[[quoteright:300:[[Manga/DragonBall http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/RecursiveCanon3_3622.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:On Wednesday nights, Goku likes to watch ''Dragon Ball''.]]
->'''Jay:''' Is it weird that the "Ghostbusters Theme Song" is now ''in'' the ''Ghostbusters'' universe? I always thought that was odd.\\
'''Mike:''' Yes, yes. And it's also weird that they changed their logo to say "II".\\
'''Jay:''' That makes ''no'' sense. Their company is a not a sequel!
-->--'''''[[Creator/RedLetterMedia Half in the Bag]]''''' rifftrack of ''{{Film/Ghostbusters}} II''

When a work or set of works that appeared to stand on its own in RealLife turns out to be fiction VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory in its [[TheVerse greater universe]]. SpiderMan exists, and he knows people make comic books about his exploits, but they aren't necessarily accurate.

Occasionally, the producers of a new production in an existing universe want to tie it in with the current real life present, but face the problem of trying to get people to believe it's set in the real world when they obviously have the fictional product right before them.

So: Why not make that explicit? Simply make the series itself a fictionalized account of the real.

The problem this causes is that you're left with several onion-like layers of canon: That presented in the original show, and that presented in the new show presenting the original show as fiction, and of course, that of the actual real world.

This often leads to {{Retcon}}, MindScrew, or RashomonStyle, and may even allow the characters to [[RageAgainstTheAuthor criticize the author]] or [[WhoWritesThisCrap the work itself]]. More casually they may jocularly [[FourthWallMailSlot inform the audience]] or the AudienceSurrogate that it's not quite how it really happened, and that the story you've been reading ''contains some stretchers, to be sure.''

This trope is related to the LiteraryAgentHypothesis with a touch of {{Retcon}} and [[NestedStories Story Within A Story]] for good measure. In the case of a fictional character being the cause of a real-world or alternate canon event, see BeenThereShapedHistory. See also CelebrityParadox.

Often overlaps with DirectLineToTheAuthor. Because there seems to be some confusion between RecursiveCanon and DirectLineToTheAuthor, the distinction is as follows:

* If the work is claiming that it was created/transcribed/retold by one of the characters in real life, it is DirectLineToTheAuthor.
* If the FANS claim that it is then that is, but the author doesn't, it's LiteraryAgentHypothesis.
* If the work is claiming that some or all of itself exists in its own reality (perhaps as a work of "fiction"), then that is a RecursiveCanon.

In a particular MindScrew, if the author is [[MythArc not going for clarity]], the work of fiction may actually ''create'' the rest of the work, or the world of the work may "exist" inside it; this is a version known as {{Transfictionality}}. The [[UpTheRealRabbitHole real version of the characters]] may discover the fictional version of the real work, or vice versa. The author may even [[FridgeBrilliance imply]] that the fictionalized version is [[AbsolutelyHappened no more fictional than the outer layer]], or that [[MutuallyFictional both shows are fictional to each other]] in a stable fictional loop.

Compare with RecursiveFanfiction, where a work of fanfiction becomes so popular it starts spawning its own fanfiction, and the levels are now of fandoms rather than verses.

A subtrope of RecursiveReality. See also DaydreamBeliever, RashomonStyle, MutuallyFictional, WhoWritesThisCrap.

Not to be confused with CanonImmigrant.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The anime ''SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' has [[TheMovie a movie version]], ''[[Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove Do You Remember Love]]'', which the producers later explained away as a propaganda video made by UN Spacy to portray the events of the TV series in a better light. The deaths of certain characters are made far more heroic, the love triangle made far more romantic, and in general, UN Spacy comes out smelling a lot better than in the TV series.
* ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' establishes early on that a version of the ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' franchise exists in the world, which is later revealed to have been created after a group of bankrupt computer scientists sold to a toy company the designs and concept of, you guessed it, the prototypical digital life forms they created which evolved to become the real Digimon and [[{{Cyberspace}} associated world]] which form the premise of the series. Merchandise exists of said franchise, most prominently [[TabletopGame/{{Digimon}} the card game]], and it's implied that an anime series starring an Agumon as the lead exists (which is nameless in the original series and ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' in the dub).
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' has an unusual version of this - the pilot chapter mentions that a manga was written based on the "real story" it tells (well, mostly on the concept of the Death Note itself). This leads to a scene where Ryuk passes a poster for the live-action Death Note movie.
* In ''Anime/TheTowerOfDruaga'', they spend an episode trying to reach the top of a 60 floor tower inside the tower they are in. The main hero is controlled by the other characters, as if they are playing the ''TheTowerOfDruaga'' arcade game. One character even has a walkthrough for the tower.
* The ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' [[TheMovie movie]] is revealed in the [[AudioAdaptation movie Sound Stages]] to be a film being produced by one of the planets in the ''Nanoha'' universe, with Nanoha and Fate helping as technical advisors.
** The [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs second movie]] also had it's own Sound Stages where it was shown to be an in-universe movie. But it gets ''weird''. Before the second movie was released there was another Drama CD, ''Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha GOD Sound Stage M'', set in the AlternateTimeline of the ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable'' video games. In it, the OriginalGeneration characters introduced in those games encounter the versions of Fate and Nanoha from the first movie. In short, the movie timeline seems to actually exist.
* A ''{{Plica}}'' movie was made while the comic strip was still going, leading to a couple of comics about Plica and Mari going to see the movie, which is ostensibly about them. No real in-story explanation is offered for this (presumably it's just because the mangaka [[ShamelessSelfPromotion wanted to make sure her readers knew about the movie]]).
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'': One of the few traits kept from the [[NoFourthWall missing wall]]--style of the Manga. The franchise has no problem with the idea that Lupin has been fictionalized InUniverse.
** ''Manga/LupinIII'' reading ''Manga/LupinIII''.
** ''Anime/LupinIIIVsDetectiveConan'', Kogoro Mouri mentions a ''Lupin III'' comic, which is a CallBack to earlier in the ''Detective Conan'' series, where characters have disguised themselves as Lupin & co.
** An Arab monarch is a fan of the ''Anime/LupinIII'' television series (since this takes place in the Anime/LupinIIIRedJacket series, assume he means that one), so he is not surprised when the Lupin gang shows up in his country.
** ''Anime/GreenVsRed'' shows us a movie poster for ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'' in one of the Lupin's rooms. (Yes, one of. [[MindScrew Best not to ask if he's the real one]].)
* ''SDGundamGGeneration'' posits that ''The08thMSTeam'' is a television drama aired in the UC 0090s, possibly with input from the people who lived the event ilke Michel. Interestingly, this is done primarily to justify the existence of space-use variants of Shiro's Gundam [=Ez8=], by suggesting that the show was so popular the writers [[GeckoEnding extended the storyline beyond what really happened]].
* The Franchise/{{Gundam}} manga ''Ganota no Onna'' [[GenderFlip reimagines]] Char Aznable as an OfficeLady in present day Tokyo, with much of the show's cast appearing in some form or another. Despite this, ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' is treated as an actual anime within the show, with Utsuki and Amuru (Char and Amuro) portrayed as massive fans of the franchise.
** ''Anime/GundamBuildFighters'' takes place in a TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture version of the real world, where all the other ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' series are fiction.
