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Lucy: If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formation...What do you think you see, Linus?
Basically looking at clouds and what shape they resemble. Often done in Real Life, but fiction will of course play around with it. Sometimes the cloud will literally look like the thing, for one. The official term for this is "pareidolia".
Sometimes, just to be funny, someone will say "It looks like mashed potatoes / marshmallow / an airborne agglomeration of moisture!"
- This is how Shute and Captain start to bond in SD Gundam Force.
Shute: That cloud looks like you!
- Used in an episode of The Amazing Final Fantasy Race, a fanfic that combines the characters of the Final Fantasy series with the format of The Amazing Race. Blank from Final Fantasy IX and Lucil from Final Fantasy X 2 argue over whether a cloud looks like a dragon or a chocobo.
- In Up, it happened in the montage with Ellie and Carl.
- Played straight in The Agony and the Ecstasy, where Charlton Heston's Michelangelo sees a vision of "The Creation of Adam" in the clouds and is inspired to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
- The opening scene of the film version of James and the Giant Peach
- The young Amelie took pics of these clouds with her secondhand Instamatic camera.
- Variation: Shrek 2 has Donkey mentioning "that bush that looks like Shirley Bassey".
- During a rather entertaining Quidditch match in Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, Luna Lovegood was not interested in such "mundane" things such as the score, and kept trying to draw the crowd's attention away from the game to "interestingly shaped" clouds.
- The children in The Candymakers do this. One boy has dyslexia, and wishes that doing this was taught in school instead of reading.
- The picture book It looked like spilt milk is all about this.
- In The Dragon Hoard: Jasleth, faced with a group of men with hostile intent, attempts to distract them by engaging them in a conversation about the shape of a cloud. It doesn't work.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Imaginary Friend":
Data: I believe what you are seeing is the effect of the fluid dynamic processes inherent in the large-scale motion of rarefied gas.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "This Side of Paradise". Spock and his girlfriend Leila Kalomi are looking at clouds.
Spock: That one looks like a dragon. You see the tail and the dorsal spines?
- On The Golden Girls, Rose said she saw a cloud that looked just like a cotton ball.
- Another gag has Sophia saying she's going to hang out with the 'Cloud Society', which entails the group getting drunk and saying what they think the clouds look like.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A slight variation in the episode "Listening to Fear" with Willow and Tara on a roof at night, making up new names for constellations of stars.
- The Meteorological Mix of Kate Bush's The Big Sky has several examples scattered throughout in different voices, mostly starting with the title of this trope. (From 'That cloud looks like Ireland' through 'That cloud looks like cumulus castelis' to 'This cloud should be removed immediately!'... Did I mention this was Kate Bush?)
- Done in a Bloom County strip, where Binkley sees prosaic things, and Milo sees something along the lines of "a galloping herd of appaloosa, nostrils flaring, hooves pounding; astride the lead beast rides the lithesome form of Meryl Streep".
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin described one as looking like "a bunch of suspended water and ice particles".
- There's a good one in the Cul De Sac comic strip where Alice sees an Eldritch Abomination in the clouds. Her description of it leaves her friend Benni cowering on the ground.
- The page quote comes from a classic Peanuts strip. The gag (and dialogue) were later used in one of the stage musicals based on the comic strip.
- BC did a few, such as "all the ills suffered by mankind" (a mushroom cloud) and "the dust cloud raised by a herd of stampeding mammoths" (cue stomping as it turns out it is, indeed, the dust cloud raised by a herd of stampeding mammoths).
- Garfield also had a few clouds, such as one that resembled Odie, the same ears, the same stupid expression...
Garfield: (being rained on) The same slobber...
- Another time, Jon observed that one cloud looked "just like a cloud." After a Beat Panel, Garfield asked, "which one?"
- Of course, Hamlet is just doing this to mess with Polonius' head.
- This Count Your Sheep strip.
- Played straight and then immediately parodied in Concerned. Oh, you and your imagination.
- Perry Bible Fellowship naturally has one.
- In Absurd Notions, a cloud is remarkably cloud-shaped. Also,
Jag: What about that one?
- In Sinfest, this starts in that direction — to veer off and talk of seeing pollution.
- This Dummy Duck strip.
- Spoofed in Powerpuff Girls. In a Flash Back, Bubbles was talking about the clouds she was looking at, ending with, "And one looked like a cloud."
- Done in The Simpsons in the episode where Bart steals the head off a statue. He's hanging around with some anti-social kids who see people being stabbed and the like in the clouds.
- In a Simpsons comic, Homer is going on a diet, but all of the clouds look like donuts to him.
- Parodied in SpongeBob SquarePants when Spongebob and Sandy go cloud-gazing. Spongebob remarks: "That one looks like a flower!"...except all the "clouds" are flower-shaped.
- Lampshaded by Sandy: "Spongebob...all the clouds look like flowers...all the time?"
- In one episode of Arthur, they're comparing Mr. Ratburn's class with the class next door: both are studying clouds, but while Mr. Ratburn's students are going to the library to look up stratus and cumulonimbus and cirrus clouds, the kids in the class next door are lying on a hillside and telling each other what shapes they see.
- In the Recess episode when the gang are all mentoring kindergartners, Mikey and his younger counterpart bond by looking at clouds together.
- In The Lion King 2, Kiara and Kovu look at the constellations, a scene reminiscent of that in the first movie with Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba. This is how Kiara first gets a feel for how it is for those in exile.
- The opening of the episode "It's a Bird, It's a Plane... It's an Elephant?" of PB&J Otter finds Peanut and Jelly Otter doing this. They even make up a song about it, called "Imaginings." "When you open up your eyes, looking high into the skies / Wondrous things things, imaginings, come soaring by and by!"