Aside Glance

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Someone call a carpenter. We seem to be missing a fourth wall.


"What do yooooooou think, fourth wall?"

A form of fourth wall breakage, an Aside Glance occurs when an actor gives a brief, silent glance to the camera as a way of acknowledging that their current situation—or the person they're speaking to—is stupid, weird or otherwise unusual.

It's generally used as a way to acknowledge the audience's assumed reaction and show that the glancing character is just as smart as them and just as aware of the absurdity of the situation. Importantly, the glancer should never speak to the audience, nor should the other characters (if it is fiction) acknowledge that the person just glanced away.

The glance can be either a normal look or an Eye Take.

The trope has its roots in the "aside", a trope from the European dramatic tradition that had characters making one-line comments to one another which are unheard by the other characters. Originally this was used to undercut dramatic tension but was turned around over time to allow for serious usage, in plays such as Hamlet. Characters also began to make remarks to the audience or to themselves rather than to other characters. This was modified into the silent glance, which was used in stage comedy routines and subsequently found its way into the films of Laurel and Hardy and other movie comedians, thus making it Older Than Television at least. The speaking version still exists, too, in various contexts, including comics; see Aside Comment. Compare Fourth Wall Psych.

Used a lot in This Is Reality situations.

Examples of Aside Glance include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Kekkaishi Tokine is discussing with Tokiko about bridges to dimensions, Tokiko then makes a out of the blue comment that Tokine should not be so hyperactive, when she was acting normally the entire time, Tokine then proceeds to make a Aside Glance to the audience complete with the transitional Face Fault.
  • Clannad: Kyou and Tomoyo both do this after teasing Sunohara into another outburst.
    • Kyou gives Tomoyo one when Tomoyo gives Nagisa her Graceful Loser line, "So you're why he's doing this... I'm so glad it's for someone like you."
    • After telling Sunohara that since Kappei kept talking to him about Ryou, it means he trusts him, right? And therefore he must be interested in him right? So it's Operation: Jealousy riiiight? he doesn't actually give an aside glance, since he doesn't have a sprite. But he does say briefly '...what?' to the reader before continuing on.
  • Kyouya does this in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club after seeing Tamaki get red-faced by his discovery that Haruhi is actually a cute-looking girl.
  • The title character of Lupin III does this at least constantly.
  • Kaname throws us one in the second episode of Full Metal Panic!! after Sousuke buys into a very obvious con to force him into garbage duty.
  • In the second episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kamina makes an exceptionally boisterous boast, causing Yoko to look at the camera momentarily and wonder aloud where he gets his confidence.
    • This is immediately lampshaded by panning out to show that she was talking to thin air.
  • Lucky Star when Tsukasa found out Konata's dad can tie the sash of a yukata.
    • Konata herself does this frequently, sometimes to take a jab at Kagami.
  • K-On! - "I thought I'd try to do my best in life."
  • Seta from Grave of the Fireflies gives a mildly scolding look at the audience near the end of the film, specifically juvenile delinquents of Japan in 1980's. Takahata specifically made the film for the delinquents to appreciate what they have while understanding what their parents would have suffer from the war.
  • In a relatively early episode of One Piece, Chopper starts to yell at Nami when she wakes up from her sickness at Dr. Kureha's place, and then he acts awkwardly all of a sudden, prompting Nami to look directly into the camera and ask aloud if he can't hide his feelings.
    • Sanji does this twice in the beginning sixth movie when one of the island's champions, Muchigoro, is introduced. First time, he tells the audience that Muchigoro's definitely an idiot. The second time he does this is after Muchigoro is tricked by Usopp saying, "See? He's an idiot."
  • In the first chapter of Please, Jeeves, Bertie shoots a defiant glance at the reader, asking (via the narration boxes) if we think he's weak for giving in to Jeeves so easily.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Through much of the Golden Age and Silver Age, Superman would end a story by giving the reader a wink, usually when one of his supporting cast made a clueless remark about his Secret Identity. This was echoed in almost every episode of the '60s Filmation cartoon (and several of the classic old Fleischers, as well).
    • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? would be the last time he does it. At least for the pre-Man of Steel version.
    • In DC One Million, we discover the ultimate fate of Superman: In the distant future, he spends 100,000 years hibernating in the sun, and emerges in the 853rd century as an unstoppable super-god. After bringing Lois and the entire planet Krypton back to life with a wave of his hand, his final act is to give the reader one last knowing wink.
  • Iron Man and Spider-Man gave a prominent Aside Glance prior to the Marvel Civil War. In the previous issues, Mary-Jane had suffered a broken arm, then shown up shortly after without a cast or anything. When fans pointed out the mistake, the writers added a discussion between Parker and Stark, revealing that Stark had fixed her up with some kind of injected bone glue. The panel immediately after the explanation shows both characters looking straight at the reader.
  • Deadpool's insanity often has him doing this.
    • Insane? Perhaps the sanest of all? After all he is one of the few people who realizes where he is and what he is and uses it to his advantage (beating up enemies with his own health bar or asking the narrator if they can help).
  • Calvin and Hobbes featured this quite a few times.
  • EVERY newspaper comic has done this at least once.
  • The Joker tends to do this, due to him being one of the only DCU characters who is self-aware of his status as a comic book character
  • Just about every single strip of BC or The Wizard of Id has a character doing this.
  • Huey Freeman of The Boondocks does this regularly, making just his reactions to the stupidity of those around him just as funny as any of his rants.
  • Garfield does this in every strip.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Used frequently by the title character in The Joker Blogs, but justified in the fact that there actually is a cameraman for the Joker to Aside Glance at, and that the Joker already has Medium Awareness and regularly breaks the fourth wall in the comics. One of the funnier uses:

