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"My God ... I can't see a thing! Guess that's why I wear these."

A trope used extensively in B movies from the 50's and 60's. The capital-h Hero or scientist, to emphasize a point he's trying to make, takes his glasses off or puts them on before delivering a melodramatic line.

 General Ripper: We must stop this creature before it destroys Topeka Google, Kansas!

Hollywood Nerd: But you can't use a nuclear missile, General! (whips off his glasses) It's immoral!

This is parodied in modern productions such that the scientist will put his glasses back on and whip them off again with nearly every line. Also used to parody Soap Opera doctors, whose glasses always come off when delivering bad news to the patient.

In Real Life, not many people with glasses whip them off after delivering a dramatic line, unless they're doing it on purpose.

A subtrope of Character Tics. See also The Glasses Come Off.

A Glass Pull should not be confused with an Ass Pull.

Examples of Glasses Pull include:


Advertising

  • Parodied when Jack In the Box introduced their bacon and cheddar potato wedges and jalapeno poppers, running a television ad featuring a "doctor" extolling the wonderful health benefits of these new appetizers. He enters every single shot with his glasses on, then dramatically whips them off as he delivers his conclusions, at least five or six times total.
    • And is never actually seen putting them back on during the course of said commercial.


Anime and Manga

  • Mousse of Ranma ½ likes to do this a lot, though part of the reason might be due to vanity and the fact he's pretty good looking when he's not sporting a massive pair of Nerd Glasses. Of course, because he's Blind Without'Em, he invariably ends up making himself look stupid by, say, addressing the wrong person, or walking into something. Of course, he's not much better off with them on...
  • Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi... sort of. He wears a mask.
    • A smiley face mask. Made to look like his face. Before it was heavily scarred.
  • Vash of Trigun does this now and then. When those Scary Shiny Glasses are put on, you know things are switching from humor to drama. Notable examples include his fight with the Nebraska Family after they almost kill innocent people, and his first run-in with Legato.
  • Kamina pre-time-skip, and Simon many, many other times (both before and after the skip). Basically, if someone puts on glasses, something EPIC will be going down.
    • And not just putting them on - Yoko pulls off her "teacher" glasses (with an audible "schwing" sound) just before going to town on two Ganmen post-Time Skip.
  • In an unusual variation, you know shit's going down when Stiyl removes his cigarette in A Certain Magical Index.


Comic Books

  • Just hope Cyclops doesn't do this to you.


Film - Animated

  • General Rogard does it when Kent suggests using a nuclear strike on The Iron Giant.
  • Cobra Bubbles on Lilo and Stitch first takes off his shades when he tells Nani that he's "the one they call when things go wrong".
  • Played with in Horton Hears a Who. While answering the mayor's "hypothetical" question, Dr. LaRue whips off her safety glasses on the obvious dramatic line. In a later scene, she whips them off on an innocuous word so she can put them back on for the most dramatic line.


Film - Live Action

  • Spoofed (like almost every other trope) in the movie Airplane!, when Captain Rex Kramer whips off his sunglasses to make a dramatic point, only to reveal another pair of sunglasses underneath, which are themselves whipped off to emphasize another dramatic line.
  • Brad whips off his glasses when Janet says his complaints to Frank N. Furter are "ungrateful" in Rocky Horror Picture Show One common jeer at this is "Dun-da-da-DAH! Super Asshole!"
  • Daredevil took his sunglasses off to let the rain touch his eyes. When it rained on his girlfriend, his hearing allows him to "see" when water sprays on them so the eye-wear-removal makes A! Dramatic! Statement!
    • The removal of the glasses was kind of a callback to earlier when she asked if she could remove his glasses. He was hesitant, as the blind gaze tends to bother people.
  • Hot Fuzz parodies the hell out of this in one scene where some form of eyewear is removed for basically every line.
    • That one scene is the peak of it, but most of the times the detectives speak they remove some eyewear. However, for that scene, the detectives had multiple lines- so they were wearing riot helmets as well as their sunglasses, just for the sake of this trope.
  • Parodied in Batman Forever: Bruce Wayne and Edward Nigma meet at a gala event; Nigma has a sick admiration for Wayne, and has been trying to emulate/show him up. As they converse, Wayne casually removes his glasses, then puts them back on, etc. Whatever he does with them, Nigma immediately apes with his own pair, in a more dramatic fashion.
  • Played for laughs in the first Jurassic Park film. Doctor Malcolm approaches triceratops feces, pulls his glasses and says, "That is one big pile of shit."
  • In Demon Hunters there is the part where Silent Jim whips off his sunglasses only to have another pair underneath.
  • This trope is parodied in 2012. The preteen son of the hero is wearing a pair of sun glasses with the tag still on, whilst in a Yellowstone gift shop. After he gets a call from mom, he takes off said glasses (cue dramatic zoom in of his face) and says, "mom wants us home".
  • Men in Black has one, courtesy of Will Smith:

