[[quoteright:300:[[Manga/DragonBall http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/RecursiveCanon3_3622.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:On Wednesday nights, Goku likes to watch ''Dragon Ball''.]]

->'''Jay:''' Is it weird that the "Ghostbusters Theme Song" is now ''in'' the ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'' universe? I always thought that was odd.\\
'''Mike:''' Yes, yes. And it's also weird that they changed their logo to say "II".\\
'''Jay:''' That makes ''no'' sense. Their company is not a sequel!
-->-- ''WebVideo/HalfInTheBag'' rifftrack of ''Film/GhostbustersII''

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not to be confused with CanonImmigrant.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The anime ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' has [[TheMovie a movie version]], ''[[Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove Do You Remember Love?]]'', which the producers later explained away as a propaganda video made by UN Spacy to portray the events of the TV series in a better light. The deaths of certain characters are made far more heroic, the love triangle made far more romantic, and in general, UN Spacy comes out smelling a lot better than in the TV series.
** Series creator Creator/ShojiKawamori [[WordOfGod has gone on to say that]] ''all the Anime/{{Macross}} stories'' are merely second-hand retellings of real events that happened in-universe, mostly to explain the differences apparent in, say, the ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' TV series compared to the movies that followed it. This has some interesting implications for ''Frontier'' in particular, as its movies paint several maligned parties in the TV series in a much more rosier light.
* ''Manga/CMonDigimon'' the first "Digimon" work of fiction besides the virtual pets themselves, is about holographic technology that lets people see and hear the monsters of said pets as if they were like real animals. ''Manga/DigimonVTamer01'' the first serialized manga has the same pets as "C'Mon" and a cameo from the "C'Mon" villain but goes on to show actual Digimon existing that [[ArtShift don't look anything like]] the holograms, [[CallBack as noted by a main character]]. These monsters live in a world separate from Earth that {{God}} forbid humans to visit unless there was a problem the native monsters could not handle on their own.
* ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' establishes early on that a version of the ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' franchise exists in the world, which is later revealed to have been created after a group of bankrupt computer scientists sold to a toy company the designs and concept of, you guessed it, the prototypical digital life forms they created which evolved to become the real Digimon and [[{{Cyberspace}} associated world]] which form the premise of the series. Merchandise exists of said franchise, most prominently [[TabletopGame/{{Digimon}} the card game]], and it's implied that an anime series starring an Agumon as the lead exists (which is nameless in the original series and ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' in the dub).
* ''Anime/DigimonUniverseApplimonsters'' takes a slightly similar approach, though theirs is more of a halfway example. This universe has digital monsters in it, but they're a new variety called ''Appmon'' and are based on smart phone applications as well as having their own way of evolving into differently-named higher forms. We find out in a 20th anniversary, however, that a fictional Digimon ''video game'' by the title of [[TitleDrop "Digimon Universe"]] exists, and that the main character played it when he was younger. The plot of the game seems to mirror that of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', and when Agumon is brought to life from the game, his role is reprised by Creator/ChikaSakamoto.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' has an unusual version of this - the pilot chapter mentions that a manga was written based on the "real story" it tells (well, mostly on the concept of the Death Note itself). This leads to a scene where Ryuk passes a poster for the live-action Death Note movie.
* In ''Anime/TheTowerOfDruaga'', they spend an episode trying to reach the top of a 60 floor tower inside the tower they are in. The main hero is controlled by the other characters, as if they are playing the ''VideoGame/TheTowerOfDruaga'' arcade game. One character even has a walkthrough for the tower.
* The ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' [[TheMovie movie]] is revealed in the [[AudioAdaptation movie Sound Stages]] to be a film being produced by one of the planets in the ''Nanoha'' universe, with Nanoha and Fate helping as technical advisers. The [=DVDs=] even have InCharacterCommentary.
** The [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs second movie]] also had its own Sound Stages and commentary where it was shown to be an in-universe movie. But wait, it gets ''weird''. Before the second movie was released there was another Drama CD, ''Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha GOD Sound Stage M'', set in the AlternateTimeline of the ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable'' video games. In it, the OriginalGeneration characters introduced in those games encounter the versions of Fate and Nanoha from the first movie. In short, the movie timeline seems to actually exist. Its nature as recursive canon even helps to justify Graham and his familiars being AdaptedOut, since [[spoiler: it wouldn't make any sense for TSAB propaganda to show a high ranking officer condemning an innocent girl to an eternal icy prison.]]
* A ''Manga/{{Plica}}'' movie was made while the comic strip was still going, leading to a couple of comics about Plica and Mari going to see the movie, which is ostensibly about them. No real in-story explanation is offered for this (presumably it's just because the mangaka [[ShamelessSelfPromotion wanted to make sure her readers knew about the movie]]).
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'': One of the few traits kept from the [[NoFourthWall missing wall]]--style of the Manga. The franchise has no problem with the idea that Lupin has been fictionalized InUniverse.
** ''Manga/LupinIII'' reading ''Manga/LupinIII''.
** ''Anime/LupinIIIVsDetectiveConan'', Kogoro Mouri mentions a ''Lupin III'' comic, which is a CallBack to earlier in the ''Detective Conan'' series, where characters have disguised themselves as Lupin & co.
** An Arab monarch is a fan of the ''Anime/LupinIII'' television series (since this takes place in the Anime/LupinIIIRedJacket series, assume he means that one), so he is not surprised when the Lupin gang shows up in his country.
** ''Anime/GreenVsRed'' shows us a movie poster for ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'' in one of the Lupin's rooms. (Yes, one of. [[MindScrew Best not to ask if he's the real one]].)
* In ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture]]'', Terry plays ''Fatal Fury Special''.
* Likewise, ''Anime/StreetFighterAlphaTheAnimation'' has a scene where Sakura can be seen playing as Ibuki in ''VideoGame/SuperGemFighter''. Sakura herself is actually playable in the real game.
* The Franchise/{{Gundam}} manga ''Ganota no Onna'' [[GenderFlip reimagines]] Char Aznable as an OfficeLady in present day Tokyo, with much of the show's cast appearing in some form or another. Despite this, ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' is treated as an actual anime within the show, with Utsuki and Amuru (Char and Amuro) portrayed as massive fans of the franchise.
** ''Anime/GundamBuildFighters'' takes place in a TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture version of the real world, where all the other ''Gundam'' series are fiction. The producers also included a truly epic number of Gundam characters in {{Continuity Cameo}}s during the course of the series, even though their respective origin shows are all supposed to be works of fiction in this universe. Including ''Anime/ModelSuitGunplaBuildersBeginningG'', which also takes place in an alternate real world where all the other ''Gundam'' series are fiction.
** ''VideoGame/SDGundamGGeneration'' posits that ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam'' is a television drama aired in the UC 0090s, possibly with input from the people who lived the real events like Michel. Interestingly, this is done primarily to justify the existence of space-use variants of Shiro's Gundam [=Ez8=], by suggesting that the show was so popular the writers [[GeckoEnding extended the storyline beyond what really happened]].
* In the third season of ''Anime/SonicX'', when Chaotix show up and need to be brought up to speed on what's been going on, they steal a bunch of Sonic X [=DVDs=] and watch every episode up to that point.
* The ''Manga/CodenameSailorV'' anime exists within the universe of ''Manga/SailorMoon'' which isn't exactly recursive canon because there never was a Sailor V anime. Sailor Venus DOES however sometimes read her own comic book which plays the trope straight. Sailor Moon manga also appear (but in brief cameo roles) as do the magazines that ran Sailor V and Sailor Moon (and parodies thereof; [=RanRan=] instead of Magazine/RunRun).
* Done within the same series with ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico''. The Nadesico crew enjoys watching Gekiganger III, an affectionate parody of old {{Super Robot|Genre}} shows. All is fine and well until the 14th episode, where the show becomes an episode of Gekiganger III watching their favourite show, Martian Successor Nadesico. It gets even more confusing when the show ends off with it being an episode being watched by the crew of the Nadesico.
* In ''Anime/LuckyStar'', magazine covers with the series' characters were often reproduced in-story. Also, in one case, the characters discussed the series' (RealLife) promotion event in Akibahara--[[OtakuSurrogate Konata]] recommends {{cosplay}}, [[{{muggles}} Kagami]] disliked it was much too PanderingToTheBase, and Konata answer that Kagami should accept the fact that {{muggles}} won't read that anyway. Furthermore, when the trio visit a shrine near the end of the series, Konata reads a prayer that says 'Konata is mai waifu'. The joke being that after the manga was published, some otaku hung such prayers at the shrine featured in the book. So in the anime Konata picks one of them up, undoubtedly to the delight of the fan who wrote it.
** The spinoff Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku features two magazines, which covers feature this very series, in episode 9.
* The ''Anime/MonsterRancher'' anime started with Genki being an avid fan of the game series and being sucked into the world.
* In one of the ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' [=OVAs=] set roughly 100 years in the future from the end of TheMovie, we see posters for TheMovie all over the place.
* In one of the ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' manga arcs, Akasaka [[spoiler:writes a book based off the events of the arc]].
* In ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'', Gintoki bashes his imposter Kintoki over the head with a complete collection of Gintama manga/[=DVDs=] out of the frustration of no one seeming to remember him, only to notice that he's also replaced him in the manga/[=DVDs=] in the aftermath.
* In ''Manga/ICantUnderstandWhatMyHusbandIsSaying'', season 2 DVD's were shown to be on sale in the convenience store Nozomu works at.
* ''Manga/SoreGaSeiyuu'' has an example similar to ''Manga/SailorMoon''. Futaba is a fan of ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' and gets to work with [[Creator/RyokoShiraishi Hayate's voice actress]] in episode 11 despite the fact that both shows take place in the same universe.