*** Including ModelSuitGunplaBuildersBeginningG, which takes place in an alternate real world where all the other ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' series are fiction.
* In the third season of ''SonicX'', when Chaotix show up and need to be brought up to speed on what's been going on, they steal a bunch of Sonic X [=DVDs=] and watch every episode up to that point.
* The ''Manga/CodenameSailorV'' anime exists within the universe of ''Manga/SailorMoon'' which isn't exactly recursive canon because there never was a Sailor V anime. Sailor Venus DOES however sometimes read her own comic book which plays the trope straight. Sailor Moon manga also appear (but in brief cameo roles) as does the magazines that ran Sailor V and Sailor Moon (and parodies there of. [=RanRan=] instead of Magazine/RunRun)
* Done within the same series with ''MartianSuccessorNadesico''. The Nadesico crew enjoys watching Gekiganger III, and affectionate parody of old SuperRobot shows. All is fine and well until the 14th episode, where the show becomes an episode of Gekiganger III watching their favourite show, Martian Successor Nadesico. It gets even more confusing when the show ends off with it being an episode being watched by the crew of the Nadesico.
* In ''Anime/LuckyStar'', magazine covers with the series' characters were often reproduced in-story. Also, in one case, the characters discussed the series' (RealLife) promotion event in Akibahara--[[OtakuSurrogate Konata]] recommends {{cosplay}}, [[{{muggle}} Kagami]] disliked it was much too PanderingToTheBase, and Konata answer that Kagami should accept the fact that {{muggles}} won't read that anyway. Furthermore, when the trio visit a shrine near the end of the series, Konata reads a prayer that says 'Konata is mai waifu'. The joke being that after the manga was published, some otaku hung such prayers at the shrine featured in the book. So in the anime Konata picks one of them up, undoubtedly to the delight of the fan who wrote it.
** The spinoff Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku features two magazines, which covers feature this very series, in episode 9.
* The ''Anime/MonsterRancher'' anime started with Genki being an avid fan of the game series and being sucked into the world.
* In one of the ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' [=OVAs=] set roughly 100 years in the future from the end of TheMovie, we see posters for TheMovie all over the place.
* In one of the ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' manga arcs, Akasaka [[spoiler:writes a book based off the events of the arc]].
* In ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'', Gintoki bashes his imposter Kintoki over the head with a complete collection of Gintama manga/[=DVDs=] out of the frustration of no one seeming to remember him, only to notice that he's also replaced him in the manga/[=DVDs=] in the aftermath.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Silver Age ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' series portrayed the Golden Age Flash's adventures as merely being a comic book series. It was not until much later that the two actually met, revealing the GA Flash's comics to be a fictionalized account of what happened on another Earth.
* The 1980s revival of TheDCU's ''ComicBook/{{Blackhawk}}'' showed the original 1940s series to be a comic book rendition of the team. Weng Chan, the Chinese member of the team, understandably [[LampshadeHanging complained]] about the UnfortunateImplications of his portrayal as the stereotypical caricature "Chop-Chop".
* In Creator/NeilGaiman's ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', it was discovered that the Creator/JackKirby-created Sandman had been living a delusion in a dream dimension created by two denizens of Morpheus' realm.
* In ''Cigars of the Pharaoh'', a sheik recognizes {{Tintin}} from having read all about his adventures, showing a copy of one of the books. The book was originally ''Tintin in America'', but in the later color editions it was anachronistically changed to ''Destination Moon''.
* In both ''ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio'' and ''ComicBook/GastonLagaffe'', the characters work on the staff of the magazine that publishes their adventures, ''Journal de Spirou'' (later ''Spirou Magazine'', now simply ''Spirou''). Consequently, the comic exists within its own world, and Spirou is occasionally recognized as its hero. In early stories by Jijé he would meet members of his own fan club, and in ''Alerte aux Zorkons'' a sniper refuses to fire on him and Fantasio (hanging from a Spirou-shaped advertising balloon) because he used to read the comic as a kid.
* Marvel comics exist within the MarvelUniverse. In universe they are stories as told by a Marvel''s'' Comics, some with the cooperation of the superheroes themselves and some only VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory. In at least one instance [[SheHulk She-Hulk]] is seen reading an actual issue of The Savage She-Hulk. (This is further complicated by the fact that She-Hulk sometimes has NoFourthWall, though, so she is one of a few characters who could have been reading something published by Marvel Comics ''or'' by Marvels Comics.)
** At various times, CaptainAmerica has been the artist for the in-universe Captain America comics. No, really.
* In a FifthWeekEvent, the company published one-off issues of the Marvels Comics versions of most major titles, depicting how they are viewed in-universe. For some characters, like Captain America, the recursive canon version was almost indistinguishable from the usual comic, except that his secret identity was a secret. For others, like the X-Men, who have been pariahs in-universe for most of their history, they couldn't very easily be treated like superheroes. So instead, a backstory was made up for them, which supposed that they were a top-secret government project of paroled mutants, sort of like the {{Thunderbolts}} turned out to be. [[MythologyGag Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway]], a law firm specializing in superhuman, metahuman and mutant law, keeps a complete archive of Marvel comics from the 1930s on as historical records that can be used in lawsuits.
* In the ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' universe, companies publish comic books based on the in-universe superheroes. The most popular comics are the ones officially licensed by the heroes, but some will take news events and embellish the circumstances. Comics for "fictional" heroes (Batman, Superman, etc.) also exist, but don't sell as well.
* In Gilbert Hernandez's comics set in his Palomar universe, after the end of the original ''ComicBook/LoveAndRockets'', Fritz stars in a gangster film VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory about the life of her own mother Maria, causing a rift between herself and her sister Luba. Gilbert later launched a series of graphic novels that purported to be adaptations of films in which Fritz had appeared in-universe, eventually including the Maria one. He took this to even greater MindScrew dimensions with his serial ''Speak of the Devil'', which has the same title as one of Fritz's in-universe films but, according to WordOfGod, is the story of the "real" in-universe events that the film was loosely based on.
* In one ''[[DonaldDuck Paperinik]]'' story he explains to a captured petty thief how he can afford being a superhero: he tried being financed by the city, but became shackled by bureaucracy, and he tried get corporate sponsorship (Scrooge [=McDuck=], of course) but that also got in the way of actual, y'know, ''crimefighting''. So in the end he sells the right to publish stories about himself to Disney, which finances his gadgetry and whatnot. Then it gets meta by way of RuleOfFunny; the thief uses Donald's blabbering to escape, and he turns to the reader and, basically, says: "''Please'' don't tell Disney Comics about this screw-up!"
* In some ArchieComics, the gang can be seen reading their own comic book. The fact that they aren't disturbed by seeing themselves and their stories in print is probably because [[NoFourthWall they're actually aware that they're comic book characters]].
* Lampshaded in an issue of ''TheAuthority'' in which the team traveled to an alternate universe in which they encounter the comic book series they appear in.
* One issue of ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' had them explaining to Impulse why he couldn't just release their real names to the public. He wonders why not since they're all in the ''Teen Titans'' and ''Justice League'' comics he's holding. Superboy points out that those aren't their real names. Which confuses Impulse as he's been calling Superman Dirk for months.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' animated series is apparently an actual TV show in the DC Universe, as evidenced by a poster for the cartoon being present in Irey West's room in an issue of ''TheFlash''.
