Freeze-Frame Bonus

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Well, technically it's on the internet now, but you get the idea.

Back when I was writing and producing Dharma and Greg, the only way to read my cards was to record each episode on a VCR and hit the "pause" button. This was not an easy task. The image wobbled like crazy making the tiny words of my weekly tomes very hard to see.

In video, sometimes the screen will show something briefly that you cannot tell what it is unless you play the video in slow motion or pause it. Often it turns out to be a joke or a Shout-Out.

Unreadably Fast Text is a subtrope of this.

(It's often good to link to pictures or actually describe what's seen when giving examples of this trope.)

Compare Easter Egg, Blipvert, and (when it happens in-story) Subliminal Seduction.

Examples of Freeze-Frame Bonus include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The There's a Pony For That commercial consists of one freeze frame bonus after another. At 0:25, they even have an entire fake news article visible.


Anime[edit | hide]

  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, among the buildings destroyed in the first episode are the studios Studio Nue, Artland, and Anime Friend, which worked on Macross. The Studio Nue building has a picture of their chibi-nue mascot on it, and the mascot's facial expression changes to a frightened one while the building collapses. (The mascot is depicted in the lower left corner of the image here.)
  • Project A-ko has several of these:
    • Similar to the Macross example above, some of the missiles are sake cans.
    • The brief scene showing the interior of the Max 5000 mecha reveals that it contains a shishi odoshi.
    • In one scene where B-ko is in the background, she very briefly takes out some paper fans, waves them around, then puts them away.
    • In Project A-ko 2: Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group, one of the spies shoots a firework rocket which goes out the window and explodes. At the instant it explodes, there's a picture of C-ko waving paper fans.
    • In the opening of Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody, a split-second before a cut, some of the pool balls split in half.
  • In episode 10 of Dirty Pair (the TV series), during the aircar chase, Yuri can briefly be seen making the akanbe gesture out the window of the aircar.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki episode 7 ("The Night Before the Carnival"), when Ryoko intentionally has a Crash Into Hello meeting with Tenchi, at the moment of the collision, there is a picture of both of them drawn in Super-Deformed style.
  • Ranma ½ has eye catches in a few of the collision flashes as well. Among them are;
    • Ukyo holding the arms of a Voltron-like robot.
    • Shampoo, naked.
    • Ryoga with a word bubble screaming OH MY GOD - because he's looking at Ranma and Akane embracing stark naked.
  • As do early seasons of Sailor Moon. At least once, during a collision (Chibi-Usa landing onto Usagi) there was even a shot of Usagi naked, "sadly" drawn in a Super-Deformed style that prevented any chance of Fan Service. See here (dub episode 109) along with other examples.
  • Subliminal frames (A filmography term for frames that last well under a second while playing) were often done for slapstick moments in the earlier seasons of the Slayers anime. Some examples include a frame of Zelgadis with a rose in his mouth after Lina kicks him in the first season and a shot of a super-deformed Amelia after she gets hit in the head with a mace in the second.
  • Ergo Proxy has most of its back story spread throughout the opening credits in this form.
    • Most of the notes in episode 16 are poems and short stories by Stanley Donwood, a quick search reveals he has a connection with Thom Yorke of Radiohead, who wrote the ending song.
  • The first time Excel gets dropped down the very, very, very long pit, she passes by a number of shout outs that can't really be caught unless you go very slowly.
  • As with Unreadably Fast Text, Studio Shaft loves this trope. It's used a lot in all of their comedy titles.
  • In episode 15 of Cowboy Bebop, there's a scene where the camera follows a car from a side-view perspective. One of the cars going the opposite direction is a yellow Fiat 500, as occasionally featured in Lupin III.
  • Gundam Wing does this a couple of times. In the episode where Heero is hospitalized, the computer display includes text taken from the readme file for Photoshop's TWAIN plugin. More subtly, when Quatre is shown examining the blueprints to Sandrock, the startup screen includes several technological references to other Gundam series, including the movable frame from Zeta Gundam and the ALICE artificial intelligence from Gundam Sentinel.
    • G Gundam does this as well with the last episode or two where various Gundam's from various series help fight in the end. Such Gunda's inlcude the original, the Zeta Gundam, and some Wing stuff in there as well to boot.
  • In chronological episode 11 of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mikuru actually has an extremely brief Panty Shot when she jumps over the camera.
  • Near the beginning of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, right after Ed tells Al that he rigged the evil lair to explode, there's a cutaway to show some pipes blowing up. If you pause just before the explosion you see an unflattering drawing of Colonel Mustang on one of the pipes. It's implied that Ed did it.
    • In another episode of the first anime, "Fullmetal vs. Flame," there's a scene in which Edward and Mustang are fighting. Ed hides in the crowd of military onlookers because Mustang can't possibly blow everyone up for the hell of it. Mustang taunts Ed out with a short remark, which causes Ed to reveal himself in the crowd. Mustang sends a streak of flame that way that blows up the area, sending military men flying everywhere. One man flies directly in front of the camera, moving so fast you barely see him; however, a freeze frame will reveal that he has the most hilarious (blue) face that the artists have ever done in that anime.
      • He also looks a little like Seiji Mizushima, the director.
  • Practically every second of every episode of Pani Poni Dash! contains some reference or Shout-Out to something, often unbelievably obscure. The blackboard in particular contains different text every time it's viewed; it's often covered in text, with five or six references at once, and appears for only a split second. The PDF liner notes that come with the Fan Sub can stretch to over twenty pages.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has this to a small degree in the opening, and to a much larger degree during End of Evangelion. End of Evangelion has Misato being blown into pieces and a brief shot of fan mail Anno received, to name only two.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 has Asuka fanservice featured like this.
    • It has also become a tool of foreshadowing or messing with fans' heads in Rebuild of Evangelion.
      • The Evangelion Mark.06 is hiding familiar battle damage under its helmet.
      • The medical display of Asuka's Angel infection shows it spreading through all the same spots as Asuka Langley Soryu's injuries in End of Evangelion.
      • The latest trailer shows Asuka wearing her old plug suit, battle damage and all.
      • Even more Ultraman references have been squeezed into shots involving the Adams.
  • A lot of the Shout Outs in Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt are quick blink-and-miss freeze frames.
  • In Metropolis, after the character Lamp is shot and killed, a candle appears by his head for a second or two.
  • English-speaking fans of the sweet shoujo series Angelique were rather surprised to see text from an article about Queer as Folk show up as an eye-catch background in the second OVA series.
  • Code Geass has a few of these. For example when Anya is looking through a photo album if you freeze at the right moment you can see a picture of Milly groping Shirley.
  • Episode 12 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. "When did Nanoha arrive in the nick of time?" you may wonder. Well, slow down the episode at the scene just before the commercial break, and you will see a single frame of Nanoha's Instant Runes appearing in the path of Dieci's massive beam attack.
  • L riding a bike (among other Death Note characters) in an episode of Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid.
  • Similar to the Sailor Moon example above, Slayers has some single-frame eyecatches that can only really be seen in freeze frame. A memorable one includes a super-deformed Gourry mooning the audience.
  • K-On! episode 2x13 zoomed into Azusa's plateful of Yakisoba and showed her fellow band-mates in miniature, lounging on a noodle in their swimsuits. Three frames, total.
    • Honey, I shrunk the Keionbu?
  • Kuniko's Panty Shot in the finale of Shangri-La (if that counts as a Freeze Frame Bonus).
  • What's Squidward doing in my Gunman?
  • In the final episode of Bakemonogatari, we get an upskirt of Shinobu. This scene is also her Crowning Moment of Awesome, so most people will probably only realize that there should have been an upskirt somewhere in there later on. It's an upskirt and not a Panty Shot because she's only wearing a bandaid.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica episode 3, as Madoka and Mami are entering Charlotte's maze, there is a sign "Caution" with a row of decapitated corpses on crosses. But don't worry! It's not like they're Foreshadowing anyone's death or anything!
  • There are a lot of these in FLCL. Here are some of them.
  • While we're on the subject of FLCL, it's also worth mentioning an equally-insane effort by one of the directors, Dead Leaves. In a scene where the prisoners get shot, a penis flies off and into another's mouth. It appears around the 17:38 mark, visible in the general area around the robot prisoner's head.
  • Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, during some of Mai Shiranui's fight scenes, particularly the last one, careful frame-by-frame viewing reveals several brief nipple slips. Considering Mai's outfit, her fighting style, and her sizable endowments, it's surprising this sort of thing never seems to happen in her other appearances.
  • Tiger and Bunny has fun putting in a number of freeze frame bonuses, from informative (Wild Tiger is a former holder of the King of Heroes title, and Mr. Legend was responsible for Jake Martinez's arrest) to amusing (Samantha's photo album included Barnaby's suggestive speedo pics, and someone managed to get an exclusive interview with Lunatic).
    • Every single time there is text on the screen it is in fully thought out sentences and paragraphs, from the news ticker below Hero TV to the data on a computer screen to the books read.
  • Episode 5 of Myself Yourself has a significant scene involving a tanuki. Two episodes later, a "Tanuki Express" truck zips across the screen.
  • This trope tells you Rukia of Bleach doesn't wear a panty underneath her long skirt. This snapshot shows nearly as much of her lower anatomy as is allowed.
  • Shakugan no Shana - While lasting longer than most examples, in the third episode of season 1 of the anime when Shana trashes various teachers, one of them looks like Adolf Hitler.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - Haruka and Chihaya have a sleepover in an apartment building named "Mber". Haruka, Chihaya, and Imber were in a robomantic love triangle in Idolmaster Xenoglossia.


Film - Animated[edit | hide]

  • Toy Story 2 did this with the scene where Buzz is karate-chopping through the bush—look real closely at the last twig he chops: there is a tiny caterpillar crawling across it. This instance was later referenced in the bloopers with Flick and Heimlich appearing on it.
    • Also, when Hamm is flipping the channels looking for the Al's Toy Barn commercial, the images that flash by are from older Pixar shorts and commercials.
    • Not to mention the Disney Pixar Star Ball popping up everywhere...
  • In Atlantis the Lost Empire, as the window of the submarine descends, an extra waving at the camera is visible for a few frames.
  • In Liloand Stitch, Stitch hits Jumba with the VW Beetle and knocks him into Nani's bed, over which hangs a poster of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. When Stitch pins Jumba with the Beetle, Duke briefly has a shocked expression on his face, visible for only a fraction of a second.
  • According to a famous myth, at one point, the dust clouds in The Lion King form the letters SEX. They actually spell SFX (maybe).
    • Also, when Timon is digging through the log, one of the bugs is wearing a Mickey Mouse ears hat.
  • There are a lot in recent Disney movies, usually a Shout-Out to a previous film -- Belle in a crowd scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Beast as a toy in Aladdin, and so on.
    • Carpet is in the same shot as Belle in Hunchback. Carpet also pops up near the start of The Princess and the Frog, which has several other references by that point.
    • Pumbaa shows up in Hunchback too—as a roast pig on a spit.
  • During the production of The Rescuers, Don Bluth (one of the animators) decided to pull off a prank, and inserted an image from Playboy into a few of the frames. Normal viewing could not reveal anything, but a careful freeze frame did. When it was spotted by Disney, the image was edited, and all subsequent VHS and DVD editions were Playboy-free.
    • Similar to the Cinderella example below, Bernard's current cover pose for The Rescuers can be seen for a few frames during the "Tomorrow Is Another Day" montage to Devil's Bayou.
  • The Rope Bridge sequence in The Emperors New Groove features a moment when some boards fall into the chasm; if you slow it down enough, you can see they are stylized letters spelling out "D-A-M-N".
  • In Nine, if you pause before 8 walks in front of one of the statue bases, whilst outside the library, you'll be able to read the sign in the background: "Cheer bad and cheer good and shadows which we cast". Not sure whether it means anything, but it sounds cool.
  • At the end of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, if you pause at the very moment when Gaston falls off the building, you can actually see two very tiny skulls in his eyes.
  • When Cinderella gains her magic ballroom gown from the Fairy Godmother for the very first time, if you pause at the right moment when she is spinning in her said gown, for a split-second you can actually see her in the very pose they used as stock clip-art for her merchandise.
    • Similarly, Princess Aurora was seen in her iconic pink dress (it's normally supposed to be colored blue) only for a spilt second at the end of Sleeping Beauty.
      • Considering the fairies are changing it from blue to pink to blue for the entire outro, I'm not sure this counts as a freeze-frame.
  • Disney's Robin Hood: "God forgive Prince John."
  • That scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? where we see that Jessica Rabbit is Going Commando. (Maybe.)
  • At the very beginning of The Little Mermaid, when King Triton is swimming to a concert in his dolphin chariot, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy can actually all be seen in the audience below.
  • In Aladdin, during Genie's rapid-fire transformations of Abu, one of them has a Mickey Mouse head for a split-second.
  • At one point in Hoodwinked Too, the recipe for the MacGuffin is briefly on screen. If you freeze the image, you see amusing fantasy-story entries like Sleeping Beauty's morning coffee, but right at the bottom is Soylent Green, crossed out with "People!" written beside it.


Film - Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Fight Club has some single frames of Tyler Durden near the beginning before his first appearance in the story, and a few times it has some single frames of porn.
    • They even put a halt to the narrative to break the fourth wall and explain the practice midway through the film, just to get you thinking about it.
    • The "FBI warning" on the DVD release has been re-written by Tyler as well.
  • Memento has one that puts a whole new spin on some of the plot. In a flashback scene in which Lenny is narrating the story of Sammy Jankis, a shot of Sammy sitting in a nursing home briefly changes to Lenny in the same spot and same clothes.
    • There's a similar effect in an earlier part of the story. Where Sammy is giving the finger after being shocked, one shot is of a longer and thinner hand than Sammy's is. Leonard's hands are roughly the longer and thinner shape.
  • Batman Begins. The "police" who recovered the Joker card was named J. Kerr.
  • In The 6th Day, Sarah Winter's bare breast is visible for one or two frames as she sits up as the newest clone of Talia Elsworth
  • In the theatrical cut of Apocalypto, where's Waldo? At the end of the shot of the corpse field that Jaguar Paw falls into, for exactly one frame. Apparently, he has been removed from the DVD cut though.
    • And in the movie trailer, you can see Mel Gibson on one frame, along with some Maya guys covered on white powder.
  • If you watch the commentary tracks of the Star Wars movies, several of these are explicitly pointed out. For example, in Episode II, during the speeder chase through Coruscant, there are briefly an X-Wing and a TIE fighter in the background, with the X-Wing chasing the TIE fighter.
    • In episode 3, there's a quick clip of a large number of moving ships with the Millenium Falcon hidden within the crowd.
    • In Return of the Jedi, when Vader is being electrocuted by the Emperor as he's lifting him in the air, freeze framing allows you to notice that you can see his skeleton and the various mechanical components inside.
  • The 1988 feature-length version of Mike Jittlov's The Wizard Of Speed And Time is rife with these; practically every effects shot has something hidden in it (such as sparks or lighting spelling out words one letter at a time). And the "speed" segment of the film-within-a-film of the same title has what amounts to Jittlov's manifesto on the power of the creative spirit written one sentence at a time into dozens of frames that go by in seconds.
  • In The Core, when pigeons have lost their sense of navigation and are flying into plate-glass windows, one of the windows finally breaks. If you freeze-frame on this moment, you'll see that the window is broken not by a flying pigeon, but by a flying trout.
    • The director actually makes it a point to specifically mention this during the commentary track, and to explain the circumstances behind it. While the animators were running tests to make sure all of the birds behaved correctly, one or more birds would often be temporarily replaced by trout models instead to make it easier to see those particular birds' paths through the swarming flock. Unfortunately, when they actually did the full rendering of the scene, someone forgot to change one of the trouts back into a bird, and no one noticed until it was too late to re-do the shot.
  • William Stryker's computer in X 2 X Men United is littered with dozens of references to the long history of mutants from the comic books.
    • When Xavier connects to Cerebro in X Men First Class, some familiar mutants from the comics can be seen if you pause, with a young Storm being the most notable.
  • In one scene of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow in the fireplace a demonic face can be seen in it, the makers point this out in the behind the scenes feature.
  • In the Serial Killer thriller Mr. Brooks, Dane Cook's character's first name is only revealed if you pause the DVD and look closely at the newspaper article about him in one of the last scenes of the film.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, taking Scott's thought wheel frame-by-frame reveals some pretty funny responses/actions. The full list of responses and actions: "I gotta pee", "Who, her?", "It was nothing", "Pass out", "No, you are", "Tell Pac-Man story", "Uh...", "When's dinner?", "No speaka English", "Idiot!" "She's forty!", "She's nobody"
  • There's a brief scene in Attack the Block, where a map of the local area is shown. All the tower blocks and local streets are named after science fiction writers.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods you can match the items in the cellar to the names on the white board and to the monsters at the end.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the Law and Order episode "Rebels," Detective Curtis is reading a BBS posting about a murder in a bar. For a brief moment, Curtis's computer screen is visible. The email is the same paragraph repeated twice, followed by an extended rant by the prop guy, who wonders if he's filled up a screen yet with his nonsensical ramblings. Also, the email gets the name of the bar wrong.
    • In Criminal Intent, there is one episode where you get to see Eames' e-mail account briefly. The first mail is plot-relevant, the rest is from a shoe shopping site.
  • Babylon 5 had a few.
    • In the pilot movie "The Gathering", an assassin scans his hand to enter the quarters of a tech smuggler. Some fans with lucid freeze-frames on their VCRs noticed that the authorization message read, "Laurel Takashima cleared". This hinted at a plot in the planned arc in which it would turn out that Laurel Takashima, the executive officer of Babylon 5, was a mole from a hostile force. Unfortunately, between the pilot and the series, the character of Laurel Takashima was Put on a Bus and her planned plots divided between other characters.
    • In the Babylon 5 episode "And Now For a Word", a commercial for Psi-Corps has the line "The Corps is your friend, trust the Corps" flash for a brief moment.
    • In the Finale Credits pictures of the production and filming crew are inserted in this manner. With the narrator of the ISN Special Documentary telling the viewers at home who are recording the show what is about to happen.
  • The first half of Heroes S1 was very good at this, with tons of stuff in each episode. For instance, Suresh's map with color strings. There was bits of Foreshadowing regarding upcoming characters as early as the first episode. The folders in Old Suresh's file cabinet are labelled with the names of powers featured in later episodes. During the second half there was considerably less of this and in later seasons these little clues appear to be largely absent.
  • Every episode of everything by Chuck Lorre Productions: He uses his Vanity Plate like a blog (making the concept of blogging Older Than The Internet). And if you miss it, you can always find the archive on his site.
  • Lost has this in spades. Appearances by Jacob, the beechcraft in the corner of Charlie's dream, changing picture frames, briefly seen documents in the hatches...
    • Most notably, the Blast Door Map which, while only visible for several seconds, contains numerous references to future plot points, such as The Flame, Magnus Hanso as the captain of the Black Rock, the date of the Incident etc.
    • Once in a while, though, something the creators intended as a joke was noticed and overanalyzed to death by crazy fans, like the Dharma Shark, who was then jokingly named "Ezra James Sharkington" by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, and popped back up in a sixth-season episode, presumably as a Shout-Out to said crazy fans.
  • In later episodes of Home Improvement, the intro had "Watch Tool Time" flash quickly several times when the cast members were shown on screen. A screenshot of this can be found here.
  • In Doctor Who episode "The Time of Angels" you can quickly see that there's a bright red panic button on the Doctor's TARDIS keyboard.
    • In "A Good Man Goes To War" the soldiers who are being briefed about The Doctor are standing next to a display showing the Sonic Screwdriver and the text "1) Is not Sonic; 2) Is not a Screwdriver"
  • In Charlie Brooker's Newswipe, there's a bit where a list of the G20 bodies scroll across the screen, too fast to read. Slowing it down reveals that it says "..SPAIN THE NETHERLANDS THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT BOTTOM LAND NO NOT REALLY WE MADE THAT ONE UP AND YOU BOTHERED TO PAUSE THIS TO READ THE PHRASE "BOTTOM LAND" WHAT A DISMAL LITTLE PRICK YOU ARE THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH EAST ASIAN NATIONS THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION..."
  • Arrested Development pretty much abuses this trope and it's one of the main reasons that makes it Better on DVD.
  • At the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind", a character is seen in a classroom opening up a book which is supposed to be about assassination techniques. The page is shown just long enough for the audience to parse a more on-topic chapter heading, but most of the other text consists of the lyrics to "Happiness Is A Warm Gun".
  • In the season 1 Glee episode Hairography, Quinn Fabray and Noah "Puck" Puckerman get into a fight over the fact that Puck was sexting Santana Lopez during a babysitting gig with Quinn. The freeze-frame of Quinn searching his phone for evidence reveals that Puck might be the worse sexter ever; one sent message features the creative and eloquent line, "You so hot and stuff and stuff."
  • In an episode of Trailer Park Boys, a character reads a written note aloud as the camera focuses on it. After he is done, the camera pans down slightly for a split second to reveal extra text, which says "If you're freeze-framing this on DVD, you're fucked!"
  • On The Vampire Dairies Stefan is calling Isabel and on his phone you see a number, a real number, 919-399-2507. If you call it you get audio of Katherine, Stefan, and Damon taling about Klaus and who to trust.
  • In the opening sequence of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as the camera passes through a comet tail composed of shiny CG dust, there are images of the Kirk-era crew formed by said dust. Spock is the easiest one to see (they are very hard to make out, but but he's really there).
  • In the last episode of the first season of 24, as Nina Myers attempts to escape CTU after being exposed and covers her tracks, some pictures of the cast and crew are shown.
  • In the cold open of Community episode Basic Rocket Science, it's visible that the Dean's desktop wallpaper is of two people in dalmatian costumes, a Call Back to the season 1 finale.
    • In the second-season episode "Aerodynamics of Gender", Abed imagines himself as RoboCop with a first-person heads-up display. Reading the margins of the screen shows Abed reminding himself to record Cougar Town, keeping a running synopsis of the episode, and tracking the female characters' monthly cycles!
  • The dry-erase boards on Victorious.
  • The Mentalist episode "Seeing Red" briefly flashed a computers screen showing the charitable contributions of a wealthy murder victim. She wrote checks for "Organization for the fight to end Women's Suffrage", "Society for Teaching English to Americans", and "P.A.N.I.C. (People Against Namining Infants Chad)".


