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In general, a reference is something that refers to or designates something else, or acts as a connection or a link between two things. The objects it links may be concrete, such as books or locations, or abstract, such as data, thoughts, or memories. The object which is named by a reference, or to which the reference points, is the referent. The term reference is used with different specialized meanings in a variety of fields. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference [Jul 2006]


Meta-reference describes a situation in a form of media whereby fictional characters display an awareness that they are in a film, television show or book. Sometimes it may even just be a form of editing or film-making technique that comments on the programme/film/book itself.

The Simpsons features meta-references quite frequently, and the Usenet group alt.tv.simpsons features a Meta reference watch for each episode. A classic example is when Homer Simpson - in the style of a Road Runner cartoon - gets stuck in a hole in the ground of a narrow ledge jutting from the edge of a tall cliff. Homer declares "If this were a cartoon, this cliff would break off now." Sure enough, it does.

Other examples include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-reference [Dec 2004]

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