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Framing Device

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"Man, do you remember that article we wrote about framing devices?"
"That was a damn good article. How did it go again?"
"Well, I believe it went something like this..."

The Framing Device is a narrative technique in which a story is surrounded ("framed") by a secondary story, creating a story within a story, often through Separate Scene Storytelling. The inner story is usually the bulk of the work. The framing device places the inside story within a different context.

Framing devices typically involve outer story characters as the audience of the inner story, such as a parent reading a bedtime story to a child. Other times, the outer story character is the author of, or a performer in, the inner story. Occasionally, the inner story is a hallucination or delusion experienced by one of the outer story characters.

The inner story does not need to be a work of fiction from a frame-story character's point of view: letters, journals, and memoirs can also be used as framing devices, often in the form of Day in the Life.

Anthologies and Clip Shows often use framing devices to connect the unrelated elements into a unified whole. The earlier "Treehouse of Horror" specials of The Simpsons use a framing device in this way, though the practice was eventually abandoned.

Occasionally, an entire series can use a persistent Framing Device, such as Cro, which was framed by a recently thawed mammoth, who was telling the stories which composed the bulk of each episode. A noteworthy example from the days of radio is Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, whose stories were told in the form of explanations to a private detective's expense account. This method was also used to get foreign children's shows that were Quarter Hour Shorts on the air in the United States back in the 90's, usually by creating an entirely new show to serve as the framing device. To a lesser extent, devices such as the Captain's Log can be viewed as a Framing Device, especially when (as in many Star Trek: The Original Series episodes) they appear to have been written after the fact.

The Framing Device is Older Than Dirt: It goes right back to the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt with the "Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor", c. 2300-2100 BC. Sometimes the trope is written using nested framing devices that are several layers deep, as in the Arabian Nights. Frankenstein is framed by a story of an arctic expedition coming across the dying Dr. Frankenstein; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is framed by the mariner foisting his story on an unwilling wedding guest. One of the first (if not the first) examples in film is from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which (on a suggestion from Fritz Lang) framed the original story as a flashback in an asylum.

The technique sometimes seems to be a byproduct of an ancient notion that it was improper to waste people's time with lengthy fabrications.

This is frequently used as a technique to highlight that the narrator of the framed story is not the actual author, and so draw attention to the possibility of an Unreliable Narrator.

See Whole Episode Flashback, Storybook Opening, Myth Prologue, How We Got Here, Interrogation Flashback, Recap by Audit, and Nostalgic Narrator for more specific examples. When framing devices are stacked on top of each other, they create a Nested Story. If a framing device is set up and is later forgotten by the end of the story, it becomes a Forgotten Framing Device. If the existence of a framing device is used as a Plot Twist, we're dealing with a Nested Story Reveal. If a story alternates between a character's past and present but doesn't use a framing device, it's Flashback B-Plot. If the framing story is "I came across this story and decided to publish it", the author is invoking Direct Line to the Author. If done badly, you might find Expo Speak.

Compare Intro-Only Point of View.

"Hmm, not bad, not bad at all. But can you give me a few examples of it?"
"Maybe one or two..."

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The anime for Ascendance of a Bookworm is set with the high priest of the local temple looking through the main character's memories with magic to see how she got here. It's not really necessary, but gives a hint to viewers about where the season will end and also gets to show off a popular supporting character ahead of schedule.
  • The last compilation movie for the Assassination Classroom anime was framed as Karma and Nagisa, just the day before the Class 3-E reunion seven years after the main story, meeting up and talking to each other.
  • Baccano! uses this both in the anime and the first of the Light Novels, though in different ways. The anime starts with the Vice President of the Daily Days and his young assistant trying to make sense the bizarre history of the last three years. The book starts with the conta è oro of the Martillo family eventually revealed to be Firo rather than the assumed Maiza relaying the 1930 story to a Japanese tourist in the present.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo frequently has a theater (conveniently placed in the main character's head) which plays various films, directly cutting into plot points in the middle of episodes, done mainly for the Rule of Funny.
  • King of Bandit Jing: Seventh Heaven is a 3-episode Original Video Animation series in which the first and third episodes act as a frame for the second one.
  • The movie adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was set up as Reinforce Zwei talking about the events that eventually led to her creation, as recounted by Hayate and the Wolkenritter.
  • A particularly ingenious version of this is used in Martian Successor Nadesico, in an inversion of its Show Within a Show relationship with Gekiganger 3 — it airs as an episode of Gekiganger in which its characters are watching Nadesico. It manages to lampshade the Recap Episode when one of the Gekiganger characters complains that nothing new happens in them, and it's an excuse for the production company to take a break. The Gekiganger OVA meanwhile, has a framing device of the Nadesico cast, after the end of the series, watching the Gekiganger movie in a theater.
  • Monster opens with a passage from Revelations which puts the actions of the series it parallels in a very different context.
  • Moriarty the Patriot:
    • The Merchant of London flashback chapters are framed in Louis being asked to recount a particular story to Bond to explain what information Fred has just told everyone Milverton has found on William.
    • The Remains is framed with the Moriartys returning to the Durham manor and looking around and Louis finding an old abandoned diary he left there with recountings of past adventures.
  • The first half of Episode 14 of Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Clip Show with SEELE discussing the events that played out up to that point framing the segment.
  • The story of Not Simple is told as a reporter named Jim writes a book (also titled Not Simple) detailing the many trials of the protr's life.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers spends a third of its story within one of these: The first volume ends with the eight Tokugawa Shogun, Yoshimune, asking the court historian of the court's history. The next volumes uses this as a framework for the historian telling the story of the third to seventh Shogun, explaining the backstory of the Inner Chambers and how it works to the reader. After Yoshimune is caught up, the remaining volumes then follows Yoshimune and her descendants.
  • Samurai Champloo has a recap episode framed via Mugen (surreptitiously) reading Fuu's diary entries.
  • Tenchi Muyo! Extra Chapter: Galaxy Police Mihoshi's Space Adventure (a.k.a. Mihoshi Special) is framed by Mihoshi telling the story to the other characters from the original Original Video Animation series. Most of the characters in the "inner" story are Alternate Continuity versions of them.

    Comic Books 

In General:

  • Many older horror comics have framing devices in which the comic has a "host" who welcomes the reader into their domain, and starts to tell this month's story. EC Comics was best known for this, with their most famous being the Cryptkeeper. DC Comics used the device a lot, with most of their hosts going on to become supporting characters in The Sandman (1989).

Specific Examples:

  • All Fall Down: Chapter two's funeral service frames a flashback to the heroes and villains' last hour of glory.
  • American Vampire: Skinner Sweet's origin story as the first American vampire is narrated to an live audience by Will Bunting, an eyewitness that followed the events closely and wrote an novel about it. At the end of his tale, it's revealed that Sweet was right there listening to it all along, and rubs on Bunting's face how he is old and decrepit while Sweet is young forever.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts: The premise involves a wealthy Russian billionaire hosting a banquet for his rich friends in New York. After dinner is finished, the guests and the billionare's disgruntled kitchen staff play Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, a Japanese parlor game where they all tell horror stories by a mirror and one-hundred candles, blowing out a candle for every finished story.
  • Arawn is a Start of Darkness story on how the title character became an Evil Overlord after being abandoned and betrayed by all those he knew and losing the only woman he loved, being narrated by Arawn himself to one of his victims.
  • Astro City: Many flashback stories use framing devices of one of the participants telling of their experiences many years later, notably "Shining Armor" and "The Dark Ages".
  • Avengers: Back to Basics: The stories are presented as simulations of the Avengers' past missions recorded on a VR headset, which Kamala is browsing through while studying the team's history.
  • Back to the Future: The first volume is framed as stories that Doc Brown tells his sons while constructing the time train in the Old West.
  • Bizarro Comics: Mr. Mxyzptlk finds that he's been made the new ruler of the Fifth Dimension, but his joy is short-lived when he learns there's a Multiversal Conqueror on the way. His attempt at dealing with the being known only as "A" in his usual fashion goes south, and Mxyzptlk is forced to find a champion to help him play A's games. After failing to convince Superman to help, Mxy tries to find an alternate version of Supes who will, only to get stuck with Bizarro Superman. An attempt at teaching the dim-witted and eccentric Bizzaro about being a superhero just leads to Bizarro making his own comics, which leads into the anthology of various strange, non-canonical tales involving DC Comics heroes that takes up much of the rest of the book.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The second series is framed as a story told by one of Wismerhill's daughters to her own daughter about how grandfather became the emperor of this strange new world.
  • Circles: The story is told mostly from Paulie's point of view as he writes in a diary, but his is not the pure point of view, since we see many things to which he is not privy. Paulie's diary segments are a Framing Device used to introduce the subject of that season's problem.
  • Conan the Barbarian by Dark Horse Comics. The actual stories are framed by the tale of an Eastern Prince of a less ancient (but still pre-Gutenberg) era that discovers the Nemedian Chronicles (maybe the "Know, o Prince" line gave them the idea). The one reading the tales of Conan to the Prince (who cannot read) is his vizier, a wizened old man dressed in Stygian garb...
  • In Gotham Academy, the Endgame tie-in and the Yearbook storyline both feature a premise involving the main characters telling stories. In the former, the students are housed together following a power outage caused by the Joker's Endgame, so naturally the main characters take the chance to share Joker-themed ghost stories while the main plot is explored. In Yearbook, Maps is comforted by Olive when her idea for a yearbook club is rejected, leading to a multitude of side-stories featuring (mis)adventures several of the Academy cast had undertaken, all removed from the main plot of the entire book.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth:
    • In Batman Annual #20, Old Posea tells three children of the Bat-Man's heroic deeds in Gotham on Old Earth in order to teach them life lessons.
    • In Catwoman Annual #3, a museum tour guide tells several visitors about Commissioner Joker's pursuit of the Outlaw Couple Batman and Catwoman in the ancient city of Gotham.
    • In Azrael Annual #2, Nunky recounts the story of Azrael's heroic victory over Bane in the hell of Gotham to a large group of children.
    • In Flash Annual #9, Deborah tells the story of Tristan and Bryan Mallory, including her own involvement with them, to six children.
    • In Guy Gardner: Warrior Annual #2, a family of Reptilian aliens experience simulations of the adventures of Guy Gardner and his descendants through a cybertronic inducer while visiting the asteroid museum Warriors.
    • In Aquaman Annual #2, two storytellers tell conflicting stories about Aquaman to determine which is better. He is a great hero in the first story and a terrible villain in the second.
    • In Starman Annual #1, Richard Swift / the Shade tells seven children about the exploits of two Starmen, Prince Gavyn and Ted Knight.
    • In Sovereign Seven Annual #2, Violet Jones, Pansy Smith and Daisy Miller recall various adventures of the Sovereign Seven in the coffee house Crossroads as the universe comes to an end.
  • The Hellboy miniseries Koshchei the Deathless has the title villain protagonist making peace with his former enemy Hellboy and telling him his life's story and Start of Darkness in a bar.
  • Marvel Presents #8 is an interesting example of filler. The intended Guardians of the Galaxy story was running late, and they couldn't reprint their first appearance from Marvel Super-Heroes #18, as Astonishing Tales #29 already reprinted it at the time. Cleverly, Marvel Presents instead reprinted Silver Surfer #2 (featuring the debut of the Badoon, the Guardians' main antagonists), framed as a Guardians story by Roger Stern (in his first writing gig for Marvel) where the Guardians recover a Bandoon "Mento-Corder", which projects the Badoon's encounter with the Silver Surfer into their minds.
  • Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero: The graphic novel is comprised of stories being told to journalist Naomi, and are presented as flashbacks.
  • Pathfinder: Origins frames the Origins Episodes of the Pathfinder Iconics who make up the main cast as them telling their life stories to an interviewer for the Pathfinder Society offering them membership.
  • Each issue of Plutona runs with the main narrative but jumps to a traditional comic style for a few pages at the end to explore Plutona's backstory.
  • Rivers of London: Volume 4, Detective Stories, involves Peter recounting some of his strangest cases to an examiner while taking the last part of the test to become a police detective.
  • The Sandman (1989) uses this a few times, most notably in the "World's End" arc, which features a framing device of characters swapping stories in an Inn Between the Worlds. Often, those stories are themselves framing devices for more stories. In places, it nests at least four framing devices deep.
  • The Secrets of Willowmyst is presented as a story being told to a bunch of kids (who occasionally interrupt to point out certain things) by one Miss Gwen.
  • Star Wars: Kanan: The bulk of the series is made-up of Kanan's flashbacks to his days as a Padawan. These flashbacks are framed and by the story of the Ghost crew's mission to Kaller, which happened sometime during Season 1 of Rebels, and events of this story are what trigger these flashbacks in Kanan.
  • Über is narrated as a historical document in alternate timeline where the Nazis developed super-soldiers at the brink of the Reich's defeat in World War II.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Episode of Bardock reveals at the end that all of the events were part of a story told to Gohan by his father in a dream. The other movies that do not fall into canon are stated or implied at various times to be movies, written by Krillin, produced by Nappa, and watched on TV by Vegeta.
  • In Fate/Starry Night, the "Jack's Adventure" sidestories are narrated from Jack's perspective, as she's describing how she got to Ritsuka in time to rescue him from Berserker. The story ends with her cheering about how she found him.
  • Total Drama:
    • In Legacy, Heather and Duncan at Camp Wawanakwa comprise the frame story, and their reminiscences comprise the inner story.
    • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, Brett learns that he will be a contestant on the newly revived Total Drama Island: The Next Generation and learns that his mother was a contestant on the first season of the original Total Drama Island, so he asks her to tell him all about her experience. Her tales comprise the inner story, with the byplay between Brett and his mother comprising the frame story.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • The Mass Effect fic The Translation in Blood frames the backstory of Rear Admiral Hannah Shepard (Commander Shepard's mother if you chose the Spacer background) and Councilor Sparatus as Hannah, during the early days of the Reaper War in Mass Effect 3, looking back on the First Contact War 35 years earlier. The fic switches back to the present for the last quarter or so of the story.
  • The Infinite Loops began when the multiverse computer system suffered a system crash and necessitated the induction of time loops while the admins scrambled to repair things. The actual STORY is really a bunch of people screwing with their own canon in any way they see fit.
  • The story The Quiet Fox is predominantly told in flashback with each flashback chapter narrated by a different character. Sasuke's chapter is particularly memorable.
  • Redaction of the Golden Witch is presented as a critical analysis of an unpopular Forgery based off the events of Umineko: When They Cry. The author personally believes that the reason this particular Forgery breaks from established storytelling patterns is because it's actually a confession related to another incident that occurred on the island in 1996.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • From Bajor to the Black frames vignettes of Eleya becoming first a Bajoran Militia NCO, then a Starfleet officer, and finally a commanding officer, with Eleya answering unheard interview questions from journalist Jake Sisko.
    • "Remembrance of the Fallen": Tiana Lanstar visits her wife Sobaru's grave on the Bajoran Day of Remembrance, and reminisces about an encounter with Kanril Eleya at Starfleet Academy ten years earlier and how they celebrated the Day of Remembrance together.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of Britannia starts every chapter with a Fictional Document of some variety
  • Fairy Without Wings has each chapter start and end with a quote that falls in line with the context of the chapter. The quote can be said by a character of either fandom or a pre-existing one. Sometimes it's song lyrics.
  • In The Story to End All Stories, each chapter ends with a cutaway to Mike and the Bots discussing what they've just seen.
  • Doctor Whooves – The Series Christmas Episode A Hearth's Warming Tale is framed as Luna telling the story to three little fillies, with comments and discussion from the kids.
  • The main installments of the Twice Upon an Age series are presented as being adapted from the official Chantry historical record concerning the Second Inquisition of Thedas. The author is a "Chantry scholar" turning the formal records into a story, assisted by her editor, Varric Tethras. There are also a few side volumes which have their own related but separate framing devices.
  • MCU Rewrites: The events of Black Widow are told through flashbacks with narration from Natasha Romanov\Black Widow as she is on trial now that the entire world knows her past crimes after she leaked both SHIELD and HYDRA on the Internet during Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Collated Accounts of the Infinity Train: A summary: The fanfic is written as though it is a research document, with the author's thoughts being interspersed between excerpts from other texts such as letters, newspaper articles, and interviews from throughout history.
  • The story of All Mixed Up! is really a case file that Oprah (and later Ori) reads through while waiting for her old boss, Olesya, to come and visit her.

