Why are you just sitting there reading TV Tropes? Don't you know that this page is all about breaking the fourth wall?note
- In too many children's cartoons to name, dialogue, violence, or risque material gets censored or nixed before it starts, either by the characters or the narrator. The reason? "We can't show that on a kid's program!"
- Old Filmation cartoons (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), She-Ra: Princess of Power, Ghostbusters) always ended with a character breaking the fourth wall and teaching a worthy lesson to the children after the main story ends.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog did something similar with its "Sonic Says" shorts, in which Sonic and occasionally Tails teach a life lesson to the audience. (Including, in one infamous incident, what to do if you're victimized by a child molester.)
- Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues use this to try and teach skills to the children, becoming very quickly annoying to any viewer over the age of 5. See also: Fake Interactivity.
- The Weekenders LOVES doing this.
- Tino often talks to the audience by having the background turn grey, telling them what's happening this weekend and its outcome in the beginning and the end of an episode.
- In the episode where the gang is suspicious of Tish's whereabouts, Tino tries to tell us you shouldn't jump to crazy conclusions.
- At the end of "Listen Up", Carver talks about the plot until the camera turns away. He comes close to the screen and knocks on it and then the show starts to fades out. He closes the episode by yelling "DON'T FADE OUT ON ME WHILE I'M TALKING!!! HEY! LATER DAYS!!!!"
- Arthur doesn't just love the fourth wall, it's basically married to it. People often talk about the show, tell the cameraman to go to the episode's title card, talk to the audience at the beginning of the episode and even look at the audience.
- There's even an episode dedicated to it, "You Are Arthur" in which Arthur and the viewer imagine what it's like to be each other for a day.
- In Mulan II, Shang walks away and Yao asks Mulan, "What's his problem?" When Mulan walks away, he asks the screen, "What's her problem?" Then he asks, "Who am I talking to?"
- The Lion King, in the middle of "Hakuna Matata".
Pumbaa: And I got downhearted...
Timon: How did you feel!?
Pumbaa: Every time that I—
Timon: (slaps hands over Pumbaa's mouth) PUMBAA! (looks at the fourth wall) Not in front of the kids!
Pumbaa: (also looks) Oh! Sorry.
Simba: (also looks, with a perplexed expression on his face)
- One third-season episode of Reboot featured Enzo and Dot hiding behind tombstones as a player looking like Ash (from Evil Dead) massacred zombies and ghosts in a game. They both express horror at the (offscreen) carnage and wonder what kind of sick, demented person would ever play a game like that...and both turn and glare at the camera.
- There's also an incident during the first season in which Mike the TV is being particularly annoying, and Enzo asks "You want to live to see another season, right?" in an attempt to shut him up.
- Since Mike is a TV and speaks often in TV-related lingo, Enzo might simply have been putting the threat into words Mike will be more likely to understand.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (first cartoon) frequently used this trope.
- In one episode an ancient Japanese sorcerer gets summoned and starts threatening the Turtles in English. One turtle says, "If he's from ancient Japan, why is he speaking English?" Another replies, "Because we can't afford subtitles."
- In another episode one turtle constantly suggests that the strange things happening are a work of Krang and Shredder (the usual villains). The other disagrees each time until saying "In fact they don't appear in this episode at all."
- Even better, one episode has Shredder in As You Know Mode explaining the effects of Krang's mind control device, to which Krang responds "Why are you explaining this to me? I invented it!" Shredder's reply: "I wasn't explaining it to you." (points to camera) "I was explaining it to them!"
- "Will you leave off it already? He's not even in this episode!"
- Donatello trying to bring April up to speed on the episode so far:
Donatello: Do we have time for a flashback?
April: It's your show.
- A recurring moment whenever a dangerous stunt is or being performed, mostly Raphael will tell kids not to try this at home.
- A very unusual double example in the episode Return of the Shredder. April finishes a news broadcast by saying "Whoever you are, thanks." then winks at the camera, leading to this hilarious exchange.
Donatello:She was winking at me, you know.
Michelangelo: You're totally warped dude! She was winking at me!
Raphael: Get real you guys! It was meant for yours truly!
Leonardo: I hate to argue fellows, but I think she meant it for me.
April: *Still talking through the TV* Cool it fellas. If you must know, I was winking at Splinter!
Splinter: Age has its privileges. *Winks at camera*
- The turtles sometimes mention episode numbers as references. Takes a turn for the funny when a wrong episode number is mentioned.
- Used straight, and topped with a turtle themed green lampshade in Turtles Forever. When 80's version Raphael keeps breaking the fourth wall, other characters pause with confused looks. The third time he does it, The Dragon gets angry and starts shaking him. "Why do you keep doing that? Who are you talking to?! THERE'S NO ONE THERE!"
- When it comes to it, this is the whole plot of the movie. The 2003 Shredder learns about the fourth wall and decides to destroy it forever.
- Subverted in Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3. Multiple times in the movie, Sheen appears to be asking the viewers a question before the camera cuts to behind him, revealing that he's actually talking to Libby.
