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[[quoteright:300:[[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/this_is_reality.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:300:Good thing you ''are'' in a comic book. Just saying...]]-]
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->'''Marco''': You know, [Cassie] is just not getting the whole superhero thing. Does ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} look things up in the phone book? Does ComicBook/SpiderMan? I think not.\\
'''Rachel''': Yeah, well, Wolverine has a big advantage over us. ''He's not real''.
-->-- ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''

One character tells another; ''this is reality'', ''this is not a movie'', or any variation thereof, most often the stock phrase "This isn't a/an X, you know"; in order to get them to divorce themselves from an unrealistic notion -- only, little do they know, their whole world indeed ''isn't'' reality! This phrase is often used when [[DefiedTrope defying]] a trope. In other words, this trope is a LampshadeHanging affirmation of the FourthWall, with a subtle joke and a bit of dramatic irony rolled in.

It is a message to the viewers that "Hey, this show/movie is more grounded in reality than average." This message is [[InformedAttribute not always true]]. Sometimes it's done for [[ReconstructedTrope reconstruction purposes]] where a trope is played realistically but still works in real life.

It's somewhat common in sci-fi and comedy which feature wildly varying levels of realism and can be used to help the audience get a feel for what the limits are. BeyondTheImpossible is when these limits are established and then deliberately broken. Sometimes, this trope is also used in romance stories when a cynical LoveInterest feels that [[GrandRomanticGesture Grand Romantic Gestures]] and certain WishFulfillment tropes of the genre are unrealistic portrayals of love and that [[SillyRabbitRomanceIsForKids real life love does not work that way.]]

Contrast NotAGame, which (usually) does not invoke the FourthWall. May be subverted by an AsideGlance. Another possible twist is to have the characters [[GenreBlind object to an "unrealistic" idea]] that ''is'' in fact perfectly realistic and sensible ''[[GenreSavvy within that fictional universe]]''.

When inverted, this is LeaningOnTheFourthWall.

Closely related to WrongGenreSavvy, although the consequences of the latter tend to be much more dire. See also WhereDoYouThinkYouAre, ArbitrarySkepticism, YouWatchTooMuchX, RealWorldEpisode, LiteraryAgentHypothesis, DaydreamBeliever, TrappedInTVLand. Contrast with MediumAwareness and RealityIsUnrealistic. RealityEnsues is the exact opposite of this trope. The stock phrase itself can be major {{Narm}} for some people.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'' had an [[AnimeThemeSong opening theme]] titled "Anime Ja Nai", or "It's Not Anime", whose final lyric is "Honto no koto sa" ("It's the real thing!"). In this case, it was used to signify a lighter tone than the DarkerAndEdgier ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' -- at least for the first half of the series.
** Amusingly, ZZ was, [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam until the mid nineties]], the most cartoonish non-SD Gundam show there was. If you take the time to check the rest of the lyrics, the song actually does fit the tone of the series better. It's either about a bratty kid trying to convince the grownups that his daydreams have some kind of significance, or to convince them there's more to life than their dreary, buttoned down worldview. [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism Which interpretation you prefer will probably tell you all you need to know about whether or not you'll enjoy this]] [[BrokenBase polarizing]] series.
* The original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' had a scene where Char Aznable is showing Lalah Sun battlefield footage as part of her training.
--> '''Char Aznable''': Look closely, Lalah. This is what a real battle looks like - wild and unpredictable - not carefully scripted like a movie. And there's nothing glorious about it.
* Danced around in the final episodes of ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', in which several characters point out that reality isn't as black and white as anime.
* On ''Anime/YuGiOh'', upon seeing one of Pegasus' [[WesternAnimation Toon]] monsters, Kaiba exclaims, "This isn't some lame-brained after school cartoon!"
* In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier,'' Koji once chastises Takuya for recklessness: "It's not a game! If we lose, we cannot just start from scratch, we are dead!"
* A military officer [[spoiler:(who is Envy in a disguise)]] in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' scolds Edward for his overly dramatic behavior by saying "Stop acting like you're in a manga!"
* As they're preparing for a dance contest in ''Manga/RaveMaster'' Lazenby tells Elie "If this were a manga the last man standing would be the winner"
* ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic''. TrappedBehindEnemyLines and surrounded by a hostile army searching for them, Kaname is reminded of ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'' and suggests that such movies should have a happy ending instead. Her voice startles some birds, bringing down an immediate hail of fire. "Oh I get it, this is reality, right!" But Kurz and Sousake like the idea of the "cool" BolivianArmyEnding and the three of them prepare to go out in a blaze of glory. Fortunately, help choses that moment to arrive.
* [[LampshadeHanging Invoked]] in the opening skit of ''Manga/DailyLivesOfHighSchoolBoys'': Tadakuni, Hidenori and Yoshitake are attacked by [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Zakus]] and embark on a heroic [[Franchise/FinalFantasy fantasy quest]] on their way to school before Tadakuni complains there aren't meant to be any mobile suits or heroic tales in a SliceOfLife. In fact, the anime goes to great lengths to reinforce this trope.
* In ''Anime/MacrossII'', Hibiki's mentor tells him off for only wanting the "good parts" of the battle reported on, stating that "they're not making some series to get ratings." Which is all well and good, since ''Macross II'' had disappointing sales.
* ''Manga/LuckyStar'' does this all the time. It's a pretty consistent source for jokes involving Konata.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** In one episode, Ash confidently declares that he's not a "cartoon character".
** In the early episode "The School of Hard Knocks", a student claims to have learned Pokemon strengths and weaknesses from using a battling simulator, to which Misty remarks "this is real life!" and challenges him to a face-to-face battle, beating him with ease. Oddly, in the first scene of this same episode, Brock's line just before the title card is [[AnimatedActors "we've gotta start the show"]], though the context is ambiguous regarding whether he might have meant it metaphorically.
* The introduction to ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' is exactly this; Kyon begrudgingly accepts the fact that he lives in the real world, where [[HumanAliens ali]][[StarfishAliens ens]], [[TimeTravel time-travelers]], [[PsychicPowers and espers]] don't actually exist. [[RealAfterAll They do.]]
* In the second episode of ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'', the title character says this. It's actually an inversion, since he says this to make him face facts, after explaining the AwfulTruth.
* In Episode 10 of ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Touma tells Mikoto, "This isn't a {{Shoujo}} manga!"
* In one issue of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Karin says about Ichigo, "He's a normal guy. He's not some anime character." True, this was in the manga, but he ''is'' an anime character.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'', a [[GangOfHats Blue Square member]] complains about Kadota and Chikage [[DefeatMeansFriendship teaming up after a fight]] on the basis that "this isn't a fucking manga." He's right. It's a LightNovel.
** Erika and Walker, as well. They're both complete Otakus and theorize on "if this was a manga" and "I'd like to go to the 2D world."
* ''LightNovel/KazeNoStigma'' episode "Pandemonium":
-->'''Vesalius''': When will the climax of our little play take place? When will all three of you come together and meet up for the last time in your final scene together? [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall The main characters miraculously discover the secret hideout of the sinister magic user.]] But then suddenly fall into a trap and get separated, and each of them encounters a formidable enemy. What do you think, quite an exhilarating story, isn't it? And obviously an unexpected plot twist is needed to crown the climax and bring our drama to its bloody conclusion.
-->'''Ren''': This isn't some kind of play, this is real life!
* In ''Manga/YoureUnderArrest Full Throttle'', in episode 10, Natsumi and Miyuki have to operate [[spoiler:robots]] designed for dangerous rescues. Upon being introduced to them, Nakajima points out that one of them doesn't feature a face nor legs to which the creator answers that [[spoiler:robots]] are designed that way only in anime and manga.
* ''LightNovel/{{Campione}}'': When Godou's male classmates hear he hooked up with a hot Italian noble they exclaim, "That couldn't even happen in an anime!"
* ''Anime/TenchiUniverse'':
-->'''Washu''': Because its range is only 800 meters. It doesn't work like it would in a cartoon!
* At the beginning of ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'', the girls compare their adventure--magic, a quest to SaveThePrincess, [[FetchQuest items to fetch]]--to a RolePlayingGame. When they're attacked by a very powerful sorceress shortly after, Fuu immediately says that it's ''not'' like an RPG because they don't have nearly enough {{Character Level}}s to deal with it. [[spoiler:They get an even harsher lesson at the end of the series when they realize they aren't there to ''save'' the princess, but kill her before her inner turmoil destroys the world.]]
* In one chapter of ''Manga/SakuraTrick'', Yuzu insists that they're not in a {{shoujo|genre}} manga, and thus Haruka wouldn't lick food off of Yuu's face despite the two are a pair of SchoolgirlLesbians. She's right on both counts; ''Sakura Trick'' is a ''{{seinen}}'' manga, and Haruka only ate the scrap after wiping it off.
* [[DarkestHour Heavily wounded and facing a lethal attack from Vanilla Ice]], the [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure handsome Polnareff]] has three options: escaping by himself, [[BigDamnHeroes being suddenly saved by his friends]] or... just dying there, for [[InvokedTrope "reality is cruel"]].
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': In the first episode, Sayaka complains that Homura is acting like some anime character when she learns of her cryptic warning to Madoka. She says it again (about Madoka, to Madoka) when she says that she ''did'' meet Homura before - in a dream. Ironically enough, Sayaka is the one who ends up [[GenreBlind trying to be]] an anime-ish IdealHero, complete with BadassCape, which goes exceedingly poorly for her.
* In ''Manga/SailorMoon'', episode 21, Usagi is watching the trailer of the new anime of "Sailor V" that is soon to air on TV. Depressed, she wishes that someone would make an anime about her as well. Luna drops a comment about how the idea is too silly to even think about.
* In ''Animation/GuardianFairyMichel'', when the Black Hammers learn that there's a time machine, Boogy remarks that "Time machines only exist in cartoons! They're not real!" Biam then retorts, asking if that's just like fairies, then. Boogy is forced to concede.
* Something that Koudai thinks to himself during his narrative in ''LightNovel/UnlockCity'', comparing what happens with a TV drama or video game, and at some points having to remind himself it's real life. The irony being that not only is this a book but [[spoiler: events are being manipulated by the organization Evillious Net to be like a game.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', [[ArrogantKungFuGuy Neji Hyuuga]] takes one last taunt to remind the title character that he will never be Hokage and gives him a "sorry but this is reality, you're a fail..." right before Naruto bursts out from the ground and gives him a left hook up his jaw winning the match.

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* Creator/TheFiresignTheatre uses this trope extensively in almost their entire body of audio comedy work. The layers of trope-play become extremely confusing and interesting. See the quotes page for one example.
* In the ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes'' audio drama "The Abergavenny Murder", Holmes announces that if a client doesn't come through the door soon, he'll go mad from boredom, then pauses hopefully.
-->'''Holmes:''' Oh, how disappointing. I was rather hoping the doorbell would ring. It would have been like a moment from one of your lurid adventures.\\
'''Watson:''' Unfortunately, this is reality.\\
'''Holmes:''' Is it? Sometimes I wonder.\\
''[doorbell rings]''

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/ArchieComics'':
** In the story "See You in the Funny Papers" Veronica says to Betty when the latter shows MediumAwareness, "We live in the real world, girl! Not comic books!"
** A similar story had Archie [[BreakingTheFourthWall lecturing the audience]] on how unfair teenage life was, with really outlandish things happening to kids for no reason. After a tricycle nearly runs him over, he complains that sometimes he feels as if he's trapped in a comic book. Then, in the next panel, he almost seems to ''[[PingPongNaivete realize]]'' [[PingPongNaivete that he's a character in a comic book]] - but in the panel after ''that'', [[ContractualGenreBlindness he becomes the butt of the very same joke he had anticipated]].
* In ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}},'' the BigBad dismisses the idea that the plan he's describing can be stopped by stating that he isn't some "[[FilmSerial Republic serial villain]]." No... he's the ''villain of a superhero comic.'' It must be noted that superhero comic books, as a genre, do not exist within the Watchmen fictional universe (or, more exactly, they existed for just a few years in the 1940s, and were largely forgotten by the time being), so it makes sense that the notion of a fictional supervillain may be a bit different. [[Film/{{Watchmen}} The movie]] changes the line to "[[LeaningOnTheFourthWall I'm not a comic book villain.]]"
* More or less the point of ''ComicBook/SupermanSecretIdentity'' is Clark comparing his life and powers to his [[Franchise/{{Superman}} comic book namesake]].
* Creator/DonRosa's ''Once and Future Duck'' uses this when a time-traveling DonaldDuck is about to get executed by King Arthur's men, and begs his nephews to use [[GreatBigBookOfEverything the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook]] [[http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i212/Kerrah_photos/Execution.jpg and predict]] a ConvenientEclipse.
* In an issue of ''ComicBook/{{JLA}}'', Franchise/{{Batman}}, in his guise as Bruce Wayne, is trapped in an elevator with several of his subordinates by a madman with a bomb. The other characters vainly search for an escape hatch, to which Wayne drily points out that "Interior escape hatches on elevators are a thing of movies and television. Those on modern elevators can be accessed only from outside the car." He said this as he was preparing to kill the lights, so presumably he had some sort of plan.
* An issue of ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' has a subtle, ''almost''-subverted example. Dr. Scratchansniff has to babysit Yakko, Wakko, and Dot on a day when he would rather read comic books. He decides he might as well combine the two activities and gives the kids a lecture about how comics are put together. He compares a comic to an unborn baby, pointing out that just as with a baby, it takes many steps for a funny idea to "gestate" into a funny comic book. (At one point, Yakko [[BreakingTheFourthWall turns to the audience]] and asks: [[{{Metaphorgotten}} "Is anyone else getting tired of this metaphor?"]]) The ironic thing is, Dr. Scratchansniff and the Warner siblings are ''themselves'' in a comic book, so the doctor's pregnancy metaphor is actually quite apt where they are concerned.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* One ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' strip has an arresting policeman sneer at Steve Dallas's claim that animals Opus, Bill and Portney are capable of talking (and trashing motel rooms): "This ain't the funny pages, pal!"
* In ''ComicStrip/SafeHavens'', Maria says that TimeTravel [[MagicAIsMagicA has restrictions]], adding, "This isn't some fantasy, you know."
** Later, when Rupert [[ShapeShifting turns into an amoeba]] and splits before turning back, Samantha wants to know if [[EvilTwin one of him is evil]]. Rosalind notes that neither has a [[BeardOfEvil goatee]], and Samantha says, "This isn't fiction, Rosalind. It's real life."
* One ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'' strip has Elly telling Michael while changing the channel while he's [[YouWatchTooMuchX watching]] a sexually explicit [[Creator/{{Cinemax}} Skinemax]] movie "It's garbage Michael! Real relationships aren't like that!".
* In ''ComicStrip/PhoebeAndHerUnicorn'', a girl doesn't recognize Phoebe after the latter lets her hair down. Phoebe says, "It's a different day. It's not like I'm a cartoon character."

