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Breaking the Fourth Wall
"Breaking the Fourth Wall" refers to a situation in which a character reveals his or her awareness of the audience (the "fourth" wall of a stage). The technique has been used for millennia and was standard practice in Greek comedy. For instance, at one point in the Greek playwright Aristophanes' play Peace, the hero Trygaeus (who is being lifted into the air by a crane situated offstage) tells the crane-handler to be more careful.

Breaking the fourth wall is rare in modern productions, especially television shows, though is seen more in film. In reference to the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon series, there have been some instances where a character "breaks the fourth wall".

Examples

  1. In The Chipmunks episode Dreamlighting, right before the first commercial, Alvin says "You'll have to wait 'til later in the show."
  2. In The Chipmunks episode Food for Thought, right before the second commercial, Alvin yells "Quick! Cut to a commercial!"
  3. In the Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks film, Sam and Lou act as reporters for the audience.

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