Wrong Genre Savvy: Western Animation

  • Danny Phantom:
  • My Little Pony: Paradise is well-versed in the tropes of fairy tales and legends, and yet she, a winged pony living in a Magical Land with unicorns and dragons, wonders why her life can't be more like a storybook. Uh...
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • The mane cast got a bit of Wrong Genre Savvy in "The Best Night Ever", in which all of them thought they were in fairy tales or various other stories. In reality, they were in a moral-driven Slice of Life comedy, and this week's lessons turned out to be "Don't get your hopes up too high" and "good friends can help you make the most of a bad night".
    • Rainbow Dash forgot this again in "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" after her Acquired Situational Narcissism arrived, thinking she was the protagonist of a superhero story.
    • The villain Mane-iac from "Power Ponies" knows that Humdrum is the Plucky Comic Relief Useless Sidekick to the titular characters and doesn't bother to incapacitate or capture him. Normally she'd be right, but this time around Humdrum is actually Spike who is far from useless. Surprise surprise, it bites her hard in the rear end.
    • Spike in the same episode, who makes the same assumptions about himself that the Mane-iac does before he manages to realize otherwise.
  • One episode of Bonkers featured a Screwy Squirrel-type character who goes on a crime spree. At first Bonkers thinks he's unstoppable, because the character always wins in his cartoons. Then Bonkers comes to the realization that this is his cartoon, and so is able to defeat him.
  • Futurama: Fry's Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe when he thinks he's a robot counts as this:
    Fry: Fear not, for I shall assist ye!
    Hermes: Robots don't say 'ye'! ...Quit thinking you're a robot!
    Fry: I'll show ye...
  • South Park
    • In "Stanley's Cup" the characters correctly realize that they are in a typical sports movie and thus deduce that are bound to win against all odds. They also understand that to achieve that, they need to invite a really good player to their team for the final match, which they also do. In the end they turn out to be Wrong Genre Savvy and are beaten brutally. The opposing team was a professional hockey team and Stanley's team were pee-wee players about five years old. There was no other protagonist, just a parody of the clichéd sports movie ending with what threatened to be a Shocking Swerve if it didn't cross the line twice. The pee-wee players are crushed brutally, deconstructing Underdogs Never Lose by showing pro players simply mauling tykes. After the underdogs do lose, the Littlest Cancer Patient dies from losing hope. It's Played for Laughs.
    • A three-parter has the gang playing as super heroes; however, when Cartman starts acting very villainous and the others try to call him out on it, he mistakenly believes he's still a superhero and it's the other boys who are the bad guys.
    • In the Towelie episode, all government agents and Corrupt Corporate Executives act like they're in an adventure movie with unlikely child protagonists trying to protect and help Towelie and continually defer to them...despite the boys having zero interest in playing along, merely wanting to play their new video game system. They are eventually dragged into the plot regardless.
    • Another episode has all the adults in town convinced they're in the middle of a disaster movie like The Day After Tomorrow, when in fact absolutely nothing is happening. Their belief is so strong they manage to act out the plot of a disaster movie anyway.
    • Yet another episode has a bunch of stereotypical ski movie types acting similar, despite Kyle and Stan's refusal to go along with the standard plot. The South Park creators LOVE this trope.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer Goes to College", Homer is convinced that college is nonstop Wacky Fratboy Hijinx a la Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds, which includes believing Dean Peterson of Springfield University is a Dean Bitterman type (the same episode doubling as the introduction of the original Dean Bitterman) and spends most of the episode pulling ill-conceived pranks on him, even going as far as to try to run him over with a car at one point. The irony is that Peterson is actually a good-natured younger guy who gets on well with the other students. And when he tries to pull a prank, his nerd classmates get expelled when they're caught.
    • In "Brother From Another Series", Bart suspects that his archnemesis Sideshow Bob is up to no good when he's released from prison to work for his brother. While scouting around for clues, the following dialogue ensues:
      Bart: He's more the same than ever. And I know where the evidence is. There's only one place where it could possibly be.
      Lisa: Bob's trailer at the construction site?
      Bart: (beat) That's even better! Let's go there.
      Lisa: What were you thinking?
      Bart: The haunted mine.
    • In "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" Bart becomes paranoid of bizarre conspiracies, believes the adults are spend most of their time indoors by day because of some hare-brained conspiracy he cooks up. But the reason was they were into Grampa's special tonic which gets them really horny.
    • "Das Bus", when the entire class gets stranded on an island, Bart is convinced that this is a castaway story like The Swiss Family Robinson. Sadly for him, they're actually in Lord of the Flies which isn't like that.note 
    • In "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment", Springfield starts a prohibition of alcohol, to which Homer becomes a bootlegger called "The Beer Baron". To stop him, Springfields calls on FBI agent Rex Banner, a parody of Eliot Ness from The Untouchables. However, Banner spends the episode thinking he's in 1920s Chicago, rather than Springfield, and is thus unable to see the obvious clues that Homer is the Beer Baron.
  • In The Fairly OddParents, Timmy's wish to never have been born was (admittedly) a desperate attempt to salvage his bruised ego (having obviously seen the Trope Namer movie). Unfortunately, Von Strangle uses the opportunity to test him in a particularly cruel way.
  • On Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Judy Ken Sebben a.k.a. Birdgirl seems to think she's in a typical superhero cartoon, much to Harvey's chagrin.
  • On an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, as Beezy is being dragged to the altar for his Shotgun Wedding, he remains confident that Big Damn Heroes will save him. Of course, being on a Sadist Show, the trope gets subverted, and the wedding goes through though it still gets annulled.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In "Krab-Borg", SpongeBob becomes convinced that Mr. Krabs is a robot thanks to having seen a movie where robots take over the Earth (and some coincidentally odd behavior on Mr. Krabs' part). After he and Squidward have ruthlessly interrogated the "robot", Squidward thinks to ask SpongeBob how the movie ended, to which he replies that it turned out there weren't any robots after all; it was a misunderstanding. Oops.
    • Mr. Krabs in the episode "Born Again Krabs" thought that the Flying Dutchman's visit is All Just a Dream, when it turns out it's actually real. It also turns out that by screwing around like everything is a dream, Krabs has driven the Krusty Krab into bankruptcy.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko is under the impression that he's a Warrior Prince on a Redemption Quest for disrespecting his lord and father. It's not until he hears said lord and father decide to wipe out a continent that he realizes that he's actually the Noble Demon destined to make a Heel-Face Turn — and because he dragged his feet for so long, he's going to have to go through hell to prove himself trustworthy.
  • When Finn gets "cursed" with the grass sword in Adventure Time, in the end he refuses to play along with hating the curse, and embraces it as a "pretty sweet" weapon. This actually negates the worst parts of the curse, and the mysterious old man who gave it to him ends the episode yelling admonishments at Finn for not playing along as he's supposed to.
  • In the Animated Music Video for DyE's "Fantasy", the Final Girl does absolutely everything right to survive if she were in a Slasher Movie. Unfortunately for her, she's actually in a Cosmic Horror Story, and makes the mistake of looking directly at the Big Bad.
  • In the first season of Martin Mystery, Diana would always think that the monsters were Scooby-Doo Hoax, when in fact they really were paranormal monsters/aliens.
  • In a few episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, Michelangelo loves monster movies and panics when he meets creatures from beneath the earth, body-snatching aliens, or eldritch horrors. Someone always dies horribly. Lucky for him, he's not in a monster movie — he's in a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • Vincent Van Ghoul, having been in numerous horror movies and monster films, is aware of all the tropes and clichés associated with them, and panics when he's trapped in a house with a monster. So what's the problem with his understandable turmoil? He's in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
    • In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Freddy, after years of solving mysteries, has become Genre Savvy enough to understand the inner workings of your standard Scooby-Doo Hoax. Unfortunately for Freddy, this time, the monsters are real.
    • The cast appeared in a few episodes of Dynomutt Dog Wonder, where they would assume they were dealing with a Scooby-Doo Hoax. Dynomutt and Blue Falcon's enemies are actual supervillains who want to hurt people.
  • Wunschpunsch: In an attempt to prevent Bubonic and Tyrannia from casting the spell of the week in "Plant Panic", Maurizio places some banana peels to make them trip and believes the plan would work because he's seen it happening in cartoons. They simply walk normally and are oblivious to the banana peels despite having stepped on some. Maurizio later falls for his own trap. Just like it happens in some cartoons (and other media sometimes).
  • Transformers Prime episode "Thirst" has Starscream and Knockout confronted by a Terrorcon, and Knockout suggests shooting in the head based on seeing human horror films, citing tactics for killing zombies. Except this isn't a human horror film. And depiction wise, the Terrorcons in this episode are more like vampires. Both of these lead to his plan failing.
  • An In-Universe case happens in Drawn Together. Captain Hero spends much of the first episode thinking that the reality show he and the other housemates are on is one in which the contestants vote each other out and the last one standing receives a prize; as such, if Clara succeeds in ejecting Foxxy, he will be one step closer to victory. Foxxy tries, in vain, to convince him that it's not that kind of reality show.
    • In another episode, Hero is excited when he hears that Greeks are moving in next door, thinking the new neighbors are from a frat house. He tries to join in by wearing a toga at the house, but finds out that it's really a family from Greece.
  • In Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, Krys suffered under the delusion that he was the hero who would save the day, despite not having any powers and Rainbow Brite being way more badass than him. He eventually manages to save the day when he is given a powerful weapon and finally lets go of his pride to work together with Rainbow Brite.
  • Gosalyn after meeting the titular Darkwing Duck and hearing his exposition that he saved from criminals working for Tarus Bulba that he and Darkwing Duck are "sworn enemies". Darkwing regretfully admits Tarus Bulba doesn't even know he exists, though he's slightly off, Tarus Bulba only sees him as a nuisance.
  • In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, an evil cult called the Magisters attempt to use Stonehenge as a magical weapon of mass destruction. After performing their rituals, they find the structure does absolutely nothing magical. They get carted off by the British Army too early to learn that Stonehenge is actually connected to aliens.
  • Detentionaire has Brad, whose dad is a famous blockbuster movie star, leading to him misinterpreting his life as an epic action movie (with him as the star, of course) and acting accordingly. He does have moments of correct Genre Savvy, but those are few and far between. He just really doesn't get that it's Lee who is the main character, not him, and that life (in this case, at least) is less gunfire and explosions, and more mysteries and conspiracies.
  • Wander over Yonder episode "The Hero" has Brad Starlight who claims to be the hero of a fairy tale and is out to save the princess from an evil dragon king and is destined to marry her. He's actually her Stalker with a Crush who can't accept no for an answer and is under the delusion that he's a hero. He thinks Wander, the real hero, is his goofy sidekick, Sylvia, Wander's partner, is a dumb beast he uses as his steed, and the competent princess who genuinely loves the dragon king is a Damsel in Distress being help captive. He tries to kidnap her, refusing to admit he was wrong, and she subsequently kicks his hide.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Sarah has a disturbing tendency to drag people into her delusions. First she gets Gumball and Darwin stuck in an eighties sports movie by bragging about how "hardcore" they are. Then she starts treating their life like a sitcom, and even brings her own laugh track. Gumball and Darwin are well aware of this, but pointing out her obsessive tendencies only prompts her to change her role in the script.
    • Clare Cooper from "The Others" treats her life as a teenage drama with pessimism and depression about her world, unable to realize, as Gumball and Darwin point out, she lives in a world where the students involve a T-rex, a ghost and a banana with a butt, and it has easy, fantastical solutions to literally any problem.
  • Magpie from Beware the Batman is the Dark Knight's Stalker with a Crush with psychotic tendencies. Apparently, since she's the show's equivalent of Catwoman, she seems to think she and Batman are in love and want to be together. She reacts violently when she's told Batman was just being nice to her because she was in prison.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality is a major theme in Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero, so the heroes are fairy Genre Savvy unless they misjudge what genre (if any) a dimension falls under.
    • In the noir-themed "Plantywood: City of Flora", Penn follows a chain of clues starting with a mysterious female client at the start, while Sashi wanted to investigate Redwood's (Rippen) last known whereabouts. Penn's plan does ultimately work, but following Sashi's plan would've been much faster and more direct.
    • "Chuckle City" involves the heroes being cops in a Cloudcuckooland dimension. Throughout the episode Sashi continually tries to use Cop Show tropes like Hot Pursuit and Car Fu, despite Penn pointing out that they won't work because this particular world runs on Rule of Funny rather than Rule of Cool.