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* [[spoiler:Tsuruya]] dismisses using their prodigious anime collection as a basis for a confession, reasoning that real life is more complicated than that in ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero''.
* ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'' has Dumbledore compare the war against Voldemort [[spoiler: (which he thinks has restarted, thanks to a badly calculated action on Harry's part) ]] to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', and then state that Tolkien has no idea how a wizarding war would really go, and that [[spoiler: Gandalf should have taken Frodo and the Ring to Rivendell immediately, as soon as he suspected Frodo might have the Ring, as even if Gandalf was wrong, the magnitude of the danger he suspected Frodo and Middle-Earth were in outweighed the inconvenience to Frodo, and the potential massive embarrassment to Gandalf.]] He also states that that wasn't Gandalf's only mistake, just his worst.
** Several times, Harry reflects that Dumbledore apparently believes he lives in a world that runs on the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality, doing things like keeping Snape employed because he believes there has to be an ObviouslyEvil Potions Master. Harry, who is sure he lives in the real world, is rather terrified by this revelation.
** [[spoiler: But then it turns out he's ObfuscatingInsanity, and actually has much better reasons. [[MindScrew Maybe]].]]
* Used several times in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'':
** Right at the beginning, when John and Paul [[NobodyPoops have to pee]], Paul mentions that it seems “a bit crass” to have to pee when they never do in ''Franchise/StarWars'' or whatever. To which John replies: “Maybe they don't [[IncrediblyLamePun water the crass]] in fiction, but they do in real life.”
** Later, after Paul has become [[SuperStrength super-strong]] and realizes that [[ManOfSteelWomanOfKleenex he never dare have sex with anyone ever again]], he wonders how Franchise/{{Superman}} has sex, and immediately answers himself: Because his writers let him. (Actually, as the book is set in 1980, he also notes that Superman simply never had sex at all.)
* A Tumblr user who participated in a roleplaying game based on ''Watchmen'' once posted a cap of the aforementioned quote by the BigBad as adjusted for the game: "I'm not the villain of some over-hyped action film."
* In ''FanFic/ConnectingTheDots'', Beast Boy, while showing the internet to Kiba, explains to him the concept of fanfiction. Beast Boy is shocked when Kiba asks him if there's fanfiction about HIM, because obviously, fanfiction doesn't deal with reality.
* ''{{Fanfic/Anthropology}}'': After explaining all about [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Discord]] and what he's up to, Lyra tells her father that “This isn’t one of your books. This is real life.” HilariousInHindsight, seeing as Discord has just turned Lyra into a pony.
* Chapter 3 of ''FanFic/TheRestOfThePieces'' includes the following line:
-->'''{{VisualNovel/Phoenix|WrightAceAttorney}}''': Stupid Edgeworth. Where does he get off being so cool, whipping out lines like that and then disappearing off into the sunset. That doesn't happen in real life. It's like something out of a movie.
* The beginning of Episode 1 of ''[[http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL62BA69EAB6DBD807 Ed, Edd n' Eddy Z]]'' includes the following exchange:
-->'''Corey''': Ed, Eddy, Double-D. You guys are Saiyans. This must be the tenth time I've said this in a month!\\
'''Edd''': And I keep telling you, we're human!\\
'''Eddy''': You're nuts, like Double-D keeps saying to you, over and over and over again!\\
'''Ed''': I don't care if you are a hero, but I know we're not like in a comic book!
* In ''Fanfic/YuGiOhDarkMessiah'', the villain Fortunado has a day job as a director, and as a result bases most of his plans on movie plots. During his duel with Jason, he secretly predicts how Jason will lose, based on a plot about a hero thinking he's about to win, but then destroying himself with a mistake. The plan is foiled when Jason does something different. When the villain demands to know what is going on, Jason comments that this isn't a movie and he's not an actor, so Fortunado cannot control him.
* Several times in ''FanFic/OriginStory'', the characters think of an idea, then declare it to be something that'd only work in an action movie or a comic book. Note that this story is a ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' / ''ComicBook/PowerGirl'' cross-over that takes place in the MarvelUniverse.
* In ''[[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-26735-8/OlBear+Hellmouth+Trooper.htm Hellmouth Trooper]]'', after [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] comes back to earth after spending six years as a [[Franchise/StarWars Clone Trooper]] only to find less than a year has passed, Willow's shocked to hear he won't be returning to high school.
-->'''Xander''': "No Willow, I don’t think I can pass for a high school student. This isn’t some TV show where they [[DawsonCasting cast actors in their mid-twenties to play teenagers]]." [[note]]The character of Xander himself was played by a mid-twenties actor in the show, who would (obviously) be in his thirties after six years.[[/note]]
* In ''Fanfic/FriendshipIsMagicalGirls'', Scootaloo thinks Rainbow Dash and her friends' battles against the forces of evil are awesome, but Rainbow scolds her by pointing out that unlike in movies and anime, these situations are scary and people get hurt.
* In the ''Fanfic/TheBridgeHumanitysStand'', Taiyou thinks that the members of the Global Defense Force will think and behave like the clichéd heroes of various action movies and other media she has watched. Miki Saegusa irritably tells her that this is real life and they are a lot smarter and pragmatic than that.
* Multiple times in ''[[https://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-30529-44/Ravanne%2BNot%2BIn%2BKansas.htm Not In Kansas]]'' Kara will face someone trying to take advantage of Kryptonian weaknesses only for her to laugh at them and point out they don't live in a comicbook. Both Angelus and the Initiative try to use kryptonite against Kara, only for her to tell them kryptonite doesn't exist. And both times the Watchers Council attacks her with magic, Kara easily defeats said magic user and notes that "Not invulnerable to magic" is nowhere near the same as "Weak against magic".
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' fanfic, ''Fanfic/CommonSense'', when Seymour declares that villains never win, Meowth laughs at him and asks if he thinks they're in a kids' show.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10242368/1/Reinforced-Chamber Reinforced Chamber]]'':
-->'''Hayate:''' I'm betting she didn't find anything. If there really was something, finding it that easily would definitely spoil the plot! No, if there was something, we would not find out about it until his diabolical plan was already in motion and the villain will tell us it all in a monologue!\\
'''Signum:''' Hayate, real life is not like books or manga. Something like that is simply absurd, and I really don't want to know why you keep trying to equate the two.
* ''Fanfic/DidntExpectThat'': Eleya's InternalMonologue comment on SpaceClouds that from the inside, real nebulae don't work like actual fog "like you see in Jachin Province or Hollywood."
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11367853/4/Friendship-and-Honour Friendship and Honour]]'':
-->'''Ragnock:''' Seeing as it is you, Madame Bones, I will get somebody to make copies for you to take away and to hand to the young Lord Potter.\\
'''Amelia Bones:''' So he is the only heir?\\
'''Ragnock:''' You expected a previously unknown family member to suddenly appear? That sort of thing is only in poorly written pieces of fiction...
* ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/6359122/chapters/16396594 Talk the Talk]]'':
-->'''Mr. Weasley:''' There's something wrong with their mining operation. They had to hurry in to go fix it. After what happened last time, I'd think you'd know better.\\
'''Ginny:''' [Harry]'s not allowed to just ditch me!\\
'''Mr. Weasley:''' Real life doesn't work as neatly as storybooks, Gin-Gin. In the real world, people sometimes have to work when they'd rather be playing, or at home with their families.
* ''FanFic/HerInnerDemons'': When Sunny Flare tells the other Shadowbolts about how Sunset [[HeelFaceTurn turned over another leaf]] with the PowerOfFriendship, Sour Sweet points out how much it sounds like a story book.
--> '''Sunny Flare''': Twilight and the others defeated her with their own magic of friendship, and this allowed her to step onto the path of redemption."
--> '''Sour Sweet''': "Ooh, it sounds like a fairy tale. ''Except that fairy tales don't happen in real life''!"
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11191235/1/Harry-Potter-and-the-Prince-of-Slytherin Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin]]'':
** Harry is questioned about the petrifications which have been taking place.
-->'''Scrimgeour:''' You know, Mr. Potter, some people might think that having a perfect alibi for multiple attacks is itself suspicious.\\
'''Harry:''' Yes sir. Mainly people who've read too many Muggle mystery novels. In the real world, an ironclad alibi is usually pretty strong evidence of innocence.
** Harry has a rather theatrical encounter with Gilderoy Lockhart.
-->'''Harry:''' '''HE SAID 'BWA-HA-HA'!''' Who ''does'' that? No one in real life goes into a rant and laughs 'BWA-HA-HA'!? People don't even do that in ''books'' anymore! Only in ''very old movies'' where the villain is a cartoon character who fights Flash Gordon or some other rubbish like that!
* ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/4642155/chapters/10642743 Adventures in Dimension Hopping]]'':
-->'''Spike:''' Our lives, and Red's depend on how well we perform. Unlike ''Super Mega-Death Massacre III'' there is no reset button. We get it right or we're out of the game.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11805613/7/A-Change-in-Destiny A Change in Destiny]]'' Harry asks if he can call Lia "aunt" if she gets married to Sirius and she points out that it's only going to be their first date.
-->'''Harry:''' But Roger and Anita got married soon after their first meeting, and so did Pongo and Perdita.\\
'''Lia:''' Harry, this isn't a Disney movie. And ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'' isn't real life.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12673615/3/Open-Doors Open Doors]]'':
-->'''Dumbledore:''' Didn't you explain it to Harry?\\
'''Snape:''' He chooses not to believe me.\\
'''Harry:''' You didn't explain it to me at all! What kind of explanation is 'I am your father'? This is real life not some kind of sci-fi fantasy.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11092196/13/Xtreme-Freak Xtreme Freak]]'':
-->'''Hermione:''' Where do you come up with these conspiracy theories, Harry? Next you will be talking about how the Minister and his staff are closet Death Eaters, and that one man controls the entire wizarding world from behind the scenes, playing everyone like some demented cross between Stromboli and Rasputin, with a little Svengali thrown in for flavor. Reality does not work like that, only bad novelizations and dramas on the telly.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles,'' Helen/Elastigirl warns her kids that the EvilMinions are not like the villains in the {{Saturday Morning Cartoon}}s they watch, and will kill them if given the chance.
** This whole scene makes a lot more sense if you've seen the deleted scene where [[spoiler:Helen's old friend the pilot is still on the plane when it gets hit. It still makes plenty of sense even without that scene, as the kids were on the plane when missiles were fired, despite Helen's warning of "children on board!"]]
** When Syndrome shows the captured family the TV footage of the landed alien aircraft, he says, "You gotta admit this is cool, just like the movies!"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'': "Robin Hood is a myth! We are the reality!"
* Also used in ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'' by The Grand Duke, ribbing the King for setting up a ball in hopes that the Prince would find a bride. The scene plays out exactly according to The Duke's description, to the point where he finishes with "...a fine plot for fairy tales, but in real life, it is foredoomed to failure!"
* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', as Chief Bogo reprimands Judy for causing chaos in Little Rodentia during her pursuit of a petty thief, Judy protests saying she wants to be a real cop and not just be putting tickets on parked cars. Bogo responds with "Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true!" Doubles as SelfDeprecation on Disney's part, especially when Bogo adds "So, [[Disney/{{Frozen}} let it go]]."

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The English remake of the movie ''Film/FunnyGames'' has this dialogue between two characters:
-->'''Paul:''' You can see it in the movie right?\\
'''Peter:''' Of course.\\
'''Paul:''' Well then she's as real as reality because you can see it too. Right?\\
'''Peter:''' Bullshit.\\
'''Paul:''' Why?
* A snippet of dialog from ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'':
-->'''Greg:''' Can't he just... [[Franchise/StarTrek beam up]]?\\
'''Elliott:''' This is ''reality'', Greg.
* A good deal of ''Film/LastActionHero'' plays on the differences between the real world and the Hollywood action movie version thereof. Unfortunately, even the supposedly "real" world has movie electricity. Also, the BigBad rants that the "real" world averts TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin, but in the end...
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Scream|1996}}'':
-->'''Sidney:''' But this is ''not'' a movie.\\
'''Billy:''' Yes it is, Sidney. It's all one big movie.
* And in ''Film/ScaryMovie'', the relevant scene even has the guy pointing to the cameras, resulting in annoyed groans from the cameramen.
* Played with by the ZAZ movie ''Film/TopSecret'':
-->'''Hillary:''' I know. It all sounds like some bad movie.\\
(Awkward pause. Nick and Hillary [[AsideGlance look toward the camera, embarrassed]].)
* In ''Film/MyFavoriteYear'', washed-up actor Alan Swann (played, with magnificent appropriateness, by Peter O'Toole) proposes that he and his minder, Benji, use a fire hose to climb down the outside of a building and crash a party being thrown by the parents of the girl Benji likes. Benji protests to no avail, finally snapping.
-->'''Benji Stone''': That was the movies! This is ''real life''!\\
'''Alan Swann''': What is the difference?
* ''Film/TheBoondockSaints'': In a sense, this is an [[InvertedTrope inversion]]. Usually, the character is contrasting RealLife and fiction, declaring that they are not in a work of fiction (and causing the audience to chuckle). Smecker, on the other hand, has just unwittingly ''likened'' RealLife to fiction (since a trope that only happens in "bad television" has just popped up). His intended point is that the killers were unprofessional -- though if he followed his own logic, he might have realized that they are, in fact, in a work of fiction.
-->'''Agent Smecker:''' Television is the explanation for this. You see this in bad television. Little assault guys creeping through [[AirVentPassageway the vents]], coming in through the ceiling? That ''Film/JamesBond'' shit ''never'' happens in real life! ''Professionals'' don't do that!
* Played straight in ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/AttackOfTheClones'', where Padme tells Anakin that "we live in the real world; come back to it." Which is smashed to bits by her following line: "You're studying to become a Jedi Knight, I'm a senator."
* Played straight, but intended for subtle humor according to the filmmakers, in ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock'', where the following exchange takes place.
-->'''Obnoxious Cadet:''' What, have you lost all your sense of reality?\\
'''Uhura:''' This isn't reality. ''[points a phaser at him]'' This is fantasy.
* In what may be case of the fiction [[Website/TurkeyCityLexicon protesting too much]], the film ''Film/TheBourneUltimatum'' seeks to remind us again and again that "you couldn't make this stuff up", "this isn't some story", and so on.
* In ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'', Lone Starr yells "Welcome to Real Life!" to the Princess, when she complains that she has to carry her own luggage. Minutes later, the movie's villains use a copy of the movie itself to track them down.
* In ''Film/{{Network}}'', Max reminds Diana that this isn't one of her television drama scripts, it's real life.
* Near the end of ''Film/DialMForMurder'', GenreSavvy thriller author Mark is desperate to save Margot from being executed and comes to her husband Tony with an idea he's worked out of how Tony could claim he had been trying to kill Margot and spend a few years in jail in exchange for saving her life. Unknowingly, he proceeds to outline almost the exact same plan that Tony actually used. Tony says that nobody would believe a story like that.
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', Benny the Cab warns an armed Roger, as he goes off to rescue Eddie and Jessica, "Be careful with that gun! This ain't no cartoon, ya know." Justified, as Roger is an actor, and Benny is telling him this ain't a cartoon starring him: the perils are real.
* In ''Film/KissKissBangBang'', the two lead characters are being walked, at gunpoint, into a nearby building. One of them starts [[SeinfeldianConversation talking to his friend]] and fellow hostage about the difference between movies and reality. Specifically, how in the movies anyone you turn a gun on is a hostage, whereas in real life, the professionals like to keep a distance of at least five feet, lest the "hostage" take the gun and "make them eat it". He then proceeds to do exactly that.
* A favorite line of the main character in ''Film/InTheMouthOfMadness'' is that "This is reality." He's wrong [[spoiler: on more levels than you can count as he is not only a character in a movie where a book is controlling reality but a character in a movie who is part of a mind warping movie which is revealed to be the movie that you are watching. With a small chance that he's just hallucinating and it's still not real.]]
* In ''Film/SilverStreak'', Gene Wilder is surprised at how quickly his gun runs out of bullets. Richard Pryor comments "What do you think this is, a western?" Since the movie itself is not a western, this could also be a genuine fourth wall breaking comment.
* Inverted in the movie ''Film/{{eXistenZ}}'', which has several "nested" realities thanks to people playing a virtual reality game that uses all of one's senses. Hence, the characters might be playing the game, then in the game start playing the game, then in that game start playing the game to further something in the "earlier" level of the game. When finally all the strangeness "resolves" in TheReveal, the shock causes one minor character to comment, "Wait, we're still in the game, right?" So maybe this is not reality.
* ''Film/SupermanTheMovie'' began with Jor-El declaring "This is no fantasy — no careless product of wild imagination." He was referring to the conspiracy between General Zod and his cohorts, but the line also plays as a wink at the audience.
* In ''Film/WhateverWorks'', the main character has NoFourthWall, which his pals doubt.
* Claimed by a character in ''Film/Cube2Hypercube''.
-->This isn't a game, Kate. There is no happy ending.
* In ''Film/{{Super}}'', one of Sarah's friends accuses her of acting as if she lives in TV because she plans to marry Frank (who later dresses as a superhero from influence of TV and comic books).
* Near the end of ''Film/{{Hugo}}'', Papa Georges sadly states that [[spoiler:he knows his automaton was destroyed]], because "happy endings only happen in the movies". Cue Hugo running off to get it, because this ''is'' a movie, and there ''is'' a happy ending.
* A hilarious example from the 1991 movie ''Film/TheHardWay''; Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox), an action-adventure star parody of ''Franchise/IndianaJones'', is doing research for a gritty cop movie by following John Moss (James Woods), a hard-boiled detective. At one point, Moss can't take it anymore:
-->'''John Moss:''' We live this job. It's something we are, not something we do! Every time a cop walks up to a car and has to give a speeding ticket, he knows he may have to kill someone or be killed himself. That's not something you step into by strapping on a rubber gun and riding around all day. You get to go back to your million dollar beach house and your bimbos and your blow jobs and you get 17 takes to get it right. We get one take. It lasts our whole lives. We mess it up and we're dead.\\
'''Nick Lang:''' ''[holding up a tape recorder]'' Fuck was that great! John. Look. Can you just say that one more time for me, please? John.
** Later becomes an IronicEcho when, in the [[ShowWithinAShow completed movie]], Lang's character uses the last line of Moss' speech.
* In ''Film/{{Blade}}'', Blade tells Karen that crucifixes and holy water are ineffective against vampires, and advises her to "forget what you've seen in the movies."
* The tagline for the ''Film/SuperMarioBros'' movie is, "This ain't no game...it's a live-action thrill-ride!"
* ''Film/{{Swordfish}}'' starts with Creator/JohnTravolta's character talking to a group of Feds and complaining about Hollywood making predictable, unrealistic movies. One of his main concerns is that bad guys never get off scot-free, whereas, in RealLife, this is a strong possibility. Except, [[spoiler:in ''this'' film, they do get off scot-free. Specifically, they survive and use their ill-gotten gains to finance their counter-terrorist operations]].
* In ''Film/TheCableGuy'', As Chip is holding Robin hostage on the satellite tower:
-->'''Chip:''' You've gotta admit though, this is a pretty cool place for an ending.\\
'''Steven:''' An ending to what?\\
'''Chip:''' It's like that movie ''Film/GoldenEye''.\\
'''Steven:''' No it's not. It's not like anything. This isn't a movie. This is reality. There's a difference.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' has [[NoNameGiven The Operative]] pull this after he [[CurbStompBattle beats the crap out of]] Mal. He's WrongGenreSavvy, though.
-->'''The Operative:''' Nothing here is what it seems. He is not the plucky hero. The Alliance is not an evil empire. This is not the grand arena.\\
'''Inara:''' [[DamselOutOfDistress And that's not incense]].\\
''[Inara's flash-bang explodes]''
* ''Film/SpeciesII'': When Colonel Carter dismisses Preston's suggestion on how to track the alien.
-->'''Carter:''' This isn't ''Series/TheXFiles'', goddammit! We're not gonna follow the word of a lunatic.
* In ''Film/TheCrow'' after T-Bird recognizes Eric Draven as the man him and his buddies killed a year ago, he keeps repeating this. It comes across as VillainousBreakdown combined with GoMadFromTheRevelation that either his sanity has taken a leave or reality isn't what he has believed his whole life.
-->'''T-Bird:''' I knew I knew you, I knew I knew you. But you ain't you. You can't be you. We put you through the window. There ain't no coming back. This is the really real world, there ain't no coming back. We killed you dead, there ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back!
* In ''Film/{{Logan}}'', there were comic books made based on the X-Men's adventures. Logan tells fangirl Laura that they don't reflect reality.
-->'''Logan''':You read these in your spare time? Oh yeah, Charles, we got ourselves an X-men fan. You do know they're all bullshit right? Maybe a quarter of it happens — but not like this. In the real world, people die! And no self-promoting asshole in a fucking leotard can stop it! This is ice cream for bed-wetters!\\
'''Charles:''' Logan...\\
'''Logan:''' That nurse has been feeding her some grade-A bullshit.\\
'''Charles:''' I don’t think Laura needs reminders of life's impermanence.
* In ''Film/SmilesOfASummerNight'', Desirée brushes off Fredrik's suggestion that he hide when the Count shows up by pointing out that they're not on the stage. Fredrik counters that it's a farce all the same.

