I was watching Family Guy where the Griffins were stuck in a traffic jam. Peter looks far ahead to see what's going on and he notices that the road hasn't been drawn yet. He looks up and shouts something like, 'Oh come on what are you doing you guys up there?!' The next scene shows the cartoonist falling sleep on his desk; hearing Peter screaming, he wakes up, apologizes and keeps drawing the rest of the road.

Is there a word or phrase for when a cartoon character talks to its creator?

So far I've found 'breaking the fourth wall', but the problem is I see it refers to the character communicating to the audience, not the people backstage.

  • What exactly is the question? And how is it related to learning English?
    – Varun Nair
    Oct 30, 2017 at 8:39
  • 2
    @VarunNair - It's a word request. The OP wants to know if there is a word for when a cartoon character is communicating with its animators. Moreover, the mention of the fourth wall shows some earnest research has been done.
    – J.R.
    Oct 30, 2017 at 9:04
  • My bad. I didn't see the intended question.
    – Varun Nair
    Oct 30, 2017 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


The informal word used to describe this sort of thing is "meta".

The cartoon is very meta.

M.C. Escher is so meta.

Colloquial meta refers to acts of self-reference in art and literature; it is a simplified form of the jargon used in literary and art criticism. A play within a play can be called metadramatic or meta-theatrical.


  • Thank you very helpful. Based on your answer I found Metacinema. How can refer to the character's behavior. 'Dead Pool', for example, breaks the fourth wall several times during the movie. Here for Peter, can I say he goes meta during this episode?
    – Yuri
    Oct 30, 2017 at 17:52
  • The term when used colloquially is fairly "loose" and could probably be used as you want-- Peter goes meta -- but it's still a bit of a stretch. It's the cartoonists who "go meta" by having a character, Peter, be aware of their existence and shout something out to them.
    – TimR
    Oct 30, 2017 at 18:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .