Lampshade (adj): A word used for situations in media- mostly in comics and television- where the concerns, criticisms and arguments of the audience are answered in the text itself to assuage any disbelief and therefore frustration a reader or viewer might possess. By underscoring points of possible contention, usually humorously, the suspension of disbelief is retained.

Often used to account for implausible developments, ridiculous motivations, bizarre twists and illogical situations, a lampshade can also cover obviously cribbed plot elements by having the author acknowledge through a character that “This is just like…”

A lampshade can be used to explain threads that may have lain dormant, and often prods at the fourth wall by having characters address the audience, or realities outside their own existence.

I debated a long time over doing this one since I knew it’d go over many people’s heads. However, comics like Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes (and even Garfield) never wrote down to their audience, and I always respected that.