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Medium Awareness / Western Animation

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  • Cro: An episode involving a weird-looking machine invented by some mammoth named "Bucky" is chock-full of No Fourth Wall flirting with lines like "What, another plot complication?", "I thought we were in a flashback already" (the show's main story-lines are told as flashbacks) and "This not a good place to end, how about nice rescue scene?" - at the end of the flashback portion of the ep, three of the show's characters are hanging from Bucky's machine, which has been shoved over a cliff in a literal Cliffhanger.
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  • Kim Possible plays with this a lot, including things like messing with the credits of the show. Most notably at the end of "Grande Size Me" when Ron gives a fourth wall-breaking Space Whale Aesop speech about the dangers of mutating your DNA while the other characters gather behind him, confusedly wondering who he's talking to.
  • Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants makes frequent references to things lasting eleven minutes, the approximate length of a short.
  • As do Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda on The Fairly OddParents
    Timmy: Where were you when I needed you ten and a half minutes ago?!
  • Mighty Max: Villain of the Week Dr. Zygote uses a machine to "evolve towards the infinite", complete with Theme Music Power-Up. During the process he drones "Yes...I...can hear...the music!"
  • Many of the humor-themed animated series co-created in the 1990s by Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment were chock-full of this:
    • Tiny Toon Adventures: Naturally, being explicitly about future cartoon stars in training.
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    • Animaniacs: The Warner siblings, Slappy Squirrel, and her nephew Skippy were devastatingly Medium Aware. Especially Slappy, though, who's actions are often motivated by how entertaining they would be to watch and will call out Skippy for trying to State The Simple Solution:
      Skippy: I don't know, Aunt Slappy. I think we should just go to the store and buy some walnuts.
      Slappy: Ooh yeah! We'll have them in hysterics with that bit! Six minutes in the check-out aisle! Oooh somebody stop me I'm laughing!
      • The other characters were this to varying degrees, often varying from short to short. Rita in "Les Miseranimals" shows medium awareness when she notes (in song) the cartoon tail-stretched-out-longer-than-normal-length gag after Runt stretched out her tail trying to pull her out through a hole way too small for her body.
        Rita: He must have confused me for a cartoon.
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    • Pinky and the Brain are usually less medium aware than most, especially after becoming the Spin-Off.
    • Freakazoid!: To the point that nearly every regular character in the series, with the distinct exception of Dexter Douglas' family, were aware they were in a TV show.
  • Johnny Bravo did this in an early episode. Whenever the villain's plot was described, an ominous tune would cause the characters to look around in surprise and confusion until finally, one of them wonders aloud, "Who keeps playing that music?"
  • On Yogi's Treasure Hunt, in the episode "Follow the Yellow Brick Gold", Yogi and his friends are caught in a watery Death Trap just before a commercial break. After the break, the treasure hunters have escaped and are sitting on the roof. Huckleberry Hound says to the viewer, "If it hadn't been for that commercial break, you would have seen quite an escape!"
    • Another such joke occurred in the episode "The Search for the Moaning Lisa". Right before the commercial break, Dick Dastardly cut the cords on the elevator that the gang was using, causing it to fall. Right at the start of the next act, the elevator's still falling, prompting Huckleberry to remark, "We've been fallin' for the whole commercial break!"
      • Yet another has Quick Draw McGraw as El Kabong testifying in court about his excessive use of his guitar (or "ka-bonger"). He turns to the camera as says "Gee, kids, we're only trying to make you laugh. But don't try this at home!"
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle has pretty constant Medium Awareness, except when it would complicate the plot (i.e., Boris and Natasha conveniently forget that Nobody Can Die whenever they get an order to kill the heroes).
    • In one episode, Boris and Natasha overlook an important visual detail, but hear the Narrator announcing that they missed it. The Narrator won't tell them what it was, so they rewind the tape and watch the scene again.
    • In another episode, Boris tears up the script because it says he's supposed to reveal his plot, and he doesn't want to do that yet. In the next scene, we see him pasting it back together, because apparently he doesn't know what his own plan is without it.
    • Or the episode where Dragnet-like agents are trying to keep Rocky and Bullwinkle from spilling the beans, and so they gag our heroes. Then, when the off-screen narrator starts the episode wrap-up, the agents hear it and gag the narrator too. The rest of the episode has nothing but "mmm mmmp mmmn" sounds from the gagged narrator.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Beetlejuice used this trope at least once every other episode. In their The Wizard of Oz homage episode, they replaced the line "There's no place like home" with "Ripple-dissolve to scene 326".
  • A vast number of Ed, Edd n Eddy episodes have had the Eds or some other character demonstrate medium awareness:
    • In "Key to My Ed", after finding that a napping Johnny is still asleep, Eddy wonders "Does this guy sleep through the whole show?"
    • In "Momma's Little Ed", Eddy apologizes to Edd for an earlier outburst, blaming it on Kevin, and Edd replies "But Kevin wasn't in this show, Eddy."
    • In "An Ed in the Bush", Ed cues the end of the episode's first act with the line "End of first sequence and fade to black."
    • In "For Your Ed Only", Eddy's use of "Hasta la vista" and Edd's use of "C'est la vie" inspires Kevin to remark "This show needs subtitles."
    • In "Cry Ed", Edd remarks after chasing Eddy around "I think I've lost about ten pounds this season!"
    • At the end of "Here's Mud In Your Ed", Edd remarks "An iris in would be appropriate, don't you think?" As the cartoon ends with an iris to black, Edd can be heard saying "Thank you."
    • In "Boom Boom Out Goes the Ed", when Ed thinks that Edd has vanished without a trace, Eddy protests "But it's the end of the show, Ed!"
    • "Knock Knock, Who's Ed?" has Edd suggest simply going to his or Eddy's house to watch the movie marathon. Eddy shoots it down thusly: "What, and ruin the plot?!"
    • "1+1=Ed" takes it to the logical extreme, where the Eds get bitten by the curiosity bug and start physically deconstructing their animated world.
    • In "Big Picture Show", there's a glass case in Eddy's brother's room with the words "In case of movie, break glass." At the end of the movie, Johnny tries to get even with the kids for an earlier slight, only to be told by Plank that the movie's over and it's too late for revenge.
      • Edd also remarks on the Grand Finale nature of the movie, playfully remarking that it only took Eddy "130 episodes, four specials, and a movie" to finally get the respect of the other kids.
  • The PBS computer animated series WordWorld follows this. All of the characters can not only hear the Narrator, but they even call him Mr. Narrator when they talk to him. None of them seem to be aware that they are characters in a television show though, and to be fair not much else about their world is exactly normal.
  • In the 1985 Pound Puppies special, Violet starts telling Cooler what happened to her, only to stop, confused, when the scene starts to dissolve. Cooler blithely tells her that it's just a flashback and she continues her story.
  • Subverted in the South Park episode "Starvin' Marvin In Space". Starvin' Marvin finds a flying saucer, and he climbs in, turns it on, and starts flying it, with the theme music from The Greatest American Hero playing in the background. Later in the episode, Cartman gets in the ship, and complains "Where is that awful music coming from?" at which point someone presses a button and the music turns off.
    • In another episode the Jackovasaurs get their own sitcom with canned audience laughter, when Cartman goes on the show he says "What was that?, who's laughing at me?"
    • In "I'm A Little Bit Country", Cartman makes numerous attempts to initiate a flashback so he can complete his history assignment. One such method includes repeating the last words of a sentence with an echo effect.
    • In "It Hits the Fan", the guys in the bar are apparently aware of when their words get bleeped by the censor.
      • Garrison also tells them about the N-Word Privileges, saying that only he can say "fag" without being bleeped because he's gay. Then Jimbo says it without being bleeped, and people notice.
    • The end of the episode about sex-ed involves Chef explaining why it's a bad idea for parents to dump The Talk on the school:
    Chef: I know it can be hard, parents, but if you leave it up to the schools to teach sex to kids, you don't know who they're learning it from. It could be from someone who doesn't know, [pans to Mr. Mackey] someone who has a bad opinion of it, [pans to Ms. Choksondik] or even a complete pervert. [pans to Mr. Garrison]
    Garrison: What— why did you pan to me just now? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
  • Phineas and Ferb is incredibly fond of this. Carl, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and Major Monogram use it expediently; all three seem to notice they're in a cartoon.
    • In "Voyage to the Bottom of Buford", the eponymous characters have already got a submarine built and ready to use, prompting this conversation:
    Phineas: I can't believe how quickly we put this sub together!
    Ferb: Yes, it usually takes us at least a montage.
    • "Mom! Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!"
      • "... a Christmas special/a public service announcement/a DVD menu"
    • In "Summer Belongs to You", a layover ad taking up half the screen is called out by Phineas for ruining a visual gag. Later, he also mentions there being about eleven minutes until sundown, the approximate remainder of the episode.
    • In "Phineas and Ferb's Hawaiian Vacation," a slight riff of background music plays whenever Candace puts on the supposedly-cursed Tiki necklace, which she repeatedly is shown to hear.
    "Hmm, comes with its own theme music!"
    • In "The Lizard Whisperer," Ferb says that they will not give up their search for Steve after "a mere eleven minutes," which is how long the episode lasts.
    • In "The Belly of the Beast", Perry the Platypus ambushes Doofenshmirtz after having been imprisoned and left behind. When Doofenshmirtz asks how he escaped, we flashback... but before anything happens, we return to the present, where Doofenshmirtz has gained the upper hand.
    Doofenshmirtz: Ha ha, I grabbed you while you were flashing back to your escape!
    Disembodied Reggae Space Voice: We don't have rocky road. It's not like we don't like it, we left the marshmallows at home. I blame Baljeet.
    Baljeet: What do you mean you blame Baljeet?
    DRSV: Well, it was clearly your responsibility to bring them.
    Baljeet: Where are you getting your information from, Disembodied Reggae Space Voice?
    DRSV: Hey, I have a name you know!
    Baljeet: Oh yeah well what is it?
    DRSV: Well, it's Disembodied Reggae Space Voice, but that's just a coincidence, you didn't know that!
    Baljeet: Look who is sensitive all of a sudden! Besides, Buford could have brought them!
    Phineas: Baljeet, would you please stop arguing with the soundtrack?
    Baljeet: He started it!
    • In "Doof Dynasty", when Perry goes all "ripply", the other characters recognize that he's segueing into a flashback... but they don't actually get to see it.
    • At the end of "Agent Doof", after her mom and several of the Fireside Girls get turned into infants by the Babe-inator, Candace quips "This had better wear off before the next episode..."
    • In "Phineas' Birthday Clip-o-Rama", Doof's plan is implausible even by his own standards. He acknowledges this to Perry, saying, "What, you think I'm gonna waste my good stuff on a clip show?"
    • In "Make Play," Major Monogram comments on Candace's striking resemblance to the princess, only for Carl to hang a lampshade on it:
    Major Monogram: Oh, wow, what are the odds?
    Carl: Well, it is a cartoon, sir.
    Major Monogram: What did I tell you about Breaking the Fourth Wall, Carl?
    Carl: Sorry sir.
    • In "Save Summer", Buford notices how Phineas only gets mad at Candace during the hour-long episodes.
    Buford: This must be a special episode. He's yelling at his sister again.
  • In one episode of Family Guy, Peter remarks that everyone is in Hollywood, where "Someone always says something funny just before the commercial break!" He then pauses before looking disappointed. Fade to commercial.
    • There have been plenty of other indications that the Family Guy cast is completely aware they are on an animated TV show. For instance, Stewie tried to introduce a Cutaway Gag and found out there was no clip, acknowledged it and moved on. Other characters have waited for the fake laugh-track to end before continuing lines. Lois suspected that insulting the network would result in their budget being cut, and the animation becoming choppy. They even know which network they work for.
    • Or when Cleveland told Quagmire that he was moving to a spin-off soon. How much more medium aware do you need to be?
    • And another episode had a Cutaway Gag that showed Quagmire mistakenly thinking he was the one getting the spin-off, making a So Long, Suckers! speech complete with "Enjoy your chicken fights and your Conway Twitty!"
    • And in Family Guy itself:
      Peter: Oh no, Connie's been hurt! I guess I should lie on top of her to keep her warm.
      (he does so)
      Peter: (looks at the viewer, annoyed) What are you lookin' at? It's a cartoon!
    • In a "Road to" episode, Brian and Stewie go back in time to the series pilot. There's a point where they watch their former selves setting up a cutaway gag, then just waiting there, motionless, until the gag ends. Then Stewie comments how things evolved, and shows that today they engage in more "idle" activities during the gags, like texting, doing make-up and smoking.
    • In one episode, a (fake) network ad pops up while Peter's talking, and he stops and yells at it for interrupting him and distracting from the show.
    • At the beginning of "Jesus, Mary and Joseph", while the producers' credits are appearing along the bottom of the screen, Peter takes apart the letters that make up the name "Cherry Chevapravadumrong" and rearranges them into "Chemotherapy vanguard vCr".
    Lois: It's something, but you still got a leftover "r".
    Peter: This was hard! I did this for you!
    • A scene from "Peternormal Activity" has Meg being concerned about being the punchline of a cutaway.
    Stewie: You're even worse than those people who take dumps in the shower.
    (cut to Meg taking a shower; she notices the viewer)
    Meg: What? W-Why are you cutting to me? What did somebody say? Whatever they said I do, I don't do!
    • Another scene features a dazed Stewie starting a "This is worse than that time I..." cutaway before trailing off and mumbling the rest. Cut to Stewie standing in a blank white room, looking around in confusion for a moment before admitting his segue was too incomprehensible to create a proper gag out of.
  • Chowder has a paper-thin (technically glass) fourth wall, so it runs into this trope at times.
    • One example ends with Gazpacho using window cleaner to fix a scribble on the screen. Chowder asks if he can also clean up "that other thing". He pokes the Cartoon Network logo and says "That? That doesn't come off. I've tried." After the Cartoon Network logo changed, it's very noticeable during reruns.
    • In "The Fire Breather", Chowder starts a fire in Mung Daal's kitchen with his hot-pepper breath, and Mung complains "Chowder, look what you've done! Now the animators are gonna have to draw all this fire!"
    • There's also the time where they go on a shopping spree and spend all their money. Upon realizing this Mung exclaims that there's no more money for animation, at which point the scene switches to the four main voice actors trying to figure out how to fix this (long story short, they have a car wash).
    • To top all that off, Chowder eats enough brain food in one episode to become hyper-intelligent, enough to realize that he's in a cartoon. Most of the characters retain this knowledge after the episode ends (with Chowder literally throwing his brain on the floor. Followed by a giant mallet).
  • Dave the Barbarian was very fond of these.
    Fang: What makes you think this plan will work!
    Dave: It's got to, we're at the end of the episode!
  • At the end of the first episode of the second season of the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! cartoon, Dr. Gangrene has achieved his goal of world conquest! Not only does he laugh gleefully over his victory, but he declares, "And this isn't a two part episode, IT'S A ONE-PARTER!" to which the heroes respond "You may have won this episode, but you'll never win the series!"
  • One of The Simpsons' couch gags had the Simpsons sit on their couch to watch TV when Homer noticed the TV station logo in the corner of the screen. (This was back when these logos were first starting to appear.) He lunged to his feet, ripped it apart and threw it on the floor where the rest of the family joined him in stomping it.
    • Another couch gag had Marge, after sitting down, finding Matt Groening's signature on the floor, to look to the viewer like a signed piece of artwork. Marge cleans it up, whereupon Groening himself appears and resigns the floor.
    • Another episode took place around when Joe Millionaire had rather annoying logos going at the bottom of the screen. One goes by and Homer proceeds to eat it commenting "Mmm, promos", and then spitting something out with a "Bleh, Fox!"
    • The beginning of one of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes begins with Marge talking about something while banners for other shows run across the bottom of the screen. Being a Treehouse of Horror, Marge proceeds to kill them.
    • In The Simpsons Movie, the FOX banner pops up to advertise shows and says "that's right, we advertise in MOVIES now, too!", making this a very rare case of REVERSE Medium Awareness - the network advert is aware it's in the movie!
    • In the episode "Homer Loves Flanders"
      Lisa: Don't worry, Bart. It seems like every week something odd happens to the Simpsons. My advice is to ride it out, make an occasional smart-alec quip, and by next week we'll be back to where we started from, ready for another wacky adventure.
      Bart: Ay, caramba!
      Lisa: That's the spirit.
  • Pretty much all of the main characters in Sonic Boom, but Sonic, Sticks, and Knuckles take the cake.
    • Sonic notes he has lots of fans, but most of them criticize everything he does. This is much more likely referring to his real world fans.
    • Knuckles notes that fans say he's too tall and talks about his character description. Also insults the writers at the end of each cliff hanger.
    • Sticks talks a lot to the viewers. She probably used to think they there just because she's crazy.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
    • The plot of one episode dawdles for about 20 minutes without progressing towards any sort of resolution. With a couple minutes left to go in the episode, one of the Turtles (Leonardo?) says to his colleagues, "We'd better come up with something quick, or we're going to have our first two-part episode."
    • In "The Great Baldini," a priceless artifact is stolen during a magic show, which the Turtles are watching. The police cordon off the spectators and begin searching everyone. Donatello nervously asks if this is going to be a strip search, and Raphael responds, "I hope not. This is a family show!"
    • Raphael does this constantly in the 80's cartoon. And it even carries over to the animated crossover movie, Turtles Forever. In a Running Gag, Hun (from the 2003 series) has no idea who he is talking to when he continuously breaks the fourth wall.
    • Shredder gets in on it too, sort of. At the start of one episode, Shredder is apparently explaining his scheme for that episode to Krang, who complains that he already knows what Shredder is planning. Shredder points directly at the viewer, exclaiming, "I was explaining it to them!" However, it turns out he was pointing at Bebop and Rocksteady.
    • He gets one for real when another character sets up a very easy wise crack/insult and he turns to the audience to announce to them "I won't say it. It's too easy.'
    • In another episode, April is being arrested by a robot who confers massive punishments for minor crimes. As it's about to haul her away, it asks if she has anything she'd like to say. She responds she does, but she can't use such language on television.
  • One episode of Disney's The Mighty Ducks had the heroes trapped with a deadline at the end of the first half. When the time got short something on the lines of "I knew we shouldn't have sat around doing nothing during the commercial break" was said. This was somewhat bizarre in the German version - animated series aimed at children are not interrupted by commercial breaks.
  • The Cow and Chicken two-part episode "The Ugliest Weenie" was bridged, as normal, by an episode of I Am Weasel. The Red Guy recaps the events of part 1...
    Red Guy: "So get ready for Part 3 of The Ugliest Weenie!"
    Voice: "Hey, what happened to Part 2? Was that Weasel thing Part 2?"
    Red Guy: "Yes, that was Part 2 of our show! This is Part 3 of the show, which is Part 2 of The Ugliest Weenie!"
  • A particularly notable use of the subtitle variant of this trope is used in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy during a conversation in the episode "The Prank Call of Cthulhu".
    Mandy: Ugh, this isn't working.
    Grim: He said, 'If you're talking about the new interns, you can find them in the cafeteria.'
    Mandy: You understood him?
    Grim: No, but I'm pretty good at reading subtitles backwards.
  • In The Angry Beavers episode "Eurobeavers", Norbert proceeds to speak with such a heavy accent that subtitles appear on the bottom of the screen. Daggett can see them, and eventually grabs one to throw it offscreen, where it can be heard shattering.
  • The British series Danger Mouse is built on this trope: characters get into arguments with the Narrator, the hero knows what 'C.H.M.F.F.G.' stands for because "I read the script", a villain plans to cripple the heroes by depriving them of their ubiquitous background music, and so on.
  • Scary Godmother: The Revenge of Jimmy has the Scary Godmother commenting about dramatic music whenever it comes on.
  • In a lot of the old theatrical shorts it wasn't uncommon for the cartoon characters to interact with a silhouetted member of the audience, perhaps to ask them for help or tell them to be quiet. Bugs Bunny once pulled out a gun and shot an audience member who wouldn't stop coughing.
  • Naturally this happens all the time to Bugs Bunny and his fellow Looney Tunes characters. Example; in the cartoon Rabbit Punch, a lengthy bout between Bugs and a dimwitted boxer ends with the boxer tying Bugs to a railroad track. We see the train barrelling down on Bugs, then the image flickers, then the film breaks, leaving a white screen. Bugs then walks onto the screen and announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, due to circumstances beyond our control we are unable to finish this picture." Leaning toward the camera and holding up a pair of scissors, he whispers, "And, uh, confidentially, the film didn't exactly break."
    • Perhaps the ultimate Looney Tunes example would be the famous short "Duck Amuck" in which Daffy has a continued conversation and interaction with his animator.
    • Tex Avery was quite fond of these types of gags. For example there's the old gag where the character will stop everything to pluck a hair that's apparently stuck in the projector. In one of Avery's shorts while the main characters are chasing their victim the screen suddenly goes from color to black and white; when they stop running and walk back they find a border between color and black and white with a sign which says "Technicolor ends here".
    • One Roadrunner cartoon ends with Wile E. Coyote falling and he holds up a sign that says "How about ending this cartoon before I hit?", as it begins to Iris Out he holds up a sign that says "thank you".
  • In an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, Ren is president of Stimpy's fan club and answers his fan mail, bitterly telling one child in a letter that Stimpy isn't real and he's just a cartoon.
  • KaBlam!'s Henry and June.
  • In an episode of Freakazoid!, Cosgrove finds out that Freakazoid was right all along and Cosgrove's girlfriend really is a monster. She plans to drain Freakazoid's essence and use it to maintain her youth and power. When she offers to share it with Cosgrove, a tremulous choir starts up on the soundtrack, singing "What will Cosgrove do? What will Cosgrove do? What will Cosgrove doooo?" He turns, points to the camera, and says in typical deadpan manner, "Cut it out." They do.
    • Pretty well everyone in Freakazoid! knows about their cartoon status. One of the pitfalls of living in a '90s Warner Bros. show.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop both the titular heroine and the villain, The Hooded Claw, seem to be aware of the narrator most of the time. Though this begs the question of why the narrator never tells Penelope that The Hooded Claw is really her guardian Sylvester Sneekly.
  • In Futurama episode "Fear of a Bot Planet", Leela comments "It's not an easy decision. If only I had two or three minutes to think about it." and then cuts to commercials.
    • The first movie parodies this. Such as when Leela states "So what does this mean for us and our many fans?" only for there to be a lot of actual fans behind her.
  • In the stop-motion paper figure [adult swim] comedy Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, Jesus calls Dr Victor Frankenstein "Paperface".
  • In Rex the Runt, a claymation series, the fact that the characters are made of plasticine is regularly played with. An example is one episode where Rex gets accidentally put through a mincer, but survives the experience and is eventually squashed back together into one piece.
  • Several characters in My Gym Partner's a Monkey, most notably Principal Pixiefrog, seem to be aware that they are characters in a cartoon.
  • Interesting example in the Christmas Episode of Charlie and Lola, which is animated to match the books; the characters are childish drawings and the backgrounds are collages. Christmas grinds to a halt because Santa's elves have run out of paper to wrap the presents. As Charlie and Lola head home depressed, Lola notices that the starry sky is made of wrapping paper, and they tear it off and give it to the elves, thus Saving Christmas.
  • Though it's still Fan Wank at the moment, Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has shown signs that she is aware of her status as a cartoon character. She is the only pony to utilize Offscreen Teleportation, Behind a Stick, pushing on an Iris Out, and other classic cartoon abilities In a strange case of reversal, in the episode Putting Your Hoof Down, the minotaur Iron Will stares out at the audience at one point, whereas Pinkie and Rarity stare at the audience confusedly, as if they can't see it.
    • The IDW Comic Series, however, has shown moments of her being aware. Such as when Evil!Celestia hits Evil!Luna with a powerful attack, where she screams "You can't do that! This is a kid's comic!"
    • Spike takes on this role in the Season 2 episode "Lesson Zero" when he pushes or pops all of Twilight's Imagine Spots away.
      • Like Pinkie, a Fan Wank justification for this being one of Spike's in-universe abilities is him being Twilight's magical familiar and therefore able to interact with her subconscious illusionary magic conjurings.
    • Also, Spontaneous Choreography and Singing seem to be perfectly normal everyday activities in Equestria, and other characters like to comment on it... a lot.
    *Pinkie starts a song number out of nowhere*
    Twilight: Tell me she's not...
    Rarity: She is.

    *While discussing the musical "Hinny of the Hills"*
    Rainbow Dash: Ponies just bursting into song in random places at the drop of a hat? Who does that?
    *Rarity starts to sing*

    *Attempting to hide from Applejack as she continued to coddle Applebloom*
    Applebloom: I gotta feeling this might just work! "We're gonna make my sister see/I don't need her watchin' over me—"
    Scootaloo: Stop! No time for a song! Applejack's coming!

    *Rainbow Dash references "The Failure Song", which she didn't even witness*
    Twilight Sparkle: I do not get "all freaked out" about tests!
    Rainbow Dash: Uh, seriously? Your freak outs are so epic, you sing whole freak-out arias about freaking out.
    *In fact, none of the mane cast aside from Twilight and Spike were present for "The Failure Song", yet the rest of the Mane Six use exactly the same melody for its Triumphant Reprise as "The Success Song".*
    • The DVD Commentary for the series premiere leaves little doubt regarding Pinkie's awareness. One of the producers mentions that Pinkie, as an expy of Surprise from the original series, had wings in Faust's original vision for the series; another says something along the lines of "who needs wings when you can break the fourth wall?"
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Simian Says" (as well as the comic book story "See You Later, Narrator") has Mojo kidnapping the narrator and replacing his script with one that has the Powerpuff Girls incapable of saving the day.
  • When Timmy Turner and Jimmy Neutron end up in each others' universes in the first of The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, both are aware of the changes in animation style:
    Jimmy: My arms! My legs! My depth!
    Timmy: Why is everything so bulgy?
  • In The Snorks episode "Snorkerella", Casey's Fairy Snork Mother appears and acknowledges that they're in a cartoon.
  • The little Italian mouse in the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Neapolitan Mouse" suddenly recognizes the two after he rescues Tom from being bullied by three dogs ("Tom... Jerry... funny cartoons!")
  • In the Total Drama special bridging the first two seasons, birds circle Courtney's head after she slams into a camouflaged wall. She shoos the birds away, prompting one of them to angrily chirp back at her.
  • Taz-Mania: Many characters are aware that they are in a cartoon. Taking to its (il)logical extreme in "Retakes Not Included", which consists largely of Bull Gator pointing out the shoddy production values and amateurish direction of this particular episode. And its hilarious.
  • Who Killed Who?: The victim is reading a book called "Who Killed Who? (From the cartoon of the same name)". This is also how he learns of his impending murder.
  • Archer: In "Sea Tunt, Part 1", Cheryl can hear the background music, which her brother uses to support his theory that she's crazy.
    • In "The Papal Chase", the Vatican bishops express surprise at ISIS' plan to switch the Pope with a double. Archer says, "I know, right? Trope alert!"
  • X-Men: Evolution: In a fourth-season episode, the semi-villainous Brotherhood members begin causing dangerous situations so they can save people and be celebrated as heroes. Once media interest starts to wane, Toad is panicked that their fifteen minutes of fame are ending: "That didn't feel like fifteen minutes! More like five! Maybe ten." He says this line roughly ten minutes into the episode, not counting main titles and commercials.
  • In the Robot Chicken "Smurfatar" sketch, Gargamel sees Smurfette bathing in a lake with her chest pixelated. He turns to the camera to ask why her chest needs to be censored when Smurfs don't have nipples, and the pixel bar goes away to reveal that she indeed does not have nipples.
  • An episode of Chowder once had the title character playing around with a marker until he accidentally drew on the screen. Gazpacho then said he needed to clean that up, and kept telling the camera to move around until he could reach it, saying it was "too far" with a wide shot, and cleaned it up when he got a close-up. When Chowder said he missed one (the Cartoon Network screen bug), Gazpacho informed him he'd tried before and it doesn't come off.
    • This become especially bizarre with re-runs after the network logo changed, as the old logo suddenly re-appears (along with the new one) when Gazpacho taps it, but disappears right after he said it wouldn't go away.
    • Another episode had Mung tired of Chowder singing, so he had Schnitzel skip to the next scene, physically switching the screen out.
    • And in the first episode, Schnitzel cleans the kitchen by shaking the film frame clean.
  • One of The Simpsons' many couch gags had the family running right off the frame into empty space in their race to the couch. Unfortunately, it was replaced in syndication.
    • Another episode had Homer grabbing a promo for Joe Millionaire, eating it, and then spitting out the "FOX" in the promo.
    • In one episode, Lisa directly looks at the fourth wall and asks if you can help her solve a riddle. It turns out that she actually asked Milhouse, and it was just shown from his perspective. (By the way, said episode seems to be spoofing Dan Brown's novels. It would have been hilarious if Robert Langdon actually did something like this in one of the movie adaptions...)
    • This was used earlier in "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part I)":
    Dr. Hibbert: Well, I can't solve this mystery. [points at the screen] Can you? [the camera changes, revealing that he's pointing at Chief Wiggum]
    Wiggum: Yeah, I'll give it a shot, I mean, you know, it's my job, right?
    • In The Simpsons Movie: Homer calls everyone watching The Itchy and Scratchy movie a "giant sucker" for "paying to see something they can watch at home for free" and starts pointing at a random theater audience member... only for the camera to swivel around so that Homer's finger is pointed directly at the fourth wall while he says "Especially YOU!"
  • The fourth season of Teen Titans opens with Control Freak talking directly to the viewer, or so it seems until the camera zooms out from the screen of the Titans' television.
  • The Beatles episode "I Want To Hold Your Hand" has the boys chastising the episode's narrator for giving away their hiding places aboard a cruise ship (they were being chased by excited female fans).
  • The characters on Kaeloo are fully aware of the fact that they are on a cartoon, and they reference it from time to time, and in one episode Kaeloo even asks the director to replay a scene backwards.
    • It enters Nightmare Fuel territory at the end of Episode 105, where Stumpy takes over the animation studio and announces that he will be writing all the episodes from that point on.

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