* Franchise/{{Superman}} thinks something along the lines of this in the novelization of ''Film/SupermanReturns'' when he is saving a jet with difficulty.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' often contrasts the characters' experiences with video games, movies, and comic books. Marco in particular is fond of doing this.
* From the same author, ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'' often does the same, just DarkerAndEdgier.
* Some of the less GenreSavvy characters in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels use this line in one form or another.
** In ''Feet of Clay'':
---> '''Carrot:''' Maybe we can reason with it--\\
'''Angua:''' Attention! This is the ''real'' world calling!
** Used by the title cat in ''Discworld/TheAmazingMauriceAndHisEducatedRodents'', in dealing with the terminally WrongGenreSavvy Malacia.
* Played with in ''Literature/GoodOmens'', when a character is looking for her lost book, she employs several tropes that, as the narrator notes, would work in any story worth its salt, but alas, not here.
* Most of Creator/StephenKing's works are rife with this.
** In ''Literature/{{Christine}}'', there's a scene where one of the main characters, the scrawny, eternally-victimized Arnie, decks his longtime tormentor. The narrator comments that if it had been a movie or a book, the punch would have knocked him out; unfortunately, this is not the case.
** In ''Literature/{{Misery}}'', Paul Sheldon contemplates how to kill the crazy woman holding him captive, only to shoot down every idea he comes up with with "well, maybe in a book that would work, but here, no."
** A particularly meta example occurs in ''Literature/{{Thinner}}'' (which was written under King's Richard Bachman pseudonym). One character tells another, "You were starting to sound like a Creator/StephenKing novel there."
** In ''Literature/TheGreenMile'', Paul's friend Elaine correctly guesses the end of his story, [[spoiler:that John Coffey would be executed]], because "Providence-with-a-capital-P is greatly overrated in the lives of ordinary humans".
* OlderThanSteam: ''Literature/DonQuixote'' was one of the first works to consciously do this.
* The protagonist of Mil Millington's ''A Certain Chemistry'', a writer, describes his (supermarket manager) girlfriend's unusual eating habits by saying "If she likes ice-cream, and likes eggs, she might have ice-cream and eggs for dinner. If I was writing her character, I might say that her job means she sees the food as just an output when it goes into the bags at the checkout. But no, she was like that before she worked there." [misquoted from memory]
* Creator/RoaldDahl's ''The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar'' uses the LiteraryAgentHypothesis to observe that the protagonist would have met a KarmicDeath if it were a story, but it [[LampshadeHanging wasn't a story]], so things turned out otherwise.
* Tom Clancy frequently points out in his fiction works how things in his stories differ from the movies. The books themselves are only slightly closer to reality, however.
* Many, ''many'' modern detective novels (such as Michael Connelly or James Patterson to name a few) feature entries where the protagonist thinks how they could easily resolve the case...[[NoticingTheFourthWall if it was taking place in a detective novel]]. It is sometimes used effectively, other times ham-handedly.
** Creator/AgathaChristie [[OlderThanTheyThink did this]] [[RunningGag all the time]]. In her classic ''Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress'', for example, there's a moment when Poirot verbally makes a point of ''not'' really going into much of an effort to check for fingerprints at the crime scene, as no criminal with any sense ''at all'' would be stupid enough to not use gloves. As such, he does the mandatory checking, but just so he can say his investigation was thorough.
** Creator/DorothyLSayers did, too. Literature/LordPeterWimsey frequently remarks that things are not as convenient in his "real" cases as they would be in a mystery novel. And the best instance is when Lord Peter's love interest, mystery author Harriet Vane, spots someone lying on a beach and muses, "Now, if I had any luck, he'd be a corpse, and I should report him and get my name in the papers. That would be something like publicity. [...] But these things never happen to authors." A few grim paragraphs later, the narrator remarks, "Harriet's luck was in."
* In the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'', the character Roran has to come to terms with several issues after the destruction of his family, one of which being that, "Justice, the oldest stand-by in songs and legends, had little hold in reality."
* In ''Literature/{{Gone}}'', after learning that he had launched one of his henchmen into a wall, Caine asks if he's all right.
-->'''Diana:''' This isn't the movies, Caine. [[LudicrousGibs He looked like roadkill.]]
* Creator/AndrewVachss's ''Literature/{{Burke}}'':
** In the book ''Mask Market'', Wolfe tells Burke that "this is real life, not a TV show".
** In ''Terminal'', one guy Burke speaks to tells him that neo-Nazi prisoners on their way to death row can blame snitches, not undercover cops, as "those movies where they put undercovers in prison, never happen. ''Couldn't'' happen."
* In ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'', Molly Grue is tired of the made-up stories of Captain Cully's exploits and asks for one about RobinHood. Captain Cully angrily replied that Robin Hood is a myth.
* One of the Riders of Rohan in ''[[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings The Two Towers]]'' laughs at Gimli for suggesting that hobbits are real. Only in the book, though.
* Early in ''Literature/TheDeedOfPaksenarrion'', Saben, having just escaped captivity at the hands of a villain, with two of his friends, is excited to imagine bringing word back to the Duke, rescuing the rest of the company, and being "heroes in this tale". Canna replies, "this is no fireside tale, no adventure for a hero out of songs: this is real. We aren't likely to make it as far as the Duke, though we'll try".
* A scene in ''[[Literature/GentlemanBastard Red Seas Under Red Skies]]'' has the two protagonists, Locke and Jean, discussing the relative merits of romantic fiction and non-fiction. The two characters make their living through elaborate grifts and confidence games, pretending to be people they aren't. Thus the phrase "we've made it our meal ticket" is an amusing double entendre: the characters mean their profession as thieves, but the readers could take it as a reference to the author's book sales.
-->'''Locke:''' But romances aren't real, and surely never were. Doesn't that take away some of the savor?\\
'''Jean:''' What an interesting choice of words. 'Not real, and never were.' Could there be any more appropriate literature for men of our profession? Why are you so averse to fiction, when we've made it our meal ticket?\\
'''Locke:''' I live in the real world, and my methods are of the real world. They are, just as you say, a profession. A practicality, not some romantic whim.
* ''Literature/WeCantRewind'': Protagonists Don and Denise take to discussing why the various methods of reversing a FreakyFridayFlip that they've seen in fiction isn't working for them, and actually start working out contingency plans for what to do if they ''can't'' reverse their own swap with their children. While doing this, they note that unlike all the fictional examples they've been researching, their story doesn't seem to have any writers compelled by budget constraints or child labor laws to bail them out of their situation. Indeed, by the end, they've had to put their contingency plans into practice because they ''don't'' find any feasible way to reverse the swap due to their story being a bit of a deconstruction of the [[LighterAndSofter lightness and softness]] common to FreakyFridayFlip stories.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** Subverted in the first book; Mat says "It isn't much like the stories," to which Perrin disagrees -- "I don't know... Trollocs, a Warder, an Aes Sedai. What more could you ask?"
** Played straight later in the series. At least once per book someone will complain about how things aren't as easy in reality as they are in the stories.
* In ''Literature/CaptainFrenchOrTheQuestForParadise'' by Creator/MikhailAkhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore, the titular protagonist muses on an old novel he read once that cited the Three Laws of Robotics. He then points out that this is complete bull in RealLife, as his robots will do whatever he tells them to, including kill.
* The first few books of ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' have characters [[NotNowKiddo dismissing the fears]] of whichever character saw something by saying this is the real world, people don't just vanish, zombies aren't real, etc, claiming Tash or Zak saw something else and misinterpreted things. However, they soon shape up and start taking these things seriously. As it takes place within [[Franchise/StarWars the Galaxy Far, Far Away]], many things are possible... it's just most of them are well outside of common experience.
* The first-person narrator in ''Literature/TheNameOfTheWind'' insists on this repeatedly to justify things like getting completely sidetracked from his revenge mission for years (to the point that by the end of the book he has only a bare handful of clues to the nature of the beings he is seeking revenge on, most of which we already knew at the beginning). In the opening chapter, a minor character returns to the inn after being attacked by a demon. Even when confronted with the monster's dead body, the townspeople insist that things like that only exist in stories and legends.
-->'''Narrator:''' Certainly there were demons in the world. But they were like Tehlu’s angels. They were like heroes and kings. They belonged in stories. They belonged out there. Taborlin the Great called up fire and lightning to destroy demons. Tehlu broke them in his hands and sent them howling into the nameless void. Your childhood friend didn’t stomp one to death on the road to Baedn-Bryt. It was ridiculous.
* In ''Literature/QueenZixiOfIx'', the lord high steward's dog Ruffles has started talking, leading to this exchange:
-->'''Steward:''' Why, you are the only dog I ever heard of who could talk.\\
'''Ruffles:''' Except in fairy tales. Don't forget the fairy tales.\\
'''Steward:''' I don't forget. But this isn't a fairy tale, Ruffles. It's real life in the kingdom of Noland.
* In ''Literature/MoreThanThis'', Seth [[GenreSavvy notices all the tropes in his story]], and starts to wonder if the "real" world is actually real. Regine argues against the idea, especially when Seth suggests the Driver might come back to life like a horror movie villain after he was killed. [[spoiler:He's right.]]
* Constantly done by the titular protagonist in ''Literature/CaptainFrenchOrTheQuestForParadise''. Living in a relatively-hard sci-fi universe, where FTLTravel does not exist and interstellar travel itself is a rarity, French keeps referring to classic sci-fi novels and pointing out how they got things wrong. Examples include the total lack (and [[UngovernableGalaxy impossibility]]) of any sort of interstellar governing body, the fact that over 20,000 years humans haven't evolved into [[BrainInAJar brains in a jar]], the [[AbsentAliens absence of intelligent alien life]], and [[ThreeLawsCompliant robots being fully capable of harming a human if ordered]].
* In ''[[Literature/{{Clementine}} Clementine, Friend of the Week]]'', after Clementine loses her kitten, Moisturizer, she tells her mother that it reminds her of what her little brother says, "You broke my feelings," that her "feelings are broken." Her mother tells her that she'll feel better eventually and reminds her of when she read the book Ginger Pye, how the kids felt when their dog was missing, but after looking for a really long time, they got him back. Clementine tells her "Mom. That was a book. This is real life."
* ''Literature/TheGunsOfTheSouth'': When the Confederacy's top explosives expert kicks himself for not being able to manufacture smokeless gunpowder (he has read Schönbein's papers on guncotton and figured out nitroglycerine on his own, so the explosives are no problem, but the rest...) General Lee gives him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. After all, TheSmartGuy having the AppliedPhlebotinum ready to go ''exactly'' when TheHero needs it is storytelling, and bad storytelling at that, and...
* In Lawrence Block's ''The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian'' Carolyn states that Archie Goodwin (one of her cats) has been kidnapped. This initially confuses Bernie.
-->'''Carolyn:''' I didn't mean Archie Goodwin the person, Bern, because he's a character in the Literature/NeroWolfe stories, and the only way he could have been kidnapped would be in a book, and if that happened I wouldn't run up here in the middle of the night and carry on about it. You want to know the truth, Bern, I think you need a drink more than I do, which is saying something.
* In ''Literature/WingsOfFire'', Clay does this when he derides the [=NightWing=]'s as being unrealistic:
-->''It all sounded like fairy tale, about as likely as a world ruled by scavengers[[note]]humans[[/note]] instead of dragons''.
* In ''Literature/PennyDreadful'', the main character often compares things to books she's read. After the Goonies style plot to search for treasure to prevent the foreclosure of her house ends in failure, she tells her friends that she was certain they would find the treasure because that was what would happen in a book and she noticed the "foreshadowing", to which her friend responds that "You don't live in a book".

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* A consistent theme of ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' is Jake trying to live his life as the hero of the action cop movies he grew up watching and oftentimes thinking stuff like leaping over cars or breaking rules without consequences are fine. Time and again, he ends up either injured or his Captain Holt reminding him bluntly that real life doesn't work like a film.
** Cited verbaitm in "Show Me Going" when Jake wants to race to help Rosa with a shooting in a hotel. He openly calls Holt "the guy in the movie who's so bound in rules, he stands in the way of what's right" and Holt snaps "this is not a movie" and Jake blundering in on his own will only make things worse.
* ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'': "The End of the Movie" is an entire musical number (sung by Music/JoshGroban) on how real life is nothing like a narrative: people are complex and sometimes make bad decisions for no reason, things aren't always connected to others and aren't always tied together cleverly and sometimes, nothing gets wrapped up neatly (most of the times, in fact, they aren't).
-->Because life is a gradual series of revelations\\
That occur over a period of time\\
Some things might happen that seem connected\\
But there's not always a reason or rhyme\\
People aren't characters\\
They're complicated and their choices don't always make sense
* ''Series/TheGrinder'' often plays with and subverts this. The plot has actor Dean moving to his small town and trying to join the family law firm, convinced playing a lawyer for eight season on a TV show makes him qualified. The RunningGag of every episode is Dean suggesting tactics inspired by plots from his show. His brother Stewart, an actual lawyer, has to patiently explain to him that in real life, those don't work. However, when they try them out, those "unrealistic" plots do work mostly ''because'' they're so outrageous they've never been tried before (and the fact many judges and juries give leeway due to Dean's star status). Every time, Stewart is just astounded how Dean's TV-inspired ideas are more successful than his realistic methods.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** The episode "My Life in Four Cameras" has J.D. fantasizing about what life would be like if he were in a SitCom -- completely oblivious to the fact that ''he already is''. (To be fair, though, he's thinking of the more conventional sitcom style than the style ''Scrubs'' uses.)
** Also used by Dr. Cox, when he claims that medical mysteries that happen in TV medical dramas are unrealistic. Cue the entire episode being ''full'' of said medical mysteries, and the good doctor even walking with a cane a la ''Series/{{House}}''. Complete with him saying there are no cameras out there and gesturing at... the camera. And Keith looks everywhere ''but'' the camera.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** Lex Luthor once said "Real life is not a comic book." In another case, James Marsters' character openly states that there are [[ActorAllusion no such thing as vampires]]. In yet another case, one that takes place after Clark's first experience with magic and sorcery, his dad states, "Clark, I know this is Smallville and weird things happen, but ''witches''? ''Spells''? ''Magic''?" Cause ya'know, aliens and mutants are so much easier to swallow.
** To be fair, at that point in the series virtually all of the weird events in the series were Kryptonian in origin; most paranormal events were the result of kryptonite mutating people or, for more significant events, caused by Kryptonian technology. The appearance of witches and magic in that storyline was one of the first cases of ''Smallville'' using something (mostly) unrelated to Krypton for its MonsterOfTheWeek. This has become a more common practice in recent seasons, and the characters barely bat an eye when someone shows up with unexplained superpowers.
** In one episode, Chole asks Clark if he can fly. Clark goes, "I'm an alien, [[MythologyGag not a]] [[WesternAnimation/SupermanTheatricalCartoons cartoon]]!"
* Reversed in the last aired ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode, "Objects in Space":
-->'''Wash:''' Psychic though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.\\
'''Zoe:''' We live in a spaceship, dear.\\
'''Wash:''' So?
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' [[TakeThat slammed]] [[DuelingShows its competitor]], ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', this way:
-->'''Ivanova:''' This isn't some deep-space franchise, this station is ''about'' something!
* Kevin Shinick, the host of the game show ''Series/WhereInTimeIsCarmenSandiego'', was billed as "the Squadron Leader". His mother appears in one episode, and the two get into an argument about his job, but she's satisfied by the end, saying, "At least he's not a game show host."
* Factual television example: {{Narrator}} Robert Lee points out in an episode of ''Series/MythBusters'': "If this were a movie, you'd know something terrible was about to happen. But this is ''Mythbusters''. Factual television. Real life. ...Like I said, real life, real results. In this case, an awful lot of nothing."
* On ''Series/TheSopranos'', Tony attempts to make Carmela less leery of his gambling habit by arguing, "Hey, I was shot. I almost died, but here I am. That's tremendous odds. I'm lucky!"
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** In the episode "Tangent", when Daniel assumed that ''Franchise/StarTrek'' tropes would carry into the "real world", this exchange occurred:
-->'''Daniel:''' We were hoping you could kinda... um, like... beam them out. \\
'''Jacob:''' Beam them out? What am I, [[BeamMeUpScotty Scotty]]?
** ''SG-1'' also has its very own ShowWithinAShow, ''Wormhole X-Treme'', created by an alien (who doesn't know he is one) from not-entirely-suppressed memories and used by the USAF/SGC as part of their ongoing coverup of the Stargate program; rumors of the "real" thing can be dismissed as inspired by the television fantasy. ''Wormhole X-Treme'' is also an excuse for the SG-1 writers to merrily [[LampshadeHanging hang lampshades]] on everything--including making jokes that the bit about the Air Force [[BackedByThePentagon backing the show]] to cover up the fact it's real is actually true...
* The ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' episode "Poisoning the Well" has this exchange:
-->'''[=McKay=]:''' He just doesn't like going through the Stargate. \\
'''Sheppard:''' He's worse than Dr. [=McCoy=]. \\
'''Teyla:''' Who? \\
'''Sheppard:''' The TV character that Dr. Beckett plays in real life.
* RunningGag in the ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' episode "Chick Flick", which revolves around movie characters coming to life. "This is the world of illusion, and you girls are reality."
* Done once in ''Series/GregTheBunny'', when Sarah Silverman's character explains to Seth Green's why she's not interested in him. She compares him to the quirky guys who always get the unattainable beauties in romantic comedies, then reminds him that "this is the real world" -- at which point a six-foot tall muppet stumbles past the camera.
* ''Series/SpaceCases'' in the EvilTwin episode:
-->'''Miss Davenport:''' Doppelganger? Sounds like science fiction.
-->'''Harlan:''' But this is reality.
* ''Series/BigWolfOnCampus'':
** Subverted somewhat on the show where almost every plot is immediately recognized by Merton as being 'like that movie'. The characters almost always end up using a modified version of the movie solution with nary a care for the fact that they're using movie logic.
** Dean, the titular character's older brother, sometimes cannot tell his life from plots on the television shows he watches. Tommy regularly has to remind him that he never did half the things he's convinced he has. It wasn't helped by the fact that there was an episode where Dean was [[TrappedInTVLand transported into TV Land]].
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** The main character, GenreSavvy John Crichton, often pointed out how the science fiction that he was living was much more difficult compared to TV. These comments were usually used to [[SubvertedTrope subvert the viewers' expectations]], [[LampshadeHanging preface when they were about to run into something really bad,]] or else [[RedHerring display Crichton's growing paranoia.]]
** Also, at one point, the crew was manipulated by the MonsterOfTheWeek, causing [[Main/{{Muppet}} Rygel]] to exclaim, "[[LeaningOnTheFourthWall I am nobody's puppet!]]"
* The '60s ''Series/{{Batman}}'' used it once, after the Dynamic Duo escape the latest cliffhanger DeathTrap, and Robin starts musing rather close to the fourth wall:
-->'''Robin:''' I don't know how we do it, Batman.
-->'''Batman:''' What do you mean?
-->'''Robin:''' The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them. It's almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations, guiding our destiny.
-->'''Batman:''' Things like that only happen in the movies Robin. This is real life.
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', when Hurley believes the island, plane crash, lottery, etc. are all part of his hallucination, Libby tells him that their experiences are real, and she's real. "And don't tell me you made me up. It's insulting."
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** This exchange with the GirlOfTheWeek in the episode "Monster Movie":
--->'''Jamie (GOTW):''' So you two are like Mulder and Scully and ''Series/TheXFiles'' are real?
--->'''Dean:''' No, ''The X-Files'' is a TV show. This is real.
** Lampshaded in an episode of season four, when Dean jokes about having both an angel (Anna) and a demon (Ruby) in the backseat. Sam tells him he's confusing reality with porn -- Dean asks what about their current situation resembles reality.
** Said by the Trickster/[[spoiler:Gabriel]] in 5.08 "Changing Channels":
---> Guys, I wish this ''were'' a TV show. Easy answers, endings wrapped up in a bow. But this is real. And it's gonna end bloody for all of us. That's just how it's gotta be.
** On the show hunters have a general disdain for most media portrayals of vampires since they present such a distorted version of what vampires 'really' are in the show's universe. The brothers often comment on the differences between movie vampires and 'real' vampires.
** A tongue-in-cheek example when Dean has a conversation with a high schooler's "interpretation" of what happened after the last ''Supernatural'' book "Swan Song" (books made that were actually about their lives). Dean explains to her what really happened (''their'' reality), covering plots of all 5 seasons afterwards, but she laughs and doesn't believe it.
-->'''Dean:''' So Sam came back from Hell, but without his soul. And Cas brought back a bunch of Leviathans in Purgatory. They lost Bobby and then Cas and Dean got stuck in Purgatory. Sam hit a dog, they met a prophet named Kevin, they lost him too, then Sam underwent a series of trials in an attempt to close the Gates of Hell which nearly cost him his life. And Dean? Dean becomes a demon. Knight of Hell actually.\\
'''Marie:''' ... Wow. \\
'''Dean:''' Yep.\\
'''Marie:''' That's some of the worst fanfiction I've ever heard. ''[laughs]'' I mean seriously, where did your friend find this garbage?
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In "Rise of the Cybermen", trapped in a parallel universe:
-->'''Mickey:''' I've seen it in comics. People go hopping from one alternative world to another -- it's easy.
-->'''Doctor:''' Not in the real world.
** Ten episodes later, they were beaming back and forth between alternate worlds a dozen times an episode using Staples "Easy" buttons.
*** In fairness, that's because the walls between realities were breaking down. The Doctor kept pointing out that it shouldn't be possible, and that doing so was only making things worse.
** In "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead," child psychiatrist Dr. Moon begins to say what the audience ''would expect him'' to say to the disturbed Cal. Yet he says this to her:
---> This world is a fake, and your nightmares are real.
** Lampshaded in "Amy's Choice":
--->'''Dream Lord''': You die in the dream, you wake up in reality. Ask me what happens if you die in reality.\\
'''Rory''': What happens?\\
'''Dream Lord''': You die, stupid. That's why it's called "reality".
*** And yet [[spoiler:both versions turn out to be dreams]].
** In "Mummy on the Orient Express", when professor Moorhouse is the target of the mummy, he recalls the myth that one can be spared if he finds the right word or makes the right offer only for the Doctor to comment "This is not a myth. This is real. Forget your superstitions." [[spoiler:Except it turns out to be true. The Doctor figures out the right phrase just in time - "We surrender!"]]
** In "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", the Doctor talks to the eight-year-old Grant about comic books. When Grant asks if the Doctor knows what happened to [[ComicBook/SpiderMan Peter Parker]], when he got bitten by a radioactive spider. The Doctor replies that he probably got radioactive poisoning. Of course, this episodes features a bona fide superhero, although his powers are enabled by an alien artifact (par for the course for comic books).
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'':
** Detective Beckett tries pulling this twice in the pilot episode, pointing out that, unlike in Rick Castle's mystery novels, it can take police up to a week to get fingerprint results back, and, when they find a suspect who seems ''too'' obviously guilty, he's usually just ''actually'' guilty. Subverted both times, since Castle proves the most obvious suspect really was innocent, and uses his clout with the mayor's office to get the results of a fingerprint match done in under an hour.
** She's a bit more successful in a later episode, when he eagerly hopes to see the department's 'official facial recognition software'. He has in his mind a MagicalComputer which automatically flips through countless faces in seconds before coming across the correct one (possibly with some sort of 'bleep' noise). Then she dumps a large pile of files in front of him through which he, along with the other detectives, is expected to look through.
** Lampshaded in the episode "Murder Most Fowl", after using the EnhanceButton on some crime scene photos:
--->'''Castle''': The enhancement only increased the pixellation on all these! You can't even see there's a side-view mirror!\\
'''Beckett''': It's not like on ''Series/TwentyFour'', Castle. In the real world, even zoom-and-enhance can only get us so far.
** An episode of season 7 plays with this in a different way: Castle has an interview for his book, in which the interviewer actually only wants to talk about his unexplained disappearance (which she's sure he faked for publicity): "If this were one of your books, Mr. Castle, wouldn't you find the plot a little hard to swallow? I mean, [[EasyAmnesia amnesia? Really?]]" Castle has to explain that the difference is, it's not a novel, it "actually happened".
* ''Series/TheComicStripPresents'' "Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown" had a spoof character from ''Series/TheSweeney'' shooting at a spoof of Nineties detective ''{{Series/Spender}}'' and missing, whereupon the Nineties detective points out that reality has now taken over the Cop Show genre and you can't rely on ImprobableAimingSkills any more. Promptly subverted when a sixties policeman points out that the RuleOfFunny is still in effect.
* Invoked during a ''Series/GreenWing'' discussion, when Wolverine is mentioned.
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'':
** In the fourth season premiere, Chuck tells Morgan something to the effect of "This is real life, not the opening of a spy show!"
** And in season 2 when Ellie asks Chuck what he wants to do with his life:
-->'''Ellie:''' If you say pilot of the ''Millennium Falcon'', I will hit you.
-->'''Chuck:''' Why would I say that? That's absurd! I'm going to be a ninja assassin.
-->'''Ellie:''' No. Try again.
-->'''Chuck:''' Um, Olympic…
-->'''Ellie:''' Uh uh.
-->'''Chuck:''' Secret agent.
-->'''Ellie:''' This is what happens when you sit in front of the television too long.
*** The last one is the correct answer. Ironically, [[spoiler:both his father and his former best friend did their best to keep him away from this life]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':
** An indirect version occurs: After trapping a sentient holographic Professor Moriarty (long story) in a small device meant to simulate him living out his life in the universe, the following dialog takes place at the end of the episode:
-->'''Picard:''' Who knows… Perhaps all this is just an elaborate simulation, running in a box, sitting on someone's desk.
-->''Everyone leaves the room but Barclay.''
-->'''Barclay:''' …. Computer, end program.
-->''Nothing happens. Barclay looks around and leaves the room. Cue shot of Enterprise traveling through space and end credits.''
** Sadly, this is ''completely'' in character for Barclay. (Especially given his Holo-addiction problems.)
** In "The Nth Degree," when Barclay is lamenting his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac, Deanna tells him, "This isn't fantasy; it's drama."
* When discussing what could be the cause of Buffy's sudden weakness in the episode "Helpless" of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' the subject of [[Franchise/{{Superman}} kryptonite]] comes up. Buffy impatiently implores the others to stick to reality.
* In the first episode of Series/{{ALF}}, the son (Brian) wants ALF to live with them, just like E.T.; his mother (Kate) explains, "E.T. was a movie. This is real. This is on our coffee table!"
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' had Jeff mocking Abed for not knowing the difference between reality and TV. Abed responds with a combination of this trope and WhatTheHellHero.
-->'''Abed:''' I can tell life from TV, Jeff. TV makes sense, and has structure, logic, rules. And likeable leading men. [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech In real life, we have this. We have you.]]
* In ''Series/OnceUponATime'', Emma says this to Henry. Unfortunately, as Henry knows, [[SubvertedTrope it actually isn't]].
* In ''Series/FatherTed'', Dougal starts to swear. Ted admonishes him and claims that people don't talk "like that in the real world!"
* From the ''Series/{{Hustle}}'' episode "The Delivery", in which Cool Hand Cooper is being chased by TheMafia:
-->'''Eddie''': Hang on, are you saying... the mafia, like on the tellie?
-->'''Mickey''': No, Eddie, not like on the tellie.
-->'''Cooper''': Yeah, not as cuddly in real life.
* On ''Series/BoyMeetsWorld'', Cory gets caught in a TwoTimerDate scenario and Shawn teaches him to play it out like Fred did in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', leading to this exchange:
-->'''Shawn:''' ...and Fred never spent more than 75 seconds at either location.
-->'''Cory:''' Shawn, that was a cartoon, [[CartoonlandTime time was compressed]], we're real, we're in real time.
-->'''Shawn:''' Trust me, [[MediumAwareness it's the same thing]].
-->'''Cory:''' No it's not. You see a television show can cover many days in only one half-hour program.
-->'''Shawn:''' ''Trust'' me, it's the same thing.
-->'''Cory:''' ''(shrugging)'' Okay!
* In ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', Caroline asks Damon why he doesn't [[Literature/{{Twilight}} sparkle]], to which he replies, "Because I live in the real world where vampires burn in the sun.""
* ''Series/{{JAG}}''
** In the episode "Tiger, Tiger" when anti-communist Cuban terrorists have taken over a U.S. Navy guided missile frigate, Harm and 10 year old Josh are stranded in the helicopter hangar:
-->'''Josh Pendry''': ''Film/UnderSiege''!\\
'''Harmon''': What?\\
'''Josh Pendry''': Creator/StevenSeagal in ''Under Siege''. He got the [[UsefulNotes/ThePentagon Pentagon]] on a satellite radio from a lifeboat.\\
'''Harmon''': Well, unfortunately this isn't a movie, Josh. These lifeboats have satellite radios with an emergency beacon and a short-range voice transmitter. We could activate one. The UsefulNotes/CoastGuard would come, but before we could inform them of our situation, who knows what these terrorists are likely to do.\\
'''Josh Pendry''': It's so cool in the movie.\\
'''Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb''': Well, I'm sure it was.
** Clayton Webb says to Mac in a heated argument that "this is the real world, Sarah" in the season nine episode "Take It like a Man".
* In an episode of {{Series/Continuum}}, a dry-cleaner finds a [[ClothesMakeTheSuperman super-suit]] (actually armor from the future) and thinks it makes him a super-hero. After he stops a mugging (getting shot in the process, though the suit does save him), his girlfriend gets angry at him for trying to be a hero, informing him: "this is not a TV show, this is your life."
* In the ''[[Series/ThirtyRock 30 Rock]]'' episode "Larry King":
-->'''Jack Donaghy''': I was about to do the whole 'run to the airport' thing, like Ross did on ''Friends'' and Liz Lemon did in real life.
* In the ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'' episode "The Big Giant Head Returns Again" (season 5, episode 22) after Dick reveals to the rest of the aliens living with him impersonating a family that The Big Giant Head (the ruler of the galaxy) just told him that he's Dick's father, Tommy says "whoa, that's just like in Star Wars, when Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader's his father", to which Dick says, "oh, grow up Tommy, that was popular entertainment, this is real life!!" (cue the laugh track).
* ''Series/SexAndTheCity'' did one episode where the girls visit a friend of theirs who had become a suburban mom. One of her friends tells them that they'll all eventually settle down.
-->''"I mean, 4 single women searching for life and love in the big city? We're not in a Jaclyn Suzette novel."'' (Charlotte and Miranda exchange looks as if saying "Yes, we are.")
* In the ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode "The One With Free Porn", Joey and Chandler [[YouWatchTooMuchX only watch the porn channel]] and lose their sense of reality. They then come to regain their connection to reality in this exchange:
-->'''Chandler''': I was just at the bank, and there was this really hot teller, and she didn't ask me to go do it with her in the vault.
-->'''Joey''': Same thing happened to me! [[PizzaBoySpecialDelivery Woman pizza delivery guy]] come over, gives me the pizza, takes the money, and leaves!
-->'''Chandler''': What, "No nice apartment. I bet the bedrooms are huge."?
-->'''Joey''': Noo! Nothing!
-->'''Chandler:''' You know what? We have to turn off the porn.
* ''Series/MadTv'': The [[http://www.planetmadtv.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6926 "Cosby's Crib"]] sketch, which is a DeconstructiveParody of the Pilot episode of ''Series/TheCosbyShow'' has Bill teaching his son that it's more sensible to [[TheAggressiveDrugDealer sell crack]] instead of pursuing a college education in this line:
-->'''Bill''': WHY in the hell do you want to become a doctor?! That's not what REAL black people do! That's what the [[YouWatchTooMuchX black people on the television]] do.
* In an episode of ''[[MightyMorphinPowerRangers Mighty Morphin' Alien Rangers]]'', Bulk & Skull (as kids) are in detention:
-->'''Skull''': Hey Bulky, you think the Alien Rangers could beat [[StarWars Darth Vader]]?
-->'''Bulk''': You dimwit, Darth Vader's just pretend. The Alien Rangers are real!
-->'''Skull''': Oh right, I forgot! ...Uh, how about a [[StarTrek Klingon]]?
* In an episode of ''Series/LeaveItToBeaver'', Wally is suspended from the basketball team for horseplay in the locker room while Eddie and Lumpy (who started it) get off scot-free. Later, after Lumpy comes clean and the Beaver thinks Wally will be allowed to play in the upcoming game again, Ward has to remind the younger boy that "life isn't like on television" and Wally still misbehaved and would remain punished.
* An episode of ''NCISLosAngeles'' has Hetty finding Eric playing a first person shooter military game in the Ops center. Eric defends it on having such great graphics and how it's promoted as "just like the real thing." Later, Hetty has Eric watch a real raid by a military team on a terrorist base with some serious gunplay. Eric is sobered to realize how much his games trivialize the real risks of such an event.
* In a season 19 episode on ''Series/TopGear'', the boys have race to the Mexican border and, due the controversy with the Mexicans they (particularly Richard) had caused several seasons before, Jeremy and James would very much rather that Richard lose. To give themselves a headstart, the two sabotage his car the night beforehand by, among other things, [[BananaInTheTailpipe shoving fruit into his car's tailpipes]]. As Hammond is removing the fruit from his tailpipe, he complains "[[SarcasmMode Oh, funny, funny all so funny! Thank you! Yeah, right, we live in a cartoon!]]".
* PlayedForDrama in the ''Series/MadamSecretary'' episode "Catch and Release". Liz is asked by a State Department employee whose son joined Da'ish and executed an aid worker on video to take her son alive, but the President orders him killed in a drone strike after locating him. When Liz gets home, her son comes racing down the stairs crowing about how "they just ''lit up'' Jihadi Judd, BOOM!" Henry hits the roof and sends him to his room.
-->'''Henry:''' This is not a video game!
* ''Series/{{Slasher}}'': When Sarah tries to convince the Chief to take the new [[SerialKiller Executioner]] seriously he brushes her off by saying that "real life isn't a mystery novel".
* At the end of the Pilot of ''Series/ForThePeople'', Jill points out that despite having the moral high ground, this isn't a TV show and Sandra's not going to win a case for an American Muslim accused of terrorism in her first case.

* A line in Starbomb's song Crasher-Vania, a blatant parody of ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''.
-->''To Hell, demon beast, from whence you came; you're in Castlevania, this isn't a game!''
* Hip-hop duo TheBlueScholars [[InvertedTrope Inverts]] this in their song "Cinemetropolis."
-->Now you're saying something's like a movie when it's real/Like a film's much realer than anything you feel

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* During the Wrestling/{{WWE}} feud between Triple H and John Cena, Triple H told Cena that he had a lot of heart, and if this were a ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' movie, heart would be enough... but this is reality, and Cena, being a terrible wrestler, would lose, and lose badly. Cena ended up winning the match at [=WrestleMania=] 22, so what does that say?

* Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/TheMikado'' includes the line, "I'm really very sorry for you all, but it's an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances." Needless to say, virtue does indeed triumph eventually.
* In Creator/AndrewLloydWebber's ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', new managers Andre and Firmin watch their star soprano throw a fit and comment, "You'd never get away with all this in a play/But if it's loudly sung and in a foreign tongue/It's just the sort of story audiences adore/In fact, a perfect opera!"
* Zigzagged in ''Theatre/{{Urinetown}}'', one of Officer Lockstock's many meta lines is: "Well, now, Little Sally, dreams only come true in happy musicals -- and a few Hollywood movies -- and this certainly isn't either one of those. No, dreams are meant to be crushed. It's nature's way." Lockstock frequently acknowledges the fact that they are in a musical, but only in happy musicals are those tropes relevant.
* In the final scene of ''Theatre/MaryMary'', when Bob has shut Mary in a closet and thrown away the key:
-->'''Tiffany:''' In the movies, they just break the door down.\\
'''Dirk''': In the movies the door is [[PracticalEffects pieced together by the prop men]] so all you have to do is blow on it!
* ''Theatre/TheThreepennyOpera'' introduces the LastMinuteReprieve for its VillainProtagonist by commenting that since the work is fictional, there will be a HappilyEverAfter ending.
* In ''Theatre/TheSolidGoldCadillac'', Mrs. Partridge introduces herself to the {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s as an actress who used to play in ''Ah, Wilderness!''. One of them asks her, "You're not acting in a play now?" "No, I'm not," she says.
* In ''Theatre/{{Bandstand}}'', Donny walks Julia back to her home after a performance. The Song "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV9PTvT90sQ This is Life]]" occurs:
-->If we were in an MGM film,
-->We would kiss and walk through that door there.
-->If we were in a radio play,
-->We’d admit we’re friends, but there’s more there.
-->If we were singing Hammerstein songs,
-->We could fix all the wrongs in rhyme.
-->But this is life, with a heartache it brings and
-->We know that these things take time.
* How the other characters react to Paravicini commenting on the action unfolding around them as if it was a mystery story in ''Theatre/TheMousetrap''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/Jak3Wastelander'' features an amusing moment during a scene with the precursor monk, Seem in Spargus City, where Jak is being glib in response to her dire warnings. Seem then snaps, "This isn't a game!", causing Jak and Daxter to [[AsideGlance exchange significant glances with the player]] for a few seconds before returning to the conversation.
* In the second mission of ''VideoGame/SplinterCellChaosTheory'', Lambert warns Sam of a recently installed alarm system. Sam then says "Don't tell me: three alarms and the mission is over?" to which Lambert replies "Of course not! This is no video game, Fisher!". Besides being a meta-joke, this also had the purpose of letting the player know that the old "three alarms and game over" rule had been removed.
* During the first codec conversation between Snake and Otacon during Act 2 of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', Otacon wonders anxiously whether Vamp is immortal. Snake dismisses this notion immediately, stating "Not a chance. This is the real world, not some fantasy game." As it turns out [[spoiler: Vamp's healing factor is technologically enhanced, allowing him to regenerate wounds from bladed weapons in seconds and recover from a bullet wound to the head in a few seconds more. This explanation distracts everyone, most players included, from the fact that his regeneration ''itself'' is never explained; we saw it work less efficiently, without the enhancement, in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''.]]
** Snake seems to be forcing himself into a state of genre blindless; in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', he fought more than one supernatural enemy. In ''[=MGS2=]'', he brushes off Fortune's ability to have bullets curve away from her with the line "There's no such thing as a witch." [[spoiler: It turns out he's right in this case and her ability is completely technological, but he has no way of knowing that going in.]] In ''[=MGS4=]'', he dismisses anything that seems supernatural as some sort of magic trick, not just Vamp. [[spoiler: He's actually right in some cases; Screaming Mantis can't possess a fly. What she ''can'' do is use the nanomachines in people to manipulate their bodies. On the other hand, Screaming Mantis is also just a shell possessed by Psycho Mantis, Snake's psychic enemy from the first game, who actually comes back to possess [[AnimatedArmor Screaming Mantis' armor]] once you defeat her in combat.]]
** This is especially jarring, since the first three ''[=MGS=]'' games go out of their way to exaggerate the fact that they ''are'' fantasy video games. Characters [[HeKnowsAboutTimedHits actually talk about game mechanics as character development]], among other things -- like the whole thrust of the plot of ''[=MGS2=]''. The previous games also had psychics, shamans, human-plant hybrids, human hornets nests, electrokinetics, and a ghost. Even this game still has a few fourth-wall breakages, like [[spoiler:Otacon referencing the disk-change point when you return to Shadow Moses Island]].
* Near the end of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', Lord Saddler tells Leon via radio he'll never defeat Los Iluminados because life isn't "one of your Hollywood movies."
* In ''Beneath a Steel Sky'', your robot sidekick Joey gets hold of a new weapon (a welding torch) and rants about going out to zap some humans. The main character brings up Creator/IsaacAsimov's Three Laws of Robotics, to which the annoyed robot replies "That's fiction, Foster!" He then proceeds to roll around chanting "[[Series/DoctorWho EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!]]" (Don't worry. He's a RobotBuddy)
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne''. When the BigBad gives him a drug overdose, Max hallucinates that he finds a letter that tells him that he is in a graphic novel. This then repeats, with him hallucinating that the letter tells him that he is in a computer game. Both are true. And both times, Max muses: "Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of."
** He also starts noticing things he didn't before. In the first case, he begins to see speech bubbles. In the second case, he sees the inventory menu, the health bar, and the bullet-time mode.
* ''VideoGame/Persona5'': At one point in a chat message with the rest of the Phantom Thieves, discussing who ought to be the next target for their HeelFaceBrainwashing [[InternalReformist social reform crusade]], you have the option of suggesting "An evil overlord." If you do, Ryuji will reply saying, "Dude, this ain't some kinda video game!" [[spoiler:As it happens, you do actually end up fighting such a figure later in the game. Additionally, the whole plot is referred to as a game created by fake Igor, pitting the MC against Akechi.]]
* ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'':
-->'''Gig''': [[EvilLaugh Hahaha!]] How you jerks doin'?! I guess it's only in fairy tales where justice actually prevails, huh?
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'', this is brought up a few times with AscendedFanboy Ryusei, who [[IKnowMortalKombat learned most of his piloting skills from video games]]. But it's taken to a whole other level with his rival Tenzan, who never learns to stop treating war like a game. His last words, after losing his grip on reality thanks to a DeadlyUpgrade, are that he can eventually win by hitting "continue" and doing some level grinding (this is a strategy you can use in the game). This is played for drama, and Ryusei laments that he had to die like that.
* In ''VideoGame/SystemShock 2'', Polito tells the player to hurry with phrases like "Do you think this is some kind of game?" and later, "this isn't a game".
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', pedestrians will occasionally shout "This isn't one of your stupid video games! This is real life!" as they jump out of the way of your speeding car.
* In ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'', when the xel'naga artifact is assembled, Tychus is worried that it might upset the entire space-time continuum, which prompts Raynor to assure him that "this ain't science fiction". [[spoiler: Since that same artifact can kill all zerg in a certain radius every once in a while and...mostly...de-infest Kerrigan, really, Tychus' fear of its potential isn't too much more ridiculous.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' (which also makes uses of NotAGame), the possessed Ultimecia kills the dictator Vinzer Deling and then comments "This is reality. No one can help you. Sit back and enjoy the show."
* ''VideoGame/OracleOfTao'': Those words aren't used, but the are numerous examples of this. For example, thanks to some coding, there is RealTime in addition to an InUniverseGameClock. The party insists that the clock that shows the ''real time'' is off, and has no problems accepting the game time.
* Near the beginning of ''Shin Megami Tensei VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' Mitsuru gives the warning, "This isn't a game, Akihiko." As though that would stop him anyways...
* ''VideoGame/TheWarriors'': "This ain't no movie, Warriors!"
* In ''TabletopGame/SpaceHulk - Vengeance of the Blood Angels'', your squad regularly report on what they can see or hear (or smell). One of the lines is admonishing another marine, telling them that "this is not a game".
* In ''Videogame/TheDig'' after being taken to an alien planet on a FasterThanLight starship, IntrepidJournalist, Maggie Robbins, says:
-->'''Maggie:''' After all those bad TV shows, here is the real proof. There ''is'' alien life!
* In the Dubai mission of ''VideoGame/AceCombatAssaultHorizon'', performing a certain [[AirstrikeImpossible Dogfight Mode]] maneuver will make you wingman chatize the player character's recklessness, adding "This isn't Ace Combat!" Which actually makes perfect sense, since AH takes place in the modern world, so the other Ace Combat games would exist in-universe.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'', a codec conversation in Pakistan has Kevin rule out the use of an infiltrator [[spoiler: on board Air Force One to assassinate the US president]] as foreign press would not be allowed on board the plane in reality, "not like in the movies."
* In ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 6'', Jin sometimes says "This is reality." as UnsportsmanlikeGloating after defeating an opponent.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Loghain delivers one of these to King Cailan before the Battle of Ostagar:
-->'''Loghain''': Your fascination with glory and legends will be your undoing, Cailan. We must attend to reality!
* Sigma in ''VisualNovel/VirtuesLastReward'' says a variation of this to him when he starts thinking about time travel.
-->'''Sigma''': This wasn't some shitty sci-fi novel. This was real life.
* ''VideoGame/EightEyes''[='=] instruction manual actually says "This is reality!" after noting the game's aversion of VideoGameLives.
* In ''VideoGame/UntilDawn'' this is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28mlABjOc6E said by Mike to Jess]] when Jessica mentions [[spoiler:she saw a bear opening a car door on the Internet after they think a bear chased them to the cabin.]]
* In ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'', Max tells Chloe about her powers, to which Chloe replies, "This isn't anime or a video game; people don't have these powers, Max!"
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsOfColdSteel II'' opens with protagonist Rean Schwarzer awakening from [[AsleepForDays a month long sleep]] and wondering if he's dreaming. Pretty much the first thing [[spoiler:Celine]] tells him is that "This is reality. Cold, cruel reality."
* ''VideoGame/TheDarksideDetective'': When trying to obtain access to a shut down subway station, [=McQueen=] and Dooley consider leaping the ticket barrier, but decide their insurance won't cover it and they'd better crawl underneath instead. [=McQueen=] complains that police work doesn't include the fun stuff that happens in movies.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* This is commonly heard early on in ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'' to display Naegi's disbelief of what's happening. The most on-the-nose case is early on in Chapter 5, when you find the locked-off Biology Lab, prompting Yasuhiro to comment that if this was a horror-game, there'd be some kind of monster or final boss lurking in there, like a [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Tyrant]] or something... prompting Asahina to reply that they're NOT in a horror-game. It sees less and less usage as the game and the series continues, with each successive entry distancing itself from reality more and more. This is mostly due to [[spoiler:the incredibly high level of technology needed to make the various [[LaserGuidedAmnesia memory tricks]] and [[AIIsACrapshoot artificial intelligence]] plausible.]]
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** In the second case of ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'', Detective Gumshoe, when asked if he's ever heard of a murder victim writing their killer's name in blood, responds that he's seen it all the time in movies. Phoenix responds with a variation of this trope's title.
** In the second case of ''[[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies Dual Destinies]]'', the topic at hand is about how the victim struck the killer. Apollo expresses his disbelief that someone could manage to grab an object and hit their assailant with it after being skewered by a large spear, which prompts Fulbright to ramble about how the victim was a former pro wrestler and that the injustice of being stabbed gave him superhuman strength to fight back.
-->'''Apollo:''' You need to lay off the comic books, detective! We're talking about real life here.
** In ''[[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneySpiritOfJustice Spirit of Justice]]'', Phoenix just got done presenting proof to the court that [[ItMakesSenseInContext that defendant experienced her wedding reception twice after the chapel-blimp they were having their reception on traveled backwards through time.]] Stodgy skeptic Edgeworth naturally thinks the entire argument is just plain crazy and that there's no such thing as time travel, and Maya comments that he must be one of those people that'd shout "that would never happen!" at the screen during sci-fi movie dates. Edgeworth responds with, "That's neither here nor there! This is real life we're talking about!" [[spoiler:It turns out Edgeworth is indeed correct, as the supposed "time travel" the defendant and witness experienced was all staged for the specific purpose of fooling her into thinking she had gone back to just before the wedding reception.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/SpaceTree'', [[http://spacetree.keenspot.com/spacetree50.html this exchange]]:
-->'''Mee''': Plus another great thing about this invisible smoke is if this were a cartoon, the fat lazy hack animating it wouldn't have to draw any smoke. But unfortunately this isn't a cartoon, Space Tree... this is real life. I just hope that one day... you'll be able to accept that.
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', villain Roman Torchwick [[VillainousBreakdown angrily rants to aspiring heroine Ruby Rose that they live in the real world, and in the real world, there are no such things as heroes]]. The real moral of the story is even worse: [[spoiler:strength and popularity do not an immortal make, as Torchwick is instantly devoured by a griffon who thought that eating the one who happened to be on solid footing would be easier. In the real world, ANYONE can die for ''convenience'' - including Pyrrha.]]
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': Parodied by Julie in [='VRcade'=].
-->'''Julie''': This isn't some lesson teaching little kids show, this is REAL! I'm REALLY beating you in a virtual reality game where you appear on goldfish, and I'm better than a person who uses plant magic!

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[http://venusenvy.comicgenesis.com/d/20081126.html Used in]] ''Webcomic/VenusEnvy''.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' one of the french immortals ''[[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2009-02-27 mentions it]]''
* Employed in ''Webcomic/TemplarArizona'', when [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/spike/Templar/series.php?view=single&ID=72321 Reagan is disappointed]] that Red Eric isn't ... good looking.
* Shows up a few times in ''Webcomic/{{Megatokyo}}'' used by Yuki or her friends. Ironic (subverted perhaps?) because later on, [[spoiler: Yuki becomes a ''MagicalGirl'']].
* Subverted in ''Webcomic/KillroyAndTina'':
-->'''Fulcrum''': This isn't science fiction, Tina.\\
'''Tina''': So wait. How is that any different from science fiction?\\
'''Fulcrum''': It's science ''fantasy''.
* ''Webcomic/{{Weregeek}}'': [[http://www.weregeek.com/2010/10/01/ This is real life, not a shoujo manga!]]
* ''Webcomic/SparklingGenerationValkyrieYuuki'' is not a Magical Girl manga. Or so Hermod believes anyway.
* ''Webcomic/{{Shadowgirls}}'' [[http://www.shadowgirlscomic.com/comics/i-am-providence-pt-4/ had]] it PlayedForLaughs:
-->-- ''"The Harbormaster"''. I have read that story. It is ''fiction''.\\
-- Perhaps, but am I not speaking to a [[FishPeople fish man]]?\\
-- Technically, I am crustacean.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''. EvilGenius Martellus is yelling at his sister Xerxsephnia, trying to make her understand how dangerous "[[MadScientist the Heterodyne girl]]" loose in their base really is. Given that the previous generation of Heterodynes were famous characters in (mostly wildly exaggerated) folk tales for 20 years or so, the sister is rather cynical. She comments that she loves a good Heterodyne story, but this is ''real life'', and the Heterodyne girl is trapped in ''their'' fortress, hundreds of kilometers away from her city, her base of power, and her own lab. [[spoiler:Cue the Heterodyne girl sailing past the window of Martellus' tower in a sleigh lifted by ''schweincopters'': literally, robotic flying pigs.]]
-->'''Xerxsephnia:''' [[RightBehindMe And why do you have that idiotic look on your face[, Martellus]?]]
* In an ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'' 2.0 strip:
-->'''Nimue''': See, this is the point where the monster always jumps out.\\
'''Merlin''': That only happens in stories.\\
'''Nimue''': That's what they always say in the stories.
* Inverted in the Videogam/{{Bravoman}} webcomic where Bravoman and [[spoiler:his powerless alternate universe counterpart]] defeat a villain who set out to destroy the series' meta-humor [[IronicDeath by shoulder tackling him through the walls of reality.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Reverse Anti-Bravoman''']]: I'm the ''real deal''! Neither of you could [[ThisIsReality hack being a real life superhero!]]\\
'''Bravoman''': ...oh, really? Well luckily, [[InvertedTrope it's not real life!]]\\
[[spoiler:'''Reverse Salaryman''']]: Yeah, it's a webcomic!\\
'''Both''': '''And you're not welcome in it anymore!'''
* ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'''s Reality Zone [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2010-07-20 invokes this trope when it's introduced.]]
* A ''Brother's Grimm'' comic brings this up when a [[Videogame/WorldOfWarcraft Horde]] party are lost in a dungeon.
-->'''[[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orc]]:''' Aren't your people good at mazes?\\
'''[[ALoadOfBull Tauren]]:''' You're thinking of Minotaurs. They don't exist.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the second RP of ''Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers'', this exchange occurs:
-->'''Zachary''': Hans, do you think this was a good idea, try to disguise ourselves as staff?\\
'''Hans''': It seems like a good idea but I was thinking about going in through the areas not covered by the security cameras and cutting the power long enough for us to get in and disguise ourselves like base personnel.\\
'''Zachary''': Also works but remember that the fusion reactor is in the basement and protected quite well by autoturrets and cameras. Also, few areas are not covered by cameras.\\
'''Aisha''': Uh, yeah this isn't like the Oceans 11 movies
* The GenreSavvy characters of ''Literature/SailorNothing'' frequently remind each other that their story is not like the MagicalGirl manga and anime that they're used to.
* Doctor Simian from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' once taunted the heroes that since he was not a comic book supervillain whose plans depended upon grand-standing and theatrics, they'd have to work harder to stop him. It should be noted that the ''[[Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Guardians Universe]]'' is a universe of comic book superheroes...
* From ''[[http://youtu.be/HDtLRU5EaO4 My Roommate Mario: Like a Boss]]'':
-->'''Mario:''' [[WordSchmord Resume, shmesume.]] Just bust in there and say "It's a-me, Daneboe!"\\
'''Daneboe:''' Yes, yes, I know that works for you, but this is real life!
* ''Blog/TextsFromSuperheroes'': [[http://textsfromsuperheroes.com/image/89622397331 "Once again, that is a TV show. I'm a real person, not a fictional character."]]
* This happens in ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' during Linkara's crossover with WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic. In the middle of the review, Critic wants to do a sketch involving [[Series/BreakingBad Walter White]] in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' (and no, [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext context doesn't help explain why]]), only for Linkara to explain that there are no sketches in his videos. Everything depicted in his story segments actually happens to him, and he lives in constant fear that the next encounter with some villain or eldritch horror would be his last.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "Steve and Snot's Test-Tubular Adventure", Steve and Snot discuss cloning methods and are shocked to discover that the clones they produce are infants. They complain that cloning always produces fully-grown people in movies, but then admit that this is "real life" and it won't work that way.
* The first episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' has Tommy's mother, Didi, concerned that she won't live up to the mothers on TV; her friend Betty reassures her by telling her, "TV's TV. We're real." (Ironically, she ''really'' wouldn't live up to the mothers on TV... a good deal of the series has Tommy wandering off places.)
* In [[WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}} "Slappy Goes Walnuts"]]
-->'''Slappy the Squirrel''': You've seen all my old cartoons, right?...I wrestled with Walter Wolf, Sid the Squid, and Beanie the Brain-Dead Bison. This Doug guy here's nothing.
-->'''Skippy''': Yeah, but those were cartoons and this is real life!
-->'''Slappy''': [''[[BreakingTheFourthWall looks at the camera for a long]] {{Beat}}''] [[MediumAwareness Don't tell him]]. He might crack.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' had an episode in which Timmy, bored of "the real world", wished that his life would be like a blockbuster action movie. As things got more and more dangerous to the point where the villain accused him of responsibility for the world being on the verge of destruction, Timmy cried out, "[[BigNo Noooooo!!]] This is so awesome."
* Once, in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Leela interrupts Fry's eager pop-culture musing with a caustic "Fry, this isn't TV, this is real life -- can't you tell the difference?" This was spoken when they were about to engage an alien war fleet in battle in the year 3000 (and naturally, Fry prefers pop culture to reality anyway).
* In ''WesternAnimation/ProjectGeeker'' (whose main protagonist also is voiced by Billy West), in one of the 13 episodes, the title character, who is extremely childlike and impressionable, discovers some old comic books and soon is enamored with them. A bit of background, the 3 primary characters are a superhuman escaped science project with powers on the level of Q from Star Trek but which he cannot control, a female cyborg, and a superintelligent dinosaur. The female secondary character tries to explain to him that they are nothing like real life. She picks up a comic and says "look at how far fetched this is, it's full of cyborgs and.... dino.... saurs," she says slowly as she looks at a cover of a comic featuring 3 characters that bear a strong resemblance to the 3 of them.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' had various characters stating how "...this isn't some Saturday morning cartoon show."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Homer tries to get rid of a trampoline by tossing it off a cliff that looks like scenery from Coyote and Roadrunner Cartoons. The trampoline catches on a mesa and rockets upward, falls on Homer, and hammers him into the cliff. He then comments on how if this was a cartoon, the cliff would break now. It eventually does but not until after a long wait well into the night.
** "Three Men and a Comic Book":
--->'''Lisa:''' Too bad we didn't come dressed as popular cartoon characters.
** "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington":
--->'''Homer:''' Cartoons are just stupid drawings that give you a cheap laugh. * gets up, revealing his asscrack*
** "Lisa the Beauty Queen":
--->'''Homer:''' Lisa, [your caricature] isn't real. It's just how you might look if you were a cartoon character.
** "Bart vs. Australia":
--->* Bart and Homer try to climb into two kangaroos' pouches, covering their feet in mucus*
--->'''Bart:''' Ew! It's not like in cartoons.
** "Lisa the Vegetarian":
--->'''Bart:''' Cartoons don't have messages, they're just a bunch of hilarious stuff, like people getting hurt and stuff. * Homer opens the door, smashing it into Bart's face
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' episode 'Film Flam', Darkwing takes Gosalyn to see an animated feature at the local cineplex. Dismayed by the violent themes, he hastens to explain the difference between [[LampshadeHanging cartoons]] and [[ThisIsReality reality]].
** The episode "[[Recap/DarkwingDuckS1E48LikeInBlunt Like in Blunt]]" has Darkwing meet a CaptainErsatz of Film/JamesBond named Derek Blunt, who turns out to be very different from the way he is portrayed in the movies. In particular, he is unimpressed by and dismissive of Darkwing's various gadgets, calling them "gimmicks" and declaring "A real agent works with what's at hand." Darkwing, [[TheKnightsWhoSaySquee a fan of the movies]], is [[FanDisillusionment disappointed by the reality of the situation]], but, as is typical of these stories, they end up as friends anyway by the end of the episode.
*** "Derek Blunt" sounds like he was more directly inspired by Derek Flint of ''Film/OurManFlint'', who was a ''parody'' of Film/JamesBond.
* ''Series/AceLightning'' -- Mark actually says this trope, word for word, to the titular character. Along with such lines as:
-->"Ace, we've been through this, they're ''gnomes'' -- they're not going to attack you!"
* In the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode "Urban Ed", Eddy and Ed are on the top of a cardboard "skyscraper" pretending to be pigeons and dropping spoonfuls of yogurt onto the people below. Ed [[AnvilOnHead drops an anvil]] off the building, and Eddy tells him "You're gonna hurt someone! This ain't a cartoon!", at the same time seemingly oblivious to the fact that Ed has just [[HammerSpace produced an anvil from nowhere]].
** Later episode got straight into BreakingTheFourthWall, which the characters referencing people working on the show and the fact that their lives are a TV show.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderman'' had Spidey try to make Rhino trip on bowling balls, stating that it always works in cartoons. When Rhino's steps merely break the balls, he concludes that television can't be trusted.
* ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'', "Thieves' Gambit":
-->'''Wolverine:''' So now what? [[AirVentPassageway Air ducts]]?\\
'''Gambit:''' Heh, only in the world of cinema. In real life, they never hold.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Night of the Ninja", the titular Ninja makes it very clear to Dick Grayson that "This isn't the movies, boy!"
** And during the Bat-Mite appearance on later series WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold, Batman explains "This isn't a show for your amusement, Bat-Mite, this is reality!" [[BreakingTheFourthWall Although Bat-Mite knows better...]]
* In ''Veggie Tales: Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella,'' Larry the Cucumber mocks the villain for getting his idea for world domination from a cartoon. After a pause and a shudder to the fourth wall, he added that some cartoons were educational.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheWeekenders'' has Tino muse that he and his friends are real people, not the stereotypes seen on television... ''{dramatic angle}'' '''"Or are we?"'''
* In ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperForceGo'', when the Sun Riders (who at this point are evil) have taken over the Super Robot and forced the Hyperforce to flee. Chiro suggests that they instead use the Sunriders old fighting Mecha and they head to where they've been told it's stored... only to find out that it is only 20 feet tall (compared to the Super Robot's skyscraper) and is in disrepair, at which point the following exchange takes place:
-->'''Chiro:''' *Slams his fists into the ground* That's IT! I give up!
-->'''Sprx:''' If this was just some TV show, kid, we could give up. But THIS is the REAL WORLD!
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' detailed the replacement of Dee Dee with a [[DumbBlonde Blonde]] BrainlessBeauty. After Dexter expresses frustration at her failures to recapture Dee Dee's naivete and mischieviousness, she exclaims, "What kind of crazy show is this, anyway?" Noticing Dexter's confusion at this outburst, [[FourthWallObserver the blonde asks him if she truly has entered]] "''[[FourthWallObserver Dexter's Lab]]'', [[FourthWallObserver the TV show"]] only for Dexter to respond, "This isn't a TV show! I'm a real little boy, and this is my lab!"
** In addition, this is brought up in the opera episode: Near the end, Dexter actually sings out, "This isn't fantasy. This is reality."
* Played with in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'' Dan is convinced that a [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent wolfman]] scratched his car, due to incriminating sneaker-and-pawprints. When his friend points out that wolfmen don't run on all fours in the movies, Dan tells him this isn't a movie, it's real life. However, he later chides his friend for forgetting about the full moon needed for a transformation by saying, "Don't you watch movies?"
* [[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow Ren]] was once spazzing out at Stimpy about his love of [[ShowWithinAShow Muddy Mudskipper.]] To whit: "Cartoons aren't real! They're, uuuuh, puppets! Not flesh and blood like ''WE''!" Which also gets dumped on his head later when Stimpy ''meets'' Muddy and gets to be on the show.
* [[WesternAnimation/AdventureTime Finn]] claims that imagination land is boring and calls himself "a kick-butt reality master" (in a post-apocalyptic world gone magically RIGHT), because he prefers adventures over easy stuff... until he burns his foot from Jake's imaginary lava.
--->'''Finn''': JAKE! WHAT THE HEY-HEY?!
--->'''Jake''': I WAS JUST USING MY IMAGINATION! Then everything got intense.
* In ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' on the episode 'A Real Boy' Doofenshmirtz [[DiscussedTrope discusses]] how [[PoorCommunicationKills mishearing things is something that happens in a sitcom]], but this is real life.
--->'''Doofenshmirtz''': This isn't a sitcom, [[EverythingsBetterWithPlatypi Perry the Platypus]], this is real life! [[BreakingTheFourthWall (glances at fourth wall)]] And, I'm... [[SubvertedTrope (glances at fourth wall again)]] And I'm the father!
* Hilariously subverted in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' when Kim's gamer {{geek}} cousin Larry says he has an idea for dealing with the current sitch: "This isn't one of your stupid science fiction games, Larry! Ron's facing [[FantasyKitchenSink a kung fu mutant with bio-engineered hands, and mystical monkey powers, and]]..." At that point, Kim decides that Larry might be on to something and hands him the Kimmunicator. Larry's advice to Ron was based on a video game (boiling down to taking the enemy's power to beat him). This leads to Ron to go past Monkey Fist and proceeding to empower himself with Mystic Monkey Magic and thus taking the first step in becoming the Mystica Monkey Master in a sub-plot that goes on for the rest of the series.
** Wade suggests the "BeYourself" to attract his crush, and Ron replies "That only works in cartoons!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'', the 2003 Turtles are baffled by the 1987 Turtles' occasional asides to the audience ("Who are you talking to?!") and [[spoiler: original comic-book Leonardo's [[NarratingThePresent comic-book style narration]] of the fight scene.]]
--> [[spoiler:'''2003 Donatello''': Why is he narrating? Is he ''crazy?'']]
* In the ''[[WesternAnimation/TheGarfieldShow Garfield: Pet Force]]'' special, Garfield berates Nermal for getting so into his comic book. When Nermal wonders aloud if it could be really real, Garfield scoffs:
-->'''Garfield:''' That isn't real life [[MediumAwareness like the newspaper comics]]!
* In WesternAnimation/BeverlyHillsTeens, when a plan seems to go wrong:
-->'''Tara''': It's like I always say. If you want a happy ending, have a romance novel.
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'' has several examples:
** "Close Encounters of the Weird Mime" has Max telling PJ that they're too good for TV anyway after their video project goes horribly wrong.
** In "Buddy Building", Max answers PJ's question about why everyone on TV who gets three wishes always blows it, with "They're just cartoons. They don't know any better!"
** In "Terminal Pete", when [[ItMakesSenseInContext Pistol is chasing a gopher through a hospital]], a frustrated doctor cries, "This is a hospital, not a ''cartoon''!"
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bonkers}}'' has this come up at times, mostly due to the fact that it's a show with AnimatedActors. In "The Final Review" Bonkers becomes enamored with a cartoon cop show, which Lucky dislikes because of how it portrays police work. When the show's star tags along on order of his agent, Lucky has to tell him ''and'' Bonkers that real police work is more than just busting heads.
-->'''Lucky:''' ''Real'' cops may fight crime, but that doesn't mean we use our fists...or our fingers. We use our ''heads''. We gather evidence, we look for clues. We round up suspects.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' Has one in "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3"
-->'''Pinkie''': Of course I'm real! I mean, I'm not the real General Flash tenth commander of the Wonderbolts, but I, Pinkie, am really real.
** In "Fame and Misfortune", one of the fanponies complains about Twilight's character in the Friendship Journal... right to Twilight's face. Twilight is less than impressed, and notes that she and her friends are real ponies, and that the events in the Friendship Journal actually happened to them.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' has this in "That's Not My Baby"; after defeating the MonsterOfTheWeek, the girls find a baby and fail to find its mother. They decide to take care of it themselves, but after an exasperating and tiring night, Buttercup insists they get rid of it.
-->'''Buttercup''': It's not our baby.
-->'''Blossom''': I know, but we can't just leave it in a basket on someone's doorstep.
-->'''Buttercup''': Why not? They do it on TV.
-->'''Bubbles''': Well, we're not on TV!
* In the season one finale of ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'', Jackie and the others prepare to face Shendu and stop his plan to destroy all of Asia. Kid sidekick Jade says she has to go with them because she's an essential member of the team, "The Cunning One". Jackie says, "This is not a movie!"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'': In "The Test", after taking a test to determine what type of sitcom character he is and getting [[LoserProtagonist "The Loser"]], Gumball protests "This is ridiculous! My life is NOT a sitcom!"
** Defied, in some manner, in ''The Others''. Claire tries to get it through to Gumball and Darwin that this is real life, miraculous solutions simply don't exist and bad things will happen that no one can do a thing about. The two ponder it some time, but then realize their reality ''isn't'' like that, and a world where things like going to school with a living banana that has a butt for some reason, a T-rex, a ghost, a living piece of toast and others, with [[CartoonCreature whatever the heck Principal Brown is directing it all]], is a world where anything can happen, including absurd solutions to Claire's mundane problems, and set out to bring exactly that.
* At the start of ''WesternAnimation/BigHero6TheSeries'', everyone but Fred (a superhero fanboy) is reluctant to be a part of a superhero team. [=GoGo=] tells Fred that they're not in a comic book and that supervillains don't exist in reality.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* You can't go wrong using this phrase in real life. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis Unless]] this is a simulation or somesuch.
* Usually inverted, with people crying: [[ThisCannotBe "I can't believe this is happening to me!"]] or "This is like some bad dream!" ([[ArtImitatesLife Both are said in fiction, too]].)
* Reportedly, President UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan was disappointed when he found out that the White House's situation room was less impressive looking than the one depicted in Stanley Kubrick's movie "Dr. Strangelove".
* Once UsefulNotes/DonaldTrump was elected and ''Series/BlackMirror'' comparisons stopped being a localized phenomenon, [[MemeAcknowledgment the show's Twitter]] [[https://twitter.com/blackmirror/status/796192757836554240 had to respond that no]], [[ThisIsReality this wasn't an episode with a]] CruelTwistEnding or ViralMarketing.