Joker: (to a bum on the street) Do you wanna die?
Timmy the Bum: Uh... Well... Uh... kind of...
Joker: (incredulous look at camera)


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Frodo in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Disney's Peter Pan. Captain Hook is taking Tiger Lily to be drowned. As the Crocodile follows them, he turns and looks directly at the viewers.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. After Jessica Rabbit knocks out Roger with a frying pan and dumps in the trunk of a car, she briefly looks into the camera in a knowing way.
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has Pete doing this thanks to the Running Gag of the same music playing every time the opera poster is shown.
  • It's a bit hard to tell in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but when the fat, penitent, diaper-clad "Baby" Brent tries to convince Sam and Flint to let him come along on their attempt to stop the food machine, putting his arm on Sam's shoulder for emphasis, she briefly turns and gives an uncomfortable look to either Flint, the camera, or both.
  • In Hoodwinked, when Red encounters Japeth and he denies having spoken normally instead of singing for a second, she pauses to give the audience an exasperated stare.
    • Wolf does one himself, after his hyperactive assistant Twitchy claims he doesn't drink coffee.
  • In The Man Called Flintstone Fred does this during the song "Spy Type Guy".
  • In Alpha and Omega, Eve tries to tell her daughter how to handle her date if he gets out of line. Being Eve, her advice was to "take those beautiful teeth of yours, go for the throat, and don't stop until the body stops shaking". Kate's response was wide-eyed shock, during which she gives an Aside Glance.
  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame actually winks at the viewers for a few seconds during her dance at the Feast of Fools before poledancing with a spear.
  • Ray from The Princess and the Frog does one when Louis has an overblown reaction to being pricked by a thorn.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Critics noticed this in Meet the Spartans, seemed aimed at the audience for watching the movie.
  • Common in Buster Keaton's short films.
  • Oliver Hardy was a master of this.
    • While uproariously funny in itself, it was often used to pad out a gag to give the audience time to finish laughing so they wouldn't miss the next bit of dialog.
  • Used frequently in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; far too frequently for some fans of the franchise.
    • One early example has Jay and Silent Bob talking to another character while they plan to stop a Jay and Silent Bob movie from being made. The guy asks, "A Jay and Silent Bob movie? Who would pay to see that?", which is immediately followed by all three of them looking at the camera. Silent Bob smiles.
    • A cop tells Federal Wildlife Marshall Willenholly that someone may have arranged a breakout of animals to draw attention away from a jewelry robbery. He says that sounds like something out of a bad movie, and all the characters turn to look at the camera. An angle change reveals that they all just happened to look along the road at the same time.
    • Jay offers to let a security guard watch Bob perform oral sex on him in return for letting them go. They hide in a nearby alley, where Jay knocks the guard out with a trashcan lid. Shortly afterwards, he looks at Bob and asks if he really would have done it. Bob shakes his head, but then looks at the camera and nods.
    • And when Jay and Silent Bob finally get to the Hollywood filmset, they come across Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as they argue about their current roles in Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season. They take pot shots at various movies both have done, until finally Affleck says, "What do I keep telling you? You gotta do the safe picture, then you do the art picture. And then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him." [Both look at camera.]
  • During the massive argument that breaks out at the climax of Blake Edwards' A Shot in the Dark, Peter Sellers vainly tries to restore order but winds up staring helplessly into the camera.
  • A chase sequence in the classic Burt Reynolds film Smokey and the Bandit sees Bandit outwit a police vehicle by quickly driving behind a building and turning off the lights, then slowly driving away when the policemen leaves. The Bandit stops to look back, then smiles to the camera before he roars off.
  • Kevin of Home Alone acknowledges the audience a couple of times, usually for expository purposes; "I made my family disappear!" But the best example of this trope occurs in Home Alone 2. He addresses the man next to him on a plane, who then begins babbling extensively in French. Kevin slowly turns and gives a good long "Why me?" look at the camera.
  • In Death Proof, Stuntman Mike smiles at the camera before getting in his car.
  • Eddie Murphy does this in Coming to America.
  • Eddie Murphy also does this in Trading Places, when the Duke brothers condescendingly explain that you might find bacon in a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich.
  • John Belushi in Animal House turns to give the camera his trademark single raised eyebrow after he climbs the ladder to look into the sorority house window and discovers the girls in the midst of a semi-nude pillow fight.
  • Done at least twice in the first Inspector Gadget movie.

"Somebody's been watching too many Saturday morning cartoons!"

  • An unintentional example in Hot Fuzz: Timothy Dalton's eyes, for a split second, stare right down the barrel of the camera. Director Edgar Wright apparently found it amusing enough to leave in the finished film, also timing the faint sound of an old-style cash register in the background to coincide with it.

Danny: What was it like being stabbed?
Angel: It was the single most painful meeting of my life.
Danny: What was the second most painful?
Angel: (stares directly at the camera)

  • At the end of Pretty in Pink, Butt Monkey Duckie is so shocked on discovering a girl's interest in him that he looks right out the fourth wall.
  • Undercover Brother. While the title character is flying through the air toward some enemy Mooks, he briefly turns his head and looks at the camera.
  • At the end of Imagine Me & You, the male lead Heck meets a beautiful girl on a plane and gives the camera a quick smirk.
  • Austin Powers mugs to the camera from time to time.
  • Justified in Terminator 2: When Sarah Connor fails to get out of the asylum due to good behavior, she attacks the doctor who doesn't believe she's actually changed. After she's restrained, the doctor looks at the screen (that is, the camera that they set up to film the interview) and makes an aside: "Model Citizen..."
  • Like the above example in Comic Books, the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve ended with Superman flying in space and giving a wink to the camera.
  • In the film Jumanji, Peter is sent on a frantic run out to a garden shed to get an axe. Arriving there, he finds a padlock on the shed door. Fortunately, there's an axe lying nearby! He picks up it and... starts to whack at the lock. Belatedly, he realizes what he's doing, shoots an embarrassed look at the camera, and runs back inside.
  • In Top Secret, while Nick Rivers is riding a motorcycle, he turns his head and winks at the camera.
    • Earlier on, after describing Nick describes their situation verbatim, Hillary says 'I know, it all sounds like some bad movie.' They both then look very slowly in the direction of the camera.
  • Taj in National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj does this at least twice, on both occasions because he's pleased a woman is paying attention to him.
  • In Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Brad Pitt is dancing with Angelina Jolie when he smirks directly at the camera.
  • Yuri glances at the camera twice in Werewolf. Given the context of both scenes, it's likely that neither Aside Glance was intentional, but the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew treat them as such for the sake of their jokes.

(Yuri, disguised as a doctor, examines a patient and then looks at the camera)
Tom Servo: Audience, what's your diagnosis?

    • They do this a lot actually. In Cave Dwellers the elder and his daughter are having a conversation about what to do with the MacGuffin when the elder steps away as if lost in thought but is accidentally looking straight at the camera:

Tom Servo: What do you, the viewers at home, think?

  • During the Training Montage in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the villagers are demonstrating their complete lack of skill while trying to draw arrows from their quivers. Robin just looks to the camera with a look of amused despair, then back to his pupils with a snort.
  • In Ferris Buellers Day Off, besides narrating to the camera several times throughout the film, Ferris gives a few silent acknowledgments to the audience.
  • In the Police Academy movies, Guttenberg's character would often do this—without actually looking at the camera. He'd just turn and stare disbelievingly in a vaguely camera-like direction.
  • Fatal Instinct. Lola Cain turns and looks at the audience after Ned Ravine turns her down.
  • Aslan (very briefly) while he is being executed in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • Harold has a huge one in Harold and Maude after convincing his arranged date that he's set himself on fire in the backyard, causing her to run away screaming.
  • Hot Shots, the second film. Ramada describes at length the level of gratification she would present to Topper, upon which Topper casts us a glance of smug reverie.
  • This Is England ends with one of these from Shaun.
  • In both versions of Funny Games, this is how Paul first breaks the fourth wall. Just before Ann/Anna discovers the where he's hidden the dog, he turns around and gives a Slasher Smile to the camera.
  • In Hot Tub Time Machine Nick gives one to lampshade his incredibly obvious Title Drop.
  • Done several times in Young Frankenstein.
  • In the third Pirates of the Caribbean film, we get this from a goat that Jack Sparrow's putting the moves on (no, it doesn't make sense in context).


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the title sequence of "The Cosby Show," Bill Cosby almost never doesn't give one.
  • Right after Kaylee says 'It's real simple' in the pilot episode of Firefly, Jayne flicks his eyes up. May be unintentional.
    • The camera has come around to face him as he gives a "you gotta be kidding me" look, but Jayne is looking at Kaylee, not the camera.
  • Felix does this several times on The Odd Couple. Once after Oscar draws a mustache on Felix with a marker in an episode titled "You Saved My Life".
  • Jonathan Ross uses this pretty much constantly in his Talk Show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.
  • In Harry Hills TV Burp, a particularly awful clip or line of dialogue is often followed by Harry giving a pained glance to the camera. (This is one of the weirder uses, since most of the show is Harry talking to camera, only to Aside Glance to a different camera...)

(featured clip of battery hens)
Voice: What animal, of any description, want to live in here?
Harry Hill: A fox?

  • Doctor Who, the Made for TV Movie: after the Eighth Doctor acts oddly, Grace gives a baffled glance at the camera.
    • The fourth series finale also has Martha grin out at the camera during the big celebration scene.
  • Used by several characters in the faux-documentary The Office. Characters who are "allowed" to shoot nonplussed or aside glances at the camera tend to be the most self-aware (Jim Halpert from the US series uses this device most often, usually several times an episode. For the UK version, it's usually David Brent or Tim.) Other characters almost completely ignore the implied film crew and seem intent on retaining as much Genre Blindness as possible. This trope is also subverted within the same show by having one of the usually-oblivious characters, Dwight Schrute, imitate Jim's mannerisms by sarcastically mugging for the cameras (complete with eye roll).
    • Karen also lampshades it once when Jim moves to the branch in Stamford, asking "What is that?" after imitating Jim looking into the camera.
    • In the UK series this is subverted when Neil notices that a janitor is staring at the film crew and glances camera-wards to see what he's staring at
    • In one episode, Jim is hiding in a car from Karen. Karen does not see Jim, but does notice the camera in the car with him. Jim pushes the camera out of sight, and shoots an angry look above the camera, at what is assumed to be the cameraman.
  • Frequently used on Bottom: Richie occasionally blurts out something so awkward that Eddie will shoot an Aside Glance at the camera. Granted, this is one of their more subtle instances of Breaking the Fourth Wall, but still...
  • In an episode of That's So Raven where Eddie develops psychic powers and becomes popular because of it, one of his new friends comments that he should have his own TV show. This prompts Raven to cynically question who would wanna watch a show about a teen psychic and look deviously at the camera. Obviously the writers were very proud of the joke.
  • Happens from time to time in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. On one occasion, Ned and Cookie's reasons why Moze shouldn't do a volcano (specifically) for extra credit included "Plus it's been done on every show ever" followed by a s-l-o-w turn towards the camera.
  • Will often does this in a bit more of an obvious way (he looks directly into the camera) on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
    • At one point his aunt asks him exasperatedly, "Who are you looking at?!"
  • Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs does this a lot.
  • Stanley Roper occasionally does this, combined with a silent chuckle, on Three's Company, generally after making a Double Entendre at his wife Helen's expense.
    • "Occasionally"? It was his Catch Phrase! (If silence can be said to be a catchphrase.)
  • In The Daily Show, many of the field reporters will do this when their interviewee is talking about something absurd.
  • A Finnish TV show called Frank Pappa Show did this with the character of "the milk maid", a blonde dressed in a traditional outfit, who would interview various celebrities of the time and occasionally shoot an aside glance with a blank expression towards the camera as they happened to say something unintentionally (on the interviewee's part, at least) comical.
    • Since the character was not milked enough during Frank Pappa Show, she also appeared in every Iltalypsy episode.
  • New BBC 3 series We are Klang! has this as a common staple for two of the three main characters, when they lampshade a poorly made joke easy crack, like talking to a pair of buttcheeks.

Where are the hidden agendas?
I can't find them anywhere.

