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Leaning On The Fourth Wall / Live-Action TV

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  • The Christmas Episode from the second season of 3rd Rock from the Sun has the Solomon family realizing that it's been nearly a year since they first arrived on Earth. Tommy reminds Dick that they landed on January 9, with Harry chiming in "at 8:30 Central", the airdate and time the series originally premiered.
  • 30 Rock:
    • Season 4 opens with Jack looking directly at the camera and welcoming everyone to Season 4. He is actually talking to the TGS staff, and "Season 4" is the name of the restaurant they're at.
    • In the Season 6 episode "Grandmentor", when Hazel fails to ensure that Tracy gets his requisite 14 hours of sleep, leading him to go crazy and say things like "We're on a show within a show! My real name is Tracy Morgan!"
    • In a Season 7 episode, Josh sidetracks Liz when she's racing against the clock. She's frustrated that he's picked this moment to finally "have a thing", referencing the fact that he's been Out of Focus on the show for a while.

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Maria Hill: What does SHIELD stand for, Agent Ward?
    Ward: Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.
    Hill: And what does that tell you?
    Ward: That someone really wanted our initials to spell "SHIELD".
  • Angel
    • In the first season, one episode begins with a woman being hunted by a gang of vampires. The vampires suddenly turn around, and one of them says, "You." The camera then shows us the person who has surprised them, starting with the feet and panning upward: black boots, a long black trenchcoat, a sword... and then we get to the face, which is that of a young black man (Charles Gunn) we've never seen before. He smiles and says, "You were expecting somebody else?"
    • In the second episode of the fifth season, Lorne says this about Angel and Spike's mutual love for Buffy:
      Lorne: The vampire slayer that both men loved, both men lost. Oh, I could sell that to a studio in a heartbeat. I'm seeing [Johnny] Depp and [Orlando] Bloom. Then again, I see them a lot. (He notices Wesley giving him a strange look.) Sorry, I need to get out more—I've been spending so much time running Wolfram & Hart's entertainment division.
  • Michael Bluth from Arrested Development gives a speech at a dinner party about why the Bluths are such an unlikeable family, and about how they might not deserve to be saved from their fate. This was in one of the show's last episodes before cancellation, and the speech was also clearly about the fate of the show itself.
    • Earlier in the same episode, Michael has a conversation with his father about where to get some financial support from. At the time there had been talk about continuing the show on another channel.
      George: HBO?
      Michael: No, I don't think the Home Buyers' Association is going to want us.
      George: Well, then it's Showtime.
    • Lampshaded when Michael talks about how the family can't afford to act proud any more and they'll beg for help if that's what it takes.
    • When the series ended there was a similar moment when Maeby was pitching her TV series (based on her family life, making it essentially Arrested Development) to none other than Ron Howard, the show's producer and narrator. He replies, "I don't see it as a TV show. Maybe a movie..."
    • In season 4, Lindsey is shocked that Tobias doesn't realize he comes across as gay, stating that "It's sort of a Running our family."
    • Played with in one episode, when Tobias comments, "If this were a Lifetime Moment Of Truth movie, this would be our act break." The pre-commercial sound cue plays... and then the Narrator says, "But it wasn't," and the episode continues.
    • One episode plays on Jeffrey Tambor playing both George and his twin brother Oscar. Oscar invites his brother to sit next to him, and George says it will look better if they sit opposite.
  • Arrow: Similar to the Buffy example, Detective Lance, thanks to his distrust of Laurel, is skeptical when she tries to warn him of an impending bioweapon attack.
    Detective Lance: The city's in danger, it must be May.

  • Battlestar Galactica: When Roslin finally tells Adama she loves him, his response is "'Bout time."
  • In an episode of Beauty and the Beast, in one of the ending balcony scenes, Vincent notes that maybe someone out there is watching and smiling. ...Someone?
  • Becker: Done a couple of times in the series finale. (Unusually, the series was canceled against the producers' wishes but with sufficient advance notice to provide the series with a proper ending.) In one scene, Dr. Becker looks at the test results for a patient named Mr. Nielsen, and says, "I don't know what the problem is. These numbers aren't that bad!" Another patient talks about having problems with his kidneys, and Becker tells him, "You were doing okay until they developed the stones," which could also be taken as an allusion to The Stones, the series that replaced Becker on CBS's schedule (and lasted only three episodes).
  • In the episode "Dual and Duality" of Blackadder the Third, Edmund contemplates his legacy:
    Edmund: Yes, I'm afraid my ambitions stretch a little further than professional idiocy in West London. I want books written about me. I want songs sung about me. And then, hundreds of years from now, I want episodes from my life to be played out weekly at half past nine by some great heroic actor of the age.
    Baldrick: (smiling) Yeah, and I could be played by some tiny tit in a beard.
    • A less extreme example, from earlier in the same series:
      Dr. Johnson: Sir, I hope you are not using the first English dictionary to look up rude words!
      Blackadder: I wouldn't be too hopeful. [Looks into camera] That's what all the other ones will be used for.
  • In Black Books, the three main characters are thinking about going to the cinema and look up what's showing. They find a film with a plot synopsis that sounds exactly like that of the show itself but decide against seeing it because it sounds awful.
  • Boston Legal has a habit of doing this more and more as the series goes on, with frequent references to the lead actors' previous roles as well as the show's own tropes and real-world issues, such as schedule changes.
    • During a particularly complicated schedule change for the series, several of the characters appeared for a meeting during the cold open. When nobody else showed up for the meeting, the conversation went something like this:
      "Are we early? I thought we were on Tuesdays at 9."
      "Actually, we rescheduled. Now we're Wednesdays at 10."
      "So are we going to be Wednesdays at 10 every week?"
      "No, we're actually going to be Wednesday at 10 for a week, then take a week off, then we'll be Wednesdays at 9."
    • In the second episode of season 3, two new lawyers join the firm. When Danny meets them, there is this exchange:
      Jeffrey Coho: We’re the new guys.
      Denny Crane: Oh, please. If there were new guys, they would’ve shown up at the season premiere.
      Claire Simms: He’s smoking, for God’s sake.
      Denny Crane: It’s a personal gift from Bill Clinton. If you only knew where this cigar has been.
      Claire Simms: Okay, he’s officially the grossest person I’ve ever met.
      Jeffrey Coho: See that sign that says, “Crane, Poole & Schmidt”?
      Denny Crane: [pointing to himself with his cigar] Welcome to Boston Legal.
      Claire Simms: Jeffrey. The gross man is fondling me.
      Denny Crane: It’s the official firm greeting.
      [Claire Simms clears her throat]
      Denny Crane: Cue the music.
    • In another episode, one of the lawyers is so ecstatic at being re-hired by the firm that he bursts into song. The song? The Boston Legal theme song. His performance is used in place of the usual opening credits sequence, with scenes of his gleeful singing inter-cut with the usual cast headshots.
    • Stars William Shatner and James Spader often have dialog that alludes to their previous film and television roles. For example, Shatner's character reacts with anxiety when he hears about salmon parasites known as "cling-ons," and Spader remarks to Shatner — while both are dressed as flamingos — that he looks "pretty in pink."
    • At one point William Shatner's character says: "I'm Denny Crane! I once owned my own spaceship!"
    • In another episode Denny briefly ponders a communicator-shaped cellphone.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In season 5, Tara talks about The Hunchback of Notre Dame: "But he's not really good. He has no moral compass. The only reason he does good things is to win the love of this woman who could never love him back. That's how you know it can't end well..." Gosh, who else could that be referring to?
    • During "Once More with Feeling", Buffy famously alludes to her namesake show's timeslot with the following remark:
      Buffy: Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.
    • Also from the musical episode, while Anya and Xander are talking over each other trying to explain the weirdness of their random duet that morning:
      Anya: It's like we were being watched. Like there was a wall missing from our apartment like there were only three walls and not a fourth wall.
    • In the episode "Get It Done", Buffy mentions the Hellmouth's tendency of "blowing in May". This alludes to the fact that apocalypses usually occur during season finales, which air during this month.
    • Buffy saves Willow & Xander in the opening of the first episode of season 2. She then asks them "Missed me?" while looking straight at the camera.
    • In the comics, Xander refers to "every month, every Wednesday".
    • "Normal Again" has numerous examples of this, as Buffy is hallucinating she's in a mental institution and her reality is actually a fiction.
    • Another example from the comics season 8: when the talking dog is trying to recruit him and tells him that he's been chosen for the plan, Angel says he is "definitely twitchy about CHOSEN". The dog replies with "Yes, that goofy little cheerleader spun you right round." Apparently, the dog decided to take the word "Chosen" as a reference to Buffy, the Chosen One, but for the readers, Angel's statement and the dog's answer is leaning against the fourth wall, as "Chosen" is also the title of the series finale.
    • The cover for After These Messages We'll Be Right Back has Xander, Willow and Dawn crowding round to watch TV...of Buffy, with the story based on the proposed Animated Adaptation.
    • There is Lampshade Hanging on the fact that something bad always happens on Buffy's birthday.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "Sins of Omission", Michael starts the episode relating what had happened since he'd been blown up straight to the camera. It turns out that he was talking to Carla.

  • Charmed (1998):
    • In an episode dealing with Lady Godiva.
      Piper: Woman. Keep your clothes on, this is a family show. Really.
    • In "House Call", the 101st episode, this conversation happens:
      Witch Doctor: You ever vanquish a demon in this house, by any chance?
      Phoebe: [laughing] Oh, only about a hundred.
  • In El Chavo del ocho, a show that's known for extreme Dawson Casting, one episode has the neighborhood boys fainting after receiving a kiss from the cute new girl Patty. When Chilindrina asks Quico why he fainted, he gives the camera a good stare while responding "I don't know, sometimes I react like I'm not this young."
  • Late in the 11th and last season of Cheers, some of the gang go to an old drive-in theater and see a Godzilla movie. Cliff notices that the lead actress in this edition of the Godzilla series has been recast. Woody muses, "I don't understand, why would an actress leave right in the middle of a successful series?" This references Shelley Long's well-publicized departure from the show after 5 seasons.
  • The Season 5 premiere of Chicago Fire has Gabbie taking a friend visiting from out of town to Molly's, and the friend says she's never been to a firefighter bar. Gabbie replies that they get cops, doctors, lawyers... well, not so many lawyers anymore. Chicago Justice had been canceled at the end of the previous season.
  • The title character of Chuck thanks Casey for saving his life "at least once a week".
  • The Colbert Report: When Stephen Colbert accidentally dropped acid, the ensuing existential crisis could be taken two ways — either the character worrying about his insecurities and whether he's lying to himself, or the character briefly realizing that he ''is'' just a character. This was mostly to clue in new viewers to the Alter-Ego Acting thing since the show had just gone global.
    "Where does this Stephen end and that Stephen begin?"
  • Done quite a bit on Community. Abed, partially thanks to being the group's resident Genre Savvy Meta Guy, is a bit obsessed with media and constantly interprets the events around him as if they were the plot of a sitcom. At the beginning of the second season, Jeff criticizes Abed for all the self-referential meta-humor, saying that it's "so last season."
    • Abed comes really close to breaking the Wall in the second-to-last episode of Season 5, where he seemingly tries to evade/misdirect the cameraman, nearly outright states that he's in a TV show, and almost looks directly into the camera, among a couple of other things. May have also been Noticing the Fourth Wall and Visible Fourth Wall. He breaks it in the following episode, albeit in an unrelated way, and briefly.
  • Cougar Town:
    Jules: [about having 'Fakesgiving' in spring] What if we're not around next fall? What if a new group comes in and replaces us? Everybody's going to be like, "What happened to the Cul-de-Sac Crew? I miss them. And who are these new people? They're not so good.
    • Just about the full first act of the first TBS episode after being Un-Canceled.
  • Covert Affairs: In "Suffragette City", while Annie is in a coma, Dream!Auggie tells her that the dream's shadowy Big Bad, whom she needs to find, codenamed Blackbird, is in room 309. This is episode 3x09.
    • Also, in the diner scene, when Annie looks at the receipt the date is 9/11, which rather implies disaster, a theme throughout the episode. The real date she was there when Jai died was the fourth of July. In fact, this episode ran on 9/11...
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:
    • Rebecca's law firm is bought out by a new partner who quickly establishes that he is now in charge. The employees sing a song, "Who's the New Guy," where they worry about introducing a new character ("I mean, he's such a character") this far into the season ("it's almost fall"), and wonder if it's a stunt to boost their ratings (on
    • "He's the New Guy", the subsequent reprise, followed suit but kept stretching the fourth-wall-friendly explanations further and further until Rebecca finally had to resort to telling the camera "Whatever, just don't think about it" to play off her comment about singing a reprise.
    • Valencia says that Greg has grown so much as a person he's basically a whole new actor, and clarifies that she means actor "in the legal and political sense." Greg was indeed recast with a different actor between seasons.
  • The entire show is made up of fantasy musical numbers, which all take place in Rebecca's head. Rebecca explains to Paula that she's imagining musical numbers when it looks like she's zoning out, and when she imagines it so does the show. "And by 'the show' I mean the very popular B.P.D.-workbook acronym Simply Having Omniscient Wishes."
  • Cristela has this exchange about sitting courtside at a basketball game:
    Cristela: The only time stuff like that happens to people like us is on TV.
    Felix: [resignedly] Yeah, but people like us will never be on TV.
  • CSI:
    • "I Like To Watch". One of the camera guys following the group around says something about "Beautiful people solving crimes" having potential as a series.
    • Also in that episode, which is about a film crew following around the CSI team, one of the interviewers asks Grissom's opinion of the show. His response is, "There are too many forensic shows on TV."
  • The end of the 100th episode of CSI: Miami where they say "They all think it's easy to get to one hundred".