 J: You know the difference between you and me? (dons shades) I make this look good!

  • Back to The Future: Roads? Where we're going we don't need * glasses flip* roads!
    • Played with, in that they're his rearview display, predating actual back-up cameras by 15-20 years.
  • Played achingly straight in The Chronicles of Riddick. Granted, with Riddick's sensitive eyes he has to put his goggles on when it gets too bright, but the amount of dramatic taking off of said goggles is excessive to the point of unintentional Running Gag. Seriously. Watch the movie and count how many times he takes them off or puts them on. It's hysterical.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the Vegan Police repeatedly remove and replace their sunglasses whenever they say something dramatic. Which is frequently.
  • Sucker Punch: When either Blue or Doctor Gorski don their reading glasses to take a closer look at something, you know they are about to make an important discovery.
  • Done almost straight in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes when the scientist is examining a killer tomato the size of a beach ball.

 "Gentlemen, it's worse than we thought. This, God help us, is a cherry tomato!

  • In Batman Begins, Jonathan Crane takes off his glasses quite frequently. Word of God says this was done intentionally to bring emphasisis to Cillian Murphy's eerie Blue Eyes.
    • Lucius Fox pulls his glasses to emphasize his Ironic Echo when it's revealed that Fox and Bruce swiped Wayne Enterprises out from under Earle.

 Fox: Didn't you get the memo?


Literature

  • In a rare literary example, happens in H. P. Lovecraft's story "The Curse of Yig."
    • "Dr. McNeill paused here and removed his glasses, as if a blurring of the objective world might make the reminiscent vision clearer."


Live Action TV

  • Inverted Trope: Happens at the end of most teasers of CSI: Miami, as Horatio Caine gives his horrendously (and hilariously) over-the-top Quip to Black. Cue The Who's YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Special mention goes to this scene, which features Horatio taking off his glasses as he's coming out of a car...for the sole purpose of pulling this mere seconds later as the car explodes behind him. Honestly, Caine's version of this trope probably deserves its own page by now. There are references to/jokes about it everywhere. The glasses pull has become such a signature for the character that when A&E began running reruns of the series, their promos had the announcer giving the name of the series and announcing its times...while all they showed on screen was the sunglasses sitting on a table.
    • Here is a You Tube clip that collects several dozen examples.
    • Parodied in this Weebl & Bob episode.
    • Also parodied by Jim Carrey.
    • And Xkcd, here and here.
    • And Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series. "Looks like the rules... just got screwed."
    • And in this image on Deviantart, but transferred to X-Men First Class.
    • Parodied on a recent episode of Burn Notice by Sam Axe posing as a crime scene investigator, complete with horrendous Quip to Black. Made funnier because the show is set in Miami.
    • Also parodied in Sea World California's sea lion show: "Sea Lions Live", which is a rather amusing parody of popular TV shows of past and present played by the trainers and Seymour and Clyde, the staring sea lions. In one particular segment, they manage to parody CSI, CSI: Miami AND CSI: NY in rapid succession as the trainer wears the vest emblazoned with SLSI (Sea Lion Scene Investigation). On part stands out as one of the best parts of the show as they try to solve the murder and kidnap of a fish:

 Female Trainer dressed like Catherine: Smells like something here... is fishy...

YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! *cue imagination montage as trainer and sea lion shuffle across the stage, striking poses as the sea lion grins and winks at the audience.

  • On Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, the vice principal always wears the same white suit and sunglasses (he's a parody of Crockett and Tubbs on Miami Vice). If he shows up in an episode, you can guarantee he will whip them off before the end of his dialogue, then replace them and walk away as he finishes speaking. Truly hilarious when he has many scenes in a single episode. Will also use them to glare dramatically after, yes, whipping them off.
    • At one point, he took off a pair of glasses to reveal another pair of glasses underneath them.
  • When attempting to seem sophisticated in order to impress Becky, Jesse practices this on Full House.

