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In television, film, and especially comics, it is conventional to focus on the upper body, since the upper body is usually the most expressive part of any character. Face, arms, and torso all convey more information to the audience than the legs. In some works, you're doing little more than watching actors talk, and anything other than the face is superfluous anyway.
This has led to the framing of many scenes in many media to lack any onscreen representation of the body below the waist. The legs are still there, of course, just Behind the Black. But what is covering those legs? In many cases, the creators decide to play with this and reveal that the person whom the audience assumed to be fully clothed is naked from the waist down. This is especially common with TV presenters such as news anchors (see the page quote), because they usually sit behind a desk for the broadcast.
"Not Wearing Pants" Dream is where this happens in a dream sequence, but this is when the audience (at least initially) cannot see that the character is pantsless, whether it's in a dream or not.
Remember, to be this trope, you must meet the following criteria:
- A character must be naked, underdressed, or legless from the waist down
- The audience should initially have no reason to suspect that the character is bottomless
- The nudity must initially be either out of the shot/panel or Behind the Black.
- One Gag Manga Biyori sketch has people making their most embarrassing confessions on TV because a meteor is about to hit so why the hell not--and just as the guests have all confessed to shocking things, the crisis is averted! The host expresses relief that he no longer has to make his embarrassing confession. Cue an Iris Out framing his unclothed rear as the credits roll....
- Hamlet 2: The writer leaves his computer, revealing that he is not wearing pants
- The Kentucky Fried Movie: The newscaster reveals that he's not wearing any pants. Film At Eleven.
- Schizopolis: A man wearing a t-shirt with the film title runs from the camera, revealing that he is wearing nothing else.
- In Short Cuts, Julianne Moore does an entire scene naked from the waist down.
- In Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay the titular pair find themselves at a bottomless party. The host at one point chastises one female guest for removing her top.
- Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run has his character preparing for a date, grooming himself at the mirror, leaving his apartment...then coming right back in, with the camera panning back to reveal he forgot his pants.
- In Casino, Robert De Niro's character emerges from behind a desk not wearing pants.
- In Animal House, Donald Sutherland's character reaches to get something from a cabinet, raising his sweater and exposing his pants-less buttocks.
- Richard Lester's black post-nuclear war comedy The Bed Sitting Room has a BBC announcer going door-to-door, reading the news while kneeling behind a gutted-out tv cabinet, wearing a tie and coat outfit that, beneath chest level, is tattered long underwear.
- Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl opens with the troupe dressed as waiters singing the rousing number "Sit on My Face", then walking off, revealing themselves totally pantsless beneath their aprons.
- In Run Fatboy Run, Dylan Moran's character is revealed to be completely naked from the waist down the whole time he's been talking over a balcony. Twice.
- In Alfonso Bonzo by Andrew Davies, there's a scene where the protagonist is watching the evening news and then is magically transported to the TV studio, where he learns that the newsreader is wearing nothing from the waist down but Goofy Print Underwear.
- In one episode of The Muppet Show, a newscaster reads a report about a newscaster who forgot to put on pants before appearing on the air. Then he comes to a sudden realization...
- Father Ted: Father Jack apparently always played this trope during the summer, all in the name of saving money on "wear and tear".
- In How I Met Your Mother, Robin's co-anchorman does not wear pants.
- A US military general steals the Constitution while in transit in an episode of JAG To make a broadcast about the theft, he puts a shirt, tie and jacket, but doesn't change out of the rest of his army gear, which remains out of shot for the camera he's using.
- On Sports Night, irked wardrobe folk hold up the anchors' pants, leading to them having to go on the air in suit and tie, boxers and black socks.
- The West Wing: White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg has to do a live TV interview pantsless, after accidentally sitting on a freshly painted bench.
- In the video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's Eat It, as one of the gangs is walking, the camera zooms out to show they aren't wearing pants.
- The Lonely Island song "My Pants" (not to be confused with their more well-known "Jizz In My Pants") featured a man named Lance asking everyone to stop making fun of his pants, only to reveal at the end that he was naked from the waist down the entire time.
