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Top 10 Fourth Wall Breaking Characters in Movies and TV

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Christopher S Lozano These characters seem to know that they are in a movie, and do not hesitate to speak directly to the audience. WatchMojo presents the top 10 characters who obliterate the fourth wall! But who will take the top spot on our list? Frank Underwood, Ferris Bueller, or the merc with a mouth, Deadpool? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to Jubillee Gabriel Mateo Sparkywave Gaming for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%204th%20Wall%20Breaking%20Characters
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Transcript
Say it with us, “chick chicka chicka!” Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Fourth Wall Breaking Characters.

For this list, we’re looking at those characters who didn’t care that they were in a movie or television show; they’d still stop everything to give us a piece of their mind.

#10: Jordan Belfort
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)

Belfort was a stockbroker in the 1990s who pleaded guilty to fraud and crimes linked to stock-market manipulation. Basically, he’s the evil corporate villain in all those ‘80s movies, except he was a real person. The movie based on his book was well received, and featured a number of fourth wall-breaking moments. The technique is used brilliantly to bring the audience closer to the character, and also help them understand the complicated details of his corrupt world. Since he isn’t exactly an honest man, though, Belfort often leaves us guessing what’s real and what’s a product of his drug-fueled mind.

#9: Zack Morris
“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)

We can still hear that theme song in our heads every time we walk down a school hallway or read about Dustin Diamond’s latest antics. This show featured some goofball acting and writing, but it has remained a staple of the ‘90s. A large part of that was due to the character of Zack Morris. Every so often, he’d pause the show and speak directly at the audience to make sure we understood what a predicament he was in that week – so that when he inevitably got out of it, we’d be all the more impressed.

#8: Wayne Campbell
“Wayne’s World” (1992)

We’re beginning to notice a distinct ‘90s flavor with this list. Was there something about that decade of grunge and high fashion that lent itself to fourth wall-breaking characters? No, probably not. Wayne Campbell was one of Mike Myers’ earliest and funniest characters, stopping the movie for some hilariously obvious product placements, and making constant inside and self-aware jokes to the camera. He’d even stop the ending and re-do the whole thing with a Scooby-Doo twist, followed by a mega-happy final curtain.

#7: Malcolm
“Malcolm in the Middle” (2000-06)

Frankie Muniz played this too-smart-for-his-britches schoolboy perfectly. Malcolm would often stop the story in its tracks to speak directly to us, making sure we understood just how ridiculous his family was, or how absurd his situation was. Our favorite scenes were when he thought he was being really smart, only to be thwarted by one of his brothers or his overbearing mother, making the troubles he’d have with his offbeat family all the more relatable.

#6: Bernie Mac
“The Bernie Mac Show” (2001-06)

Listen here, ‘Merica, raising kids isn’t easy. Raising someone else’s kids is even worse. And no one had quite as hilarious a view on life as a parent as Bernie Mac. His seemingly mean attitude towards the kids was often juxtaposed hilariously against his obviously caring actions, making the show that much more endearing. We haven’t even mentioned the funny rants and raves directed at us and “‘Merica” in general, which would so often have a great moral to them as well. Sometimes he just needed to get things off his chest, and we were there to listen.

#5: Rob Gordon
“High Fidelity” (2000)

Do you like top 10 lists? Then you kinda have this guy to thank for them. Rob Gordon was a pioneer in the art of list making with his “top fives” in this early 2000s dramedy. The story revolves around the record store owner and him obsessively making top five lists. The movie even starts with him talking directly to us about his top five breakups. Other lists include top five dream jobs, top five things Rob misses about Laura, and top five songs about death. He was truly a list making legend, and clearly never ran out of ideas.

#4: Alvy Singer
“Annie Hall” (1977)

Woody Allen has made a career out of talking awkwardly to the camera. None of his characters so perfectly demonstrates his ability to have conversations with the audience like Alvy Singer from the Oscar-winning “Annie Hall.” In fact, the movie opens up with Alvy speaking directly to the camera with a lengthy monologue. It’s the epitome of precocious and witty writing, and it’s a technique that Woody Allen would continue using. This character oozes humor and charm, especially when he’s expressing his anxieties and insecurities to us.

#3: Frank Underwood
“House of Cards” (2013-)

Up to this point, most of the characters and their on-camera monologues on this list have been on the humorous side, but this one starts to get a bit more serious. In the series premiere, Frank starts his dialogue with us as he’s putting a dog out of its misery. For a moment, we can’t tell if he’s talking to the dog or us – or maybe we’re the same thing to him. In other scenes, he gives us valuable – if cutthroat ­– lessons in ruthlessness. What’s more, he also gives us a fascinating look behind the scenes of American politics.

#2: Deadpool
“Deadpool” (2016)

Strangely, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as being lectured and quipped at while the Merc with a Mouth does some murdering. Wade Wilson didn’t start out as an iconic fourth wall-breaking character, but in the comics, he slowly took on that role over time. He even jokes about looking like Ryan Reynolds at one point – that’s an inside joke if we’ve ever heard one. Now that the infamous mutant has taken his talents to the big screen, we get to see him make a fool of the industry and even pay homage to other fourth wall-breaking characters.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Paul
“Funny Games” (2007)

- Bugs Bunny
“Looney Tunes” franchise (1930-)

- Jared Vennett

“The Big Short” (2015)

#1: Ferris Bueller
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)

Are you still here? The list is over. Go home. Okay, not really. John Hughes was a legendary writer and director, and one of the movies he’s best known for is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” about a precocious teen who ditches school for possibly one of the greatest days ever. Throughout the movie, Ferris gives us insights about his family life, his friends’ problems, and his plans with his girlfriend Sloane. Ferris is a surprisingly un-pessimistic kid, and that’s why we like him.
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