main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Genre Savvy: Real Life
  • Roger Ebert did TV Tropes before TV Tropes.
  • Well, you've survived this long, implying that you have at least some amount of genre savviness... Or you've just had the dumb luck not to walk into anything requiring said savviness.
  • Anyone who's been on this site long enough has learned what to expect from spoilers based on the sentence and spoiler length. Sadly, this starts making spoilers quite useless. Plus, the site tends to make them notice recurring themes in general.
  • In a way, the human body is extremely genre savvy.
    • All the general things we find attractive in our partners fits surprisingly well in those categories: Being able to provide a healthy baby note  and being able to take care of a family note 
    • It knows transmittable diseases and therefore ban any foreign objects from merging with the body. (It must be from itself or in some emergencies a relative.)
    • It didn't trust our judgement in spoiled food and invented the taste-vision-smell concept. If either sense deem the food dangerous the body will do anything from sabotaging your appetite to making you puke in the middle of the room. Vomit Chain Reaction also seems to have some relevance, on the theory expressed on that page that if someone near you throws up, it's likely you ate the same thing, it's going to make you sick too, and you'd best get rid of it quickly.
    • Babies are purposely cute, they were made that way to lure others into adopting them. At the same time your body attempts to brainwash you into loving it. Especially if it is your own child.
    • At the age of about 30-40 the body stops being fertile on its own. It turned out later that said age was the deadline for a healthy baby anyway.
  • Many people who have been voracious readers for a long time will tell you that stories are often predictable, particularly to someone who's read a great deal or devoted to a specific genre — a sort of The Seven Basic Plots. As these people age (or the more they read), the less they tend to read for the story, and the more they read for how the story is told. Most of these people, though, will also tell you that Genre Savviness Is Not Bad.
    • Occurs more quickly to actual writers, and not exclusive on a medium basis to text. Watching a lot of movies, for example, will still help you predict what will happen in the book and often the other way around. Most studies of story characters & their plots will boil down the character archetypes to less than 10. For example, The Seven Basic Plots.
    • Character based approaches like to build page count by separating archetypes into what boils down to male and female takes on a single character...
  • Can anyone say the Evil Overlord List?
  • To some extent, the "nicer form" (so to speak) of counterinsurgency can be said to require this to some extent, at least to avoid a 0% Approval Rating.
  • Ever since Alexander the Great, there have been stories of great commanders who ate hardtack, showed off their scars and exchanged very dirty jokes with their men. Because it's a great way to remake oneself into a legendary Magnetic Hero- and this worked for Alexander back then!
  • Murphy's Law, Finagle's Law, Sturgeon's Law and their many variants are all intended to be this, whether you agree depends on where you stand on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
  • Everyone at this wiki may as well count. The idea on its own. But especially in the Wild Mass Guessing page sometimes. It's possible to become so savvy about the genre and the creator's themes and habits that you can predict certain revelations and plot points way before they happen. To the point that some viewer ideas are better than what the writers had planned and become a case of Ascended Fanon.
  • Most gamers usually become Genre Savvy, especially those who specialize in playing a couple of computer or board games. This also makes some things easier for them — such as when people learn common tricks and obstacles, or variations of them. For example, players of RPGs shall be aware of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards and may roll out a mage on their first quest. Players of Shmups would know common tactics that can make even new games much less frustrating. And players of FPSes will know how weapons work and what the best situation is to use them. This, coupled with age and experience, causes many gamers to cry "It's Easy, so It Sucks".
  • People who watch plenty of movies can't help but notice certain casting patterns: if it's Sean Bean - he probably won't survive, Denzel Washington's character gonna be real rough, and so on. While most of the time it's no big revelation, this can blow surprises when you notice that out of X characters, only 1 is played by famous actor - you naturally expect that character to turn out the most relevant. This in turn is sometimes played with by authors, when the real surprise is always intended for said recognized-face character to not have a secret or relevance in the end.
  • A few people in reality TV shows were often Genre Savvy — Todd of Survivor fame, Kevin in the American Big Brother, and the list goes on.
  • Hank Earl Carr accidentally shot his girlfriend's son with a rifle, then was arrested. Unfortunately, he was a repeat offender, and Genre Savvy enough to keep a handcuff key on him at all times. He managed to free himself and acquire the driver's weapon, killing both detectives, and later a state trooper, before taking a gas station clerk hostage and then killing himself.
  • If you go out to eat with someone who has worked in a restaurant or another sort of commercial-scale kitchen, odds are there will be a few menu items they will vehemently tell you to avoid; they know, or at least have an idea of, the dark secrets that go into the making of these items.