** An issue of ''Teen Titans'' had the kids briefly watching an episode of ''TinyTitans''.
* Along the same lines older DC Comics had in-universe ads for the Adam West ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series.
* Writer Tom [=DeFalco=] famously wrote a scene featuring ComicBook/AntMan watching an episode of the maligned '90s ''WesternAnimation/FantasticFour'' cartoon and then complaining about how awful it was.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' occasionally gets weird about this. ''2000 AD'' exists in Dredd's world, and is a controlled substance. ''2000 AD'' is best known for running the ''Judge Dredd'' comic strip.
* ''ComicBook/CaptainCarrotAndHisAmazingZooCrew'' takes place in a dimension called Earth-C, an alternate version of our world (not the DC Universe). Team leader R. Rodney Rabbit is a penciller on ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justa Lotta Animals]]'' -- who he later discovers are a real superhero team and who shut down the title for violating their trademarks.
* Very frequent in [[BritishComics British Humour Comics]] like TheBeano and ComicBook/TheDandy with characters frequently shown reading their own comic.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''. In a few throw away lines a news vendor and a retired superhero in ''Watchmen'' make references to old ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' comics and in the DCU proper TheQuestion at one point reads a copy of ''Watchmen'' and ''recognises Rorschach as a CaptainErsatz of himself''!
** "Behind the Mask" has the first Night Owl mention he got the idea for his costume from the BlueBeetle, of whom he is a CaptainErsatz.
* In another ''ComicBook/TheSimpsons'' comics crossover, "When [[Creator/BongoComics Bongos]] Collide," it is established that Itchy and Scratchy are fictional cartoon characters within the ''Simpsons'' universe - but still has them appear as flesh-and-blood characters! The story resolves this inconsistency by having the space aliens Kodos and Kang (who ''themselves'' were originally fictional characters in a story told by Bart to Lisa in his treehouse before their in-universe {{Defictionalization}}) come to Earth and use a....[[BuffySpeak trans-temporal reality thingee]] to cause Itchy and Scratchy to materialize out of the Simpson family TV set and become "real" beings! Later in the crossover, Bart (as "Bartman") uses the same device to materialize ''Radioactive Man'' actor Dirk Richter out of the 1950s TV show to ask for his help, only for Richter to tell Bart that Radioactive Man is fictional and that he's a real person playing him. Undeterred, Bart simply materializes the "fictional" Radioactive Man out of one of his comic books, and ''this'' RM really does have superpowers.
* In Marvel's [[TheNewUniverse New Universe]], Marvel's main universe is fiction.
* In DC event [[Comicbook/LegionOfSuperHeroes Legion of Three Worlds]], Earth Prime universe, which was destroyed in the original Crisis, is recreated. On Earth Prime, DC comics exists exactly as it does in real life, and thus [[ComicBook/{{Superboy}} Superboy Prime]]'s girlfriend and family find out about every horrible thing he's done by reading the same comics you're reading. Which of course depicts them reading the comics they're reading, which depicts them reading... basically an infinite level of recursive canon.
* In ''Comicbook/TheMultiversity'' #1, Nix Uotan is reading ''The Multiversity'' comics - specifically, ''The Multiversity'' #1 and ''Ultra Comics'' #1. Looking closely at the ''Ultra Comics'' issue Nix is reading, Creator/GrantMorrison and Doug Mahnke are residents of the DCU.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/SonOfTheWarp'', the {{Warhammer 40000}} game and ExpandedUniverse exist within itself. This is particularly bizarre, as the lore describes events of the far future in great detail.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4663711 Letters of Ness]]'' ([[HeAlsoDid created by the author of the]] ''FanFic/PaperMarioX'' [[HeAlsoDid series]]) ends with [[VideoGame/EarthBound Ness]] and [[VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}} Lucas]] receiving a copy of ''SuperSmashBros 4'' (which, according to Lucas, isn't even out in Japan yet) from Paula and Kumatora, which they then proceed to play. (Take note that the story takes place in the SSBB universe.)
* In ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'', {{Creator/Peyo}} still created ''Franchise/TheSmurfs'' and is responsible for [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfsAndTheMagicFlute its]] [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs related]] [[Film/TheSmurfs adaptations]], but it's all VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory that came from a certain artifact that Handy and Empath have created in "Days Of Future Smurfed".
* ''Fanfic/ReimaginedEnterprise'':
** One of the early twenty-first century pop songs Audrey Rocia listens to is "Faith of the Heart".
** The crew refer to the works of Creator/LarryNiven, yet there are hints that (as in ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'') the Kzinti race exists in this setting, and they were created by Larry Niven. (This paradox is {{lampshaded}} at one point).
* In an omake for the Touhou/Pokemon crossover ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8862808/1/Monsters-In-Paradise Monsters In Paradise,]]'' Yukari admitted to buying drinks for a young man in Tokyo during the mid-1990s and telling him of Gensokyo's existence. At the time, she believed that telling an alcoholic about Gensokyo would have no serious repercussions. Her reaction when she finally discovers much later that her conversation spawned at least seventeen games, assorted supplementaries, and a highly creative fanbase? Several minutes of stunned silence.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{Fellowship}}'', the game Chrono Cross exists in the universe. There is a fanbase for it. The characters draw fanarts for the characters in the game and/or play the said game in a PS emulator (except the older characters, who play it in a PS console).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In the 1990s, producer Rick [=McCallum=] implied that the IndianaJones films portray a "fictionalized" version of the character, and that the YoungIndianaJones TV portrays the "real" version of the character.
* The commentary track to the DVD release of ''TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossTheEighthDimension'' is written under the assumption that the film is a fictionalized account of real events. The commentators go so far as to constantly explain how the events depicted differ from "what really happened", or make comparisons between Peter Weller's portrayal and that of the "real" Buckaroo.
* Russo's ''Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'' movies portray the film ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' is a Hollywood adaptation of a true story. Characters in his films refer to it and point out aspects that don't conform to their "reality." One character moans, "You mean the movie ''lied''?" Romero's sequels, on the other hand, are set in the same fictional universe as the first film.
* the 2006 remake of ''Night of the Living Dead'' has characters watching the original film on TV.
* The 2005 movie ''Film/{{Bewitched}}'' is based around the conceit that witches are real, but that the [[Series/{{Bewitched}} 1960s TV series]] was fiction. HilarityEnsues when a real witch is cast in [[ShowWithinAShow a remake]] of the TV series.
* ''Film/DoubleDragon'' features an actual cabinet of the [[VideoGame/DoubleDragon original arcade game]] in the scene before the final battle. The monitor of said cabinet gets smashed in an ensuing fight scene.
* The 2002 adaptation of ''TheTimeMachine'' when Alex travels to the future to research time travel, the librarian offers him a copy of TheTimeMachine by HG Wells, as well as the 1960 George Pal film.
* ''Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' has a scene where the Gremlins attack Leonard Maltin while he's giving a bad review to the first film. Then again, this is also a movie where [[NoFourthWall the film is torn in half by the Gremlins]], and HulkHogan has to threaten the Gremlins into re-starting the movie. (This was different in the original theatrical release. The film overheats, the Gremlins make shadow puppets on the screen, and then the "usher" comes in and yells at them until they restart the film.)