    Film — Animated 
  • Aladdin begins with a peddler selling a magic lamp and proceeding to tell the story of the fortune it brought its previous owner. The third film, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, ends with the same peddler bidding the viewers farewell with a reprise of Aladdin's opening song, "Arabian Nights". One of the proposed endings of the framing device in the first film was revealing that the peddler was in fact the Genie, which explains why only these two are four-fingered when everyone else is five: because they were the same character. It also explains why the peddler has the lamp, as obviously Aladdin wouldn't have sold or thrown away a memento of his best friend.
  • The children's movie Balto begins and ends with live-action sequences, where a grandmother is explaining to her granddaughter about the diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, and how it led to the 1925 dog-sled serum run. The end sequence, where they visit the statue erected to honor the dogs who heroically brought the medicine the town needed, reveals that the grandmother is actually Rosie, the little girl who almost died.
  • Used often in the first decade of Direct to Video Barbie movies.
    • Barbie in the Nutcracker: Barbie tells young Kelly about Clara's courage in The Nutcracker to give the kid a confidence boost as she rehearses her ballet steps. Barbie casts herself as the protagonist and three Kelly counterparts appear throughout the story: a Snow Fairy, a girl from the Gingerbread Village, and a Flower Fairy.
    • Barbie as Rapunzel: Barbie retells Rapunzel to spark Kelly's imagination when she doesn't know what to paint. Again, Barbie is the title character, and there are three Kelly counterparts: the Prince's younger sisters Katrina, Lorena, and Melody.
    • Barbie of Swan Lake: Barbie tells a version of Swan Lake to Kelly as a bedtime story when the younger girl is having trouble spending the night at camp. Kelly appears in the story as a cygnet, while several other kids her own age (presumably the other campers) correspond to the rest of the enchanted animals.
    • Barbie: Mariposa: Elina from the Barbie Fairytopia sub-franchise tells the story to her pet puffball, Bibble. This is dropped in the sequel, Barbie: Mariposa and the Fairy Princess.
    • In Barbie in A Christmas Carol, Barbie tells a Yet Another Christmas Carol story to her younger sister to teach her the True Meaning of Christmas. Barbie casts her little sister as Tiny Tammy to her Scrooge-esque Eden Starling.
    • Barbie & The Diamond Castle frames the main plot as a story being made up by Barbie and Teresa for Barbie's sister Stacie to teach Stacie a lesson about friendship after a fight with her friend Courtney. While Barbie and Teresa appear as the protagonists of Diamond Castle, there is no Stacie equivalent.
    • Barbie Presents Thumbelina is the last to use this setup. Camp counselor Barbie tells the story of Thumbelina and the Twillerbees to convey to the children that "Even the smallest person can make a big difference." None of the characters in the frame story have counterparts in the story, not even Barbie herself; this becomes clearer once it's revealed that the Twillerbees are Real After All and are apparently acquainted with Barbie.
  • The main story of The Book of Life is told to a group of schoolchildren by a museum tour guide reading from the Book of Life. Tellingly, though, La Muerte and Xibalba look exactly as they did in the main story when they reveal themselves in the end.
  • The Care Bears Movie is told by an elder Nicholas about how the Care Bears helped him.
  • Heathcliff: The Movie (released in 1986) is made up of "stories" he tells to his nephews, which are actually select episodes taken from the TV show's first season (premiered in 1984).
  • The movie based off the 1980's Dennis the Menace cartoon had a framing device of Dennis trying to help recover Mr. Wilson's memory by telling him about some of their past adventures.
  • In Heavy Metal, the first segment has the Loc-Nar appearing to the little girl: the subsequent segments are the stories it tells her.
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie is framed as a story told by an old man named Mr. Liu to an unnamed young boy who enters his shop.
  • The Lion King 1 ½ has Timon and Pumbaa watching the original movie as this.
  • Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol has the title character performing in a Broadway production of the Dickens story.
  • The Chuck Jones version of Peter and the Wolf had live action segments in between some of the cartoon ones, even crossing Roger Rabbit Effect territory at least one time.
  • Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw took place in the fifties but was told as a story by characters in the eighties.
  • In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, a band of live-action pirates (rather maniacally) run into a movie theater to watch it.
  • The Town Santa Forgot opens and ends with an old man (who it turns out is the now-elderly main character) telling the story to his grandchildren.
  • The War to End All Wars – The Movie: In the opening scene, set during the Battle of the Yser, King Albert of Belgium is drafting a letter that blows loose from his writing desk and is carried by various means to each segment of the film, zigzagging its way across Europe for the four years of World War I until it arrives at a museum warehouse where it is lost for a hundred years.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 300 uses this coupled with Unreliable Narrator and possibly a kind of unreliable listener, as the events depicted in the Flashbacks are very over the top. The story is told by the sole surviving member of Leonidas' 300 Spartans, who was sent back to Sparta to tell the tale before the Final Battle. At the beginning we see him telling the story at a campfire before a group of Spartans, missing an eye (which he still has in the flashbacks). At the end we find he was telling it to inspire his men before the Battle of Plataea.
  • The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was framed by segments of Ernie and Bert talking to the audience about what they are about to see and to encourage them to interact with the film. They would also interrupt the movie at certain points.
  • The 1934 version of The Age of Innocence starts in the 1930's, with an elderly Newland Archer telling the story to his grandson. Cut to the outside of their car as the car wheel turns into a carriage wheel and we're transported to the 1870's for the bulk of the story. At the conclusion, the carriage wheel turns back into a car wheel as Newland finishes telling the story as they arrive at the home of Countess Olenska.
  • The story of the Bell family in An American Haunting is told through a letter written in the 1800s that is found more than a century later.
  • The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman is another interview-framed film. The interview takes place in 1962, when Miss Pittman is 110 years old. Her memories extend back to before the American Civil War.
  • The script in Bad Education (2004). The inner story is about Ignacio's past and history with Father Manolo and his time as a transvestite. The outer story is about Ángel in the present trying to get Enrique to adapt his script to film.
  • Similar to the SpongeBob example, Barney's Great Adventure began with the main characters getting ready watch the film in a theater.
  • Big Trouble in Little China begins with old Egg Shen telling the entire story to a lawyer, but it's a pretty pointless sequence that has no consequences on the rest of the plot.
  • The Black Stork begins with a geneticist explaining to his daughter's suitor why he can't have her until he's undergone a thorough physical examination to ensure that he's genetically fit. To illustrate his point, he takes the suitor on a tour of some institutions, then tells him the sad story of his old friend Claude Leffingwell and his defective child, which takes up most of the movie.
  • Broadway Danny Rose is told this way. A group of people has gathered around a table, recalling the events that make up the movie.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the first example of this in film, and carries the interesting little twist that the story Francis is telling the old man on the bench is a complete hallucination.
  • Citizen Kane frames the story of Charles Foster Kane's life with the reporter's search to find out who or what "Rosebud" was.
  • Clawed: The story is framed as Sheriff Reynolds telling the events of the Bear Claw Massacre to Dark Annie for her horror podcast.
  • The very strange and fortunately all but forgotten Martin Short film Clifford is framed by Short made up as a very old man being describing his childhood. The main story thus framed involves the bratty prepubescent child, played by Martin Short.
  • The Compleat Al is a mockumentary that doubles as a framing device for Al's music videos.
  • The stories in the Anthology Film Deadtime Stories are framed as stories being told by an uncle to his young nephew who refuses to go to sleep otherwise.
  • In The Devil's Messenger, the stories are linked by Satan employing Satanya as his messenger and dispatching her to Earth.
  • Elvis (2022): The movie is framed from the prespective of "Colonel" Tom Parker in 1997 as he lays dying in a Las Vegas hospital after suffering an accident at home.
  • Ever After: The movie is about one of Cinderella's descendants telling The Brothers Grimm about her real life.
  • Evidence is essentially a found-footage horror movie framed by police investigators viewing the footage to try and determine who the killer was.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom was implied by its trailer and promotional material to be a kung fu film set in ancient China, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li. It was, in part. It was also a Journey to the West inspired story, starring a modern day South Bostoner learning to defend himself and getting character development through a dream. Or Was It a Dream?
  • Forrest Gump is mostly framed by Forrest telling his life story to random strangers while waiting for the bus, which also servers as a very long How We Got Here.
  • The Hobbit film trilogy seems to use this technique by using Bilbo's writing down of his adventure to the Lonely Mountain into the Red Book on his 110th birthday. It cleverly uses it to help establish the relationship between Frodo and Bilbo and the fact that they live together, which was never really done in the The Lord of the Rings.
  • I Am Alone is framed by Mason and a professor trying to develop a cure for The Virus watching the footage that Mason and Jacob recorded during the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet: The main story, which takes place during World War II, is framed by present-day scenes of George and Harlock on an investigation to see if their old "secret weapon" Henry Limpet is responsible for increased intelligence in porpoises.
  • In The Imitation Game, the main story is framed by the protagonist in a holding cell, telling the police officer his entire story, and leaving it to him (and by extension, the audience) to pass judgment on what exactly he is.
  • Iron Man 3 is framed as Tony recounting the events of the film from When It All Began to how it ended. As The Stinger reveals, he was telling the story to Bruce Banner as if Banner were his therapist, but Banner says that he's Not That Kind of Doctor.
  • 1915 silent film The Italian includes a seemingly pointless framing device in which lead actor George Beban, playing himself, is reading a novel called The Italian. Then the story proper, with Beban playing the lead character, begins. The film ends with Beban-as-Beban finishing the book.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets is framed by the main character writing his memoirs as he waits in prison to be executed for a murder he did not commit. The memoir details the eight murders he did commit.
  • The Last Command begins and ends with filming a Show Within a Show - movie about the Russian Revolution. Main character is an extra in this movie and a former general of Russian Empire. Main part of the film is his flashback to the Revolution, remembering How We Got Here.
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman is framed by a letter that is sent to Stefan, a musician.
  • Little Big Man is framed by the very elderly main character, Jack Crabb, being interviewed (in a nursing home) by a collector of oral histories, about his younger life.
  • The Lone Ranger: A young boy listens to the story of the Lone Ranger being told by an aged Tonto.
  • The Disney film Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. opens with the title character (played by Dick Van Dyke) writing to his fiancée about where he's been, and why he missed their wedding. It closes with him finishing the letter.
  • The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines begins with a man in ornate robes writing the events of what happened three hundred years ago, where majority of the story is set. The final scene goes back to the man, revealed to be Sultan Mudzaffar Shah of Kedah, recording the chronicles of his ancestor in the Kedah Annals.
  • The film Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders features an elderly man telling his grandson a script idea that was rejected. This was added in post-production as a result of Executive Meddling not only demanding a Lighter and Softer tone, but also insisting on a name actor (Ernest Borgnine as the grandfather) in the movie. When the film got the Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax treatments, they spent a lot of time mocking how little effort went into making the story work as one being told to a child.
    Servo: Man, Borgnine’s grandkid must be getting really bored by now.
    Mike: (as Borgnine): And then he went into the kitchen and poured himself a cool drink.
  • Miracle At St Anna begins in the 1980s, where the protagonist, a post office clerk near retirement, suddenly shoots a customer in public and allows himself to be arrested for the subsequent murder. En route to court-martial, the protagonist remembers his past in the 1940s, where he turns out to be a member of the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy during the second World War - his victim is a member of the Les Collaborateurs who arranged for the Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre after being bribed by the Germans before escaping to the US.
  • Mishima A Life In Four Chapters takes place during Yukio Mishima's last day, mixed with flashbacks and scenes from his works.
  • The Muppet Movie has a framing device of the Muppets watching the movie in a theater. At one point, the film breaks, but the projectionist, the Swedish Chef, is able to fix it.
  • Mystery Team begins and ends with the Mystery Team investigating a case.
  • Necronomicon: In the wrap-around segment, H.P. Lovecraft visits an ancient library to read the Tome of Eldritch Lore which contains the stories of the other segments.
  • Nocturnal Animals: The bulk of the film's plot is a fictional tale written by Edward.
  • None Shall Escape is a 1944 film about a trial against a Nazi officer following the end of the then-ongoing second world war, told via flashbacks from the points of view of the witnesses at the trial. The bulk of the story consists of the testimonies/flashbacks, with the trial serving as the framing device.
  • The movie adaptation of Of Mice and Men with Gary Sinise starts and ends with George on a train, recalling the events that led to Lenny's death.
  • The 2004 The Phantom of the Opera movie is told as several flashbacks of the now aged Raoul as he attends the Opera House auction, purchases the music box Christine was so fond of, and travels to the cemetery to place it on her grave.
  • The Prestige features a framing device within a framing device, as Borden reads in Angier's diary about Angier reading his diary.
  • The Princess Bride is framed as a book being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson. The grandfather's elisions and commentary mirror the editorializing done by "editor" William Goldman in the original book.
  • Road Trip uses Barry's college tour as a framing device to recount the events of the road trip.
  • Most of the action in Buster Keaton's film Sherlock, Jr. is presented as the protagonist's dream, and at the end he wakes up.
  • Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny has a story of Santa telling a weird version of Thumbelina to schoolchildren. Like Merlin above, Rifftrax derived a Running Gag of “Remember, Santa is telling this story on the beach” from the lousy effort.
    Mike Nelson: And so the PA described how the Witch continued to mince about for a while, not speaking, just fiddling about mostly! Ho ho ho!
  • The horror/comedy movie Scare Package and its sequel Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge use framing devices as a means of showing off its various parody films:
    • The first film's device is about Chad, the owner of a horror-themed video store, walking a new employee through the motions of working at the store, while the in-universe movies play on the store's screens. Though after the last of these, it turns into a horror movie of its own, as Chad is abducted along with others by a secret organization studying how horror movie tropes play out in real life.
    • The device for Rad Chad's Revenge is about how the first movie's Final Girl attends Chad's funeral, only for her and the other mourners to be abducted by a Loony Fan of Chad's into a Saw-style series of torture traps, with the in-universe movies holding the clues they need to survive.
  • Stand by Me is framed by the Writer (aka the adult Gordy) reacting to the news of his friend Chris being stabbed to death.
  • Stormy Weather has Bill Williamson finding an old magazine article about himself, and then telling the story of his life to his neighbour's kids.
  • Summerland (2020): The film opens with Alice writing of her life before in 1975, showing what happened and how they led her up to that point via flashbacks.
  • The Third Saturday In October Part V is a 2022 film presented as the fifth installment of a cheap series of Halloween rip-offs that was released in 1994. An Opening Scroll explains this. The first original film, The Third Saturday In October Part I, was defictionalized as a sequel, released in 2023 but purported to be originally released in 1979.
  • The Framing Device in Titanic (1997) is elderly Rose telling her story.
  • The Usual Suspects is told as a testimony given by one of the story's main characters to the police who are interrogating him.
  • Vagabond (1985) uses a police investigation into Mona's death to actually take a journey with her through the last few years of her life.
  • The bulk of Vanilla Sky is framed as David telling his story to a psychologist while in prison. Much of the narration even sounds muffled due to David wearing a mask at the time.
  • When Evil Calls is framed as the janitor telling an unpopular student why wishing to be popular is a dangerous thing.
  • When the Last Sword Is Drawn is told from several years into the Meiji Period, with ex-Shinsengumi Saitou Hajime and samurai's son Dr. Chiaki Ono recalling memories of their mutual acquaintance, samurai Yoshimura Kanichiro.
  • When Time Got Louder: After Kayden is badly injured, his family is interviewed about the events of the last few months. As the flashbacks show, they aren't entirely honest with the social worker about how well their lives were going.
  • Yamato has Kamio, a survivor of the eponymous battleship's last mission, telling the story of his service on board her.
  • The Young Rebel: The film starts with the titular rebel, Xiang Rong, and his bestie, Gen Lai, in the back of a police vehicle, with Gen telling his friend everything will be fine. Xiang Rong then imagines back on what happened three years ago. The film would go on to reveal that Xiang Rong ends up becoming a mob enforcer, his friend Gen Lai is a cop, and Xiang Rong is being taken into custody by his bestie after murdering his former boss, with the final scene providing an additional Reveal Shot not shown in the opening: Xiang is handcuffed to his best friend.


By Author:

  • Poul Anderson:
    • The High Crusade uses this twice: the action is framed as being the chronicle written by a monk, which in turn is framed as a translation by a group encountering the subjects of the story.
    • Technic History by the same author uses the common variation often found in Space Opera and Epic Fantasy of writing a history of a fictional culture or civilization and placing the stories within it.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • In the Black Widowers story, "Northwestward", the Fancy Dinner and grilling provide a location and characters to hear about the mystery second-hand, allowing the deductions by Henry the waiter to be more impressive.
    • "First Law": The story takes place in a bar, while Donovan tells the other patrons a story about a robot that gave birth and disobeyed the First Law of Robotics.
    • I, Robot, a collection of short stories, uses the framing device of an interview with famed roboticist Susan Calvin to connect the various stories.
    • Opus 100: This Autobiography is also an excuse for Dr Asimov to reprint excerpts from his books and columns, and a small collection of his short fiction. He breaks everything into eleven sections, talking about them in relative isolation, even when they overlap due to his eclectic nature.
  • The French sci-fi writer François Bordes with at least two of his novels (under the pen name Francis Carsac) using this trope: in Terre en fuite (Fleeing Earth), the protagonist is reading the diary left to him by his late friend Paul Dupont, who explains that he is, in fact, a man named Haurk Akéran from the distant future, who gives a brief overview of the fall of humanity and the rebirth of civilization after several ice ages, as well as his own story and the part he plays in in the events that lead to Earth and Venus being moved to another star system; in Les Robinsons du Cosmos (The Robinsons of the Cosmos), the Framing Device is an old man telling the story of how he ended up on an alien planet to his grandchildren, as well as the formation of the human civilization there.
  • P. G. Wodehouse often used this in his stories, particularly the ones about golf, and Mr. Mulliner's tall tales.

By Work:

  • The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi: The story is framed as the scholar Jamal al-Hilli recording Amina's account of her voyage, with occasional interludes of supporting historical records and legends. Jamal is formerly known as Dunya, the person Amina was hired to rescue.
  • Animorphs does this with all of the Chronicles spin-offs. The Andalite Chronicles is presented as Elfangor's last testament (known by Andalites as a hirac delest), given in the final moments of his life. The Hork-Bajir Chronicles is framed as a story Jara Hamee is telling Tobias. Visser has, by far, the most in-depth one, switching back and forth between Visser One's memories and her present-day trial. Finally, The Ellimist Chronicles is narrated to a then-unnamed dying Animorph, indicating that at least one of them will die.
  • The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman, a story about a 110 year old woman who lived from slavery to the civil rights movement, has a framing story that a teacher is interviewing Jane to tell his students about her.
  • Barbie had the "Dear Barbie" book series, which featured a bookended sequence of Barbie answering a letter from someone having a problem, and she begins recounting the story of one of Barbie's friends or sister having a similar problem. The book ends with Barbie finishing the letter based on the lesson learned.
  • The Beka Cooper trilogy is framed as a young George Cooper reading a cop ancestor's journal at his mother's insistence, to try and dissuade him from being a thief.
  • Black Legion is written as the main character's account of the eponymous Legion's history, told first to an Inquisitorial transcription drone and then to the Inquisitors themselves.
  • The Book of Lost Tales — the original draft of the book that would later be published as The Silmarillion — employs a Framing Device in which a Man from England, Ælfwine/Eriol, discovers the lost island of the Elves and is told the ancient tales of their folk by a succession of characters.
  • Many of Edgar Rice Burroughs' stories had introductions in which the story was said to be a manuscript written by a character.
  • The Butterfly Garden uses the form of a police interrogation; the FBI have rescued the kidnapped women and want Maya to explain what exactly happened at the Garden. The bulk of the story is her flashbacks to her past and time as an object in the Gardener's collection, waiting until he kills her. Plot points are brought up by the interrogating agents and they need her to elaborate on details, in particular because they're trying to figure out her involvement. Unfortunately for them she's a Broken Bird who doesn't trust them and is trying to Be as Unhelpful as Possible.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Call Of The Abyss, people with psychic potential receive strange visions when located in a specific spot above Mars. It turns out that the visions are being sent from an Alternate Universe and appear to show events in the life of people in the past. The stories diverge from historical accounts after the Renaissance, suggesting that this is where this world's history split off from ours. However, the main story experienced by the characters is actually from way back in Ancient Egypt, the story of a priest named Un-Amunnote . The sequel, First after God, continues with the exploration of the signal, aided by the discovery of a psychic alien race, whose representative helps decipher the messages. The vision in this case is that of Captain Peter Shelton, a brave 17th century English sailor seeking to find the lost Incan treasure.
  • In The Candlemass Road, the novel is presented as the memoir of Frey Luis Guevara, an elderly priest who witnessed the events.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales has the framing device of a group of pilgrims telling each other stories to pass the time on their journey.
  • Mil Millington's A Certain Chemistry is framed by God telling us how all our emotions, actions and thoughts are governed by our bodies' chemistries, using the main character's story (in which a writer cheats on his girlfriend with a soap star) to illustrate his points.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The main plot is a bedtime story that an old man recounts to his grandkids.
  • Joseph Conrad's stories Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim both employ this: the former having the story told by Marlow to a group of people on a boat, the latter having the story told once again by Marlow first at a dinner party, then later through a letter. The second example is notable in that Marlow's recollections are mixed in with those of other people telling Marlow the details of Jim's various misadventures, which fits into the book's themes involving unreliable narrators.
  • In each book of the Cronus Chronicles, the story is separated into four parts, each with a clever title (ex. in The Shadow Thieves, the parts are called We Start in the Middle, Now the Beginning, The End of the Beginning, and The Beginning of the End).
  • Iain M. Banks' Culture novella ''The State of the Art" is framed by the protagonist writing a letter about the events to a historian interested in their setting (Earth), translated (with snarky footnootes) by her escort drone.
  • The Dalemark Quartet: Book three, The Spellcoats, is framed as protagonist Tanaqui weaving the story into the titular spellcoats. This also results in an unusual form of No Ending, as the spellcoats become vital to the resolution of the plot, and thus Tanaqui cannot weave the actual ending, although she does weave what she's been told will happen when the coats are done. The book ends with an In-Universe note from a historian who's commenting on the coats, which were dug up from a hillside centuries after the events of the book.
  • The Dark Tower:
    • Book 4, Wizard and Glass, is a back story told by Roland to his group.
    • Similarly, in the next book, Wolves of the Calla, we get a another story within a story. This time, it's Pere Callahan explaining the to ka-tet what happened to him in-between 'Salem's Lot and now.
    • This continues in ‘’The Wind Through the Keyhole’’ where the framed story told by Roland to his ka-tet is about an adventure from his youth where he goes after a skin-man. This then serves as the framing device to a fairy tale told by the younger Roland to Bill, which makes up the majority of the text.
  • "The Story of Samson Yakovlich" in The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar provides some backstory for one of the antagonists.
  • It's possible that Chaucer was familiar with Boccaccio's Decameron, featuring a group of young men and women retreating to a country estate to avoid the plague and passing the time by telling stories as a framing device.
  • The Dinotopia prequel First Flight is told as a story that one of the main characters from the main book is studying.
    • The first and fourth books are also presented as journals the author had discovered.
  • Hiob's account of his voyage to India frames the story of the fall of Pentexore in Dirge for Prester John.
  • Some Doctor Who Expanded Universe books use this:
    • In the first Decalog, a psychometrist gets the stories from the things in the Seventh Doctor's pockets (including a scene where the psychometrist "goes deeper" to explain the first person stream-of-consciousness story).
    • In Short Trips: Repercussions, Charley finds herself on a strange airship full of people who were removed from history as a threat to the Web of Time, and learns their stories.
    • In Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins, the Eighth Doctor makes seven jaded and sinful people experience one of his past adventures that illustrates the sin they examplify.
    • The Doctor Who New Adventures Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire has a framing story of the Doctor and his companions reading The Adventure of the All-Consuming Fire by John Watson. Includes a few "that's not how I remember it happening" moments, as well as letting the author state that "Sherlock Holmes" and "John Watson" are pseudonyms invented to protect the privacy of the real Holmes and Watson without having to say what their real names were.
  • Don Quixote is framed by a historian finding stories about the "famed" knight.
  • The novel of Dr. Strangelove has a prologue and coda written by an alien, who found a record of the story buried in the deserts of the north-western continent of an uninhabited planet they're currently exploring.
  • Jack Higgins's Second World War espionage thrillers The Eagle Has Landed and The Eagle Has Flown are framed by the conceit that Higgins himself has stumbled upon evidence of never-before-revealed plots from the war some 30 or so years later.
  • Eaters of the Dead is framed as an analysis of an ancient manuscript written by an Arab traveling to Scandinavia.
  • Encounter With Tiber, by Buzz Aldrin (yes, Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin) and John Barnes, uses the framing device of a scientist who writes novels. She's selected to be on the first manned voyage to another star. Because of the length of the trip, she has time to write four novels (well, two novels and two translations of existing novels), which together explain how humanity was contacted by an alien race and developed the technology for interstellar travel.
  • EuroTemps by the Midnight Rose Collective has a framing device of powerful sorcerer and DPR offical Loric looking through reports and using magic to turn them into narratives.
  • Robin Hobb in her Farseer trilogy uses a framing device of the protagonist writing down his memoirs (which is probably the most common framing device of them all). It's played with a bit: the narrator makes occasional references implying that he's writing as an old man, housebound by the ravages of age. The end of the last book reveals that he's still quite young; his life has been that rough on him.
  • The Final Reflection, a novel in the Star Trek Expanded Universe, has a prologue in which Captain Kirk learns about a popular new in-universe novel, said to be Based on a True Story, acquires a copy, and sits down to read it; and an epilogue in which, having finished the novel, he discusses it with his friends. Everything in between is the text of the in-universe novel Kirk is reading.
  • In A Fox's Tale, Marcus Minev, a historian, asks Ember Wulf about her life. The story alternates between Marcus talking with Ember in the present, and Ember narrating the past.
  • The above mentioned Frankenstein actually has framing devices nested three deep at the point where the monster tells his own story to Victor; Victor is talking to the Arctic explorer Robert Walton, who's writing a letter to his sister. There is actually a thematic reason for the Walton frame: Walton is in danger of turning out like Victor, but in the end he gives up his crazy ambitions and goes home to his family.
  • The Go-Between is narrated by an elderly man reminiscing about a summer fifty years earlier. Only at the very end do we see any live action.
  • Stephen King used a nursing home and the narrator's old, old age to frame his re-entries into the serial story of The Green Mile.
  • Halo:
    • The Forerunner Saga books all have this: Halo: Cryptum is framed as an archived testimony of the Forerunner Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting. Halo: Primordium is presented as a recovered Forerunner AI recounting its past to an ONI science team. Halo: Silentium is framed as a series of Forerunner logs being researched by ONI.
    • Halo: New Blood opens with an "Archivist's Note" stating that the entire story is an in-universe report given by protagonist Edward Buck.
  • Hands Held in the Snow begins with the framing device of a grandmother telling a story to a grandchild. The narrator usually disappears into the story, but sometimes makes side comments.
  • House of Leaves takes this trope to Mind Screw levels. It's about a supernatural house, which is documented by the house's owner, Navidson. The documentary is described in a massive, incomplete essay by Zampano. The essay is edited and commented upon by Johnny Truant, who also relays his own story in the footnotes. Truant's story is commented upon by the book's editors. There's a lot of Unreliable Narrator to be had all around.
  • The short story "How Kazir Won His Wife" by Raymond Smullyan has a framing story in which a sorcerer on an island where the Knights and Knaves puzzle is implied to have occurred tells some travellers a story which he says is from the Thousand and One Nights. The sorcerer's story takes up most of Smullyan's story.
  • Hyperion Cantos: Hyperion is more or less explicitly based on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, down to the fact that the storytellers are on a pilgrimage. Literary allusions abound. As it turns out, the stories framed all shed light on the frame story, and the sequel The Fall of Hyperion picks up from the end of the frame story.
  • In The Iron Dream, we have a Science Fiction story by Adolf Hitler, a USA emigrant, followed by a Framing Device in-universe essay to explain the point of this story.
  • The 500+ Buddhist Jataka Tales are presented as folk tales being incorporated into sermons given by the Buddha, in the context that the hero of each tale was one of the Buddha's previous incarnations. Each tale typically concludes with the Buddha tying it to Buddhist scripture in some way.
  • Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is set up as the notes written by the titular character's psychiatrist.
  • The Last Wish is set up as six short stories framed by "The Voice of Reason", where a priestess treating injuries Geralt sustained in the first of the tales, "The Witcher", asks him to recount some of his adventures to her. The later novels frequently employ similar after-the-fact recollections as framing devices for story segments (to the point of smothering the actual story at times).
  • Dr. Seuss's The Lorax has the Once-ler telling the story of how he destroyed the environment to an unnamed boy passing by so someone else would understand that it needs to be restored.
  • Lumbanico The Cubic Planet: The final chapter is framed as Pirela writing a report of the final part of her and her friends' journey for their group's council of leaders.
  • The book The Manuscript Found In Saragossa and its later adaption, The Saragossa Manuscript take this trope to extreme lengths, telling stories within stories within stories within stories. The initial Framing Device quickly disappears among the layers of narrative.
  • "The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train" is the story of Richard Jeperson's first mission for the Diogenes Club, with a framing device in which he's telling one of his sidekicks the story shortly before his retirement from active service. The frame story has a denouement in which one of the loose ends from that first mission resurfaces in the present day.
  • Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson: Each of the stories of Maureen's adventures has a framing story where Maureen reappears on Earth to visit her old friend Bitsy Speigleman, and, usually, wreaks some havoc on poor Bitsy's life, before settling down to tell her story to Bitsy.
  • Mirror Project presents itself as code comments hidden inside the titular app, a perfectly secure anonymous browser that's also sentient.
  • Monster Girl Doctor Zero is a prequel novel that opens with Lime the Slime Girl visiting the Litbeit Clinic only for her and Sapphee to have a series of conversations about their time in medical school.
  • The Name of the Wind has Kvothe narrating his story to a scribe. The book is the first in a trilogy, and each book is a day's worth of narration.
  • In The Neverending Story, Bastian's story is initially used as a frame for Atreyu's, as Bastian reads a stolen storybook. When Bastian finds that the book he is reading contains descriptions of his own life and actions, the line between framing and framed story becomes blurry.
  • Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All is framed as the 99-year-old narrator, Lucy, telling stories of her life (and the lives of many people she's known) to a journalist interviewing her. The stories get more personal, revealing, and risky as the book progresses, until The Reveal in the penultimate chapter.
  • One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Arabic folktales connected by a framing device. Shahryar has decided to marry (and execute) a new woman each day. His newest wife, Scheherazade, prolongs her own life by telling her murderous husband fantastical stories, each of which ends with a promise of an even more amazing tale. Some of Scheherazade's stories are framing stories themselves; One Thousand and One Nights contains triple- and quadruple-nested framing devices. This made it dead easy for the Nights to be expanded with supplemental material over the course of its many editions.
  • The Orphan's Tales is about tales told, well, by an orphan. Like an updated version of the Arabian Nights, the four books are framed by the story of the prince who seeks out the outcast orphan by night, and asks to hear her tales, which nest inside one another to sometimes six levels deep.
  • A Pack of Lies: Twelve Stories in One is a short story collection by Geraldine McCaughrean. It contains eleven short stories, each in a different genre and style. The twelfth is the frame story, in which a mysterious young man starts working at a secondhand shop and sells objects to unlikely buyers by telling intriguing tales about their origins.
  • The Pendragon Adventure: This is how most of the books in the 10-book series are told. The protagonist Bobby Pendragon writes down his thoughts in a sort of diary as a way of organizing his thoughts and keeping himself sane and sends them to his 2 friends back on present-day Earth who read it along with the audience. Though some of the 5th book and all of the 10th are in his first-person point of view.
  • Peter Pays Tribute is split between the story, and the story the main character is writing.
  • The Pink Carnation books, featuring the successor to The Scarlet Pimpernel, has a framing device in which a modern-day grad student in England is researching the Carnation's exploits, with the help of another spy's descendant.
  • Planet of the Apes is framed with two astronauts finding a strange manuscript floating in space that turns out to be Ulysse's story. They're revealed to be chimpanzees in the end of the book.
  • In George MacDonald's "Port in a Storm", the whole story is told by a man to his children, about how he and their mother came to marry.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany: The story is being told in 1987, but most of it is set in the tumultuous years of the mid-20th century, Johnny and Owen's youth. It sometimes dips back into the present day to highlight how much Johnny hasn't grown since Owen's death.
  • In the novel version of The Princess Bride, the actual author explains that he's condensing the original book, by "S. Morgenstern". He also goes on and on about things that supposedly happened to him throughout a long period of his life in the process that led to his "editing" the book.
  • Three of M.P. Shiel's novels present themselves as being related by a seer who can look into the future and read as yet unwritten texts: The Purple Cloud, The Last Miracle, and The Lord Of The Sea.
  • Several Redwall books are framed by an Abbeydweller telling a story to a group of Dibbuns. At the end, a character from the framed story would turn out to be the Narrator All Along.
    • Marlfox instead presents itself as a stage play put on later by the theater company involved in the story, but that does raise the question of how they learned about certain plotlines when everyone involved in them dies without telling anyone else.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • The novels A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear use the stories of Holmes solving a mystery as frames for the perpetrators telling their stories of why they done it.
    • Similarly, Holmes's investigation in the short story "The Crooked Man" is a Framing Device for a story about a soldier in India, and his involvement in "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott" is entirely incidental.
  • Shutter Island is presented as Dr. Sheehan's desire to set the record straight at last.
  • In the novel Slumdog Millionaire the hero of the story, Raj Mohammed Thomas, frames the story as testimony to the police who have arrested him.
  • Lampshaded in a later chapter of Sophie's World. The Philosopher, after coming to the conclusion that they are characters in a book written by a UN Major for his daughter's fifteenth birthday, says that the latter two shouldn't get too cocky either, because even they themselves might be just a Framing Device... which they are, of course.
  • All William King's Space Wolf novels are framed - the first two as his flashbacks because something reminded him, and the third as his recounting to younger Marines an episode as an explanation.
  • The StarCraft novel Liberty's Crusade is a novelization of the Terran campaign, framed as an anti-Terran Dominion documentary by reporter Michael Liberty.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
  • Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is framed by Hopper, in 1986, telling El about his time in New York City in July 1977.
  • Meridion's story in Symphony of Ages is set in an apocalyptic future as he observes and manipulates the past (i.e., the present to the rest of the story) in order to avert the end of the world.
  • Plato's Symposium is doubly framed, with Apollodorus telling his companion a story that Aristodemus had told him, and which he had already told once to Glaucon. Then everyone gets drunk.
  • A Tale Lost For The World by Osip Senkovskiy provides a subversion by being an annoyingly intricate framing device for a story, that, well, is not actually included.
  • "Talma Gordon": Dr. Thornton is telling the story of the Gordons to guests at his house.
  • Though the frame of Margaret's story in The Thirteenth Tale is its own story as she goes through her own discovery and development, the business of writing a biography is mainly to tell the story of Vida's past.
  • In Time Enough for Love, the Scheherezade Gambit for Lazarus Long's memoirs in the first part. In the second part, much of the Time Travel segment is retold through Lazarus' letters that he writes and sends to his Tertius family via Delay Mail.
  • The Time Machine is told through a guest at the Time Traveller's party, who for all but the first two chapters and the final chapter is taking dictation from the Time Traveller.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga book Borders of Infinity opens with the protagonist lying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery, with nothing to do except answer his superior officer's questions about his recent missions.
  • The Warrior Cats guidebooks Code of the Clans and Battles of the Clans are framed as the reader being a cat that visits the Clans, with the beginning and ending, and a few chapters inside the book, set up this way. In Code, Leafpool tells them stories about the warrior code, and in Battles, they visit all four Clans and attend a Gathering, not only listening to stories told by cats, but also being visited by deceased warriors in their dreams for stories that the current Clans couldn't possibly know.
  • Someone tells the story of Who Moved My Cheese?? at a high school reunion.
  • Winnie the Pooh has the frame of bedtime stories told to Christopher Robin. It's dropped for The House at Pooh Corner.
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl has two layers of framing.
  • World War Z is briefly framed as initially being for a report on the zombie war, but when the author handed it in to his superiors, they said it was too personal. So he made it into a book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Yüz: A game of "never have I ever" at a New Year's Eve party provides the frame through which Mete relates his story in the episode "Büyük Günahlar".
  • Acapulco: The bulk of the story is in flashbacks told by the present-day Maximo to his nephew.
  • The Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark? sets up each episode with the Midnight Society, a group of teens, gathering around a campfire in the woods to tell ghost stories. After the tale was finished, the episode would end with the Midnight Society calling their meeting to a close.
  • The Babylon 5 TV movie "In the Beginning" has the story of the Earth-Minbari war being told by an elderly Centauri Emperor Mollari, with a neat tie-in to the 3rd season two-parter "War Without End".
  • Chespirito made a lot of sketches involving public domain characters, most of them were stories that were told by el Chapulín himself in his own series.
  • The CSI episode "Rashaomama" had, as you might guess from the title, a Rashomon-style retelling of the murder investigation done from the very different points of view of Nick, Sara, Grissom and Greg.
  • Deadtime Stories does this to remind the younger viewers that no matter how scary the events may be, it's just a story. The show has a babysitter show up and read two kids a "deadtime story". During the story, it occasionally stops so the babysitter and kids can talk to each other about it. Near the end of every episode, the babysitter tells the kids to "buckle your seatbelts, because you're in for a bumpy ride", as the show switches back to the story being told and the inevitable Cruel Twist Ending, which results in the characters in the story, and the kids being read the story back in the real world, both screaming at each other.
  • Doctor Who has experimented with them on occasion:
    • The season-spanning "The Trial of a Time Lord", where three complete four-part stories were presented as evidence in the Doctor's trial.
    • "Love & Monsters" is framed as Elton Pope recounting the story of his encounters with the Doctor on camera. However, he's an Unreliable Narrator, so his tale can't be taken at face value.
    • "A Town Called Mercy" begins and ends with a woman narrating how her great-grandmother, the little girl seen at several points in the episode, witnessed the events.
    • "Hell Bent" is framed as the Doctor telling a waitress at a diner in Nevada (Clara Oswald) the story of the episode. It also pulls a Bait-and-Switch, as it initially seems that the Doctor is telling either an amnesiac Clara, or maybe one of her echoes, the story of the events. At the end, it turns out that the Doctor is the one who doesn't remember, as he had to get Laser-Guided Amnesia for his own sanity. And the diner is a TARDIS.
    • "Extremis": The frame is the real Doctor watching the memory-print emailed to him by the simulated Doctor of the last several hours of the most recent simulation run by the Prophets of Truth in preparation for their planned invasion of Earth.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": With the exception of the denouement, the episode is framed by a video Ryan uploaded to YouTube recounting the events that led to his grandmother Grace's death.
  • Dracula (2020):
    • Episode 1 switches back and forth between Jonathan Harker recounting his time with Dracula to two nuns in a convent.
    • Episode 2 has the Count and Van Helsing playing a game of chess while Dracula tells the tale of his journey to England aboard the Demeter.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (2023): The story is being told by Roderick Usher to Auguste Dupin in the former's decaying childhood house. This is occasionally lampshaded, such as when Dupin asks how Roderick could narrate things he wasn't present for.
  • Firefly “Out of Gas” switches between wounded Mal struggling to replace a broken ship part to restore power and first how they got to that point followed by how Mal met his crew members.
  • The Flash (2014): The first part of the "Paradox", explaining the changes Flashpoint caused, is framed by Barry narrating it to Felicity.
  • Golden Boy was framed with a Flash Forward in the Opening Narration to seven years in the future (the year 2020), when the protagonist is the youngest police commissioner in the history of New York, and is looking back on How We Got Here.
  • The Golden Girls had several episodes constructed of three or four shorter stories, always framed by the girls recalling events fitting a particular theme. (For example, in one episode the girls are dieting, and they recall past attempts at self-improvement.) The show also did several clip shows, in which the framing device was usually a time of crisis, such as Blanche considering selling the house.
  • Gossip Girl is told from the perspective of a semi-omniscient gossip blogger. What makes this unique is said blogger is an actual (albeit anonymous) character, and the rest of the cast is fully aware of the fact that she is telling the world all about their lives with much of the story conflict revolving around keeping her from knowing too much.
  • The whole of How I Met Your Mother is a framing device. It's older Ted telling his kids how he, well, met their mother.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): The outer story involves Daniel Molloy interviewing Louis de Pointe du Lac for the second time in 2022, with Rashid as the latter's personal assistant. The inner story is a Flashback of Louis' life in the 20th century, focusing mainly on his interactions with his lover Lestat de Lioncourt and their vampire daughter Claudia.
  • In the Heat of the Night: As Carroll O'Connor wanted to have the episode "Rape" be the first episode of the third season instead of "Anniversary" - which was the resolution to the second season Cliffhanger "Missing" - "Anniversary" was the sixth episode shown in the third season. As a framing device Gillespie was speaking on the phone with a government agent concerning the circumstances around his kidnapping and murder of Acting Chief Dugan.
  • Most of Lost's flashbacks do not have a Framing Device. The continuous flashbacks, however, do. "Meet Kevin Johnson" is a story Michael is telling Sayid and Desmond. The other ones launch off due to prompting in the frame story: Charlie and Hurley getting Desmond drunk, Locke remembering his death...
  • Napoléon: The miniseries is framed as Napoléon Bonaparte relating his life history, from the Revolutionary Wars until his defeat in 1815, to Betsy Balcombe on the isle of St. Helena.
  • On No Soap, Radio, the Sitcom shenanigans of the Pelican Hotel typically serve as a framing device for the various sketches and skits... except when it's funnier for them to cross over and interact.
  • The Christmas Episode of Power Rangers Zeo consisted of Tommy and Cat telling a grandchild of theirs about how King Mondo almost ruined Christmas and set the rangers apart.
  • Not only is most of the Round the Twist episode "Santa Claws" a flashback told by Pete, explaining to his classmates how his mouth was shrunk, this was a dream as well (which we knew from the opening scene).
  • Tends to happen a lot in the Sesame Street Christmas specials.
    • Elmo Saves Christmas has Maya Angelou telling the special's story to Telly and Zoe after they wish it was Christmas every day.
    • Elmo's Christmas Countdown has Stiller the Elf telling his snowball friend Stan the special's story.
    • Once Upon A Sesame Street Christmas has a framing device of Elmo's dad telling him the special's story to answer a question he has.
  • The Sliders episode "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" was framed with Rembrandt telling the story of the episode to a psychiatrist.
  • The final episode of Smallville featured Chloe Sullivan reading a comic book to her son titled "Smallville" that framed Clark Kent's transformation into Superman.
  • * Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" (in which the cast go back in time to sneak about on Captain Kirk's Enterprise) is framed with Sisko is recounting the events of the episode to agents from the Department of Temporal Investigations.
    • Also the episode "Necessary Evil".
    • Also the episode "In The Pale Moonlight", which is framed with Sisko recording his captain's log entry after the fact.
  • The Star Trek: Enterprise Grand Finale had the episode being run as a holodeck simulation as its framing story (though the fact Commander Riker kept intruding into the events it might as well not have been a Framing Device at all).
  • And let's not forget the original Star Trek frame story, "The Menagerie," the only 2-parter of the original series, which was a frame story added around the original pilot episode — whose differences from the regular series were justified by claiming it took place 13 years earlier.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Haunting of Deck Twelve", Neelix tells the four former Borg children a story about an entity that was accidentally sucked into the ship and has been living aboard for several months while they ferry it to a new home. The children don't entirely believe him, thinking he likely made the story up, but the final scene of the episode confirms that it was true.
  • Every episode of The Storyteller is set up with the titular storyteller narrating an old folk tale or Greek myth to the audience, while his dog chimes in every once in a while to comment on the story.
  • Sprout's blocks, (including the live Sunny Side Up Show) consisted of links in between shows, which were introduced by the block's hosts, who also appeared in split-screen credits at the end of the show before leading into a commercial break.
  • The first-season episode "Celestial Navigation" in The West Wing is Josh at a university speaking engagement, recounting the events of a "typical" day at the White House (or in other words, things go From Bad to Worse and Hilarity Ensues) in a series of flashbacks to each event and escalation. This also happens concurrently with a snafu that is still going on that evening and which wraps up at the episode's end.
  • The BBC mini-series I, Claudius is presented as the aged Emperor Claudius reminiscing, with each episode opening on him as he writes his history of the early days of empire.

    Multiple Media 
  • The novels, comics and movies of BIONICLE's 2004 and 2005 run told the ancient tales of the abandoned city Metru Nui, with the framing story of the village elders recounting them the Toa Nuva (2004) and Turaga Vakama explaining his personal account of the events to Tahu Nuva (2005), in order for them to be ready for whatever may await them when they return there.
    • The novel Tales of the Masks is a prelude to this, with the six Turaga elders discussing whether revealing this truth would be a wise decision. To support their position, each tells a story of how the Toa have retrieved their Nuva masks, which happened between the scenes of the last novel. This was an effective way of keeping this item-hunt from interfering with the previous book's story.

  • Pink Floyd's The Wall is framed by a concert where Pink sings about how his wall went up and came back down.
  • Sound Horizon's Moira starts with a Russian billionaire trying to discover the truth behind the Elefseya, an ancient Greek epic that tells the story proper. In a case of Stealth Pun Lampshading, the song makes a number of references to Matyroshka dolls.
  • Childish Gambino's "III. Telegraph Ave. (Oakland by Lloyd)" is framed as the narrator getting in a car and turning on the radio, hearing a radio DJ introduce the next song, "Oakland", by Lloyd (not a real song). The song starts playing and ambient noises (such as car noises, phone ringing) are heard in the background as the narrator sings along to the song. Finally Childish Gambino takes over singing at the chorus.

  • A good third of The Odyssey is Odysseus telling the story of his return from Troy to the Phaeacians.
  • Older Than Dirt: The Egyptian Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, from the 6th dynasty (c. 2300-2100 BCE) in the Old Kingdom, is framed by the sailor explaining his survival to an official, and the official telling him not to overstep his station by dispensing advice.

  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon pinball takes place in a Drive-In Theater where the titular movie is playing. The bulk of the game has the player waiting for the film to start and trying steal a kiss from his girlfriend. The action switches to the film itself during multiball, where the goal is to rescue Kay from the Creature.

  • Each episode of The Magnus Archives (with a few exceptions) takes the form of Jonathan, the archivist, making a recording of himself reading an old statement about an alleged supernatural encounter from the Institute's archive, or occasionally recording someone else making a new statement, and adding his own comments at the end. Thus the listener gets a different narrator's story each time, but always (or mostly) via one overarching narrator.
  • Both of Podcast: The Ride's Story Arcs use a narrative of the show's hosts attempting to save the soul of the Sector Keeper, a Friendly Ghost whose died at Universal Studios' CityWalk and whose soul cannot rest until these three "childless men in their thirties" talk about every shop in either CityWalk or Downtown Disney. The hosts regularly refer to this as an obvious framing device in-universe, playing for laughs how flimsy an excuse it is for justifying why anyone would devote over 24 hours to discussing such a mundane topic.

    Print Media 
  • In Sinclair User magazine, the long-running adventure tips column, "At the Sign of the Dancing Ogre", was supposedly narrated by Gordo Greatbelly, the landlord of the Dancing Ogre inn. He would open each column by recounting an instalment of his adventures, before answering requests for help with games as if they were from travellers he'd met on his quest. In 1986 the opening narrative was dropped, but there was still an occasional nod to the column being set at the Dancing Ogre. A couple of years after that, Gordo himself was written-out and the narrative element was briefly revived to describe his handover to "The Sorceress", another character in the same fictional universe.

  • Dickensian parody Bleak Expectations tells the story of Pip Bin surviving his Hilariously Abusive Childhood and going from "riches to rags to riches to rags to worse rags to riches to rags to riches again" presented by the now-elderly (and extremely wealthy) Sir Philip Bin telling his story to a journalist for serialisation in The Times.
  • Every episode of the radio serial The Adventures of Sam Spade (based on the novels by Dashiell Hammett, and Humphrey Bogart's character in The Maltese Falcon) opened and closed with Sam dictating a record of the episode's events to his secretary, Effie. Sometimes subverted when Effie was, herself, involved in events.

  • Oddly, William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew begins with a framing device, but never follows up on it once the story proper starts. There's speculation that there was a follow up, but it's been lost to the ages. The additional frame story passages have been restored in The Oxford Shakespeare, edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor.
  • The same goes for Shrew's musical adaptation, Kiss Me, Kate; the show ends during the play-within-a-play and not with an external sequence.
  • Brooklyn is framed as five street musicians putting on a play for passersby in hopes of donations.
  • Cervantes and the Inquisition in Man of La Mancha.
  • Equus is the story narrated by a psychiatrist about a particularly disturbing case, inside the same story his patient recalls the events that led to his hospitalization through hypnosis.
  • Drood is essentially both an adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and a portrayal of the actors in the Victorian music hall putting on the show.
  • The prologue of J.B. introduces Mr. Zuss and Nickles, who take on the masks of God and Satan for the play, as two veteran actors currently employed selling balloons and popcorn at a circus.
  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle opens in The Caucasus, where a dispute over the ownership of some farmland is suspended so everyone can watch a group of traveling players perform the story of "The Chalk Circle"; the players' performance makes up the rest of the play, with the lead player popping up from time to time as a narrator, and at the end to deliver a moral that can be seen as applying both to his story and to the land dispute.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Traveller universe has a Standard Sci-Fi History as a sort of Framing Device.
  • The 3.5 Edition Dungeons & Dragons module The Vortex of Madness is actually five separate adventures, the first one (involving the dreaded Machine of Lum the Mad) a possible Framing Device for the other four. (Although, the Dungeon Master can disregard it and run any of them as stand-alone adventures.)

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies is framed by a letter written to the protagonist, detailing the author's life during the game's war.
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is presented as a Osean television documentary centered around the hero's journey, with the cutscenes presented as footage and interviews of your enemies.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has the Prince narrating his adventure to an unseen individual, explaining the story and "backing up" when the player dies and restarts. Near the end of the game, it's revealed that his audience is Princess Farah, who doesn't remember any of these events due to the Prince's large-scale rewind.
  • The text adventure game Spider and Web is known primarily for its ingenious framing device, wherein the player is a spy who has been captured and is being interrogated using a machine that causes them to relive their actions. If the player ever strays too far from the correct path, the interrogator interrupts them and says, "That's impossible, that's not how it happened" and makes you try again. He also presents you with various items found on your person, or demands you explain certain actions you took, allowing you to use them in the gameplay. During the flashbacks, you happen to set up your escape route. When you use it, the framing device is dropped and you complete the rest of the game in the "present".
  • Dragon Age II is framed by Varric, a dwarven merchant prince, telling Cassandra, a Chantry Seeker, the tale of Hawke's rise to power.
  • The overarching narrative of Ōkami is told by a mysterious narrator, beginning with the legend of Orochi and Shiranui one hundred years ago. By the end of the game, if you haven't figured out the narrator's identity, he'll berate you and switch to more familiar speech patterns that make it easier to recognize him.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The franchise is framed around the idea that a modern-day Mega-Corp has developed technology (reverse-engineered from the leavings of an ancient civilization) that allows Genetic Memory to be experienced in real-time and recorded. Thus, you play as a character who is reliving the lives of his ancestors (or other people's ancestors). This justifies the use of Gameplay and Story Segregation in the Animus portions of the game, since you are "playing" it through a VR interface that simplifies the memory-reality.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations makes the framing device recursive by having Ezio (the Renaissance-era ancestor) use First Civilization artifacts to experience memory-recordings left by Altaïr (the Crusades-era ancestor), thus crossing over the bloodlines since Ezio was not Altaïr's descendant. So you're playing a character experiencing the memories of a character who is himself experiencing the memories of a character.
    • Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag take this a step further by postulating that Abstergo has formed an entertainment division dedicated to bringing Animus technology to the mass-market in the form of video games and movies, providing streamlined and carefully edited excerpts from the memory-sequences that are researched in their labs. As a meta-joke, the company they hire to deliver these products is Ubisoft, the developer of the real franchise, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag contains multiple in-jokes and Fandom Nods as a result.
  • Used in a memorable way as part of a Twist Ending in Second Sight, where the player character, an amnesiac with psychic powers, seems to be having flashbacks to his past self...until it turns out that the flashbacks were instead in the present day, and everything else was a part of his premonitions of things to come.
  • The old Satellaview sequel of Chrono Trigger: Radical Dreamers starts with Serge's grandson opening the diary of his grandfather, the story ends in a similar way.
  • The story of Odin Sphere is told when a little girl finds the books telling each character's role in the tale of Armageddon in her attic and starts reading them. In the end when she finishes reading the last book, she notices that a Pooka coin is lodged in the back cover. She offers a silent prayer to the people in the story before leaving the attic and in the True Ending Pooka!Cornelius and Pooka!Velvet take the coin to complete their collection to make the wish that restores their humanity.
  • Catherine:
    • The whole game is presented as an episode of the show The Golden Playhouse, with your hostess, Trisha: The Midnight Venus. It plays out as if it's a TV series that shows late night movies, complete with opening and closing narration by Trisha. There's even a watermark in the corner of some cutscenes.
    • The game is an unusual example in that it is a framing device within a framing device. The Golden Playhouse segment of the game which is styled after a late night TV show, is actually a means devised by Trisha (who is actually Ishtar: The Goddess of Love, using an anagram of her true name) of finding a person worthy enough to challenge Babel and become her new love partner, due to Dumuzid cheating on her.
  • The epilogue voiceover for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots strongly suggests that the Metal Gear series was created by Otacon to tell Snake's story. Otacon could be thinking of writing a book, but video games are the perfect medium for an Otaku and Gadgeteer Genius. Also, Hideo Kojima looks a bit like Otacon if you squint.
  • UnMetal opens with protagonist Jesse Fox escaping in the helicopter and getting shot down by Allied forces before being taken prisoner and being interrogated, whereupon he relays the events of the game. And this even turns out to be a story within a story, as he's telling his girlfriend about the events of the interrogation after his release. Or maybe not, since it's implied he's making the whole thing up.
  • Yasumi Matsuno's Vagrant Story is told as a collection of reports from VKP Intelligence Agent Callo Merlose, regarding an inquiry on VKP Riskbreaker Ashley Riot's apparent murder of Duke Bardorba and his subsequent disappearance.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy Tactics (also by Yasumi Matsuno) is the retelling of the contents of the Durai Papers, the chronicle of the true history of Ivalice during the War of the Lions. Banned by the Glabados Church, and their author, Orran Durai, burned for heresy, they were uncovered centuries later by Orran's descendant Arazlam, who published them to reveal the truth behind the Zodiac Braves and King Delita's rise to the throne.
    • And for the Yasumi Matsuno hat trick, Final Fantasy XII is narrated by Marquis Halim Ondore IV, uncle of Princess and later Queen Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca, from his own memoir.
    • Final Fantasy XIV does the same thing with the Heavensward expansion without Matsuno, but perhaps inspired by him. Specifically, every new zone the player enters triggers a cutscene with narration taken from the memoirs of Count Edmont de Fortemps, the player's main ally in Ishgard. Stormblood uses a similar framing device, with every new area triggering a cutscene with narration from the expansion's Deuteragonist Lyse.
  • The story mode for Tekken 7 opens each chapter with narration from a narrator covering the war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and G Corporation, a war that had claimed the lives of his wife and son.
  • Resident Evil: Rail Shooter spin-off The Dark Side Chronicles includes two scenarios that are recaps of the events of 2 and Code Veronica; said scenarios are framed as flashbacks during the game's present storyline:
    • Resident Evil 2: Krauser, having no experience with the zombies and monsters they're currently facing, asks Leon to recount everything he knows about them. Cue flashback to 2.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: After it's revealed that the Big Bad got his hands on the Veronica virus, the Code Veronica scenario is framed as Leon thinking back to Claire's experience fighting Alexia Ashford, the creator of said virus.
  • In The Company of Myself, it turns out that the whole thing is one long therapy session.
  • Many Professor Layton games are told as Luke writing a letter to the player.
  • Drakensang: The prequel is framed by two of the main characters of the first game. Forgrimm is telling Gladys how her parents came to be married.
  • Mafia's story is told by the main character as he describes his time in the mafia to the chief of police.
    • Mafia III is framed as an in-universe documentary/investigation regarding the events of Lincoln's war against the Marcano family as well as Lincoln's CIA friend Donovan's trial for his involvement. Getting a Non Standard Game Over by failing mission objectives leads to the FBI agent investigating the case to say that Lincoln failed and died (or in the case of the prologue he looks at the case files in confusion).
  • Penumbra is being told in an e-mail from the soon to be dead Philip to an unspecified individual, asking that person to complete what he started, though Requiem does away with this.
  • The original Escape from Butcher Bay opened with Riddick during his years on the ice planet he was hiding on at the start of The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). The Furyan woman in his visions tells him to remember his past, and what happened in Butcher Bay. Then the rest of the game begins, which is actually one long flashback. At the end Riddick awakens and is told of his destiny, and sees visions of the Necromongers. The framing story was dropped in the 2009 remake to better connect it to Assault on Dark Athena, its immediate successor in the chronology.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Son Goku Densetsu tells the history of Goku's battles, from Mercenary Tao to Cell, through the lens of Gohan, circa the Majin Saga, regaling his little brother, Goten, with stories of their father's exploits.
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. The idea behind the game is that our hero is telling stories about his past as a Bounty Hunter to the other patrons in a bar. However, our hero gets more and more drunk over the course of the game, and he starts exaggerating parts of his story, and eventually starts outright lying and making stuff up. He isn't quite as drunk as he makes himself out to be, though, and he has a reason to be lying. Interestingly, this actually affects the gameplay. Parts of the scenery and setting change as our hero points out things he didn't mention before, realizes that he isn't remembering what happened correctly, and, amusingly, when the other bar patrons misinterpret what he's saying or jump to conclusions about what happened next.
  • Borderlands:
  • The story of Vampires Dawn is told by a grandfather to his grandson.
  • An Oriental Alphabet Primer, a game for Unlimited Adventures, is a dark horror story... told through the medium of a cheerful word-learning book for schoolchildren, which uses excerpts of a supposed horror novel (fragmented, and in a more-or-less random order) as short usage examples for the words it's teaching.
  • The entire plot of the three Mass Effect games is implied to have been told through one of these in The Stinger of the third game, where a young child asks his grandfather if that story about "The Shepard" was true.
  • In the arcade game Rastan Saga (releases outside Japan as simply "Rastan"), the attract mode's Opening Narration (given by the title character, a Conan the Barbarian expy) is implied to be this:
    I used to be a thief and a murderer, otherwise I could not survive in such difficult times. Sit beside me and listen to my story of days full of adventure.
    • Furthermore, there is an additional intro that plays before the first level that further implies this trope, but it was cut from the non-Japanese releases.
  • The Longest Journey starts with an old woman named Lady Alvane being asked to tell a story to two children. Instead of the one they asked her, she tells them the story of April Ryan. At the end of the game, Lady Alvane finishes her story, and the children leave. Then the old Crow walks in to talk to the old woman.
  • The cinematics in Diablo II are of Marius narrating his adventures to Tyrael or so Marius thinks, and said narration actually occurs at the very end of the game, after Diablo's defeat.
  • The intro to Dark Cloud notes that the game's events were an in-universe fable written in a book that was found in some old ruins.
  • MapleStory has three of these in the Grand Athenaeum, in which the player takes the place of the character who witnessed these events in the story. The stories are How the Black Mage came to be, how Cygnus became Empress, and the story of the Black Witch, a character who nearly laid waste to Ereve.
  • The main plot of Erayu is a video game being played by main character Josh, who gives comments on various events from time to time.
  • The Bottom of the Well is basically a conversation between the protagonist, Alice, and one of her online friends. She describes a strange dream she had of her future, which was remarkably realistic and long-lasting. However, the framing story is played with — after multiple playthroughs (which the game is designed for), Alice gets the feeling that she's already told the story. Towards the end, the framing story becomes recursive — the Alice in the dream also had the dream (and had dreamt of a future self who had dreamt of a future self who had... etc...).
    Mad H: You retro-ante-actively re-remembered in your dream that you had this dream and therefore changed your life in order to have the real keys when you had the dream again? Or when it happened in real life?
    Alice: Exactly.
    Mad H: This is the weirdest goddamned dream.
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- is framed as King Mickey telling the story of Aqua's whereabouts between Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts, shortly after Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance].
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Reach is a rather interesting variation on this. The Limited/Legendary Edition comes with various in-universe documents, one of which states that the game itself is an in-universe interactive record.
    • Halo 2: Anniversary adds new introductory and ending cutscenes that frame Halo 2 as the Arbiter recounting the events of the game to Spartan Locke during the events of the then-upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. For reasons not fully known, these scenes were removed in a future version of the game, ultimately making it an aversion.
  • The Ratchet And Clank remake is framed as Captain Qwark telling his version of the events after learning that there is an in-universe film adaptation.
  • Persona:
    • The story mode of Persona 4: Dancing All Night is framed as Margaret telling a tale about one of the Investigation Team's adventures to an unseen person (implied to be the player) who visits the Velvet Room in a dream.
    • The majority of Persona 5 is told in a How We Got Here format, with the Protagonist being interrogated by public prosecutor Sae Nijima about the events that started 6 months ago that led to the Protagonist and his friends becoming infamous Phantom Thieves. The story occasionally returns to the present day as Sae clarifies the Protagonist's story and leads him into the next part, Confidants are framed as Sae pressing the Protagonist to talk about the accomplices and skills that he must have had, and running out of time to complete the heist is framed as the Protagonist being too addled by the drugs used on him to properly remember events before being murdered by one of the conspirators he was fighting against. When the story catches up to the present day, the device is dropped entirely.
  • The first episode of Farnham Fables opens with the player controlling Cally as she looks around the castle. Once she encounters the King, the story proper begins, which is framed as King Farnham telling her a tale about an adventure the princes had.
  • In Dink Smallwood mod Legend of the Duck the main game is framed as Dink telling a story to his Aunt Maria's children during his yearly visit.
  • In Die Reise ins All, the game starts with a man picking up the novel 'Die Reise ins All' from his library to read for the night.
  • Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King begins with an old man narrating a bedtime story to his two grandkids, one of whom will be the namesake for the player character of the tale he tells. Not only will he recap the story whenever the game is resumed, the kids will occasionally interject and influence the story (and, rarely, the gameplay) from time to time.
  • The Deus Ex: Mankind Divided DLC "A Criminal Past" is framed as Adam telling Dr. Delara Auzenne about a mission he undertook before the events of the game. Aside from the fact that the two provide narration over Adam's actions, if Adam dies in-game Delara will tell Adam to backtrack since he's clearly still alive.
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising is framed as a story that the Titan Prometheus is telling Zeus, with the two providing running commentary and pithy commentary over events as they unfold.
  • Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells: Each level is themed as the cover story for some publication in the wizarding world, such as The Quibbler and Wizarding World Weekly, reporting on the plot point from the associated movie that's connected with that level.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: The story is told by Sylvia, reduced to working as an in-person phone-sex operator in a seedy strip club, to an unseen client. At the end, the client is revealed to be Travis, and they leave the club together.

    Web Animation 
  • Bowser's Kingdom episode 9 had the Karate Duo explain the story of they tried to steal the Seven Stars and failed.
  • The letters between the Director and the Chairman in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction run parallel to the main plot and serve to put the central conflict in the context of the larger world the characters exist in.
  • RWBY: During the episode "Kuroyuri", Ruby and Jaune are in the long-destroyed town of Kuroyuri attempting to locate medicine to save Qrow's life. Every so often, a Match Cut is used to switch from the devastation to the sight of the exact same town when it was a thriving hub of activity. The flashbacks are used to show how the town was destroyed, leaving Ren and Nora as its only survivors. Ren and Nora themselves don't appear in the present-day storyline until the end of the episode once their flashback story has been told... having accidentally come across the trail of the creature that destroyed Kuroyuri, just as its about to destroy a different village.


    Web Original 
  • Dragomir's Diary is narrated through diary entries, with the eponymous character providing most of the entries - though other characters, including the diary itself, occasionally join in the fun.
  • The Notting Cove series is narrated by the muse Calliope (from Greek Mythology) and apparently, all the other muses quit.
  • Some episodes of The Cinema Snob have a framing where Fat Grandma tells the review as a bedtime story to Linkara (and the Snob notices when he's freeze framing and transitioning).
  • Twelve Hundred Ghosts has a twofold one, beginning with a narrator talking about Charles Dickens and the story he wrote that was frequently adapted, then transitions into the Looney Tunes watching Twelve Hundred Ghosts in a theater.
  • Half in the Bag: Mike and Jay's movie reviews are usually sandwiched by a framing narrative of them being VCR repairmen who are typically exploiting their one customer Mr. Plinkett by charging him an hourly rate to fix his VCR while actually just drinking beer and discussing movies. Sometimes plot arcs get extended over a number of episodes, while other times they dispense with the pretense completely.
  • Unwanted Houseguest: The premise of "TRUE Scary Stories" is the Houseguest reading his audience (usually framed as a visiting friend) stories from his books.

    Western Animation 

In General:

  • As mentioned above, the concept of making a whole new show to frame a foreign cartoon or children's show was a common practice in the 90's because back then, the Quarter Hour Short format wasn't used as much. Some examples include the following:
    • A show named The Noddy Shop framed episodes of the BBC's stop motion Noddy's Toyland Adventures series as being stories Kate, one of the child characters, told to her brother Truman and her friend DJ while they were in the Book Nook of the titular shop.
      • In Korea, a variety show show called Hello Noddy, starring a group of live-action kids and costumed actors of Noddy, Tessie Bear, Martha Monkey and Sly, was the Framing Device for one of the 90's Noddy series. However, due to there being a significant lack of information on the series, it is unknown if it was a framing device for Noddy's Toyland Adventures or if it was one for a Korean Noddy Shop dub.
    • When Thomas & Friends was released in North America, it was framed as being stories being told by Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station. Furthermore, the early episodes featuring the narrow gauge engines were framed as Thomas telling the other engines a story about them. The 2018 reboot "Big World! Big Adventures!" does this again by having Thomas present the story as a flashback, followed by a scene at the end where he tells the story's moral.
    • The 1997 version of The Mr. Men Show had framing device segments involving live action characters that were each tied to a particular theme such as exercise or carnivals.
    • Perhaps the oddest example of this was the show Salty's Lighthouse, which rather than play the stories unedited like the first three examples, would mash up random clips from TUGS as what the boats on the harbor were doing.
    • Fox Clubhouse, a show featuring a woman and her puppet friends going on adventures in their clubhouse, was this for Johnson and Friends, Budgie the Little Helicopter and the first thirteen episodes of Magic Adventures of Mumfie. There were also a few shows made exclusively for this program, like The Animal Show With Stinky and Jake and Rimba's Island.
    • Big Bag was Sesame Workshop's take on this genre, focusing on a general store run by a a girl named Molly, her dog friend Chelli and some anthropomorphic objects including the titular bag. It ran various cartoon shorts from around the world like William's Wish Wellingtons, Slim Pig and Koki, including two made specifically for the series: Troubles The Cat, which utilized the themes established in the main story, and Ace and Avery.
    • Thunderbirds got this treatment when it aired on the Amazin' Adventures block. Like Salty's Lighthouse above, clips comprised of several episode's worth of material were intercut with scenes of live-action children interacting with the characters.

By Creator:

  • Toonami is notable for not just creating a framing device with TOM and the Absolution, but for giving them a pretty extensive backstory and universe to boot. It even ties into the Space Ghost universe, occasionally. note 
  • Despite being animated cartoons, the Van Beuren Studios Toddle Tales and two of the Rainbow Parade shorts have live action openings and endings, with the cartoon segments inbetween that provide the "morals" of the cartoons.

