TV Tropes Org

Forums

Writer's Block:
The 5th Wall Principle
search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [16]
1

The 5th Wall Principle:

I got to thinking about the 4th Wall a while back, and I realized that if a character breaks the fourth wall and there is an imaginary audiance reading the story, then the imaginary audiance must be contained by another wall. The 5th Wall.

If the imaginary audiance breaks the 5th wall, and if there is another imaginary audiance, then the 6th Wall comes up. And so on. I call it the 5th Wall Principle.

A good example is the TV Tropes the Tv show story. The imaginary audiance is interacting with characters who broke the fourth wall, but that audiance isn't aware that they are a part of the story, so they have to be contained by another wall.

An alternative view is that the characters never broke the 4th Wall and it just expanded to contain the imaginary audiance. But then you have to ask what was containing the audiance before the characters broke the 4th wall.

Whenever there is another layer beyond the story where the 4th Wall is broken, and those characters are unaware they are part of a story, there is another wall.

This is the 5th Wall principle.

 2 chihuahua 0, Sun, 20th Feb '11 8:41:54 AM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
So you are saying the 5th wall is in the back of the theatre? Wouldn't it be the ceiling?
 3 Bobby G, Sun, 20th Feb '11 12:53:56 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
You mean like this?

As originally planned, TV Tropes the TV Show actually canonically had eight walls: the four normal ones, and four more outside of those. I suppose, technically, that would place the IRL readers outside the twelfth wall.

Also, ceilings are not walls.

edited 20th Feb '11 12:55:55 PM by BobbyG

Maelstrom
I think that the Real-Life audience would still be the Fourth Wall, no matter what. However, if there are aliens in another dimension watching humans watch some Shakespeare or something, then they might be the Fifth Wall. Or something. Or maybe that would just be critics. Or maybe the aliens are critics. This is kind of confusing.

 5 chihuahua 0, Sun, 20th Feb '11 4:16:19 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
 6 TParadox, Sun, 20th Feb '11 4:36:47 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Don't be the penis.
If there's explicitly an audience inside the work, then there's another set of walls between the IRL audience and that work, but if there isn't (the characters just talk to the audience), then it's just classical fourth-wall breaking.
Only place I can think of where this could be applicable is Statler and Waldorf.
 
I'm reminded of certain Bugs Bunny cartoons memorable by the phrase "Is there's a doctor in the house?" and the onscreen characters interact with a silhouette audience

 
 9 d Roy, Tue, 4th Oct '11 4:21:21 AM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
 10 Wheezy, Tue, 4th Oct '11 7:39:51 AM from Tampa, FL. Again.
(That Guy You Met Once)
The only way I could think of to break the "5th wall" between the audience and the rest of the world would be for the characters in a Sitcom with a live studio audience to jump off the stage and run out the studio doors into Real Life as part of the plot.

That would be awesome, but it's such a specific scenario that there's no point in discussing it on TV Tropes.
 11 jasonwill 2, Tue, 4th Oct '11 1:19:38 PM from West Virginia
we are the forth wall.

the origin of breaking the forth wall was in ancient plays, where the literal audience watching the play was addressed.

I do not know what it would be considered if it was an imaginary audience. would that be breaking the forth wall?
as of the 2nd of Nov. has 6 weeks for a broken collar bone to heal and types 1 handed and slowly
 12 feotakahari, Tue, 4th Oct '11 3:36:34 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
^^ Is the ending of The Hills close enough, or is it an inversion?
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 13 JHM, Tue, 4th Oct '11 6:39:18 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
Sounds kind of like House of Leaves, but in visual form. Granted, Johnny Truant and the editors never technically do this, but the spirit of it is similar.

@Chi: It's a hypercube.

Namely, the wall is all around you.
 14 nrjxll, Wed, 5th Oct '11 3:20:56 AM Relationship Status: Not war
When your Mind Screwdriver involves hypercubes, you know that your work is going to blow people's minds. And I don't mean that in the good way.

Raven Wilder
Arguably, any time a person prays to God they're breaking the fifth wall.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 16 Blueeyedrat, Sun, 9th Oct '11 8:39:27 PM from nowhere in particular. Relationship Status: Mu
YEEEEAH— no.
Since the first three Walls represent the back and sides of a stage, while the 4th is between the characters and the audience, I always see a 5th Wall as a floor or ceiling, which brings to mind the following:
"What are you doing down there?"
"Down here? What are you doing up there?"

edited 9th Oct '11 8:39:35 PM by Blueeyedrat

"I've come to the conclusion that this is a very stupid idea."
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 16
1


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy