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Wrong Genre Savvy
"...you mean ah'm Muggin' a Monster? Why'nt'cha jest say so?"

"A character who tries casting himself as the Brave Peasant Lad Who Outwits The Troll may find that he is actually one of the Twenty Poor Peasants Eaten Before The Knight Comes Along. Or even the Devious Little Human Squashed By The Troll Hero. (Troll fairy-stories are not very subtle.)"
GURPS Discworld, on the dangers of playing with the Theory of Narrative Causality

Sometimes, you can take being Genre Savvy too far, and wind up having as much Genre Blindness as the poor idiots who split up in a haunted house where one of you is a murderer.

If a character in a series that has a Fourth Wall thinks mainly in terms of tropes, you've probably got a character who's Wrong Genre Savvy. Even if you're correct about being in a story, it's possible for you to guess wrong about your role in the story, the genre of the story, or where on the various sliding scales your story is. Any way you spin it, it's still a common way of subverting Genre Savviness.

This can be a minefield. Say a stranger turns up on your doorstep; if he's a vampire, he can't hurt you unless you invite him in, but if he's an Angel Unaware or King Incognito, you might damn yourself by turning him away.note  And look at it from the visitor's point of view; if you're an honourable fairytale knight, you won't lay a finger on anyone who's eaten your food, but if you're one of The Fair Folk, eating your food will trap him there forever. What's a Genre Savvy guy to do?

This can also be used for deconstructing character types, by placing a generic character in a realistic setting and exploring what happens when they act as if they are in a work of a particular genre.

Of course, a potential reconstruction can occur as well. While the character is Wrong Genre Savvy about the premise or a particular aspect, they can be right Genre Savvy about complementary aspects of that premise; this means that, while the character is hopeless in the aspect to which they're Wrong Genre Savvy, in their functional aspect their support is invaluable, which may lead to the resolution of the plot and an increase in the character's chance of survival.

See Heroic Wannabe, Wide-Eyed Idealist, Grumpy Bear, Prince Charming Wannabe, and Lord Error-Prone for characters with this trait and Genre Savvy for when characters get it right. Death by Genre Savviness is a related trope. See also This Is Reality, Hero of Another Story, Entertainingly Wrong, Thinks Like a Romance Novel. May be confused with Too Dumb to Live.


Examples:


Functional Genre SavvyGenresGenre Shift
Who Writes This Crap?!Metafiction Demanded This IndexYou Just Ruined the Shot
Who Writes This Crap?!Abridged Series Tropes    
WoolseyismOlder Than SteamZany Scheme
Write Who You KnowCharacterization TropesWrong Name Outburst
The InvisiblesImageSource/Comic BooksIron Man

alternative title(s): Medium Confusion
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