Sometimes works pretend to be interactive when, by the definition of their medium, they aren't. You know what this means, right?
(Oh, right, wiki pages aren't interactive media; we have no idea what your mental response was going to be so we'll just have to pretend you said something relevant to the question.)
Anyway, this is common in children's programming (e.g. Edutainment) to encourage a form of Audience Participation. Sometimes, instead of a blank pause the work will have a chorus of voices chime in with the expected answer.
When this trope is used in a Show Within a Show, it could involve The Tape Knew You Would Say That.
Shows with Fake Interactivity have No Fourth Wall.
Not to be confused with the audience shouting at Too Dumb to Live characters.
The TV show watched by Millie in the film version of Fahrenheit 451 does something similar to this, with the characters concluding that the unseen third character (played by the viewer) is absolutely right.
This was in the book as well, to the point where all Millie thinks about are the characters of the show and demands that her husband buy another TV wall, so she can feel more immersed. Basically, the show mails the episode's script a few days ahead of time, letting viewers memorize their lines. The light in the corner of the screen indicates when the viewer is supposed to speak.
In the Thomas the Tank Engine movie, the audience is supposedly responsible for putting the cushion out to break the conductor's, played by Alec Baldwin, fall.
Mo Willems' "Pigeon" series of books, beginning with Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus present this in literary format, encouraging the readers to shout out "No!" when the Pigeon begs to do something he's not allowed to do, like driving the bus. Some of these stories were later adapted for DVD by Scholastic and Weston Woods. There are other children's picture books that have adopted this format as well.
The Sci Fi Channel would run advertisements where they would ask the viewer to please place their hand up to the screen. There was then a sequence where a futuristic laser beam would "scan" an outline of a human hand. The voice would then say "You have been cleared. Thank you."
Parodied in Bloom County, as Opus learns English from the show. In the first of those strips, he responds to "Trumpet player" with "Terflump Gerflump"; in the second, he answers "Public servant" with "bozo". In both cases, Rogers just says "Good!"
In another strip, Oliver's computer does the same thing, but responds to the TV by saying "Ted Koppel is a waffle". When Mr. Rogers says "Good!", the computer addresses the house: "MISTER ROGERS HAS LOST IT!"
And aside from the occasional Fourth Wall break, Sesame Street avoided this as well for the most part. Then along came "Elmo's World".
There's also "Abby's Flying Fairy School", but the characters ask each other questions rather than the audience.
Drake & Josh both try to talk to the people watching the show. In a truly hilarious bit, Drake is warmly received by his audience and given a plate of cookies through the fourth wall, while Josh is both insulted and spit upon.
In another episode, Crazy Steve is watching Dora the Explorer, asking Dora why she would need to ask the audience something so simple when she could probably figure it out herself.
Subverted in Angel , which had a fairly dark take on this in the "Smile Time" episode. Puppet demons hosted their own show and used it to steal the souls of little kids. In The Teaser, a kid was watching the show and as the mom walked out of the room, the lead puppet watched her walk away and then talked straight to the kid. This looks like normal Fake Interactivity until that particular kid, and no one else so far, loses his soul.
Played with in Romper Room: The host could use the Magic Mirror to "see" who was watching, naming children who'd written to the show. Since this was a show franchise produced by local stations, it was likely that a given child watching might be called.
Pee-Wee's Playhouse, being a parody of the "kid's show" genre. As an interesting side-note, the plastic overlay from Winky Dink inspired Pee-Wee's "Magic Screen" segments.
Parodied in a Saturday Night Live spoof of Dora the Explorer called "Maraka", in which the title character asks about the meaning of life, the nature of free will, and the Robert Blake murder trial while acting as though the viewers are giving a specific answer. Maraka also becomes aggravated when the "audience" does not pretend to toboggan down a mountain.
An early (and iconic in Britain) example comes from Listen With Mother, The BBC's radio program for children in The Fifties: "Are you sitting comfortably?" (Pause) "Then I'll begin."
When the BBC moved to TV, it became Watch With Mother. Fifty-odd years later, the show inspired the villainous "Wire" in the Doctor Who episode "The Idiot's Lantern."
Tape: Ou est le plume de ma tante? [pause] Ou est le plume de ma tante? Student: La plume de ma tante est pres de la chaise de ma tante. As well you know. Tape: Oui, la plume de ma tante est pres de la chaise de ma tante. Student: How does this tape know what I'm talking about? Tape: Ou est la plume de mon oncle? Student: Le plume de mon oncle est bingy-bongy-boogy-bongy. Tape:[affronted] Non! Pas de tout! Je ne me connais pas "bingy-bongy-boogy-bongy." Qu'est-ce que vous dites?
Sent up in, of all places, the Japan-exclusiveNintendo 64Raising SimWonder Project J. A selling point at the time was that Josette, the Robot Girl whom you have been tasked with raising, would respond in full voice to player input, which generally came in the form of simple "praise/scold" prompts. In one of them, if you praised her dancing ability, she would modestly deny her talent, insisting that since you'd taught her everything she knows, you must be a much better dancer, and asks for a demonstration. After staring out of the screen for a few seconds, she claps her hands and laughs happily, admitting that she can't actually see you, but she's certain you were fantastic!
Used somewhat bizarrely in Barney's Hide and Seek. If the player starts the game and then goes long enough without providing input, Barney will simply start walking toward the end of the level all by himself. He won't complete the actual objective of finding hidden kids or presents, but he will walk all the way from the beginning of the game to the end after only a single button press on the controller.
Steamshovel Harry. It purportedly is a game about jump physics where you have to save the earth from an asteroid that will strike in ten minutes. Unfortunately, the mandatory tutorial video takes ten minutes and you die immediately afterwards.
Parodied in the Homestar Runner Strong Bad Email "for kids". Strong Bad demonstrates how bad of a kids' show host he would be with an Imagine Spot. He asks the kids to say "The Cheat", which they do (though one says "Christopher Columbus") and Strong Bad gives them an F Minus Minus regardless. Then when they fail to find The Cheat hiding behind a box (they say he is "right there" but do not specify), he flips out and threatens to kill them all.
Wiggum: "Well, yeah, sure, why not! I mean, it's my job, right? Ha-ha!"
This was connected to a contest the show was running in which viewers could figure out the assailant to win a prize.
Used in Stanley, mainly by the goldfish Dennis to quiz the viewers.
Similarly, the Fish character on the PBSKids series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! does this in short segments called "Fish Facts." Played for humor, because the answer to the question is always demonstrated in the background by the actual animal while Fish is asking the question. "You're right! Next time, I'll stump you for sure." In the third season, however, the animals appear in bubbles surrounding the cat to try to make things a bit more challenging.
A mainstay of the recent Playhouse Disney programs My Friends Tigger & Pooh and Special Agent Oso
This actually originated, at least for Pooh, from "Welcome To Pooh Corner", where the characters ask a question, then it shows clips of children answering, or in the scary episode Too Smart for Strangers, what to do near a stranger. Bear in the Big Blue House used this method as well.
Parodied on one of the Show Within a Show programs that Meatwad watches on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Puppets sing and flail about, occasionally directly addressing the in-universe audience in a demonic tone. None of the characters seem to notice this at all.
This is your left! Left! Left! This is your left! Left! Left! This is your left! Left! Left! This is your left! You're going to die!
The Disney Junior show Little Einsteins stars four child prodigies who, by the age of six, have mastered various musical instruments and forms of interpretive dance, but are still worse at problem-solving than your four-year-old is, and constantly needs their help. Er... sometimes, anyway. Can be Fridge Brilliance, since prodigies or not they're still just children.
Another Disney Junior show, Jake And The Neverland Pirates, is pretty much Dora with pirates and better animation. Features Peter Pan in the pilot and Captain Hook as a running villain.
Narrator: Ducky Momo needs to get to the other side of the Bumbleberry river. Can you help him find the bridge?
Kid 1: It's right there! Behind you!
Kid 2: To your left! Your other left.
Kid 3: No! No, not that way.... that's a candy wrapper.
Kid 1: Now where is he going?
Kid 3: How has he survived this long?
Played straight in Team Umizoomi. The team addresses the viewer as their "UmiFriend".
Super Why! has this, calling the viewer "Super You". With the Power to Help!
Another Playhouse Disney show, JoJo's Circus, had the main character and her "pet lion" Goliath, mainly to encourage exercise by asking the viewers to get up and exercise or dance with them.
Even in Handy Manny, ever since the start of season 3. They couldn't re-do the classic animation with the tools dancing on a stage. Instead they had a mash-up of different scenes from episodes with Kelly asking trivia questions to the viewers.