Paparazzi

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"You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God, the British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do,

Unbribed, there's no occasion to."
Humbert Wolfe,

While some newspaper publishers use the term "Paparazzi" to cover all photographers, the word usually takes on more negative connotations - those of gutter journalism and invasions of privacy.

This is a staple of pretty much any work of fiction dealing with celebrities - the characters will inevitably have to deal with paparazzi who are looking for a story to sell at some point, no matter how it affects the lives of the story's subjects, or what laws the paparazzi break in the process of getting the story. This can be considered the flipside or Evil Counterpart to the Intrepid Reporter.

The paparazzi are Acceptable Targets and may well be victims of a Take That. Typically they are working for a Strawman News Media outlet.

"Papped" has become a verb for being photographed by these people.

Examples of Paparazzi include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Full Moon o Sagashite, Mitsuki has to evade a reporter who could expose her secret.
  • The main characters in the Boys Love series Haru wo Daiteita are both television and movie actors who constantly weather the Tabloid Melodrama, and are chased by "freelance journalist" Urushizake on his motor scooter.
  • Hajime Shibata's ex boss Inagaki in Hell Girl was one. He ends up sent to Hell by one of his victims, a young man whom he framed alongside his Disappeared Dad.
  • In Nana, Nana and Ren's relationship is exposed, leading to a media frenzy. Yasu's Crowning Moment of Awesome comes when he decks one of them.
  • in Digimon Savers, Yoshino gets pursued down the street when she's linked with a pop singer.
  • Blassreiter likes to portray all news media as swarming, sensationalist vultures whenever the Demoniacs (especially Gerd) is involved. It gets to the point where it seems like the XAT's job is half dealing with the Demoniacs and half dealing with the seemingly omnipresent news choppers and vans.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - A Paparazzi is hired by Kuroi to dig up dirt on the 765PRO Idols.
  • Showing that this is a YMMV Trope, Bubblegum Crisis OAV 8 has the character Lisa Vanette, who in her own eyes is a photojournalist and in the Knight Sabers' eyes is a paparazzo.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Hyraxx De Mofiti from Buck Godot probably counts. She's a tabloid journalist that at first keeps chasing after Buck in order to find answers for such questions as what colour of clothes does the resident Sufficiently Advanced Alien wears and whther or not the space station is haunted by Elvis. Later on she ends up helping Buck by digging up some information he needs, tho.
  • Peter Parker. Yes, he has been this. In his first meeting with Doctor Octopus he catches the man holding some hospital staff hostage. All fine and well...but the only reason Peter was at that hospital in the first place was that the police and the hospital had refused to let the press in to take photos of Octopus, who at the time was little more than the victim of a horrible lab accident. In other words, Peter broke into a hospital to secretly take pictures of an injured man. He's totally nonchalant about it too and made a remark along the lines of "I've never heard of a hospital keeping people out with regards to his plan to sneak in.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The word "paparazzi" comes from the character Paparazzo in Federico Fellini's film La Dolce Vita.
  • TV reporter Richard Thornburg in Die Hard 1 and 2.
  • A Hard Days Night deals with this during the press conference scene. At one point, a photographer fills a reel of film with George Harrison making faces into the camera.
  • The main character of The Naked Truth.
  • In preparation for starring in and directing The Interview Steve Buscemi spent some time disguised as a papparazzi photographer.
    • He also played a papparazzi photographer in "Delirious".
  • The film Spice World includes a paparazzi that stalks the Spice Girls, trying to get some story out of them. He apparently has superpowers that include being able to travel through the plumbing and emerge out of a toilet. However, he still fails to get anything until near the end, where he gets pictures of the Spice Girls' friend after childbirth, prompting the girls to chase him down. Once they catch him, he becomes a whimpering moron (something they actually comment on).
  • Freddy Lounds in Red Dragon. He gets his.
  • The rare paparazzi hero: Leon Bernstein (played by Joe Pesci) in The Public Eye. Based on the real life photog Weegee.
  • In That Old Feeling, Bette Midler plays a movie star who is frequently chased by a certain paparazzo.
  • The film Papparazzi is about an actor who's life is almost destroyed by evil paps who cause a car accident that land the actor's 9 year old son in the hospital in intensive care, break into his home, harrass and terrify the rest of his family, etc. He then spends the rest of the movie murdering all the paparazzi that wronged him.
  • And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird: After reporter Alice hears about Josh and Max's secret robot, she pursues the story to the point of breaking and entering and airing footage obtained from shooting through house windows.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter. Though technically she's not a photographer herself, the rest of her characterization fits and she generally strings one (named "Bozo") along with her.
  • Paparazzi, obviously.
  • In The Truth William De Worde and his flock are intrepid reporters. In the other books they are often portrayed as this to the main characters.
  • James Herbert's novel Creed is about a paparazzo stumbling upon a satanic cult.
  • Nearly all the media in Rewind is portrayed like this, as they obsess over the seventeen Rewound children to the point of being Strawmen Newcrews. Starts with ABC and NBC reporters cussing each other out while fighting for a good position to film from, and just goes downhill from there.
  • Hallis Saper, a documentarian in Starfighters of Adumar, is mentioned to have gotten her start in "sludgenews", Star Wars' equivalent. It did teach her some valuable lessons.
  • In Death: Just about every reporter, except for Nadine Furst, is this.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Adam-12: The episode "Good Cop: Handle With Care" (from early in the series' second year) had a pair of rouge journalists—one armed with a camera, their car outfitted with a police radio) -- targeting cops to fish for a police brutality story; eventually, officers Reed and Malloy become their marks. Throughout the course of the episode, the "journalists" use many of the tactics associated with the paparazzi as they harass the officers as they respond to a dead body call and deliver a death message to a woman. The main incident sees the pair take incriminating pictures of the officers as they deal with a stoned suspect; while taking him in for booking, the suspect began shaking uncontrollably and hit his nose against the seat frame of the car while Reed was trying to control him – the "reporter" half of the duo makes it out to be a case of police brutality. In the end, the journalists show up as Reed and Malloy are trying to take three bank robbery suspects into custody; Malloy tells them to leave, but they insist on staying and—claiming they had not been read their rights, and that they had been arrested at random—provoke one of the criminals into shooting an innocent bystander (who later dies). The journalists are deeply remorseful as Malloy tells them, "Now you know (they really were robbers)."
  • An episode of You're Under Arrest featured a celebrity who was driving dangerously, due to the paparazzi chasing him.
    • Which, when you think about it, might be a callback to the accusations that paparazzi were responsible for the crash of Princess Diana's car, due to them pursuing the car she was in, which went to unsafe speeds to get away from them and caused said crash.
  • An episode of Law and Order had the victim of the week get chased into oncoming traffic by a paparazzo who wanted her opinion on her husband's affair. Once he was found to not be complicit in her death, he got shot; when his death is announced at a restaurant frequented by the rich and powerful, everyone applauds.
  • The mockumentary Being Michael Madsen is basically Michael Madsen vs. the papparazzi, who are trying to implicate him in the disappearance of a young actress. Of course we don't really blame the papparazzi because Madsen is Adam Westing in the vein of every psycho he's ever played.
  • Reporter Kim hounds the Boy Band A.N.JELL looking for a scoop in the Korean Series You Are Beautiful.
  • Paparazzi are one of Bill O'Reilly's major targets. Which is made doubly hilarious because he is a huge fan of ambush interviews and made his name working for Inside Edition, a Live Action Tabloid. The Daily Show played a clip where he transitioned from an ambush interview on a bus to an exasperated condemnation of Paparazzi without pausing.
  • The third series of Primeval features a journalist who chases the protagonists around, trying to get proof of their work and expose it to the public. He and his boss are crushed underfoot by a Giganotosaurus while trying to film it.
    • Not to mention the Series Two special Through the Anomaly...

