Screen Tap

A character taps on your TV screen from the inside to get your attention. Yes, that's right — someone is Breaking the Fourth Wall by touching it!

As Technology Marches On, the "screen glass tap" sound effect is still in use despite being an Artifact due to the rise of flat-screen LCD's not made out of glass, though some uses now feature a "dull thump" sound effect instead to compensate for this change.

Compare with Camera Abuse.


    open/close all folders 

  • Rix Fm ran a commercial in which the host tapped the screen of an iPhone.
  • Mr. Opportunity from Honda commercials.
    I'm Mr. Opportunity, [knocks on glass] and I'm knockin'!
    • In radio ads featuring Mr. Opportunity, he taps on the microphone twice.
  • In a TV spot for Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Sly taps the screen with his cane and asks "So, uh... you in?"
  • In 1991, after Bo Jackson broke his hip, Nike ran a new "Bo Knows" commercial showing him training to get back into shape. Denis Leary, the narrator, ends the commercial by saying "I think you hear me knocking, and I think I'm coming in, and I'm bringing Bo and his big bad hip with me" before knocking on the screen twice.

    Live Action TV 
  • Channel 4 played with this trope in its promos in the early 1990s (14'14" in).
  • The first series of Victor Lewis-Smith's Ads Infinitum opens with an animated Victor proclaiming "Hello, my name is Victor, I am a TV critic, and I live inside your television." He then taps several times on the screen with his remote control, accidentally smashing it on the last tap.
  • After five days of "X days to go" promos for the Series 8 premiere of Doctor Who, there was one in which the Twelfth Doctor tapped cracks in the viewer's screen that formed the word "TODAY".

  • The Microsoft Office paper clip assistant, Clippit.

    Video Games 
  • Hugo has a habit of doing this when you die in the games.
  • The Scout of Team Fortress 2 does this in "Meet The Scout". As a neat detail, his screen-poke leaves a greasy smudge that stays on-screen for the rest of the short.
    • This trend is carried on in both "Meet The Medic" and "Meet The Pyro", albeit being a bit of a fake-out (the "screens" he runs into ends up being a window and a camera, respectively). Even though the "Meet The Director" comic establishes that these cameras exist in-universe, it's still in line with Scout being a Fourth-Wall Observer (i.e. acknowledging that he's a character class, referring to the base as a "map", and teasing his opponents about ragequitting).
  • Bubsy, at least in the first of his games, knocked on the screen as one of his Idle Animations. In a nice little touch, the screen even ''shook'' when he did it.
  • In Limbo of the Lost, the hero will tap the screen to get your attention if you spend too much time doing nothing. Justified in that, unlike most video games, you are actually a character: his guardian, who is guiding him.
  • In Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, Pac-Man will tap the screen if you leave the game paused for too long.
  • Banjo does this in the opening theme of Banjo-Kazooie.
  • Sometimes, in my game Marvel vs. Capcom 3 I'll shake the screen and berate the player (that's you) for your laziness after winning a fight.
  • If the player idles for too long in Ken Griffey Junior's Winning Run, the umpire will turn around, tap the screen with a baseball, and say "Play the game, kid."
  • Simon the Sorcerer, Simon does this to show the player he is 'getting bored' when the player does nothing for too long.
  • In the Virtual Villagers spin-off Virtual Families a sick character will tap on the screen to get the player's attention if they haven't noticed the illness.
  • The main menu of LEGO Racers has a LEGO character (specifically the next circuit champion you have to beat) on it, dancing around. If you wait long enough, the character will bang on the screen in a sort of Continue Your Mission, Dammit!.
  • Protagonist Rincewind does this after a few minutes of inactivity in Discworld. The screen shifts to an extreme close-up of him, and he shouts "HELLOOOOO!!" while tapping the screen and looking around for the player.
  • In Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, one of Jak and Daxter's introductions involves Daxter tapping on the screen while Jak stands in the background.
  • In the patient select screen of Die Anstalt, Lilo will sometimes tap on the screen with one of his blocks.

  • Whenever the fourth wall in An Epic Comic is messed with enough, it begins to crack up.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation