So I've been wanting to make this blog post for a while, about this theory (or maybe headcanon?) that I have about Gumball, and explain why I feel this way. Just to let you know, this is going to get pretty deep. You ever see one of those Cracked.com After Hours videos where it's just a bunch of people sitting in a diner talking about crazy theories about pop culture? And they seem really stupid at first glance but their theories are actually pretty well researched and at the end you almost end up believing them? It's probably gonna be a lot like that. Some people might think that I'm reading too deeply into this but I once read a 30 page paper arguing that Gumball Watterson was a god so I'm gonna do what I want.
So, in order for this theory to make sense you're going to have to belive some things right off the bat. I think most fans do but maybe something that seems like common sense to me aren't to other people. In order for this theory to work you have to know that The Amazing World of Gumball is a TV show in-universe as well as out of it. I think that's been thoroughly proven in episodes like "The Signal" and with Rob's monologue at the beginning of "The Disaster". No one but Rob knows that this is true, well, not consciously anyways, which is where this theory comes in.
This theory came about because of a Cartoon Conspiracy episode that I saw discussing the theory of if the titular world in The Amazing World of Gumball is nothing more than a computer simulation. Eventually they came to the conclusion that the computer simulation theory was too close to the theory that Gumball is a self aware cartoon show which has already been proven to be true. For the most part I believe that they are correct, but I posit that the TV show is the simulation. I mean, it is made with computers after all. But along with this they did go into a bit about how someone would act if they knew that they were in a simulation, that's where this theory comes in. I believe that Gumball Watterson subconsciously knows that he's in a TV show.
So in the video the host mentions a paper written by economist Robin Hanson about how one would presumably act if they found out that they were living in a simulation. This paper, aptly titled "How To Live in a Simulation" gives the reader tips on what to do if they find that they are indeed living in a simulation, and Gumball does almost all of them. Hanson theorizes that people who know that they are in a simulation would act more self serving as well as be more reckless, constantly taking risks as their simulation could end at any moment. Sound like a certain blue cat we know? He also claims that "they are more likely to keep in their simulation the people they find more interesting, then you should try to stay personally interesting to the famous people around you." In essence, he is advocating that you should try to be as interesting as possible in order to keep your simulation from being turned off, or possibly be sent to the void in Gumball's case. There is an entire episode where he does just that, it's called "The Others". When the camera is on someone else Gumball freaks out and tries everything he can to insert himself back in the narrative. Afraid that he will be replaced perhaps? And this isn't the first time he does something like this, he's always wanting to put himself in the spotlight. Is he just an attention hog? Maybe, but I think there's a little more to it than that.
Another reason that I think he subconsciously knows about the TV show is that there is simply too much evidence around him for him to ignore. He's seen the world glitch in "The Signal", seen it change it's structure in "The Test" and even seen it disintegrate around him in "The Money", and yet he acts clueless when Rob tells him that none of this is real in "The Disaster". So I think he subconsciously knows but is in such denial about it that he's even convinced himself that he doesn't. We have seen Gumball in denial before, like in the episode "The Stink" where he denies feeling guilty about Mr. Small, at least until the ship breaks down (long story), and in "The Canidate" where he denies that his head is on fire even though it so clearly is. Plus, he denied having a crush on Penny until they eventually got together. That seems to be his go-to whenever he has a problem. Don't confront it, just deny it. Why would that change here?
So, in conclusion, Gumball subconsciously knows that he's in a TV show and is trying desperately not to confront it. Am I suggesting that this was the creators intention? Probably not, and I highly doubt that they actually read the article that I cited and specifically put those traits in their main character. But hey, that's what's fun about this whole theorizing thing, all interpretations are valid.