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The fourth wall is the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The concept is usually attributed to the philosopher, critic and dramatist Denis Diderot. The term itself was used by Molière. The fourth wall illusion is often associated with naturalist theatre of the mid 19th-century, and especially with the innovations of the French director André Antoine.
The restrictions of the fourth wall were challenged in 20th-century theatre. Speaking directly to, otherwise acknowledging or doing something to the audience through this imaginary wall – or, in film, television, and video games, through a camera – is known as "breaking the fourth wall". As it is a penetration of a boundary normally set up or assumed by works of fiction, this is considered a metafictional technique. In literature and video games, it occurs when a character acknowledges the reader or player.
Breaking the fourth wall should not be confused with the aside or the soliloquy, dramatic devices often used by playwrights where characters on stage are delivering inner monologues, giving the audience insight into their thoughts.
The Scooby-Doo franchise has been broken the fourth wall throughout its history. Most cases end with Scooby saying his catchphrase of "Scooby-Dooby-Doo," followed by a wink and/or laugh. The TV series, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo frequently did this, by narrating, having a TV reporter interrupt, and the gang turning on their own chase music.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
- Main article(s): Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
- A Clue for Scooby Doo - At the end of the episode, Scooby-Doo winks at the audience.
- Hassle in the Castle - After Scooby steals his sandwich, Shaggy Rogers looks at the audience and tells them "With him around, I can't even get a bite in etch wise". In the same episode, Scooby looks at the viewer puzzled about the magic stuff.
- What the Hex Going On? - In order to persuade Scooby into entering the haunted Kingston mausoleum, Fred offers him up to 4 Scooby Snacks, which Shaggy suddenly takes. As he goes into the crypt, Shaggy faces the audience and timidly says that "sometimes he would do anything for a Scooby Snack".
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
- Main article(s): The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
- Scoobra Kadoobra - The episode is interrupted.
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
- Main article(s): A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
- In every episode, a member of the gang narrates the story.
- A member of the gang asks the audience if they figured out who the bad guy is.
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
- Poodle Justice - Daniel Valentino comments on seeing Velma's Mind's Eye.
- Be Quiet, Scooby-Doo! - Shaggy demands to know why he was the dope in Velma's Mind's Eye.
- Me, Myself, and A.I. - At the end of the episode, Scooby-Doo laughs to the audience about Daphne, and says "#ScoobyDoobyDoo".
- Scoobynatural - After the bad guy states that "I would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids," an excited Dean Winchester looks into the camera which closes in on his face and goes "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" When Sam and Castiel question him about the action, Dean tells them that its what Scooby does at the end of every episode only to have Sam and Castiel point out that he is not in fact a talking dog.
- Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - Before the end credits roll, Scooby shows his fear about the cats (mostly their sinister eye glow) to the camera. After the end credits, he tears up the screen and feeds them milk.
- Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost - At the end of the movie, Scooby speaks to the viewer.
- Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders - After the credits, Scooby greets the viewer dressed like an alien.
- Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase - After the credits, there is a scene where Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang tell the viewers their favorite parts of the film.
- Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - After the credits, Scooby is seen playing the movie's Game Boy Advance and reveals a cheat code.
- Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins - At the end of the movie, Scooby-Doo winks at the viewer.
- Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo - After the credits, the Mystery Machine's new G.P.S. talks to the viewer.
- Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur - After the credits, the G.P.S talks to the viewer about how he would take off the Shaggy hair, that had been on top of the entire van, if he had hands, but he doesn't, so he can't.
- Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy - During the credits, AlexSuperFan2112 points out some of the continuity errors of the film.