cleopatra announces her palace will be built in three months. Most of the people in the scene get a reaction shot and mutter "Three months?", including a cat who meows the word "month".
- Used a lot in The Gods Must Be Crazy.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron are flying a car to Hogwarts with Hedwig in the back seat. They all see a train about to crush them and react with alarm. Including Hedwig.
- In The Legend of Zorro, Zorro manages to land his horse on top of a moving carriage train, only to notice that it's about to enter a tunnel. There's a shot of the horse's eyes widening.
- In Oliver!, when the titular character first enters the hideout of Fagin's thieves, everyone stops talking and stares at him, including an owl.
- Snowy has demonstrated one of these in the trailer for the Tintin film.
- Every family film with a pet ever made.
- An early scene in The Lord of the Rings gives us the inner thoughts of a fox observing the curiosity of Hobbits sleeping out in the woods.
Live Action TV
- Mocked by Jon Stewart in this interview on The Daily Show, in which Tom Selleck insists its use in a serious scene in Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise is justified.
- Pushing Daisies: Ned has a dream where his powers suddenly wear off and he and Chuck can touch each other. They start to tear each other's clothes off, and there's a shot of Ned's dog, Digby, holding his paw over his eyes.
- Buck the dog in Married... with Children has many reaction shots, with snarky voice-over thoughts. This continues after he dies and is reincarnated, unbeknownst to the Bundys, as their "new" dog Lucky.
- Happens on Frasier, with shots of Eddie.
- Happens a lot in The Goodies, most notably in the "Kitten Kong" episode, and in the "Royal Command" episode.
- An episode of Spaced begins with the sound of the landlady's daughter Amber (in the flat upstairs) screaming abuse at her mother and storming out, making so much noise in the process that she wakes the whole house. We get close ups of each of the main characters waking up and saying "Amber" in various tones of voice. The sequence ends with a close up of Colin (the dog) waking up and making a noise that sounds very much like "Amber". The subtitle, however, simply says "Woof".
- Inverted on CSI New York, when the handler of a beagle at a dog show accuses Mac of having reduced his dog almost to tears with his intrusive murder investigation. Cut to the dog's face, which shows no discernable expression whatsoever, indicating that the handler's worries are entirely a delusion brought on by anthropomorphism.
- When a joke by Britta falls flat in Community episode The Art of Discourse, the goat gets a reaction shot.
- Lamely done in a Danielle Steel TV Movie. As a villain attacks the heroine in the stables, the camera pans up and away to a horses, reacting with fear at what he's seeing.
- Done in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Particularly notable in that Kiki is normally Too Dumb to Live, so when she says, "I'm just a ferret, and even I know this is going to end badly" ... that's saying something.
- The Grammar Squirrel in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, commenting on a grammatical argument in the previous strip.