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 He [Big Bird] can't get the courage to even start skating, at which point this little girl stares at him. Just stares. Stares at the sad, hollow shell of a bird he's become.

Obscurus Lupa, reviewing Christmas Eve on Sesame Street


Something unusual happens, and the camera pans out, revealing a small child staring intently at the subject in blank amazement. The context of this can vary widely. In romantic comedies, the staring children will be present any time the main couple argue or have an awkward romantic moment. In action movies, they can show up anytime something explodes or the hero does something cool. This can be Played for Laughs by highlighting the absurdity of the moment, or Played for Drama to emphasize the horror of the event. Bonus Points if accompanied by a "What are you looking at, kid?" or a dropped ice cream cone.

Using one of these is a good way to toy with breaking The Masquerade, since a child who reports seeing an unusual event may not be believed by adults.

If the child's staring is just a little too eerie for comfort, then it's a Creepy Child. May overlap with Deer in the Headlights and Things That Go Bump in the Night. Related to Innocent Bystander.

Examples of Staring Kid include:

Anime and Manga:

  • Erza gets a whole group of them in Fairy Tail when she accidentally breaks into a men's public bath, complete with Corner of Woe.
    • In the manga, all the grown-up men are terrified and cover up with towels or steam, while a young boy with wide eyes just stares at her curiously and doesn't care to cover up.
  • In Lovely Complex, Otani gathers a small crowd of these after making a scene during the Beach Episode.
  • The kids watching Yukiho dig a hole in the sand in the anime adaptation of THE iDOLM@STER


  • The kid on the tricycle from The Incredibles, complete with a "what are you looking at?"
  • In Innerspace, a child stares at Mr Igoe after he shoots a scientist with his gun hand.
  • There's a little kid in Bad Teacher that sits there with his jaw hanging open in two scenes.
  • In the first Transformers movie a little girl see's one of the Transformers land in her pool.
  • In Up a kid sees the house fly away.
  • In Finding Nemo, a kid in the dentist's waiting room reacts in horror at the commotion heard inside the office when Nemo escapes.
  • In the original Iron Man, when Tony takes the Mark II armor for a test flight, the first person to spot him is a gawking little boy on a ferris wheel who drops the ice cream off his cone.
    • The little kid in Iron Man 2 who stands up to a runaway "Hammeroid" while wearing an Iron Man costume. The kid points his (fake) Repulsors at the behemoth, and it targets him as it would the real deal. Then the real Iron Man flies in, stands next to the kid and blasts it and flies away after offering a congratulatory "Nice work, kid!"
  • The first Spider Man flick showed a kid gawking at falling debris while Spider-Man fought the Green Goblin. Spidey saved him right after shouting, "C'mon, move, kid!".
  • The boy on the beach stabbing the jellyfish in the first X-Men film stares at the mutated Senator Kelly when he emerges from the water and his gill slits disappear into his back. Of course, nearly everyone else on the beach stares too (including Stan Lee in his usual cameo appearance).
  • The little girl at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • The kid in the Lost World Jurassic Park who sees a T-Rex in his window.

Live Action TV

  • In Doctor Who, the TARDIS disappearing is sometimes accompanied by a child bystander looking on in awe, such as the group of children in "Closing Time".
  • Firefly: Jayne gets his own personal one in Jaynestown.
  • Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. You could actually make a drinking game out of this if you watched only the teasers.
  • Used in the teaser of the X Files episode "Fearful Symmetry."


Web Original

Western Animation:

  • This kid was a recurring character in Megas XLR, standing around, drinking a Mega Slush or something, and proclaiming "cooooooool" at all the destruction going on in the episode.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: When Octis changes his holographic face to avoid recognition by the police, a little kid standing next to him notices and tries to get his mom's attention, who brushes him off.
  • In a Dexter's Laboratory episode, Dexter gets a little girl stalker, who just stares at him all the time with huge eyes.