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Submitted on
October 28, 2012


3,680 (2 today)
5 (who?)
Lately there has been a HUGE increase of "breaking the fourth wall" jokes on most animated shows.
"The simpsons", "Family guy", "The Cleveland show", "American dad" etc. They all do it now, the question is ¿why?

a couple of years ago this was not only not something that was regularly used, but used briefly and with a justification. It was not just thrown there to fill in.

These days however, Cartoon shows seem to rely way too much on these types of jokes.
Almost as if it were the only thing that can keep the viewer interested on the "plot" of the episode.
They literally use these types of jokes about 3 to 5 times (yes, literally!).

It perhaps may be naive of me but I always prefered to think of these characters and the situations they go through (as ridiculous as they may be) and what they expirience in their regualr lives is what actually happens inside the crazy cartoon world the viewers love.

Seeing the characters talk to the viewer, make mistakes and have to re shot a scene and blatantly acknowledge that what they are saying is scripted and that everything that happens is fake, that they do not agree with what their character say, think or do just ruins it for me.

Perhaps Im immersing too deep into this.

But do you like this or do you also find it unappealing?
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KaminaMasterSword12 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
They really havent been breaking the fourth wall much in American Dad, but there a certain amount of time when you break the fourth wall its just not funny, when you do it has to be clever and not really noticeable IMO
cartoonjoe2011 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2012
Breaking the Fourth Wall has a long tradition, going all the way back to Ancient Greece, and such writers as Shakespear and Mark Twain utilized it in their stories, so its hardly a new's just that the more recent practitioners have a tendency to run it into the ground.
AnyaUribe Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2012
Please re-read the beggining of the journal.
It says: "Lately there has been a HUGE increase of" :XD:

I never even implied there was any inovation in it.

Im merely questioning why it has gotten out of control and in such a terrible way as of lately.
cartoonjoe2011 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012
I did. And you're right.
AtomicTiki Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012
Because writers will go for the cheap laff every time.

It's also trendy

It's also boring :)
FCM-NileSnake Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
I don't think you're immersing too deep into this, Anya. Yeah, it was done all the time, by Animaniacs, Looney Tunes, etc, etc...

But now it's being used due to lack of ideas, of creativity! Back on those shows, breaking the fourth wall happened usually when it had a good reason, a good joke behind it. Now it happens all the time, because only happening is supposedly funny in these writers minds. It's a cheap trick now.

It CAN be used in a good way, they're just doing it wrongly and too much of it. And if it's being openly used on the Simpsons, it just shows how much The Simpsons sank. It's sad to see that one of the best american cartoons of all time (in my opinion at least) is now one of the unfunniest things I've seen. After seasons 6-7 the thing started to die, simply... (again, my opinion!)
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
First, my brother was the only person who'd told me that the first SIX seasons of The Simpsons were the funniest thing ever. Now, I keep hearing it. And people aren't keeping it at a round figure by saying "The first 5". People keep saying first 6 (or sometimes 7, like you). It makes me want to rewatch lots of those episodes I've forgotten again, knowing it's not just me (and my brother). The Simpsons really did use to be a lot funnier in the beginning when it was more about the Simpsons family issues.

I write an action comedy comic book, and I think it can be a great idea to use a joke or theme over and over. The problem is, you can only do that if it works! You can break any rule or any wall you want to almost, IF you do it right... but breaking the 4th wall backfires so much. I don't think it's so much a cheap trick as it is a failure to properly handle a technique that needs special handling because it's proven to be prone to backfire with viewers. If you could get it perfect most of the time, you could get away with doing it a lot!
FCM-NileSnake Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
Whoops! Took me longer than it should to reply you... sorry about that. So:

Yes, some people think we're just nostalgic, but The Simpsons was a much funnier show, when it was about their family issues. The writers were definitely better.

I agree with you there, breaking the 4th wall must be done very well, it backfires a LOT indeed! If it's well done, it can be done over and over again, the problem is doing it badly, like it mostly is, wether with The Simpsons or other cartoons.
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I break the fourth wall so much in my comics that I needed someone to point it out to me! :XD:
Fortunately, it was working because people were used to it, hehe
MJBedi Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, I think it's because these shows (or the writers, at least) are out of ideas. The Simpsons stopped being funny after season 9, Family Guy after season 4, Cleveland was never funny, and American Dad is only sometimes funny. Personally I don't mind if they break the fourth wall, but it has to be justified by a really, really good joke. Overusing it will kill it and then it goes from funny to monotonous. Since I haven't watched Simpsons, Family Guy, or Cleveland in over a year, I couldn't say if they way they're using it is bad, but from your description, it sounds terrible.
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