Genre Blindness

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
A Genre Savvy character has a Genre Blindness moment, which he immediately lampshades.[1]

"As a rule, people in movies haven't ever seen a movie. They're not equipped to deal with anything strange."

A condition afflicting many fictional characters, seen when one demonstrates by their behavior that they have never in their life ever seen the kind of story they're in, and thus have none of the reactions a typical audience member would have in the same situation. Worse, they are unable to learn from any experiences related to their genre.

Genre Blindness is what keeps the cast of Three's Company leaping to outrageous conclusions even after the hundredth stupid misunderstanding, instead of sitting down and talking things out. It makes young girls go for walks in the woods after midnight without a flashlight when there's an axe murderer or a vampire around. It makes the supergenius supervillains in James Bond movies stuff the hero into an elaborate melodramatic Death Trap from which he inevitably escapes instead of just shooting him. It's why a Professional Wrestling referee always holds faces to the strictest letter of the rules, even as the heels break every rule in the book behind his back. It is one of the engines that drive the classic 1960s-70s sitcom.

Although genre blindness can be a legitimate flaw, it should be noted that it can be difficult for writers to create characters who are not genre blind without hanging a lampshade on it by saying something like "This is just like in the movies!", especially in genres which require suspense that can easily be undone by such comedic relief (such as horrors, thrillers, etc). Furthermore, some stories in some genres really couldn't function at all if the characters displayed an innate and complete understanding of what genre they were in and exactly how they should act at all times if they want to avoid trouble—which in most cases would also rob the story of tension and drama, since if the character knows exactly what to do to avoid trouble and conflict in their particular story, they'll do it, and consequently have an easy, trouble-free life, and... why are we watching again? Finally, not all of a genre's classic tropes are in fact Truth in Television, but as far as the characters are concerned, This Is Reality, so their "blindness" may be the same as common sense. For example, in real life, a single cough does not herald a fatal disease, so It's Probably Nothing is probably rational despite being Genre Blind.

Ultimately, while it can be a problem if used too egregiously, sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders and chalk it up to Willing Suspension of Disbelief.


Examples of Genre Blindness include:

Anime and Manga

  • If Miki from Hell Teacher Nube ever approaches you with an occult magazine, RUN. Despite having nearly killed herself (or her classmates) fifty times over while testing an local rumor or deliberately Tempting Fate just to see what would happen (which resulted, very early in the manga, in her turning into a half-youkai permanently,) she will try again. And again. And again.
  • In the Majora's Mask manga adaption, we have some soldiers being told Link, who has built up a reputation as expert fighter, is visiting, and when they see that he's an Adorably Precocious Child, they assume he's harmless. One panel later, we find he humiliated them, and even broke some of their swords.
  • Keima of The World God Only Knows is normally incredibly, hilariously Genre Savvy. But the problem is, all his experience comes from galges, so when he runs into a situation that doesn't come up in them, he's at a loss. The best example is probably when he missed the Matchmaker Crush--twice, involving the same girl both times, no less (first time he was helping Chihiro with a boy, the second time she was helping him with Ayumi).
  • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh, villains tended to underestimate Jonouchi a lot, never learning from the mistakes of his previous opponents who got their asses handed to them. True, Jonouchi wasn't all-too "book smart", but he was a resourceful type with Nerves of Steel who could always cope.

Comic Books

  • Let's say that you're confronting a Corrupt Corporate Executive who's ruined your life by putting kiddie porn on your computer. You put a gun, given to you by a mysterious benefactor, to her head and explain why you're about to kill her, and she offers to give you and your kids enough money to start over on the condition that you give her the gun so she can use it to find out who your benefactor is. Do you accept this offer? If you say no, you are a smarter man than Lee Dolan.
  • The characters of The Walking Dead have never seen zombie movies. Fine. But they still don't learn. Multiple characters die/are injured in the exact same zombie-attacking way. Heck, zombies or no, the cop character never quite grasps the concept of 'clear one room before going to next'.
    • This seems to be standard across all forms of zombie fiction. It afflicts the Walking Dead TV series and almost any zombie movie you could care to name. One supposes that when the opponents are mindless, shambling corpses, it requires making the characters into complete idiots to explain how such enemies brought about the end of the world.
  • The unwashed heathens in Jack Chick's tracts seem to exist in a world where no one who isn't already a Christian has heard about Christianity. (See: Easy Evangelism.)
  • After being knocked out many times by being hit on the back of his head, you might have thought that Tintin would at least watch his back whenever he's sneaking up on a villain's lair or on the villains themselves.
  • Tombstone showed this initially, sorely underestimating Spider-Man's powers and fighting skills. When you have no super-powers, you can't simply deal with a foe who does head-on, you'd have a better chance of out-slugging a bulldozer.

Fairy Tales

  • Every Fairy Tale hero. Ever. The most common mistakes they make is eating the Forbidden Fruit and pissing off the fairies. Maybe we should just list aversions here. If there are any.
    • When there are aversions, they are usually accompanied by straight examples, with the story turning into a "Right Way/Wrong Way" approach to dealing with fairies.
    • It has been remarked that in Russian fairy tales there seems to be a pattern or male heroes always failing to heed warnings etc. and effectively succeeding by either dumb luck or powerful magic beings taking pity on them while heroines tend to listen to what e. g. a kindly disposed witch tells them and succeeding by a combination of this and their own smarts.

Fan Works

  • Surprisingly, in Kyon: Big Damn Hero Tsuruya displayed this, accepting the explanation that Kyon healed quickly, for a cut disappearing in one night.
    • A cut that required stitches, and disappeared without a trace. Tsuruya has previously shown (in canon, even) that she's aware that there's something weird and possibly supernatural going on with Haruhi and friends, and later in the story she mentions that she noticed Kyon vanish from her bed later the same night (he was teleported away and back). It's probably better to assume that she's faking.


  • In Galaxy Quest, the main characters initially suffer Genre Blindness despite being actors in the genre; this is underscored by Guy's outraged query, "Did you guys ever watch the show?".
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Barbossa retorts Elizabeth Swann's denial of ghost stories by showing her the true, undead forms of himself and his crew.

"You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"

    • Also present when various characters expect the pirates to act honorably (Will's first swordfight with Jack, Elizabeth negotiating with Barbossa, etc).

"First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply and you're not. And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner."
"Don't dare impugn me honor, boy! I agreed she go free, but it was you who failed to specify when or where."
(points to self) "Pirate."

  • The original Night of the Living Dead is notable for its exceptions and examples. It was the first film to feature zombies as mindless flesheating corpses, yet at least one character seems to be pretty Genre Savvy already. Most zombie rules are based on this film.
    • Similarly, Return of the Living Dead features characters as relatively genre savvy, partly because it's implied most of them have seen (or at least heard of) Night of the Living Dead. Unfortunately, Return was all about breaking genre conventions and featured zombies that could think, sprint, and didn't die when their brains were damaged.
  • A particularly infuriating example is Lucio Fulci's The Beyond, in which the protagonist shoots zombies in the torso ineffectually and finally downs one with a head shot... and then continues to fire uselessly into their torsos for the remainder of the film. To put it into context, Fulci's horror movies are generally populated with characters who are juggling the Idiot Ball.
  • The first Scary Movie parodies this when a character being chased by a killer is confronted with two signs pointing towards "Safety" and "Death" respectively. In classic horror movie fashion she chooses the wrong one and, unsurprisingly, is the first casualty of the film.
    • Maybe if the first sign said cake instead...
    • In one of the sequels, this is parodied, when one girl says: "Okay now, it's important that we don't split up." and the others ignore her and immediately split up and walk away.
  • Any "victim" character in The Strangers is so genre blind it's astounding they're not forced to wear dark sunglasses and follow a seeing-eye dog. The first death involves the husband's friend, Mike, walking into the house after the three killers have already pinned the protagonists down in a corner. The husband, James, has a shotgun pointed at the door to the room they're hiding in. Instead of turning off the deafeningly loud record player and calling out to the couple, Mike slowly....creeps....down....the hall....* BLAM!* . It gets really horrid when Kristen, the wife, attempts to run across the backyard for a radio in the barn. Instead of carefully selecting her steps, she tumbles into a two foot deep trench and snaps her leg like a twig.
  • Batman's Genre Blindness is Lampshaded in The Dark Knight when he demands that the Joker let Rachel go while standing near the edge of a broken window high up in a skyscraper. Joker stares at him for a second and responds "Very poor choice of words" before tossing Rachel over the edge. Which brings about a bit of Fridge Logic when you consider that, by jumping out the window to save her, Batman left the Joker and his minions alone with the Gotham upper class.
    • It's an interesting choice that Batman decided to save the woman he loved from certain death over protecting a group of "social elites" (and Alfred). The Joker admits later that he thought Harvey Dent really was the Batman. Fortunately, in the Joker's eyes, his primary objective for crashing the party in the first place (Dent) seemingly just jumped out the window, and he presumably left the party-goers to their own devices.
  • In Time Bandits, the dwarves don't recognize Robin Hood when they see him. Kevin attempts to explain after they have lost all their treasure to the poor.
  • Any mooks in any all-against-one martial-arts movie fight scene ever. Seriously, after seeing the first dozen or so of their fellows being fed to a human blender, you'd think they'd re-evaluate their strategy, but no. Unless they're relying on Conservation of Ninjitsu (which, being genre blind, they aren't).
    • It's the last Mook standing who you really have to feel the sorriest for. If only he'd ever seen a martial arts flick, he'd know to just smile and walk away at that point.
  • In Timecrimes Hector has clearly never seen or read any stories about Time Travel, thus he's completely unable to wrap his head around the fact that "that man" is himself from an hour ago, and not some impostor. This is pretty consistent with how intelligent he's shown to be prior to this point.
  • In Burnt Offerings, the heroine forgets one of the most basic rules of real estate: if it seems too cheap, something is horribly wrong with the place. In real life, it's usually something like "the roof is a major rainstorm away from collapse, we're hoping the super-low price will distract you from the contract clearly stating it's being sold as-is." This, however, being a horror movie...
  • The delightfully cheesy 80s film American Dreamer features a housewife who gets bonked on the head and decides that she's the heroine of her favorite series of books, which feature the female, James Bond -esque Rebecca Ryan. She manages to live through several assassination plots through sheer luck, dragging along the only person who doesn't buy into her delusion. She's an odd combo of Genre Blind and Genre Savvy, because she seems to be aware of all her tropes but thinks of them as the way the world's supposed to work.
  • Used and lampshaded in Arsenic and Old Lace where the main character is a film critic, and in one scene he describes an the stupidity of an oblivious victim, even going so far as to suggest using the curtain cords as rope to tie him up.
  • In Mulholland Drive, Betty, who finds the amnesiac Rita, convinces her to try investigating in order to find out her identity, "like in the movies". They have no idea what they're getting into.
  • Beyoncé's character from Obsessed. When her husband is stalked by another woman, at first she's far angrier at her husband than she is at his stalker, even though he's very very adamant that it was not an affair, and that she was a stalker. Even with the extremely clear evidence that the woman is mentally unstable, she kicks him out of the house to spend the night alone somewhere.
  • In Labyrinth, despite being devoted to the fantasy genre, Sarah calls on the faerie—the evil faerie, no less—in the middle of a thunderstorm, AT NIGHT! Of course they're going to answer.
    • Though she had no reason to expect anything would happen, and to her credit, figures things out very quickly indeed.
  • In The Secret of the Magic Gourd, the eponymous Magic Gourd asks Wang Bao how he wants his wish carried out, and the impatient (and perhaps not so bright) Wang Bao responds with "I don't care, just do it!".
  • The heroes of the National Treasure movies have apparently never seen an Indiana Jones movie.
  • In The Sound of Music, Liesel's former boyfriend tells Captain Von Trapp "it's you we want, not [your family]". He presumably thinks that the Germany Navy will trust an anti-Nazi without having his family close by. Possibly justified as Rolfe may not fully understand how evil the Nazis he affiliated himself with really are.
  • Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth despite loving fairy tales and having been gravely warned not to eat anything still eats two grapes from the table of a grotesque monster and then proceeds to get her fairy guides eaten and almost die herself.