  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Matt's line "I think we've had enough Punisher for one evening" while he, Foggy and Karen are watching the news on Frank Castle's arrest towards the end of "Penny and Dime" is kinda funny if you've been binge-watching the first four episodes of season 2. So is Foggy's remark of "I think I've had enough excitement for one evening" when he's darting off a few moments later to give Matt and Karen a moment.
    • In "Guilty as Sin", during Stick's exposition schtick on the Hand-Chaste War, Matt, clearly having a hard time believing all the elements of the story, questions how the Hand could have discovered immortality and why are they so devoted to seeking it. Stick, naturally, cuts close to Matt's Catholic background, by pointing out how his whole belief system hinges on one guy pulling that off. Which becomes doubly hilarious when you consider that Season 2 came out on March 18, a Friday, and the subsequent week that most people are likely to binge the entire season was "Holy Week"note .
    • In "The Man in the Box", Claire Temple pointing out Matt's serious Messiah complex ("Hey, uh, Saint Matthew? Enough with the hair shirt already") is amusing again because of the timing of the release of season 2 and Holy Week 2016.
  • Dear White People: When Reggie, Joelle, Lionel, and company return from watching a bad movie, they begin ranting about the different ways people of color are typecast and stereotyped in movies while looking directly at the camera. It still sounds natural in context.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Sensorites", being the show's one-year anniversary, starts with a part where the companions all talk about how they've all changed since they set out with the Doctor, and he agrees "It all started as a mild curiosity in a junkyard, and now it's turned out to be quite a spirit of adventure."
    • "The War Games": At the end, the Second Doctor says he's "quite well known on Earth", referring to the popularity of the show. This was because, when the storyline was going to be the finale of the whole show, the Bolivian Army Ending was going to have the Doctor change his form, so as to comfort the children and assure them that the Doctor was on Earth protecting them from the monsters and could look like anything.
    • "Robot": The new Doctor's ranting at Harry Sullivan is clearly supposed to be an announcement to the viewers that even though he's different to his predecessor he's closer now to how he was originally intended to be: "I'm THE Doctor. The definite article, you might say."
    • "The Brain of Morbius": Solon compliments the Doctor on his "magnificent head". The Doctor says he used to have an "old grey model before this" and "some people liked it" (at the time the episode was made, the Third Doctor was the fan darling). Then he goes on to say "I prefer this model", serving as a gentle Take That! and a statement of favouritism from story cowriter Robert Holmes.
    • "Logopolis": The audience was well aware thanks to promotion and news reports that Tom Baker was leaving to be recast with Peter Davison. So, the spectral character who knows the Doctor will inevitably die at the end of this story and quietly observes him, waiting for him to do so but not directly intervening to cause or prevent it, is called the Watcher.
    • When Colin Baker first takes over as the Sixth Doctor, his first story ends with a challenge to companion Peri that is clearly aimed at the viewers: "And I would suggest, Peri, that you wait a little before criticizing my new persona. You may well find it isn't quite as disagreeable as you think. [...] Whatever else happens, I am the Doctor, whether you like it or not."
    • After the 18-month hiatus, in the first episode of "The Trial of a Time Lord", the Doctor's opening line is "Am I late for something?"
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks": A BBC announcer in 1963 is cut off while announcing a new science-fiction series called "Doc-".
    • In the direct-to-video not-exactly-Doctor-Who film Downtime, UNIT codes for the first two Yeti incursions are NN and QQ — which also happen to be the production codes for "The Abominable Snowmen" and "The Web of Fear".
    • "The Shakespeare Code": The Doctor's comment about academics punching the air works after it's indicated that Shakespeare is bi, but it also lampshades that academics watching the show who advocate that view likely had that reaction.
    • "Blink" introduces the Weeping Angels, a race — one so ancient not even the Doctor knows when they came into being — that is "Quantum Locked": if observed by any living creature, including themselves, they turn to stone. This includes when the audience is watching them.
    • "Time Crash" executes this trope in such a fashion as to, by the end of the minisode, make it unclear whether or not the Fourth Wall has even survived the battering it's been given. At some points it's not clear whether we have Ten gushing at Five, David Tennant gushing at Five, or David Tennant gushing at Peter Davison. Hell, it could be Ten gushing at Peter Davison for all we know.
    • "The Poison Sky": When the Doctor complains about being stuck on Earth like a human, he quickly apologizes. As he does so, he looks at the camera for long enough that this apology is more to the viewers than to the evil clone of Martha he's with.
    • "Forest of the Dead": One of the things that convinces Donna that she is in a constructed reality is that she starts noticing the scene breaks.
    • "Music of the Spheres": The Doctor talks to the audience at the BBC proms through a time portal in the TARDIS. The audience responding is a real audience from the Doctor Who proms, however.
    • "Planet of the Dead": UNIT scientist Malcolm Taylor eagerly tells the Doctor that he's a huge fan, and he's read all the files, to which the Doctor replies, "Really? Which was your favorite? The one with the giant robot?" Doubles as a Continuity Nod in reference to the Fourth Doctor story, "Robot".
    • "The Big Bang":
      • The Eleventh Doctor quietly laments: "We're all stories, in the end."
      • This is the same season where the most significant date in the universe turns out to be the 26th of June 2010, because that's the date of Amy's wedding (and the date of the season finale).
      • The Doctor was trapped in the Pandorica at the end of the previous episode, Amy has been shot dead, and it looks like he set up a Stable Time Loop for the younger Amelia to open up the Pandorica to free him. However, when it opens, Amy is in there instead. As she comments, "this is where it gets complicated". The show then cuts to shortly after the events of the last episode and shows just how complicated it gets.
    • "The Impossible Astronaut": The Doctor claims Saturdays are "big temporal tipping points when anything's possible." Except for a few seasons in the 1980s, and Christmas specials when Christmas falls on another day of the week, Doctor Who has traditionally aired on Saturdays since its inception.
    • "The Almost People": The Ganger Doctor is struggling to deal with all of his regenerations, crossing into each version of the Doctor as he makes his way to his current incarnation. Eventually, he reaches Ten and, in David Tennant's voice, says "Hello, I'm the Doctor–" before being cut off as he screams "DON'T! LET IT GO! WE'VE MOVED ON!" in what is possibly a Take That! to the fans still unhappy with Tennant's departure.
    • "Let's Kill Hitler": Amy mentions how the Doctor's had all summer to look for Melody after there had been no new episodes (in the middle of a series, no less) for the whole of summer.
    • "Night Terrors": Alex mentions that his son George had been scared of something that he had seen on the television and that it had prompted them to turn it off. Instinctively, the Doctor responds "Oh, you don't want to do that." This is likely a reference to the scandals which took place in the 1980s over if Doctor Who was too scary to be viewed by children. The producers of the show very much took up the policy that it was fine to scare the young viewers, as long as they didn't attach that fear to anything grounded in the real world.
    • The show also sometimes makes references to its title. In "The Wedding of River Song", it is revealed that "the first question, the oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight" is just "Doctor who?" It's hidden in plain sight because it's the show's title and has appeared at the beginning of every episode for 50 years! It's also the oldest question in the Whoniverse and the utterance of "Doctor Who" becomes a major plot point in Series 7 and the final Eleventh Doctor episode, "The Time of the Doctor".
    • "Asylum of the Daleks": The Doctor says "it's Christmas!" to the Daleks. Immediately after this line, Jenna Coleman appears as Oswin, even though fans had been told she wouldn't debut as the new companion... until Christmas.
    • In the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor", Cass is frustrated with her crashing ship's computer, which apparently thinks she needs medical attention. She tells it, "I'm trying to send a distress signal — stop talking about doctors." Then we hear a man off-camera say, "I'm a Doctor..." Cut to the Eighth Doctor looking at Cass (and the camera). "...but probably not the one you were expecting."
    • "The Time of the Doctor":
      • The Eleventh Doctor/Matt Smith leans so hard on the fourth wall it's surprising it doesn't fall over. Is it the Doctor or Matt Smith saying this?
        "We all change. When you think about it, we're all different people all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me."
      • Clara tells the Time Lords that the Doctor's name is not his Gallifreyan name but "the Doctor," and that if they love him they should help him prevent his end.
    • "Deep Breath", Peter Capaldi's first true episode as the Twelfth Doctor, deals with Clara's initial reluctance to accept a new, older Doctor with a radically different personality. The point becomes clear during a scene near the end where the Doctor begs Clara, and by extension, the audience, to "just see me".
      The Doctor: You can't see me, can you? You... you look at me and you can't see me. Do you have any idea what that's like? I'm not on the phone, I'm right here. Standing in front of you. Please, just... just see me.
    • "Robot of Sherwood": The Doctor is convinced that Robin Hood is only a legend and can't be the real deal. In the end, Robin tells him, "And remember, Doctor: I'm as real as you are."
    • "Kill the Moon" hinges on everyone on Earth being asked to vote whether or not the creature should be killed by switching their lights off if they want it dead. Due to a later broadcast slot and the fact that it was being shown in October, chances are the viewer would be watching it with the lights on, and even people who wanted the creature dead were unlikely to get up from the sofa to turn the lights off — so the viewer has cast their vote. Of course, Clara decides to let the creature live.
    • Since one of the main characters of "Last Christmas" is Santa Claus, a lot of mileage is made out of comparing Santa's ontological status with that of the Doctor. Right from the cold open:
      Santa Claus: Believer until the age of 9. Why did you stop?
      Clara Oswald: Because you're a fairy tale. I grew out of fairy tales.
      Santa Claus: [sigh] Did you, Clara? Did you really?
      [TARDIS materialises]
    • Series 9 plays with the issue of major character deaths in the Steven Moffat-era seasons (Series 5 onward) often being undone or revealed to not be what they seemed. Half of the season's Cliffhangers tease the deaths of the Doctor, Clara, and/or other recurring characters. Two major character deaths from Series 8, Missy and Osgood's, prove to have been more complex than what the audience saw at the time — and the former character says as soon as they appear that yep, they're back, let's get on with things! The Doctor saves "The Girl Who Died" with alien tech but makes her immortal and ageless as a result; because he can't take her on as a companion due to the risk of Immortality Immorality for both of them (as he is functionally immortal himself), she becomes a problem he has to deal with for a long time. It all leads up to a finale in which he puts the entire universe at risk of destruction to save Clara Oswald from her fixed-point-in-time death, and all of the other characters tell him he should have just accepted what happened in the first place!