  • ding*
  • The Stonem siblings on Skins occasionally get to do this.
  • In the Discovery Channel game show, Cash Cab, a contestant was once asked the name of a certain tattoo dye (henna) and blurted out "Hentai!" This prompted a long, knowing aside glance from the host.
    • Ben Bailey (the host) frequently does this in response to answers from the contestants.
  • Jack Benny, of course. Frequently accompanied by a well-timed Beat for maximum impact.
  • The titular character of Magnum, P.I. does this frequently, particularly when something ridiculous has occurred or he's done something mischievious.
  • "NAZI GOLD!" from The Colbert Report.
  • Benny Hill does this quite a bit on his show. Often with accompanying Laugh Track.
  • In one scene in Burn Notice, Michael's mother gives him a look and then indignantly walks out the door. A few seconds later, Fiona (his partner in UST) does the exact same thing, causing Michael to give a truly freaked out look right at the audience, silently asking "Did you just see this shit?".
    • He has also done it at least twice when the job involved religion. No, not at the audience, at God.
  • This happens in many episodes of The Mighty Boosh. The series 3 episode "Party" has two particularly good examples:
    1. When Howard Moon sputters that he's a mere ten years older than Vince Noir both characters turn to the camera, silently acknowledging that they are contradicting previous canon (an earlier episode stated they were the same age) and reality (Julian Barratt is only five years older than Noel Fielding).
    2. Later, Tony Harrison (also played by Fielding) tells Howard, "Wow, you're older than me!" and then smiles right at the camera.
    • Another prime example, the Crack Fox rather terrifyingly shushing the audience.
  • Las Vegas: Danny McCoy, the lead, is trying to track down an ex-thief. He finds her at a strip club-gold bikini, heels, sits in front of her, and offers her a Benjamin. She takes it, says she's taking him someplace private, and leaves the room. When he catches her outside, in her car, she says she thought he was a bill collector. When they've ascertained that she didn't steal the jewel, she stands up and puts one leg on Danny's doorframe, saying she owes him a lap dance. Danny asks if he can get his money back. She says no refunds. Danny looks at her legs for a second, then turns and grins at the camera and wiggles his eyebrows. End scene.
  • Stella. Constantly. Lampshaded over the hill and back again, ironic since it's already a Lampshade Trope. Characters will look at the camera, smile at it, wave at it, notice that other characters are looking at the camera and awkwardly change their positions to look too. Sometimes all four in a row. In at least one case, a character is looking at the camera, the shot changes, and they're still looking at the camera despite being in mid-word during the cut.
  • Moonlighting: Bruce Willis frequently broke the fourth wall.
  • The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien had a recurring skit called "Noches de Pasión con Señor O'Brien", which takes the form of a Spanish telenovela in which Conan is the star and hero. Whenever his character would announce his name, he would stare into the camera and shout his name. In this instance, the trope is used to display a character's badassery.
    • That sounds almost exactly like when Conan guest hosted Saturday Night Live and starred in a sketch about a superhero, "Moleculo the Molecular Man." People would say his name, and he would turn to the camera and bellow, "THE MOLECULAR MAN!" Including when he was disguised as his Alter Ego, which is how they figured out he was Moleculo (THE MOLECULAR MAN!)
    • He did this occasionally on his edition of Late Night, particularly when he would take a camera crew along with him on excursions. In one bit, during a visit to the doctor, he very slyly winked at the camera as the very attractive female physician lifted his shirt in order to listen to his heartbeat, while in another, he almost panicked when dealing with a nutty pedestrian.
  • Bud Bundy did this a couple of times on Married... with Children, looking slyly at the audience on those very rare occasions when he was about to get some action from a girl.
  • T.J. from Smart Guy does this in an episode where he succeeds in finding a new drummer for the band in which his older brother, who claims to have tough standards for the candidate, is the lead singer. The one who makes the cut is a girl around his brother's age.
  • Hustle: The crew often give aside glances while they're in the middle of a con.
  • In a variation of this trope, Alec Baldwin's character (in an early 30 Rock episode) is under pressure to join his acting crew and say a few lines on live TV. Unfortunately, he's a horrible actor and has no idea what he's doing in front of a camera, also having an amateurish tendency to stare directly into one. At one point a friend reminds him to avoid doing this, after which Baldwin looks directly into our camera.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. Members of the troupe would often turn and look directly at the camera/audience, usually to register their disbelief in the situation.
    • In the Fish License sketch, John Cleese does this right after he asks to buy a fish license for the first time and the clerk gestures for him to move down to the next window.
    • In the Hungarian Phrasebook sketch the tobacconist (Terry Jones) rolls his eyes after a fireman (Michael Palin) breaks character.
  • Rutland Weekend Television had a sketch which featured an entire group staring into the camera. Justified, as they had become aware they were trapped by the writer, and, in an act of protest, decided to be silent. They failed upon realizing he had written that silence in as well.
  • In The Golden Girls, Dorothy gives these a lot, especially after Rose says something stupid.
  • In an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers called "Best Man for the Job", Kim and Tommy are having an intense running argument about their respective campaigns for class president. This extends to when they're morphed, to the point that they're delivering Offhand Backhands to Putties while arguing instead of concentrating on the fight. One of the Putties goes down, looks at the Rangers, and then looks right at the camera with a look of "You've got to be kidding me, right?"
  • In a first season episode of America's Next Top Model, uber-Christian Robin is commencing a group prayer when the (openly) gay atheist Ebony turns to the camera and rolls her eyes mid-prayer, in a rare example of a reality TV show personality acknowledging the camera during a non-talking head sequence.
  • Community - Troy and Abed In The Morning! Notably, one instance where Jeff berates someone for appearing on this non-show, pointing out the lack of cameras: Abed looks directly into the camera.
  • Fran Fine does this a lot on The Nanny, often accompanied with a Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • Mad TV's Jordan Peele, playing as R. Kelly in "Trapped in the Cupboard," is in a grocery store and looks toward the camera during a line. Another customer notices this and looks in the same direction quizzically.
  • Castle does this when his mother asks in bewilderment, "You haven't heard of the Serenity?" in reference to a spiritual retreat she plans to attend. There have been a few Firefly references in the show to date; it is unclear if Nathan Fillion asks for them or if the writers are just big fans.
  • The Burns and Allen Show: George—too many to catalog.
  • In Miranda, the titular character. All the time. And once hilariously done by her mother Penny when she's imitating her daughter.


Music Videos[edit | hide]


Puppet Shows[edit | hide]

  • Often done by the Muppet characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, etc. In one scene in The Muppet Movie, after getting thrown about in a bar brawl, Kermit mutters to the audience "I hope you appreciate that I'm doing my own stunts," and the piano player gives the camera a "who are you talking to?" sort of look.
  • Happens in an episode of Mongrels that had numerous jokes surrounding 9/11. The characters lampshade it by repeatedly saying that the events in the episode had nothing to do with religion, then glance at the camera.
  • In one episode of Candle Cove, Janice asks the Skin Taker why his jaw moves back and forth, he looks at the camera, not her to give his answer "to grind your skin".


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In the opening of the first act of Sunday in The Park With George, Georges is painting Dot and is disappointed with her bad concentration. The end of the first act involves all the characters freezing into the positions of the people in the famous painting. When the second act opens, the cast is still stuck in the positions in which they were painted. Jules tells Dot "[she has] excellent concentration." Dot breaks character for a moment and gives the audience an Aside Glance.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Crash Bandicoot, especially the original trilogy, in SPADES. On a side note, he even has separate stance animations depending on whether you turn him to the camera or sideways: straight brings a smirk on his face (he SEES you!), turning him sideways makes him look derpy.
  • Moving on onto the next generation of Naughty Dog's games, in Jak II, in order to sign up for the races, Jak and Daxter must sign a contract. One of the stipulations is giving away rights to almost any use of their likenesses. When he gets to the final entry ("Game rights?!") he and Jak glance at the screen.
    • Similarly, at one point in Jak 3, a young monk in Spargus City tells our heroes "This isn't a game!", and the two look at the camera with befuddled expressions on their faces.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Herman Toothrot frequently does this. Guybrush has the option to ask him what he's looking at, and Herman responds "The people watching at home, of course!"
  • Super Paper Mario: Luvbi shoots an exasperated look at the "camera" whenever she is bored or unimpressed.
    • Mario Party (the first one): On the Rainbow Castle board, when Bowser sells you the useless black star for 40 coins, the character turns around and looks into the camera.
      • As expressed in this video
      • It also happens in Luigi's Engine Room, when Bowser activates his "Make As Many Coins As You Want Mecha" to create a coin for the player (at the cost of 20 coins).
  • Dead Mario from the original Super Mario Bros game.
  • During the first dinner scene in Deadly Premonition, York looks straight into the camera while talking to his split personality Zach. The fourth wall has a hard time in this game.
  • During the intro to the fight with Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. While said boss is flaunting his impressive psychic abilities, he boasts the ability to move things with his mind and offers to demonstrate. He then tells the player to put the controller on the ground. The camera suddenly shifts to a side-view of Snake, who turns to the camera and nods, gun still trained completely on Mantis.
  • Ratchet and Clank Going Commando, as the villain escapes the area they just arrived in:

Ratchet: We're late again.
Clank: We always seem to be a bit late. Why is that?
(both look at the camera with puzzled expressions)

    • In both the first and second games, Ratchet will turn his head to look at the player questioningly if he hasn't moved recently, even while firing a weapon. The interval can be disconcertingly short.
  • The intro to Lemmings 2: The Tribes ends with the elder telling the little lemming that the tribes will have help from "the ones who saved us before", whereupon they both turn their heads towards the screen and look directly at you.
  • The Bard from the 2004 version of The Bard's Tale does this in several cut scenes, even talking back to the Narrator.
  • This is the default stance the Turtles have in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game for the NES, which is a bit annoying as they are constantly staring at you whenever they are standing still.
  • Characters in The Sims 2 often channel this trope.
  • During a created wrestler's Road to Wrestlemania in Smackdown vs. Raw 2010, Santino Marella does this and winks at the player after commenting that the created wrestler "looks like something some loser would make in a video game."
  • Mass Effect: Liara gives a warm one when Shepard refuses to hand her over to a Krogan mercenary.
  • Kirby Super Star Ultra did this during the tutorial. When the tutorial narration describes Kirby as "a pretty jolly guy," he looks at the screen with a raised eyebrow. His expression tells the whole story.
  • Used in a rather Loony Toons way in King's Quest VI in a couple places where Alexander can fall off cliffs. Instead of immediately falling, he stands in the air, looks at the player, and waves before falling to his death.
    • In a similar scene where the fall is not fatal, he can be heard to yell "Hey, quit making me fall!". This is more of a generic fourth wall break, however.
  • Quite a bit of Star Trek: Borg might fall into this trope, but it's mostly justified since the player is seeing things entirely from the perspective of a character. Some of Q's reactions to "you" that the rest of the characters don't pick up on definitely count, however.
  • Used by the titular character in Voodoo Vince, during his first meeting with Cosmo the Inscrutable - in response to the latter's Evil Laugh.
  • At the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, once Link has been turned into a Deku Scrub and Tatl "apologizes" he looks a the camera, and shrugs helplessly.
    • Link's Twilight Princess incarnation also glances in your direction if you leave him standing in one place long enough. Presumably to check you're still there.
  • Donkey Kong does this in Donkey Kong Country Returns when one of the Tiki Tak Tribe members tries and fails to hypnotize him.
  • In Spyro: A Hero's Tail, Ember asks Spyro if the dark gem next to her would make a nice engagement ring, flirting with him. Spyro gives an Oh Crap look directly to the camera in response.
  • In Sonic Generations, when Amy is rescued by Classic Sonic, and she gushes over him, Classic Sonic gives the most appropriate Aside Glance ever.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Used at least once in Neurotically Yours. In the "Jiggly Butt" episode, Germaine asserts that she doesn't have to stop shaking her rear because nobody can see her. Foamy glances knowingly at the audience.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Character One: So, X, Y and Z just happened, right?
Character Two: Why the exposition? You're acting like the last two strips were badly drawn and impossible to follow. (followed by an aside glance)


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Slappy: Oh, don't worry, kid. I've faced off against Doug the Dog before, I know all of his tricks. Haven't you watched my old cartoons? I've beaten him a thousand times.
Nephew: But those were just cartoons! This is real life!
Slappy: (looks dryly at camera) Don't tell him, he might crack.

    • Try and find an episode of Animaniacs where they didn't.

Dot: I found Prince!
Wakko: No, no. Finger prints!
Dot: (knowingly looking at the camera) I don't think so.

  • The Fairly OddParents makes frequent use of this.
    • As did Danny Phantom. Coupled with its frequent usage of Sounding It Out, at times it almost seemed as though Danny was conversing with the viewer, without any fourth wall breakage.
  • In the Darker and Edgier (not to mention much better animated) Season 3 of Re Boot, Dot and Enzo are trapped in a graveyard in a First-Person Shooter while the player (looking exactly like Ash from Evil Dead 2) slaughters Binomes off camera playing the roles of zombies. They wince at the carnage, and Dot cries out "What kind of sick monster would want to play a game like this?" Both then turn and glare at the camera.
  • The Joker did this several times in Batman the Animated Series. His breaking of the fourth wall was subtly treated as part of his characteristic insanity and also included such examples as occasionally whistling his own theme music.
    • Meta-awareness is frequently part of the Joker's toolbox. Near the end of the "Emperor Joker" comic storyline, he actually yells at the comic's artist.
    • And in Young Justice, the Joker looks at the camera and says, "Admit it: you can't turn away," when the Injustice League is introduced.
  • Used occasionally on The Simpsons.
    • On one episode, when Smithers catches on fire he calls out, "Help me Mr. Burns, I'm flaming!" Burns looks at the viewer and shakes his head with a "My, my" expression.
    • In "Pygmoelian", after Carl fails at cheering Moe up, and ends up making the rest of the people at "Moe's Bar" depressed, he looks directly at the camera and says "See, this I why I don't talk much."
    • Made fun of in the first of the two-part episode of The Simpsons when Burns is shot. Doctor Hibbert says "I can't figure this out! Can... you?" and points right at the "camera", holding the pose for a few seconds before the view switches and you see he was really pointing at Chief Wiggum (who could have been behind the viewers' point of view, or it would have even been Wiggum's point of view before the view-shift).
    • They recycled it for their The Da Vinci Code parody: We come out of a commercial with Lisa basically saying "Have you figured it out yet?" and then revealing she was talking to Milhouse.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, after Spider-Man repeats verbatim dialogue that the Green Goblin has just heard from Tombstone, Goblin briefly turns to the camera and quips "Anyone else getting déjà vu? Oh well, let's run with it."
  • The eponymous Heroic Mime of Pucca does this after being told by Ching that she has a beautiful voice.
  • One episode of Johnny Test featured Johnny and Dukey stuck inside a Steve McQueen movie, or its closest in-universe equivalent. At one point, about when they learn the main character is going to drive a car off a cliff, one of them says, "Why couldn't we just have watched cartoons like normal kids?" Both then turn to look at the camera.
  • Berk tends to do this quite a lot in The Trap Door.
  • Happens several times in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • In the old Goofy cartoons, especially the "How To" shorts, Goofy spends a great deal nodding, winking, smiling, gesturing, and staring in confusion at the viewer and/or invisible narrator. And to quote Art Babbit, "When something stupid befalls him, he mugs the camera like an amateur actor with relatives in the audience, trying to cover up his accident by making faces and signaling to them."
  • Proto Man turns to the camera and mutters, "Boy, what's the world coming to when you can't trust your own brother?" after Mega Man tricks him and his cohorts in "Bot Transfer" (Mega Man cartoon). That episode came before "Bro Bots", mind you.
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants ("Missing Identity"), SpongeBob tells some fish in a diner the story of how he lost his identity (to be exact, his name tag, which was on his shirt the whole time, but he was wearing it backwards). Over the course of the episode, he does two of these glances, except he makes them particularly drawn-out, slowly turning and staring straight at the camera. The first is in response to one of Patrick's moments of incredible ignorance, and the second comes after the waitress in the diner says she's borrowing someone else's name tag.
    • Both are Shout Outs to Jack Benny. The hand on the cheek is a trademark of Benny's.
    • Another one crops up in "I'm With Stupid".
  • Hanna-Barbera examples:
    • Jonny Quest TOS episodes.
      • "Arctic Splashdown". Bandit the dog looks into the camera and winks at the audience.
      • "The Dragons of Ashida". One of the title dragons at the end of the episode.
      • "The Curse of Anubis". Bandit just looks into the camera.
      • "Monster in the Monastery". Bandit again.
    • Space Ghost. Blip the monkey gives the audience one at the end of the episodes "The Drone", "Glasstor" and "The Sorcerer".
    • The Galaxy Trio. At the end of the episode "The Eye of Time", Meteor Man looked into the camera and winked at the audience.
    • Mighty Mightor. Little Rock's bird pet Ork sometimes gives one to the audience when Little Rock did something stupid.
    • Superfriends (1973). Wonder Dog does it on a regular basis, usually when Marvin says something stupid.
    • In "The Power Pirate", Marvin tries to impress Wendy and Wonder Dog with his fake British accent. When he fails, he turns to the camera and shrugs.
    • At the end of "The Planet Splitter", Wendy and Marvin take away Wonder Dog's steak bone (he's on a diet) and leave. Wonder Dog pulls out another steak bone, takes a bite out of it and winks at the audience.
  • American Dad makes use of this in a particular episode where Roger encounters a very blonde girl. Almost every other line she has provoked this response.
  • In the middle of one episode of The Replacements, Sheldon essentially summarizes everything that had happened thus far in the episode, after which he looks directly at the fourth wall and says "What do YOOUUU think [will happen]?" Cut to Buzz, who is standing right in front of him.
    • This actually happens with relative frequency; The Replacements loves subverting this trope (generally by having a cut reveal someone standing in the "camera" spot the characters were looking at).
  • Code Lyoko: Odd winks once or twice directly at the "camera" while in Lyoko—notably in episode "Nobody in Particular", after devirtualizing Ulrich.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Perry the Platypus frequently does this after hearing the explanation of Dr. Doofensmirtz's more petty or inane schemes.
    • Other characters pull this off from time to time, including Doofensmirtz himself in "Out of Toon". After his dancing ray hits both him and Perry the Platypus, causing the two to compulsively dance together, he glances at the camera with the remark "And to add insult to injury, the platypus is leading."
    • From "Cheer Up Candace":

Phineas: Candace has a great sense of humor! Remember that time she got her face stuck in the sink?
Isabella: (aside glance)

    • Perry gave the audience one when Dr. Doofenshmirtz unveils his latest plan to flood Danville and charge people ridiculous sums of money for the only form of transportation that he himself invented: the B.O.-A.T., which looks (and functions) exactly like a boat. Perry, despite being The Voiceless, seems to say to the audience "Leave it to Doofenshmirtz to invent something that already exists!"
  • Family Guy tends to do this a lot. Usually after Peter has just pointed out something using his Genre Savviness

Peter: And since you're black and I'm white, that makes it more a-special for the audience! (aside glance)

  • Lampshaded to hell and back in Turtles Forever, where 1987 Raphael does this all the time—to the utter confusion of everyone who isn't from his reality. At one point, the 2003 Dragon Hun has had just about enough:

Raph: (to camera)Some people just can't handle change.
Hun: (follows his gaze) Why do you keep doing that? Who are you talking to?! There's no-one there!

  • Done in Jimmy Two-Shoes, just before an Imagine Spot. A few more times as well.
  • In the Nelvana cartoon of Martin the Warrior, the searats give a rather creeped-out look to the camera when Clogg starts gushing about how awesome his "new friend" (actually a spy for the good guys) is. May be either because they're weirded out by "Tibbar the magic rabbit" or a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar, implying even the characters can spot the Ho Yay ...
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: In "Applebuck Season", after the sleep-deprived Applejack falls asleep in the middle of accepting her trophy for saving the town from a stampede, Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie both look at the camera with baffled expressions on their faces.
    • Pinkie does it in "Lesson Zero".
  • Mr. Magoo does this in "Hotsy Footsy." Magoo thinks he is at a college reunion dance, but he has walked through the exit door, through a back alley, and is in a gym where wrestler Francis the terrible is taking on all comers! Magoo sees the long line of wrestlers being carried off after being injured, turns to the screen and whispers "loaded!"


Real Life[edit | hide]