  • In CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the narrator observes that Eustace "had read none of the right books," and as a result does not recognize a dragon when he sees one and is generally poorly equipped for his first visit to the world of Narnia. This is distinctly in contrast to the Pevensies, particularly Peter and Edmund, who are much more Genre Savvy.
  • The Bigtime series by Jennifer Estep takes place in a world where Super Heroes and supervillains are as common as dirt. The characters are totally unaware that if you have an Alliterative Name (95% of them seem to), odds are higher that that person is a superhero, and their superidentity is something that also starts with that letter. (Examples: Fiona Fine = Fiera, Sam Sloane = Striker.) Occasionally subverted with the Belluci family's "Johnny Angel" and Sean Newman = Mr. Sage. When characters are trying to figure out who a superhero's real identity is, they have to resort to other means. This leads to an interesting experience for the reader, who knows VERY early on who everyone really is long before the characters can.
  • Everyone in the whole world who isn't a member of Tribulation Force, in the Left Behind series. Not one person on earth seems to have ever seen "The Omen" or any other movie featuring the Anti Christ; not one seems to recall any popular culture or 70's style paranormal documentary that would tip one off to the true nature of a strangely charismatic world leader. One would assume that even the most hardcore agnostic or atheist would take one look at Nicolae Carpathia and say, "hey, this reminds me of that special I saw on History Channel", but...
    • Lampshaded in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
    • In the LB-verse, most people are staggeringly ignorant about the Bible, too.
  • As characters in a fantasy series where mind control magic and shapeshifters exist, the mages of Avalon: Web of Magic never consider that the aforementioned phenomena are causing their friends' strange behavior. No, they just assume that their friends are being Jerk Asses, never figuring out the "if something is weird, it's caused by magic" rule.
  • Most of the time the characters in the Harry Potter series manage to avoid this, except for the sixth book. While it is true that Harry is always mistaken about something important, most of the other characters refuse to believe that Big Bad Voldemort would recruit Draco Malfoy to the Death Eaters because Malfoy is sixteen. Voldemort has killed entire families, manipulated and tortured others, ripped his own soul apart in an attempt to become immortal and overall has proven that there is no low that he wouldn't sink to to get what he wants. They never take that into consideration and write off Harry's suspicions.
    • It isn't anything to do with them attributing humanitarian concerns to Voldemort - they don't think that Voldemort hasn't recruited Malfoy becuase he is too young, they think that Voldemort has no use for a teenage boy, not fully trained as a wizard.
      • Except for Dumbledore, of course, who was even more Genre Savvy than Harry; he knew that if he had approached Malfoy, he would have been killed, so he bided his time until they were alone and he could convince him to make a Heel Face Turn. He leaves such a good impression that the entire Malfoy family turns away from Voldemort by the end of the next book. Admittedly, they don't necessarily join the anti-Voldemort army, but still...
  • Arguably, The Limper in Glen Cook's Black Company could fit this trope. Even after the Company basically killed him twice, live through what seem at the end to be hundreds of attempts to kill them off, and sent the real Big Bad back into his hole in the ground, Limper still thinks he has a chance to kill them by following after them after they leave. Needless to say, he failed miserably, and he wasn't even up against the company at the time, just the people who decided not to go with them.
  • Despite having watched lots of movies and read tons of books Amesh, from the Secret of Ka, acts completely genre blind. Worse, he seems genre blind of his own countries myth.
  • Sansa Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire is quite certan that she lives in a world of heroic Arthurian chivalry and romantic fantasy.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who has plenty of these characters. Of notable example is the Doctor's tenth incarnation, who says "That's impossible" far too many times for someone who's seen what he has.
    • A bit character from "The Unicorn and the Wasp" goes out with the wonderfully Genre Blind line:

Professor Peach: "I say, what are you doing with that lead piping?"

    • Special mention must go to Davros, who has created Daleks with the exact same mentality, only to be imprisoned and/or exterminated by them at least three times now. He somehow manages to be surprised by this every time. Despite himself not being a Dalek, and having programmed them to hate everything that isn't a Dalek.
  • After the third or fourth time on Star Trek: The Original Series, you would think that the crew of the Enterprise would realize that if the crew is acting strange, they are being infected by space viruses/spores/controlled by aliens. And if Captain Kirk is acting strange he is either being possessed by a evil villain or a clone/android/manifestation of a split personality. Sheesh.
    • Heck, every single Star Trek show and movie suffers this. Guys, when something unusual happens or someone is acting strange, don't just ignore it or shrug it off.
      • Have to give Spock credit in the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?": he's very quickly clued into Kirk having been replaced by a robot duplicate when the duplicate inexplicably insults him.
    • Explained by the implication that on a ship that is exploring strange new worlds and boldly going where no one has gone before, encountering anomalies would be a frequent occurrence. However, most anomalies wouldn't be significant enough to warrant more than a passing mention in the Captain's Log. The Captain would pay attention to an anomaly only when it threatens the ship, otherwise it would be dealt by one of the senior officers.
    • Also this started being used less later on (roughly around the time TNG was having its seventh season). Often when a character claimed or pointed out something odd happening, the response ceased to be "That's ridiculous" and was instead "Run a diagnostic, do a sensor sweep, have everyone check in". Just that often the anomalies or plots or whatnot left no particular evidence when not active.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Countrycide", when the team split up to investigate the creepy village, they were assaulted by cannibals one-by-one.
  • They might have gotten better in later seasons but throughout Season One, the Supernatural boys were always fighting about if the problem of the week was supernatural or not. With the exception of "The Benders," where it was just human cannibals, you would have thought with their years of training they would know better than that.
    • In all fairness, in-universe they presumably follow a lot of false leads looking for supernatural things, which aren't shown in episodes because they're boring.
    • Boys, listen very closely. Have you ever noticed than whenever you two split up, something horrible happens or one of you gets kidnapped/tied to something? Just stick together and nothing bad will happen, m'kay?
    • Guest characters in Supernatural also do this constantly, especially in the first season. This included the couple making out in the middle of the woods who hear strange noises. The boy gets out of the car to investigate and disappears, following which the girl gets out too.
  • Almost any character in Power Rangers is afflicted with this, it would actually be quite a bit quicker to come up with a list of characters who aren't Genre Blind. A few quick exapmles:
    • This also goes for anytime they try and make a deal with a bad guy to the point where when a bad guy keeps his word it is pretty difficult to argue it isn't an example of The Untwist.
    • When trying to track the movements of the mysterious Green Ranger, the rest of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers immediately ask the new kid that dresses in green from head to toe if he has noticed anything unusual lately. He hasn't, though. False alarm, guys! The dressing in green part isn't so much the genre blindness (Less they were going to beat up everyone who wears something green) -- it's the fact that said Green-wearing kid is also a known martial artist with something of a rivalry going with the Red Ranger.
    • No matter the team, the Rangers also never seem to realize that if there's no explosion, the monster's not dead yet.
  • The characters in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis are usually pretty Genre Savvy, but in Season 4 of Atlantis, Samantha Carter has two instances of genre blindness combined with Arbitrary Skepticism: The first where she is skeptical about Teyla's visions; the second where she is skeptical about John's time-travel story. Given her wacky adventures as a member of SG-1, not to mention the mission reports from Atlantis that she would have read about, she really should have known better.
    • Compare to Gen. Hammond in SG-1, who immediately gives some of Daniel's most outlandish claims his full attention. "The things I've heard while sitting in this chair..."
      • Hammond has at least one instance of Genre Blindness himself, in the third season, when Daniel is hallucinating and Hammond and everyone else dismisses it as schizophrenia. By this point Daniel has already been presumed dead two or three times (and the entire team has come back from the dead at least once), they have dealt with bizarre alien viruses, the team has used Time Travel and negotiated a peace treaty with the help of Roswell greys... but if Daniel says he sees something no one else can, he must be crazy!
  • In the opener of Heroes season 3 Mohinder Suresh, the resident scientist, tests an experimental Super-power giving serum on himself. That's something that's never gone wrong before. What's really bad is that he announces his plan to inject himself right in front of a living example of Blessed with Suck who points this out.
    • This is topped by the end of Book 4. The surviving Petrellis and Matt have subdued and captured Sylar, the resident Ax Crazy Manipulative Bastard with the powers of everybody he's ever killed. Good situation, right? So Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?... naturally, they don't. Instead, they brainwash him into thinking he's Nathan. Because even though previous attempts to control Sylar have failed disastrously, and Matt's powers are known not to be absolute, and you'll have to take on an emotionally stressful masquerade to maintain this, it can't possibly go wrong!
      • Well considering that at that point Sylar was Immortal and most likely eternal because he had stolen the regenerative power of Claire...
  • Arthur from Merlin has got himself a bad case. It's Probably Nothing and Let's Split Up, Gang! within five minutes of each other? He probably gets it from his dad, who lets wandering weirdos stay at Camelot far too often for someone who's as paranoid about magic as he is.
    • When two people carrying ornate staffs show up at his castle, what does the magic-hating Uther do? He gives them a room.
    • Arthur is pretty genre-blind for missing the fact that Merlin is a sorcerer. For four entire seasons.
  • Katherine Reimer in Jekyll; when you're all alone with Mr. Super-Powered Evil Side, who's explicitly warned you to make sure that the lights are never ever out when the good personality isn't firmly in control, anyone who's seen a single horror movie might want to think of some ways to disable the security system that don't involve drugging him and cutting off the power to the entire huge, soundproofed house... (She manages to talk him down, but, still.)
  • The main characters of The Big Bang Theory, being humongous nerds, should probably have no problem with sidestepping their Genre Blindness, maybe realizing they are at least in a situation similar to a Three's Company-type sitcom... Sadly (and gladly...?) they never do. It works just fine, though, so no biggie.
  • In the Taiwanese Cop Show Black and White they meet an undercover and ask him to find some information. The guy is already leaving when he turns around and declares "Please remind the chief that he promised to retire me after this case. I have promised my girlfriend that I'll marry her soon. My boy is already five years old and still illegitimate..." This complete and utter lack of genre savvyness had me cringe in my seat as if I was watching someone take a head dive into a shark basin. And for good measure another cop explains that "He's the last surviving undercover in that group." It was just painful.
  • One episode of Smallville had Clark go through a Wonderful Life experience. It takes him over a quarter of the episode to realize what happened. Despite seeing all the alterations to reality, he kept going all "What's wrong with you guys? Don't you remember me?"
    • Combined with a dose of Wrong Genre Savvy, Clark often gets confused by normal superhero tropes. For example, when he catches a cold and gains super sneezes, it does not occur to him to weaponize them until the more Genre Savvy Chloe points it out.
  • In The X-Files Scully ought to have realized after a while that her persistent skepticism is misguided.
    • Eventually, she did.
    • It's also a theory that her skepticism dropped as the show ran its course...she just kept contradicting Mulder just to be contrary.
    • Plus, you'd think she would have moved. How many times was she attacked in her apartment?
      • That was quite Genre Savvy, actually. Thinking "Maybe this area is too dangerous. I should move to a safer place." would be real life common sense, but knowing that the attacks wouldn't stop no matter where you live is simply acknowledging a trope.
  • One episode of The Outer Limits, "The New Breed", began with a scientist holding a press conference to announce that his new nanotechnological discoveries would allow him to "improve upon God's design." What the hell series did he think that he was on!?!
  • On Babylon 5, at one point Commander Sheridan says that he doesn't believe in dreams and signs and portents ... in a show whose plot runs on dreams and signs and portents.
  • In an episode of Dollhouse, a recurring character in a hostage situation (and bomb vest) because of a psychotic kidnapper with multiple personalities refers to a previous good time as "a blast." Of course he's blown up when the psycho points out "Who doesn’t love a pun?"
  • One episode of Charmed had the villain conjure up fairytale monsters and traps. The sisters fall for almost every one, because they've never read (or even heard of) any of these stories, even Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Mark Gordon on Highway to Heaven is the sidekick of an angel for the entire series, but never seems to learn to trust Johnathan, an angel. This is a man who has seen the miracles of God—and he's taken part in them, but when an angel tells Mark it's going to rain, what does Mark do? He laughs in his face and tells him he's crazy.
  • Comically averted by Morgan Grimes on Chuck, when his obsessive knowledge of bad Kung-Fu movies helps him realize Shaw faked a fight with several Ring agents and has actually been working with them. In fact Chuck and Morgan both show significant multiple-genre awareness throughout the series.
    • Typically played straight with Sarah and Casey, who are often left confused by the antics and comments of their more genre savvy partners.
  • In Community episode "Epidemiology" as fitting for a zombie parody.

Rich: I thought I was 'special!'

Professional Wrestling

Jonathan Coachman: "I've decided to give Umaga a very well-deserved night off."
John Cena: "A night off? Like I haven't heard that one before. What does that mean, that he's showing up in five minutes? That he's gonna show up when I go to my car tonight? That he's gonna show up when I'm in the sho-- You know what, just don't let him show up when I'm in the shower. I don't think any of us want that."

Spoony: "I love how no one in the wrestling program actually watches the wrestling program."

    • Once taken to a ridiculous extreme by Ring Of Honor (ROH) -- which had a referee get knocked out during a match and count the pin that he saw when he was revived... completely missing the debut of a new faction, a three-way brawl, and multiple rule-breakings that happened all in the course of the same match while he was out, yet not questioning why the action was any different than when he'd woken up.
    • Anybody who attempts a hurricanrana, seated senton, monkey flip, or mounted punches on AJ Styles, Michelle McCool, or any wrestler who has a powerbomb or Boston Crab type finisher. Also, anyone who wastes precious time by showboating or trash-talking in the middle of a match.
    • Anybody who attempts a crossbody on Mark Henry, who inevitably catch them and hit them with the World's Strongest Slam. Similarly, there seems to be a running gag of Angelina Love's opponents trying to crossbody her, only for her to catch them and slam them down.
  • When Rob Van Dam throws a chair, don't catch it! You'd think after nearly 15 years wrestlers would catch onto this.

Video Games

  • The final boss of Tomb Raider: Anniversary displays a shocking example of genre blindness. After the player wins the first phase of the boss battle, the Big Bad gets back up for round two, saying: "I can't die, you fool. Sooner or later, you're going to run out of bullets." Whoops. Looks like someone forgot what series this is... and the fact that Lara Croft is famously known for never, ever running out of bullets. Except for that one time.
  • For a Super Robot anime fan, Ryusei of Super Robot Wars sure is clueless about love. Not only does he have one person who wants to have sex with him, he has two—and he's in a Love Triangle. The numbskull has been on dates and he's still clueless. Being completely oblivious to the fact that the guy who thinks of you all as being nothing but samples is actually evil. That's being pretty genre blind.
  • Lampshaded by King Boo in Luigis Mansion when he says, "Who honestly thinks mansions are won in contests? Talk about stupid. What do they feed you Mario Bros anyways? Gullible soup?"
  • So far in Wrath of the Lich King, the titular character has made nearly every Bond Villain mistake in the book. After nearly every major blow your character deals to the Scourge, The Lich King personally shows up, yells at his minions, maybe kills them for failing him, and then wanders off either because he has hope that you'll join him later or because he doesn't see you as a threat. He's going to be a killable boss in the Icecrown Citadel raid dungeon. This is all part of Arthas' plan though. He wants the heroes to become stronger by defeating his minions, so that when they finally reach his inner sanctum, he can destroy them and raise them, giving him 25 (or 10 depending on the raid size) new, very powerful minions to conquer Azeroth with. Of course, Arthas' arrogance gets the best of him when the raid totally kills him! However, in the Lich King's defence, he does actually kill the raid and almost resurrects them as his servants, just as planned. His Blindness came when he didn't just kill Tirion Fordring, his most powerful foe, who breaks out of the ice block he spent the fight in to save the day.
  • In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan witness firsthand that the legend of El Dorado is largely twisting of reality over the ages, and that El Dorado is a big, golden coffin containing a mummy that turns people into ageless zombies. In the sequel, Among Thieves, Nathan and Elena are just as incredulous as Chloe Frazer at the suggestion that the Cintamani Stone could have some sort of supernatural or at least biologically enhancing property about it, often even saying "Do you really believe in this stuff?"
    • They get better about it once they actually arrive in Shambhala, where they call Chloe out on her Arbitrary Skepticism.

Elena: We're standing in Shambhala and you're questioning what's possible?

    • Though Lazarevic is Dangerously Genre Savvy in certain places, like when Nate tries to take one of his men hostage (which he solves by shooting the hostage himself), he really needs to learn that you never pull a Not So Different speech on the hero when there's still monsters crawling about. Chances are they're right behind you and ready to beat you to death, thus sparing the hero from having to finish you himself.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Master Xehanort is often trusted by the heroes (particularly Terra) despite being so Obviously Evil it hurts.
  • In The Godfather 2 Carmine Rosato abruptly offers a truce despite a reputation for not doing so. Most people think it Seems Legit. Obviously, it isn't. Michael even calls Dominic out on falling for it.
  • In Manhunt, while this becomes less and less so as the game goes on as you encounter the different gangs (and later the local enforcement and Starkweather’s personal enforcers), The Hoods (the first gang) don’t seem to realize that they’re in a horror video game at all. They have a habit of going alone, and they aren’t well-equipped to handle a serial killer like Cash. Lionel Starkweather quickly decides that Cash could use a greater challenge, though.

Web Comics

  • While most of the cast members of Order of the Stick are Genre Savvy, there are a few exceptions, particularly among the Azurites. In particular, Lord Shojo actually sits and strokes a white cat but no one sees him as the cunning Chessmaster that he is until Haley figures it out.
    • Miko displays plenty of Genre Blindness, with her inability to grasp the real-world references that the rest of the cast use so liberally.
    • Elan displays intentional Genre Blindness, in assuming that Nale must have been killed in Azure City's collapse. This promptly leads to an aneurysm on Nale's part, when he tries to puzzle through Elan's 'logic'. This overlaps with Contractual Genre Blindness because Elan might honestly have believed that Nale was dead...
  • There is only one character in Books Don't Work Here who can't hear the narrator speak and ignores the 4th wall. It makes for some interesting conversations.
  • Rare in Bob and George, but when Dr. Wiley distracts Mega Man with "there's something behind you" -- he forgets to run away.
  • Furthia High: Kale's girlfriend Eve demonstrated this at the end of page 147. Possibly lampshaded by the way her last line is written.
  • Pibgorn Causes Geoff to be disarmed
  • The man in this Subnormality strip thinks it a good idea to buy a newspaper with the headline "Local Man Devoured by Newspaper Box" from a newspaper box. No points awarded for guessing what happens next.

Web Original

  • In the fourth episode of the TV Tropes original webseries Echo Chamber, Tom is unaware of the nuances of "having a point" required for a dumbass to have a point.
  • In the Zelda parody The Legend of Neil, Ganon takes this to ludicrous levels. He insists on making sure "Link" progresses through each of the levels in order, rather than just tricking him into the last level at the very beginning where it would be impossible to win without the items he picked up along the way. Ganon also insists on having a map in every level (in case his minions get lost). It's practically his catchphrase "Link will never beat level ___", then when Neil beats that level, "Well he'll never beat level (number one higher than the last)!" His minion, Wizzrobe, is Genre Savvy enough to catch all of Ganon's mistakes, but unfortunately Ganon doesn't listen to a word he says.
  • You would have thought that The Nostalgia Critic would have learned not to tempt fate anymore. He even said early on that he should learn to keep his fucking mouth shut.
  • Jay. Fucking Jay. Jay who thinks it's a good idea to go back into the building where he got attacked in the middle of the night where he's going to get attacked again. Jay who seems surprised when he's attacked.

Western Animation

  • Derek Maza from Gargoyles has to be a lifetime achiever of this trope. He ignores Eliza's warnings, he buys everything that Xanatos says (the Genre Savvy master who CREATED the Xanatos Gambit trope), refuses to listen to a tape that Eliza got him, and became Talon due to his own stupidity. And again, not once does he blame Xanatos until the end. THEN he keeps FANG around, and doesn't assert that he's the leader of the Mutates. All in all...very Genre Blind.
    • Actually, Word of God said he listened to the tape. However, he brushed it off and said that if things got ugly, he'd simply leave Xanatos. This actually make him even more Genre Blind.
  • Explained in Kim Possible by the Villain Traditions that most of the bad guys follow. These traditions include the villains "making their lame pun and leaving" the heroes in a Death Trap. Senor Senior Senior sticks closely to this, even telling Kim how to escape. Shego, on the other hand: "I prefer the direct approach, but you know Drakken..."
  • You'd think after the first dozen or so times, Timmy of The Fairly OddParents would think for more than a few seconds before saying "I wish..."
    • Timmy's habit of not thinking before wishing can be more attributed to 10 year-old impulsiveness (kids do tend to act before they think, after all) rather than Genre Blindness. Likewise, he's been shown to be quite Genre Savvy at times. For example, in the second part of the Wishology special, he was able to convince Mr. Crocker to help him by simply saying he'd show Crocker his fairies.
  • An episode of The Boondocks plays with this. Riley becomes a chocolate bar mogul while managing to be both Genre Blind and Genre Savvy. He achieves his success by emulating all of the methods used in a number of crime movies, primarily Scarface. After Huey lampshades that none of the crimelords in the movies ever survived, Riley tells Huey that he doesn't want to hear any more downsides. Riley proceeds to fall straight into all the same tropes from the films, ending up in a shootout in the penthouse from Scarface.
  • While still Genre Savvy, Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender has had one or two moments of Genre Blindness. Most notable was in "The Boiling Rock", where he tries to talk to Suki while still wearing his guard disguise. Later, he does the same thing when he tries to talk to his father.

Zuko: "It's some kind of mystical gem stone."
Aang: "Well, don't touch it! ...I'm just very suspicious of giant glowing gems sitting on pedestals."

  • In Scooby Doo, the heroes not only had genre blindness, they seemed to have inter-episode amnesia. How many times can you really think say "Let's split up to explore the haunted castle" and think it's a good plan?
    • This actually is lampshaded in one episode of What's New, Scooby Doo?. Long story short, Fred realizes that they always split up the group the same way and decides to split it up a different way with Fred and Shaggy teaming up. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Then again, whenever the gang is Genre Savvy and assumes the monster is fake, it turns out to be real (like the zombies in the first movie). Perhaps they're so Genre Savvy that they know that being Genre Savviness makes the monsters actually become real, so they feign Genre Blindness.
    • Fred must be particularly genre savvy in What's New, Scooby Doo? In another episode, half way through, Fred suggests that, instead of trying to figure out who's under the mask, they simply set up a trap, capture them, and deal with it later... One way or another, it didn't work out just right.
  • Teen Titans: If Robin wasn't so good at improvising (and so well-trained), he would've been dead a long time ago. The boy simply has no concept that things may not be what they appear to be. He gave a frickin' communicator to a villainess who was masquerading as one of his own team, which was how the season's Big Bad and his Evil Minions almost defeated the Titans. There may be nothing wrong with giving a communicator to someone you think is a friend of yours and who you think might be in trouble soon... but there is after you just spent the whole episode fighting a shapeshifting villainess.
  • In one Treehouse of Horror episode on The Simpsons, while being chased by the wolf man Flanders, Homer instructs Marge to hide in the abandoned amusement park, Lisa to hide in the pet cemetery and Bart to hide in the spooky roller disco, while he goes skinny dipping in "the lake where the sexy teenagers were killed 100 years ago tonight."
  • Count Duckula isn't going to change. He's an aimless, wimpy vegetarian schlub, and he always will be an aimless, wimpy vegetarian schlub. Every time he appears to change for the better (worse?), it's because he's possessed, he ate/drank something he shouldn't have, it's not really him, etc., and it's only temporary. Igor never learns. Ever.
  • The opening sequence of the Dungeons & Dragons animated series shows the main characters being excited to see a Dungeons & Dragons roller coaster at an amusement park. This implies that (1) the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game exists in their home dimension and (2) at least some of them are familiar with the game. Why is it, then, that not one of them seems to knows a thing about the world to which the ride transports them or how to negotiate the remedial plots in which they find themselves?
  • On one episode of Phineas and Ferb, Isabella is investigating a superhero for the Fireside Girl newspaper, swooning over him while simultaneously getting annoyed at her normal Love Interest, Phineas, for constantly disappearing. Guess who the superhero turns out to be. Genre Savvy Candace even calls her out on this.

Isabella: Phineas is the Beak?!
Candace: Hey! You just earned your Uh-Duhr Patch!

  • How many Looney Tunes characters are going to purchase from the ACME Corporation, go after the same prey, and/or mess with the same people before they realize that nothing good comes out of it?
  • And how long will it take for the Brain or for Iznogoud to understand that the problem in their quest for power is not Minus or Dilat Larat, but themselves ?
  • Twilight Sparkle, mane character of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, insists that "the future of Equestria does not rest on her making friends. Read the title again and take a guess how that pans out.


  • In a example not-quite-close enough to the video games section, the circumstances concerning Halo: Reach's early arrival. Microsoft is doing everything it can to try and make it successful and apparently decided it was more efficient to distribute it to select reviewers from Live instead of just mailing copies. Guess what happened.
  • On COPS or any Reality Show featuring criminals running from the cops, as well as jail, routinely features suspects who are surprised that their attempts to run from the police are unsuccessful and resisting police officers doesn't go so well for them.
    • This is likely caused by selective editing. It's less entertaining to have the suspects surrender quietly. Well, once in a while it's funny like in the example below where it's the guy's second time on the show, but that's funny precisely because it's a rare subversion of this. Presumably, if shows like COPS show chase scenes, then the kind of people who watch that show want to see chase scenes, or the producers think they do. So when suspected criminals don't run, it just gets edited out of the show. Unless COPS reports on the percentage of times suspects run even if they don't get filmed, or makes a point to show every single case they follow an officer along on, or something?
    • Justified lampshaded this when a corrupt cop wonders whether he should make a run for it. He is too proud to subject himself to the embarrassment of being chased down and then apprehended like all those idiots that are shown on TV. On the other hand he figures that the ones who get away are not shown on TV since audiences do not want to see the bad guys get away. While he ponders this, the heroes make their move and he gives up easily. He was Genre Savvy to know he was screwed from the very start and he was just hoping that the good guys would have the Idiot Ball this time.
  • And let us not even get started on the whole "To Catch A Predator" segments on Dateline. People, the second Chris Hansen shows up (instead of the jailbait you met over the internet), points out the camera, and asks you to have a seat, just ask where the cops are and turn yourself in rather than embarrass yourself further.
  • The reporters from this Onion segment.
  • On Maury Povich, you'd think the people who are brought out to be ambushed with big secrets would guess ahead of time what was about to happen. This is particularly Egregious on "cheating man" shows, when they put a suspected cheater in the green room with a sexy decoy to see if he makes a move. Naturally, the guy always takes the bait—if he'd ever seen the show, he'd know there was a camera taping his every move.
    • Of course, most of these are probably staged, and if they behaved themselves the audience wouldn't get to go "OooOOOOOOooooo!"
  1. Of course, "Doc" can only do this because he is being Wrong Genre Savvy, as he will soon discover.