  • The Elementary episode "Flight Risk" leans on the fourth wall, when Alistair (pretending to be Sherlock's father) asks Watson "how's the sex?" This is evidently taking a stab at the criticism the show received before airing, that having a female Watson was for the sole purpose of being a love interest to Sherlock.

  • Firefly
    • In "Objects in Space", the character Wash expresses his disbelief that someone could be psychic: "That sounds like something out of Science Fiction." When his wife, Zoë, responds with, "We live in a spaceship, dear," he says, "So?"
    • In the pilot, Mal plays a very cruel joke on Simon by convincing him (and the audience) that Kaylee has just died of a gunshot wound note . When Simon picks up on it, the following exchange has Mal essentially standing in for Joss Whedon, allowing Whedon to poke fun at his infamous love of screwing with his audience's emotions.
      Simon: That man is psychotic!
      [cut to another room on the ship, where Mal's whole crew is laughing hysterically]
      Wash: You are psychotic!
      Mal (laughing): No, you should have seen his face! Oh...I'm a bad man.
  • The Flash (2014): Felicity, crossing over from Arrow, notes that everyone seems to be in a worse mood than normal with a meta-comment on the different tones between the two shows:
    Felicity: I thought Central City was supposed to be the fun one.
    • Joe West has this to say about a metahuman who can make anything explode:
      Joe: Human bomb, huh? Must be Tuesday in Central City.
  • Frasier
    • In a final season episode, children's entertainer Nanette Guzman asks the eponymous doctor, "Do you have any idea what it's like to play the same character for twenty years?" When the episode was filmed, Kelsey Grammer had played Frasier Crane for 20 seasons across two shows.
    • The 100th episode has Frasier record the 1000th episode of his radio show, with Seattle organizing a Frasier Crane Day in his honor. Frasier Crane Day really happened.

  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show has Ramsay Snow remark, "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."
    • Bran does it as well in the Season 6 teaser:
      Bran: They have no idea what's going to happen.
    • Subtly and played for laughs — when Bronn and Tyrion realize Podrick's sexual prowess and interrogate him on the subject, the scene abruptly changes, like a mini-cliffhanger.
  • This happens fairly often in Glee, when the glee club members (or Sue) point out popular criticism or plot holes, like why rules that were established for glee competitions don't ever seem to apply to competing clubs, and references to names for couplings supported by fans.
  • The Great British Bake Off: In Series 5's pastry week, Kate mentions that she can almost hear the fast-paced music played on the Bake Off when there's only a short time left. Of course, said music is playing right at that moment.
  • Grey's Anatomy
    • Shonda Rhimes definitely knows what she's doing with this line from the season 8 finale: "I don't know how this keeps happening! We keep dying we're in a plane crash, Mer, like right now!"
    • Also from the season 5 premiere, when Cristina calls Meredith out for always wangsting to her about her Derek drama, even while actual important, real-life events are happening around her.