  • One killer on The First 48 has apparently murdered his boyfriend, but had an extremely high IQ and never admitted a thing about the crime, though he did cry at one point. The detectives then had to charge him without a body, only the third time it had been done in that state. They noted how unsatisfying it was not to have proper closure.
  • Handcuffs built by the British police use a bar between the cuffs rather than a chain. This is specifically to make it impossible for the wearer to choke someone else in the unlikely event that they manage to get the handcuffs in front of their body and around someone's neck.
  • Since some tabletop RPGs rely on movies as the inspiration, a very easy way to tick off the DM is to be Genre Savvy, and trying to justify the character being so, while they're trying to assert that your characters have a case of Genre Blindness.
  • A depressing case of Genre Savvy happened during the 2010 Manila hostage crisis in the Philippines. In the said case, the gunman used the television inside the tourist bus to watch the movements of the police, thus nullifying their actions in the first place.
  • Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, otherwise known as King Bomba, was listening to his ministers argue what color uniform his soldiers should wear. Perhaps in recognition of the combat value of his mooks, he said "Dress them in red, blue or green, they'll run away just the same."
  • This guy does what any good hero should do at the beginning of a monster movie.
  • James Lind, the man who started noticing that citrus fruits prevented scurvy, carried out experiments to make sure of his idea, then published it in A Treatise of the Scurvy. It was ignored. So he wised up and specifically targeted the Royal Navy as his audience by republishing his ideas under Essay on the most effectual means of preserving the health of seamen. He definitely got noticed that time, and citrus would start being carried around by the navy as a result (though not as actual rations until much later).
  • This is why smart cops keep a surrendering suspect covered by at least one, preferably more, officers until he is fully secured. I Surrender, Suckers is real.
  • Medical professionals have heard any story you might come up with already. It's OK. You're not going to freak them out, or get judged, or anything else because, simply, no matter what kind of Noodle Incident you have gotten yourself involved in, someone else has done it before, and they probably had to at the very least study that sort of thing in school, assuming they themselves did not actually deal with a similar case the weekend before. So go ahead and tell them about how that cat got stuck.
  • Subverted by Roman dictator Fabius Maximus. In order to defeat Hannibal, Fabius set up a Xanatos Gambit; Hannibal was raiding an enclosed valley at the time, and the only way out was through one of several mountain passes. Fabius put an army at each one of these passes. If Hannibal attacked any of them, the other armies would be able to converge on that area and destroy him, but if he stayed put, his army would starve. Hannibal, being the Magnificent Bastard that he was, took a third option: tying dry wood to the horns of oxen, then lighting the wood on fire and setting the oxen on the Roman positions in the middle of the night. The Romans had no idea what was going on, so they panicked and attacked Hannibal. Fabius, suspecting that this was bait for an ambush, did nothing. He was sort of right; it was an ambush, but only for the army defending the mountain pass. Hannibal was counting on Fabius recognizing an ambush, so he simply destroyed the enemy in front of him and escaped.
  • The Israeli Army issues two pairs of dog tags, one around the neck and the other worn in a pocket in the boot-just in case a soldier has his head blown off. It's mentioned at the beginning of Battle Los Angeles, though with US troops.
  • The Waffen-SS in WW2 insisted its soldiers have their blood group tattooed on the upper right arm as an aid to medical services in the event of wounding. Part of the logic of making this mark on a soldier's upper arm was that if a man was so badly injured as to "lose" the blood group tattoo - ie if his whole arm and shoulder were blown off - then by inference he wouldn't need a blood transfusion anyway. note 
  • Joss Whedon
    • Amber Benson, of Buffy fame, refused to return to the show once her character was killed off. Her reasoning was she knew that Joss would have done something horrible to Tara, or used her as part of a plan to kill Willow.
    • Juliet Landau, from the same show and Angel, refused to return as Drusilla after her few episode stint in Angel for anything more than flashbacks or cameos, as she was fully aware that Joss would eventually kill her off if he felt it meant a good story. It seems to have worked, though of course with the comics he may eventually find a loophole around it.
  • The Amish may abstain from most technological conveniences, but they're hardly ignorant of the world at large. They're quite Genre Savvy about the world they live in.
  • You know those warning labels on everything? In many cases, they actually have a lawsuit behind it. Companies learn fast, and don't forget.
  • The point of science is to get Genre Savvy about how the universe works. With the proper understanding of the electricity and maths tropes, we invented computers, the internet, and TV Tropes.
  • Half of taking an exam is knowing the answers, and half is knowing how they'll ask the questions. For example, with questions like "Here are 3 statements: explain whether they are true or false," 2 will be true and the other will be false. This gives a good shortcut to getting the right answers. But beware that examiners can be Genre Savvy too, and will lay traps for those who rely too heavily on such shortcuts.
  • Blizzard Entertainment is quite Genre Savvy when it comes to their fanbase, and they have a really bad fanbase, too. They know most of their players only care about loot or multiplayer, so they intentionally skimp on the writing. The people who do pay attention to their stories usually appreciate the Cliché Storm. This is partly because most writers are Genre Savvy in and of themselves and never use cliches - especially the more "common" ones (which results in them becoming paradoxically uncommon). It can be surprisingly refreshing to witness a work that makes good use of cliches since they have essentially become subversions of Subverted Tropes in their own right.
  • Genre Savvy writers have essentially become Wrong Genre Savvy since they are all aware of the common cliches and so all try to subvert them. It's been years since many cliches have actually been played straight and so most don't expect them to be any more.
  • This was one of the reasons why the whole Iranian complot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the U.S. via using Mexican drug cartels was too ludicrous to be believed in first place: Mexican drug cartels doesn't do dirty work for ideological or political reasons, like Iran, but only for monetary reasons. Even in the case the Iranian government really wanted to use Mexican drug cartels to do that job, no money sum will save them from being the target, not only from the American law enforcement, but also from both Mexican, American and even Saudi Arabian military forces, even in Mexican soil, dragging Mexico into a foreign military invasion. It will be a suicide mission, since it will be almost impossible to leave the U.S. alive once the job was done.
  • The U.S. government's idea to use the Delta Force to capture or kill Mexican druglords is almost impossible to carry out: Mexican druglords can retaliate against American interests, companies and citizens in Mexico,note so in the case the American military strikes against them, they will start killing Americans in Mexico, and no we-don't-negotiate-with-terrorists policy will stop the obvious public outcry in the States about that. Unlike Al-Qaida, Mexican drug cartels have a Take No Prisoners policy, especially against soldiers, and killing American soldiers live can cause a political fallout between Mexico and the U.S., not to mention a political scandal akin to the infamous Cuba's Bay of Pigs Invasion in the 60's.
  • Computer technicians. A good tech can often narrow down a problem from a vague description formed by someone who knows practically nothing about computers. And do yourself a favor: When you take a computer in to get it worked on, don't clear the internet history. The tech knows exactly what an empty internet history means, and you're erasing a potential clue to finding a quick fix.
  • Armies fall under this trope in a sense. Most military academies will teach about great tacticians like Sun Tzu, Hannibal, Napoleon, and so on. Often said tactics can work very well when used correctly.
  • People with Autism Spectrum Disorders have an impaired ability to intuitively understand social rules and expectations, and to pick up on the emotional responses and non-verbal or "between the lines" communication that "normal" people are immersed in without even thinking about it. Many nonetheless become fairly socially successful by consciously cultivating an intellectual understanding of "normal" social rules and cues and the internal logic (or lack thereof) behind others' responses, essentially applying "genre savviness" to everyday life. Occasionally this can turn out very badly when rules developed for specific situations are unwittingly applied in very different situations.
  • Sociologists study social narratives. Most people are unconsciously aware of social expectations but don't really realize why and to what extent. Taking an introductory sociology or social psychology class can be a groundbreaking experience, not at all unlike how TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.
  • Nintendo knew that people would make Miis that look like Hitler, Jesus, Stalin, etc or give them bad words for names. So what do you do if you try to name your mii something like "Hitler" or "Fucknuts"? It doesn't let you share it.
    • A similar system was placed in Pokémon Black and White and its sequels — they knew people will give their Mons nicknames like "Dicks", so they blocked the offending words outright and prevented anything that already had a bad name from going on the GTS. Unfortunately, it tends to see swearwords inside a few Pokémon's existing namesnote  and unintentionally block those.
  • Square Enix was Genre Savvy with Kingdom Hearts 3D. Try naming your Dream Eater something rude - it flat out blocks you from doing it. Sometimes they get savvy to the point they're Wrong Genre Savvy. For instance, trying to name your Avatar in Fire Emblem Awakening (English version) Violet will fail because Violet is a bad word in another language.
  • Most people from React become this after a few videos if they don't fall under it as soon as they first appear, though one notable exception came in Youtubers React #5, when almost everybody was Rickrolled. To be fair, when it happened a second time Britanni Taylor and Phil and Wes from Wong Fu Productions asked if it was about to happen again. Ian from Smosh also commented after the second time "that breaking news card looked too good to be true".