Music Videos[edit | hide]

  • There are two in Weird Al's White and Nerdy video. The first is at min 1:10 with a mock Trivial Pursuit question card with questions like "F.D.R. - Was he faking it?" and "What's the deal with Linsey Lohan? I mean, seriously". The other is at 1:50. The Wikipedia article he's editing (vandalizing) is Atlantic Records'. Al's James Blunt parody "You're Pitiful" was squashed by the label... he's less than pleased with the way they handled it.
  • 30 Seconds To Mars' Attack video, by way of superimposed writing and scribblings. Probably the only one in recorded history to use this to give a Shout-Out to their fanbase and equate the lead singer to Satan within the same timespan.
  • Specifically invoked in the Matthew Good video for Weapon. Initially upset with what the video's director had done with it, Good took control of the project and inserted every-other-frame videos, very quick flashes of words, and actually lengthy diatribes that you have to pause to be able to read. The video won a Juno (the Canadian Grammy), but because Good boycotts the Junos, the original director accepted the award...despite not really making it in the first place.
  • The All-American Rejects' "Dirty Little Secret" video features people who's faces are hidden by little cards that admit their dirty little secret, such as suspecting that their fiancee isn't the One or exactly what happened at church camp...


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • No More Heroes has the entire story of the last boss, which is told entirely in fast-forward. Travis explicitly fast-forwards it, to avoid raising the game's age rating. (Here it is slowed down, courtesy of Chip Cheezum's Let's Play.)
    • In the second game, second-to-last boss Alice Twilight burns a few pictures before her showdown with Travis. If you somehow take a good look at these pictures, you'll notice she has a husband and son and some form of link with similarly-named Margaret Moonlight.
  • Unreal Tournament has a smiley face painted on the front of the Flak Cannon's secondary fire shells, which is nearly impossible to notice in normal gameplay, except if you get headshot with a flak shell. Then that image is the last thing to go through your head.
    • The Redeemer missile object has "Adios!" scrawled on the side, fitting for a man-portable nuclear cruise missile.
    • Using console commands to drastically slow down the game speed (very drastically), it's possible to see exactly how the game handles decapitating headshots: the head of the character model simply shrinks down to a dot and a head gib is spawned. Not interesting from any plot perspective, but interesting nonetheless.
  • Time Splitters 2 does the same as Unreal Tournament (you can zoom in and see a tiny head using a sniper rifle at point blank). Team Fortress 2 also does it with the Eyelander/Skullcutter's kill animations. Furthermore, you can make a ragdoll in Garry's Mod appear to have no head by simply deflating it until it becomes invisible. This is because it's a lot easier for both the programmer and the computer/console to simply scale vertices or force them all into one point than to actually add to or take away from the 3D mesh.
  • Halo has these a lot of times on the bullet casings coming out of guns. However, in 2, on Legendary, you can see Jason Jones (Co-Founder of Bungie Studios) wearing only boxers with his hands behind his head, kneeling. What the hell were Bungie doing when that was took? Wait, don't answer that.
  • In the ending cinematic of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty while Snake is talking to Raiden, if you pause at the right point, and zoom into the crowd, a still-living Vamp is clearly visible.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z, the enigmatic Asakim Dorwin's Ley Buster attack ends with a Mind Rape that's designed to fuel Wild Mass Guessing. Most of the images that flash across the screen are (probably) merely gothic artwork with meaningless symbolism, but if paused at just the right time, others show possible clues to his past and connection with other characters and plotlines. It doesn't help that he even tells his opponent that he'll show them "my past, my sins, my fate, and my despair".
  • In Super Smash Bros., the characters have a typical electric damage animation for most of Pikachu's attacks. Many of them showing the skeleton of the attacked character. But, if you attack Samus, and pause in the right frame... you'll see her suitless model, with no clothes at all. She's really well done, but is faceless.
    • This resulted in a Good Bad Bug in the N64 game, where pausing at the right time after hitting her with Ness's PK Thunder would leave her like that.
  • The ending of Dragon Age 2 has one. Look at the book Varric and Cassandra are handling at just the right moment and you'll see an illustration of a woman who looks an awful lot like Morrigan.
  • Final Fantasy XIII had Siren, who was Boduhm's Fal'cie, almost completely removed from the game, except for one of the flashbacks when Serah tells Snow she's a l'cie.
  • The mission intro cutscenes for Modern Warfare.
    • Even more so for Black Ops, if you can manage to read through the microfiche dossiers before they are redacted. They give you a pretty good backgrounder on all of the characters, and the plot.
  • Several characters don't get closeups in the intro cutscene of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but are still visible in the background in battling other characters.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, a Dreamcast with controller is briefly seen just prior to Dr. Eggman firing the Wave Motion Gun to fracture the planet and awaken Dark Gaia.
    • It's in the frames where you get an overhead shot as Eggman has his finger in the air.
    • He also has the Dreamcast in his Egg-o-matic right before Dark Gaia emerges and swats him away.
  • Just before the Twilight Thorn appears in Kingdom Hearts II, there is a moment when Roxas turns around to see it appear. Just before it cuts to a close up of Roxas, you can see an Organization member, if only for a few frames.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 official short "Meet the Spy", pause at the beginning scene where it shows the list of alerts. You'll see some pretty funny ones listed.
  • Some of the Star Bit "constellations" seen in the backgrounds in both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, which only appear when Mario is traveling from one planet to another. You need to get those Star Bits immediately before Mario finally arrives on the next planet.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In the scene in Metal Gear Awesome where the player skips the long cutscene, slowing it down reveals some very strange drawings, and a screen with the handwritten text 'I wish people could see these drawings, I think they're pretty funny'.
  • The Atop the Fourth Wall episode on Newmen #1 has flashing "extreme!" text, at on the final repeat there also appears "if you can read this, you paused the video".
    • His New Guardians #2 video also has one, the end of which reads "Hi TV Tropes!"
    • The entire set of episodes leading up to Linkara's confrontation with the Entity involves staticky, split-second messages in the credits, presumably from the Entity itself.
  • The Ask That Guy With The Glasses episode 65 has this:

"Really? You went to read this knowing it would lead you straight to hell? What the Ass-Puke is wrong with you? It's friggin' Hell! Fire, pain, the Devil, it's worth that to see what this said? That Guy With The Glasses was just kidding when he said you were going to Hell, but now that you've actually come back to pause it, we have no choice. You're going to Lem. It's a place like Hell but ten times worse. It's not written about in the Bible because every time some one tried writing about it, they'd cut their own head off. It's THAT bad. So I hope it was worth it, I hope it was worth pausing this video for that. See ya in Lem ya miserable piece of donkey rectum. En- friggin- joy!"

  • The Gmod Idiot Box Episode 3 has a brief flash of "HE'S GOT A GUN"
  • The Nostalgia Critic's review of Junior, listing why men getting pregnant is a bad idea (includes gems such as "if a baby kicks, the man would probably kick back").
  • In Dead Fantasy Part V, the flickering in Tifa's flashback conceals text. Also, pausing at the moment right after Hayate knocks Tifa out will show a very, very brief image of a white materia in the middle of her back.
    • Also, all of Hayate's attacks and movements are animated - they just move so fast that they look like he's teleporting. You have to actually go through the video frame-by-frame to see what he's doing.
  • Marble Hornets uses these for horror rather than humor, to indicate something very wrong is going on.
  • A fan ending to Botchamania episode 166 (which uses voice clips from NFL Blitz 2001) has a bunch of these. Interspersed with images of random wrestlers and Wrestlecrap moments, there are a few jokes written about them that can only be seen on the screen for a fraction of a second (example: the announcer calls out "Fat" while showing an image of Samoa Joe, and the caption above Joe's head reads "Damn you, Scott Steiner promos! And your unintentional hilarity!" [1])
  • Too many YouTube Poops to count...
    • The user avojaifnot specializes in this though...
  • Pinisu-chan's essay in the first episode of Large Bagel begins with her trying to find out where she came from and if there are other Large Bagel's, only to change in the second paragraph to a Prince Of Bel Air parody.
  • In Paranoia Drift, an AMV that retells The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as delusions from Makoto's mind, there are a few frames at the beginning which read "This time while watching this video please remove all your emotional and logical effliction to this anime".
  • 5-Second Films does a lot of "Blink and Your Miss It" jokes. For example in "Meanwhile, in Kansas", the headline of the newspaper at the end reads, "Don't Enter Politics. It Can Turn Your Daughter Gay!"