Sheen: Do you know what this means?! Do you?! Do yoooouuu?
Libby: Seriously, stop doing that!
- In the Superhero Episode of ''The Fairly OddParents, Timmy and the Crimson Chin explain to the Nega-Chin his existence is controlled by the comic book writer. The villain decides to confront him.
- Double Fourth Wall smashed—by Captain Planet. In "Hog Tide", to keep the Planeteers' minds off the hurricane that's doing a number on Hope Island, Gaia tells a tall tale about fictional heroes based on the Planeteers. As usual, the fictional heroes combine their powers to form Captain Planet, and asked who he is. Captain Planet sings his own Ending Theme.
"I'm your powers, magnified. Haven't you heard the song? 'Captain Planet, he's a hero...'"
- In an early episode, there is a normal & reverse Fourth Wall smash from the other side. This episode was the first time the Planeteers faced Zarm. After Zarm is sent away, the Planeteers talk about aliens and that people had to share the Earth. Wheeler states, "We get the hint. Your turn." A mystery voice says Captain Planet's catchphrase, "The Power is Yours" ending the show.
- In the Japanese Gag Dub of Beast Wars, Rattrap would occasionally comment on what audience members were eating.
- Happens on occasion on Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. There are a few in-story occurrences, and a number in various episode endings. The most obvious ones are during Professor Nimnul's rants, when he seems quite aware of the camera's presence.
- Family Guy toyed with this in "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", where they broke the fourth wall in a reality-TV Show Within a Show. Chris hung a lampshade on it with "Fourth wall! You're breaking the Fourth wall!"
- What's especially funny about the example above is that it's a reality show, which acknowledges the fact that there's a camera there, so even though Peter is talking to the camera, it's not actually breaking the fourth wall any more than a TV news show would be because there's no pretense of not having a camera there.
- Another episode had a pretty direct fourth-wall-breaking when Stewie mocked the cast of Desperate Housewives (which shared a timeslot with their show), then turned to the camera and encouraged the audience to switch over to ABC and look. "I'll wait. I'll wait five seconds. [pause] Oh my God, did you see? Did you see how old and ugly they all are??"
- Very recently, Stewie broke from the current scene to start complaining about the banner ads promoting other shows that are commonly shown across the bottom of programs now (don't get me started). It started off as Medium Awareness, because Stewie was obviously cognizant of the fact that he's on a TV show. He then broke the Fourth Wall by telling the audience to enjoy the ads as they went to commercial.
- In the episode "Dial Meg for Murder", Peter uses the TV Guide to find out what will happen.
- Also, in "Saving Private Brian", after Brian discovers that Stewie got them into the army, he says that's ridiculous, and the Vaudeville duo come out and break into piano and dance. Stewie then shoots them with his pistol, and addresses the audience, "Okay, they're dead, alright? We're not gonna be seeing them again."
- In the episode "Stew-Roids," there is a scene where Connie D'Amico (the main antagonist of the Griffin's daughter, Meg) is knocked unconscious. It appears Peter is coming to her aid ... until he decides to take advantage of the situation by touching her inappropriately. Just before he rubs his thing to her crotch, he glares and (as if looking at the audience) says, "It's just a cartoon, OK?"
- In the Futurama episode "Fear of a Bot Planet", Fry and Leela are attempting to work out how to rescue Bender from a planet full of human-hating robots. Leela remarks, "If only I had two or three minutes to think about it," at which point it immediately cuts to a commercial break. When the show returns from commercial, Fry and Leela have worked out a plan and are enacting it.
- Futurama liked playing with the fourth wall. In "Bender's Big Score," the Professor talks about how their license was "cancelled" two years ago by "the delivery network" (a building with a logo BOX NETWORK is shown. The B flickers and part of it goes out so that it looks like an F). The professor gets a phone call and announces "The asinine morons who canceled us were themselves fired for incompetence," so Planet Express is "back on the air! Yes, flying on the air in our mighty spaceship!"
- In "Rebirth" (the first regular episode after the show was picked up by Comedy Central), the Professor mentions that they have apparently gone through the "Panama Wormhole, Earth's central shipping channel." Zoidberg finds this humorous, and the Professor agrees: "Yes, it's sort of a comedy central channel, and we're on it now."
- An episode of Johnny Test did this as well. Johnny and his talking dog Dukey are trapped in an action movie (through the use of VR helmets created by his genius sisters), and when they realize how the movie's supposed to end (think Thelma & Louise) Dukey screams at Johnny "You couldn't have just stayed home and watched cartoons like normal kids!". Johnny and Dukey then pause and look at the audience before continuing to panic about getting out of the movie.
- Multiple characters in Taz-Mania do this but Digeri Dingo is by far the most notorious.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle's characters do this a lot. Particularly, the lead characters. When they reference things that happened in previous episodes, they actually say they happened in a previous episode. They talk to the narrator from time to time. And they also mention the conditions of the show.
- At one point, the narrator was kidnapped, then shown tied up and gagged alongside Rocky and Bullwinkle (who were in the same fix). That's not just breaking the fourth wall, that's blowing it to smithereens!
