Genre Savvy: Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies:
    • By the late 1950s and early 1960s, most Bugs Bunny cartoons featured the bunny being so wise to his adversaries' tricks that he could be considered Genre Savvy, and thus he was easily able to outwit his less than sharp foes. For instance, the Big Bad Wolf tried many of the same tricks Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam tried on him hundreds of times, and Bugs goes along just to pad out a seven-minute cartoon (and because he sort of feels sorry for his stupid foes).
  • Sarah from the animated adaptation of Sam Keith's The Maxx. When she briefly snaps and threatens to shoot herself, she has a fourth-wall breaking, voice-over monologue about how "this is the point in the story where I throw the gun away, and have this cathartic revelation about how suicide is wrong, that life's worth living and everything's okay. Y'know, all that crap." Throughout the episodes she is in, Sarah narrates of her motions through the story with an overtone of Genre Savvy sarcasm.
  • This was the main shtick of Slappy Squirrel on Animaniacs, who, as an old hand at cartoons, was pretty Genre Savvy. Savvy for her generation of cartoons - in the crossover episode, having swapped places with Dot she didn't get what was the point of going "Helloooooo nurse" to a handsome guard, and ended the episode getting fed up with it and going straight to sticking dynamite in the Saddam-expy's pants.
  • The title character from Freakazoid! was pretty Genre Savvy himself. Lampshaded quite often, given the series.
    Steph: When will I see you again?
    Freakazoid: Well, if I know my cartoons, and I do, I'll be back later on to rescue you from something really horrible! Buh-Bye!
  • Teen Titans
    Beast Boy: Did you not see the movie?! When you split up, the monster picks you off one by one, starting with the good-looking comic relief... me!
    • And then, sure enough, he is the first one to get captured. As he's pulled back into the darkness, he even shouts out "I told you! Funny guy goes fiiiiirrrrst!"
    • Beast Boy's knowledge of tropes would come in handy again in the Trapped in TV Land episode.
    • When Cyborg is sent to the past in "Cyborg the Barbarian", he makes sure not to touch anything. "Sci-fi rule number one: you start messing with the past, you end up with monkeys ruling the future!"
  • Due to being TV-holics and the show lacking a fourth wall, multiple characters on Family Guy are Genre Savvy.
  • Kim Possible
    • Kim, Ron, Shego, and Senor Senior Jr. are of the most Genre Savvy. This however doesn't prevent them from falling victim to Genre Tropes (or that they fall into the tropes as part of a fourth wall bending realisation that they have to do so to have a story), but does make for some great Lampshade Hanging afterwards.
    • Bonnie was Genre Savvy when she ends up on missions, asking why Dementor hasn't simply set off his plan instead of gloating, and about how complicated that plan is as well. Both Kim and Dementor tell her to shut up, because, as an outsider to the action-hero/supervillain game, she "doesn't get it."
    • Señor Senior Sr plays this totally straight, because he learned how to be a supervillain from books and it's an eccentric hobby for him.
  • Green Arrow proves to be Genre Savvy in Batman: The Brave and the Bold when he tells Speedy never to ask "You and what army?" after it lands them in trouble.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Sokka, The Smart Guy, is the first to spot Characters as Device like the Well-Intentioned Extremist Jet and the Stepford Smiler Joo Dee. In one episode, after being suddenly awoken, he groggily mutters "Huh? Uh? What's going on? Did we get captured again?" and sure enough, Aang is captured and imprisoned within an impenetrable fortress in the very next episode. He is also aware that the team is a Weirdness Magnet, of the team's Fan Nicknames, of his status as Bad Ass Normal, and of his own character ("Sokka, the Meat and Sarcasm Guy — it's pretty much my whole identity."). He also has a good grasp of Murphy's Law, "I've never not slept before! What if I fall asleep and something happens? And something always happens!"
    • Aang, for his part, somehow has pretty good knowledge of Indiana Jones tropes (Zuko, unfortunately, doesn't).
    • Jinora seems to have inherited this role in the new series, The Legend of Korra, citing the inevitability of her future teenage rebellion.
    Tenzin: You must promise me your teenage years won't be like this!
    Jinora: (deadpan) I will make no such promises.
  • Justice League
    • Flash occasionally shows traits of this, as this quote from "The Brave and the Bold" demonstrates:
    Flash: Usually when it's this empty, flesh eating zombies show up.
    Green Lantern: You watch too many horror movies... (interrupted by the sound of a brainwashed mob)
    Flash: Maybe you don't watch enough.
    • Batman, knowing he was in a parallel dimension where the man who put him into captivity is also the same man he is in his own reality, deduces that the password to his cell is one that he himself would employ. It is.
  • In an episode of The Boondocks, where Robert is telling his grandchildren an obviously fake story of his ancestor Catcher Freeman, Riley's Genre Savviness ruins the story by pointing out all the bad action movie clichés and predicting how the climax is going to be. In the pilot episode, Robert recounts how he wasn't personally attacked by dogs and firehoses during the Civil Rights Movement because he went back to his apartment to get a raincoat and hat. Because, "the police have been doing this firehose thing all week."
  • Legion of Super Heroes. Bouncing Boy is the 21st Century horror movie aficionado, so he warns them of the rules. And then, the disappearing of teammates begins, and:
    Bouncing Boy: Here, kitty, kitty... Oh, no... I went back for the cat.
  • Futurama
    • Surprisingly, the otherwise extremely dimwitted Fry, to the point where tropes seem to be all he does understand. It's very heavily implied that this is from his near-constant intake of television, movies, etc.
    • In "When Aliens Attack", Fry's knowledge of tropes also seems to include knowing more about what audiences actually want than his friends do.
      Fry: You see? TV audiences don't want anything original. They want to see the same thing they've seen a thousand times before.
    • Fry eventually turns out to know every single campfire story ever told.
      Leela: Fine, Mr. Know-it-all about something finally, why don't you tell a story?
    • Cubert was originally intended to have a more frequent role in the series, and would constantly point out plot holes and inaccuracies (usually generic tropes of Sci-Fi) during the episode, becoming an intentional Creator's Pet, to the point where even the characters wanted to hurt him badly.
  • Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward is so Genre Savvy that he was teaching tropes to a number of onlookers, particularly describing horror tropes.
  • The Venture Bros.
    • # 21 and # 24 . In "The Lepidopterists", they are well aware that they posses the perfect combination of "expendable and invulnerable". Upon being sent off on a mission with # 1, they remark that his cool professionalism marks him for death, while their bumbling incompetence will see them through to the end. Later, when they point out that # 1's lack of a name makes him a Red Shirt, he reveals his name, only to have it dismissed as a device to make his impending death more emotional. Ultimately, he meets his fate when his impressive escape techniques draw the attention of Brock Sampson. # 21 and # 24 were pretending to be wax sculptures at the time. Ironically, or at least in a cruel twist of fate, in the season 3 finale, 24 stands near the Monarch's car when it suddenly explodes. He's killed in the blast as 21 unintentionally catches his burning head.
    • Dr. Venture spends half the time making sarcastic genre savvy comments. Brock does it a lot too, especially when they're in danger. Come to think of it, a great deal of the cast are.
    Dr. Venture: This is gonna be one of those things, isn't it?
    Brock: Uh-huh.
    Dr. Venture: I mean, you get a bunch of short-fused, costumed idiots together in one room like this, and what do you think's gonna happen? Any minute now, stuff's gonna start blowing up, guys'll be throwing each other at other guys.
    Brock: Yeah, probably.
    Dr. Venture: You know, when you're not the one in the middle of it all for once, it's actually totally, completely obvious.
    Brock: Welcome to my life.
