Nosy Neighbor

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Abner! Come quick!

A neighbor (usually female) who just cannot keep to herself. Usually a grotesquely stereotyped shrewish gossip, she is always on the lookout for delicious secrets and rumors about the characters, which is emphasized by showing her peering suspiciously around her curtains at least once an episode.

They usually come in two types. The female type is the epitome of niceness, which serves as an excuse for her chronic curiosity—she will show up on the characters' doorstep with a fresh baked pie while peering inside over their shoulder. Sometimes the only problem with her is that she always shows up at the wrong time -- Nosy Neighbors have a tendency to appear and initiate a long chat when there is something in the other room needing the character's attention that they would rather not let others know about.

The second type is closer to the Cranky Neighbor, and generally just wants to be left alone—until the main characters start acting suspiciously and he feels that he needs to protect his interests and verify that they are not doing anything that may disturb their peace. This usually ends with them going further and getting more involved than intended.

Occasionally a horror trope, when this starts to border on serious stalking.

See also Secret-Chaser for when there is some huge secret to be kept hidden from this neighbor.

Examples of Nosy Neighbor include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sally's elderly next door neighbors in Mahoutsukai Sally.


  • Mrs. Lorelei Brown on My Favorite Martian (TV).
  • That neighbor in the movie Hard Candy fits this trope nicely.
  • Hitchcock's Rear Window.
  • Madeline "Matty" Crimmins from Stepfather II, a gossip and mail courier who digs through her neighbor's mail as a hobby. She winds up strangled to death by the killer.
  • Minnie and Roman in Rosemary's Baby inserted themselves into the lives of their much younger neighbors, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse, much to Rosemary's annoyance.
  • In Earth Girls Are Easy, Geena Davis's elderly neighbor uses a parabolic microphone to listen in.


  • Much of Brian Aldiss's novel Report on Probability A is taken up with exhaustive descriptions of three men spying on a house from three of its outbuildings, attempting to catch a glimpse of the elusive Mr Mary's Wife through the windows.
  • Petunia Dursley of Harry Potter is noted several times to be far too interested in her neighbours' doings.
  • As far as Stephanie Crawford from To Kill a Mockingbird is concerned, she absolutely must know everything. She is a Gossipy Hen too.

Live Action TV

  • Alfred Hitchcock parodied his own film Rear Window with the episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called "Mr Blanchard's Secret", involving a Nosy Neighbor who is convinced her neighbor killed his never seen wife.
  • Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek on ALF.
  • The next-door neighbors in Small Wonder were highly obnoxious versions of this trope, their casual antics often more memorable than any of the main plots, even ones where they were involved. But they unintentionally gave the syndie show a near Crowning Moment of Awesome when the Dad/Inventor finally up and decided to use the android girl VICI as part of a plot to force these neighbors to move away, once and for all. It didn't work, but it made so much sense to try.
  • Gladys Kravitz of Bewitched is a particularly famous example.
  • Three's Company had Mr. Roeper and, later, Mr. Furley, both of who were created as old curmudgeons who would walk in at the wrong moment and be scandalized.
  • Mrs. Fowler on Nanny and the Professor.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Superman: The Animated Series : A 50-year-old wife is watching Superman and Maxima fight at a construction site. Her husband, newspaper blocking his view, tells her to stop spying on the neighbors.

Wife: Now they're kissing!
Husband: Don't get any ideas!

  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Barb always bursts into the house unannounced, and when she suspects that the Lunis' have a new pet, she's desperate to find out what it is.

Newspaper Comics

  • Pretty much Mary Worth's whole schtick. The Comics Curmudgeon takes it to memetic levels; the whole world is her neighbor, and only her meddling can save it.