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Futurama episode Jurassic Bark: In the museum, 'Coprolites[2] of the New York Knicks'
    • In the very first episode, Matt Groening's head is visible for exactly one frame in the Head Museum.
  • The season three finale of Venture Brothers has a single frame nip-slip of Dr. Girlfriend.
    • In universe, the Rusty Venture Show had single frames hiding clues that lead to the location of the ORB, which Billy decoded after years of research and luck.
  • The Simpsons: In the intro, the fast camera pan from a Springfield street to the Simpsons' garage looks like a blur at regular speed, but if you slow it down, you can see that it's actually a legitimate (albeit warped) pan across a HECK of a lot of characters.
    • The new Simpsons intro includes a billboard during the camera pan of Springfield. It changes every episode, but is usually impossible to read without freeze-frame.
    • If you think that's impressive, read the capsules and look for Freeze Frame Fun. For example, in 7F02, Homer initially marks his sex as female on the insurance form before changing it. (Yes, I'm one of them.)
    • In "Bart Star", in the scene where the Hills make a cameo, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer can be seen in the background.
    • An in-universe example when the cartoon "Danger Dog" is shown to the school, the creator freezes the frame showing that the chunks of barf are pictures of the animators' and their friends' heads.
    • If there's a sign for a public event in the Simpsons there's probably something hilarious and easily over looked, such as the "Semi-annual Halloween Festival" or the candy convention next to the candy shaped poison convention.
    • The Intro reveals that Maggie Simpson "scans" as $847.63 in the grocery store sequence.
      • In an in-universe example, one "behind the scenes" episode claimed that Maggie "scans" as NRA4EVER, with a fake freeze-frame to "prove" this.
    • Tons of book titles are seen in this freeze frame from "The Book Job". Tons of the books are titled, "Death to Freezeframers".
    • When Bart destroys Former President George Bush's memoirs in "Two Bad Neighbors", a small shred of paper briefly passes in front of the camera on which the words "V.P. Quayle" and "embarrassment" are legible.
  • Near the end of the Justice League episode "Starcrossed, Part III", there's a single-frame Hit Flash when Hro Talek strikes Hawkgirl. This frame is not pure white, but a very washed-out closeup picture of Hawkgirl screaming.
    • In the JLU episode Grudge Match Nightwing makes a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo as Black Canary and Huntress enter Bludhaven.
  • Pinky and The Brain: "I have made you use the freeze-frame button on your VCR."
    • The intro has this sentence briefly appear: "Don't tell Brain I hid this secret message. Ha ha Narf!"
  • Freakazoid! does this a lot in its end credit. One episode (which features an extremely long musical number involving the arch-villain the Lobe) contains a rather lengthy (and humorous) justification for it that is not legible without freeze frame: "One time a space ship full of aliens came down and kidnapped our writing staff. The aliens threatened to blow up the Earth with a solonite bomb unless the writing staff wrote a big, splashy musical number for the Lobe. The writing staff worked for days on the song. The aliens were so pleased with it they agreed not to blow up the Earth. So the next time someone says "I don't know why they did that real long musical number in Freakazoid," you can tell them. You can tell them of the time a rag-tag group of cartoon writers saved the Earth from destruction, and that each new day that dawns over this great, big blue planet of ours is due to these brave individuals."
    • And again in an episode that takes place at a sci-fi con. Cave Guy freaks out when a Klingon Freakazoid walks up to him and addresses him in a made up fictional language (yes, made up fictional. It's not a mistake.) The credits read at one point: We hope we haven't made fun of any of our fanbase by insulting Star Tre BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS BIG FAT STUPID KLINGONS.
    • And of course, Emmett Nervend. At the end of each episode they give you a helpful guide to the total number of times he's appeared.
  • Twice in the Mickey Mouse cartoon Runaway Brain, Zasu the hornbill from The Lion King appears on screen for a few frames. The first time, he's among the debris being sucked into the trap door, and later he comes out of the monster's mouth as he roars at Mickey.
  • Invader Zim: Every five episodes or so, there is a single frame flash of a bloodsoaked GIR. He has something of a blank stare on his face and is in red-eyed "Duty mode." The image itself can be found here.
    • In "The Girl Who Cried Gnome", while the camera is panning down to Zim's base after the robot gopher is summoned for the first time, one can see that there is an apparently live puppy buried somewhere between the Earth's surface and Zim's underground lair.
    • In "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom" for a couple of scenes a demonic Johnny of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac can be seen among the monsters.
  • One episode of Clone High features flashes just quick enough that you can tell they're going on throughout the episode. In one, Cleo's clothes vanish leaving her wearing only flower-shaped pasties; in another, the words "Scudworth is your favourite character" appear. In the finale episode, Joan of Arc is found naked in bed and quickly pulls the covers up over herself, but if you pause before she does so her left nipple is replaced with the word "NICE" and the right one with "TRY".
    • I BURIED PONCE
  • In the (John) Thomas Jefferson episode of Frankenhole, a scene in the White House's "Oval Office" features a rug with the moderately hard-to-read legend, "Was It Worth The TiVO Pause?".
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Two Face," it's easy to spot in normal viewing, but still cool to freeze frame Harvey Dent's gruesome half foreshadowed in a flash of lightning.
    • At the end of the episode "The Grey Ghost", look at the top of the blown up People magazine cover when they pan up to show it clearly, and you'll see "Matt Hagen: Man of a Thousand Faces" across the top above the People logo.