* ''Manga/FrankenFran'' has a surgeon refuse to deal with Fran, [[BodyHorror as he knows what happens when she gets involved in surgery]]. How does he know? Because he read the previous volumes of the manga (pulling out one to show her).
* Characters in ''Manga/{{Nichijou}}'' are often seen reading ''Helvetica Standard'', another series by mangaka Keiichi Arawi...which features appearances by many characters from ''Nichijou''.
* The original ''Manga/{{Devilman}}'' show exists in the world of ''Anime/DevilmanCrybaby'', including an appearance from the original opening. The fictional version in ''Crybaby'' is apparently not the exact same as the real show, as an internet search for "Akira Fudo" (the protagonist of both real works) showed no results.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* UrExample: DC Comics' ''WesternAnimation/TheFoxAndTheCrow'' once had its protagonist, Fauntleroy Fox, become aware that he's a comic book character. He uses the knowledge gleaned from reading back issues of ''The Fox and the Crow'' to defeat his nemesis, [[TheTrickster Crawford Crow]]. A desperate Crow asserted that, if the Fox ended the game in this way, it would make him the loser forever.
* Creator/MarvelComics exist within the Franchise/MarvelUniverse. In-universe they are stories as told by a "Marvel''s'' Comics", some with the cooperation of the superheroes themselves and some only VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory. In at least one instance ''ComicBook/SheHulk'' is seen reading an actual issue of The Savage She-Hulk. (This is further complicated by the fact that She-Hulk sometimes has NoFourthWall, though, so she is one of a few characters who could have been reading something published by Marvel Comics ''or'' by Marvels Comics.)
** At various times, ComicBook/CaptainAmerica has been the artist for the in-universe Captain America comics. No, really.
** In a FifthWeekEvent, the company published one-off issues of the Marvels Comics versions of most major titles, depicting how they are viewed in-universe. For some characters, like Captain America, the recursive canon version was almost indistinguishable from the usual comic, except that his secret identity was a secret. For others, like the X-Men, who have been pariahs in-universe for most of their history, they couldn't very easily be treated like superheroes. So instead, a backstory was made up for them, which supposed that they were a top-secret government project of paroled mutants, sort of like the Comicbook/{{Thunderbolts}} turned out to be.
** All Marvels Comics published before 2001 carry the UsefulNotes/ComicsCode Authority seal. The CCA is a federal agency in the Marvel universe, making all these comics legal, federal documents. [[MythologyGag Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway]], the law firm She-Hulk works for, specializes in superhuman, metahuman and mutant law, keeps a complete archive of Marvels Comics from the 1930s forward as legal reference.
* All this is the result of Marvel's evolving approach to the fourth wall. In early Silver Age comics, especially the ComicBook/FantasticFour, the comics referred to in the books really did seem to be the same ones you were holding in your hand, with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby making cameos fairly often and the stories supposedly being retellings of events related by the characters (helped by the FF not having secret identities), heightening the sense that Marvel comics took place in the "world outside your window". This became untenable as time went on, eventually being replaced by the modern "Marvels comics" concept; as late as 1984's "Assistant Editors' Month" event some stories still seemed to pay lip service to the notion that Marvel comics literally existed in the Marvel universe, but by the late 80s ''ComicBook/DamageControl'' depicted She-Hulk as breaking the fourth wall as she did in her solo book at the time, but that everyone else thought she was crazy for thinking she was a comic book character.
* The Silver Age ''Franchise/TheFlash'' series portrayed the Golden Age Flash's adventures as merely being a comic book series. It was not until much later that the two actually met, revealing the GA Flash's comics to be a fictionalized account of what happened on another Earth.
* The 1980s revival of Franchise/TheDCU's ''ComicBook/{{Blackhawk}}'' showed the original 1940s series to be a comic book rendition of the team. Weng Chan, the Chinese member of the team, understandably [[LampshadeHanging complained]] about the UnfortunateImplications of his portrayal as the stereotypical caricature "Chop-Chop".
* In Creator/NeilGaiman's ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', it was discovered that the Creator/JackKirby-created Sandman had been living a delusion in a dream dimension created by two denizens of Morpheus' realm.
** Volume 10 implies that all live action adaptations of DC characters [[AllJustADream are dreams]] of the comic versions.
* In ''Cigars of the Pharaoh'', a sheik recognizes {{Tintin}} from having read all about his adventures, showing a copy of one of the books. The book was originally ''Tintin in America'', but in the later color editions it was anachronistically changed to ''Destination Moon''.
* In both ''ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio'' and ''ComicBook/GastonLagaffe'', the characters work on the staff of the magazine that publishes their adventures, ''Journal de Spirou'' (later ''Spirou Magazine'', now simply ''Magazine/{{Spirou}}''). Consequently, the comic exists within its own world, and Spirou is occasionally recognized as its hero. In early stories by Jijé he would meet members of his own fan club, and in ''Alerte aux Zorkons'' a sniper refuses to fire on him and Fantasio (hanging from a Spirou-shaped advertising balloon) because he used to read the comic as a kid.
* In the ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' universe, companies publish comic books based on the in-universe superheroes. The most popular comics are the ones officially licensed by the heroes, but some will take news events and embellish the circumstances. Comics for "fictional" heroes (Batman, Superman, etc.) also exist, but don't sell as well.
* Some ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' contain [[ShamelessSelfPromoter Chick Tracts]] being used to convert people, in tracts that are supposed to be converting people.
* In Gilbert Hernandez's comics set in his Palomar universe, after the end of the original ''ComicBook/LoveAndRockets'', Fritz stars in a gangster film VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory about the life of her own mother Maria, causing a rift between herself and her sister Luba. Gilbert later launched a series of graphic novels that purported to be adaptations of films in which Fritz had appeared in-universe, eventually including the Maria one. He took this to even greater MindScrew dimensions with his serial ''Speak of the Devil'', which has the same title as one of Fritz's in-universe films but, according to WordOfGod, is the story of the "real" in-universe events that the film was loosely based on.
* In one ''Comicbook/{{Paperinik|NewAdventures}}'' story he explains to a captured petty thief how he can afford being a superhero: he tried being financed by the city, but became shackled by bureaucracy, and he tried to get corporate sponsorship (Scrooge [=McDuck=], of course) but that also got in the way of actual, y'know, ''crimefighting''. So in the end he sells the right to publish stories about himself to Disney, which finances his gadgetry and whatnot. Then it gets meta by way of RuleOfFunny; the thief uses Donald's blabbering to escape, and he turns to the reader and, basically, says: "''Please'' don't tell Disney Comics about this screw-up!"
* In some Franchise/ArchieComics, the gang can be seen reading their own comic book. The fact that they aren't disturbed by seeing themselves and their stories in print is probably because [[NoFourthWall they're actually aware that they're comic book characters]].
* Lampshaded in an issue of ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'' in which the team traveled to an alternate universe in which they encounter the comic book series they appear in.
* One issue of ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' had them explaining to Impulse why he couldn't just release their real names to the public. He wonders why not since they're all in the ''Teen Titans'' and ''Justice League'' comics he's holding. Superboy points out that those aren't their real names. Which confuses Impulse as he's been calling Superman Dirk for months.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' animated series is apparently an actual TV show in the DC Universe, as evidenced by a poster for the cartoon being present in Irey West's room in an issue of ''Franchise/TheFlash''. An issue of ''Teen Titans'' had the kids briefly watching an episode of ''Comicbook/TinyTitans''.
* Along the same lines older DC Comics had in-universe ads for the Adam West ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series.
* Writer Tom [=DeFalco=] famously wrote a scene featuring ComicBook/AntMan watching an episode of the maligned '90s ''WesternAnimation/FantasticFour'' cartoon and then complaining about how awful it was.
* ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'':
** ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' occasionally gets weird about this. ''2000 AD'' exists in Dredd's world, and is a controlled substance. ''2000 AD'' is best known for running the ''Judge Dredd'' comic strip.
** In ''ComicBook/AndersonPsiDivision'' there's a story where a citizen in Mega City One visits a virtual reality program that features the Mighty Tharg, the alien editor of ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD''.
* ''ComicBook/CaptainCarrotAndHisAmazingZooCrew'' takes place in a dimension called Earth-C, an alternate version of our world (not the DC Universe). Team leader R. Rodney Rabbit is a penciller on ''[[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justa Lotta Animals]]'' -- who he later discovers are a real superhero team and who shut down the title for violating their trademarks.
* In one of the ''Comicbook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' issues that was part of the ''Comicbook/{{Legends}}'' crossover, it was mentioned that Creator/{{Kenner}}'s ''Super Powers Collection'' (a series of toys based on DC's heroes and villains) exists in the DC Universe.
* Very frequent in [[BritishComics British Humour Comics]] like ''Comicbook/TheBeano'' and ''ComicBook/TheDandy'' with characters frequently shown reading their own comic.
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''
** In a few throw away lines a news vendor and a retired superhero in ''Watchmen'' make references to old ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' comics and in the DCU proper Comicbook/TheQuestion at one point reads a copy of ''Watchmen'' and ''recognises Rorschach as a CaptainErsatz of himself''!
** "Behind the Mask" has the first Night Owl mention he got the idea for his costume from the Comicbook/BlueBeetle, of whom he is a CaptainErsatz.
* In another ''ComicBook/TheSimpsons'' comics crossover, "When Creator/{{Bongo|Comics}}s Collide," it is established that Itchy and Scratchy are fictional cartoon characters within the ''Simpsons'' universe - but still has them appear as flesh-and-blood characters! The story resolves this inconsistency by having the space aliens Kodos and Kang (who ''themselves'' were originally fictional characters in a story told by Bart to Lisa in his treehouse before their in-universe {{Defictionalization}}) come to Earth and use a....[[BuffySpeak trans-temporal reality thingee]] to cause Itchy and Scratchy to materialize out of the Simpson family TV set and become "real" beings! Later in the crossover, Bart (as "Bartman") uses the same device to materialize ''Radioactive Man'' actor Dirk Richter out of the 1950s TV show to ask for his help, only for Richter to tell Bart that Radioactive Man is fictional and that he's a real person playing him. Undeterred, Bart simply materializes the "fictional" Radioactive Man out of one of his comic books, and ''this'' RM really does have superpowers.
* In Marvel's [[Comicbook/TheNewUniverse New Universe]], Marvel's main universe is fiction.
* In DC event ComicBook/FinalCrisis: [[Comicbook/LegionOfSuperHeroes Legion of Three Worlds]], the Earth Prime universe, which was destroyed in the original Crisis, is recreated. On Earth Prime, DC Comics exists exactly as it does in real life, and thus [[ComicBook/{{Superboy}} Superboy Prime]]'s girlfriend and family find out about every horrible thing he's done by reading the same comics you're reading. Which of course depicts them reading the comics they're reading, which depicts them reading... basically an infinite level of recursive canon.
** The "Threeboot" version of the Legion of Superheroes was originally presented as taking place in the altered future of the DCU just as previous versions had been. In this version, the Legion was shown to have gotten their inspiration from 20th/21st century comic books featuring Superman, Batman, etc. Legion of Three Worlds revealed they were actually the future of Earth Prime, not the main DC Earth.
* In ''Comicbook/TheMultiversity #1'', Nix Uotan is reading ''The Multiversity'' comics - specifically, ''The Multiversity #1'' and ''Ultra Comics #1''. Looking closely at the ''Ultra Comics'' issue Nix is reading, Creator/GrantMorrison and Doug Mahnke are residents of Franchise/TheDCU.
* One cover for ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' #28 has Spike depicted [[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-57h92TAtLzA/VPmP-rOLAhI/AAAAAAAAA0g/_wvTXSl3aK4/s1600/MLP_FiM_28_CVR_A.png drawing coverart for the very same comics]], possibly #28 itself.
** [[https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vyQCiFNJ-no/VxXKGRkUfnI/AAAAAAACjkE/ET1BZYTgCZMVH-WZxMlp8JO7_RSsoTODgCLcB/s1600/mylittlepony30-932x1414.jpg One cover]] for ''Friends Forever'' #30 has Twilight and Cadance holding a box with toys of themselves.
* ''ComicBook/TheFabulousFurryFreakBrothers'' are startled to find a comic book with them in it. Franklin urges them to change their look so they won't be associated with those idiots, then they find their local hangout bar has a 'Freak Brothers lookalike contest' with a cash prize.
* In the ''ComicBook/BlakeAndMortimer'' book ''The Septimus Wave'', the events of ''The Yellow M'' (which this book acts as a sequel to) were the subject of a novel and stage play in-universe.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/SonOfTheWarp'', the TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} game and ExpandedUniverse exist within itself. This is particularly bizarre, as the lore describes events of the far future in great detail.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4663711 Letters of Ness]]'' ([[HeAlsoDid created by the author of the]] ''FanFic/PaperMarioX'' [[HeAlsoDid series]]) ends with [[VideoGame/EarthBound Ness]] and [[VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}} Lucas]] receiving a copy of ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros 4'' (which, according to Lucas, isn't even out in Japan yet) from Paula and Kumatora, which they then proceed to play. (Take note that the story takes place in the SSBB universe.)
* In ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'', {{Creator/Peyo}} still created ''Franchise/TheSmurfs'' and is responsible for [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfsAndTheMagicFlute its]] [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs related]] [[Film/TheSmurfs adaptations]], but it's all VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory that came from a certain artifact that Handy and Empath have created in "Days Of Future Smurfed".
* ''Fanfic/ReimaginedEnterprise'':
** One of the early twenty-first century pop songs Audrey Rocia listens to is "Faith of the Heart".
** The crew refer to the works of Creator/LarryNiven, yet there are hints that (as in ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'') the Kzinti race exists in this setting, and they were created by Larry Niven. (This paradox is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d at one point).
* In an omake for the Touhou/Pokemon crossover ''FanFic/MonstersInParadise'', Yukari admitted to buying drinks for a young man in Tokyo during the mid-1990s and telling him of Gensokyo's existence. At the time, she believed that telling an alcoholic about Gensokyo would have no serious repercussions. Her reaction when she finally discovers much later that her conversation spawned at least seventeen games, assorted supplementary material, and a highly creative fanbase? Several minutes of stunned silence.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{Fellowship}}'', the game Chrono Cross exists in the universe. There is a fanbase for it. The characters draw fanarts for the characters in the game and/or play the said game in a PS emulator (except the older characters, who play it in a PS console).
* ''FanFic/TheBankCalledYourRealityCheckBounced'' is a {{crossover}} between ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist: Brotherhood'' and ''Anime/OuranHighSchoolHostClub.'' Toward the end of the story, Renge (from OHSHC) is shown reading one of the volumes of the ''FMA'' manga. Prior to this, Kyouya throws Tamaki for a loop by informing him that they are not in an anime, as Tamaki believes, but are in fact in a fan fiction.
* Somewhat overlapping with DirectLineToTheAuthor, the "[[Fanfic/{{Cinderjuice}} Contractually Obligated Chaos]]" series of ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' fanfics has a RunningGag in which Prince Vince keeps tabs on the events of the stories via his Website/{{Tumblr}} account; the CreatorInJoke is that he follows the author's blog. Accordingly, someone actually ''made'' a Prince Vince RP blog which ''does'' follow the author, and comments on new chapters whenever they're posted.
* ''Fanfic/ToyHammer'' is about a guy's Franchise/Warhammer40000 miniatures coming to life. Later, in a pitched battle against Chaos, the Present-day incarnation of The Emperor shows up.

* In ''Camping Sauvage'', Pierre-Louis sees an ad of the movie on the back of a bus he is following.
* ''Film/FoolishWives'' by Creator/ErichVonStroheim features a character reading a book called ''Foolish Wives'' by Erich von Stroheim.
* In the 1990s, producer Rick [=McCallum=] implied that the Franchise/IndianaJones films portray a "fictionalized" version of the character, and that the ''Series/YoungIndianaJones'' TV portrays the "real" version of the character.
* The commentary track to the DVD release of ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossTheEighthDimension'' is written under the assumption that the film is a fictionalized account of real events. The commentators go so far as to constantly explain how the events depicted differ from "what really happened", or make comparisons between Peter Weller's portrayal and that of the "real" Buckaroo.
* Russo's ''Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'' movies portray the film ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' as a Hollywood adaptation of a true story. Characters in his films refer to it and point out aspects that don't conform to their "reality." One character in the [[Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead first film]] moans, "You mean the movie ''lied''?". Amusingly, in the ''Return'' universe, ''Night of the Living Dead'' is a well-known movie, but the (surely astonishing!) true events it's based on are obscure. Romero's sequels, on the other hand, are set in the same fictional universe as ''[=NotLD=]''.
* ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead3D'' has characters watching the [[Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968 original 1968 film]] on TV.
* The 2005 movie ''Film/{{Bewitched}}'' is based around the conceit that witches are real, but that the [[Series/{{Bewitched}} 1960s TV series]] was fiction. HilarityEnsues when a real witch is cast in [[ShowWithinAShow a remake]] of the TV series.
* ''Film/DoubleDragon'' features an actual cabinet of the [[VideoGame/DoubleDragon original arcade game]] in the scene before the final battle. The monitor of said cabinet gets smashed in an ensuing fight scene.
* In ''Film/TheTimeMachine2002'' when Alex travels to the future to research time travel, the librarian offers him a copy of ''Literature/TheTimeMachine'' by Creator/HGWells, as well as the 1960 George Pal film.
* ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' has a scene where the Gremlins attack Leonard Maltin while he's giving a bad review to the first film. Then again, this is also a movie where [[NoFourthWall the film is torn in half by the Gremlins]], and Wrestling/HulkHogan has to threaten the Gremlins into re-starting the movie.
* In ''Film/TenThingsIHateAboutYou'' characters mention studying Shakespeare and admiring him, which is quite an odd thing to do in a Shakespeare adaptation. If they had studied the works of Shakespeare, then they would probably realise that their situation was extremely like the one in ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew''; and they might also note that some of them share the same name with their characters in the play.
* In ''Film/BewareTheBlob''; the pseudo-sequel to ''Film/TheBlob1958'', a man actually watches "The Blob" on TV as it attacks.
* The characters in ''Film/HalloweenIIISeasonOfTheWitch''' watch the original ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'' on TV. Helps that ''Season of the Witch'' is a sidestory that doesn't feature Michael Myers.
* In ''Rumor Has It...'', the main character discovers that ''Film/TheGraduate'' was based on her grandmother.
* ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' constantly breaks the fourth wall in this fashion. The bad guys watch a tape of ''the movie they're currently in'' to learn where the good guys are headed. They end up stopping the tape at the exact same scene they're in, and briefly watch it in real time.
* In ''Film/BlazingSaddles'', once the action has broken out of the Western set into the real world, the lead characters go to a movie theatre which is showing... ''Blazing Saddles''.
* Rosencrantz, in ''Film/RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead'', makes a paper airplane (among other things) out of... pages of ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''. Or Guildenstern. They're not sure which is which. Also, they both watch a play of Hamlet. This scene occurs during the play, so they're in Hamlet movie watching a Hamlet play watching a Hamlet puppet show.
* Film/{{Hellboy}} mentions in TheMovie that he absolutely ''hates'' [[Comicbook/{{Hellboy}} the comics]], as they always [[ProphetEyes get his eyes wrong]].
* ''Film/TheSaint1997'' hints that the [[Literature/TheSaint Leslie Charteris novels]] exist within it, and that the film hero was inspired by and is consciously imitating the prose character.
* 47, the main character of ''Film/{{Hitman}}'', which is based on the computer games of the same name, comes across two teenagers playing the first game of the series.
* ''Film/SilentNightDeadlyNightPart2'' has an interesting example of this. [[Film/SilentNightDeadlyNight The first movie]] features AxCrazy Billy Chapman, who dresses as Santa Claus and kills people. In ''Part 2,'' Billy's little brother Ricky Caldwell (they changed the family name for some reason) narrates his rise to insanity. During this time, he and his girlfriend go to a movie that is, in fact, the original ''Film/SilentNightDeadlyNight''; his girlfriend even describes the plot of the movie to him.
* In ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'', Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem are able to rescue the other stranded Muppets because they have a copy of the movie's script.
* The ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' graphic novel appears in the background of one scene of the ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'' movie.
* In the hospital scene near the end of ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', one can see the movie's previous scene playing on the TV.
* ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' contains a nice reference to its source material, Conrad's ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''. Colonel Kurtz reads from Eliot's 'The Hollow Men', which contains the epigraph 'Mistah Kurtz - he dead!'; he is reading 'From Ritual to Romance' and 'The Golden Bough', which Eliot mentions as two texts underpinning 'The Waste Land', whose epigraph was to be 'The horror! The horror!'. Both quotations are, of course, from the original Conrad.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} in ''Film/LastActionHero'', Danny is sucked into his favorite movie where he ends up befriending detective Jack Slater, played by Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger in Danny's universe (and ours), and when they go into a video store together, Danny sees a poster for ''Film/TheTerminator'', starring Creator/SylvesterStallone.
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster II: Portal Through Time'' features a scene where our heroes drive past a movie theater showing ''Beastmaster II: Portal Through Time''.
-->'''Spoony''': Actually they should go inside and watch it because hopefully this takes place in a parallel universe where BeastMasterII doesn't suck!
* ''Film/TheWizardOfSpeedAndTime'' involves the protagonist trying to sell his script for a movie which is... the one we are watching. To further shatter the FourthWall, the crooked producer is played by Jittlov's partner, who turned out to be... a crooked producer.
* The ''VideoGame/{{TRON}}'' arcade game exists in ''Film/TronLegacy'', but was created in the film by Kevin Flynn and released by Encom; real merchandise from the first movie shows up in the film as merchandise of the game.
* ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'' is about the actors from the first ''[[Film/ANightmareonElmStreet1984 Nightmare on Elm Street]]'' movie being targeted by the "real world" Freddy Krueger. The film ends with [[spoiler:Heather Lagenkamp reading the ending of the script for ''New Nightmare'', which describes how she's [[NoFourthWall reading the ending of the script for New Nightmare.]]]]
* Peter Jackson's ''Film/KingKong2005'' plays with this a little. A MythologyGag about a "Fay, doing a picture with RKO" and being directed by a "Cooper" (references to Fay Wray, the original Ann Darrow; the company that produced the original ''Film/KingKong1933''; and its director, Merian C. Cooper) whilst the events of the film are taking place, one scene from Denham's film as being almost identical to an interaction between Ann and Jack in the original, as well as the stage show with Kong being ''very'' similar to the sacrifice scene from the original film, right down to the identical music and depictions of the Skull Island natives. This almost seems to imply the original 1933 film was a Hollywoodised version of real events in-universe.
* As part of a ViralMarketing campaign for the first film, Creator/MichaelBay's ''{{Film/Transformers}}'' is referred to in the Sector Seven Alternate Reality Game as a counter-information campaign by the titular organization, to cover up leaks and real events involving the existence of Cybertronians by presenting them as fictional. It even goes so far as to say Hugo Weaving is secretly a Sector Seven agent, who doubles as an actor and was put into the film (as Megatron's voice) to ensure the cover up went smoothly. It also suggests that the [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers original G1 TV series]] was another such campaign.
* Played with in the opening of ''Film/TwilightZoneTheMovie'', in which a couple of guys driving down the highway play TV trivia games, and then discuss ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' classic episodes that'd scared them as kids. One then [[spoiler: turns into a monster and eats the other]], and the ''Twilight Zone'''s theme music starts playing.
* The fictional lore of TheSmurfs in our world proves to be actually true in [[Film/TheSmurfs the 2011 live-action movie]], and the Smurfs try to find it because it contains the spell that can return them to their world.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' featured automobile versions of past Pixar films, including ''[[WesternAnimation/ToyStory Toy Car Story]]'', ''[[WesternAnimation/MonstersInc Monster Trucks Inc.]]'', and ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' ([[JustForPun with all the characters as Volkswagens]]). But what would their equivalent of ''Cars'' be?
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''. Captain America starts off as purely a propaganda character played by an actual super soldier. The real life iconic comic featuring Captain America "socking old Adolf on the jaw" also exists in universe as an adaptation of his live show. He also stars in a series of WWII movie serials as his character, all before actually becoming a war hero. Then when he first meets the BigBad, the latter tells him (perhaps sarcastically) that he's a big fan of his films.
* ''Film/{{Logan}}''
** [[Comicbook/{{X 23}} Laura]] is shown to be a fan of ''Comicbook/XMen'' comic books that exist in the universe of the [[Film/XMenFilmSeries movies]]. However, Logan is sure to note that they are only VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory.
** In a deleted scene, Laura's friend Bobby is shown playing with action figures of Wolverine and Comicbook/{{Sabretooth}}. He then stops and asks Logan if Sabretooth was ever real, or just a bad guy from the comic books.
* At the beginning of ''Film/PootieTang'' we see Pootie, famed athlete/martial artist/movie star/etc, being interviewed by Bob Costas, who then says we're going to see a clip from Pootie's new movie. What follows is, basically, the whole movie -- until the very end, when we return to the interview, with Costas commenting that that's the longest clip he's ever seen.
* As the credits roll, the final scene of ''Film/FreeEnterprise'' shows the two leads making the movie you've just watched. (They're not in it, they're directing.)
* ''Film/BookOfShadowsBlairWitch2'' opens by establishing that ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject'' was fictional, while the mythology behind it was not.
* In ''Film/StreetFighter'', M. Bison utilizes a modified ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' arcade cabinet to detonate a series of mines.
* ''Film/{{SWAT}}'' has a scene where the unit has the day off. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag, Boxer is sacked out on his sofa watching a rerun of ''Series/SWAT1975'', the TV series the movie is based on.
* ''Film/TheHumanCentipede 2'' is about someone who watched the first film and wants to recreate it. The same applies for the third film, where the first two films inspire a deranged prison warden to make the inmates into a centipede made of over 500 people.
* There is a scene in ''[[Film/AttackOfTheKillerTomatoes Killer Tomatoes Eat France]]'' where Professor Gangreen uses small toys and figurines to illustrate his battle plan to his tomato henchmen Zoltan, Ketchuck, and Viper. One of the items he uses is his figure in the toyline of the ''Attack of the Killer Tomatoes'' animated series.
* This is unintentionally done in ''Film/JemAndTheHolograms''. In some of the clips they use of Jem's fans (which are taken out of context; the fans were talking about the [[WesternAnimation/{{Jem}} original cartoon]], not the pop star in the film), you can see television sets in the background of some of the clips playing the original cartoon.
* In ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'' sequel, ''Film/ShockTreatment'', a copy of ''Magazine/TimeMagazine'' can be seen on Betty's desk with a picture of the iconic ''Rocky Horror'' lips and "Cult Films" written on the cover.
* In ''Film/T2Trainspotting'', Spud starts writing down his memories of things that happened as a way to keep himself occupied while he's trying to get off heroin, and they turn out to be [[Literature/{{Trainspotting}} the original stories that make up the novel]].
* The 2013 adaptation of ''Film/TheGreatGatsby'' uses Nick's stay in an asylum after Gatsby's death as the frame, and the last shot reveals that Nick has written the novel but decided not to take credit.
* In ''Film/{{Shazam}}'', real world action figures from the ''Film/JusticeLeague'' movie are seen in a toy store. Presumably, in this continuity, the toys were modeled after the real heroes who helped save the planet from Steppenwolf.


* In ''Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography'', it was strongly suggested that the ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' books exists in the eponymous universe. In addition, the LemonyNarrator is himself a character of the books - which he dedicates to his deceased beloved, Beatrice. When [[FridgeLogic you really think about it]], the whole idea sounds rather stalkerish. The final book ''The End'' explains this as [[spoiler:''A Series of Unfortunate Events'' is actually a chronicle written by inhabitants of the Island by many authors, including the Baudelaires' parents. Lemony is just the latest author, and the events we're reading are just one of many, regarding hundreds of people.]]
* The sequel of ''Literature/TheCityOfDreamingBooks'' mentions ''The City of Dreaming Books'' as a book in universe. Which makes sense, since it is an autobiographical piece the main character wrote. And doesn't make sense since Moers explicitly says it's a compilation of the first two volumes of a longer series and was never published as one book in universe.
* ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' has this in spades. Two different fictional versions of Thursday - i.e., the character we observed in earlier books - play a role in the fifth book of the series. On top of that, the Thursday Next series is mutually recursive with the same author's Nursery Crime series, in that each book is fictional within the context of the other. The sixth TN book takes this UpToEleven by revealing that all five of the previous books were ''the in-universe fictionalized versions'', and in some cases bear no resemblance to what actually happened.
* ''Literature/AdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn'': "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer''; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Creator/MarkTwain, and he told the truth, [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis mainly]]."
* In ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'', all the books are also published in-universe, acting as memoirs for the vampires.
* Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer wrote a famous series called ''Literature/WorldOfTiers'', set in [[TheMultiverse a Multiverse]] that included our own universe. These books were used to create "Tiersian" psychotherapy in the real world. Farmer then wrote another book, ''Red Orc's Rage'' about a form of real world psychotherapy based on the novels.
* In Creator/JulesVerne's ''Literature/TheMysteriousIsland'', first it's established that the novel is set in the same universe as ''Literature/InSearchOfTheCastaways'' and ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' ... and then it's revealed that one of the characters has actually ''read'' the latter book.
* ''Literature/TheNumberOfTheBeast'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein is confusing. It starts out with only modern canon weirdness, as the main characters visit worlds they know are fictional (like Oz). Then they meet up with a character from an earlier series by the same author, they know he's fictional and then he reveals that [[MutuallyFictional they are too]], since he only knew where to meet them by reading their stories. The first of which was ''this book''.
* In Creator/BretEastonEllis' ''Literature/LunarPark'', a character from ''Literature/AmericanPsycho'' shows up, holding a copy of ''American Psycho'', to talk to Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote ''American Psycho'', about murders inspired by ''American Psycho''.
* ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'' by Michael Ende is a novel in which the main character, Bastian, finds a copy of ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'', and begins to read it. Bastian finally realizes that the story is more than just a story, when he gets to the part where a character in the book starts retelling the story word-for-word from the beginning -- and starts not with the first chapter of the story within the story, but with the beginning of the [[FramingDevice exterior story]]: the one you're reading, in which Bastian is the main character.
* Another example by the same author is the ''Literature/JimButton'' series. The second book contains a chapter where Jim und Luke receive a bag of fan mail from readers of the first book. The narrator even assures the reader that his or her letter is in this mail.
* In Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/ArchersGoon'', [[spoiler:this is briefly the case for the main story. How does this come about? Because Archer ''thinks'' that Quentin's words must be recursively fictional (i.e. that whatever Quentin writes as fiction turns out to be real), and consequently replaces Quentin's confiscated typewriter with one that is rigged to do exactly that. This allows Quentin, eventually, to manipulate reality by typing what he wants to happen.]]
* ''Literature/HouseOfLeaves'' has one of the central characters reading a book called, yes, ''Literature/HouseOfLeaves'', which certainly appears to be the same one [[TomeOfEldritchLore that the reader is holding in their hands]]. Of course, this character exists only within a documentary which doesn't appear to exist in the narrator's universe and may or may not have been entirely invented by another character, presumably meaning that [[Literature/HouseOfLeaves the book]] exists within the documentary's universe but ''not'' within Johnny Truant's universe, at least until it's [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis written down by Johnny]], which doesn't happen until well after the documentary would have been made, assuming said documentary and its participants actually existed, and... [[MindScrew I don't even know]].
* Middle-Earth:
** In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', Gandalf discusses with Frodo how [[StartOfDarkness he began to suspect]] Bilbo's magic ring was an evil influence when ''[[UnreliableNarrator he lied about it]] in the first edition of his biography, [[Literature/TheHobbit There And Back Again: A Hobbit's Holiday]]''. When going through Bilbo's papers after the war, Frodo [[RetCanon went back and revised]] the section on Gollum's cave to explain [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis what really happened]].
** The entirety of ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and ''TheLordOfTheRings'' and its appendices are supposedly transcriptions from the Red Book of Westmarch, written by Bilbo and later Frodo. They're called "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King." ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' and other stories of Elvish heroes are from Bilbo's three-volume work "Translations from the Elvish."
* The epilogue of ''Literature/WolvesOfTheCalla.'' Just...that epilogue. And it causes Callahan to have a HeroicBSOD.
** ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' really takes it to the level of RecursiveReality. For instance, Eddie Dean determines that Co-Op City is in Brooklyn ''only in the fictional version of TheMultiverse he's from'', not [[{{Transfictionality}} the real version]] where it's in the Bronx, because, of course, Creator/StephenKing didn't do the research at the time.
* In Gene Roddenberry's novelization of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', it is asserted that the original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' was a dramatization of the actual adventures of the ''Enterprise'' and that certain things were exaggerated or distorted for dramatic effect. This was Roddenberry's way of distancing himself from elements in the original series that he was unsatisfied with due to budgetary or technical limitations (for instance, after the Klingons were redesigned in the movie, Roddenberry told Trek fans to pretend they'd always looked that way.)
* A character in one of Creator/EnidBlyton's ''Secret Seven'' stories asks about ''Five Go Down To The Sea'', part of another series by the same author.
* The [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Oz books]] are an interesting case; Creator/LFrankBaum always included a "note to his readers" in the beginning of each book, and in the first few books he talks about writing the book, even thanking children for the ideas they've sent him, but gradually he begins talking about Oz more as if it's a real place, and he's just recounting events as they were told to him by Dorothy. In later books, new visitors to Oz, such as Betsy Bobbin and Trot, are familiar with the land of Oz and its inhabitants from having read the previous books.
* In ''Yankee in Oz'' by Ruth Plumly Thompson, this trope is especially notable. Tompy is not only familiar with Oz from having read the books, but at the end starts reading the book in which [[OurGeniesAreDifferent Jinnicky]], who he had met in this story, first appeared.
* In the ''Virals'' series, the spin off to the Temperance Brennan novels (adapted into the ''Series/{{Bones}}'' TV series), the protagonist Tory Brennan is Temperance "Bones" Brennan's niece who gets canine abilities in a FreakLabAccident. She mentions watching ''Bones'' with her father despite actually interacting with Bones herself.
* At the end of Winston Groom's ''Gump & Co.'', the sequel to his ''Forrest Gump'' novel that the [[Film/ForrestGump film]] is based on, Forrest is at the Oscar ceremony that's awarding Best Picture... to the film adaptation of his life. He also gets to meet Tom Hanks.
* In the Literature/SherlockHolmes universe, Watson and Holmes are both aware that Watson is writing and publishing stories about Holmes's career. Holmes disapproves of the sensationalistic tone of Watson's stories.
* In Creator/KevinJAnderson's ''Literature/DanShambleZombiePI'' novels, the undead detective's exploits become the inspiration for a series of mystery novels. The first one shares a title with the ''actual'' first book in the series, whose events it documents, albeit with a lot more {{Fanservice}}.
* The ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' novel ''Arena'' describes card players playing a card game much like ''Magic: The Gathering''. The ''Greensleeves'' trilogy describes a metal bird dropping a metal egg during a vision of the multiverse, which could either be the description of an artifact creature, or a jet plane from Earth, the planet that publishes ''Magic: The Gathering''.
* The second ''Literature/PrincessDiaries'' book has Mia reference a movie that's come out based on her life. It isn't explicitly stated that it's the same movie with Anne Hathaway that came out in our world, but the references she makes (like cutting out some of the characters) are consistent.
* The main protagonist of ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'' is a superhero named Black Torrent, but [[LegacyCharacter his father was the original Black Torrent.]] In-universe, there exists a series of comic books about the original Torrent, but he's never read them. Since he was set-up to be more of a secret government agent than a superhero, the writers of the comic had little clue about what his actual adventures were and had to make up a lot of it.
* ''Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse'':
** Some parts of the ExpandedUniverse have taken it further, with a conspiracy theorist claiming that the Doctor [[FictionAsCoverUp deliberately creates fictional stories of himself]] on many worlds so that no one believes he really exists.
** Another ExpandedUniverse story suggested that the Aaru ''Doctor Who'' films starring Creator/PeterCushing exist in-universe, as a highly [[AdaptationDecay decayed]] adaptation of a series of novels that Barbara Wright wrote based on her experiences travelling with the Doctor.
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''[[Literature/ZonesOfThought A Deepness in the Sky]]'' is ''partially'' recursive. It uses a SwitchingPOV that alternates between chapters focusing on a group of humans lurking in orbit around a planet inhabited by non-spacefaring aliens and studying them, and chapters focusing on the aliens themselves. Near the end of the book, it is revealed[=/=]heavily implied that all of the alien-POV passages in the novel were written InUniverse by a human translator monitoring the aliens' communications [[spoiler:and directly communicating with one of them]].
* The first book of ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' -- ''Interview With The Vampire''-- is written as if it is Louis telling his story; the sequel, ''The Vampire Lestat'', has the title character encountering the original book and noting what liberties Louis took with the story, allowing a graceful {{Retcon}} of the character from the villain to the hero.
* One of the novels in the series ''Literature/TheDestroyer'' features the character looking at a movie poster and mocking everything about it-- the poster being an exact description of ''[[Film/RemoWilliamsTheAdventureBegins Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins]]'', which is based on the Destroyer novels.
* Dumbledore's foreward in ''Literature/TheTalesOfBeedleTheBard'' imply that the ''Literature/HarryPotter books'' are biographies based on Harry's life written by an in-universe Creator/JKRowling.
* In the Phillip K. Dick short story ''The Day Mr. Computer Fell Out Of Its Tree'', an over-arching digital intelligence that controls all devices everywhere goes completely mental one morning, with root beer coming out of the taps and doors locking themselves for no reason. One character, on discovering this, remarks internally that 'It's been reading old Phil Dick science fiction stories'.
* ''Literature/Babel17'' by Creator/SamuelRDelany has an [[MindScrew amusingly twisted]] example. Rydra Wong and her shipmate Ron start talking about "'Empire Star' and other Comet Jo stories", written by Muels Aranlyde, and Wong explains that Comet Jo is a real person who she knows, but that the stories are only [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory loosely based on reality]]. ''Literature/EmpireStar'' is actually a novella by ''Delany'', and its protagonist ''is'' named Comet Jo. So you're left to wonder if Delany's novella is fact or fiction from the perspective of ''Babel-17'''s characters.
* At the end of Creator/MarcelProust's ''A la recherche de temps perdu'', you realize that the Narrator is preparing to write everything you just read.
* ''Literature/YouOnlyLiveTwice'' asserts that a series of thriller novels based on James Bond's adventures have been published. This also led to the weirdest of the ''Literature/JamesBond'' continuation novels, John Pearson's ''James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007'', in which Pearson catches up with the ''real'' James Bond, on whom Ian Fleming based his novels. In turn, this means that in Pearson's version of the ''Bond'' universe, Fleming's ''You Only Live Twice'' mentions that there are works of fiction based on the real exploits of the hero of his fictions, which were themselves based on a real person, who is of course fictional to us, Pearson's readers.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' reveals that the 1938 RadioDrama was part of a government disinformation campaign to cover up a real invasion. The 1953 film, on the other hand, is in-continuity. It also acknowledges that the original H. G. Wells novel on which the radio drama was based exists in-universe. This is feasible because the 1953 movie has practically nothing in common with the book beyond a few broad strokes that could credibly be coincidence.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Borderline example in the 25th anniversary serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS25E1RemembranceOfTheDaleks Remembrance of the Daleks]]'', which is a sequel to the original pilot episode and is set in the same place and time; at one point we hear a BBC continuity voice announcing the time and date the first episode of "a new science-fiction serial" was broadcast -- it's cut short just before the full name of the series is actually dropped, with only the first syllable being revealed: "Doc".
** In ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E10InTheForestOfTheNight In The Forest Of The Night]]'', a poster advertising ''Doctor Who'' is seen on a bus in the background.
* The opening scene of [[RecycledTheSeries the short-lived sitcom version]] of ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'' explained that the movie was a fictionalized retelling of the real Ferris Bueller's life, with the "real" Ferris (Charlie Schlatter) criticizing Matthew Broderick's portrayal of himself. He then takes a chainsaw to a cutout of Broderick.
* The [[AlternateRealityGame ARG]] ''ARG/TheLostExperience'' acknowledges ''Series/{{Lost}}'' as a fictional TV series which incorporates "real" elements such as The Hanso Foundation and the Widmore family.
* ''Series/{{MADtv}}''
** In one episode you can actually see an extra reading an issue of Magazine/{{MAD}}.
** In another episode, House (played by Michael [=McDonald=]) is actually watching an episode of ''Series/{{MADtv}}''. It features Stuart (played by Michael [=McDonald=]) causing him to remark that he [[CelebrityParadox looks just like him]].
* ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' has a variation. In the finale, the group slides to a world where a "seer" has been watching them psychically across the multiverse. He turned the visions into paintings, books, and ultimately, a live-action TV show that looks vaguely familiar...
* There is a Series/NickVerse that exists with various Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} shows due to a not so great approach to keeping continuity, including ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'', ''Series/ICarly'', ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' and several other shows. For example, one episode of ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' has a character refer to an episode of ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'', indicating it's a television series in that continuity. But another episode has a character ''from'' that series appear...
* ''Series/ElChapulinColorado'' comic books exist in ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho''. Chavo and Quico once discussed a Chapulin episode where a villain painted himself invisible. (Said episode was real) And the two series did have a crossover. Don Ramon was reading a Chapulin comic in a ''Chapulin'' episode.
* One ''Series/NowhereMan'' episode involved the GovernmentConspiracy created a television show based on the main character's life, named after the show with almost shot-for-shot recreations, but with [[StylisticSuck bad acting and camera work]], and it even got to the point where they were filming real time what was happening, in a subversion of {{PostModernism}}, where he had to do things out of character in order to defeat their plans.
* The original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' television series, featuring the starship NCC-1701 ''Enterprise'', was so popular that a massive write-in campaign convinced NASA to name the first real-life space shuttle OV-101 ''Enterprise''. Much later, when ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' (a prequel to the original Star Trek) was created, there were several almost-explicit references implying that the NX-01 ''Enterprise'' was indeed named after the space shuttle. Let's recap: the fictional NX-01 was named after the real OV-101, which was named after the fictional NCC-1701, which was named (in-universe) after the NX-01. It gets even weirder if you know an original proposed name for OV-101 was "Constitution". Which would mean that the Constitution Class USS ''Enterprise'' NCC-1701 was named for the NX-01 ''Enterprise'' which was named for the OV-101 ''Enterprise''.
* While the TV series ''Supernatural'' doesn't exist within ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', there is a series of in-universe novels that is identical to the TV show in every other way, with each novel corresponding to a similarly titled episode. This allows for a whole heap of [[FandomNod meta episodes]], but also has significant plot relevance, as the in-universe explanation is that the writer of the series is a prophet who wrote the series based on his visions. This sometimes allows the characters to find out information by asking the author himself. [[spoiler:In another twist, at the end of season 5 it's implied that ''Supernatural'''s author was quite literally [[WordOfGod God]] in disguise all along.]]
** In season 6, the characters are thrown into an alternate reality, in which they take the place of "Jared" and "Jensen", two actors in a series called "Supernatural". In short, the actors are playing characters who are playing the actors who play them.
** In season 10, the characters find themselves investigating events surrounding a play, which is basically a musical slashfic of the novels. [[spoiler: And, unknown to Sam and Dean, the prophetic author of the novels was involved in the production of the musical play.]]
* At the end of the ''Series/BurkesLaw'' episode "Who Killed Purity Mather?" the GirlOfTheWeek switches on the TV in Amos Burke's limo and begins to watch an episode of... ''Burke's Law''!
* This is actually canon within the world of ''Series/{{Heroes}}''. Isaac Mendez is a precog whose visions come out through his artwork. He created a comic book 9th Wonders which contains much of the plot of the first few seasons.

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

* In Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/TheSopranos'', you're playing through the exploits of the Soprano family... which includes completing Episodes from HBO's ''Series/TheSopranos'' television show.
* Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Pinball/{{Mayfair}}'', based on the film version of ''Theatre/MyFairLady'', shows Eliza walking past a theater that is holding a production of "My Fair Lady".
* The backglass for Creator/{{Capcom}}'s ''Pinball/{{Breakshot}}'' shows several people playing pool in a rec room, which has a ''Breakshot'' pinball machine in the corner.

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

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

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh Tron 2.0]]'' states that the events in the original ''Film/{{Tron}}'' movie happened, and then the rights to the story were sold to Creator/{{Disney}}, who made a movie about it. The opening scene of the game begins with the main character playing an old ''VideoGame/{{TRON}}'' arcade cabinet. A ''second'' Tron arcade game is [[spoiler:rigged to an archaic modem and used by Alan to hack into the system, create Mercury, and try to contact Jet]].
* In ''Legend of the Cryptids'', the Curious Witch of Sabato is playing ''Legend of the Cryptids'' on a smartphone.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' video game series is based -- or so {{canon}} claims -- on the actual journals of the characters, but the games are heavily abridged versions of the "real" events, and starring [[FeaturelessProtagonist a faceless, sexless Stranger]] instead of the as of yet unnamed real character. This was taken further with the release of ''URU'', which tells the story of modern-day archeologists exploring the caverns of D'ni, and even further still in ''Myst V'', which tries to specificise some events hinted at in ''URU''. It was finally taken to the {{Kayfabe}} level, where Cyan Worlds employees often present the idea that ''all'' of the Myst series, including ''Myst V'' and ''URU'', exist as fictionalized accounts of real events.
* The 'plot' (such as it is) of ''We Love Katamari'' is driven by the idea that, following the success of the first game, ''VideoGame/KatamariDamacy'', the stars (that is, the King of All Cosmos and the Prince) have become hugely popular, and must therefore answer requests from adoring fans. Things get sillier when the King convinces himself that he owes his huge popularity to his stylish, captivating ''chin''.
* Creator/HideoKojima's ''VisualNovel/{{Policenauts}}'' is referenced in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' in a poster in Otacon's lab, where it is implied in one scene that it was one of the animes that inspired Otacon to get into mechanical engineering. Nobody seems to bring up the fact that Meryl Silverburgh has the same name, likeness, and occupation of a character in ''Policenauts''. In the UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube remake, ''The Twin Snakes'', the ''Policenauts'' poster is replaced with a ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: The 2nd Runner'' poster; ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 4|GunsOfThePatriots}}'', during the return to Shadow Moses, features the ''ZOE 2'' poster, with one corner having come off to reveal the original ''Policenauts'' poster underneath.
** "It's just like one of my Japanese Animes!"
* In ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'', a Duke Nukem arcade cabinet can be found in the first level, and has on it his appearance from the previous platformer games. Using it provokes the quip "Hmm... don't have time to play with myself." Likewise in ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'', we find out that the first level of the game is a recreation of the final boss from 3D, and when the level is over, we pan out of a TV screen to see that Duke himself is playing a video game based off himself, all while one of the game developer's spokeswomen was... shall we say... "helping herself" to him while he was playing.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' an NPC gushes about this new game he has called "Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door". [[spoiler: [[MindScrew If you talk to him in the middle of the game he says he already beat it and the ending is amazing]]]].
** In addition, [[spoiler:the ending sequence mentions that Flurrie and Doopliss are performing a play based on the events of the game... but since the battle system is itself "onstage", it's implied that you might be playing the play. Which means that the play refers to itself...]]
*** It also implies that several of the actors for the villains are attacking and ''eating'' [[FridgeHorror the audience during the play...]]
* One NPC in ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' wonders if ''[=EarthBound=]'' has been released yet. In addition, the newspaper headline in Onett after beating the FinalBoss is "Chief Strong finishes [=EarthBound=], asks '[[NoExportForYou Where]] is the [[VideoGame/{{Mother3}} sequel]]?'"
* In ''VideoGame/GoatSimulator'', the developers office can be found, and several computers are already running ''Goat Simulator''. In ''Goat MMO Simulator'', the servers running the game can be found and trashed, causing the game to crash.
* ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}'' has several copies of the book Metro 2033 as well as posters for the book scattered around the place. Would makes sense that it was a popular book after the apocalypse though, seeing as it predicted the whole damn situation everyone is in.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' there are [[http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/File:CityPinball.jpg pinball machines]] of the game.
* It's actually a plot point in ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'' that Doctor Fred never saw a penny from "[[VideoGame/ManiacMansion the video game based on his family]]."
* One cutscene from ''VideoGame/Stinkoman20X6'' showed Stinkoman playing... ...''Stinkoman 20X6''.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the first two ''Franchise/MassEffect'' novels, ''[[Literature/MassEffectRevelation Revelation]]'' and ''[[Literature/MassEffectAscension Ascension]]'', are available in-universe as [[BasedOnATrueStory dramatizations of the actual events]] written by human author Drew Karpyshyn. One of the ads you can encounter on the Citadel is for a film, ''Citadel'', based on the events of the first game.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManLegends'', the video game store in Apple Mart apparently stocks the game Mega Man Legends.
** In addition, the ''VideoGame/MegaManClassic'' games exist within ''Mega Man Legends'', itself a distant future of those games. [=MegaMan=] Volnutt got his name because Roll is such a huge fan of those games.
* The UsefulNotes/NeoGeo ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' [[RecursiveAdaptation fighting game based on the movie]] has a stage where production stills from the movie are displayed on a large monitor.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Glitch}}'', it is possible to create a ''Glitch'' video game.
* ''The Simpsons'' arcade game in ''VideoGame/TheSimpsons'' arcade game.
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsGame'': The Simpsons find the manual to ''The Simpsons Game'', confront God, and find out [[spoiler:they are video game characters in ''The Simpsons Game'', a video game in a much larger video game, ''The Planet Earth'', in ''The Simpsons Game'', being played by Ralph Wiggum, who notices the player playing ''The Simpsons Game'']].
* In ''[[VideoGame/StarSoldier Star Parodier]]'', not only is the UsefulNotes/PCEngine a player character, it has ''Super Star Soldier'' in its [=HuCard=] slot during the opening FighterLaunchingSequence.
* In one of the final expansion packs for ''VideoGame/TheSims 2'', it was possible to obtain a computer that would allow your Sims to play ''The Sims''. Similarly, one of Heaven's fate structures in ''VideoGame/AfterLife'' is... Game of After Life.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SoulHackers Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers]]'' negotiating with certain demons will reveal that they are playing a game called ''Soul Hackers'', and then show that they are at the part where they meet the hero in the game. This freaks them out.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'', the opening cutscene mentions the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games. Then as the protagonist spends enough time in Ivalice, with Moogles and such, he notices his hometown somewhat became a ''Final Fantasy'' game.
* Throughout Stauf Manor in the PC game ''The 11th Hour'', you can find boxes of its predecessor, ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest''. A CD of the game is even the solution to one of the {{fetch quest}}s you're assigned.
* The first-gen ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games allow you to visit Game Freak studios, and talk to a sprite artist who drew the player character for the Pokémon games. This was kept in [[OncePerEpisode all future games in the franchise as well]], where there would be somewhere you could talk to Game Freak staff members and the Director would usually give you a certificate for completing the National Pokedex.
** In ''Heart Gold/Soul Silver'', the Director will comment on how hard it is to make a remake of a classic game.
* At the Yoshi theater in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga'', one of the films that are set to play is Mario & Luigi. It's referred to as an action blockbuster. [[spoiler:The end of the game reveals that the game itself ''was'' this film.]]
* Creator/{{Sierra}} games are a combination of Recursive Canon, ContinuityCameo and CreatorCameo, resulting in a loose CanonWelding.
** ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry 4'' is a missing game in ''Leisure Suit Larry 5'', and appears in ''[[VideoGame/SpaceQuestIVRogerWilcoAndTheTimeRippers Space Quest IV]]''. Interestingly, it's a plot point in both: after Larry and Patti got together at the end of ''Leisure Suit Larry 3'', they're separated again at the start of ''[=LSL5=]'' and have no clue ''why'' because of the missing game. In ''SQIV'', recurring nemesis Vohaul [[BrainUploading uploaded himself into]] a disc for ''[=LSL4=]'', and the Xenonian scientists were so eager to play it that they installed it (and him) onto Xenon's planet-controlling supercomputer.
** ''Space Quest IV'' also has the ''Space Quest IV'' computer program and the ''Space Quest IV'' hint book, with RidiculousFutureSequelisation as future time periods.
** The company Sierra On-Line is found in ''[[VideoGame/KingsQuestIVThePerilsOfRosella King's Quest IV]]'', ''Leisure Suit Larry 3'', and ''[[VideoGame/SpaceQuestIIIThePiratesOfPestulon Space Quest III]]'', and is mentioned in ''Space Quest IV''.
** Rosella re-enacts a scene from ''King's Quest IV'', in the real world of ''Leisure Suit Larry 3''.
** ''The Hoyle Book of Games'' has characters recounting adventures from the games alongside a game programmer.
** Magazines and guidebooks further support a DirectLineToTheAuthor as the authors interview characters starring in their own games.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Tekken}} Tekken 3]]'': Mokujin plays as Mokujin on the ''Tekken 3'' arcade cabinet.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'': The Avatar is from the real world where the Ultima games exist, including ''VideoGame/UltimaV'' in ''VideoGame/UltimaVI'', ''Ultima VI'' in ''Martian Dreams'', ''VideoGame/UltimaVII'' in ''Ultima VII'', ''VideoGame/UltimaVIII'' in ''VideoGame/UltimaVIIPartII'', and ''Ultima Online 2'' in ''VideoGame/UltimaIX''. Wall paintings in ''VideoGame/UltimaUnderworld'' and ''Ultima Underworld II'' are the box art of previous games. Bartenders in ''Ultima III'' mention "EXODUS: Ultima ]I[". ''Ultima VII'' contains the ''Ultima VII'' strategy guide "Key to the Black Gate" and Prima strategy guide "Ultima: The Avatar Adventures".
* There's a subtle example in the tenth installment of the ''VideoGame/DarkParables.'' The Fairy Tale Detective, while exploring the castle occupied by Queen Valla and her sister [[Literature/GoldilocksAndTheThreeBears Goldilocks]], comes across novelizations of the previous nine games in the series. When placed in numerical order on the shelf, they unlock a BookcasePassage. The detective doesn't comment on it, probably because this is hardly the weirdest thing she's encountered in the series.
* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'', Liu Kang's "Arcade Drop" [[FinishingMove Fatality]] squashes his opponent under a ''Mortal Kombat'' cabinet. This returned in LighterAndSofter form in ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse''.
* Creator/{{Ubisoft}}'s games, particularly its "Creator/TomClancy's" line, really like to do this. ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'' is the biggest offender, to the point that it does this to ''itself'' on multiple occasions: one level in ''Raven Shield'' features its own credits scroll on a random TV, and ''[[VideoGame/RainbowSixSiege Siege]]'' has a few levels where you can find DVD cases for various Ubisoft games like ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'', ''VideoGame/TheDivision''... and ''Rainbow Six: Siege''. ''Vegas 2'' is big on this as well, as you can find arcade machines for ''VideoGame/SplinterCell'' across several levels (while at the same time being assisted by an NSA agent who dresses exactly like a Splinter Cell operative), and the level in a convention center around the time of a big video game tournament has large banners for several games, including Ubisoft's own ''VideoGame/FarCry2''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Postal}}'' does this due to its ''VideoGame/MetalGear''-like [[BreakingTheFourthWall irreverence for a fourth wall]], so much so that [[SelfInsert the actual video game's developers are characters in the second game]]. This came to the point that ''Postal Redux'', the [[VideoGameRemake remake]] of the original ''Postal'', was teased more than a year before it came out... by way of giving the player an errand in ''Postal 2: Paradise Lost'' to install ''Postal Redux'' boards into the arcade cabinets at the mall.
* The ending of ''VideoGame/SecretOfEvermore'' suggests that the entire game was just the result of the main character [[MrImagination daydreaming]] after going out to see a movie called "The Secret of Evermore". [[spoiler:But a mysterious spark of electricity around the theater marquee throws that into question, coupled with the following scene showing the previous citizens of Podunk he rescued, preparing to return to their lives outside of Evermore.]]
* The infamous DummiedOut Hot Coffee minigame in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' has a ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' poster hanging up in the wall, especially odd given that characters from ''Vice City'' do appear in ''San Andreas''. Given that the minigame wasn't finished, the poster was probably just a placeholder.

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

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

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''WebVideo/HalfInTheBag'', Mike Stoklasa acts as the creator of the Plinkett reviews in episodes where they screen the ''Star Wars Episode I'' review at conventions, despite the fact that a different Plinkett exists in their universe. In the ''WebVideo/RedLetterMedia'' teaser videos, Mr. Plinkett (who seems to be the same Plinkett as the review universe) calls ''WebVideo/HalfInTheBag'' "our new review show," and he also acknowledges the existence of Mike and Jay (calling them frauds). In both the ''[=HitB=]'' universe and ''RLM'' teasers, ''Feeding Frenzy'' is acknowledged as a work of fiction, despite featuring yet another version of Harry S. Plinkett.
* The reviewers of Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses encounter all sorts of crazy stuff in their videos, but all this is forgotten in the annual MassiveMultiplayerCrossover film featuring them all, where it appears that the characters actually live in (more or less) the real world; Nostalgia Chick, Linkara, Spoony ''et al'' really go by those names, and are employed by TGWTG to make the videos on the site. It is brought back around in the fourth anniversary, ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee''. Linkara's space ship and Joe's space station are involved in the plot, the reviewers are menaced by villains from previous reviews, such as [[Film/BattlefieldEarth Terl]] and Mechakara, and [[spoiler:in the last episode, the Nostalgia Critic has a very important encounter with Doug Walker]].
* ''WebVideo/MyLittlePonyCamaraderieIsSupernatural'': When Twilight asks Pinkie Pie how she got into the former's house, the latter says she's "seen every episode."
* ''Webcomic/{{Hoofstuck}}'': Rainbow Dash has a picture of Dirk Strider on her wall, referencing how Dirk, [[Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} in his own continuity]] has a picture of Rainbow Dash on his.
* The ''WebAnimation/BadDays'' pilot "Disassembled" includes a scene in which the Comicbook/FantasticFour watch a cartoon starring themselves, ''WesternAnimation/TheFantasticFour1967''.
* The series finale of ''WebAnimation/SonicForHire'' has Sonic getting a bolt of inspiration and starting to run backwards through the series' locations. Suddenly, what appears to be the show's opening plays again, and Sonic and Tails show up on the bottom of the screen and Sonic says he could then activate the level select CheatCode. Sonic then selects the very same episode that is being played.
-->'''Tails:''' Holy shit, look at this! It's all our episodes! We have done a lot of stupid shit.
* [[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/06/drawing-competition-ponies-playing-with.html This fanart contest]] on Blog/EquestriaDaily is built on this trope.
* ''WebVideo/TFSAtTheTable'': A RunningGag with the players and fans is the Natural One-ders' Saturday Morning Cartoon, broadcast long after the actual One-ders' adventuring careers ended. This then became the focus of a one-off special episode, showing an episode of the cartoon on home scrying orbs. There's even a cheesy Aesop message. However, the cartoon is only VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory, so the heroes' adventures also include campy things like fighting a mummy ninja in his hovering pyramid HQ. The characters are also simplified and rendered as something fitting in a kid's TV show:
** Ezra is a weakling and depends on being a GuileHero.
** Wake is always serious and has NoSenseOfHumor.
** Grammy is a kindly old lady, instead of a crazy sea hag.
** Nedra is naïve, excitable and trips over everything.
** Skrung is a cheap goblin stereotype.
** Gulphur has a sometimes-Scottish-sometimes-Irish accent and drinks copious amounts of '[[FrothyMugsOfWater orange juice]]'.
** Although it wasn't included in the episode, the players have also reacted positively to fanart depicting Calliope the faun's cartoon persona as a [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot druid/ninja/forest guardian]], and Carble the gargoyle as a robot.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'' films exist in ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' universe as a retelling of actual events. Cartoon Peter Venkman notes that Creator/BillMurray looks nothing like him. Toys from the TV series, however, show up in ''Film/GhostbustersII'' and [[VideoGame/GhostbustersTheVideoGame the 2009 video game]], which is noted as {{canon}} to the movies. So the cartoon is a retelling of events in the movies which is a retelling of events in the cartoon which is--oh dear, I've gone crosseyed.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''
** The Smithsonian/US Presidents episode of ''This Is America, Charlie Brown'' had the characters go to the museum and look at an original ''Peanuts'' comic that can be found in the museum, as well as information about the Apollo 10 modules (that were nicknamed "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy").
** ''WesternAnimation/ItsTheGreatPumpkinCharlieBrown'' has a scene where Lucy is shown reading an issue of ''Magazine/TVGuide'' with her own picture on the cover.
** Peppermint Patty actually reads a ''Peanuts'' book, with Charlie Brown and Lucy on the cover, in ''He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown''.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'' has a {{Retcon}} to imply that the episode/scene/five minutes with Mace Windu was an in-universe cartoon later drawn by the kid watching the whole scene, in an attempt to account for Mace Windu's abilities being turned all the way UpToEleven.
* In "Stage Door Cartoon," Elmer Fudd sits down in a theater for a screening of ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' with a sheriff that sounds similar to Yosemite Sam. Elmer discovers Bugs Bunny is disguised as the sheriff when he sits down with him to watch the cartoon they are currently in, and starts stripping off the disguise after seeing Bugs put it on onscreen, only to discover it's the real sheriff.
* One ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' short had the titular duo sit down in a theater to watch...''Tom and Jerry''.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'', Grim can be seen watching ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', but come ''Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure'' and ''The Grim Adventures of the KND'', we see that they exist in the same universe.
** Seeing as Creator/CartoonNetwork often depicted its shows' characters as living in one big SharedUniverse, it seems like this was bound to happen at some point.
* The episode of the ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'' [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers cartoon]] ''Make Tracks'' has a brief shot of a movie theater playing ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie''. The events of which movie happened 20 years after the episode in question! Would have spared them a lot of losses if the Autobots bothered to check it out.
* ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends''
** In the episode "Badtime Story", [[CowardlyLion Wade]] gets Roy to leave so Wade can finish the story by telling him "Your favorite TV show's on". Roy's reaction "''Garfield and Friends''? Oh my gosh! I can't miss it this week. We'll finish this later. Bye!" We later then see Roy at his house, saying "Hey, wait a minute! This isn't Saturday morning! Garfield isn't on!".
** At the end of "Secrets of the Animated Cartoon", the ''U.S. Acres'' characters all gather up to watch ''Garfield and Friends''.
** In "The Lasagna Zone", Garfield, TrappedInTVLand, begs Odie to change the channel, but Odie mistakenly knocks the remote off the armchair, causing it to break and the channel to change endlessly, resulting in Garfield running in place through several different screens. One is Booker and Sheldon standing in a field, and another is the title card of the earlier episode "Sludge Monster". Earlier in the same episode, Jon throws Garfield a book of the cable TV listings, the cover of which has Garfield's picture on it.
** Averted: In ''[[WesternAnimation/GarfieldSpecials Garfield's Halloween Adventure]]'', when Garfield is flipping through TV channels at the beginning, one is a Jim Davis-drawn pig in a cartoony field. One may be tempted to think it's Orson and that he's watching ''Garfield and Friends'', but this special predated it by 3 years.
* The opening theme of ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' showed DW reading an ''Arthur'' book and watching ''Arthur'' on TV.
-->'''Arthur''': (on TV) Hey, DW!
-->'''DW''': Hey!!!
-->'''Arthur''':(falls off the screen screaming, the title falls apart below him)
* ''WesternAnimation/MenInBlack'' is an Alternate Continuity from the movies. The movie actually exists in this universe and is the story of the MIB leaked by the Worms using a human suit and the name of [=Creator/LowellCunningham=]. The series even mentions Creator/WillSmith and Creator/TommyLeeJones as the actors playing K and L and shows them (in very accurate cartoon versions) on camera.
* ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' starts with a group of kids going on a D&D-themed ride at a theme park, suggesting the D&D games exist in their world. They are then sucked into the real world of Dungeons and Dragons. Incidentally, they [[PopculturalOsmosisFailure don't seem to know anything about the D&D world]], despite apparently having recognized the ride's theme.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' cartoon, there was a side character named "Bug Man" who is also a comic book character. In the first episode with him, Michaelangelo helps him on his adventures, to the disbelief of the other turtles. In the second episode he shows up in, [[RealityEnsues the comic has destroyed his life]], telling everyone (including his enemies) his SecretIdentity, his WeaksauceWeakness, etc.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' are established as a fictional cartoon in ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'' - but Jay visits Springfield at one point. Guh?
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' is stated to be a work of fiction within the Simpsons universe ([[CreatorCameo Matt Groening]] is famous for creating ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' in ''TheSimpsons'', meanwhile he is famous for creating ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' within the universe of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}})'' which [[ContinuitySnarl gets extra confusing]] when it was confirmed the two would have a crossover in the fall of 2014.
** In "Bart vs. Thanksgiving", Bart and Homer talk about the unfamiliar balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a balloon of Bart appears on the TV just as they look away, a reference to the introduction of a real Bart balloon in the 1990 edition of the parade.
-->'''Homer:''' If you start building a balloon for every flash-in-the-pan cartoon character, you'll turn the parade into a farce.
* One of many {{Creator Cameo}}s in ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' featured Jhonen Vasquez and Steve Russel sitting at a table with a script titled "The Nightmare Begins"--that is to say, the script for the show's first episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/NedsNewt'' has occasionally shown to exist within itself, with an instrumental of the theme song playing from within TV sets, for instance. This obviously excludes instances where the characters are LeaningOnTheFourthWall.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' Peter decides to check the newest issue of TV Guide to find out why Meg has been acting so weird. He sees that the description for the episode mentions that he enters a rodeo, which did indeed occur, and that Meg is dating a criminal.
* In Creator/TexAvery's ''[[WesternAnimation/TexAveryMGMCartoons The Early Bird Dood It!]]'', a bird chases a worm down a road and briefly pauses to examine a billboard advertising the film ''[[Film/MrsMiniver Mrs. Minimum]]'' with an added attraction -- the very cartoon they're in!
-->'''Bird:''' Say, I hear that's a pretty funny cartoon.\\
'''Worm:''' [[SelfDeprecation Well, I hope it's funnier than]] ''[[SelfDeprecation this]]'' [[SelfDeprecation one!]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'' and ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' has a SharedUniverse where Launchpad is a main character in both. In ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales2017'', ''Darkwing Duck'' is a ShowWithinAShow that Launchpad watched as a kid (and thus presumably was not part of).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutron'': In the episode ''Lights, Camera, Danger'' Jimmy asks Goddard to show him all of the world's most successful movies at warp speed. The last film, which Jimmy grows wide-eyed on is none other than [[WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutronBoyGenius his own]].