- Command and Conquer 3: Red Alert 3 outtakes. Michael Ironside has no pants on.
- The player character for Jurassic Park: Trespasser was seen from a first person view, and all you saw of her was one arm and her breasts (her Life Meter was tattooed on one of them). Uncovering the game's Dummied Out third person mode, modders discovered that that's all she has.
- In Spear of Destiny (a mission pack prequel to Wolfenstein 3D), there is an Easter Egg which displays a photo of the development team with nothing below their torsos visible, captioned "We're not wearing any pants."
- Ansem Retort in this strip
- Penny Arcade: Gabe, naturally.
- Throwaway gag in this Wigu strip
- Itty Bitty of Kid Radd is bottomless. Since he was a shopkeeper in an RPG, the game designers saw no reason to give him legs that would be hidden behind the counter anyway. He later falls in love with a nurse from another RPG who was the same way.
- This Ctrl+Alt+Del strip.
"S-sir, you aren't wearing any pants..."
- This Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff strip
- Questionable Content: Due to a recent change in her anti-anxiety medication, Hannelore walks to the coffee shop before she realizes that she forgot her pants at home.
- A Jakaesi strip has Adam exclaim "Bah, pants! Who needs them?" and then pans down to show a blanket covering his legs, with the assumption that he is wearing nothing underneath.
- "edison has been naked from the waist down this entire time".
- Blank It starts out with a no-pants empire.
- Uncle Jay Explains The News had Uncle Jay stand up at the end of an episode, revealing no pants.
- The Interview
- Iliza Schlesinger hosts the weakly news in her underpants, which typically only becomes apparent when she gets up from behind her desk for the Once an Episode "dance party" segment.
- Echo Chamber Trope Of The Week Episode 2 opens with a shot of Tom, who is well-dressed...until he stands up, revealing that he is wearing Batman Boxers and nothing else from the waist down.
- The Whitey Tighties Music Video only shows Alex, Derek, and Lauren from the waist up at first. Eventually, it zooms out to reveal that they (even Lauren) are wearing white briefs.
- A cut in Spoony and Linkara's review of Warrior #4 a cut reveals that Dr. Insano's not wearing pants, and instead has heart boxer shorts. When directly asked about this Insano just replies that it's not important right now due to Hyper Time shenanigans.
- Noah also reveals in a Counter Monkey episode, appropriately named "The Importance of Wearing Pants" that one of his co-players in a game campaign once called him explaining why he was late and explained that he had to go home because he forgot his pants. Noah comments that he's pretty sure the guy wasn't lying because it's so stupid it had to be true.
- Three examples from The Simpsons:
Judge Snyder: Mr. Hutz, do you realize you're not wearing any pants?
- From the episode "Homer Goes to College":
Homer: A test? This is like one of those bad dreams!
Homer: Where are my pants?
- Happens a few times in Phineas and Ferb, usually where the audience and/or Perry the Platypus discovers Major Monogram isn't wearing pants when he gives his briefings to Perry.
- Batman: The Brave And The Bold featured a nerdy basement-dwelling Super Villain's helper who appeared on camera only from the waist up.
- In The Problem Solverz episode "Fauxboro", Alfe's veterinarian is shown from the waist up at first, then when Roba asks him if he spilled medicine on his pants, the camera cuts to reveal him in his underwear.
Roba: I find the sight of underwear very rude! It threatens the balance of our social civilization!
- Sean Connery: Went pants free for the zeppelin scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (it was muggy) and supposedly all the driving scenes in the James Bond films. In response to the Last Crusade bit, Harrison Ford elected to go pantsfree for that scene as well.
- In Spy Kids 3, George Clooney plays the President of the United States, appearing only in video communications which show him from the shoulders up. All his scenes were filmed at his house in one afternoon. He was wearing pajama bottoms below his suit jacket, dress shirt, and tie.
- Many TV news personalities, apparently including Sean Hannity, wear casual dress from the waist down.
- ↑ It's part of a plan to remind the nation of its glorious heritage, probably.