Created By: ScroogeMacDuck on September 21, 2017 Last Edited By: Arivne on October 22, 2017
Troped

Scolding the Fourth Wall Breaker

After a character breaks the fourth wall, another scolds them for doing so.

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Page Type:
trope
Breaking the Fourth Wall for humorous purposes (being defined as a character breaking the fourth wall in a series whose fourth wall seemed relatively hard) is often the work of a single character who shows Medium Awareness for the joke's sake.

Because the medium-aware character is thereby breaking the established rules of the setting, it is frequent for other characters not to share their fellow's insight, and involuntarily add weight to the joke by asking "Audience? What Audience?". However, perhaps funnier still is another character knowing perfectly what the wall-breaker is talking about, but immediately shushing him because the characters aren't supposed to know as far as the viewer is concerned. A variation will have the characters complain to the author for writing a fourth-wall-breaking in the first place.

A humorous, fourth-wall version of The Masquerade. A possible interpretation of such a scenario is that there is really No Fourth Wall but the characters pretend there is one anyway. Almost always Played for Laughs.


Examples

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     Fan Works 
  • Happens several times in the Harry Potter fanfiction The Many Harry Potters of Little Hangleton. And the scolders are right, too, because by the time the fic ends, the Fourth Wall literally shatters on screen, and the next chapter, having literally No Fourth Wall, ends up veering into Gainax Ending.
  • Pokémon fanfiction, "Child of Mew", has Ash and Mew sometimes breaking the fourth wall. One instance has Ash calling Mew out by saying "what did we say about breaking the fourth wall?"

     Live-Action TV 

     Webcomics 
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!'s title character is prone to fourth-wall-breaking, and his down-to-earth girlfriend Jean always calls him out on it.
    Molly: Hey, mommy! Daddy's breaking the fourth wall! It's all avant-garde and stuff! Keen, uh?
    Jean Poule: Oh, I hate it when he does that. It's so confusing.
  • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.
  • Checkerboard Nightmare broke the fourth wall constantly, but wasn't above mocking the concept as well. In one story arc, Vaporware decides that fourth-wall-breaking is just a crutch for lazy comedy writers, and he completely bricks over the fourth wall so it can never be broken again. (Naturally, a Snap Back undoes this at the end of the arc.)
  • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.

     Web Original 
  • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Bowser Junior's Clown Car", Junior enlists Joseph and Cody's help to get a box that has Bowser's Clown Car in it, since he's too short. Cody points out that he, Junior, and Joseph are controlled by hands, and can go as high as they need to, leading to this exchange:
    Junior: Stop breaking the fourth wall, Cody!
    Joseph: Yeah, Cody! Always ruining stuff!
    Cody: Sorry.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is no stranger to breaking the fourth wall, but it eventually got to the point where breaking the fourth wall itself was an in-universe plot. One episode has Shadi revealing to Yugi that it's his job to prevent the fourth wall from being broken and if it was then chaos would ensue.

     Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb has Major Monogram chewing out Carl for one such instance.
    Major Monogram: Carl, what did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall?
  • The Teen Titans Go! episode The Fourth Wall uses this as a running gag, where the Titans interact with the audience, much to the chagrin of Control Freak.`
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • September 21, 2017
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Web Original
    • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Bowser Junior's Clown Car", Junior enlists Joseph and Cody's help to get a box that has Bowser's Clown Car in it, since he's too short. Cody points out that he, Junior, and Joseph are controlled by hands, and can go as high as they need to, leading to this exchange:
      Junior: Stop breaking the fourth wall, Cody!
      Joseph: Yeah, Cody! Always ruining stuff!
      Cody: Sorry.
  • September 21, 2017
    Snowy66
    It needs a better name. The current one sounds like characters are being sympathetic to the Fourth Wall as a character.

  • September 22, 2017
    TonyG
  • September 23, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    Thanks everyone!
  • September 23, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    Well?
  • September 27, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    Added an example, and folks, I know there's more around. Please work some Wiki Magic, great troping wizards!
  • September 27, 2017
    Rytex
    Phineas And Ferb has Major Monogram chewing out Carl for one such instance.
    Major Monogram: Carl, what did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall?

    What about if they also chide the author for making a character do it? I know I personally did that in one of my stories,
  • September 27, 2017
    GreenDog3
    Saving The Fourth Wall would be a better name
  • September 27, 2017
    Snowy66
    I'm starting to feel this is a very rare trope.

    Fanfiction
    • Pokemon fanfiction, "Child of Mew", has Ash and Mew sometimes breaking the fourth wall. One instance has Ash calling Mew out by saying "what did we say about breaking the fourth wall?"
  • September 27, 2017
    MetaFour
    Webcomics:
    • Checkerboard Nightmare broke the fourth wall constantly, but wasn't above mocking the concept as well. In one story arc, Vaporware decides that fourth-wall-breaking is just a crutch for lazy comedy writers, and he completely bricks over the fourth wall so it can never be broken again. (Naturally, a Snap Back undoes this at the end of the arc.)

    Web Video:
    • Scootertrix The Abridged plays this rather seriously. Pinkie Pie worries that, if word gets out that they're all just characters in a cartoon, then ponies will have existential crises or fall into despair. So she scolds Twilight for casually mentioning the script in front of ponies who don't already know about the fourth wall.
  • September 28, 2017
    BKelly95
    Live Action Television
  • September 28, 2017
    SizlakJones
    Isn't it really just an example of multiple characters breaking the fourth wall? Is it really common enough to be a trope in its own right?
  • September 29, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    > Isn't it really just an example of multiple characters breaking the fourth wall? Is it really common enough to be a trope in its own right?

    It's not about multiple characters breaking the fourth wall, it's about the specific trope of characters chewing another out for breaking the fourth wall, not because it's impossible but because it's something you just "shouldn't do". I think that's a perfectly tropable idea.
  • September 29, 2017
    DustSnitch
    • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.
  • October 18, 2017
    CarterW
    The Teen Titans Go episode The Fourth Wall uses this as a running gag, where the Titans interact with the audience, much to the chagrin of Control Freak.`
  • October 19, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    Thanks everyone. Are we adding some more, or shall I launch?
  • October 21, 2017
    Unicorndance
    I say launch.
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