  • This is one of the reasons why the Mexican government is changing its law about foreign investment in TV and radio, possibly after the whole scandal surrounding the Mexican airliner Mexicana. Being the second biggest airline in the country, its asking price is too big for any Mexican company to be able to buy, and foreign companies (the only ones able to do so) are banned by law from buying it. The only option for Mexicana is going bankrupt, leaving Aeromexico (the biggest airliner in Mexico) and low-cost airliners as the only alternatives for flying in Mexico.
  • An increasing number of voice mail systems which (occasionally) recognize verbal prompts are (mercifully) programmed to respond to "GIVE ME A HUMAN!!!" and similar phrases by connecting to the next available operator.
  • Asian cultures, especially East Asian ones, has turned this into an art. This is justified, as centuries of conflicts, from China's era of the Three Kingdoms, the Japan's era of the Warring States or Sengoku to World War II and the many conflicts in the Middle East, has created tons of literature specifically written with the sole purpose of outsmarting the opposite side, assuming the other side is not doing this first by reading the same book.
    • One of the most notorious examples are Japan, both Koreas and China: There's a good reason why there's so few intelligence reports (according with both Wikileaks and the NSA leaks) about those countries, especially Japan and South Korea on the grounds both countries are American allies: The Japanese and the Korean governments are notorious for taking lots of steps for preventing foreign espionage not only from China and North Korea, their main enemies, but also from the United States, Russia and each other for obvious reasonsnote  The same goes double for the Chinese and North Koreans. In fact, the North Korean government is so hermetic, the few things we know about the internal working of the North Korean regime is via China (thanks to Wikileaks) or by defectors.
    • This is not exclusive for governments, as many East Asian companies took lots of steps for preventing industrial espionage between them. A notorious example is Nintendo: According with the few foreigners that were able to enter to their headquarters in Kyoto, especially in the 80s and 90s, there's many places in the company that are off-limits for everyone who was not Hiroshi Yamauchi and anyone who was not one of his guests. Also, Nintendo is notorious in Japan for being a very traditionalist company, even for Japanese standards.note 
    • Even anti-piracy systems aren't safe of this, at least the Arcade based ones: Capcom's encryptation system used in their CPS2 and CPS3 boards were so good, it took about almost a decade for Western hackers to crack them for use in emulators. This is raised Up to Eleven for many Seibu Kaihaitsu's arcade games like Raiden II, since the game took about 17 years to be emulated, despise many of those boards were released in the early 90s, long before the commercial Internet as we know existed or even viable emulators, for that matter. Compared with them, it's more easier for a Western hacker to hack the Pentagon's military network than hacking a Japanese encryptation system.
    • Subverted with the encryptation used for video game consoles, as it's normally weaker than the used for arcades. Even the PS3's supposely undefeatable encryption system was defeated after some years due to an oversight from their creators.
    • This is the main reason why Sony decided to delay the Japanese release of the Playstation 4 there, as almost all the releases are Western games who normally aren't so popular there, so Sony needed extra time to ensure some nice Japanese-made titles for their home turf.
  • A lot of the more sophisticated electronic devices in the U.S Military have controls similar to those of home PC's or video games, or taking it a step further, operate using gaming peripherals. This is because these devices are already made to be as user-friendly as possible and many soldiers played video games in their civilian lives and spend at least a portion of their off-hours playing video games. Explosives Ordinance Disposal robots in Afghanistan for example can be piloted using the wireless controller of an Xbox 360.
  • Being able to create a custom character ("Descender") in Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 1 has a limit. But even with that limit, you can create a character that looks similar to a Tales Of character. Namco knew this and if you try to name your descender after one of them? The name does not take and will be replaced with "???". However, this only works with names of Tales Of characters prior to Vesperia... and it only occurs in the Japanese version of the game.
  • William Randolph Hearst knew that telling his papers to thrash Citizen Kane would only get people interested interested in seeing it, so had them say nothing about it, causing the film to be a huge flop.
  • In a 2004 baseball game, Carlos Zambrano knew what was coming the moment he plunked Jim Edmonds a second time in the same game, so he removed himself from the game before the umpire had the chance to eject him.
  • Voice actor DC Douglas is all too aware of how YouTube comments sections are.
  • According to some, one of the reasons we haven't succumbed to a dystopia is because we grew more and more skeptical, Genre Savvy about technology and government.

Western AnimationGenre Savvy    

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy