Playing With / Literal Genie

Basic Trope: Wish-granting entities always give you EXACTLY what you ask for, based on the direct wording of the wish, but don't take into account what you meant.
  • Straight: Bob wishes to be attractive. He ends up becoming magnetic, because he never specified what he was supposed to attract.
  • Exaggerated: Every time someone wishes for something, they always do it with confusing phrasing, and it is granted strictly according to the wording. Everyone ends up dissatisfied.
  • Downplayed: Bob wishes to be attractive. The genie understands that he means to humans, but since he never specified any particular group of humans he wanted to be attractive to, he attracts them all equally. Even the ones whose attention he really wouldn't want.
  • Justified:
    • The genie is bound by some kind of oath of literalism that grants them their powers.
    • The genie is Literal-Minded, and doesn't understand that the people don't mean it literally.
    • The genie has been imprisoned for centuries and only recently let out. Why should he know all the intricacies of modern slang and the English language?
    • He's a mild Jackass Genie - He figures if he does his job poorly enough, people will stop asking him for wishes.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Wish-granting entities gives Bob exactly what he asked for, even if different from what he wished. Later, it's revealed to be the best way anyway, and Bob is happy.
  • Double Subverted: Bob's wish is granted literally, making him look like an idiot or a jerk. He invokes the trope to prove that the spirit of the wish was really different, and everyone is fine with him. Only, he really just wanted the literal effect... but couldn't admit. For example, he asked for "a romance with a hot piece of ass", which leads to a disconcerting experience with a donkey steak. He protests the wrong use of terms, but actually it was what he really wanted the whole time.
  • Parodied: The genie wants to be a Benevolent Genie, but everyone's wishes are so vague that he keeps misunderstanding them and falling into this trope.
  • Zig Zagged: It first appears that the wish has been granted literally, but then it turns out that it was not granted at all... but wait, not being noticed was the intention of the original wisher.
  • Averted: The wish is granted, but it takes into account the intention behind the wish rather than just the exact wording.
  • Enforced: "There's not much of a plot if the main characters get all of their wishes granted!"
  • Lampshaded: "Wow, the genie was literal about your wish. Didn't See That Coming."
  • Invoked: The genie is a Stealth Mentor who grants Bob's wishes literally in order to get him to think about what he wants before he wishes for it.
  • Exploited: The villain makes sure the heroes have access to one of these genies, profiting off the havoc that occurs when the genie misinterprets the wish.
  • Defied:
    • Bob very carefully and deliberately words his wish so that it can't be taken any way other than what he wants.
    • "First wish: I wish you to take into account the spirit, including any and all confusing idioms, metaphors or similies, in addition to the letter of each wish."
    • "I wish for every genie to interpret every wish as its wisher would."
  • Discussed: "Any real person would be smart enough to not leave such obvious loopholes..."
  • Conversed: "Why is it that these movies always have the same plot?" "The genies must be jerks or something."
  • Implied: A man known to be insecure about his genitals gets a genie. We don't see what his wishes were, but later he is seen in the company of a 12-inch-tall man playing a tiny piano.note 
  • Deconstructed: Genies, due to not regularly interacting with human society, suffer Blunt Metaphors Trauma and don't recognize figures of speech. Therefore, they follow the wish directly, and everyone abandons them to their fate.
  • Reconstructed: Genies resent slavery and therefore are engaging in passive resistance as a way of frustrating their masters.

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