    • Hank and Dean aren't. They think they are, though, with all their presumed Hardy Boys style mysteries. This occasionally works out for them, one example is in the episode "Fallen Arches" when Triana Orpheus is kidnapped by the super villain Torrid and Dean thinks to run the hot water in the shower so the steam will reveal a message on the mirror.
  • The Simpsons
    • Discussed in this exchange:
    Lisa: This broom closet is not what it seems. It's a secret surveillance room guarded by a tiny evil robot!
    Homer: Ugh. Is this gonna be like one of those horror movies where we open the door and everything's normal and we think you're crazy, but then there really is a killer robot and the next morning you find me impaled on a weather vane? Is that what this is, Lisa?
    • Played straight when there's an episode where Homer becomes an opera star and someone is trying to murder him (long story). To protect him during an opera performance, Chief Wiggum orders the hanging chandelier to be ''pre''-crashed instead of crashed.
    • Lisa manages to apply it to real life in a somewhat rational fashion, as she plans to be a jazz musician who is unappreciated in her time but discovered as a genius decades later. "And I may or may not die young, I haven't decided yet."
    • In ''Treehouse of Horror IX", Bart and Lisa are trapped in Itchy & Scratcy's universe and are inside a car about to be murdered. Bart uses his cartoon knowledge to draw an eject button, press it and escape.
    • Homer applies a bit of genre savviness to help Apu and Manjula get pregnant by setting them up in a scenario with every cliche in the book of the Law of Inverse Fertility.
    Homer: Now, this situation is guaranteed to end in pregnancy.
    Apu: I'm willing to play the high school jock but did you have to cut the roof off my car?
    Homer: Ah bup bup bup bup! That's an Apu question, you're Greg.
    Apu: (reading) Uh, gee Betsy, it's such a nice night. Why don't we go all the way?
    Manjula: (reading) But Greg, my dad will kill me! And you have that scholarship to Ivy League State.
    Apu: Loosen up, baby. Tomorrow I'm shipping off to Vietnam. I— (breaking character) I thought I was going to Ivy League State.
    Homer: My mistake. Stay in the moment.
    Manjula: Just promise not to forget me on your dinosaur bone digging up trip.
    • In "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson," the Mafia and the Yazuka are fighting on the lawn. Marge thinks that they should go inside.
    Homer: But, Marge, that little guy hasn't done anything yet. Look at him. He's going to do something and you know it's going to be good.
    (This leads to an offscreen moment of awesome when Homer and Marge go inside and later hear a loud yell and a body drop.)
    Homer: Aw...
    • In "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind," Homer accidentally walks in on Marge and Duffman planning a surprise party for him. Feeling guilty, he decides to take Moe's "Forget-Me-Shot" so it will still be a surprise, but before drinking it, Homer realizes that he's bound to retain some memory of walking in and seeing them, which could eventually drive him to despair at the thought of Marge cheating on him, so he tells Lenny to make sure the party has a moon bounce.
  • South Park makes regular use of this trope.
    • In "Pandemic", minor character Craig spends the whole episode complaining about how genre blind the main characters are.
    • Played With in "Butt Out" in which smart-guy Kyle attempts, and fails, to convince the other major characters to not follow the show's formula for once.
    • In "Stanley's Cup" the characters correctly realize that they are in a typical sports movie and thus are bound to win against all odds. They also understand that to achieve that, they need to invite a really good player to their team for their final match, which they also do. This is subverted when they turn out to be Wrong Genre Savvy and are beaten brutally: the opposing team were the real protagonists. Similarly, in "The Losing Edge" the team remarks that at this point of the movie, they should include a new, special player in the team to achieve their goals. Only their goal in to lose and the player is absolutely terrible.
    • In "Canceled", the boys realize they're in a rerun of the very first episode.
    • Lampshaded by Token, whose name fits this trope, as he clearly is the token black guy and token rich guy.
    • For a presentation about the reasons for the American Revolution, Cartman constructs a device that will drop a stone on his head while he is wondering out loudly what the Founding Fathers were thinking back then. His reasoning is that he will pass out and have a wacky flashback episode in which he is present during the declaration of independence.
    • Cartman plays this straight in "Spooky Fish" when Stan and Kyle want to send Cartman to the Mirror Universe where the 'evil' Eric Cartman came from. Cartman tells them to send both him and his twin back, knowing that they would think the real Cartman would never say that. It works, and they send back his 'evil' self instead.
    • Also, Kenny as Mysterion is sort of Genre Savvy, treating his inability to die as a "super power".
      • Kenny in general is occasionally very genre savvy about his dying. In "Tweek vs Craig" he avoids shop class knowing exactly what will happen (and does happen) the moment he gets around those dangerous power tools. In "Christmas in Canada" he's wary about getting on a plane because, saying (muffled) "dude, I'll fucking die." In "Cherokee Hair Tampons," when Stan is distraught about Kyle nearly dying he points out with increasing irritation that nobody gives this much of a crap when he dies, before leaving in frustration (and instantly dying).
      • In fact, Kenny tends to be something of a genre-savvy Straight Man in general: the gag being that the audience can't generally understand what he's saying even though it's a lampshade or something savvy.
  • On The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Mandy has this as part of the show's lack of a Fourth Wall. For example in "Wishbones," a magical talking skull plays Jerkass Genie to practically the whole cast, twisting their wishes in numerous ridiculous (and horrific) ways. When Mandy gets the last wish, she wisely decides to auction it off to the highest bidder.
  • Gwen from Total Drama tries to educate the other campers about the rules of horror movies only to be blatantly ignored... except by fellow horror-buff Duncan, who successfully becomes the Final Guy because of it. Gwen is then subverted into Wrong Genre Savvy when she confronts a real psychotic killer, whom she thinks is an actor pretending to be a psycho killer.
    • When Sierra drops her Obfuscating Stupidity in the confessional, she's revealed to be having this in spades, up to intending to manipulate Heather; all due to her being an Fangirl that watched the show obsessively.
  • In Gargoyles, Xanatos manages to restrain several of the gargoyle heroes, and sets up a deathtrap-like situation where a vat of acid will pour down upon them.
    Xanatos: It's my first real stab at clichéd villainy. How am I doing?".
  • The latest Strawberry Shortcake series paints Sour Grapes as slightly genre savvy, at least enough to know that any plan the Peculiar Purple Pieman tries to pull off against Strawberry is going to fail miserably.
  • Pinky and the Brain: Brain has a Genre Savvy epiphany in "Megalomaniacs Anonymous".
    Brain: The whole universe is playing a little cosmic joke! "We'll give Brain an obsession with taking over the world and then never let him succeed!" Hah-hah-hah-hah! Isn't it funny?!
  • Most of the characters on Titan Maximum know the conventions of the Mecha Show. As well as several other film genres. For instance, the following exchange between Palmer and Willie after they hear banjo music in the distance:
    Willie: What was that?
  • The Weekenders tends to feature a fairly interesting variation in that each of the four main characters take turns being Genre Savvy. For example, if Tino is the one learning the lesson for the day, Tish, Carver and/or Lor will spend most of the episode either A) waiting for the "I told you so" opportunity to arise, B) actively discouraging him from doing whatever it is he's supposed to be learning not to do, or C) helping him do it, because they need to be taken down a peg in the same department, too. Lampshaded occasionally.
    Lor: How do I know this is going to end in disaster?
    Tino: Years of experience.
  • The Fairly OddParents
  • Played with in an episode of Stroker and Hoop, where Stroker, in an attempt to be genre savvy, assumes that the suspects in the murder investigation must include a corrupt mayor and a corrupt sheriff. The latter, incidentally being Hoop's half-brother (or something), is in the room and Stroker quickly adds "no offense." Turns out he was right.
    Hoop: You clichedly evil bastard!
  • In Storm Hawks, one of the Mooks was Genre Savvy (but not dangerously so) enough to try and promote himself to the main credits, under the belief that he did not have a name until he did something worth earning it. Unfortunately for him, "worth" does not necessarily come in the form of positive gain.
