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It's late at night, and the characters are eating in a diner. That just happens to be on a street corner of a city. That looks EXACTLY like that one painting...
This, in a nutshell, is a Hopper Shot - a specific reference to Edward Hopper's most famous painting, "Nighthawks". So famous is this exact setup that most people throughout the industrialized world will immediately recognize the scene, whether or not they know the name of the original painting.
Is a subtrope of Art Imitates Art.
- Batman: Year One contains a panel which imitates the painting, featuring Lt. Gordon and Essin eating in a diner after their shift ends.
- The Animated Adaptation of Batman: Year One also contains this shot.
- In a later, daytime shot, it's even revealed that the diner is named "Hopper's".
- De Kiekeboes: Fanny and Inspecteur Sapperdeboere sat in this restaurant in the album "Blond en Blau W".
- The Simpsons has parodied the shot several times, most notably in the episode "Old Money", with Granpa, and in "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment", featuring Officers Eddie and Lou.
- CSI once used the shot as a promo for the show.
- Lampshaded on That 70s Show, with Kitty remarking on how everything feels so familiar.
- A Peanuts Sunday Strip contains this scene, with Woodstock and a few other birds. It's on page 75 of Around the World in 45 Years.
- Recreated as a set for a Film Within a Film in Wim Wenders' movie The End of Violence
- Hard Candy features a scene on a "Nighthawks Diner", where a character purchases a T-shirt with Nighthawks printed on it.
- In Heavy Traffic the painting is briefly used as a background for a scene.
- There's an old Cartoon Network bumper with Johnny Bravo in a bar drowning his sorrows after getting dumped by Velma Dinkley. The bumper begins and ends on this shot.