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Playing With: Genre Blindness
Basic Trope: The characters make mistakes that mark them as having never seen an even vaguely similar situation in fiction.
  • Straight: Bob and his friends split up into gangs of two, when they know that one of them is a murderer.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Bob and his friends (none of whom are known murderers) split up into gangs of two, despite the fact people who do that on TV usually run into some sort of trouble.
  • Justified:
    • Bob and his gang are literally unaware of the genre in question.
    • The genre in question may not actually exist in the world of the story; the audience knows what's going on but the Bob and his friends in the story have no frame of reference.
    • It may be harder to spot the actual genre you are in when it is you. The trails of blood might make it seem like a horror movie, rather than a sign that an Eldritch Abomination is looming just behind the door that the heroes are on their way to beat with the needed macguffin.
    • Unlike the audience, Bob and his friends don't actually know they're fictional and operating according to a series of genre conventions; since in Real Life most things that happen in stories don't actually happen, most situations aren't governed by genre conventions and most people don't actually act as if they're in a story 24/7 (and are considered mentally unstable at the least if they do), it stands to reason that the characters wouldn't act in such a way either.
    • Some genres might have similar signifiers, making it hard to tell which is which. The trail of blood might signify the presence of a hideous monster out to kill and eat you or a vicious serial killer on the hunt (horror); however, it might also signify that someone has been murdered in the heat of the moment during a domestic dispute (police procedural) or has accidentally cut themselves, has fallen unconscious due to blood loss and needs to be located and taken to hospital for emergency treatment right away (medical drama). It's much harder to be genre savvy with any degree of accuracy when you could be in one or the other, particularly the other is usually a bit more likely.
  • Inverted: Genre Savvy
  • Subverted: Bob has the party split up, but it turns out he was the killer who deliberately split the party to hunt them down.
  • Double Subverted: However Bob did not now that there was another killer in the gang.
  • Parodied: "Hey, gang, let's make the same mistake all those idiots in horror movies do and split up since one of us is a murderer!" "Sounds good!"
  • Zig Zagged: Bob and his friends make mistakes, but the genre itself sometimes doesn't play out to form, meaning that a Genre Savvy character would sometimes be Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Averted: Some of Bob's friends are Genre Savvy, some are not. Choices are made, without bringing out the cultural background of them.
  • Enforced:
    • "The Scobbies have to make some mistake sooner or later, or the show will be boring" (actually not: it's just harder to write)
    • The Genre Blindness element is an important part of how the story or genre functions, and if the characters didn't display this the story would be unable to function. As such, the writers hope that Willing Suspension of Disbelief will help the audience accept it as an Acceptable Break From Reality.
  • Lampshaded: "I can't see how this could go wrong!"
  • Invoked: See Contractual Genre Blindness
  • Exploited: The villain is Dangerously Genre Savvy and waits for them to make the sort of mistakes people always make in fiction.
  • Defied:
    • "Splitting up into pairs would make exploring easier, sure, but there's no way I'm going to get killed like a horror movie character if I can help it. We're sticking together."
    • Bob hosts horror movie nights to get his friends a bit more clued in for the next time they're stranded in an abandoned house with a serial killer.
  • Discussed: "In hindsight, the Terminator franchise should have taught us to avoid this error."
  • Conversed: "How come the idiots in these movies never seem to think of the obvious idea of sticking together?"
  • Deconstructed: Bob and his friends' inability to understand the genre they're in is indicative of their more general lack of imagination and experience of fiction.
  • Reconstructed: Bob and his friends are genre blind because to them, it's real and therefore shouldn't be expected to work out per genre rules and conventions.

Back to Genre Blindness It's to die for.

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