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When I was a girl I'd sneak in the boys locker room
—Lonely Island (feat. Nicki Minaj), "Do the Creep"
The Peeping Tom is a character who gets his kicks from non-consensual voyeurism — spying on others in explicit situations without their permission or knowledge. Peeping Toms are often driven by a fetishistic urge, deriving pleasure not just from the act of spying itself, but from the thrill of the potential for getting caught. This is, unfortunately, a case of Truth in Television, as acts of peeping are reported in all cultures around the world, their goal made easier each year as Technology Marches On.
The methods of peeping can vary from work to work, from the classic depiction of a pervert peering through windows to watch people changing clothes, to Naughty Birdwatching through the use of telescopes or binoculars, to the tech-savvy voyeur who sets up hidden cameras in bathroom stalls. While these characters are commonly male, a female Peeping Tom (or "Peeping Tammy", if you will) is plausible. Characters who focus their attention on only the subject of their unrequited affection may be both The Peeping Tom and a Stalker with a Crush.
In more dramatic stories, it is rare for a Peeping Tom character to be shown in a sympathetic light. In works where this trope is played for laughs, however, a Chivalrous Pervert may show some Peeping Tom tendencies.
A subtrope of Girl Watching. Sometimes overlaps with Outdoor Bath Peeping in cases where the spying is intentional. An innocent character who is wrongfully accused of being a Peeping Tom is instead an Accidental Pervert.
Anime & Manga
- The main character of Underdog sets up hidden cameras to spy on women around his college campus, so that he can later edit their pictures into pornographic images. Despite his status as a protagonist, this portrayal is anything but sympathetic.
- In Ranma ½, Nodoka, Ranma's mother, has a definition of "manliness" that includes a man must be a peeping tom.
- Toad Sage Jiraiya in Naruto spied on girls in hot springs all the time. He called it "research." Somewhat justified in that he was a popular author of trashy romance novels.
- In Love Hina, three of the girls spy on Keitaro trying to kiss a sleeping Naru during one of their study sessions due to being bored/curious. Naru apparently was awake the whole time, and gives Keitaro a nice punch, followed by poking her finger into the three holes that Kitsune drilled and were being used by the girls as punishment for spying on her.
- In Sora no Otoshimono, Tomoki takes it to the extreme by having Ikaros stop time while he gallivants around the city, stripping down high school girls all around. He actually shrinks himself and sticks himself in the cleavage of another girl.
- In Green Green, the male supporting cast does get caught up on this in pretty much every episode.
- In the third season of The Familiar of Zero, some of the male students have dug a tunnel so they can peep on the girls in the bath. They then try to cheer up Saito by inviting him along, but have to actually drag him there since he's reluctant to get into more trouble with Louise. Predictably they get caught and everyone ends up in trouble.
- Serial Experiments Lain: Lain is a peeping tom.
- In Prison School, this is what got the male protagonists into trouble in the first place.
- This is a running gag on Chilean comic book Condorito, as he tends to spy on young women as they are bathing, undressing or skinny dipping. Sometimes he gets to go away with it, other times he gets beaten into a pulp.
- Mark Hamill's The Black Pearl is an unusual quasi-heroic example.
- In an issue of JLA, Wonder Woman is at home, about to change her clothes, and suddenly turns and addresses the red and yellow light fixture on the wall: "If my body were the last thing you ever saw, would it be worth it?" Plastic Man gets the hint and leaves with a sulk
- In Back to The Future, the then-teenage George McFly spies on his future wife, Lorraine, from a tree next to her window. This becomes a crucial plot point as this is the point where Marty alters history. When George falls out of the tree, Marty pushes him out of the way of an oncoming car... accidentally preventing his parents' original meeting.
- In Animal House, Bluto Blutarsky uses a ladder to peer through the second-story window of a sorority house.
- The Lambdas in Revenge of the Nerds take this trope to an extreme by installing surveillance cameras in all the bedrooms and showers of the Pi Delta Pi sorority house.
- The horror film Peeping Tom is about a serial killer who films himself killing girls with the use of a hidden camera. It was directed by Michael Powell, a well-known English director of the 1940s and 1950s, and the subject matter was so controversial in its day that it more or less ended Powell's career in the United Kingdom.
- The famous shower room scene from Porky's shows the guys cutting a hole into the wall of the gym shower to spy on the girls, but get a surprise when Ms. Balbricker comes in.
- In Rear Window, the main character is a photographer who broke his leg and thus confined to his apartment. Feeling bored, he starts spying on his neighbors, and eventually becomes convinced that one of them killed his wife.
- The entire film Alone With Her is shown through the spy cameras the main character has hidden in his clothes and his love interest's home.
- Jon Lovitz plays one in the first scene of Little Nicky — when he gets knocked out of his tree, we follow him all the way down to Hell.
- Older Than Steam: The Trope Namer is a tailor named Tom from a 17th century version of the legend of Lady Godiva, who is the only person in town to go against the Lady's proclamation and spies on her nude horseback ride through town. According to the legend, Tom bored a hole through his window shutters in order to catch a glimpse of Godiva, and was struck blind for the trouble.
- In Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Moaning Myrtle admits that she sometimes spies on prefects in the bath. It must suck being stuck with (ghostly?) teenage hormones for eternity while having no possible outlet what with being a ghost and all. Anyway, her voyeurism is the subject of the Wizard Rock song "Prefects are Hot" by the Moaning Myrtles.
- In an episode of The Benny Hill Show, Benny is peeping through a beautiful woman's window when a policeman grabs him by the shoulder and says, "You are under arrest for being a Peeping...". At this point the woman starts undressing and both Benny and the policeman can only stand there, entranced by the view. Once the woman is down to bra and panties she draws the shades (still unaware that she was being watched) and the policeman grabs Benny again and finishes his arrest by saying, "Tom!"
- The X-Files episode "Red Museum" features a man who secretly records everyone living in his building from inside their bathrooms.
- In Married... with Children Bud has drilled a hole into the shower room to watch girls shower. Al says, "That's low son." Bud hangs his head in shame. Al continues, "No, the hole is too low, all you'll see is their knees. Drill it higher!"
- A particularly disgusting example appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: a man who hid cameras inside public toilets.
- At least one episode of CSI ("Strip Strangler") deals with a peeping tom who escalates to rape and murder.
- Brian the peeping Tom on Maury.
- Birkhoff from Nikita spyed on Alex as she worked out by hacking her apartment security camera. Given the context she is more creeped out that Division could have been spying on her all along than by his peeping.
- On an episode of The Equalizer, Chris Elliott has a brief part as a Peeping Tom — here he's just a harmless creep and not the bad guy of the story.
- In the second half of the Freddy's Nightmares episode "Freddy's Tricks and Treats," a medical school student (played by a 24-year-old Mariska Hargitay!) has a dream recorded on tape: after noticing two peeping Toms outside her window, she does a very tantalizing striptease for them, down to her bra and panties, But the recording suddenly ends as she starts to pull up her bra.
- Lonely Island: Played for equal amounts of laughs and Squick in "Do the Creep", which features Jorm, Akiva, and Andy sitting on a tree limb to peep through a window, and Nicki Minaj hiding in a locker to watch boys change after gym.
- Placebo have a song called "Peeping Tom", which focuses on the psychology of the titular character, who has been "On my own for far too long".
- Evanescence's "Snow White Queen" hints that the subject of the song is being watched.
Undress in the dark and hide from you all of you
- "Voyeur" by Blink-182:
I wish she'd be more kind now / I'm out of luck 'cause the shades are pulled down / I've seen everything there is to be shown / I followed her all the way home.
- Halestorm's "I Get Off" is a rock song about what happens when The Peeping Tom meets The Exhibitionist, from the POV of the exhibitionist gleefully Playing to the Fetishes.
- In the "Secret Garden" cutscene in Devil Survivor 2 Daichi and Joe decide to spy on the female cast members' physical exam.The main character can join them too, leading to several minor What the Hell, Hero? moments later on.
- Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen, Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold and SoulSilver has an old man standing outside the Celadon Gym looking through the windows into it. He comments that "this Gym is great. It's full of women!"
- Both Lloyd and Emil end up as Accidental Perverts in the Tales of Symphonia games. They add "Peeping Tom" to your character's list of stat-boosting Titles.
- In the Tokimeki Memorial series, if you're a member of a club, you'll have an option to go peep at the bathrooms during the summer's training camp. You'll have to choose among three windows, which randomly grant you safe-for-work CGs of cute girls or ugly macho men bathing. Peeping has a hefty price though: All the girls you know will have a severe drop in affection towards you, particularly those in the same club as yours, if you peeped at girls; and if you watched at men, your Stress parameter sharply goes up.
- In Mitsumete Knight, if the Asian (the player avatar) works part-time as a beach lifeguard in summer, he randomly can get at peeping at girls he knows via a nautical telescope. Aside from getting a safe-for-work CG of the girl peeped at wearing a swimsuit, and a drop in affection from her, you get, like in the Tales of Symphonia example, the "Peeping Tom" (Nozokiya) Title for your List of Titles.
- In Super Paper Mario it is heavily implied that TEC (a sentient, super-intelligent computer) develops a crush on Peach after watching her shower. Not that it's his fault, as he was just doing what Grodus told him to.
- Karate Bears Webomic: A bear peeps through a window.
- In Misfile, Ash apparently had a fantasy about peeping into the girls' locker room. However, after a Gender Bender transformation, it loses its appeal and Ash is squicked out when she finds herself on the receiving end of it actually happening.
- The Simpsons: Groundskeeper Willy outs himself as one when he reveals he has a videotape proving that Homer didn't sexually harass a college girl.
Willy: "Homer! I love amateur video, and your show is the most amateur video I ever saw. My hobby is secretly videotaping couples in cars. I dinna come forward because in this country, it makes you look like a pervert — but every single Scottish person does it!"
- Also on The Simpsons: The ladies call Moe Szylak "Hey you from behind the bushes".
- The G.I. Joe episode "The Gamemaster" has many Getting Crap Past the Radar moments, one of which being how the eponymous villain captures Lady Jaye while she's changing clothes in a department store changing room. "I do not have a crush on her, Koko!" he exclaims in response to a comment from his Robot Buddy.