  • Not so easy to spot, but knowing what they did in the above example, you know to go back and look for it. In the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past," Just as Ra's Ah Ghul in the body of Talia is about to run through Batman (Terry McGinnis) with a sword, he catches the blade in his hands and delivered the sword into the computer's control panel. This sends a highly visible electrical current but non-lethal electrocution enveloping Talia's body where in a couple of frames, Ra's Ah Ghul, whose essence had completely usurped Talia's existence, is seen matching Talia's agony during the electrocution.
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Mxyzptlkated", Jimmy hands Clark a comic strip page featuring the titular Mr. Mxyzptlk. There are other comics on the page, Dini The Meany (parodying Calvin and Hobbes and Dennis the Menace and also referencing one of the show's producers, Paul Dini), Gleen (parodying Peanuts), Dan Danger (parodying Dick Tracy) and Zub Street (parodying Momma). You cannot read these strips without freeze framing. Check out the screengrab!
    • A less humorous one that's mentioned in the commentary is in the episode where Lex Luthor makes a deal with Brainiac. If you freeze during the bright flash when Brainiac's ship opens, you can see Krypton. The commentary implies that it was a Throw It In moment.
  • Besides the page picture, Family Guy also did this screengrab
  • In the early Betty Boop cartoons some of them would contain a single frame of a nude Betty.
  • In the 90's Looney Tunes short "CarrotBlanca" when Daffy is carrying Bugs' luggage he trips and drops it and for a few frames Elmer Fudd can be seen falling from it.
  • In an episode of Regular Show called "But I Have A Receipt," Mordecai and Rigby are spreading the word about how terrible a RPG The Realm Of Darthon is. One scene they show people all the classes of the game, and Mordecai proceeds to flip through the game book. It looks like a blur after the first couple pages, but if you have a quick pause button finger, you can see classes such as Scorpion Lawyer, Goat-Legged Dude, and Space Colon in the book.
  • Right at the end of Fluttershy's song in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Cutie Mark Chronicles", there is a single frame showing Rainbow Dash darting downward from the corner of the screen just before the sonic rainboom.
    • In the first episode, when Twilight is talking about Nightmare Moon and the Hourglass passes over the unicorn head statue in the background, it changes to look like Nightmare Moon, going back when it is no longer behind the Hourglass.
    • In "Party of One", during Pinkie Pie's Sanity Slippage, her normal Genki Girl look appears in place of her morose form in single frames.
    • Derpy's cameos are sometimes this, for example in "May the Best Pet Win" and "Sweet and Elite".
  • In South Park episode "Damien", when Damien makes things fly in the cafeteria, you can see Mr. Hankey flying across the screen.
  • In a Sealab2021 episode, Sparks recognizes a line Marco uses for inspiration. As he cycles through his library of movies, a good majority of them (read: all but one) were tentacle-rape hentai, all with hilarious titles and descriptions, but only shown for a second at most.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory during the episode "Dexter's Rival", during a scene with Dexter at his school desk, if you pause before the camera zooms in on Dexter there is a Bart Simpson-esque character at the desk to the left.
  • The Beatles cartoon episode "Strawberry Fields" has the boys being pummeled by rocks and mudballs by a gang of frightened orphan children at a run-down orphanage. During the pummeling, a zoom-in of a cartoon rendition of Private Gripweed—John Lennon's character in the movie How I Won The War—can be seen.
  • The Powerpuff Girls 10th anniversary special "Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!" features an extremely brief shot of Miss Bellum's face. It had never been seen during the series run (1998-2005).
  • In the Home Movies episode "Curses", Brandon mentions he thought his censored movie was so boring he threw in brief frames of dogs having sex. If you go frame-by-frame around this moment, you will see one.
  • In The Problem Solverz episode "Funny Facez", many characters from past and future episodes appear in the audience at the funny face show.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Real You", Finn puts on mind-enhancing magical glasses, and an Astronomic Zoom happens to establish his sudden understanding of the universe. When it zooms in on Ooo (the planet), you may not think that there's anything odd about it. But if you pause just as it flashes by, you can see that the planet has an enormous crater in it. Like, a moon-sized crater.
    • Ooo is the name of the countryside where Finn and Jake live. The planet, according to Word of God, is Earth.
    • A snail makes a brief appearance in the background roughly Once Per Episode (complete list of appearances here). As of the season 2 finale, it has been possessed by The Lich.
  • In the Ren and Stimpy episode "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen" when they give there victory cheer and throw their hats and kilts up in the air along with an intestine, right before it falls out of frame a turd wearing a kilt pops out of it.
  • In the Animaniacs episode "Garage Sale of the Century" in the scene where the neighborhood gangs up on the bear to get their money back if you pause it frame by frame you can see Batman, Buster, Babs, and Dizzy from Tiny Toons, and the Marx Brothers among the crowd members.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • If you slow down the scene in "The Waterbending Master" where Zuko's ship is blown up with him in it, you can actually see him creating a fire shield to protect himself.
    • "The Serpent's Pass" has a scene where the Obstructive Bureaucrat has the Cabbage Merchant's cart of cabbages violently destroyed because they might carry a parasite that could spread through the whole city. As the DVD Commentary points out, freezing when the pieces of cabbage are flying around shows he really did have a cabbage slug.
  1. a reference to an interview from 2009 where Steiner calls Joe a "fat slob"
  2. fossilized animal feces