 Joey: Well, if anything else comes up, just take your glasses and say, "Interesting but terribly overrated."

Jesse: Thanks. I'll try that. Okay. "Interesting, but terribly overrated."

Joey: Congratulations, Jess. You are now a sophisticated intellectual.

  • On The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, people do this all the time, sometimes putting on glasses beforehand in order to whip them off. At one point, Stephen Colbert actually put on a pair of glasses over the one he was already wearing, citing the theory that, if taking off glasses automatically makes things serious, putting on another pair should lighten the mood.
    • During a rant on the January 21, 2010, episode of The Daily Show, Jon puts on and removes six different pairs of glasses, mostly one at a time, as he turns from camera to camera emphasizing almost every sentence, culminating in a pair of reading glasses worn over some novelty 2010 New Year's glasses, removed one after the other to emphasize two consecutive statements. He was making fun of Keith Olbermann, who made a point of doing a Glasses Pull when responding to the rant the next day.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, "City Limits", Tom Servo notes that Kim Catrall's character in the movie is only wearing glasses so she can pull them off dramatically.
  • Giles does this frequently in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He even lampshades it in a tie-in comic when he has his arm in a sling and is unable to remove them.
    • Also lampshaded in "All the Way" when Xander/Anya start snogging passionately to celebrate their engagement.

 Buffy: Is that why you're always cleaning your glasses? So you don't have to see what we're doing?

Giles: Tell no one.

    • It all becomes too much for Buffy when she's caught in a Groundhog Day Loop -- she snatches them from Giles' hand and crushes them underfoot.
    • In the season 2 finale, a smirking Angelus cleans Giles glasses for him while he's tied to a chair and tortured by having his fingers broken.
    • Noticably averted in the finale of Season 5. When Giles murders Ben he makes a point of putting his glasses on, as if refusing to spare himself the horror of what he's about to do.
  • On The West Wing, Josh Lyman threatens a Congressman over a vote.

 Josh: President Bartlet is a good man. He has a good heart. He doesn't hold grudges. (whips out sunglasses, puts them on, walks off, then turns back) That's what he pays me for.

    • President Bartlet also has a tendency to whip off his glasses whenever Leo tells him anything dramatic.
  • Parodied in MASH by the ridiculous Colonel Flagg, who whips off his sunglasses only to reveal a second pair of sunglasses.
  • Oh, so often on the new Battlestar Galactica. Roslin and Adama are particularly fond of the trope with their spectacles, and lawyer Romo Lampkin does much the same with his usual sunglasses.
    • Seeing as Romo has rather piercing eyes, it's clear he does this for effect (along with everything else he does).
  • Cowley from The Professionals does this with his specs.
  • Richard Hammond of Top Gear does this during the American Road Trip special, upon seeing New Orleans one year after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Scrubs: Played with when the brain trust decides to make sure Keith is a suitable husband for Elliot.

 Ted: We can't control what kind of husband he'll be...

Janitor: (pauses) Lloyd, give me those glasses. Say that again in exactly the same way. (puts on glasses)

Ted: We can't... CONTROL what kind of husband he'll be...

Janitor: (removes glasses) Or can we?