  • In the "Birthday Girl Down" episode of Henry Danger, Henry is at the party announcing the suspects who could have knocked Debbie off her roof the year before by changing the ball speed, he stated that he would reveal who the actual culprit was after a short break. Cue the commercial.
    • Flashback's appearance and name led to his role in this episode, to provide the flashback to the party.
  • In the first season of Heroes, Hiro and Ando make a lot of jokes about Star Trek. All of them seem to be leaning pretty heavily on the Fourth Wall when Mr. Sulu shows up as Hiro's father. Not to mention Spock being Sylar and President Whorfbama.
  • On the subject of Dr. House... Cuddy: "You come in with a case like this 24 times a year!" On another episode, a businessman wonders about the cost-effectiveness of four doctors who only treat one patient per week.
    • House on his penchant for Eureka Moments that occur at highly convenient times:
      "I'll go talk to Wilson about something completely unrelated and see what happens."
    • Similar moment to this when House is suddenly distracted by a eureka moment and Wilson says "You're about to get up and leave without saying anything, aren't you?"
    • In the finale episode of Season 2, House initially thinks that he might be hallucinating (he is) because he begins noticing the scene breaks.
    • "Three Stories" is framed by House telling a series of diagnostic tales to a seminar full of med students. One story starts to get heavy, with a patient going into cardiac arrest and the doctors scrambling to save him... Cut to House, calmly standing in front of the students.
      House: What say we take five? Get some coffee. Go pee. (House walks out into the hallway. Cut to commercial.)
  • In Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother, Barney is telling Ted that the Universe doesn't care about Ted's love life. Marshall interjects jokingly, "Unless Ted's love life is the glue binding the entire Universe together!" Everyone laughs, of course. If only they knew...
    • Ted's daughter complains in the season 2 premiere that it feels like he's been talking for a whole year.
    • In season six, Lily comments that "Ted can really drone on about a bitch." She probably should've warned her (presumably) godson and goddaughter about that...
    • "The Stinson Missile Crisis" is practically nothing but this, as far as the Framing Device is concerned.
    • In Season 8, when Marshall gets the group to the apartment to play "Who Wants To Be A Godparent?", he turns to the camera and says, "Right after a word from our sponsors." Robin, Barney, and Ted look at each other and then Ted asks, "Why is he talking to the wall?" Cue commercial.

  • Spencer's awareness of being involved in a B-plot in every episode. Having no actual subplot in "iPity the Nevel", he appears doing random antics out of sheer boredom, wandering into the webshow taking swigs from a bottle and appearing mildly drunk. He also asks if they want his advice or need his help with anything.

  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Build: At the end of the series, Sento Kiryu decides to share the story of his adventures with the world, and has written them down in script form — 49 episodes' worth of scripts, in fact. He pulls out a pocket recorder and starts narrating, only to start squabbling with Ryuga Banjou over the detailsnote , which happened in almost every single Previously On segment in the show's run.
    • In one episode of Kamen Rider Hibiki, the titular hero is seen telling some customers at the restaurant where he works about this movie that "just came out the other day". He describes it as a period piece about "this group of really cool warriors", or something along those lines. The day before the episode aired, The Movie, Kamen Rider Hibiki & The Seven Fighting Demons, which takes place in Japan's Warring States era, premiered in theaters.
  • Knots Landing:
    • In "A Little Assistance", Eric says, "Living in this cul-de-sac is like living in the middle of a soap opera."
    • In "Pressure Points", after finding out about Paige, Greg says to Laura, "Spare me the details. I already have this weird sensation that all your friends have soap opera lives, except us."
    • In "Half-Truths", after her sister-in-law Abby is charged with the murder of Peter Hollister, Karen says that it is the sort of thing that "happens on television. It's a soap opera. Doesn't happen to real people like me."
    • In "Dial M for Modem", Mack says to Karen, "The way you are, everybody you know has to be related until life with you is like living in a soap opera."
    • In "Mixed Messages", Greg says, "These elevators really get a workout," an in-joke referring to the large number of scenes set in the elevators at the Sumner Group from Season Ten to Season Twelve.
    • In the 300th episode "The Last One Out", Gary and Valene briefly discuss some of the down parts of their up-and-down relationship, especially the obstacles which seem to have kept them away from the altar all year long:
      Valene: Every time we wait, something goes wrong, we don't get together. Every time we put it off, we have some kind of delay. Something happens and we don't get married. It's like a comedy.
      Gary: I think it's more like a soap opera.

  • In Legends of Tomorrow, when Rip is explaining the schematics of prison and asks if everyone understood, Snart says "This isn't my first prison break." Wentworth Miller was the lead role on said show.
  • In Korean drama Lie to Me, one of the characters asks if there is a pregnancy involved, and the other responds that they watch too many dramas.
  • There's a dialogue like this at the end of Season 2 in Lois & Clark:
    Perry White: It's like we're supporting characters in some TV show that's only about them.
    Jimmy Olsen: Yeah! It's like all we do is advance their plots.
    Perry: To tell you the truth, I'm sick of it.
  • Luke Cage: Before heading out on a mission, Misty and Luke argue about who is whose sidekick. Luke asserts, "This is my show!"

  • During the last season of Mad About You, Paul and Jamie are sitting quietly together, when Paul says, "It's the last season," and Jamie looks at him quizzically. Turns out he's talking about the M*A*S*H marathon he's been watching.
  • Mad Men: In the Season 5 episode "Lady Lazarus", SCDP makes a commercial that in the preliminary phase has a Beatles soundtrack; upon review, they comment that while the track is perfect, licensing Beatles songs is very expensive, and they should probably go with one that sounds almost like it. At the end of the episode, Don complains to Megan about how he doesn't know what's going on in pop culture anymore, and she hands him a copy of the Beatles' Revolver. The episode ends with Don listening to "Tomorrow Never Knows"—the real version, and it reportedly cost AMC a quarter of a million dollars to do that.
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk and the TV Star", Monk suspects the star of a TV crime show of murder. During the investigation, he meets an obsessed fan, Marci Maven (played by Sarah Silverman), who continually comments that the suspect's show had recently changed its theme song and that nobody liked the new one. Of course, her comments are aimed at Monk itself, since it had recently changed its award-winning theme song to one by Randy Newman that many fans disliked ("It's a Jungle Out There"). At the end of the episode, Marci comments to Monk that he should have his own TV show, and makes him promise that if he ever gets one he'll never change the theme song. The episode then goes to the credits while the original theme song plays it out.
    • When Marci reappears in "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan", it is revealed that she also has all of his cases named, with the names of the episodes in which they occurred.
  • Mr. Robot is a show about hackers. In one scene, two of them gripe about Hollywood Hacking, causing one to say, "I bet you right now some writer's working hard on a TV show that'll mess up this generation's idea of hacker culture."

  • NCIS:
    • "Stop looking up my skirt!" It all but reaches through the fourth wall and smacks certain male viewers for what they're thinking at the moment.
    • In the season 4 episode "Driven", where Tony goes to visit Jeanne at her work, she's talking to another doctor about how oncology results take around a day, but Dr. House gets them in ten minutes.
    • The episode "Jet Lag" of season 7 ends with Ziva looking at a picture Tony took, commenting, "I think it would look better in black and white." Cue the standard ending black and white shot of said picture.
  • In the third episode of The Neighbors, titled "This Just Got Real" when (alien) Jackie is going to have dinner with Debbie and her friends from New Jersey, she prepares by watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. A few times during the episode, after making a quip or insult to one of the other ladies, she turns to the camera and comments on why she said what she said. Often, the camera angle will then shift to show her talking to the wall.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: In "New Kid on the Block", the quads were discussing whether their lives would make a good TV show and were arguing about what the title would be. Of course, Nicky chose "Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn".
  • The short-lived series Nowhere Man, which is about a man who is "erased" by a Government Conspiracy and then sees a TV show about a man who was "erased" by a Government Conspiracy, which was made by the actual Government Conspiracy just so no one would believe him if he tried to tell anyone the truth. And in the last episode, he discovers that all of his memories and his entire life are a simulation.

  • In an episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, an early FOX hit, Parker encounters a student who has been in detention so long that he's lost track of the "outside world". The exchange went something like...
    "Dude...what do you see out there?"
    "Well, Batman is out, heavily-armored turtles are in, and..." (looks around, lowers voice) "...there's a fourth network."
    "No way, dude!!"
  • In the Press Gang episode "The Big Finish", Tiddler says to an arguing Lynda and Spike, "We've all been following this dopey love story since page one." Page One was the title of the first episode.
  • An episode of The Pretender has Jarod, the titular pretender, feign insanity and get locked in an asylum. One of his analysts asks him his last name and he responds with "I don't know..." [devilish grin—which on Michael T. Weiss looks SERIOUSLY evil] "It changes every week."
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon's DVD special act when Mio became the Big Bad. She turns and smiles at the camera that's like she's asking to the viewer "Surprised I came back?"
  • Psych
    • In a season four episode, Shawn boasts that he "solve[s] a case every week... and usually one right around Christmas."
    • In "Heeeeeere's Lassie", Shawn says, "I think this is just a case of your imagination getting the best of you. Happens to Gus and I once every seven days."

  • This seems to be the cornerstone of Raising Hope's comedy.
    • In the third season episode "Throw MawMaw From the House, Part 2" begins with MawMaw (played by Cloris Leachman) talking to the camera, giving a recap of the previous episode. Two nursing home staff are in the background and we see from their point of view that she is actually talking to the wall. One staff comments about how crazy she is and the other agrees, saying that "Yesterday she claimed she won an Oscar and slept with Warren Beatty", both of which actually happened to Cloris Leachman.
    • In the episode "Modern Wedding", Burt expresses his frustration regarding Hope's supposedly-executed biological mother that "we're kinda done with the whole Lucy-coming-back-from-the-dead-thing. It's like, every year we think she's gone and then she comes back in some crazy way, messes up our lives again. It's gettin' old."
    • In one episode, Jimmy laments that it seems like every week he finds out about some horrible thing his parents did to him or mistake they made when he was a kid.
    • At the conclusion of the second-season Christmas episode, Shelley remarks, regarding "The Chances of Natesville" movie-within-the-show that makes fun of the Chance family:
      Shelley: I wouldn't worry about that movie, Jimmy. A poor family raising a serial killer's baby? Not many people are gonna wanna watch that. Least, not in my demographic.
  • Revolution: In an episode with the gang Storming the Castle, Miles described their seemingly impossible mission, then, in context talking about how often they ended up in these situations, said "well, just another Monday, right?" The show aired on Mondays at the time.
  • Roseanne liked to indulge in this trope:
    • In the Season Three premiere, Roseanne comes into the kitchen and remarks that it's such a beautiful day, she feels like singing. Over the summer of that year, Barr had infamously performed the National Anthem extremely badly at a baseball game, earning much criticism.
    • In one episode, Dan comments that his and Roseanne's lives feel like different problems every week... and that they relive those same problems over the summer.
    • In an episode where The Connors are about to appear in a commercial for the food court at a mall and Jackie walks into the room to discover them eating:
      Jackie: You're supposed to be eating in the commercial today. If you ruin your appetites now you're never gonna be able to eat on camera!
      Dan: (smirking to Roseanne) Is that so?
    • The biggest examples, though, come from when Sarah Chalke replaced Lecy Goranson as Becky.
      • At the end of her first episode, the family watches Bewitched and discusses the fact that Dick Sergeant replaced Dick York. Becky comments that she likes the second Darrin better.
      • When Goranson returned to the series, characters repeatedly asked her "Where the hell have you been?" every time she came on screen, with Roseanne commenting that "it feels like you've been gone for three years!"
      • One episode showed an adult D.J. (played by John Goodman) being taken to a psychiatrist, as he won't stop repeating the phrase "They say she's the same, but she isn't the same..." The end of the episode jokingly plays clips of both Goranson and Chalke playing Becky, which apparently drove D.J. crazy.
      • When Chalke returned to play Becky for the episode where the family travels to Disney World, Roseanne asks her "Aren't you glad you're here this week?"
      • Chalke plays a mom taking her children trick-or-treating in an episode during Goranson's return to the role. She talks about how nice the Conners seem, and how she wishes she could be part of their family.

  • Scrubs is fond of this:
    • "I wish there was a show on NBC that was about the lives of interns at a hospital. Yeah, and it should be a comedy, too."
    • One episode plays with this in the beginning. Three times it seems that JD is addressing the audience directly, but it turns out he's addressing someone in the room standing behind the camera. Except for the third and last time, when someone wonders whom he's talking to.
    • At the end of the same episode, we get this:
      JD: Come on, I know it's tempting to just mail it in, but there's still a lot of people who rely on us week to week. I think we owe it to them to be as inspired as we were our first few years. Now, I know we never do great come medical awards season, except for Dr. Shalhoub, he wins everything, but I still think we're as good as anybody else out there.
      Turk: The Nielsens beg to differ.
      [cut to shot of unhappy looking couple]
      JD: Oh, they're just upset because their insurance won't cover a private room.
    • Again in one episode where Turk and JD are driving away in a car, and the following conversation can be heard as a voiceover.
      J.D.: Hey, don't you hate it in films and stuff where people will drive away in a car and even though the car's moving away you can still hear the characters talking?
      Turk: Yeah, I hate that.
    • Another episode has J.D. imagine that his life is a sitcom, which turns out to be a more clichéd one with a Laugh Track. Yet another episode features a Clip Show in which J.D. remarks that his memories are coming back to him like on a TV show.
    • Yet another episode combines this with Take That! when J.D. discusses Grey's Anatomy. "It's like they saw our lives and put it on TV."
    • On the episode "My ABCs" where Sesame Street characters appear in the fantasy segments, Oscar the Grouch is appointed as the new chief of medicine and tells J.D. that he'll be watching him, and that "I never blink." Of course, seeing as he's a Muppet with immovable eyes...
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017):
    • Count Olaf isn't sure how much time has passed in the series, saying that it's either a year, a week, or a season.
    • Upon the Baudelaires fleeing to Lucky Smells by themselves (which did not happen in the books the show is adapted from), Mr. Poe exclaims that the entire thing has gone off-book.
    • Right before The Marvelous Marriage, Count Olaf tells the reporters interviewing him, "Well as an actor, I think live theatre is a much more powerful medium than, say, streaming television."
    • Stephano makes very clear his preference for long-form entertainment that can be consumed from the comfort of your own home.
    • When Stephano calls one of his minions about the change in plans, he snaps that he knows long-form television is better and that they should do as he says.
    • When on the drive to Prufrock Preparatory School, Mr. Poe says that it's the end of the season, so the Baudelaires have a lot of catching up to do.
    • At the start of The Austere Academy, the Baudelaires comment on how it feels like they'd been sitting on the bench outside the vice principal's office for a very long time and that Sunny was starting to look more like a toddler than a baby, referencing the gap between the first and second seasons.
    • At one point, the subject of having your own television show is broached. Count Olaf mentions that he tried that for nine years.
  • Employed a few times by Sledge Hammer!. One notable one occurs in the first season finale when the chief tells a terrorist making a live television broadcast, "Your show's been canceled!" Sledge asks, "You talkin' to me?" (As noted, this was expected to be the last episode.)
  • Smallville:
    • The band Remy Zero plays the show's theme song, "Save Me". In the Season 1 finale, Remy Zero appears as themselves and plays "Save Me" for the high school dance. Clark and his friends comment, "These guys are awesome."
    • In an episode that has vampires in it, Clark tells Professor Milton Fine, who is played by James Marsters (who also played the vampire Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) about the vampires, to which Fine replies "Clark, there's no such thing as vampires". The name of the chief vampire in the episode is Buffy Saunders.
    • In the episode with Clark and Lois' engagement party, Oliver Queen makes the toast: "They've finally realised what the rest of us have known for a very long time."
    • At the end of the two-part pilot, Jonathan asks Clark if he'll be okay. Clark asks him to get back to him in about five years. The line makes no sense (a high-school-aged teenager would be thinking in four-year increments if anything) except as a reference to the amount of time needed to complete the 100-episode minimum necessary for effective second-run syndication. This is confirmed in the DVD commentary, in which the producers joke that it would have been too obvious to have Clark say "Ask me again in a hundred episodes."
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1 has done this countless times.
      • "Point of No Return" played it straight forward.
        Martin: A top-secret government program involving instantaneous travel to other solar systems by means of a device known as a Stargate!
        O'Neill: Sounds like a good idea for a TV show… if you're into that sort of thing.
      • "200" almost in its entirety, and to a lesser extent, "Wormhole X-Treme". In the instance below, the characters are actually talking about a movie spin-off of a Show Within a Show based on the "real" Stargate Command. (Ironically, O'Neill's "surprise" appearance really made it into the commercial for that episode.)
        Martin: I'm talking about a twist; something nobody's expecting!
        O'Neill: [walks in] You mean something like this?
        Vala: I don't think anybody will see that coming.
        Daniel: Nope, there'll be spoilers.
        Carter: Are you kidding? It'll be in the commercial.
      • In "200", the stargate breaks down and Mitchell says "How can something work perfectly fine for 10 years and suddenly it doesn't work anymore?" That's a definite reference to the show's recent cancellation. In a later episode, Sam tells a one-shot character "the Stargate Program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge" when he expresses disappointment in their facilities. Again, a reference to the show's impending cancellation.
      • In addition, the episode "Secrets". Daniel Jackson admitted that he had not succeeded in his original mission, but promises to continue, though he fears that it may take many seasons.
      • In the episode, "Fallen", a native on a planet SG-1 is investigating recognizes Teal'c as a Jaffa, and O'Niell gives a clever retort.
        Native: He is Jaffa!
        O'Neill: No, but he plays one on TV.
      • During the episode "Full Alert":
        Kinsey: You want to take down the Trust. I can help you.
        O'Neill: I'm sorry, I must have missed an episode. I thought you guys were working together.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
      • Rodney: [Talking about TV] Most of which are fictional representations of ridiculously attractive people in absurd situations. (An absurd situation to the attractive people promptly occurs)
      • There's also an episode where John, wandering through a forest as usual, says "It's almost as if someone in their warm, cosy room typing at their computer sent us here for their own amusement."
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the finale "All Good Things...", Q talks about "putting an end to your little trek through the stars".
    • Near the end of "Ship in a Bottle", Picard, just short of smirking, muses about their reality, with a line that leans in even more than it did originally thanks to the advent of smartphones:
      Picard: "All this might just be an elaborate simulation running in a little device sitting on someone's table."
      Everyone leaves except Lt. Barclay, who looks contemplative
      Barclay: "Computer... End Program?"
      Credits Roll
    • In "Contagion", Deanna remarked about how the ship's constant malfunctioning could be seen as humorous from an outside perspective, were someone watching.
      Deanna: "In another time and place, this could be funny..."
    • The final line of the fourth season finale "Redemption: Part I" comes from Sela, who, due to Timey-Wimey Ball, is the daughter of the late Tasha Yar. Both are played by Denise Crosby. Since she's addressing characters roughly positioned in the same place as the camera, one gets the feeling she's addressing the audience more than the characters.
      Sela: We should not discount Jean-Luc Picard yet. After all, he is human. And humans have a way of showing up when you least expect them.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "Far Beyond the Stars" has Captain Benjamin Sisko hallucinating/having a vision that he's Benny Russell, a science fiction writer from the 1950s who actually writes about Deep Space Nine itself. At the end of the episode, when the whole thing was revealed to have been a dream (vision, whatever), he wonders if life aboard the station is the illusion.
    • At one point, the producers considered putting a scene at the end of the series finale that would have had Benny Russell walking into Paramount Studios with a Star Trek script in his hands.
    • In "Little Green Men", Quark turns out to be the Roswell alien. One of the minor military officers sworn to secrecy would have been identified as Lt. Roddenberry.
    • "In The Pale Moonlight" is framed as a video recording in Captain Sisko's personal log, with the events of the preceding two weeks presented as flashbacks. All of the log-entry scenes are shown from the station computer's point of view, with Sisko facing the camera. Technically, he's only talking to the computer (which is never shown), but the feeling that he's addressing the audience directly is almost irresistible.
    • In "Rules of Engagement", various characters are testifying at an extradition hearing. The testimonies are given directly to the camera.
    • In "Body Parts", an accident forced Dr. Bashir to transplant Keiko O'Brien's baby into Major Kira. On a few occasions during her surrogate pregnancy, Major Kira blamed Dr. Bashir that it's his fault that she ended up pregnant. In real life, Nana Visitor (Kira) was pregnant with Alexander Siddig's (Bashir) baby.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • The two-part episode "Future's End" featured the ship traveling back in time to the mid-1990s and encountering another time traveler from an additional 300 years in the future, had Captain Janeway remark: "Time travel. Ever since my first day in the job as a Starfleet Captain, I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these god-forsaken paradoxes. The future is the past, the past is the future. It all gives me a headache."
    • In season 4, B'Elanna Torres started wearing an engineering jacket and was never shown from the chest down due to the actress' real-life pregnancy. In the two-part episode "The Killing Game", where the crew was implanted with mind control devices by aliens and forced to take part in holodeck adventures, B'Elanna Torres's holodeck character was a pregnant woman. After the mind control devices were disabled (but with the holodeck effects still active), the crew commented that the 'simulated' pregnancy seemed so real that it even kicks.
  • Supernatural:
    • This is approaching the point of being a running gag during the last few seasons of Supernatural. First, the Winchesters discover that they have been written about in a popular book series (complete with fan-girls and fanboys), then they meet the author of said books, who apologizes for the poor writing in certain panned episodes. In a later episode, they even go to a fan convention all about the Supernatural series. And this is saying nothing of Dean's "they do know we're brothers, right?" reaction when he finds out about Wincest...
    • Also in Supernatural, Castiel is named after an angel who in lore helps people who travel a lot and is an angel of Thursday. The Winchester boys travel a lot, and guess what day the show aired at the time?
    • There is also Crowley's remark to Castiel in a Season 6 episode: "Castiel. Haven't seen you all season." The fact that it was a bald-faced lie aside, it was an odd way to phrase the greeting, unless it was a passing bit of fourth-wall leaning.
    • Early in Season 4, Dean surfs the fans online of the books and discovers Wincest (shipped by some actual fans of the show) and complaints of fans, both of which annoy him.
      Dean: Simpatico says the demon plot of Supernatural is trite, clichéd, and overall craptastic. Yeah well, screw you, Simpatico. We lived it.
    • Crowley does this again with Castiel when he mentions that Cas is the angel of Thursday and today isn't his day. During that season, Supernatural switched to Friday nights.
    • "It's about time we had a nice black and white case," was spoken at the start of the episode that was shown in black and white.
    • In "There Will Be Blood," the Alpha says, "See you next season," as Sam and Dean are leaving.
    • In the Season 2 episode "Hollywood Babylon," Sam remarks that the (strangely overcast) weather in L.A. is "practically Canadian." Supernatural is, of course, shot in Vancouver, Canada.
    • In Season 10, Dean and Sam run across a high school musical based on books about their lives. Dean reacts badly to this and chews her out on using different music choice. And coincidentally ...
      Dean: There is no singing in Supernatural!
      Tech Girl: Well, this is Marie's interpretation...
      Dean: [laughs sarcastically] Well, if there was singing, y'know, and that's a big if, if there was singing, it would be classic rock. Not this Andrew Floyd Webber crap!
  • In Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Danny Tripp and Jordan McDeere discussing the Show Within a Show's low ratings while Jordan is in the hospital for complications with her pregnancy. Danny mentions that a crisis in pregnancy is a surefire ratings boost. At the time, the real show was teetering on the brink of cancellation after falling ratings.

  • Veronica Mars:
    • In the Cold Open of one episode, Veronica describes her relationship with another character: "We used to be friends... a long time ago." Cue theme music, which includes the chorus, "A long time ago, we used to be friends."
    • There is also an exchange between Veronica (played by Kristen Bell—25 at the time) and Duncan (Teddy Dunn, also 25) about Logan sleeping with an older woman... who was 25.
  • Victorious:
    • In Tori Tortures Teacher during lunch Andre asks why none of them "ever sits on that side of the table", which would feature them facing away from the camera.
    • In Terror in Cupcake Street the main cast and Sikowitz discuss why they are the only ones chosen. They later realize the fact their classmates "never talk and just react" as a nod to the extras.
    • In Who Did it to Trina Andrè hints at the plot's "Rashomon"-Style. "Aw, no! Now we have to hear another story about what happened from a unique point of view?!"

  • In Weeds, Nancy once told her son Shane that he could grow up to a be a "doctor, lawyer or business executive", a clear reference to the theme song.
  • The Will & Grace episode "No Sex 'N' The City" lampoons the show and sitcoms as a whole.
    • During the series finale this exchange occurs between the breakout characters Jack McFarland and Karen Walker:
      Karen: Y'know, sometimes it seems like our sole purpose in life is just to serve Will and Grace.
      Jack: Right. It's like all people see when they look at us are the supporting players on the Will & Grace show.
  • At the very end of the Grand Finale of the drama Wizards of Waverly Place, Chancellor Tootie Tootie says, "And that's our show, everybody! Thanks for watching!" Almost as if it and the game show itself are directed towards us, the viewers.
  • In the Workaholics episode "The Fabulous Murphy Sisters" Karl is apparently a videographer going to direct Adam in his demo tape for the guys' new sport - Karl is played by one of the show's co-creators, who also frequently directs the episodes, making Karl's use of film jargon "Talent on set" and surprisingly helpful direction less so.

  • The sitcom Yes, Dear has one episode where someone faces the couch away from the audience and they keep saying it doesn't feel right. When asked why, they say simply, "I dunno," then keep turning and look back at the direction of the audience, while wondering.


Example of: