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"What is wrong with this picture?" is a game often found in children's magazines or books (for example, the back cover of Highlights for Children magazine features a WiWWTP based on the front cover illustration) in which a picture of an otherwise normal scene contains some unusual elements not typically found in that setting, or in reality. For example, the picture could be of a school bus, with "wrong" elements including one window containing a fishbowl instead of a child's head and bus wheels of donuts or pizza. The viewer is challenged to identify the full list of "wrong" things.

The children's game has inspired a version in which the players take turns writing what is "wrong" with a picture, typically a photograph reproduced in a mass-circulation magazine. The answers are usually generated automatically.


The phrase What's wrong with this picture? is used sarcastically to draw attention to the fact that a situation has something glaringly wrong with it. Example: "The weatherman predicted sunshine today, but there are gale force winds outside. What's wrong with this picture?"

Internet Prank

What is Wrong With This Picture? got a new meaning on the Internet after the appearance of a widely spread Flash applet. The applet itself disguised itself as a simple picture of a room, inviting the viewer to look for errors or things out of place - however, there were no errors at all, which made most of the viewers look closer and closer to the monitor. After 30 seconds, a picture of a black and white zoomed in photo of a woman screaming flashed in with a loud scream in the background, causing a considerable shock to most victims. Some pages carrying the prank actually tell the viewer to turn up the volume to hear clues, thereby enhancing the scream even more. This version appeared on America's Funniest Home Videos in 2005, accompanied by numerous videos of unaware viewers and their surprised reactions.

After the original, many clones appeared (even though they are all addressed by surfers as "whatswrong"'s), varying in levels of both volume, severity and disguise - some only displayed mild images like photo-manipulated rodents, while others went farther and placed pictures of corpses as the "shock picture"; some disguised themselves as simple games like Pong, others showed off optical illusions. On the internet, these pranks are often known as "screamers". One popular image is that of Regan, the young girl from The Exorcist.

The most notorious "whatswrong" outside the world of the internet was a German TV commercial for K-fee, a type of canned coffee: the imagery showed calm and quiet places such as beaches or mountainside meadows, accompanied by quiet music. The "shockers" in these cases were mostly zombie-like heads, accompanied by a very loud (and audibly distorted) scream, followed by the slogan of the product: "So wach warst du noch nie." ("You were never so awake.")

There was an American equivalent of this commercial, advertising a horror-themed amusement park, involving calm music and two people floating in a pool. About ten seconds into the commercial, a man in a zombie costume appears over the image and screams. There's another commercial similar to this shown in Europe, when a car is strolling in the street with peaceful music, then two seconds before the commercial ended, a monster appeared on the screen and says "Boo!" quickly. This commercial was shown on TBS's Most Funniest Commercials, and actually is a modified version of another German K-fee TV commercial, masked as what appears to be a normal car commercial.

See also



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