Wrong Genre Savvy / Live-Action TV

  • In The Office (US), Dwight Schrute calls upon vampire tropes when he thinks Jim was bitten by a bat (sharpened stake, etc).
  • Breaking Bad: When Walter sets up a meet with a drug dealer at a garbage dump, both Jesse and Tuco mock him for watching too many movies. Sure enough, meeting with a dangerous psychotic in a remote location where no one can hear you scream turns out to be a very bad idea.
  • Dr. Drew has stated many of the patients on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew thought they were just doing another celebrity reality show and took a long time to adjust to the fact that they were in an actual rehabilitation center and actually had to do all the things that go along with it.
  • The basic premise of The Joe Schmo Show. The non-actors think they are on some wacky run-of-the-mill reality show contest show, when in fact they ARE the show, everyone else is an actor specifically playing a character to the genre, the game is rigged to them, and the main idea of the show is to see how far they can take it without the Joe finding out. In season two, one contestant subverted this by being Genre Savvy enough to figure out the show was not what it seemed; they ended up doing The Reveal to her early in the show (there was another Joe on the show and another Joe, er Jane, brought in to replace her) and convinced her to keep playing along.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus occasionally features an army colonel who comes so very close to being genuinely Genre Savvy. He knows he's in a comedy sketch show all right. Unfortunately he doesn't realize which one, and so he thinks that sketches should have clearly-defined jokes in them, with vaguely plausible premises, and punchlines. As a result he calls an end to many a sketch which he considers to be far too silly, generally to provide at least some kind of closure to a sketch that is, frankly, totally off the rails by the time he appears with no stopping place in sight.
  • In an episode of Friends, Joey receives a visit from an unhinged, obsessed fan. Anticipating violence, he grabs a frying pan. Chandler suggests that he comes up with a backup plan in case she isn't a cartoon character.
  • Flight of the Conchords had a weird example when Bret tried to woo a woman with techniques he'd seen in a sitcom. Now, Bret is in a sitcom, but he did stuff that never works even in sitcoms. At one point, Jemaine asks whether what Bret is planning on doing worked in the sitcom he saw it in. Bret says that it didn't, but as this is real life, his chances are better.
  • Castle: While Richard Castle's Genre Savvy skills are often an asset to his crime fighting, he also likes to play with being Wrong Genre Savvy.
    • In one example, he acts as though he's in a vampire show instead of a They Fight Crime! procedural:
    Castle: Whoa, whoa, whoa!
    Lanie: What is wrong?
    Castle: If he's a vampire and you pull that [stake] out, he comes back to life!
    Lanie: If he does, then we can all go home early.
    • After tracking down a serial killer who supposedly rose from his grave:
    Castle: We're going to a cabin in the woods, in the middle of nowhere?
    Beckett: Yeah, so?
    Castle: So... it's like the coed, checking out the strange noise in a basement in a slasher fic. It's a recipe for disaster.
    Beckett: It's not a slasher fic, it's a murder investigation.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In a conversation with Angel, Spike once mentions "the old Anne Rice routine" — telling a woman you're a vampire, convincing her you're a tortured soul who only wants to overcome your curse and be good, then eating her when she lets her guard down.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Quest, Part 2", Cam Mitchell decides to throw a large chunk of C-4 under a dragon since "that's where dragons are weakest". It's not that kind of dragon.
  • Community: In "Regional Holiday Music", Abed thinks he's in a Very Special Christmas Episode where, with help from a life-affirming musical mentor, he has to stop his killjoy friends from forgetting The True Meaning of Christmas through the Power of Song. He's actually in a Black Comedy parody of Glee where trying to force his friends to be cheerful is played out like an alien mind control Assimilation Plot where they become soulless Stepford Smilers, and the life-affirming musical mentor is a complete maniac.
  • Magnum, P.I.: An old enemy of Higgins has a habit of setting up complicated schemes based on classic movies, so Magnum spends most of the episode trying to figure out what movie he's supposed to be in, eventually settling on the 40s serial Perils Of Nyoka. The viewers knew it was Raiders of the Lost Ark from the very first scene. This whole episode was an Actor Allusion to Tom Selleck being Spielberg and Lucas's first choice for playing Indiana Jones, but he had to turn it down because the studio wouldn't let him out of his contract. (A clip from Tom Selleck's audition is included in the special features of the Raiders of the Lost Ark boxset, proving that Selleck would have made a damn fine Indiana Jones.)
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Sansa Stark was raised on heroic ballads of noble knights and fair ladies, and often justifies this or that course of action because it's how they would do things "in the songs." She thinks she is in a fairy tale with herself as the Princess Classic and Joffrey as the Prince Charming. Petyr Baelish calls her on this rather early, telling her "life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that someday, to your sorrow." She gets more savvy and cynical as her experiences show her the error of her ways, such as when Joffrey executes her father. In Season 3, she begins to slip back into this a little as a defense mechanism. However, this is shattered when she learns of the Red Wedding.
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish recounts the story of how, as a boy, he challenged the older and stronger Brandon Stark to a duel for the hand of Catelyn Tully because he had a head of full of songs and stories of the small underdog emerging triumphant over the big bully. Unfortunately for him, he's in a much darker sort of fantasy story, and Brandon nearly kills him. Petyr takes the lesson to heart, and resolves not to fight his battles through honor and violence (both of which he's very bad at) but through underhanded trickery (which he's very good at).
  • In Lost Girl, Bo at one point encounters a Lich. After being told that he stores his soul in something, she suspects that he did so in a picture of himself ala Dorain Gray. When she destroys the picture, he just laughs at her. Fortunately, she figures out where it actually is later.
  • Detective Carlton Lassiter on Psych is best summed up by a promo showing how he goes through cases believing he's in a dead-serious procedural drama, complete with sexual tension with partner Jules (who has no feelings for him whatsoever).
  • In one episode of Continuum, a sci-fi fanboy finds a powered armor suit from the future, and upon accidentally discovering its powers, decides that it makes him a super-hero. Too bad for him, despite the nigh-invulnerability granted by the suit, he's actually in a fairly realistic sci-fi, and the villains, who are looking for said armor, find him and beat him up quite badly before the actual heroine (who has a suit *and* knows how to use it) shows up.
  • Nobuo from Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, being an Otaku in a show that directly parodies Super Sentai , has been Wrong Genre Savvy on multiple occasions, including the first episode where he expects Make My Monster Grow to take place, only for he and the other Akibarangers to be sitting around waiting till sunset, and when the ghost of Yumeria's mother comes to visit her for her birthday, Nobuo thinks she'd disapprove of Yumeria's hobbies, and that they'll have to hide everything in her apartment and create an elaborate ruse, but then when Yumeria's mother actually arrives, she turns out to be an even bigger Cosplay Otaku Girl (okay, maybe "Cosplay Otaku Woman") than Yumeria herself!
  • Used hilariously on Scrubs when J.D. tries to escape the hospital in a body bag and med student Doug wheels him into an elevator.
    J.D.: Can you press Lobby please?
    Doug screams, beats on J.D. with a fire extinguisher until J.D. unzips the bag.
    J.D.: Doug! Why were you hitting me?
    Doug: 'Cause I thought you were a dead guy coming back to life!
    J.D.: *beat* Then why were you hitting me?!
    Doug: Dead people should be dead!
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia the entire gang does this almost constantly. Dennis thinks of himself as The Ace, a suave ladies man who succeeds at everything, Mac sees himself as a John McClane style badass action hero, Sweet Dee believes she's a witty, quirky social woman similar to those on Sex In The City, and Charlie thinks he's a lovable down-trodden nice guy. In reality, they're all a group of selfish, morally-bankrupt sociopaths. Frank appears to be the only member of the gang aware of who he really is.
    • Played with in "The Gang Hits the Slopes" when the gang treat a ski trip like it's an 1980's comedy...and for once, they're actually right and are able to fit in well amid the antics. Until the last second where everything winds up deconstructed. The reason everyone could have wild, anonymous sex is because Frank had hired hookers all around the mountain (and everyone who had sex with them should probably be tested for sexual diseases), the wild 1980's party-hero is actually a sexual predator whose 80's movie-style pranks get him arrested by the police, and a single botched landing while skiing breaks both of Dennis's ankles, showing that skiing is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.