* In ''Film/TenThingsIHateAboutYou'' characters mention studying Shakespeare and admiring him, which is quite an odd thing to do in a Shakespeare adaptation. If they had studied the works of Shakespeare, then they would probably realise that their situation was extremely like the one in Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew; and they might also note that some of them share the same name with their characters in the play.
* In ''Beware The Blob''; the pseudo-sequel to ''Film/TheBlob'', a man actually watches "The Blob" on TV as it attacks.
* The characters in ''Film/HalloweenIIISeasonOfTheWitch''' watch the original ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'' on TV. Helps that ''Season of the Witch'' is a sidestory that doesn't feature Michael Myers.
* In ''Rumor Has It...'', the main character discovers that the movie ''TheGraduate'' was based on her grandmother.
* ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' constantly breaks the fourth wall in this fashion. The bad guys watch a tape of ''the movie they're currently in'' to learn where the good guys are headed. They end up stopping the tape at the exact same scene.
* ''Film/BlazingSaddles'', once the action has broken out of the Western set into the real world, the lead characters go to a movie theatre which is showing... ''Blazing Saddles''.
* Rosencrantz, in ''RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead'', makes a paper airplane (among other things) out of... pages of ''{{Hamlet}}''.
** Or Guildenstern. They're not sure which is which. Also, they both watch a play of Hamlet. This scene occurs during the play, so they're in Hamlet movie watching a Hamlet play watching a Hamlet puppet show.
* Film/{{Hellboy}} mentions in TheMovie that he absolutely ''hates'' the comics, as they always [[MilkyWhiteEyes get his eyes wrong]].
* The 1990s film ''Film/TheSaint'' hints that the Leslie Charteris novels exist within it, and that the film hero was inspired by and is consciously imitating the prose character.
* 47, the main character of the movie ''Film/{{Hitman}}'', which is based on the computer games of the same name, comes across two teenagers playing the first game of the series.
* ''Film/SilentNightDeadlyNightPart2'' has an interesting example of this. [[Film/SilentNightDeadlyNight The first movie]] features AxCrazy Billy Chapman, who dresses as Santa Claus and kills people. In ''Part 2,'' Billy's little brother Ricky Caldwell (they changed the family name for some reason) narrates his rise to insanity. During this time, he and his girlfriend go to a movie that is, in fact, the original ''Film/SilentNightDeadlyNight''; his girlfriend even describes the plot of the movie to him.
* In ''TheMuppetMovie'', Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem are able to rescue the other stranded Muppets because they have a copy of the movie's script.
* The ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' graphic novel appears in the background of one scene of the ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'' movie.
* In the hospital scene near the end of ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', one can see the movie's previous scene playing on the TV.
* ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' contains a nice reference to its source material, Conrad's ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''. Colonel Kurtz reads from Eliot's 'The Hollow Men', which contains the epigraph 'Mistah Kurtz - he dead!'; he is reading 'From Ritual to Romance' and 'The Golden Bough', which Eliot mentions as two texts underpinning 'The Waste Land', whose epigraph was to be 'The horror! The horror!'. Both quotations are, of course, from the original Conrad.
* {{Subverted}} in ''Film/LastActionHero'', Danny is sucked into his favorite movie where he ends up befriending detective Jack Slater, played by Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger in Danny's universe (and ours), and when they go into a video store together, Danny sees a poster for TheTerminator, starring SylvesterStallone.
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster II: Portal Through Time'' features a scene were our heroes drive past a movie theater showing ''Beastmaster II: Portal Through Time''.
---> Spoony: Actually they should go inside and watch it because hopefully this takes place in a parallel universe where BeastMasterII doesn't suck!
* ''TheWizardOfSpeedAndTime'' involves the protagonist trying to sell his script for a movie which is... the one we are watching. To further shatter the FourthWall, the crooked producer is played by Jittlov's partner, who turned out to be... a crooked producer.
* The ''VideoGame/{{TRON}}'' arcade game exists in ''Film/TronLegacy'', but was created in the film by Kevin Flynn and released by Encom; real merchandise from the first movie shows up in the film as merchandise of the game.
* ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'' is about the actors from the first ''[[Film/ANightmareonElmStreet1984 Nightmare on Elm Street]]'' movie being targeted by the "real world" Freddy Krueger. The film ends with [[spoiler:Heather Lagenkamp reading the ending of the script for ''New Nightmare'', which describes how she's [[NoFourthWall reading the ending of the script for New Nightmare.]]]]
* Peter Jackson's ''Film/KingKong'' plays with this a little. A MythologyGag about a "Fay, doing a picture with RKO" and being directed by a "Cooper" (references to Fay Wray, the original Ann Darrow; the company that produced the original 1933 ''King Kong''; and its director, Merian C. Cooper) whilst the events of the film are taking place, one scene from Denham's film as being almost identical to an interaction between Ann and Jack in the original, as well as the stage show with Kong being ''very'' similar to the sacrifice scene from the original film, right down to the identical music and depictions of the Skull Island natives. This almost seems to imply the original 1933 film was a Hollywoodised version of real events in-universe.
* As part of a ViralMarketing campaign for the first film, Creator/MichaelBay's ''[[TransformersFilmSeries Transformers]]'' is referred to in the Sector Seven Alternate Reality Game as a counter-information campaign by the titular organization, to cover up leaks and real events involving the existence of Cybertronians by presenting them as fictional. It even goes so far as to say Hugo Weaving is secretly a Sector Seven agent, who doubles as an actor and was put into the film (as Megatron's voice) to ensure the cover up went smoothly. It also suggests that the [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers original G1 TV series]] was another such campaign.
* Played with in the opening of ''Film/TwilightZoneTheMovie'', in which a couple of guys driving down the highway play TV trivia games, and then discuss ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' classic episodes that'd scared them as kids. One then [[spoiler: turns into a monster and eats the other]], and the ''Twilight Zone'''s theme music starts playing.
* The fictional lore of TheSmurfs in our world proves to be actually true in [[Film/TheSmurfs the 2011 live-action movie]], and the Smurfs try to find it because it contains the spell that can return them to their world.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' featured automobile versions of past Pixar films, but what would their equivalent of ''Cars'' be?
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''. Captain America starts off as purely a propaganda character played by an actual super soldier. The real life iconic comic featuring Captain America "socking old Adolf on the jaw" also exists in universe as an adaptation of his live show. He also stars in a series of WWII movie serials as his character, all before actually becoming a war hero.
** When he first meets the BigBad, the latter tells him he's a big fan of his films.
* At the beginning of ''Film/PootieTang'' we see Pootie, famed athlete/martial artist/movie star/etc, being interviewed by Bob Costas, who then says we're going to see a clip from Pootie's new movie. What follows is, basically, the whole movie -- until the very end, when we return to the interview, with Costas commenting that that's the longest clip he's ever seen.
* As the credits roll, the final scene of ''Film/FreeEnterprise'' shows the two leads making the movie you've just watched. (They're not in it, they're directing.)
* ''Blair Witch 2'' opens by establishing that ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject'' was fictional, while the mythology behind it was not.
* ''Film/{{SWAT}}'' has a scene where the unit has the day off. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag, Boxer is sacked out on his sofa watching a rerun of ''Series/{{SWAT}}'', the TV series the movie is based on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography'', it was strongly suggested that the ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' books exists in the eponymous universe. In addition, the LemonyNarrator is himself a character of the books - which he dedicates to his deceased beloved, Beatrice. When [[FridgeLogic you really think about it]], the whole idea sounds rather stalkerish.
** The final book ''The End'' explains this as [[spoiler:''A Series of Unfortunate Events'' is actually a chronicle written by inhabitants of the Island by many authors, including the Baudelaires' parents. Lemony is just the latest author, and the events we're reading are just one of many, regarding hundreds of people.]]
* The sequel of Literature/TheCityofDreamingBooks mentions The City of Dreaming Books as a book in universe. Which makes sense, since it is an autobiographical piece the main character wrote. And doesn't make sense since Moers explicitly says it's a compilation of the first two volumes of a longer series and was never published as one book in universe.
* Literature/ThursdayNext has this in spades. Two different fictional versions of Thursday - i.e., the character we observed in earlier books - play a role in the fifth book of the series. On top of that, the Thursday Next series is mutually recursive with the same author's Nursery Crime series, in that each book is fictional within the context of the other.
** The sixth TN book takes this UpToEleven by revealing that all five of the previous books were ''the in-universe fictionalized versions'', and in some cases bear no resemblance to what actually happened.
* ''HuckleberryFinn'': "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of ''TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer''; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. MarkTwain, and he told the truth, mainly."
* In ''TheVampireChronicles'', all the books are also published in-universe, acting as memoirs for the vampires.
* Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer wrote a famous series called ''Literature/WorldOfTiers'', set in [[TheMultiverse a Multiverse]] that included our own universe. These books were used to create "Tiersian" psychotherapy in the real world. Farmer then wrote another book, ''Red Orc's Rage'' about a form of real world psychotherapy based not he novels.
* ''Literature/TheNumberOfTheBeast'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein is confusing. It starts out with only modern canon weirdness, as the main characters visit worlds they know are fictional (like Oz). Then they meet up with a character from an earlier series by the same author, they know he's fictional and then he reveals that [[MutuallyFictional they are too]], since he only knew where to meet them by reading their stories. The first of which was ''this book''.
* In BretEastonEllis' ''Lunar Park'', a character from ''AmericanPsycho'' shows up, holding a copy of ''AmericanPsycho'' to talk to Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote ''AmericanPsycho'', about murders inspired by ''AmericanPsycho''.
* ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'' by Michael Ende is a novel in which the main character, Bastian, finds a copy of ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'', and begins to read it. Bastian finally realizes that the story is more than just a story, when he gets to the part where a character in the book starts retelling the story word-for-word from the beginning -- and starts not with the first chapter of the story within the story, but with the beginning of the [[FramingDevice exterior story]]: the one you're reading, in which Bastian is the main character.
* Another example by the same author is the ''Literature/JimButton'' series. The second book contains a chapter where Jim und Luke receive a bag of fan mail from readers of the first book. The narrator even assures the reader that his or her letter is in this mail.
* In Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/ArchersGoon'', [[spoiler:this is briefly the case for the main story. How does this come about? Because Hathaway ''thinks'' that Quentin's words must be recursively fictional (i.e. that whatever Quentin writes as fiction turns out to be real), and consequently replaces Quentin's confiscated typewriter with one that is rigged to do exactly that. This allows Quentin, eventually, to manipulate reality by typing what he wants to happen.]]
* ''HouseOfLeaves'' has one of the central characters reading a book called, yes, ''HouseOfLeaves'', which certainly appears to be the same one [[TomeOfEldritchLore that the reader is holding in their hands]]. Of course, this character exists only within a documentary which doesn't appear to exist in the narrator's universe and may or may not have been entirely invented by another character, presumably meaning that [[HouseOfLeaves the book]] exists within the documentary's universe but ''not'' within Johnny Truant's universe, at least until it's [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis written down by Johnny]], which doesn't happen until well after the documentary would have been made, assuming said documentary and its participants actually existed, and... [[MindScrew I don't even know]].
* Middle-Earth:
** In ''TheLordOfTheRings'', Gandalf discusses with Frodo how [[StartOfDarkness he began to suspect]] Bilbo's magic ring was an evil influence when ''[[UnreliableNarrator he lied about it]] in the first edition of his biography, [[Literature/TheHobbit There And Back Again: A Hobbit's Holiday]]''. When going through Bilbo's papers after the war, Frodo [[RetCanon went back and revised]] the section on Gollum's cave to explain [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis what really happened]].
** The entirety of ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and ''TheLordOfTheRings'' and its appendices are supposedly transcriptions from the Red Book of Westmarch, written by Bilbo and later Frodo. They're called "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King." ''TheSilmarillion'' and other stories of Elvish heroes are from Bilbo's three-volume work "Translations from the Elvish."
* The epilogue of ''Literature/WolvesOfTheCalla.'' Just...that epilogue. And it causes Callahan to have a HeroicBSOD.
** ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' really takes it to the level of RecursiveReality. For instance, Eddie Dean determines that Co-Op City is in Brooklyn ''only in the fictional version of TheMultiverse he's from'', not [[{{Transfictionality}} the real version]] where it's in the Bronx, because, of course, Creator/StephenKing didn't do the research at the time.
* In Gene Roddenberry's novelization of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', it is asserted that the original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' was a dramatization of the actual adventures of the ''Enterprise'' and that certain things were exaggerated or distorted for dramatic effect. This was Roddenberry's way of distancing himself from elements in the original series that he was unsatisfied with due to budgetary or technical limitations (for instance, after the Klingons were redesigned in the movie, Roddenberry told Trek fans to pretend they'd always looked that way.)
* A character in one of EnidBlyton's ''Secret Seven'' stories asks about ''Five Go Down To The Sea'', part of another series by the same author.
* The [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Oz books]] are an interesting case; L. Frank Baum always included a "note to his readers" in the beginning of each book, and in the first few books he talks about writing the book, even thanking children for the ideas they've sent him, but gradually he begins talking about Oz more as if it's a real place, and he's just recounting events as they were told to him by Dorothy. In later books, new visitors to Oz, such as Betsy Bobbin and Trot, are familiar with the land of Oz and its inhabitants from having read the previous books.
* In ''Yankee in Oz'' by Ruth Plumly Thompson, this trope is especially notable. Tompy is not only familiar with Oz from having read the books, but at the end starts reading the book in which [[OurGeniesAreDifferent Jinnicky]], who he had met in this story, first appeared.
* In the ''Virals'' series, the spin off to the Temperance Brennan novels (adapted into the ''Series/{{Bones}}'' TV series), the protagonist Tory Brennan is Temperance "Bones" Brennan's niece who gets canine abilities in a FreakLabAccident. She mentions watching ''Bones'' with her father despite actually interacting with Bones herself.
* At the end of Winston Groom's ''Gump & Co.'', the sequel to his ''Forrest Gump'' novel that the [[Film/ForrestGump film]] is based on, Forrest is at the Oscar ceremony that's awarding Best Picture... to the film adaptation of his life. He also gets to meet Tom Hanks.
* In the ''Literature/SherlockHolmes universe, Watson and Holmes are both aware that Watson is writing and publishing stories about Holmes's career. Holmes disapproves of the sensationalistic tone of Watson's stories.