By Series:

  • Episodes of The Adventures of Paddington are framed by Paddington writing a letter to his aunt Lucy about the events of what happened in the episode.
  • The "Graybles" episodes of Adventure Time are framed by the character Cuber, who speaks directly to the audience and seems to exist outside the canon of the show in some kind of futuristic space setting. These episodes begin and end with him asking the viewer to try to guess the theme of five seemingly unrelated short clips of the show (called graybles), which he plays on a triangular screen.
  • An episode of American Dad! used a character (Klaus) explaining that he and another character are just a framing device, and not part of the actual story as a joke.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: "The Storm" has two simultaneous frame stories: Aang tells Katara of his days with the Air Nomads and when he learned he was the Avatar, and Iroh tells his ship's crew the story of why Zuko was banished.
    • Additionally, in "The Avatar And The Fire Lord" Avatar Roku visits Aang in his dreams; at the same time Zuko read old scrolls written by Fire Lord Sozin. These are used to frame the story of Roku and Sozin's lives and relationship.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • "Showdown" is a Jonah Hex story set in 1883, presented as a recording left by Ra's al Ghul for Batman explaining his reasons for abducting Arkady Duvall from a rest home.
    • "Almost Got 'Im" has another framing device in the form of a card game played between the Joker, the Penguin, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and Two-Face. They tell stories of times they came close to killing Batman but failed as they play.
    • "Legends of the Dark Knight" has three kids telling stories about what they see Batman as, told in different styles throughout the caped crusaders comic career, ranging from the campy 50s to the grungy 80s era of Frank Miller.
  • In Bob's Burgers, framing devices are often used to set up stories told by the three kids.
    • "The Frond Files": The kids write three stories for a school exhibition, but Frond says they are "inappropriate" and refuses to display them. When Bob and Linda ask why they are "inappropriate," he reads the stories to them.
    • "The Gayle Tales": To get out early from grounding, the kids have to come up with stories about Aunt Gayle.
    • "Sliding Bobs": The kids wonder how Linda an Bob's first meeting would go down if Bob didn't have a mustache.
    • "Mom, Lies and Videotape": After failing to record the the kids' Mother's Day performances, Louise, Gene and Tina come up with completely fictional and improved versions of their crappy plays to Linda.
    • "Bed, Bob and Beyond": After watching part of a movie, the kids take turns telling what they imagine happens next, hoping to improve Bob and Linda's moods, and thus get out of trouble.
    • "The Handyman Can": The kids take turns telling Teddy stories to restore his confidence in his handyman abilities.
    • "Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid": Louise, Tina and Bob take turns comforting a sick and bathroom-ridden Gene on Thanksgiving.
  • Bojack Horseman featured an episode told through Princess Carolyn's great-great-great granddaughter. She tells her class about Princess Carolyn's really bad day (such as her miscarriage and inability to conceive, firing Judah, and breaking up with her boyfriend), along with some "worldbuilding" side plots involving other characters. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the granddaughter is entirely fictional, and was made up by Princess Carolyn as a story to keep herself happy.
    • "INT. SUB" also uses this structure for the majority of the episode. It focuses on Diane's therapist and her wife (a mediator for Todd and Princess Carolyn) discussing their new clients to each other, but changing their names due to client confidentiality rules. So, Bojack becomes "Bobo the Angsty Zebra" (with the title sequence changed to reflect this), Diane becomes "Princess Diana", Todd becomes "Emperor Finger-Face", and PC becomes "a Tangled Fog of Pulsating Yearning in the Shape of a Woman."
  • Early Caillou episodes start with a grandmother offering to tell her kids a Caillou story related to a problem they're having. note  Later episodes ditched this beginning though.
    • Earlier episodes of the version aired on PBS Kids showed segments involving Caillou's cat Gilbert and his toys Rexy and Teddy doing activities related to a theme that tied the three shorts in the episode together.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: The actual plot of the episode "Hog Tide" is the story that Gaia tells to entertain the Planeteers when they're stuck inside during a storm.
  • The Close Enough episode "Halloween Enough" sees the cast stuck indoors on Halloween and telling each other scary stories in an intentional homage to the Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror."
  • Certain episodes of Dora the Explorer are stories or flashbacks told by Dora. The viewer interaction even takes place in the story.
    • The episodes "Backpack" and "Dora's First Trip" are flashbacks narrated by Dora about how she first got Backpack in the former, and how she became an explorer and met her animal friends in the latter.
    • "What Happens Next?" has Dora and Boots imagining their own adventure that occurs after the end of a fairytale.
    • "Dora's Dance to the Rescue" is really a flashback to an earlier time told by Dora at the beginning of the episode. The trailers completely avoided showing this.
    • The trilogy of "Super Babies" episodes feature Dora telling a story that her twin baby siblings are superheroes.
    • "Catch the Babies" is framed by Dora telling the silly but true story to her family.
    • "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure" is framed by Santa Clause telling the story to his elves at the North Pole.
  • The Fairly OddParents! episode "Crash Nebula" also used the "watching a Show Within a Show" framing device, with Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda watching a TV special that Timmy wants to see about the titular hero.
  • Futurama used a similar Framing Device in its "Anthology of Interest" stories, using the "What If?" machine. In the first episode it turns out that the Framing Device was itself a result of the Professor asking the WhatIf machine his own question.
  • All of KaBlam!, Nick's first Animated Anthology series, is framed by the show's hosts Henry and June, two ten-year-olds who would lampshade animation tropes and talk to the audience while getting into their own mishaps.
    • The Life With Loopy segments are framed by Loopy's older brother, Larry, telling the episode's story to the audience.
  • Most episodes of Horseland has Shep the sheepdog telling the events of the episode in flashback. This was mostly dropped by Season 3.
  • House of Mouse showed the new Mickey Mouse Works cartoons as well as the classic theatrical cartoons with a framing device of the characters working at a nightclub where all the Disney characters would gather together.
  • Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks: The series is a frame story where the adult Piggley recalls events of his childhood in rural Ireland to his grandchildren.
  • Juro Que Vi: In this series retelling stories from Brazilian Folklore, all of the shorts are told by an unseen storyteller stating that they heard the story happened in Brazil's countryside, thus adding to the Oral Tradition aspect of folklore.
  • The Kim Possible episode "Rewriting History" has a story of Kim's great-grandmother (who vanished in disgrace at the start of the century), which is framed by Kim uncovering what really happened, while her Arch-Enemy Dr. Drakken chases his own ancestor's involvement in the same events, piling up into Generation Xerox and Contrived Coincidence and ending as All Just a Dream.
  • Ren & Stimpy: "Have Yourself a Stinky Little Christmas", a special home release of Son of Stimpy that also featured the music video for Cat Hairballs, featured a framing device where Stimpy, in an attempt to get Ren into the Holiday Spirit, puts on the episode and music video for him. At the end Ren is still a grump and heads off to use the bathroom, which it is revealed is being used by Rudolph.
  • For that matter, any of the Looney Tunes anthology movies fit this trope. For instance, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie presented the selected shorts as Bugs Bunny reminiscing about his "hare-raising" exploits.
    • Señorella and the Glass Huarache is framed as a man telling a sad story, which is Cinderella IN MEXICO! At the end, the person he was telling the story to comments that the story was actually pretty happy, but then asks what happened to the Wicked Stepmother. "That's the sad part," says the narrator... "I married her!"
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): The special The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular" is a series of three tales framed by Mickey trying to scare his and Donald's nephews.
  • Several episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic make use of various framing devices.
    • "Hearth's Warming Eve" has the ponies putting on a play about the origins of Equestria, with the cast appearing as the historical characters portrayed.
    • "A Hearth's Warming Tale" has Twilight reading a story to Starlight Glimmer, again putting the show's regular cast into the roles of characters in the story.
    • "The Saddle Row Review" is a Nested Story where the cast are reading a newspaper article about the opening of Rarity's new boutique, where each pony was interviewed about the problems they encountered; the events themselves are shown as individual flashbacks framed by interview segments.
    • "P.P.O.V." is a "Rashomon"-Style episode where the framing device is Twilight trying to find out from Pinkie Pie, Applejack and Rarity what happened on their boat trip that caused them to end up angry at each other.
    • "Where the Apple Lies" has Applejack telling the story of how, as a filly, she told a small lie that spun out of control and ended up with the whole family in hospital.
    • "The Perfect Pear" is about the Apple siblings learning how their parents fell in love.
    • "Campfire Tales" is just that: a series of campfire tales told around a framing device of a camping trip.
    • "The Big Mac Question" is framed by a series of Confession Cams where Spike, Discord, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders recall to Applejack what happened when preparing for Big Mac and Sugar Bell's proposal.
    • The Grand Finale "The Last Problem" features the grown-up Twilight recall to her student Luster Dawn the day she moved back to Canterlot and became the new ruler of Equestria.
  • The Owl House episode "Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Hooty's Door" is mostly shown as a series of flashbacks while Hooty is writing a letter to Lilith.
  • Regular Show: In "Skips' Story", Skips tells Mordecai and Rigby the story of how he became immortal. The entire episode consists of flashbacks, except the start and end.
  • The framing device of Robot Chicken is a Mad Scientist strapping the title character in a chair and forcing him to watch the show's sketches.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The early "Treehouse of Horror" episodes had them:
      • The first "Treehouse Of Horror" had Homer listening in on Bart and Lisa exchanging three scary stories in Bart's treehouse (hence the name of the series' Halloween episodes).
      • "Treehouse Of Horror II" had Bart, Lisa, and Homer eating too much candy before bed, with the Three Shorts themselves presented as prolonged Nightmare Sequences. The last short appears to have ended with a return to the frame story, only to continue where the short left off by revealing that Mr. Burns had his head grafted to Homer's body. Cue fake On the Next.
      • "Treehouse Of Horror III" featured the family throwing a Halloween party, with Lisa, Grandpa, and Bart telling all the stories.
      • "Treehouse Of Horror IV" is the last one to feature a framing device, with Bart presenting the stories in the manner of Night Gallery.
      • Whatever plot the subsequent Halloween episodes had outside of the three stories is mostly confined to the Cold Openings nowadays.
    • "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" containing several stories-within-a-story before it turns out to be Bart telling Principal Skinner why he failed to turn in an assignment.
  • Special episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants used segments involving Patchy the Pirate as this to the actual episodes themselves, like "Party Pooper Pants" and "Truth or Square?". These became less and less in the newer seasons.
    • "Missing Identity" is framed by SpongeBob recounting the episode in a diner one rainy night.
    • The episode "The Bad Guy Club For Villains" is framed by segments showing SpongeBob and Patrick watching an episode of Mermaid Man And Barnacle Boy.
    • "Friend or Foe" consists of a series of flashbacks told by Mr. Krabs and Plankton (and later Karen), about the time they used to be friends as children until an argument over their own recipe caused the two to drift apart.
    • "Pull Up a Barrel" is framed by Mr. Krabs telling a story to SpongeBob and Squidward about his time in the Navy.
    • "SpongeBob's Runaway Roadtrip" aka the vacation miniseries, are recalled by the character having the respective vacation presenting a slideshow to their friends.
    • "Swamp Mates" is a story narrated by SpongeBob to Gary in his library.
  • Steven Universe primarily, but not always, uses this for its Whole-Episode Flashbacks.
  • The DVD releases of the 2003 incarnation of Strawberry Shortcake feature segments which link two episodes together by having Strawberry recount those adventures through her Rememberin' Book.
  • The Teen Titans Go! episode "The Cape" has one of the Titans watching the Teen Titans episode "Divide And Conquer".
    • There is also "Bottle Episode", which has the Titans stuck in a bottle remembering their past adventures.
  • Many episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures used this trope to tie together otherwise unrelated skits.
  • VeggieTales is framed by segments involving Bob and Larry reading children's letters on a countertop that usually related to the episode's theme. When the show was broadcast on TV on NBC, these segments were replaced by ones that took place at Bob's house. In Brazil, the show had another spin-off series called Os Amigos Vegetais involving costumed character versions of the VeggieTales cast playing in their house in between the stories, and it also included little segments where the characters toured different places.
  • One episode of Angry Beavers had the gang playing "Storyteller" (a game where the players tell part of a story for a few minutes and the next player has to go off of that) on a camping trip. Each participants "chapter" is accompanied by an Art Shift as well. It had something to do with a pair of spies capturing a Cloaking Device inexplicably shaped like a cocktail weenie and the rules were that each player's chapter had to pertain to the heroes or the antagonists (much to the annoyance of Winslow, who only cares about a truck driver in an 18-wheeler). Notably, Treeflower turns the whole story into a Magical Girl Anime.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald was a series of animated videos, each one having wraparound segments of a live-action Ronald McDonald, who interacts with an animatronic suit of his dog Sundae as well as monitors displaying CGI animations of Tika, Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie before undergoing a Toon Transformation to transition to the animated portion for the first three videos, while the later three instead had Ronald already having experienced the video's adventure before starting a projector to play the animated portion and eschewed the interactions with other characters aside from Sundae's voice being heard from off-screen in "Visitors from Outer Space" and "The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch".

"...and I believe that's about it."
"Good times. So what do we do now?"
"What else? Go write more articles!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Framing Story, Frame Story


Hypnosis Session

In the very first scene of the series, protagonist Gereon Rath is lulled into a hypnotic trance and instructed to remember all that he has experienced up to this point, at which point the series proper begins.

The show will ultimately catch with this moment at the end of Season 2.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / HowWeGotHere

Media sources: