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Real-World Episode

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Sam: I think I know what this is!
Dean: Okay, what?
Sam: It's a TV show.
Dean: Ya think?!
Sam: I mean, here, wherever here is, this Twilight Zone Balthazar zapped us into. For whatever reason, our life is a TV show.

When characters in an ongoing story suddenly find themselves in a new fiction that views their entire history as a work of fiction, you're watching a Real World Episode. The intended effect is to make the audience believe that the characters have broken through the Fourth Wall and entered your reality, as this new fiction is a stand-in for the real world. Stories with these plots are popular because of Deconstruction and Lampshade Hanging jokes, as well as Self-Deprecation. Sometimes it's a form of raising the stakes, as at least two worlds may now be in trouble. The original world may turn out to be a product of someone's mind in the real world or it may be independent, with the real world inhabitants somehow learning about this parallel universe's story and becoming familiar with it as mere fiction, so to speak.

This trope is related to, but distinct from, Refugee from TV Land. There, a character is pulled out of a Show Within a Show, whereas a Real World Episode concerns characters the viewers have been following for some time prior to this, and no indication had yet been given that they were in fact in-a-universe fictional (other than the fact that they, y'know, exist in a TV series, movie, book, comic, or video game in the real-real-life). Quietly implies The World as Myth and can be paired with a "Reading Is Cool" Aesop.

Compare Mage in Manhattan (where a powerful villain from another world, but not always another fiction, comes to assault the world of the audience), Up the Real Rabbit Hole (where the "topmost" universe is recognized, sometimes arbitrarily, as the "real" one), and Tomato Surprise (where we learn the protagonists are not what we expected them to be). Contrast Trapped in TV Land (basically the inverse of this).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Ed and Hohenheim towards the end of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003); they never meet Hiromu Arakawa, but she has confirmed that they really did end up in our London, and World War One and World War II were at least partially the result of all the alchemy that was going on in their world. The big plot twist was that the other side of the Gate is 'our' world.
    • Inverted for The Movie, Conqueror of Shamballa. Ed has been in Germany since the end of the anime, while the Thule Society is looking for a way into Amestris and end up invading it.
  • Re:CREATORS is an entire series of this, as characters from Anime, Light Novels Video Games, Fan Fiction, and Manga appear in the Real World.
  • Sonic X would probably count. At the very beginning of the series, Sonic, Eggman, and a whole menagerie of characters from their world are pulled into the explosion of Eggman's base, and end up in what is, for all intents and purposes, the real world. It gets progressively less "real" as the show goes on, however (for example, it turns out that the city Sonic and most of his friends emerged in was Station Square from the Sonic Adventure series, and later episodes had the two worlds merge in order to adapt both Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2).
  • Played fairly straight in most Digimon continuities, mostly Tamers, and subverted in Savers. The Digimon that appear in the "real world" often suffer a loss in power, but they somehow manage to exist despite being made of data. Also, they can still use special attacks and Digivolve.

    Asian Animation 
  • Season 8 episode 36 of Happy Heroes has Big M. coming to the show's production office and meeting the series creator Leo Huang. Cue Rage Against the Author for all the crap he's been forced to undergo.