* In KevinJAnderson's ''Literature/DanShambleZombiePI'' novels, the undead detective's exploits become the inspiration for a series of mystery novels. The first one shares a title with the ''actual'' first book in the series, whose events it documents, albeit with a lot more {{Fanservice}}.
* The second PrincessDiaries book has Mia reference a movie that's come out based on her life. It isn't explicitly stated that it's the same movie with Anne Hathaway that came out in our world, but the references she makes (like cutting out some of the characters) are consistent.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' reveals that the 1938 RadioDrama was part of a government disinformation campaign to cover up a real invasion. The 1953 film, on the other hand, is in-continuity. It also acknowledges that the original H. G. Wells novel on which the radio drama was based exists in-universe. This is feasible because the 1953 movie has practically nothing in common with the book beyond a few broad strokes that could credibly be coincidence.
* Borderline example in ''Series/DoctorWho'''s 25th anniversary serial ''Remembrance of the Daleks'', which is a sequel to the original pilot episode and is set in the same place and time; at one point we hear a BBC continuity voice announcing the time and date the first episode of "a new science-fiction serial" was broadcast -- it's cut short just before the name of the series is actually dropped.
** Some parts of the ExpandedUniverse have taken it further, with a conspiracy theorist claiming that the Doctor deliberately creates fictional stories of himself on many worlds so that no one believes he really exists.
** Another ExpandedUniverse story suggested that the Aaru ''Doctor Who'' films starring Creator/PeterCushing exist in-universe, as a highly [[AdaptationDecay decayed]] adaptation of a series of novels that Barbara Wright wrote based on her experiences travelling with the Doctor.
* The opening scene of the short-lived sitcom version of ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'' explained that the movie was a fictionalized retelling of the real Ferris Bueller's life, with the "real" Ferris (Charlie Schlatter) criticizing Matthew Broderick's portrayal of himself. He then takes a chainsaw to a cutout of Broderick.
* The [[AlternateRealityGame ARG]] ''TheLostExperience'' acknowledges ''Series/{{Lost}}'' as a fictional TV series which incorporates "real" elements such as The Hanso Foundation and the Widmore family.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{MADtv}}'', you can actually see an extra reading an issue of Magazine/{{MAD}}.
** In another episode, House (played by Michael [=McDonald=]) is actually watching an episode of ''Series/{{MADtv}}''. It features Stuart (played by Michael [=McDonald=]) causing him to remark that he [[CelebrityParadox looks just like him]].
* ''{{Sliders}}'' has a variation. In the finale, the group slides to a world where a "seer" has been watching them psychically across the multiverse. He turned the visions into paintings, books, and ultimately, a live-action TV show that looks vaguely familiar...
* There is a NickVerse that exists with various {{Nickelodeon}} shows due to a not so great approach to keeping continuity, including DrakeAndJosh, ''Series/ICarly'', {{Victorious}} and several other shows.
* ''Series/ElChapulinColorado'' comic books exist in ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho''. Chavo and Quico once discussed a Chapulin episode where a villain painted himself invisible. (Said episode was real) And the two series did have a crossover. Don Ramon was reading a Chapulin comic in a ''Chapulin'' episode.
* The original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' television series, featuring the starship NCC-1701 ''Enterprise'', was so popular that a massive write-in campaign convinced NASA to name the first real-life space shuttle OV-101 ''Enterprise''. Much later, when ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' (a prequel to the original Star Trek) was created, there were several almost-explicit references implying that the NX-01 ''Enterprise'' was indeed named after the space shuttle. Let's recap: the fictional NX-01 was named after the real OV-101, which was named after the fictional NCC-1701, which was named (in-universe) after the NX-01. It gets even weirder if you know an original proposed name for OV-101 was "Constitution". Which would mean that the Constitution Class USS ''Enterprise'' NCC-1701 was named for the NX-01 ''Enterprise'' which was named for the OV-101 ''Enterprise''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* One very early ''{{Foxtrot}}'' Sunday strip had the strip's title panel on a newspaper Roger was reading.
* The logo box of one ''{{Garfield}}'' [[http://garfield.nfshost.com/1992/01/05/ strip]] is Garfield reading the newspaper comics, with the very logo box on the front, causing a DrosteImage.
* The 1908 musical adaptation of ''ComicStrip/LittleNemo'' was advertised on posters displayed in several strips. One strip had Nemo recreating the Valentines scene "like I saw in the show," and discovering that he's standing on stage behind an orchestra pit. The Dancing Missionary and Gladys the cat, characters created for the theatrical production, also made occasional appearances in the strip.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* In Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/TheSopranos'', you're playing through the exploits of the Soprano family... which includes completing Episodes from HBO's ''Series/TheSopranos'' television show.
* Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Pinball/{{Mayfair}}'', based on the film version of ''Theatre/MyFairLady'', shows Eliza walking past a theater that is holding a production of "My Fair Lady".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''NewWorldOfDarkness''
** FrankensteinsMonster was the first of his Lineage of [[PrometheanTheCreated Prometheans]]. When he tried to create a "bride," he ended up making a horrific monstrosity in human form. One way the "bride' got revenge was by telling Creator/MaryShelley a story that painted him in the worst possible light, thus spawning ''Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus.''
** ''VampireTheRequiem'': Every vampire in London was scrambling for a while to find out who spilled the beans on {{Dracula}} to Bram Stoker.
* ''TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles'' RPG is stated to exist in the universe of the novels, having been written by Harry's friend Billy for the same reason that Bram Stoker wrote ''{{Dracula}}'', to spread information about monsters and their weaknesses to the common man. The game book is filled with margin notes from Harry, Billy, and Bob, and the implication is that it's a RomanAClef, but this isn't the final version and so none of the names have been changed yet.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* OlderThanSteam: In ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', Polonius mentions that he played Caesar in ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar''. Possibly also an ActorAllusion if the same (original) actor played both roles... Or, given that most plays at the time (including Shakespeare's) were retellings of earlier tales, Polonius's reference could've been to some earlier playwright's version of ''Julius Caesar''.
* Lampshaded in SteveMartin's adaptation of the 1910 farce by Carl Sternheim, ''The Underpants''. Gertrude says that she has just seen a comedy by Sternheim; when Louise asks if she should see it, Gertrude says "Wait until it's adapted."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh Tron 2.0]]'' states that the events in the original ''{{Tron}}'' movie happened, and then the rights to the story were sold to {{Disney}}, who made a movie about it. The opening scene of the game begins with the main character playing an old ''VideoGame/{{TRON}}'' arcade cabinet. A ''second'' Tron arcade game is [[spoiler:rigged to an archaic modem and used by Alan to hack into the system, create Mercury, and try to contact Jet]].
* The ''{{Myst}}'' video game series is based -- or so {{canon}} claims -- on the actual journals of the characters, but the games are heavily abridged versions of the "real" events, and starring [[{{AFGNCAAP}} a faceless, sexless Stranger]] instead of the as of yet unnamed real character. This was taken further with the release of ''URU'', which tells the story of modern-day archeologists exploring the caverns of D'ni, and even further still in ''Myst V'', which tries to specificise some events hinted at in ''URU''. It was finally taken to the {{Kayfabe}} level, where Cyan Worlds employees often present the idea that ''all'' of the Myst series, including ''Myst V'' and ''URU'', exist as fictionalized accounts of real events.
