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"After you'd known Christine for any length of time, you found yourself fighting a desire to look into her ear to see if you could spot daylight coming the other way."
Terry Pratchett, Maskerade

The ear drum is a sensory organ within the ear canal, and can be damaged if you stick an object deep enough in it. This is not the case in cartoons. In the toon world, the ears are there so sound (or just about anything) can go directly into the brain.

Sometimes, the thing that went into the ear ends up visible in the character's eyeballs, as if they were just windows into his head.

See also Hollow-Sounding Head and Who Even Needs a Brain?

Examples of In One Ear, Out the Other include:


Film - Live Action

  • In the first Hot Shots film, Admiral Benson demonstrates this with a handkerchief through the ears, explaining it as a result of one of his many war wounds.
    • And don't forget the movie poster.
  • In National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, when Ms. Fanservice asks The Hero to "blow in my ear," doing so results in a hollow jug-sound and her hair on the other side being disturbed.
  • Played with in low budget horror spoof Stan Helsing. After Mia (a Brainless Beauty), does something particularly stupid the irritated hero blows in her ear and lifts up the hair on the other side, pretending he can blow through her head. Except blowing in Mia's ear really does cause a wind whistling-through-empty-space sound and the oblivious Mia looks around nervously for the source of the noise.

 Mia Do you guys hear that?

  • Happens in The Living Daylights. Just watch it here. It's just a perspective effect.
  • In the first Scary Movie, this happens to Ray. With a penis.
  • Years later in Dance Flick Shawn Wayans (who played Ray) is on the giving rather than recieving end: he seductively sticks his Overly Long Tongue into his girlfriend's ears and the tip of his tongue comes out her other ear (the girlfriend clearly enjoys the experience).
  • Happens a few times in The Three Stooges. For example, in one episode Moe throws a feather duster through Shemp's ears and has to help him pull it out.

Films - Animated

  • Roger Rabbit scratches through his ears with a file.
  • In Asterix and Cleopatra, when the workers are on lunch break, Artifis addresses them. One turns his head towards him but keeps moving his spoon, sending food into his ear until it comes through.

Live Action Television

  • An old episode of Night Gallery had a man in a jungle being tortured by having an earwig tunnel through his head, going through one ear and out the other. He survived, but it left eggs inside. Needless to say, the whole thing was biologically wrong.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch Zelda looks into Sabrina's ear and can see Hilda through the other ear.
  • In the Hannah Montana episode 'Get Down, Study-udy-udy':

 Lilly: (Lifts Miley's hair and peers into her ear) "Hey Oliver, I can see you!"

Oliver: (Looks into Miley's opposite ear) "Oh, I see you too!" (They wave at each other.)

Music

  • The cover of Accept's third album Breaker has a woman who has barbed wire going through her ears like this.
    • Homaged on the cover of Breaker's Accept EP, with this done to a dog.
  • There are pictures of persons with flutes through their ears. This picture of Peter Schickele doesn't quite fit it.

Music Video

  • The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers music video for "Make It Better (Forget About Me)" has a tiny Petty climb into the ear of a (very confused looking) young blonde woman and play the whole song inside her (mostly empty) head. She eventually uses a q-tip to get rid of them.

Print Media

  • Several versions of this trope turned up over the years in the pages of Weekly World News ranging from a man with transparent brain tissue (so one could shine a light in one ear and have it come out the other), to a young Kansas woman who discovered someone blowing in her ear would result in a breeze coming out the other side to a dimwitted Californian surfer dude who was cleaning his ear with a q-tip, and "not finding much resistance" decided to see how far it could go (right out the other ear it turns out, which the surfer found "way cool").

Video Games

  • In Psychonauts, Raz is able to look directly into the brain cavity through the ear, and can see right out the other ear of brain-theft victims.

Web Comic

  • At one point in Dominic Deegan, Spark notes that Quilt doesn't have a brain. When Donovan (on one side of Quilt) asks why he thinks that, Spark (sitting on the other side) looks through Quilt's ears and says, "I can see you."

Western Animation

  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Beanstalk Bunny", Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny enter the giant Elmer Fudd's head through opposite ears.
  • Stimpy's brain is often falling out through his ear.
  • In Space Jam, doctor Daffy examines Michael Jordan's ear and is able to see Bugs through the other ear.
  • Dopey clears water out of his ears by blowing it out.
  • Barney Rubble was once seen sticking a rag through one ear and out the other to give his brain a good flossing.
  • In the old British cartoon Hamilton the Elephant, the ringleader is giving orders to Hamilton but finds that his words literally go in one ear and out the other. He has to cork his other ear in order for Hamilton to comprehend.
  • In a Freaky Stories story, an earwig climbs into a man's ear. When it is finally removed, he realizes the earwig was extracted from the opposite ear it went in.
  • In Pinocchio, Gideon the cat tries to listen to what the coachman is whispering to Honest John by putting his ear to John's other ear. When he can't hear anything, he cleans out the ear with his finger. He also earns bonus points by plugging up his own other ear to make sure nothing comes out.
  • Happens often on Jimmy Two-Shoes, mostly to Beezy.
  • Happens a few times on Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy on one occasion Eddy sticks his hand clean through one of Ed's ears and out the other, and in another Eddy squirts a turkey baster at the kids the water passes through Sarah, Jimmy, and Johnny's ears.
  • In an episode of Family Guy after the gang has been defeated by Joe after trying to re-cripple him Bonnie shoots at him several times trying to hit his spine one of her shots passes through one of his ears and out the other, despite blood and brain matter splattering on the wall this doesn't kill him like it should.
  • In an episode of Total Drama Island a bug flies into one of Geoff's ears and right out the other.

Real Life

  • There has been a case where a young boy got something stuck in his ear and his brother tried to get it out by pushing it all the way through the other ear, apparently because he's seen it done in cartoons many times.
  • There's a particular magic trick with a pencil (no, not that one, God no) which imitates this.
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