    Comic Books 
  • The whole premise of Fables, in which Public Domain Characters from folklore and fairy tales have decided to emigrate to our world.
  • The DCU, prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, had Earth Prime, a world that is in fact our world, with no superpowers or anything. Superman and The Flash occasionally ended up here. Earth Prime got its own version of Superboy shortly before being destroyed in the Crisis.
    • Later, Earth Prime was recreated, and the aforementioned Superboy wound up being dumped there after he punched himself. He seemingly lost his powers and did nothing there other than reading the very issues you were reading, trolling DC message boards and making his parents cook for him. Even later though, the Blackest Night somehow managed to breach into Earth Prime; he regained his powers shortly afterwards.
    • He's stuck as a Basement Dweller because people read about what kind of a person he was while trapped in the DC Universe.
  • An early issue of Grant Morrison's deservedly famous run on Animal Man builds to a climax in which the title character (a.k.a. Buddy Baker) freaks out because he can see the reader(s). At the conclusion of a long Mind Screw Story Arc (which involves one of the few characters who can remember Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as the Silver Age version of DC continuity), Buddy has a long metaphysical conversation with Grant Morrison in person, who says that, at this point, he can't think of anything else to do with the comic than hand it over to somebody else.
    • It is heavily implied that the last issue of Morrison's run on Doom Patrol also takes place in the same world as his last Animal Man issue, i.e. the real world. Aside from the fact that the world seen in the Doom Patrol issue apparently has no superheroes, it also shares the same colour scheme with the final issue of Animal Man. And if we take into consideration Morrison's later DC comics, it seems the final issues of Doom Patrol and Animal Man both take place inside the infant universe Qwewq, which is revealed to be our universe in All-Star Superman. This also means that the final fate of our universe is to get speared by Frankenstein in Morrison's Seven Soldiers!
    • Ultra Comics #1 features the most literal Real-World Episode ever. This chapter takes place on the real world, but it isn't the world depicted inside the comicbook. Earth-33 (a.k.a Earth-Prime) is the world of the readers themselves. The comicbook Ultra Comics is just a character in the actual story, a comicbook-shaped superhero made of paper and ink (or digital data) that acts like an avatar to its reader to fight The Gentry.
  • The comics of Marc-Anthonie Mathieu explore the (two-dimensional, black-and-white) protagonists occasionally becoming aware of such things as "three-dimensionality" or "four-colour offset". These are implied to be dreams of the protagonists.
  • Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe ends this way, with Deadpool using the Nexus of All Reality to enter the real world and murder the creators of his comic.
  • The Doctor Who comic in Doctor Who Magazine had a story in its 20th anniversary issue entitled "TV Action!", where the Eighth Doctor and Izzy traveled to our reality and meet Tom Baker, who had played the Fourth Doctor. Baker defeats that month's alien by merely talking to him and rambling endlessly.
  • In "World's Funnest", Bat-Mite and Mxyptlk fight across countless realities, briefly ending up in one made of photos, not drawings. Despite their God-like abilities, the weirdzo locales and POV's they've visited and the scores of mega-powers they've brought low during this fight, the place scares the crap out of them and they leave quickly by mutual consent.
  • In a metafictional sort-of inversion, one Marvel Comics Fifth Week Event was comic books based on what they would look like if published in the Marvel Universe itself. The writers there didn't know the secret identities of most characters, suffered from the Fantastic Racism against mutants, and could not do comics based on what the heroes are really doing, so most such comics were very different from the real versions.
  • At the end of Marvel Zombies 5, Machine Man and Howard the Duck go into a universe that isn't designated to collect information on zombies. They stumble across an actual Marvel zombie (that is, a giant fan of Marvel) who has become psychotic whom they kill. As the book ends, they comment on how the Zombie Apocalypse trope itself makes little sense, cutting to a copy of their own book.
  • Flirted with in The Sandman (1989). Dream's normal home is, of course, the Dreaming, but he can visit the waking world (the "real" world) whenever he wants. The last book in the series is titled "The Wake" and it's narrated in the second person, implying you (the reader) are watching current events.
  • Vampirella: The first Dynamite run ends with Vampirella being sent to a universe by her mother Lilith where she is only a comicbook character.
  • The 2017 five-issue miniseries of Mighty Mouse by Dynamite Comics entails Mighty Mouse finding his way in the real world and having to help a bullied boy named Joey before they work together to stop a race of alien cats from conquering both the real world and Mighty Mouse's cartoon universe.
  • Subverted in The Unbelievable Gwenpool. One of the latter story arcs surrounds the titular character believing that she's returned back to her mundane reality after an extended stay in the Marvel Universe, only to realize that she and her brother never actually left the comic after experimenting with some of her newfound abilities.

    Fan Works 
  • The Star Trek fanfic Visit to a Weird Planet had Kirk, Spock, and McCoy accidentally being beamed onto the set of Star Trek: The Original Series. A sequel fanfic by a different writer, Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited, had the actors beamed onto the real Enterprise.
  • Notably used in a Back to the Future fanfic, where accidental interaction with the creators and actors changes them to earlier drafts. Interference with Michael J. Fox's audition causes Marty's appearance to change to that of Eric Stoltz, flying past Bob Gale causes the DeLorean Time Machine to revert to a refrigerator, and tearing off a page establishing the almanac from the sequel's screenplay wipes out all the events stemming from Marty buying it in 2015.
  • Xanadu (Storyverse): At a fairly large convention called "Xanadu" all of the costumes become real. While most stories focus on weirdness and some on furries, naturally a number of cosplayers are present, with varying levels of mental change from "Whoa, suddenly my costume is perfect!" to "Where is this place? Where did my True Companions go?" Two stories have characters and such from fictional fiction; Slinx, a Phonýmon, and The Perils of Voice Acting, a pastiche of He-Man, She-Ra, and other cartoons from that period.
  • Way back in 2002, someone wrote a story called the Fanfic Lounge. It took place in a lounge made for fictional characters so they could relax between fanfics. While it's uncertain how many spin offs were made, this one was about The Lord of the Rings cast, along with Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom, being gathered in the lounge in order to find a solution to the problems plaguing LOTR fanfiction. IIRC, this is where the LOTR cast discovers their fictional status, and Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood are just as weirded out at meeting their fictional counterparts. The story featured the culture shock scenario for the LOTR cast, and contained such gems as: Boromir trying to open a can of Mountain Dew with a dagger, the cast becoming confused at references to future events in the books/movies (the cast was taken some time before the splitting of the Fellowship), and perhaps the best part, the cast being informed of the existence of Yaoi slash fiction, and being informed of who is frequently paired with who. The two Real Life actors also experience their own variant, when Elijah Wood is nearly torn apart when he accidentally walks into a room used to hold OP characters (and then later identifies Sailor Moon as being among them), and Orlando Bloom becoming horrified when he's told that the body he's currently inhabiting was pulled out of an NC-17 fic, explaining why he was missing his shirt (hard to explain, you'd have to read it).
  • Appears in Harry Potter and the Soul of the Hero, where the author and Harry have a conversation for the sake of heroic Deus ex Machina.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic My Little Dashie. An inversion of the fandom's usual Self Insert Fics, the story involves Rainbow Dash arriving into the real world (as a filly), and becoming essentially the narrator's adopted daughter.
  • Anthropology has Lyra end up in the world of modern humans for a while, her true place of origin.
  • The premise of The Book Keeper is that Wilson Bridges can meet characters from books. They briefly enter the real world, and Wilson comforts them, before they disappear back into their stories.
  • Project Bluefield has one in the Fire Emblem Fates: Devastation drabble "Hot Dogs For Lunch" which, instead of taking place in the world of Hoshido and Nohr, occurs in a Costco food court. With the narrator buying hot dogs for himself and Queen Mikoto of Hoshido.
  • The "current day" of Coreline is a decade (or a little more than that) after an apocalyptic event in which elements of Fiction invaded the "real world" and changed it, both for the better and for the worse. Even after so long, Fictions keep on Emerging into the world and the "in this universe our lives were your entertainment" revelation still finds victims as a result. Some really don't take it well.

    Films — Animation 
  • Garfield Gets Real is based on the premise that every Garfield strip we've ever read has been made using props in a studio, and Garfield has never actually been in the real world the comic strips makes it look like he lives in. And then he travels there.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Occurs in The Dark Tower by Stephen King. In fact, Stephen King himself appears in a later book in the series.
  • Happens briefly in the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic.
    • Then in The Science of Discworld spin-off, the wizards at Unseen University manage to create a planet called Roundworld, a world free from magic and narrativium; it is, of course, Earth. In the second and third SoD books, the wizards discover that the elves and the Auditors respectively have interfered with human history, requiring them to set things right by influencing the writing of A Midsummer's Night's Dream and The Origin of Species.
    • The early Terry Pratchett short story "Final Reward" has a barbarian hero, following his death, arriving in the hall of his "creator"; that is, the fantasy writer who invented him.
    • The fan film Run Rincewind Run! — created for the opening of Nullus Anxietas (the 2007 Australian Discworld convention) — features Rincewind being hit by a spell that sends him to "meet his maker." (Which he does, at the convention.) For a fan film, they should have done more research. Rincewind never looks behind him while running (it slows you down).
  • The end of the novel Sophie's World involves the characters realizing that they are characters in a book and deciding to escape to the real world. which is still within the book and therefore not our real world.
  • Bernard Werber's Le mystère des dieux also ends like this: the characters actually hit the end of the universe... which turns out to be the page of a book.
  • In the novel My Hero by Tom Holt, fictional characters clock out between chapters and negotiate with their agents for choice heroic roles, all the while actively bitching out their authors for shoddy plotting. Much of the book revolves around the misadventures of characters pulled into the real world, but since this vision of the real world is one in which mad Cornishmen build footballers from body parts and a literary agent turns out to be planning the End of the World, the "this is reality" effect is rather diluted.
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. The sequel pulls it in reverse, where characters from the real world enter the fantasy world.
  • Older Than Steam: In Part II of Cervantes' Don Quixote (published in fact many years after Part I) the title character meets fans of Part I, and even takes the opportunity to bash another Part II of dubious authorship that had been published before the real thing. In fact, Don Quixote swears that he precisely will NOT go to the tournament in Aragon described in "Avellaneda's" Quixote, even though this had been foreshadowed in Part I.
  • Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series pulls this all the time, in as many ways as you can think of. It starts with Thursday Next's reality being the "real world" for the fictional characters she meets when she ventures into fiction (kind of like the Inkheart sequel that way). It's even possible to go behind-the-scenes in any work of literature (to the backstory, the frontispiece, etc) which makes it seem even more staged. Then it gets more bizarre when Thursday is offered a way to un-eradicate Landen by hopping along to another world, which sounds even more suspiciously like our world. She eventually decides against it, since the price for both her and Landen being alive was that they would not remember or have ever met each other.
  • A senior-citizen Gamer in Dream Park tells the other Gamers a story about how, back in the days of Tabletop Games, her adventuring party opened a door in a dungeon full of magical portals, and found itself in the living room where her gaming group was playing. One of the heroes shot the Game Master with a crossbow bolt, and the entire dungeon disappeared.
  • Inverted in Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber novels, in which Amber is the only true world. All other realities (including our own) are just imperfect reflections of Amber.
  • After an unusual incident involving a storm, a fire drill, and a cowbell, Wayside School is shut down and the kids are sent to different schools. When they eventually return to Wayside, all the kids recount their horrific tales at the other schools. Todd, however went to the worst school of all: YOURS.
  • A short story in the anthology Fantasy Gone Wrong features a writer struggling with a unicorn to get it to save a centaur from a dragon. The writer and the unicorn discuss variations and reasoning.
  • The Red Shirts in Redshirts travel to the real world to get the show they're appearing in cancelled. Subverted in that they later discover that the "real world" was just as fictional as their own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The final episode of Eerie, Indiana, "Reality Takes A Holiday", has this as its plot. Marshall is sent a script of the episode, and suddenly his home turns into a movie set. His family and friends are actors, and everyone starts calling him Omri Katz, the name of his real life actor. Dash X (who is aware that he's just a fictional villain) tries to have Marshall killed by writing his death into the script, but Marshall prevents it in the end by secretly writing his death out at the last second. After he yells "Action!" his life returns to normal.
  • The Series Finale of Battlestar Galactica (2003) shows the surviving cast finally settle onto a beautiful habitable planet they dub the Earth. 150,000 years later, we're shown that this Earth gave rise to modern-day New York City, as well as numerous advances in robotics and artificial intelligence that seem suspiciously Ripped from the Headlines.
  • An episode of Diagnosis: Murder had Amanda Bentley, played by Victoria Rowell, win a trip to the set of The Young and the Restless, in which Victoria Rowell also starred. Other regular characters from within the show and real actors from The Young and the Restless playing themselves, plus actors playing fictional The Young and the Restless crew, commented on how much Amanda Bentley looked like Victoria Rowell.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars", Sisko wakes up as a Science Fiction writer in the 1950s, and "Deep Space Nine" is just a story he's been writing. Of course, no one wants to read a story in which a black man commands a space station...
  • In an episode of Growing Pains, Ben Seaver wishes his life were more like TV, and wakes up to discover his entire life is a television show called Meet the Seavers. All the actors are referred to by their real names, and members of the production crew feature prominently. At one point Kirk Cameron, who usually plays Ben's older brother Mike, confides to Ben that he actually is Mike, and has been trapped in the real world for years.
  • The TV series (blending CG I with live action) Ace Lightning featured a group of videogame characters trying to exist in the real world.
  • The premise of the Red Dwarf Reunion Show Back to Earth. Unlike most examples, several of the people they run into in the "real world" fairly easily work out what they are, and don't find it especially outlandish that a group of fictional characters might pop out into the real world. Of course, they are science fiction fans. As it turns out, the "real world" is a drug-induced hallucination. (Strictly, it's not the real real world; it's one where the series is still going, and is more popular than ever... and where people stopped using DVD and went back to VHS... and where Coronation Street is a real place.)
  • A meta-version takes place in the finale movie of The Famous Jett Jackson: Jett, an actor in the show's world, switches places with Silverstone, his character on the Show Within a Show.
  • In the Supernatural episode "The French Mistake", Sam and Dean Winchester get blasted into the real world where everyone sees them as their actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, working on Supernatural itself. Among the things that the Winchesters discover are Bobby being named for a show producer, Jared being married to the actress who played Ruby (and luckily, not assaulting her thinking she's the demon, though Sam *does* Fade to Black with her), and the show being filmed in Vancouver. Of course, the episode still has a kill count... one that includes actor Misha Collins (Castiel) and series creator Eric Kripke.
    • Oddly enough, while several people comment on how oddly "Jared" and "Jensen" are acting (or not acting, since Sam and Dean can't act), no one comments on how "Jensen" is constantly in-character as Dean — Dean's voice is an octave lower than Jensen's making it jarring for people to hear him out of character and should be a cue to everyone around them that something is off about him.
    • Inverted with the episode "Scoobynatural," where the characters are plopped into an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! becoming cartoon figures in the process.
  • One of the final episodes of UFO (1970) has Ed Straker finding himself in an alternate reality where he is an actor filming a TV series called UFO, with other characters from the series using their actors' real names.
  • The creators of Buffy, Angel, Xena and Hercules LOVE this trope. Each of these series has at least one episode happening in the "real world". Hercules even gets to keep his powers throughout his episodes.
    • Subverted in the case of Xena and Hercules, as their "real world" episodes are set in the same universe as their regular series, just thousands of years later, with Xena and her friends being reincarnated in the modern era and Hercules being Really 700 Years Old (and living in the present as Kevin Sorbo). They're also both famed In-Universe, with the shows existing in their worlds and based on their historic deeds.
  • The finale of season 2 of The OA was setting up this as the premise of season 3, but the show was canceled.
  • The first season finale of The Twilight Zone (2019) is about various characters who are making an episode of The Twilight Zone. While the cast are filming, however, one of the scriptwriters is stalked by a mysterious blurred figure later revealed to be none other than Rod Serling himself.

    Video Games 
  • The Final Destination stage in the Super Smash Bros. series is said to travel between the fictional world where the characters live and the real world. This is evidenced as the scenery changes as the time passes along the level, from space, to a wormhole, to a realistic sea.
  • The Game Over scene of Comix Zone shows a comic book villain, having successfully traded places with his author, go on to do comic book villainy in the real world. (The game itself follows the adventures of the author, who is Trapped in TV Land and has to be the comic book hero.)
  • Late in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the protagonists discover that the creators of their world are going to destroy it, so they go up a level in reality to 4D space, and find out their world is a video game, and their creators are the company that developed it. Inverted in that the world where this game company exists isn't the world of our Earth- the game world is.
  • In Morrigan's ending in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, she travels through the dimensional rifts caused by the main villain... and ends up outside the video game.
  • In Drakengard's fifth ending, Caim and Angelus follow the Queen Grotesquerie to Japan 2004, and end up causing a Class 3-4 cataclysm that is followed by NieR.
  • Used in rather bizarre fashion in the good ending to Chrono Cross: after discussing the fact that the Chronoverse consists of infinite parallel realities, Schala (or some alternate-dimension variant of her) is seen wandering the streets of a real-world city in her search for the amnesiac Serge - the implication being that our world is one more of the infinite potential realities, and that the player himself might be an alternate-world version of Serge.
  • This is where Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals and Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon end.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo takes Neo and Seraph's fight from The Matrix Reloaded and has them suddenly transported into a movie theater playing the actual clips from their fight in said movie, even as the two continue to battle it out in the game.
  • Jump Force features the heroes and villains of Shonen Jump duking it out as their worlds merge with the real world. Many stages take place in real-world cities, such as New York, Tokyo, and Paris.
  • Super Mario Fusion Revival has a representation of the real world, dubbed Terra Alternata, as World 2. Metal Slug Rebels serve as the primary source of conflict in that world.
  • The ending of the arcade version of Golden Axe depicts various enemies escaping from the arcade machine to the streets, with the three heroes also escaping and chasing after them.
  • The final level of Hard Head 2 takes place in China for no apparent reason, complete with a portrait of Chairman Mao thrown in for good measure.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers episode "Mario in real life!? (200 vid special)", Mario winds up activating a portal within SMG4's computer, which eventually sucks him and most of the major/recurring characters into SMG4's real-life house. Soon enough, the real-life SMG4 has to deal with the characters' antics while trying to help them get back home.
  • In the Red vs. Blue Season 14 episode "Red vs. Blue vs. Rooster Teeth"", the Reds (plus Caboose) end up jumping through a malfunctioning teleporter. Meanwhile, at the Rooster Teeth studio, Miles Luna ends up accidentally spilling an energy drink on the Xbox they're using to generate the show, while Burnie Burns flips the switch to shut off power to spite Miles. The combination results in the Reds (plus Caboose) ending up in the studio, face-to-face with their creators, who are, understandably, freaked out. Sarge immediately assumes the other people are "the enemy". The same accident results in the Reds (plus Caboose) being sent back... along with Burnie Burns.
  • A skit called "A Slip Through Time and Space" in the first season of RWBY Chibi has the energetic Nora drinking a lot of coffee which causes her to go through several dimensions, the last being transported to her becoming her voice actress; Samantha Ireland. In a sequel called "A Slip Through Time and Space Pt. 2, Nora drinks coffee again, this time, she appears in the Rooster Teeth studios, taking the form of a RWBY Vinyl figurine. Nora also runs into a bunch of other Vinyl Figure versions of other characters.

  • In the guest story "The Sluggite Koan" in Sluggy Freelance, Bun-bun, after being thrown out of time itself in a previous canon story, emerged from the computer screen of a fan of the comic. Being who he is, he proceeded to throw the guy in in his place and left to menace his own creator.
  • Planescape Survival Guide implied that the "Firstworld" (Earth) was a real place for several chapters. In the 4th chapter, many of the characters ended up there, and also discovered D&D campaign settings depicting the very Multiverse they just came from. How or why has not yet been explained.
  • In Real Life Comics this occurred during the Plot Hole Arc. It was played for laughs due to there being No Fourth Wall and solved relatively quickly.
  • Sinfest has the Reality Zone. The art style changes and real world physics apply. The Devil steers clear.
  • In one Nodwick arc an evil wizard bungled his spell and turned the comic universe into the real world. Once things were back to normal Piffany started hitting him with her staff and shouting "That's for making me a Walmart greeter!"
  • In El Goonish Shive, a filler strip features Tedd, Elliot, Sarah and the Goo looking at the first strip on a computer.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series: In the two-part Grand Finale, one of the Spideys of the interdimensional Spider-Man team (led by "our" Spidey) was not Peter Parker, but an actor who played him. In his world, we met Stan Lee, voiced by... Stan Lee. He had created Spider-Man for a comic book and was surprised to find that there was a world where his creations were real. He also found Madame Web quite fascinating (she was voiced by Stan's real-life wife, Joan B. Lee.)
    • Speaking of Marvel, the title Earth-1218 was used to designate our world.
  • In Darkwing Duck episode 'Twitching Channels', Megavolt invents a device that allows him to travel through electrical wires, appliances, and broadcast signals. He proceeds to use television sets as warp gates to enable easy theft and getaway on a crime spree, which Darkwing must of course put a stop to. In hot pursuit, the two go on a chase scene across the channels of TV Land, and ultimately stumble out of a television set into the real world, where they're shocked and unnerved to discover they're merely fictional characters in a popular TV show watched by strange furless apes. This gets subverted, however, when it's revealed that the "real world" isn't any more real than Darkwing's world; the local television executive owns a strange helmet that receives transdimensional signals, and he created the television show from listening to Darkwing's exploits, not the other way around. Darkwing is (after a little comical blackmail) welcomed with open arms and made a star of the stage, but he ultimately grows bored and wants to go back to where he has real villains to fight. Eventually he goes home using Megavolt's device combined with the helmet, but the helmet gets damaged afterward. When the executive's assistant inspects it, it is now attuned to the world of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.
  • A The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode had Homer being sucked into The Third Dimension (dun-dun-dun!). He eventually destroyed that universe and wound up in our world. Specifically the erotic cake store at 13567 Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles. The funniest part is that Homer is absolutely frightened by three dimensions - but is instantly calmed by the erotic cakes. Cue curious people staring at a CGI Homer, even gazing at him inside the store.
  • The third season finale of Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go had The Dark One opening a wormhole that leads to his next meal: modern-day Earth. There's even a billboard advertising the show visible. Neither him nor the Hyperforce actually land on the planet though.
  • In Chaotic, the episode Chaotic Crisis involves the Underworlders reverse-engineering human technology to create portals linking Perim, Chaotic, and Earth. (It was All Just a Dream, however.)
  • About half of the episodes of DiC Entertainment's The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 had the characters visiting Earth in some way. In this continuity, Mario and Luigi are plumbers from "the real world" who discovered the Mushroom World on a plumbing job, and Earthlings are drawn with the same art style as the Marios. Even though this would make the Mushroom World a parallel world as real as Earth, Bowser, Peach and Toad refer to Earth as "the real world" even though the Mushroom World is their real world, and is as real to them as the 'real' real world.
  • Family Guy:
    • A flashback to when Peter did acid results in a live-action hallucination.
      Peter: Things got way too real.
    • In the episode "The Road to the Multi-Verse", Stewie and Brian get transformed into Live Action versions of themselves in one universe, much to their discomfort.
      Stewie: Um, Brian? This feels weird.
      Brian: Hit the button!
  • The Scooby-Doo Project, a surprisingly dark parody of The Blair Witch Project and other Found Footage Films, makes good use of the Roger Rabbit Effect and allows the animated teenagers themselves to be treated as if they, too, were extensions of the real world, and not just Unusually Uninteresting Sights. At one point, however, Shaggy notes how eerie the forest look.
    Shaggy: Like, these woods don't look like our regular woods. ....Things just look more, realistic.
  • An episode of KaBlam! had Henry and June attempting to break into the real world and eventually doing so because there just happened to be a door on the studio set leading outside. They briefly become live-action kids, but end up returning to cartoon form quickly when they find that real pain hurts.
  • An episode of Superjail! ends with the Warden waking up as a live-action homeless man wearing the same purple suit after the twins overload his dream machine.
  • In Duck Amuck Daffy Duck argues with his animator, who erases and redraws the situation to torment Daffy. Arguably subverted however, as said animator turns out to be Bugs Bunny.
  • The 2013 Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse! has Mickey and his friends in a hand-drawn black-and-white cartoon go through the movie screen and into the real world, which is rendered in CGI.
  • The 200th episode of Teen Titans Go!, aptly called "The Self-Indulgent 200th Episode Spectacular!", has the Titans finding themselves at Warner Bros. Animation when trying to escape their world, which is rapidly disappearing due to the show's production staff being on break. After being introduced to the crew and having a brief existential crisis when they learn they're all cartoons, they start hunting for the show's creators so the 200th episode can be produced, meeting the duo's families and attempting to write the episode themselves in the process.
    Raven: If we can't find those two, lazy hack writers and get them to write a script, we'll stop existing completely.
  • Close Enough has its season three Halloween Episode, where one of the segments is Candace having a nightmare where she literally pushes through the fourth wall and ends up in Cartoon Network Studios, which produces the show. To her building horror, she meets various members of the show's cast and crew, including creator J.G. Quintel (who looks exactly like her dad) and her own voice actor, before running out the building and realizing that she's a fictional character.

Dean: ...why?
Sam: I don't know.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Welcome To The Real World


Close Enough

Candice has a nightmare where she stumbles into Cartoon Network Studios and freaks out upon seeing the crew in the middle of making the show she stars in. She even runs into J.G. Quintel, briefly mistaking him for Josh.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / RealWorldEpisode

Media sources: