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A comedic Deserted Island[1] that is circular with a radius of two metres or so and a single palm, coconut or pineapple tree in the centre. Usually has a single inhabitant. If there's more than one, they'll either be constantly arguing or one will be slowly driving the other insane in a comedic manner (Meat-O-Vision may also occur). Often features a Message in a Bottle.

Should not be confused with those larger, seemingly-deserted islands with a resort on the side far from where the characters landed.

Please don't think about where the lone inhabitant is getting enough food and fresh water to live long enough to grow that spectacular beard. Or even how they survive high tide.

Examples of Far Side Island include:


  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack and Elizabeth are stranded on an island that looks like this, but is quite a bit larger.
    • It also wasn't always deserted; rumrunners used it as a secret cache before the British navy cracked down on them.
    • However, in the third film one of these islands (sans the palm tree) is used as a quick meeting place for the heroes and villains to negotiate.
  • At the very end of Superman Returns, Lex Luthor and Kitty are shown to be stranded on a Far Side Island because they ran out of fuel for the helicopter.


  • Rincewind from the Discworld series enjoyed his time on one of these (between Eric and Interesting Times). It was boring and the Luggage kept itself entertained by fighting sharks.
  • The narrator in Terry Pratchett's Nation points out that in the alternative universe world, a type of palm tree exists that poisons all other palms on its island, "making all those cartoons botanically accurate".
  • John Sladek once wrote a short story lampooning cartoon stereotypes, and of course saved this one for last.

Live Action TV

  • A sketch on The Muppet Show had Cloris Leachman stranded on an island with Sweetums. They are later joined by Doglion.
  • In a rare example where neither occupant seem to care much, Sesame Street's Count von Count and Harry Belafonte are stranded on a tiny island. But as long as The Count has a plethora of coconuts, he's good to go, and Harry seems content to sing about him.
  • New Zealand kids' show What Now? parodied this by having the cast marooned on a traffic island.

Newspaper Comics

  • The Trope Namer is Gary Larson's The Far Side, which often includes these islands.
  • Grin And Bear It features these a lot.
  • Hagar the Horrible regularly gets stranded on these with Lucky Eddie.
  • They're frequent in the work of Spanish cartoonist Forges, who prefers the two-character format.

Comic Books

  • Desert Island Dick from The Topper was just a whole comic strip about this trope: one guy lives on a deserted island by himself and never seems to be able to get off or starve. He is friends with the wildlife though. This trope has also been occasionally used in The Topper's more well known stablemates The Beano and The Dandy.


  • The Castaway Bill Screensaver features a lone man wandering about one of these.
  • Mad Magazine's Don Martin often used this trope in his comics.
    • As does Frank Jacobs
  • The Onion in Our Dumb World had a wonderful section Lampshading this, referring to the islands of Kiribati as "An island, a palm tree, and one guy" going through all the clichés of these types of cartoons.
  • Private Eye did one once complying with gender, race, religion and disability discrimination laws, the comic in question featuring a woman in a burhka and a wheelchair on a desert island reading a message in a bottle rendered entirely in As Long As It Looks Foreign script.
  • Regularly featured in New Yorker cartoons, such as one that has the palm tree replaced by a wind turbine and one castaway saying to another, "I miss the palm tree too, but at least we can have a refrigerator."
  • Gahan Wilson did a bunch of tragic 'stock cartoons' for the National Lampoon, including a little desert island with a bleached skeleton on it.

Video Games

  • There's a tiny island in the background of one section of Keelhaul Key in Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door. There's a palm tree there, and if you hit it with a hammer, a Coconut falls out for you to collect and exchange for the Chuckola Cola Flavio has on him, if that's where you are in the story. There's a pipe linking it to the main island for "easy" possible access.
  • Some perfect examples of Far Side islands (minus the weird colors) appear in the background to the side of the island with the crystal tower in King's Quest II. Another Far Side island becomes an actual walkable terrain and part of the story in King's Quest IV.
  • Tales of Monkey Island has a few of these, especially in Episode 2. When Guybrush encounters one of these for the first time, he lampshades this with his remark "I didn't know tiny islands like this really existed." He also comments that he's glad he's not stranded there (he got there by sailing to it after choosing the destination from the ship's map) or else he'd have to worry about having something to read.
  • In zOMG!, Sandblast and his Elite Mooks can only be battled by taking a canoe from Gold Beach to one of these.

Web Animation

  • A viewer of Homestar Runner once asked Strong Bad what it would be like if he and Homestar were stranded on such an island. Strong Bad first mentioned the usual tropes for such a situation, but figured the reality would actually be more dull and unpleasant.
    • In another episode, we see a flashback of him being saved by The Paper from a sinking version of one.
  • A Chinese animation called See Through revolves around two fighter pilots from opposing armies becoming friends and forming an Ambiguously Gay relationship on one such island after downing each other in the middle of combat.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • One of these showed up on American Dad. Originally it was a quite spacious desert island with many luxuries installed, until a tidal wave submerged something like 95% of the island underwater. Stan and Roger survive by eating mostly seagulls.
  • One of these is seen regularly on SpongeBob SquarePants as an establishing shot for the city Bikini Bottom. The cast even went there in the episode "Pressure".
  • Showed up in an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes. The only inhabitant was a weavil Lucius had imprisoned there.

Real Life

  • Of course, many islands are extremely small, but most this size are within swimming distance of larger landmasses.
  • Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas (part of Florida) is practically built on a Real Life version. It's closer to 100 meters wide rather than just one, but the public non-fort area which allows overnight camping would fit the bill. ETA: It's about fifty miles west of Key West, making it one of the most remote spots in the continental USA.
  • There is a well known research site leased by Sydney University near the Great Barrier Reef that doesn't quite fit this trope perfectly as it's 5.5 km across at its widest point, but it's named One Tree Island.
  • A Cay is the term for a small, flat island that forms around coral reefs, when sediments pile up in one spot on the reef.


  1. And also, by loose definition, a desert island
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