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Tuesday, January 03, 2021


Scott Adams has thrust himself (or, really, a comic doppelganger) into today’s Dilbert strip, thus claiming to have violated the “third wall”.

Adams should have double-checked his references, because he’s off by a wall:

The Fourth Wall is a term to describe the invisible wall between the audience and the actors on-stage. This is because in proscenium theaters, the set was usually three walls of a room. The audience was therefore “The Fourth Wall,” and ignored by the actors. When an actor addresses the audience directly, it is called “Breaking the Fourth Wall.”

Unless I’m missing some sort of joke here, or a variant of the fourth wall for comic-strip purposes (I guess a two-dimensional medium can’t claim to be staged in a four-wall setting — but if anything, it would be a “second wall”, i.e. the page and the reader’s eyeballs), I’d say there was a slip-up. Therefore, I’d have cartoon Adams stop looking for that third-wall exit…

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/03/2021 06:24:15 PM
Category: Publishing, Comedy | Permalink |

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  1. I think the joke works. Cubicles only have three walls. The fourth is the hallway, but that doesn’t get you out. If you violated one of the other walls, perhaps … just perhaps …

    That’s how I saw it anyway, although the acting bit was an interesting bit of trivia.

    Comment by Andy Dabydeen — 01/03/2021 @ 08:41:29 PM

  2. Good call to point out the cubicle, as that structure is so central to Dilbert. But I’m not buying that excuse. I definitely think Adams screwed up.

    Perhaps he’ll come across this post and give us the low-down himself…

    Comment by CT — 01/03/2021 @ 09:15:42 PM

  3. I’m going to run with the 2-D idea that the comic panel is only bound by a wall to the left and a wall to the right, making the audience/reader the third wall.

    Comment by Hunk Oman — 01/04/2021 @ 09:30:25 AM

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