"I can't believe he didn't suspect a trap. See what happens when you don't watch enough television?" —The Joker, Justice League, "Wild Cards Part 1"
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 alone in the woods after midnight without a flashlight or a weapon 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 within a story in said genre 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.
One of the more common forms of Genre Blindness is ignorance of Hanlon's Razor.
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).
When France starts to undergo its revolution in Rose of Versailles the Royals, Clergy, and Nobles who are clinging to power come off as this by trying to suppress the assembly and use deadly force on the representatives. Its Truth in Television.
Villanous and Jerkass characters in both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX are quick to label monsters with low ATK/DEF points as "trash". Nevermind said monsters often have powerful effects or are integral part of a combo.
Also the sheer number of times a character will attack heedlessly after their opponent simply lays a card face down.
In One Piece, the crew arrives to a town that welcomes pirates. Luffy, Sanji and Usopp falls easily for this, while Zoro and Nami were much more Genre Savvy and faked being drunk to find out what the town was up to.
Also, when Luffy wakes up, he finds out that Zoro attacked the entire town (who were all actually bounty hunters wanting to kill them). Instead of wondering why his friend would do that, Luffy automatically believed the injured townsfolk and assumed Zoro ruthlessly attacked the "nice people" who gave them food.
In Dragon Ball when Goku, Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong and Puar infiltrate Pilaf's castle, they come across a bunch of arrows. The group decides to follow them until they reach a dead-end. A trap wall then closes behind the group, trapping them. The scene cuts to Pilaf who says, "I didn't think there even were people that stupid."
100 Bullets: 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.note He could've also given her the gun, after removing the bullets.
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. Zombies or no, the cop character never quite grasps the concept of 'clear one room before going to next'. In the TV show however they have become considerably more Genre Savvy by the beginning of the third episode.
One of the reasons that this series is considered one of the better zombie-themed pieces of literature is that there's an actual reason that most of them are acting stupidly: their behavior isn't consistent with low intellect so much as it's consistent with severe PTSD, including everything from panic attacks to physiological symptoms (short breath) to sudden bouts of suicidal depression. Rick himself is the only one that's not really affected— and he's also the only one not awake for the initial outbreak where 80% of the population was eaten. He hasn't had to deal with anything much beyond what he was trained to handle psychologically as a police officer in scale.
In the comic the characters do learn from experience, they've worked out that they want to avoid firearms when possible before issue 1, and as time goes on they seek a fortified position, learn to set watches, train with polearms, regularly thin the dead population in their area to prevent buildup, and are rightfully suspicious of anyone claiming authority.
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.
For beings who have lived for millions of years, the Guardians of Oa are painfully genre blind. Some of their greatest hits include creating an army of conscienceless machines and acting surprised when they start committing genocide; inducting someone named Sinestro into the Green Lantern Corps and acting surprised when he goes evil; banishing Sinestro to a universe full of the Guardians' worst enemies and acting surprised when he comes back and starts killing Green Lanterns; trying to stop a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and acting surprised when it is fulfilled; and most recently, firing Hal Jordan after he saved their lives for the umpteenth million time. But probably the most egregious example of blindness is the fact that the Guardians demand absolute obedience from the Green Lantern Corps, an organization made up exclusively of the most willful Determinators in the universe. It's gotten so bad at this point that the Guardians are set to become the Big Bad of the current Green Lantern arc. The only reason for this is if the Guardians were Genre Savvy they could turn every issue of Green Lantern into a Curb-Stomp Battle. As it is, Ganthet usually manages to be savvy enough that the Guardians get by... when they listen to him.
Many characters in Dracula Lives stories that are set in past centuries are ignorant to basic vampire weaknesses since many think vampires as nothing but legends. One man learns about them firsthand after stealing Dracula's journal and exploits this fact by selling the information to the villages on his menu.
Many a Fairy Tale hero. The most common mistakes they make is eating the Forbidden Fruit and pissing offthe fairies. 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. The heroes who play it straight usually get out of it alive owing to their companions and the magical thing that someone gave them, so perhaps that was just learning they were the heroes.
The Three Aunts: Fully averted. The heroine makes a promise to her benefactors, keeps the promise, and lives happily ever after.
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.
The Cy-bugs in Wreck-It Ralph. They are the only characters who don't seem to realize that they are in a video game. Unfortunately, this means that they do not know when to stop, so they actually pose a bigger threat than any of the Genre Savvy villains.
In Brave Merrida spends way more time consorting with magical creatures in mysterious woods than any sensible Scottish girl reared on stories about The Fair Folk has any business doing.
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?".
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."
Will: You cheated!
Jack:(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 flesh-eating corpses, yet at least one character seems to be pretty Genre Savvy already. Most zombie rules are based on this film.
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.
In Scary Movie 2, 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.
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.
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 Dr., 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 the movie Obsessed. When her husband is stalked by a Yandere, 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 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!".
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 German 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 Now You See Me, Agent Rhodes continually takes on the Horsemen on like regular criminals and keeps playing into their hands by refusing to think how a magician would. Or so everyone thinks, see Obfuscating Stupidity.
More horror films than not in general that feature a group of teens/ young adults will have all save for maybe one, usually ignored character fall into this.
Dead Snow at least nods to this with a round of Conversational Troping on the Horror Tropes that pertain to their vacation in an isolated cabin in the woods. But there's a limit to how seriously they take it, and especially won't let it spoil their fun — but they do mobilize quickly at the first sign of zombies. The campers become more victim to bad luck, Wrong Genre Savvy, and This Is Reality than the classic horror deaths.
In C. S. 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 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...
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 they think that Voldemort has no use for a teenage boy, not fully trained as a wizard. The only one who does know can't say anything, because it would risk the life of the recruit.
The Limper in Glen Cook's Black Company fits this trope. Even after the Company: 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.
The title character in Patrick Senecal's Aliss completely misses the fact that she's inhabiting an updatedAlice in Wonderland. When she actually speaks a line from Alice during the trial, she hasn't the slightest clue where it came from. By contrast, the Red Queen is fully Genre Savvy.
None of the characters in the Twilight universe appear to have ever heard of vampires beyond referencing a few pop culture vampire tropes or mythology.
In Elmore Leonard's Pronto Tommy "The Zip" Bucks is a Italian-born mafioso who constantly fails to realize that US Marshal Raylan Givens is a Cowboy Cop who does not always play by the rules. Tommy is a ruthless killer who prides himself on his ability to walk up to a person in a crowded restaurant, shoot him dead and then walk away. Yet, until the very end, he cannot imagine that a US policeman would choose to just shoot him dead rather then arrest him and have him face trial. In contrast Nicky, Tommy's Butt Monkey sidekick for most of the book, quickly realizes that Raylan is extremely deadly and should not be antagonized or threatened.
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.
A number of characters in Genesis of the Daleks must surely count too. Despite the fact that Davros is Obviously Evil, Kaleds and Thals alike trust him unconditionally, which generally leads to their EX-TER-MI-NA-TION.
Another example would include Turn Left, in which Donna Noble doesn't notice that the fortune teller she's talking to is Obviously Evil until it's too late.
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, acting on super secret orders, or a clone/android/manifestation of a split personality. Sheesh.
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 man 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.
In Teen Wolf, there's at least one Horror Movie Stupidity Cliche in any given episode. The first episode takes the cake, though. Two teenagers— one of them asthmatic— search for the OTHER HALF OF A CORPSE. At night. In the woods.
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 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. Possibly explained in-universe in that 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?
Most of the season finales would like a word with you on that one. How many times has one or the other of the boys been killed and dragged to hell while the other watches in horror? 5? 6?
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.
In one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander and Giles make the mistake of enlisting Spike's help at one point, and he just outright tells them he's going to now betray them, asking if they've all forgotten he's an evil demon who hates them.
Xander: ...We're dumb.
Almost any character in Mighty Morphin' 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. 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. A few quick examples:
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 cultures encountered by SG-1 often appear blind to the obvious fact that the Stargates aren't of a make that could be credited to an ancient culture, and just consider it an old artifact. Some don't even realize that it is a sort of gate (even if just a symbolic one), despite it standing on a pedestal with stairs leading up to it.
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, and 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! It didn't help Daniel thought he was going crazy, too.
This is topped by the end of Book 4. The surviving Petrellis and Matt have subdued and captured Sylar, the resident Ax-CrazyManipulative 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...
Except Adam had earlier stated that decapitation or a shotgun blast to the head would kill even him, which proves that even Regeneration has finite limits.
Except that no protagonist has any reason to trust anything Adam says (except for Peter). That said, what evidence would Adam have that a shotgun blast to the head actually WOULD kill him? Since we see Claire survive a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION in one Bad Future... it's a little far-fetched to say that having one's head destroyed or severed is enough to kill him. Claire's power and Adam's power are remarkably similar, in that they both cure blood, and both have been dealt fatal blows and recovered moments after. All in all, this was the most sensible plan. The only other plausible way to kill Sylar at this point would be to toss him into a black hole... and sadly the person who could do this killed himself last volume.
Arthur has got himself a bad case. It's Probably NothingandLet'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 also pretty genre-blind for missing the fact that Merlin is a sorcerer.For five entire seasons. Merlin has to tell him face-to-face! Although Arthur is a bit of a deconstruction in that he constantly curses his inability to see the truth, wonders how fit he is for command if he keeps making these decisions, and goes into Heroic BSOD in the series four finale when he feels that most of his people have died because his Genre Blindness. But give him credit, he did turn into Good Is Not Dumb in series four, and honestly did suspect his uncle several times.
Katherine Reimer in Jekyll; when you're all alone with Mr. Superpowered 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...
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.
An interesting example with the police in Orphan Black. They haven't yet made the mental leap to clones despite all the evidence of identical people involved in a murder, but they're smart enough to use the evidence they have well - to the point where they're closing in on Clone Club without really knowing what they're looking for.
One episode had Clark go through a It's a Wonderful Plot 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 supersneezes, it does not occur to him to weaponize them until the more Genre Savvy Chloe points it out.
In "Prey", a lone girl walks at night in the streets of Metropolis. And decides to walk down a dark alley. Her death before the opening sequence is so predictable you don't need spoiler tags.
In The X-Files Scully ought to have realized after a while that her persistent scepticism is misguided. Eventually, she did. It's a theory that her scepticism dropped as the show ran its course... she just kept contradicting Mulder to be contrary.
JAG: Discussed in "Déjà Vu". Harm is blindsided due to his own emotional baggage.
Harm: There's a lot of things you're blind to. But you don't realize it until it's too late.
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." 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, 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.
Leads to a CMOF when Morgan points out an instance from Chuck.
Morgan: You dreamt Shaw was alive? Chuck, you saw him die. You checked for a pulse right?
Chuck: Well, he fell into a river.
Morgan: "He fell into a river"! Of course he's alive! Haven't you ever seen a John Carpenter movie?
Typically played straight with Sarah and Casey, who are often left confused by the antics and comments of their more genre savvy partners. Sarah in particular suffers from this. Casey, at least, recognizes that you should never say things like "one last mission" and displays a much better grasp of popular culture.
Once Upon a Time: Among other things, Regina (The Evil Queen) actually believes that she can curse the entire fairy tale world to be trapped in a world without happy endings, and that she can finally end the fact that Being Evil Sucks and get her own happy ending. After she brings back her sleeping-curse-poisoned apple to get rid of Emma once and for all, she brags to Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin) that she's now won and made the curse even stronger. Gold clearly doubts this. He was right.
The monsters in Toku always seem to react to the hero gearing up his Finishing Move by running straight at him. You'd think they'd learn after a while.
Peter in Fringe takes this to a ridiculous extreme. The standard Fringe formula: person or people die bizarre, horrific death. Title sequence. Team shows up, Walter presents insane-sounding hypothesis on what happened. Peter insists that this is impossible, despite the fact that he works for Fringe Division and Walter has nearly always been correct. Remainder of episode proves that Walter is, in fact, correct. Pretty quickly, Peter is just lampshading how weird whatever is instead of doubting it. He stopped entirely by the end of the series.
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.
On Maury, 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 he might just figure that he might as well be hung for a thief as a liar, so....
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?
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 take a seat, just ask where the cops are and turn yourself in rather than embarrass yourself further.
Genre savvy actually led to one guy's death. As soon as he saw Chris Hansen and company pulling into his driveway, he killed himself. Perhaps we should be grateful for the genre blindness.
Aelita in one episode of Code Lyoko Evolution. XANA makes a specter that resembles her mother and she buys it hook line and sinker. Note that this is the third time XANA has used a spectre to trick Aelita with her dead parents.
Only Fools and Horses: Lennox has absolutely no clue whatsoever how to be an armed robber. Rodney in the same episode taking his cigarettes when he could have had the gun beside him is equally blind.
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 — 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.
Anyone who keeps attacking Hulk Hogan when he is hulking up. We all know he's eventually gonna point at them, block the next punch, knock them down, and do the big boot and leg drop.
Anybody who attempts a hurricanrana, seated senton, monkey flip, or mounted punches on AJ Styles, The Undertaker, 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.
Jamie Noble averted it at WWE Vengeance, July 21, 2002, by giving Kidman a Tiger Driver, which is a double-underhook sit-out powerbomb, meaning that Noble had hooked Kidman's arms (sort of like a full nelson except while standing in front of the guy instead of behind him) so he couldn't counter the move.
Anybody who attempts a crossbody on Mark Henry, who will 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.
Do not attempt a frog splash, elbow drop, or any other move that involves coming off the top rope/turnbuckle against Randy Orton without first making sure that he is fully incapacitated on the mat. He will get up and catch you in mid-air with the RKO.
This can get especially egregious when a face wrestler who has recently made a Heel-Face Turn completely fails to see his heel opponent's cheating tactics coming despite having used the same type of tactics himself when he was still a heel less than a month before.
Spoofed during the Jerry Seinfeld-Tim Allen match on the Celebrity Deathmatch episode "Seinfeld's Last Stand." Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards do a Heel Turn on Jerry for ending the show and announcers Nick Diamond and Johnny Gomez say, "We wrestling announcers are usually so perceptive."
Eric Bischoffimposed this on WCW's announcers, often not letting them in on what was going to happen at a given time. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan wrote in his autobiography Bobby the Brain: Wrestling's Bad Boy Tells All that Bischoff would tell the announcers to call the matches as if they were "shoots" (real.) Heenan said that they'd never seen a shoot and wouldn't recognize one if they saw one.
Horace Hogan (yes, Hulk's nephew) faced Meng on the April 15, 1999 episode of Thunder. At one point, Horace gave Meng a sunset flip for a 2-count. He tried it again and Meng gave him the Tongan Death Grip for his troubles.
Subverted at CHIKARA King of Trios 2012, Night 1, September 14, 2012. Team ROH (The Young Bucks [Matt & Nick Jackson- aka Generation Me] and Mike Bennett, w/Maria Kanellis) d. the Faces of Pain (Meng/The Barbarian/The Warlord) when Bennett pinned Meng with a sunset flip.
During Booker T and Cody Rhodes' late 2011 feud, Cody kept attacking Booker from behind during his entrance. This happened for weeks and Booker never saw it coming.
While Chavo Guerrero, Jamie Noble (see above) and Carlito are genre savvy wrestlers, they were utterly lost when it came to the Merrie Melodies type antics of Hornswoggle.
On multiple occasions, the Professor will find the body of someone murdered in a ridiculously horrible, science fictional way (such as being force-fed a 'sun-segment' or having their lungs filled with honey and stung hundreds of times) and have absolutely no idea that this might be connected to the ridiculously rich entrepreneur who created a miniature sun or the Mad Scientist obsessed with genetically engineering giant hybrid bee-wasps called 'basps'.
In the "Base under siege" parody story "Destiny of the Destinoyd", we get this:
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,everrunning 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 Luigi's 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?"
In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the titular character makes every Bond Villain mistake in the book. For almost every major blow your character deals to the Scourge, the Lich King makes some kind of appearance, many of them in person! Yet, except in one instance when he's provoked to an Unstoppable Rage, the most he does is pull you in, kill you, and then toss you aside without reanimating or corrupting you in any way, fully knowing you'll resurrect and come after him again later. (In fact, you can resurrect and then run right back to where he's still standing, and he'll pull a What the Hell, Hero? before doing it again.) Instead of killing you for real, he often makes a small speech, punishes a minion, or sends a Red Shirt lieutenant on you, before walking away. It was something criticized by many players, the writers falling into the cliche of making Arthas, formerly a terrifying badass, a pathetic Bond Villain.
In the end, it's not Genre Blindness at all. He's Dangerously Genre Savvy, but covers it with a lot of Obfuscating BondVillain Stupidity. The only reason he left the players alive as long as he did was that he wanted them to become stronger than he is. The entire fight is Arthas giving more and more to the battle, until he finally holds nothing back and fights with his full strength. If the players die, unfortunate, but still good minions. If they don't, he's found minions that surpass even his own immense power, which is what he wants, being a necromancer with near-unbreakable control over his resurrected minions, and the ability to trap souls in his blade. The raid can't actually slay him on its own - either you're weaker and he kills you, or you're stronger, and hekills you. Knowing that NPCs are next to useless compared to players, he begins his reanimation ritual, mocking the frozen Tirion while he and the crippled and restrained Bolvar watch helplessly. And, in the end, he only loses because Tirion's rescue subverts every boss battle trope that WoW has. When, in any other Final Boss Battle, does an NPC disarm and permanently paralyze the boss, turning him into a glorified training dummy? Arthas, with 10% HP remaining, can actually be struck by weak melee hits until death (which can take something like an hour, if Tirion is the only one doing it). Let's rephrase that: Arthas, the Big Bad of an entire expansion, dies because an NPC gets up off the ground after the party dies, and flippingsolos him. Outside of a cutscene.
This is a hilarious moment if you're in a raid with Genre Savvy people who don't know how the fight plays out. Yell out over voice chat "goddamn it, WIPE, WIPE!" and listen to the panic and confusion when everyone dies instantly. Then listen to the awe when the rest of the scene plays out...
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 herArbitrary 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.
That's nothing compared to the earlier moment when he had Nate and co completely helpless, but didn't just kill them because he wanted Nate "to see Shambhala and die knowing that [Lazarevic has] taken it from him."
While Terra's trust is somewhat justified (Terra's master insists that dark magic is never good, despite several scenes where Terra only keeps himself or others alive because of it, while Xehanort by comparison is calm, patient, understanding, repentant, and informs Terra that darkness, used carefully and when necessary, isn't any worse than other magic), the real idiot here is his master Eraqus himself. Terra had no reason to suspect Xehanort's motives, since Xehanort was (apparently) a respected Keyblade Master. However, Xehanort had, in the past, informed Eraqus to his face that he'd blanket the multiverse in darkness if he could, for no other reason than because he didn't believe the lore that darkness was a super evil destructive force. And damn the consequences. Then he used darkness to deeply scar Eraqus' face, and left. When the game's story kicks off, he's briefly invited by to visit the apprentices before disappearing, and then Eraqus tells Terra to go FIND this guy.
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 Resident Evil 6, Helena's sister is infected with the C-Virus and has turned a clearly abnormal shade of green, covered with slime and general "I'm-no-longer-human"-indicative growths. So yeah, running up and hugging her is really intelligent given that you've already witnessed first-hand what the virus is capable of, because of course she isn't going to turn on you. That NEVER happens....
In Penumbra, Philip decides to travel a remote location in Greenland that he heard about in some notes his father told him to destroy without reading, because apparently he has never read a horror novel before.
In Dead Island the threat of a nuke is the motivation to keep the survivors moving, which seems reasonable given the threat and the end of over half of zombie fiction. It's so effective two different characters make up the lie. One small problem: the Australian military responding to the pandemic doesn't actually have nukes. No one even wonders just how it would be possible.
To be fair, the cast isn't made up of geniuses, just MacGyvers. A former sports star and a rapper are the last people that would know that, and the other two aren't soldiers, and considering Australia's tactical insignificance to anything remotely related to their jobs, it's unlikely they'd know that.
The page image is from Freefall. The doctor (actually, a veterinarian) in the image survives, since he's not dealing with awerewolf, merely a genetically engineered uplifted wolf who needs his services.
Elan also assumes that the two nameless guards staying behind to allow them to escape are dead, unaware that they took the spotlight for a while and had a significant bout of character development and becoming Heroes Of Another Story.
Despite being practically the patron saint of Dangerously Genre Savvy, Tarquin has one major weakness. He simply cannot, will not acknowledge that he isn't the Big Bad of the story.
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.
The man in thisSubnormality 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.
Justified with Jordie the Cleric in Our Little Adventure since he has no real world adventuring experience. The other members of Julie's group do lampshade it when it pops up.
Lampshaded in El Goonish Shive: Sarah considers the reasons not to go through the isolated dark alley while unarmed but still decides to do it.
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.
Marble Hornets: 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. Jay, who, when the person he had an appointment scheduled with doesn't show up, decides to go for a walk in the nearby creepy woods.
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) 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.
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..."
Occasionally he inverts it, and has been 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 (1983). 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, though he does survive by taking enough of Huey's Genre Savvy advice to wear a bulletproof vest.
While still Genre Savvy, Sokka 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.
This is how Azula comes to grief. Of course you can trust the man who basically condemned your brother and has shown no scruples in his quest for power, there's no way he'll- oh, wait, he just had you Kicked Upstairs. Well, at least you have your servants who never seem to care about your Kick the Dog mo- nope, they just ran off.
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?
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 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.
One episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo has Red Herring wanting to add a sidecar onto his mom's motorcycle for her birthday without her finding out. So what does he do? He steals it, and then dresses up as a monster to scare people away. This is in spite of the fact that he lives in the same neighborhood as a detective agency who regularly deals with guys dressed up as monsters.
One could argue that almost every villain-of-the-week in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is suffering from Genre Blindness. In the original series, having so many people hiding their crimes by disguising themselves as monsters could be more excusable, since Scooby and the gang are constantly road tripping across the country, but all of the crimes in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo happen in one city. After reading in the local news about the 10th or 12th person to get caught using a monster disguise to hide their evil plans, you'd think more people would realize that it's not a very good idea.
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.
Duckula's appearances and demeanor on Danger Mouse was more 50-50. Half of him is a traditional vampire (he even threatens DM with "I'll have your blood!" in one episode), while the other half is a showbiz-crazy egomaniac.
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?
None of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who are searching for their special talents, have realized that they live in a world which runs off Steven Ulysses Perhero. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle have talents related to their names that they are mostly unaware of — riding a scooter and singing, respectively.note Apple Bloom, on the other hand, is a talented carpenter, and her Theme Naming reflects her family's business instead.
Inspiration Manifestation: Spike apparently hasn't learned from the enchanted comic that was literally enchanted that something that sounds innocuous might be much more dangerous. Also, you would think that someone who has spent his whole life around a unicorn that specializes in magic and is an expert in spellbooks would know a tome of dark magic when he saw one.
American Dad!, you'd think after living with him as long as they did the Smiths would probably be Genre Savvy enough by now to know just how much of a sociopathic bastard Roger is to take precaution not falling for any of his lies and schemes. Especially true with Stan and Francine both who have been regularly shown easily fooled by Roger's plans. The Smiths are the only people in-show who see through Roger's disguises, but they always seem to trust him more than they should in later per episode.
In a example not-quite-close-enough to the video games section, the circumstances concerning Halo: Reach's early arrival. Microsoft did everything it could 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. Guesswhathappened.