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Scolding the Fourth Wall Breaker

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After a character breaks the fourth wall, another scolds them for doing so.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
ScroogeMacDuck on Sep 21st 2017 at 7:17:45 AM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Oct 22nd 2017 at 2:52:47 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Breaking the Fourth Wall for humorous purposes (being defined as a character breaking the fourth wall in a series whose fourth wall seemed relatively hard) is often the work of a single character who shows Medium Awareness for the joke's sake.

Because the medium-aware character is thereby breaking the established rules of the setting, it is frequent for other characters not to share their fellow's insight, and involuntarily add weight to the joke by asking "Audience? What Audience?". However, perhaps funnier still is another character knowing perfectly what the wall-breaker is talking about, but immediately shushing him because the characters aren't supposed to know as far as the viewer is concerned. A variation will have the characters complain to the author for writing a fourth-wall-breaking in the first place.

A humorous, fourth-wall version of The Masquerade. A possible interpretation of such a scenario is that there is really No Fourth Wall but the characters pretend there is one anyway. Almost always Played for Laughs.


Examples

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     Fan Works 
  • Happens several times in the Harry Potter fanfiction The Many Harry Potters of Little Hangleton. And the scolders are right, too, because by the time the fic ends, the Fourth Wall literally shatters on screen, and the next chapter, having literally No Fourth Wall, ends up veering into Gainax Ending.
  • Pokémon fanfiction, "Child of Mew", has Ash and Mew sometimes breaking the fourth wall. One instance has Ash calling Mew out by saying "what did we say about breaking the fourth wall?"

     Live-Action TV 

     Webcomics 
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!'s title character is prone to fourth-wall-breaking, and his down-to-earth girlfriend Jean always calls him out on it.
    Molly: Hey, mommy! Daddy's breaking the fourth wall! It's all avant-garde and stuff! Keen, uh?
    Jean Poule: Oh, I hate it when he does that. It's so confusing.
  • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.
  • Checkerboard Nightmare broke the fourth wall constantly, but wasn't above mocking the concept as well. In one story arc, Vaporware decides that fourth-wall-breaking is just a crutch for lazy comedy writers, and he completely bricks over the fourth wall so it can never be broken again. (Naturally, a Snap Back undoes this at the end of the arc.)
  • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.

     Web Original 
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser Junior's Clown Car", Junior enlists Joseph and Cody's help to get a box that has Bowser's Clown Car in it, since he's too short. Cody points out that he, Junior, and Joseph are controlled by hands, and can go as high as they need to, leading to this exchange:
    Junior: Stop breaking the fourth wall, Cody!
    Joseph: Yeah, Cody! Always ruining stuff!
    Cody: Sorry.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is no stranger to breaking the fourth wall, but it eventually got to the point where breaking the fourth wall itself was an in-universe plot. One episode has Shadi revealing to Yugi that it's his job to prevent the fourth wall from being broken and if it was then chaos would ensue.

     Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb has Major Monogram chewing out Carl for one such instance.
    Major Monogram: Carl, what did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall?
  • The Teen Titans Go! episode The Fourth Wall uses this as a running gag, where the Titans interact with the audience, much to the chagrin of Control Freak.`

Feedback: 17 replies

Sep 21st 2017 at 3:08:48 PM

Web Original

  • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Bowser Junior's Clown Car", Junior enlists Joseph and Cody's help to get a box that has Bowser's Clown Car in it, since he's too short. Cody points out that he, Junior, and Joseph are controlled by hands, and can go as high as they need to, leading to this exchange:
    Junior: Stop breaking the fourth wall, Cody!
    Joseph: Yeah, Cody! Always ruining stuff!
    Cody: Sorry.

Sep 21st 2017 at 4:48:48 PM

It needs a better name. The current one sounds like characters are being sympathetic to the Fourth Wall as a character.

Sep 27th 2017 at 8:21:52 AM

Added an example, and folks, I know there's more around. Please work some Wiki Magic, great troping wizards!

Sep 27th 2017 at 8:34:29 AM

Phineas And Ferb has Major Monogram chewing out Carl for one such instance.

Major Monogram: Carl, what did I tell you about breaking the fourth wall?

What about if they also chide the author for making a character do it? I know I personally did that in one of my stories,

Sep 27th 2017 at 10:39:01 AM

Saving The Fourth Wall would be a better name

Sep 27th 2017 at 6:17:07 PM

I'm starting to feel this is a very rare trope.

Fanfiction

  • Pokemon fanfiction, "Child of Mew", has Ash and Mew sometimes breaking the fourth wall. One instance has Ash calling Mew out by saying "what did we say about breaking the fourth wall?"

Sep 27th 2017 at 10:19:45 PM

Webcomics:

  • Checkerboard Nightmare broke the fourth wall constantly, but wasn't above mocking the concept as well. In one story arc, Vaporware decides that fourth-wall-breaking is just a crutch for lazy comedy writers, and he completely bricks over the fourth wall so it can never be broken again. (Naturally, a Snap Back undoes this at the end of the arc.)

Web Video:

  • Scootertrix The Abridged plays this rather seriously. Pinkie Pie worries that, if word gets out that they're all just characters in a cartoon, then ponies will have existential crises or fall into despair. So she scolds Twilight for casually mentioning the script in front of ponies who don't already know about the fourth wall.

Sep 28th 2017 at 7:19:38 AM

Live Action Television

Sep 28th 2017 at 9:13:02 AM

Isn't it really just an example of multiple characters breaking the fourth wall? Is it really common enough to be a trope in its own right?

Sep 29th 2017 at 9:52:53 AM

> Isn't it really just an example of multiple characters breaking the fourth wall? Is it really common enough to be a trope in its own right?

It's not about multiple characters breaking the fourth wall, it's about the specific trope of characters chewing another out for breaking the fourth wall, not because it's impossible but because it's something you just "shouldn't do". I think that's a perfectly tropable idea.

Sep 29th 2017 at 10:10:05 AM

  • An exchange from Paradox Space begins when Karkat uses Dave's terrible webcomic characters in his screenplay. Dave threatens to sue before Karkat says that his "Geromy" is completely distinct from Dave's "Jeromy." Dave points out that's only a difference of spelling and Karkat screams at him for getting meta. Dave points out he knew the spelling from the script and that Karkat is the one being meta. From there, the argument devolves into cursing.

Oct 18th 2017 at 6:26:38 PM

The Teen Titans Go episode The Fourth Wall uses this as a running gag, where the Titans interact with the audience, much to the chagrin of Control Freak.`

Oct 19th 2017 at 12:57:40 PM

Thanks everyone. Are we adding some more, or shall I launch?

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