  • On Phineas and Ferb Doofenshmirtz shows a general knowledge of all the mad scientist/spy clichés he and Perry deal in, while Candace is shown to have mastered an understanding of what will happen when she tries to bust her brothers. This rarely helps either of them, however: Doofenshmirtz will go along with formula by choice and usually fail, while Candace is simply too neurotic to break her usual habits.
    • She weaponizes her savviness in the movie, when she knows that everything crazy will disappear the instant she tries to show her mother. Thus, while Phineas, Ferb, and their friends are fighting Doofenshmirtz, Candice simply runs to get her mom. of course she's right, and everything's wrapped up nicely by the time they get outside.
    • Doofenshmirtz's stickler for genre savviness at one point caused him to sabotage another evil scientist's plan that would have succeeded, had he not added a button inside Perry's cage to let him escape, as well as a conveniently placed self-destruct button.
    • Candace's genre savviness is on extra display in "Leave the Busting to Us," when she calls every event as it happens, and "The Beak," where she's the only one who figures out the titular superhero is her brothers ("something impossible + that thing existing in real life = Phineas and Ferb!")
    • From "A Hard Day's Knight":
    (Candace is dressed as a princess for the medieval fair)
    Candace: Hold on a sec. Is this one of those things that could backfire horribly on me? Nah.
    • Irving may have a genre savviness to rival hers.
  • Johnny Test.
    • Played for Laughs. "When did we land in a bad decade genre medium?" is a running gag, e.g. "When did we land in a bad 70s cop show?"
    • When the Butler of the villain, Mr. Mittens, who is a cat (It Makes Sense in Context), asks him why his Doomsday Device have a countdown on it, Mittens justifies this by pointing out it gives them enough time to get out of range.
    • Further done in another episode where the villain, a Darth Vader Clone, is Dangerously Genre Savvy. Almost every trick Johnny and his friends use to try to stop him, he's prepared a counter-move. He even has the foresight to disable the ship's self destruct button to prevent his daughter's attempt to help Johnny.
  • Ren from The Ren & Stimpy Show has shades of this, particularly in the episode "A Yard Too Far". The eponymous duo is starving as they suddenly sense a delicious smell from someone's backyard.
    Ren: Wait a minute! I'm not stupid. I've seen cartoons like this before! If I set foot into this yard, I'll probably get ripped into shreds by some enormous dog!
    • This is parodied shortly after when Stimpy tells Ren there is no dog only for Ren to attacked by a killer, psychotic baboon.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures
    • Valmont was smart enough to poison Jackie Chan and keep the antidote hidden so that it couldn't be stolen.
    • Shendu showed this when he refrained (twice) from revealing his name to Jackie and the others. If it weren't for Tohru's Heel-Face Turn the heroes would never have known how to stop him.
    • Jade, although sometimes wrongly.
  • In the Box Office Bunny short, Daffy shows a remarkable amount of Genre Savvy compared to some of his other feuds with Bugs.
  • In Batman Beyond, the Red Shirt cops and villianous mooks have all learned some Genre Savvy. In "Betrayal" one of the guards driving the truck at the start is particurally skilled at it. The truck skidded to a halt to avoid a seemingly wrecked truck that was blocking the road. But this guard is from Gotham and knows what a setup looks like.
    Guard 1: I've seen month old fish that have smelled better than this.
    Guard 2: Are you for real? Somebody might be hurt.
    Guard 1: All right. Go check. (tosses large gun to other guard) Here. In case it's a fish.
    Guard 2: (humoring him) Right. (deciding to be a little savvy himself) Lock up after me.
    Guard 1: You don't have to remind me. (locks cab)
This being Gotham and them being mooks, however, means that not even the Genre Savvy can help because the second guard gets too scared/squicked by Big Time to shoot him depsite having plenty of time. And Big Time can get into a locked truck cab.