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Fourth Wall

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Breaking the fourth wall is a comedy device (also a running gag) used in fictional stories in which a character acknowledges the fact that they are a character in a show or television show, and are actually aware of being such. There are several ways of breaking the fourth wall; examples include when a character refers to a particular part in a television episode, when a character stops others from performing an occult or criminal act by referring to the fact that it is a "children's movie/show," when a character responds to a real world person who is not physically present (such as the narrator), or when a character talks directly to the viewer.

List of instances where the fourth wall is broken

Season 1

  • The Spoon
  • The Ghost
    • Darwin says "Another happy ending." for the second time at the very end of the episode.
  • The Mystery
    • Gumball says "I said it was him!" to whoever is shining the light on someone.
  • The Car
    • Darwin freezes the scene like someone paused it when informing Gumball on the game rules.
    • Richard makes a flashback appear through his body motion and sound effects. He even interrupts Nicole's just to do it.

Season 2

  • The Banana
    • Banana Joe cracks many of his jokes to the viewer.
  • The Apology
    • Gumball asks why he has to run every 8 minutes of his life, 8 minutes into the episode.
  • The Skull
    • The way Razor's rampage stops is like someone pausing it.
  • Christmas
    • Characters wish the viewer a merry Christmas at the start.
  • The Flakers
    • Anais breaks the fourth wall when she winks at the camera.
  • The Dream
    • Gumball and Darwin fight over a censorship panel.
  • The Game
    • Gumball pulls a card that says "Dramatic Music Until the End of the Game."
  • The Voice
    • Tobias indirectly mentions how he feels like he's the supporting character of his own life.
  • The Castle
    • Darwin realizes how Gumball's voice has changed, referencing the change of his voice actor's voice.
  • The Sweaters
    • Gumball mentions how the episode will end.
  • The World
  • The Finale
    • Anais noticing that they were relatively unscathed after falling from such a large height in "The Responsible," a reference to the humorous laws of cartoon physics.
    • In a call back to "The Car," Richard makes a flashback appear the same way he did in that episode.
    • Mrs. Jötunheim interrupts the flashback of Hector's rampage in Elmore.
    • Richard explaining that when he is placed in prison, he is suddenly "just not in there anymore," a reference to the shift back to the status quo at the end of episodes.
    • Gumball noticing how they looked different in the family album, a reference to the transition in drawing style and animation that occurred between Season 1 and Season 2.
    • Gumball wondering why the episode looked like it would not end happily, a reference to how most episodes end happily.
    • Gumball stating that only a total reality reset could save them, a reference to how the ending of episodes tends to revert the town back to normal, also known as deus ex machina.
    • When the Wattersons were in jail with the prisoners, Anais said "It's over guys, the show's over," as if she actually knew they were in a show.

Season 3

  • The Kids
    • Gumball's face is squished by Patrick's side of the split screen.
    • Gumball states that he's been twelve years old for forever, referencing how cartoon characters don't usually show age development.
    • Darwin states that he and Gumball are the people on TV who don't age.
  • The Fan
    • After Sarah tells her joke to Gumball and Darwin, a live audience is heard laughing.
    • After Sarah speaks to the viewer, the animation pauses two times, and the words "The End" and "Executive Producer: Sarah G. Lato" appear on the bottom of the screen.
    • Sarah breaks the fourth wall by singing the show's ending theme.
  • The Joy
    • The camera squishes Miss Simian's face.
    • When Miss Simian asks for the time, the time card crashes into her.
    • In many instances, rainbow liquid splashes onto the camera.
  • The Puppy
    • Gumball, Darwin, and Anais speak to the viewer multiple times throughout the episode.
  • The Extras
    • The Minor Characters are fully aware of their background status and blame Gumball and Darwin for it.  
    • The Green Bear points directly at the viewer in the song, rather than Gumball and Darwin.
    • The minor characters sing the song's reprise to the viewer.
  • The Fraud
  • The Void
    • Gumball's face comes closer to the camera.
  • The Allergy
    • At the end, Darwin sneezes on the camera, causing the screen to crack.
  • The Procrastinators
    • Darwin points the laser beam at the camera.
  • The Lie
    • Throughout the episode, the narrator speaks to the viewer.
    • When Darwin was about to scream, the narrator quickly interrupts the episode and tells the viewer to just imagine a scream of a million Chihuahuas.
  • The Saint
    • Gumball throws grease at the camera.
    • When he tries to mess up Alan's Elmore Plus account, Gumball's comment, "Oh, my gosh! Why are there so many drawn people in Elmore? Go back to your flat country and stop ruining our economy!" is a reference to the 2-D characters in the show. He says to Darwin that "no one likes a 2-Dist."
  • The Safety
    • Gumball, Anais, and Nicole crash into a "viewer discretion" notice.
    • Nicole is aware of the sound effects and fighting getting censored.
  • The Countdown
    • While Gumball and Darwin were arguing on a junk pile, the on-screen timer rapidly adjusts to 2 minutes.
    • Gumball crashes into the screen, freezing time.
    • Gumball and Darwin are able to see and interact with the on-screen timer, for instance mentioning how it took them a minute to get far out in the desert.
  • The Triangle
    • When Gumball is wondering who wants to sabotage his brother's performance, the camera zooms into Banana Joe's face, causing the screen to break and throwing Gumball off balance.
  • The Money
    • When the family tells Gumball that advertising is not necessarily selling out, Darwin winks and Gumball asks him who he's speaking to, implying that he was talking to the viewer. Anais also spoke directly to the viewer.
    • When Gumball states that "without money, [they]'re nothing," the family's appearances deteriorate.
    • The 2D characters turns into rough key animation and the CGI characters glitch as the animation begins to degrade.
    • The scenes then become storyboards while the Watterson family are continuing to run to the mall. After the Wattersons (except Gumball) sign the Joyful Burger contract, the storyboard then returns to its animation quality.

Season 4

  • The Return
    • A radio announcer says "And now, three minutes fifty of non-stop chase music!" mainly because Richard is in an intense situation.
  • The Others
    • When trying to force feed Clare a happy ending, Gumball says, " Qualified? Heh! You don't need a qualification if you got a made-up magic job!"
  • The Signature
    • Gumball recognizes suspenseful background music.
  • The Pest
    • Billy makes fun of Gumball's sweater and says "2011 called and said to keep it, as it wasn't cool when you started wearing it," which is a reference to the year of the show's premiere.
  • The Gift
    • Alan talks to, and tries to stay with the camera, but gets angry when it ignores him.
  • The Routine
  • The Uploads
    • Gumball finds a trailer for The Amazing World of Gumball Movie.
  • The Apprentice
    • The Goblin makes fun of Patrick by asking "are you in a television show, or at a business?".
  • The Origins
    • The camera crashes into Gumball's face.
  • The Girlfriend
    • Gumball asks Darwin if he notices the suspenseful background music.
  • The Advice
  • The Signal
    • The title card glitches up.
    • Mic Graves's bottom part can be seen above Gumball.
    • Guillaume Cassuto's eyes can be seen with Darwin.
    • Interruptions with satellite TV in Elmore turn out to be causing the actual town to glitch and only Gumball seems to be aware of it.
    • Gumball and Darwin come to the conclusion that they're in a TV show, but the episode jumps to the entire family eating dinner at home.
    • The ending theme plays as the episode glitches one last time.
  • The Love
    • The narrator of the chemistry sequence is speaking directly to the viewer.
  • The Nest
    • Gumball recognizes suspenseful music.
  • The Night
    • The Moon speaks to the viewer for most of the episode.
    • In Sussie's nightmare, an off-screen voice says, "And cut!", and we see the behind the scenes crew and we see Aurelie Charbonnier onscreen (who plays Sussie) in real life wailing and running away from the crew.
    • Larry is the only one who seems to notice the pixie dust transition.
    • The pixie dust falls into William's eye and blinds him.
    • When Daisy wakes up from her dream, she talks to the viewers.
  • The Blame
    • Gumball and Darwin notice the heart containers when they appear in the upper-left corner.
    • In the song Books Are Violent during the rap portion, Gumball, Penny, Carmen, Eggheads, Carrie and Darwin were singing to the viewer.
  • The Slap
    • When Hector slaps Gumball on the butt, he sent him flying and crashing into the camera.
  • The Compilation
    • Darwin's scream breaks the screen and reveals the Void underneath.
    • The citizens of Elmore sing "Nobody's A Nobody" to the viewers.
    • The announcer for "The Grieving" is speaking directly to the viewer.
  • The Disaster
    • When Rob uses his remote to turn back time he rewinds through episode's title card, intro, the U.K. version of the Cartoon Network Check-It 3.0 Up Next bumper and the end credits.
    • Darwin is able to read the subtitles below Gumball's head.
    • When Rob changes the language while Gumball is talking to Penny, she realizes the language is different.
    • Rob changes resolution and contrast of the episode's image which is visible when watching it on TV.
    • Rob states that he never wanted to be the villain, and that he wanted to be the sidekick who gets his own plush toy and spin-off show.
    • Rob mentions that the world of Elmore isn't even real.
    • When Gumball is falling into the Void, the other side of the portal (which in fact is a TV screen) shows the end credits scrolling with the ending theme playing.
    • When Rob presses the "fast forward" button and makes Gumball movement faster.

Season 5

  • The Rerun
    • When Darwin once again reads the subtitles, Gumball rearranging them, and Darwin accidentally swallowing most of them.
    • Rob presses the "eject" button and makes Banana Joe explode.
    • Rob presses the "rewind" button pointing at Gumball's parents, and they get younger.
    • When Rob presses the "fast forward" button and makes Gumball movement faster.
    • When Rob accidentally hits "zoom," and the camera hits both of them.
    • Rob once again changes the brightness, framing, and contrast of the episode.
    • When Gumball presses the "mute" button and mutes the sound.
    • Gumball presses the "channel" button and ends up on a news station. He wonders if the world is a giant TV screen but then goes back to chasing Rob.
  • The Stories
    • Darwin mentions being in a cross fade montage.
    • Tina Rex breathes on the camera.
  • The Boredom
    • When characters from other Cartoon Network shows appear, Uncle Grandpa greets the viewer.
  • The Vision
    • Alan speaks to the viewer throughout his manifesto. Clayton even asks him "Who are you talking to?"
  • The Code
    • Among some of the toolbars installed on the laptop is "TAWOG" (the show's initials) and the logo for Cartoon Network.
  • The Test
    • Sarah notices continuity mistakes, for instance Tobias' haircut changing between scenes.
    • Sarah and Darwin are able to hear the laugh track and notice the format change.
    • Whenever Tobias looks at the camera and reacts to it.
    • When Gumball notices it is nighttime, but school is not over yet.
    • In the Christmas Special scene, Gumball notices the whole family is in the living room and suddenly appears in the bedroom.
    • In the hospital, a guitar cue plays after Tobias' pun. Sarah takes the guitar and throws it at the screen, breaking it.
  • The Copycats
    • Gumball and Darwin notice their voice actors change at the end of the episode.
  • The Potato
    • Bits of potato get on the screen when Darwin mashes his baked potato.
  • The Fuss
    • Gumball notices the subtitles underneath him.
    • Nicole and the kids can't see what's in front of them due to a split screen. Nicole later kicks the screen away and hits Hamburger Cop in the process.
  • The Outside
    • Frankie squeezes a soda bottle and causes it to explode all over the camera.
  • The Matchmaker
    • When Carrie is making the love potion, Gumball notices the background music playing and asks where it's coming from.
  • The Box
    • Gumball prevents the camera from moving up.
  • The Console
    • Gumball smacks Leslie's face with a dialogue box.
    • When Penny falls over, the dialogue box does too.
    • The credits for Inverted Paradox list Ben Bocquelet as the director.
  • The Ollie
    • Darwin says that Gumball's head is always seen at an angle because he would look weird from profile.

Trivia

  • Gumball breaks the fourth wall more than any other character.
  • Season 4 has the most fourth wall breaks in the series.

Gallery

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