- Subverted at the end of the first part of the two-part The Simpsons episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?". Dr. Hibbert says "I can't possibly solve this mystery. Can you?" He points straight at the camera, but a second later the reverse angle shows that he's actually pointing at Chief Wiggum, who is standing in front of him.
Chief Wiggum: Yeah, I'll give it a shot. I mean, you know, it's my job, right?
- Played straight in "Pygmoelian," when Moe is upset about his picture being covered up on the Duff Calendar, and he realizes he's ugly. Carl tries to cheer him up, inadvertently insulting Lenny, Barney, and Homer. All four start sobbing, and Carl turns to the camera and says, "See this is why I don't talk much." Later in the same episode, a TV exec (not actually on TV himself) says "What the fudge?" with the word "fudge" beeped. And at the end, Moe lampshades the show's Reset Button and is cut off by the credits.
- Also at the beginning of The Movie, where Homer complains about TV shows being recycled as feature films: "I can't believe we're paying to see something we get on T.V. for free! If you ask me, everyone in this audience is a giant sucker! (pointing at the camera) Especially you!"
- In one episode, they talk about a home for TV/Film animals that aren't cute anymore. Snowball immediately perks up and does something to get attention.
- There was also one gag in which, as an ad passed across the bottom of the screen, Homer ate it. Yes. The ad. "Mmm...promo... Eeew! Fox!"
- In one episode, Roger Meyers Jr. (arguing that everything is plagiarized from everything else) mentions that Chief Wiggum is a ripoff of Edward G. Robinson... which is kind of true. In the background, Wiggum does a double take.
- Several episodes use this just before commercial breaks:
- "All About Lisa" has (Sideshow) Mel narrating. Just before the first break, he says "And so Lisa entered the world of show business, and it is indeed a business, as you'll find in 3... 2... 1..."
- In "Guess Who's Coming To Criticise Dinner?", Homer turns to the camera and says "We'll be right back!" at the end of act 2.
- In "Lost Verizon", Bart starts playing with the features of a mobile phone he's just found before holding it into the camera and saying "Oh cool, you can even watch commercials on it!" Cue act break.note
- Done in a (faux) terrifying-inducing way in "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores", a segment of one of their Halloween specials in which giant mock-ups of famous advertising characters come to life and almost succeed in destroying Springfield. At the end of the story, after the creatures have been vanquished, Kent Brockman turns to his TV audience (and thus, to us) and warns that "the next ad you see could kill you and all of your loved ones!" Homer then casually steps in front of Kent and says: "We'll be right back."
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Most apparent in the episodes with Bat-Mite. Its comparatively minor, maybe subtle even, until the series finale. The plot of which centers on Bat-Mite trying to force the show to Jump the Shark to get it cancelled and make room for a Darker and Edgier Batman show. Everybody breaks the fourth wall in that one. Aquaman's temporary new voice actor even breaks character.
- Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy breaks the fourth wall often in the later episodes. One example is Rolf saying "Rolf finally feels safe to appear in this episode!" in "Look Before You Ed"
- The Bugs Bunny short "Rabbit Every Monday" had Yosemite Sam hunting Bugs. We see a shadowy figure in front start to sneak out (remember the shorts used to be shown in theaters) and Sam points his gun at him and orders him to sit back down. Then says to the audience, "Anybody else try to get out to warn that rabbit gets his hide blown off!" Pause. "And I'll do it, too."
- Along the same lines, another short, Rabbit Rhapsody has Bugs as a concert pianist. Who shoots an audience member for continually coughing. Audience interaction was a pretty common gag in those days.
- In Rabbit Hood Little John tells Bugs over and over that Robin Hood will "be here soon". Near the end Bugs says to him: "You said that all through the picture. Where is he?" Turns out Robin Hood does indeed arrive, but in Stock Footage from The Adventures of Robin Hood.
- One of the most famous No Fourth Wall lines in Looney Tunes history was introduced in the 1941 Bob Clampett Bugs Bunny short Wabbit Twouble. When Elmer Fudd, his face covered in soap, reaches for a towel, Bugs leads him around with the towel on the end of a branch. He tells the viewer, "I do this kind of stuff to him all through the picture."
- Cecil Turtle says that earlier in Tortoise Beats Hare.
- A variant of this line also turns up in Tex Avery's first Droopy short for MGM, Dumb Hounded.
- "Hare Tonic" has Bugs convincing Elmer Fudd (who had brought him home to make into stew) that he was infected with the highly deadly and infections disease Rabbititis. In the last scene, he points to the audience and goes nuts, telling Fudd that everyone out there had Rabbititis. After Fudd runs off, he assures the viewers that if they actually had Rabbititis, they'd see red and yellow spots before their eyes (spots appear on the screen), and then they'd start swirling around (the spots on the screen do so), and then, everything'd go BLACK! (the screen blacks out).
- Another famous example involving Bugs is in ''What's Opera, Doc?. At the end, after Elmer kills Bugs, then goes into a What Have I Done mode and mournfully carries Bugs' body away, Bugs comes back to life briefly to tell the audience, "Well, what did you expect from an opera? A happy ending?"
- In one of the Bugs/Daffy cartoons with the Abominable Snowman, Daffy leads the snowman to Bugs and, sneaking off while the snowman is hugging Bugs, he turns to the camera and says "sure, I know I'm a louse. But I'm a LIVE louse." - on a host segment of the Bugs Bunny television show, a dopey sheepdog says (Looking for Bugs) "Where's the little bunny rabbit I saw on TV last week? I have to catch him. (Looking at us) Actually I'm a sheepdog by trade, but this is my day off."
- A Porky Pig short called Porky in Wackyland was about Porky trying to catch the elusive dodo bird and gets sent into an insane reality world where said dodo bird would torment him in a Roadrunner-esque way, albeit more insane. One way he annoys Porky is by riding up from the horizon in the Warner Bros. logo (complete with the "boing" sound effect) slaps Porky, and zooms back into the horizon, with the WB "boing" sound effect playing in reverse.
- An early Porky cartoon The Case of the Stuttering Pig had the villain warning the audience not to try and help the heroes - he especially singles out "that guy in the third row." At the end, the guy in the third row helps subdue the villain.
- In "Tick Tock Tuckered", another short featuring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck, they are trying to get to sleep to wake up early in the morning, so they are not fired for being late to work. Of course, this causes many things to plague them and prevent them from getting to sleep. One of them is the moonlight shining through the window and keeping Porky awake. The problem is resolved when Daffy shoots at the moon, causing it to fall and disappear over the horizon. In response to the unexpected outcome, Daffy looks at the audience, and expresses his disbelief ("Unbelievable, isn't it?").
- And then there were the shorts whose films "broke" near the end, leaving the screen a white void. After a brief pause, one of the characters from the cartoon in question steps out into the void and addresses the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to continue with this picture."
- Foghorn Leghorn did this often. Speaking to the foil du jour: "It was, I say, it was a joke, son!" Then turning to the camera: "Nice boy, but about as sharp as a sack o' wet mice."
- Marvin the Martian does this in an episode of Duck Dodgers. He details his evil plot and laughs evilly when one of his henchmen comes up and asks who he's talking to. He stammers out a brief "You know...them! The people watching us!" before the henchman goes "Oooooookaaaay,' and whispers to his fellow goon that Marvin is insane because he thinks there are people watching them.
- Chuck Jones is infamous for this, but in his movie The White Seal, the fourth wall is broken constantly by characters looking straight into the camera. At certain points, it happens repeatedly with only seconds between them.
- Staying with Jones, the entirety of his Daffy Duck short Duck Amuck is devoted to this very idea, with Daffy being tormented throughout by a mystery director. Daffy spends the entire short talking to the director who is constantly changing the scenery, props, and even Daffy himself with the use of a paintbrush, pencil, and eraser. And in the end, the director turns out to be Bugs Bunny!
- The now-censored cartoon Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips has Bugs disguised as Hideki Tojo but gives himself away to the Japanese soldier by eating a carrot:
Soldier: (to us) Honolable a-haaa! That no Japanese general...that Bugs Bunny! I see him in Warner Bros./Reon Schresinger/Mellie Merodies cartoon picture! Oh, he no fool me!
- Animaniacs features this on several occasions. Example: Wakko, dressed as a doctor while dealing with Rasputin, remarks of his patient: "I think he'll need some anesthesia", which leads to Princess Anastasia hitting Rasputin with a mallet. Dot turns to the camera and says "Historical reference. Ask your parents." Lampshaded in the episode "Hello Nice Warners," where Mr. Director asked them who they're talking to.
- As a veteran cartoon star, Slappy the Squirrel was no stranger to addressing the fourth wall either.
Slappy: I wrestled with Walto Wolf, Sid the Squid and Beanie the Brain-dead Bison. This Doug-guy here's nothin'!
Slappy: ...Don't tell him - he might crack.
- Really just one of many examples of how Animaniacs took most of Looney Tunes' running gags and did them to wretched and hilarious excess... another example being anvil-dropping.
- Ron occasionally gets to play with fourth wall breakage during the post-script season of Kim Possible, most notably in the first episode, where in the tag he tells Kim about a dream he had where she jumped sharks, and once in "Grande Size Me", where he delivers a PSA to the audience about the dangers of allowing your DNA to be mutated in chemical vats (while the other characters stand around confused as to who he's talking to).
- Kim does it one time herself, interrupting the opening title to double-take at the scientists wanting to study Ron as the secret to her success.
- Hanna-Barbera's The Adventures of Gulliver episode "Gulliver's Challenge". After Bunko says (of an opponent) "He's going to get it", Glum turns to the camera and says "I have a feeling we're going to get it too".
- South Park:
- In the episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", when Eric tries to kick Kyle off the group of main characters, Kyle remarks that he's "been there since the beginning".
- There's also a gap in the fourth wall in "Cartoon Wars". The overall plot is a battle to show the prophet Mohammed uncensored in a cartoon. The closing narration for part I: "Will the cartoon be allowed to appear uncensored? Will Family Guy be destroyed??? Will television executives fight for free speech? Or will Comedy Central puss out?" They did. In Part II, Cartman tells Kyle at one point, "See? That was a line that was relevant to the plot! Unlike Family Guy!"
- South Park has an intermittent tendency to lean on the fourth wall. Example 1: In "Christmas Critters", Stan is arguing with the narrator of the story over the ridiculous plot (the narrator wins) (although considering Cartman was telling the story this could be considered a slight subversion), Example 2: Kyle deconstructs the entire episode structure in "Butt Out", trying to get everyone else to realize that they go through the same formula every week, and bemoaning the fact that he's always the one to deliver the Aesop... Look, it's Trey Parker and Matt Stone. There's gonna be leaning on the fourth wall.
- From "The Tooth Fairy Tats", when Cartman is dressed up as the Tooth Fairy: "Move left! Move left!" [Cartman is moved to the right] "No, CAMERA LEFT! CAMERA LEFT!"
- At the end of "Towelie": "You are the worst character ever, Towelie."
- "This is just like when we got our money back for Baseketball."
- In "Cartman's Incredible Gift", Mrs. Crabtree is killed by a serial killer, causing the police to remark that she wouldn't be missed by the fans much as she was a minor character and hadn't been in any recent episodes.
- In "Proper Condom Use", Chef remarks that kids might be taught about sex by someone who's a total pervert. Mr. Garrison is then shown and he demands the camera not be shown on him.
- Space Goofs Christmas episode. The aliens were about to blow Santa Claus sky high with firecrackers as he was climbing down the chimney when the characters give a PSA about fireworks safety.
Etno: Remember, kids, handling fireworks is dangerous.
Stereo: You could hurt yourself.
Bud and Gorgeous: Or someone you love.
Candy: So remember, have a safe Ö
Santa: ...and happy holiday!
- In a first-season episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, Dr. Octopus, enraged by one of Spider-Man's signature glib quips, asks Spider-Man if he ever shuts up. Spider-Man responds by saying that the fans require a certain amount of quippage. Since hardly anyone ever sees him fight or hears these quips besides his adversaries, it's clear he means the audience watching the show.
- In the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, "Missing Identity", SpongeBob retraces his steps, and Patrick has to say hi to him to make it complete, one of the times, we get this, even though SpongeBob is the only person around, and he was already leaving.
Patrick: Hi Spongeboob... uh Spongeboob?! I said— haha, who's Spongeboob?! Haha I said Spongeboob! Ahahaha again, okay, sorry people.
- Also in the episode 'Wet Painters', SpongeBob is going to start painting the wall. The next scene shows a time card, with the narrator mentioning "One Hour Later". Cut back to SpongeBob, who is still not starting to paint the wall. Another time card is shown, the narrator says "Two Hours Later", and yet again SpongeBob is still not starting to paint. Another time card, the narrator says "Three Hours Later", and then Patrick is shown to be the one handling the time cards and he tells SpongeBob to move along because he's all out of time cards.
- In an episode that practically centered on fourth wall breakage, Patrick broke the fourth wall again in the episode 'Krusty Krab Training Video'. He acknowledges the Narrator several times throughout the episode, believing that the Narrator is the Krusty Krab's ceiling or a ghost. SpongeBob also addresses the Narrator a lot, asking if he can make a Krabby Patty multiple times.
- Also happens in the episode "Drive Thru". When one of Pearl's friends shouts through the cheap, tin-cans-on-a-string "microphone" with a megaphone [causing huge ear pain for Squidward], he turns to the camera and says "I'm not faking it, you know. That really hurt."
- Squidward is the master of SpongeBob fourth wall breakage, usually by referencing the running time of the average episode: "I give him eleven minutes" in 'Nature Pants', and in another episode "Why must every eleven minutes of my life be filled with misery?..."
- The Trapped in TV Land episode of Teen Titans has this in spades, with Cyborg referencing the particular episode and season they're in, and Robin giving quizzical glances out the TV screen and then later running up and grabbing the camera, yelling at the audience "Do not watch this program! It will liquify your brain!" (The In-Universe explanation for this action is that Control Freak has tampered with the broadcast.)
- Another time, the HIVE Five appeared over the theme song and spray-painted their logo on the screen. The leader, Jinx, steps forward and says "We're the HIVE Five and this is our show now." (If you look closely, you can see Gizmo in the background, using some device to hijack the broadcast.)
- Tex Avery was the master of this. His characters would often do things like running off the edge of the film. One of his best involved a wiggling hair stuck on the film (which often happened in old projectors). After being there for a while, one of the characters stops the action and plucks the hair off the film and tosses it away before resuming the scene.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy does this after an Accidental Kiss between Beezy and Heloise to show it again in slow motion!
- KaBlam: God, Henry and June seem to find this as their favorite activity. What happened to kids playing video games and watching TV? Well, they're the hosts of the show, and they're pretty much on TV (at least 1996-2001, 2002-2006).
- There is even an entire episode about it. After finding a projector showing pictures of the real world, they try to LITERALLY break the fourth wall, to the point of catapulting themselves against the screen and Lampshading the fourth wall. In the end, they end up finding a door that leads them to the real world, only to get real world pain after trying to ride bikes (they were turned into actual people, and had all of the limitations of a human. They give up, rewarding themselves for trying, only for Mr. Foot to go get the door to get a pizza delivery, making their attempts useless.
- Done all the time on Duckman, with asides to the audience, and slams against the show's home, the USA Network.
- A planned but unproduced finale episode of The Angry Beavers had Norbert explain to Daggett that they were really cartoon characters who were now facing cancellation. Although the episode was never animated, parts of the audio recording can be found floating around online.
- Pete does this in Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers to comment on a Running Gag.
- Batman: The Animated Series The episode "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich." Robin trips a thug on a table by yanking the tablecloth. He then says "I love that trick, but I can never get it to work" unmistakably to the camera.
- Another episode had Gotham City being rampaged by a Godzilla sized cow. Robin reacts to the destruction by saying "Holy cow!" Batgirl turns to the audience and says "He had to say it."
- This gag was used very early in the show's history, in 1992's "Christmas With the Joker." The Joker is airing a pirated TV broadcast from some unknown location, and the viewer often sees him via a TV screen. About two-thirds of the way through the show, he tells all the Gothamites who are watching that his Christmas special will return after "a word from our sponsor." Both the fictional program and the episode itself then cut to a commercial break in our own world. (The gag is ruined on DVD, where there are no commercial interruptions.)
- Phineas and Ferb did this in their video game episode, where the characters could see their own life bars.
- Lampshade Hanging near the beginning of Make Play: "What did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall, Carl?"
- When the episode's song blames Baljeet for forgetting to bring marshmallows, he starts talking back to it, until Phineas says "Baljeet, would you stop arguing with the soundtrack?"
- When they're building a giant robot dog, Baljeet says, "Like when you made that title sequence."
- Subverted in the movie when we're treated to a duet by the two Dr. Doofenshmirtzes. The original Doof ends the song with, "Twice the evil... Double Doofenshmirtz, comin' at you Fridays!" Alt-Doof replies, "What, are we doing a TV show?" (It should be noted, Friday is typically the day new episodes premiere on the Disney Channel.)
- Though the song does contain a line about Meap's voice actor.
- "Meapless in Seattle" gives us this gem:
Dr. Doofenshmirtz (in chibi form):
Yeah, it's been almost the whole commercial break.
- The Narrator of The Powerpuff Girls commonly acknowledged himself as the narrator of the show, interacted with the characters in almost every closing narration, and was often in on the show's gags. One particular episode, "Simian Says," had Mojo Jojo kidnap the narrator and take his place, causing the girls to rob banks and commit crimes for him and nearly destroy each other through his narration.
- Muppet Babies broke the fourth wall a couple of times in the episode "Good Clean Fun":
Piggy: No, Animal, the show's not over yet!
Piggy: It's OK.
- "Little Bill, who are you talking to?"
- Beetlejuice the cartoon does this quite a few times. Most often, it's BJ himself, but in "The Wizard of Ooze" the Wicked Witch of the West also broke it quite thoroughly.
Witch: Thanks to that commercial break, I had plenty of time to round up some friends of mine!
Witch: Curse that Lion's character design! Why couldn't he have been drawn with some eyes?!
- Perfect Hair Forever has a moment when Cat Man is forcibly pulled by Coiffio into a boat. When it is forcibly rocked he turns to the camera and insists with increasing anxiety that they go to commercials.
"Let's go to a commercial. Let's go to a commercial! COMMERCIAL!"
- In this episode of Darkstalkers, Anakaris breaks the fourth wall by turning to the camera and saying, "You know, I hate it when my bandages get wet because they break!"
- Garfield and Friends indulged in this a number of times. One episode had Garfield waking up in the wrong cartoon, a Mazinger Z-esque action cartoon.
- A U.S. Acres short had Wade, freaking out over a cryptic message warning that "The bunny rabbits is coming", turn to the audience and shout "Why are you just sitting there watching television? Don't you know that the bunny rabbits is coming?"
- Wade says the same thing in "Wade You're Afraid", but the second question is changed to "Don't you know that the bull is loose?"
- Aloysius does this (mostly unintentionally) too many◊ times◊ in◊ his episodes.
- The New Adventures of Superman. At the end of every episode Clark Kent would make some kind of lame pun based on the events in the episode and wink while looking at the audience.
- Jake Long was once captured by Gantu in one episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series. Jake commented there's no aliens in his show.
- In Jem, the fourth wall was usually pretty solid, but in "The Day the Music Died", Kimber, Raya, Aja, Pizzazz, Riot, and Ashley broke it to speak directly to the viewers.
- There is a scene in one of the VeggieTales movies that may not count but here's what it's like: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything theme plays, followed by a record scratch.
- Another example of the cartoon series Taz-Mania. As mentioned before, it sometimes does this; for example, in Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty breaks the fourth wall by pulling down a poster that reads, "I'll Be Back", which is set to take place in Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty Part II.
- Speaking of which, the LONGEST FOURTH WALL BREAKING was Axel in "Sidekicked", when he does his speech about that he is a sidekick (cue to rapid falls of the boulder crushing Taz.)
- In the Ireland episode of Yogi's Treasure Hunt, Yogi and pals are trapped in a room filling with water as it goes to a commercial. When the show resumes, they're on the roof of the building safe and sound.
Huckleberry Hound: If it weren't for that there commercial interruption, you folks would've seen a real exciting escape!
Snooper: Yeah, take Huck's word for it - it was a doozy!
- Young Justice version of the Joker is not the most well received version of the character, however he, like his comic iteration knows he is in an entertainment media. Episode 14, features not one, but two instances of fourth wall shattering. In the first he actually Lampshades his very appearance by letting the viewer know he is aware of just how surprised they are at his appearance, he then does a Screen Tap to make sure everyone is paying attention when the Injustice League gives their demands.
- The end of the animated Punky Brewster episode "The Bermuda Tangle" has Punky winking to us.
- Popples: In the episode, Popples Alley, Puffball rolls up to Bonnie (who dubs it her lucky bowling ball)...
Puffball: Hey kids, come here! I've got something to show you!"
''(Cue a Hammerspace
world, which includes a a planet or two
Bonnie: (amazed) WOW! I've never seen anything like that in my entire life!
- In Pop Goes The Radio, Putter asks the viewing audience for a pair of goggles (to help Billy) while winking at us.
(A bucket's worth of water is thrown at him, soaking him to the bone.)
- PC does this in the episode, Backyard Adventure.
- In The Popples Play Pee-Wee Golf, Party literally breaks the Fourth Wall when the ball she putts (after a water hazard retrieval) strays off-course, shattering the TV screen... and Party fixes the problem by replacing it!
- Tree House Capers: "Uh oh, Party! Now look what you've done! The kids won't be able to see the show!"
- Most of the short segments in between stories on Maryoku Yummy have this (most of the ones at the end), with Maryoku asking the viewer "Which wish is..." or asking the viewer to copy her actions.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy holds the record as the #1 Cartoon Network show with the most Fourth Wall jokes. To name a few:
- In "Prank Call of Cthulhu", Grim is shown having a phone conversation with a monster who speaks entirely in beat-boxing. As he hangs up, Mandy asks how he could understand him, to which Grim replies that he read the subtitles.
- In "He's Not Dead, He's My Mascot!", Mandy remarks, "Great, another episode about pets. That's it, I'm out of this cartoon," as the camera zooms out and she walks out of the frame.
Billy: Grim, Mandy left. What do I do now?
Grim: (offscreen) I'm not in this scene, Billy. Just go on.
- In "Wishbones", as the episode is going to a commercial break, Thromnambular says "Let's watch some commercials, then get back to the show."
- In "Keeper of the Reaper", as Fred Fred Burger is at the urinal, the judge comes out of the toilet and tells the viewers to take a bathroom break during the commercials.
- In one episode where Billy went missing, and Mandy was asked as to why they needed to get Billy back, she says, "Because The Grim Adventures of Irwin and Mandy doesn't sound like a very good show title."
- Grim combines this with a Call Back in one episode. When he tries to pull a prank on Boogie by putting hot sauce in his milk, Mandy cautions him; Grim replies, "Don't worry, I saw this in the Halloween Episode." (Of course, he obviously didn't remember it all too well; Mandy did indeed try to pull the same trick in that one, but it didn't work quite as she expected it to.)
- The Beatles episode "I Want To Hold Your Hand" had the boys, aboard a cruise ship, chastising the announcer for giving away their disguises they use to keep from being mobbed by hysterical female fans.
- Danger Mouse was prone to this as well, notably in the episode "The Good, The Bad And The Motionless." Penfold is frozen in time as DM battles his evil alter ego:
D.M.: Good grief, Penfold, I can hardly...oh, I forgot. You're in suspended animation. (to us) Probably the animator's tea break!
- Done occasionally in Sally Bollywood. One such example happens when it appears that a case is just caused by an absent-minded student leaving his book in his locker, causing Doowee to exclaim "End of episode" (before it is pointed out that there was more to the case). On another occasion, after Doowee has been pelted with socks from the roof, he proceeds to look directly at the camera and questions the chance of that happening.
- In Quest for Camelot, Devon does this in a blink and you'll miss it moment:
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man has total control over the fourth wall to which he pauses the show and expresses his thoughts, and imagines whats on his mind.
- Chowder. Sweet Jesus, Chowder. The fourth wall was broken in almost every episode. One of the best examples is when Chowder writes on the screen, prompting Gazpacho to clean it. Chowder then notices the Cartoon Network logo in the corner of the screen, asks about it, and Gazpacho replies, "Oh, that one doesn't come off."
- In the brain food episode, Chowder becomes so smart he changes the show into a boring talk show and other things, evidentally making the viewers cry. And in a later episode, he references this event in a glorious example of breaking the fourth wall:
Chowder: And then there was the episode where my brain got big and I changed the show!
- And in another episode, they run out of money to animate the show! The voice actors are shown discussing the issue in the sound booth and then raising money with a car wash to get the animation back.
- Mr. Bogus will more often than not break the fourth wall to address the viewers about his current situation.
- Dino Time has a strange case of this. The main character breaks the fourth wall in three early scenes, but after about 20 minutes into the film he never does it again.
- Gravity Falls has done this several times, most notably in the episode "Fight Fighters", where when Dipper and Rumble McSkirmish are fighting, Soos waves his arm in front of Rumble's life meter, attempting to change it.
- The shorts series Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained and Mabel's Guide to Life are about Dipper and Mabel filming their life in Gravity Falls to show to the public. They often address the viewer by saying things like "I know what you're thinking", or just speaking directly to the camera.
- Then there is literal crashing of the forth wall as Wendy and Dipper drives through the weirdness bubbles they assumed the real life likeness of their respective voice actors.
- My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic:
- Quite a few characters do this, but the pony Pinkie Pie is easily the reigning champion; for her, there's pretty much No Fourth Wall at all. In only the second episode, she babbles to the audience about how much fun it's going to be having Twilight Sparkle living in Ponyville, and even briefly interrupts the Iris Out.
- At the end of the episode "Over a Barrel", Pinkie does a similar thing while Twilight Sparkle is reading aloud her letter to Princess Celestia. When Twilight says 'you've got to share. You've got to care', Pinkie, annoyed, pops out of the closing iris and says 'Hey! That's what I said!' Earlier on in the episode, she sang a song with the same title.
- In the episode "Magic Duel", Pinkie Pie does this again, angry about her lack of a mouth. Twilight joins in on the action, creating a portal into the black screen and using her magic to give Pinkie her mouth back. Pinkie happily opens her mouth to say something right before the end credits start playing. Earlier in the same episode, Trixie removes Pinkie's mouth by dragging the Flash file with the mouth into the computer's trash bin!
- In "Make New Friends But Keep Discord", Pinkie doesn't just look at the camera; she grabs it and starts shaking it up and down.
- Then in the very next epísode, "The Lost Treasure of Grifosntone", when Gilda agrees to help Pinkie save Rainbow Dash, and insists that it doesn't make them friends. Pinkie waits for Gilda to walk off before turning to the camera and gleefully exclaiming, "Except it doooooes!"
- Applejack gets in on it once or twice as well (it must be an earth pony thing). During "Wonderbolts Academy" when Pinkie Pie is going off on one long protracted tangent about how Rainbow Dash has forgotten them, Applejack spends the entire time looking right at the audience as if to say "Can you believe this?"
- Discord is a fan of this. During "Keep Calm and Flutter On", he brainwashes some beavers, then grins right at the screen and whispers "Whoopsie!" In "Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 2", while eating some popcorn, he looks at the camera and says he'll need more popcorn.
- Sweetie Belle gets one in during the so-called 'fan-pandering' episode "Slice of Life". She, along with a large group of other secondary characters, are watching the main six "stars" of the show gathered together and discussing something. Sweetie suggests, "Maybe it's a friendship problem and it'll be wrapped up in half-an-hour or so."
- Happens quite literally in the 2013 Mickey Mouse cartoon Get a Horse!, where various characters rip through the screen and into the theater. They then proceed to cross back and forth, flipping the screen in every direction, until by the end it is completely torn away.
- Happens in the Xiaolin Showdown episode "Hannibal's Revenge":
Master Fung: "Hannibal alone is a potent threat, but together with Wuya, their evil forces could mean... the end of the world.
Raimundo: "Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah!"
* looks towards camera up close, eyes resembling monitors with show logo *
Raimundo: "Previously on Xiaolin Showdown..."
* Xiaolin Dragons and Fung wink
and give thumbs up in acknowledgment *
- Sonic Boom LOVES to break the 4th wall, whether its by the characters looking directly at the viewer, talking to them, or even 4th wall breaking comments. Some examples below.
- In "Cowbot", Tails will occasionally look directly at the viewers, pretending he's a commentator for "Coconut Hurl".
- "Sole Power" features Eggman revealing the power source of his giant robot. After saying "Gee, I wish I thought about that." he turns to the viewers, before saying "Oh wait, I did!"
- "Battle of the Boy Bands" is full of hilarious meta jokes, including Justin Beaver's producers conveniently revealing their whole plans while Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails watch. Knuckles had this to say, while looking at the viewers. "Talk about lazy writing."
- "It Takes A Village to Defeat a Hedgehog" has a hilarious example from Eggman, when he's asked who Shadow is. His response is "He's only the 2nd most popular character in the whole canon!" Later Orbot and Cubot directly tell the audience to start an online petition for Sonic Boom season 2.
- Ruby Gloom does it often especially in the Cold Openings and Endings, more than anyone else, Misery does it more.