* The 'plot' (such as it is) of ''We Love Katamari'' is driven by the idea that, following the success of the first game, ''KatamariDamacy'', the stars (that is, the King of All Cosmos and the Prince) have become hugely popular, and must therefore answer requests from adoring fans. Things get sillier when the King convinces himself that he owes his huge popularity to his stylish, captivating ''chin''.
* HideoKojima's ''VisualNovel/{{Policenauts}}'' is referenced in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' in a poster in Otacon's lab, where it is implied in one scene that ''Policenauts'' is an anime that Otacon watches. Nobody seems to bring up the fact that Meryl Silverburgh has the same name, likeness, and occupation of a character in ''Policenauts''.
** "It's just like one of my Japanese Animes!"
* In ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'', a Duke Nukem arcade cabinet can be found in the first level, and has on it his appearance from the previous platformer games. Using it provokes the quip "Hmm... don't have time to play with myself."
** Likewise in ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'', we find out that the first level of the game is a recreation of the final boss from 3D, and when the level is over, we pan out of a TV screen to see that Duke himself is playing a video game based off himself, all while one of the game developer's spokeswomen was... shall we say... "helping herself" to him while he was playing.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' an NPC gushes about this new game he has called "Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door". [[spoiler: [[MindScrew If you talk to him in the middle of the game he says he already beat it and the ending is amazing]]]].
** In addition, [[spoiler:the ending sequence mentions that Flurrie and Doopliss are performing a play based on the events of the game... but since the battle system is itself "onstage", it's implied that you might be playing the play. Which means that the play refers to itself...]]
*** It also implies that several of the actors for the villains are attacking and ''eating'' [[FridgeHorror the audience during the play...]]
* One NPC in ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' wonders if ''[=EarthBound=]'' has been released yet.
** In addition, the newspaper headline in Onett after beating the FinalBoss is "Chief Strong finishes [=EarthBound=], asks 'Where is the [[VideoGame/{{Mother3}} sequel]]?'"
* ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}'' has several copies of the book Metro 2033 as well as posters for the book scattered around the place. Would makes sense that it was a popular book after the apocalypse though, seeing as it predicted the whole damn situation everyone is in.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' there are [[http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/File:CityPinball.jpg pinball machines]] of the game.
* It's actually a plot point in ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'' that Doctor Fred never saw a penny from "[[VideoGame/ManiacMansion the video game based on his family]]."
* One cutscene from ''VideoGame/Stinkoman20X6'' showed Stinkoman playing... ...''Stinkoman 20X6''.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the first two ''Franchise/MassEffect'' novels, ''[[Literature/MassEffectRevelation Revelation]]'' and ''[[Literature/MassEffectAscension Ascension]]'', are available in-universe as [[BasedOnATrueStory dramatizations of the actual events]] written by human author Drew Karpyshyn.
** One of the ads you can encounter on the Citadel is for a film, ''Citadel'', based on the events of the first game.
* In ''MegaManLegends'', the video game store in Apple Mart apparently stocks the game Mega Man Legends.
* The NeoGeo ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' [[RecursiveAdaptation fighting game based on the movie]] has a stage where production stills from the movie are displayed on a large monitor.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Glitch}}'', it is possible to create a ''Glitch'' video game.
* In ''[[VideoGame/StarSoldier Star Parodier]]'', not only is the PCEngine a player character, it has ''Super Star Soldier'' in its [=HuCard=] slot during the opening FighterLaunchingSequence.
* In one of the final expansion packs for ''TheSims 2'', it was possible to obtain a computer that would allow your Sims to play The Sims.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SoulHackers Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers]]'' negotiating with certain demons will reveal that they are playing a game called ''Soul Hackers'', and then show that they are at the part where they meet the hero in the game. This freaks them out.
* In ''FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'', a character mentions a game called ''Final Fantasy''.
* Throughout Stauf Manor in the PC game ''The 11th Hour'', you can find boxes of its predecessor, ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest''. A CD of the game is even the solution to one of the {{fetch quest}}s you're assigned.
* The first-gen Pokémon games allow you to visit Game Freak studios, and talk to a sprite artist who drew the player character for the Pokémon games.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' takes this and runs with it to the Nth degree. By the end of the series, it's a story about [[spoiler:a story about a story about a game about a story about a game about some message bottles about a game about a murder. And there are probably a few layers forgotten there as well]].
** And to boot, it might be possible that the events of ''HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' were actually a novel in the world of Umineko - although it's hard to tell whether it's serious or just a meta-gag when Battler mentions it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0050.html Narrowly averted]] by DarthsAndDroids.
** With layers upon layers... in the note on that page is a link to a screencap comic based on ''Franchise/HarryPotter'', which looks like a version of the comic, down to the note that has a link to a screencap comic based on ''TheSoundOfMusic'', which looks like a version of the comic, down to the note that has a link to a screencap comic based on the ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'', which has a link...
*** This continues to at least fourteen repetitions, including a ''[[{{Mezzacotta}} Postcard]]'' [[http://www.mezzacotta.net/postcard/?comic=121 comic in the same style]] that links to the Star Wars layer. The fourteenth layer is ''{{Inception}}'' with the strip title [[LampshadeHanging 'Dream 50: How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?'.]] As discussed in CelebrityParadox, some of screencapped works eventually appear in the outer layers again.
* In ''Webcomic/DumbingOfAge'', there are Dexter and Monkey Master, a cartoon and comic series, and Robo-Vac, a comic book, both [[ShoutOut Shout Outs]] to the original continuity (which includes ''Webcomic/{{Roomies}}'', ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'', ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}'', and ''Webcomic/JoyceAndWalky'').
** Additionally, Robo-Vac is a comic in ''Webcomic/{{Roomies}}''.
* ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'' pushes new boundaries for this trope. There are four separate webcomics, or "adventures", on the site: ''{{Jailbreak}}'', ''Bard Quest'', ''ProblemSleuth'', and ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. There's also an entity known as the Midnight Crew. The relationship between the five is [[MindScrew a little complicated, to say the least]].
** ''Problem Sleuth'', ''Bard Quest'' and ''Jailbreak'' seem to [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001555 take place in the same universe.]]
** John, TheHero of ''Homestuck'', owns [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=001931 video games with the same titles as the first three adventures]]. It is unknown if these games are associated with the fictional mspaintadventures.com that exists within that universe.
** The Midnight Crew were introduced in a series of non-canonical extra commands for Problem Sleuth. Several characters in ''Homestuck'' [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002012 go to mspaintadventures.com]], where there is a Midnight Crew adventure going on. Moreover, Jade checked it at a time when it was concluding [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002731 an intermission]] which seems to be a variation of ''Homestuck'' and didn't seem to notice.
** After the end of Act 3, ''Homestuck'', in turn, began a Midnight Crew-themed intermission. In it, Spades Slick of the Midnight Crew - using a computer which once belonged to John's dad, no less - [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=003067 went to mspaintadventures.com]] and found... ''Homestuck'' itself.
** At the end of the intermission, it is revealed that the Midnight Crew intermission is part of the ''Homestuck'' story with direct ramifications on it. So... the whole thing's a little complicated.
** It's ultimately quite simple though now that AndrewHussie is actually a character in story; he's got time and space warping walls that he watches people with[[note]]Technical term: fifth walls.[[/note]] and so he can violate what we'd consider normal. It also helps that parallel universes are involved. To put it simply, he's sending Midnight Crew comics to John's universe, ''Homestuck'' comics to the Midnight Crew's universe, and a ''third'' universe gets a sequel to ''Problem Sleuth''.
*** A lot of the characters of ''Homestuck'' lived in the Midnight Crew's universe before. [[spoiler:They live in the Alternian universe (A2).]]
* ''Webcomic/PlanescapeSurvivalGuide'' has a character visiting the comic's site [[http://planescapecomic.com/183.html here]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''[[RedLetterMedia Half in the Bag]]'', Mike Stoklasa acts as the creator of the Plinkett reviews in episodes where they screen the Episode I review at conventions, despite the fact that a different Plinkett exists in their universe. In the ''RedLetterMedia'' teaser videos, Mr. Plinkett (who seems to be the same Plinkett as the review universe) calls ''Half in the Bag'' "our new review show," and he also acknowledges the existence of Mike and Jay (calling them frauds). In both the ''[=HitB=]'' universe and ''RLM'' teasers, ''Feeding Frenzy'' is acknowledged as a work of fiction, despite featuring yet another version of Harry S. Plinkett.
* The reviewers of Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses encounter all sorts of crazy stuff in their videos, but all this is forgotten in the annual MassiveMultiplayerCrossover film featuring them all, where it appears that the characters actually live in (more or less) the real world; Nostalgia Chick, Linkara, Spoony ''et al'' really go by those names, and are employed by TGWTG to make the videos on the site.
** It is brought back around in the fourth anniversary, ''ToBoldlyFlee''. Linkara's space ship and Joe's space station are involved in the plot, the reviewers are menaced by villains from previous reviews, such as [[Film/BattlefieldEarth Terl]] and Mechakara, and [[spoiler:in the last episode, the Nostalgia Critic has a very important encounter with Doug Walker]].
* ''MyLittlePonyCamaraderieIsSupernatural'': When Twilight asks Pinkie Pie how she got into the former's house, the latter says she's "seen every episode."
* ''Webcomic/{{Hoofstuck}}'': Rainbow Dash has a picture of Dirk Strider on her wall, referencing how Dirk, [[{{Homestuck}} in his own continuity]] has a picture of Rainbow Dash on his.
* The ''WebAnimation/BadDays'' pilot "Disassembled" includes a scene in which the Comicbook/FantasticFour watch a cartoon starring themselves, ''WesternAnimation/TheFantasticFour1967''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]

* The ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'' films exist in ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' universe as a retelling of actual events. Cartoon Peter Venkman notes that Creator/BillMurray looks nothing like him. Toys from the TV series, however, show up in ''Ghostbusters II'' and the video game, which is noted as {{canon}} to the movies. So the cartoon is a retelling of events in the movies which is a retelling of events in the cartoon which is--oh dear, I've gone crosseyed.
* The Smithsonian/US Presidents episode of ''[[{{Peanuts}} This Is America, Charlie Brown]]'' had the characters go to the museum and look at an original ''Peanuts'' comic that can be found in the museum, as well as information about the Apollo 10 modules (that were nicknamed "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy").
** ''ItsTheGreatPumpkinCharlieBrown'' has a scene where Lucy is shown reading an issue of ''TVGuide'' with her own picture on the cover.
* ''StarWarsCloneWars'' has a {{Retcon}} to imply that the episode/scene/five minutes with Mace Windu was an in-universe cartoon later drawn by the kid watching the whole scene, in an attempt to account for Mace Windu's abilities being turned all the way UpToEleven.
* In "Stage Door Cartoon," Elmer Fudd sits down in a theater for a screening of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes''.
* One ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' short had the titular duo sit down in a theater to watch...''Tom and Jerry''.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'', Grim can be seen watching ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', but come ''Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure'' and ''The Grim Adventures of the KND'', we see that they exist in the same universe.
* The episode of the ''TransformersGeneration1'' [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers cartoon]] ''Make Tracks'' has a brief shot of a movie theater playing ''TransformersTheMovie''. The events of which movie happened 20 years after the episode in question! Would have spared them a lot of losses if the Autobots bothered to check it out.
* In the ''GarfieldAndFriends'' episode ''Badtime Story'', [[CowardlyLion Wade]] gets [[EvilRoy Roy]] to leave so Wade can finish the story by telling him "Your favorite TV shows on". Roy's reaction "''Garfield and Friends''? Oh my gosh! I can't miss it this week. We'll finish this later. Bye!" We later then see Roy at his house, saying "Hey, wait a minuite! This isn't Saturday morning! Garfield isn't on!".
** Also, at the end of ''Secrets of the Animated Cartoon'', the ''U.S. Acres'' characters all gather up to watch ''Garfield and Friends''.
** In ''The Lasagna Zone'', Garfield, TrappedInTVLand, begs Odie to change the channel, but Odie mistakingly knocks the remote off the armchair, causing it to break and the channel to change endlessly, resulting in Garfield running in place through several different screens. One is Booker and Sheldon standing in a field, and another is the title card of the earlier episode ''Sludge Monster''.
** Averted: In ''[[WesternAnimation/GarfieldSpecials Garfield's Halloween Adventure]]'', when Garfield is flipping through TV channels at the beginning, one is a Jim Davis-drawn pig in a cartoony field. One may be tempted to think it's Orson and that he's watching ''Garfield and Friends'', but this special predated it by 3 years.
* The opening theme of ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' showed DW reading an ''Arthur'' book and watching ''Arthur'' on TV.
--->'''Arthur''': (on TV) Hey, DW!
--->'''DW''': Hey!!!
--->'''Arthur''':(falls off the screen screaming, the title falls apart below him)
* The TV-Show [[WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons Dungeons and Dragons]] starts with a group of kids going on a D&D-themed ride at a theme park, suggesting the D&D games exist in their world. They are then sucked into the real world of Dungeons and Dragons. Incidentally, they [[CultureBlind don't seem to know anything about the D&D world]], despite apparently having recognized the ride's theme.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'' cartoon; there was a side character named "Bug Man" who is also a comic book character. In the first episode with him; Michaelangelo helps him on his adventures; to the disbelief of the other turtles. In the second episode he shows up in; [[RealityEnsues the comic has destroyed his life]]; telling everyone (including his enemies) his SecretIdentity; his WeaksauceWeakness, etc.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' are established as a fictional cartoon in ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'' - but Jay visits Springfield at one point. Guh?
** Simple fix there. Jay is a celebrity film critic in his universe. So he just played himself in a guest appearance on The Simpsons, just like our world's Siskel and Ebert did on The Critic.
** {{Futurama}} is stated to be a work of fiction within the Simpsons universe ([[CreatorCameo Matt Groening]] is famous for creating {{Futurama}} in TheSimpsons, meanwhile he is famous for creating TheSimpsons within the universe of {{Futurama}}) which [[ContinuitySnarl gets extra confusing]] when it was confirmed the two would have a crossover in the fall of 2014.
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[[folder:Other]]
* Some ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' contain [[ShamelessSelfPromoter Chick Tracts]] being used to convert people, in tracts that are supposed to be converting people.
* [[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/06/drawing-competition-ponies-playing-with.html This fanart contest]] on EquestriaDaily is built on this trope.
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