  • Supernatural plays with this trope in the season 5 episode, "Changing Channels". The Winchester brothers are stuck in what appears to be different TV shows, and upon entering a CSI-esque setting they begin to imitate Horatio Cane. It is hilarious...
    • Starting with the scene in question being set at night....
  • The IT Crowd: "Hang on, let me put on some slightly larger glasses..."
  • Saturday Night Live: guest Alec Baldwin, on Mike Myers' "How to Be a Handsome Actor" instructional, demonstrates the fine points of spinning in an office chair to face the camera, whipping off one's glasses, signing a paper without looking at it, and picking up a ringing phone and immediately talking into it.
  • From How I Met Your Mother we have Barney's video resume. Between questions from the interviewer (Barney with an accent), Barney puts on his glasses just so he can take them off when he's answering the next question.
  • Ashes to Ashes DCI Keats loves doing this with his glasses - mainly to look cool, but also to underscore how much more human he appears without the glasses.
  • A variant was used on Airwolf, where Stringfellow Hawke would pull off his glasses and not say a thing.
  • In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor does this on occasion.
  • In a Mr. Show sketch, a documentary show host takes his glasses off whenever he makes a statement. When the camera cuts back to him, they're back on again.
  • One episode of Reno 911 had Dangle taking a dramatic pause then lampshading it. Everybody else hams it up for the rest of the scene, with Jones doing the Glasses Pull apropos of nothing.
  • In one episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, Oscar Goldman is introduced to a girl who claims to be able to read minds. She demonstrates her power by telling Oscar exactly what he's thinking, and the surprised Oscar, to show just how surprised he is, whips off his glasses.
  • In 'The Sky Lift' episode (season 5) of Curb Your Enthusiasm, protagonist Larry does this when accusing Richard Lewis' nurse of hiding Mickey Mantle's 500 homerun ball inside her ample vagina.


Music Videos

  • Winning, during the call and response Schmoyoho removes his shades to reveal a second pair.

Other

  • The "Mother of God" meme is an image of a shocked man removing his sunglasses. Examples here (some may be NSFW).


Stand-up Comedy

  • Jim Gaffigan has a bit about this; he describes Generals in old sci-fi films whipping off their glasses to make ominous pronouncements: "My God...* takes off glasses* ...I can't see a thing without these. That's probably why I wear them..."

Video Games

  • Shi-Long Lang and Shi-na of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. Sometimes, their sunglasses would appear on, right before a cocky remark.
  • Al-Cid Margrace, a one appearance wonder in Final Fantasy XII, proceeds to prove his badassitude by waltzing in, removing his sunglasses, then handing them to his maid who folds them up and stuffs them down her shirt.
  • Hummel- er, Hudson gets a particularly epic one in one of the later levels of Call of Duty: Black Ops.


Webcomics


Web Original


Western Animation

 "Time to take out the adorable trash."


Real Life

  • Towards the end of The American Revolution, it was beginning to look like the makeshift government wasn't going to be able to pay the army for its service. George Washington's officers called a meeting to discuss possible retaliations, which included pulling out into the backwoods and letting Congress defend itself, or even turning against it outright. Washington made a speech to them about how this would totally suck and they shouldn't do it, which they were not in the mood to hear. Then at the end he pulled out a letter from Congress explaining the government's financial problems, along with his reading glasses, and reportedly said something like, "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray but half-blind in the service of my country." This served as a massive guilt trip, and after he'd read the letter and left, the officers unanimously voted to accept Congress's leadership and forget the idea of rebellion. A rare instance of this trope working because it makes the invoker look weaker, but that just goes to show the accuracy of the man's Genre Savviness.
  • In terms of body language, someone pulling off their glasses generally means that they're either trying to artificially make you more receptive to them by removing a barrier, or they're about to lie to you, removing their glasses so that they won't be looking you (clearly) in the eye.
    • To be fair, it is generally very rude to speak to someone while wearing sunglasses, especially upon first meeting them. Eye contact is important in most cultures, as it can be a judge of honesty, intent, and attention.
  • In terms of public speaking, the glasses removal trick can actually work fairly well, if done carefully. For example, some people first learning how to handle witnesses in court, or doing opening or closing arguments, will start fidgeting with their clothes or their glasses. One way to take the latter and make it work is to channel it; when you get to a question or line in your argument where you're really trying to make a point, draw attention to it by taking off your glasses and using them as a "prop" if you will by gesturing with the hand you have them in. (Granted, over doing it will make you look hammier than Horatio Caine, but careful application is very effective!) Law school witness examination classes actually occasionally bring this up as a useful trick to have in your arsenal.
  • Go watch the clips of Walter Cronkite reporting on the Kennedy assassination. He invokes this trope repeatedly, most famously in his "From Dallas, Texas..." announcement of the President's death. It appears that Cronkite keeps putting on his reading glasses to scan bulletins as they are handed to him, then takes them off as he faces the camera to avoid reflecting glare from the lights.
    • Cronkite was also genuinely affected by the events that he was covering--events that he was learning of at the same time he was reporting them. He wasn't intentionally invoking this trope, but it nevertheless helped to highlight the seriousness of each development.
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