"Don't you just hate the Paparazzi?" *click* [sighs and shakes head]

  • An annoying guy who seems determined to annoy the protagonist is a recurring character in Hannah Montana, once FOLLOWING HER HOME to find out where she lived. It gets worse when Miley is forced to pretend that her brother is her boyfriend.
  • In the episode "Ships in the Night" of NCIS, the team is trying to track down the Paparazzi to see if they can confirm the alibi of a suspect. Leading to the following conversation:

Gibbs: DiNozzo!
Tony: Checking into the paparazzi, boss.
Ziva: For being everywhere, they're surprisingly difficult to track down.
Agent Borin: Kind of like termites or roaches.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The former TNA tag team Paparazzi Productions, consisting of Alex Shelley, Johnny Devine, a cheap digital camcorder and a complete lack of shame.
    • Also MNM had their own personal paparazzi who would snap photos of them as they walked to the ring and sometimes stick around to take pictures of their matches as well. This was dropped for Joey Mercury while he was fired and Melina once she turned Face, while Johnny Nitro stopped it shortly after becoming John Morrison.

Music[edit | hide]

  • The music video for Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone" (the song itself isn't actually about the media).
    • Michael Jackson actually had made several songs reflecting on or inspired by his relationship with the media, such as "Scream", "D.S.", and "Stranger in Moscow" from his History album.
      • "Privacy" from Invincible
  • Britney Spears - "Piece of Me"
  • Brooke Hogan - "About Us"
  • Xzibit laments "sellout rappers" encouraging media attention and scrutiny in his 1996 breakout song "Paparazzi".
  • Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" has some picture-taking lyrics ("Got my flash on it's true, need that picture of you"), but is more about stalking fans.
  • Lindsay Lohan - "Rumors"
  • "Dirty Laundry" predates popular use of the term, but is a screaming Take That to the callous, superficial, and sensationalistic hack journalism that keeps paparazzi in business.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "TMZ" starts out as a song about how paparazzi harass celebrities, then halfway through changes to pointing out that a number of things that celebrities do in view of the press are really stupid.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • After Fluttershy of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic became a famous model in "Green Isn't Your Color", these started hounding her wherever she went.
  • Aaahh Real Monsters: A paparazzi named Exposa once 'flashed' Ickis, snapping his picture and attempting to reveal the existance of monsters with a front-page headline.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  1. but be quick on the right trigger: she'll dodge the first time and knock you out if you mess up the second interrupt