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Fourth Wall Myopia

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"Don't you get it, Ben? Ishiyama doesn't know he's a program in a game. This is all real to him."
Gwen Tennyson, Ben 10

How can you tell a badass antihero from a violent terrorist? How can you tell The Cassandra from a rambling madman? The answer is: You can't. Not by observing and interacting with them, anyway.

The audience knows things that characters don't. They know that the USS Enterprise won't blow up, or that Spider-Man won't become evil, at least not for long. They know what is real and what is not. Characters, however, don't know that. They don't know they are in a story and don't know who the main characters are, even if they are Genre Savvy. Even if they are willing to share their story, they can't always trust each other.

When viewers forget about this fact, strange things will happen. A reasonable helmsman on a starship, who objects to going on a Suicide Mission, will be seen as a whiny Dirty Coward, and when The Captain is Court-martialed for his decision, viewers won't understand why. For Genre Savvy viewers the captain's plan had a 100% success chance, but for characters it was more like a 99% chance to get their entire crew killed and their ship destroyed. Viewers won't approve the Super Registration Act, but for comic book world bystanders, superheroes are masked armed men with unknown agendas. They don't know what to expect from them, and have all the reasons to be paranoid, especially considering that Face Heel Turns are not uncommon for supers. A Cowboy Cop finally arrests John The Ripper and beats him until he confesses his crimes, but an Amoral Attorney gets him released. Viewers are infuriated, but nobody in-universe can be sure that the cop caught the right man (unlike us, they didn't see him do it), and they can no longer trust any evidence brought in by the arresting officer. Viewers are calling the king of Arcadia stupid because he refuses to believe that Sir Gabriel actually saw the Beast From Beyond, but the king is more concerned that one hundred men came to his palace this month and claimed that they saw the Beast, which means the treasury has to pay for another mental asylum because the existing ones are overcrowded. We can go on forever.

Essentially, this trope is when the audience complains that the characters in the world of the story, unlike the audience, do not actually realise that they're living in a story and act accordingly.

There is another form, which is when viewers don't have myopia themselves, but project it on the author, which causes the false claim that Strawman Has a Point. For example, the admiral who accuses The Captain of reckless endangerment may be perceived as a "strawman with a point", while the author originally intended to make the point that the Captain is in fact reckless.

This is closely related to Like You Would Really Do It; viewers know something is unlikely because it would disrupt the Status Quo, but for characters in the setting, there's no reason to think this way. See also Not Badass Enough for Fans, Draco in Leather Pants/Ron the Death Eater, Rooting for the Empire, where the audience and characters have completely different values (the audience values coolness and badassery, the characters would prefer someone who wouldn't try to kill them). See also Dramatic Irony, where this applies to plot rather than values. Viewers suffering from this may also consider certain plot developments to be potential Headscratchers when they are, in fact, simply a result of the characters not being aware that they're in a story nor possessing Genre Savvy or omnipotence; this often takes the form of complaints that the characters "should have just" taken a different course of action in order to resolve the plot easier or even not doing anything at all, not stopping to realise that the characters don't know things such as what other characters in different locations may be doing or how the narrative they're in ends.

Naturally, this would be justified if a character was in fact a Fourth-Wall Observer (thus giving them the same amount of knowledge as the audience), but those are still the exception to the rule.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Boruto: Part of the reason Boruto was seen as Unintentionally Unsympathetic for a while by some viewers can be traced back to this. He's supposed to have a valid point about Naruto being a bit of a distant father due to work, and that Naruto needs to spend more time with his family. However, given that pretty much everyone who watches Boruto has either seen the original Naruto, or at least knows the basics of it, its hard to find Boruto likeable at first because of how good his life is compared to Naruto's, and the fact that said viewers are more likely to look past Naruto's mistakes as a father due to understanding the difficulties Naruto experienced due to lacking parents. So while Boruto is completely justified in being upset at Naruto, from a viewers perspective, Boruto looks like a spoiled child who is complaining about something he shouldn't take for granted.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: While the audience is meant to sympathize with the plight of Ghouls, there is a certain in-universe logic to the laws concerning them and CCG's Zero Tolerance policy concerning their existence. Though the audience knows there are gentle Ghouls that attempt to live without killing, the fact remains that the entire species are super-powered beings that can pass themselves off as human right up until they start to tear people apart and eat them, while even the supposedly "good" ghouls are still affected by a hellish hunger which they may give in to at any time. They are essentially a species of Serial Killers with superpowers.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Quite a few fans are angry at Ootomo for her blaming Ishigami for ruining her relationship with Ogino despite all he did to protect her, even though he deliberately kept her in the dark. From her perspective a boy she barely knew attacked her boyfriend, was accused of being a stalker, never refuted the claim or explained himself, and her boyfriend broke up with her several days later. What other conclusion was she supposed to come to based on the available information? The phenomenon happened again when Tsubame finally told Ootomo the truth; while it is sad that their friendship ultimately cracked because of this, from Ootomo's perspective she's been suddenly thrust with information she should have gotten a long time ago if true, while she's face value supposed to forgive somebody who didn't even exonerate himself on her friend's word.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: This is common, since the series runs a lot on its Jigsaw Puzzle Plot and driving questions of why things are happening in the first place, which means that there are naturally things that are revealed to the audience but not In-Universe or alternatively that a Genre Savvy audience can figure out before the characters do, which causes some sections of the fandom to get impatient with the characters for not figuring things out themselves, often forgetting that they don't know all of what's going on, or to be irritated at some decisions that are taken with the information the characters have available, not realizing that there's no way they can know something that just got revealed to the audience through another source or sometimes not taking into account the personality or motivations of certain characters who will do what they think it's best, based on what they know rather than doing the "logical" answer that only the audience could possibly realize.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Friendly Foreign Exchange Student Spider Man: Much of the reason for Peter and Bakugo's conflict being so divisive is due to this trope. Peter sees Bakugo as little more than a selfish jerk, but the audience knows that he's had Hidden Depths from day one; Bakugo sees Peter as little more than a showboating goof, but the audience knows that he's gone through — and is still going through — his own Trauma Conga Line, so the fact that the characters keep fighting because of their shared lack of fourth-wall knowledge results in fans going back and forth on who's in the right. The incident of Bakugo accidentally insulting the Avengers ends being a huge example of this; while many labeled it as Bakugo crossing the Moral Event Horizon, that only works because the readers are the only ones who would be aware that Bakugo said anything wrong.
  • Null: Readers have the benefit of knowing things that Team RW_Y don't during the encounter at the docks, such as that Juniper was on the Bullhead that Penny shot down. From their perspective, they had encountered a dangerous criminal working alongside a terrorist group in the middle of a theft, and attempted to apprehend him and stop said terrorists from escaping. They had no knowledge of Jaune's circumstances, or that the heist was also the last stage of a rescue mission. Additionally Team RW_Y were willing to temporarily retreat until Penny was hacked by the conspiracy causing her to instigate the battle that led to Juniper's death. It should be noted however, that Yang openly did not care who was on the bullhead until Jaune reveals his mom was there. Similarly, Ruby and Weiss do not show any sign of regret over the bullhead's destruction and death of everyone aboard.
  • Turtles: A strange example. Many readers are quick to unfavorably judge the student council despite the fact that their perspective is filtered through the eyes of Koume, someone with an inherent bias against them.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Melody sometimes gets hit with this for believing Morgana's story that the trident belongs to her and was stolen from her, then subsequently handing said trident over to her. Detractors typically point out how Obviously Evil Morgana is, but Melody is a character in the story, and so has no reason to take this into consideration after how well Morgana has treated her.
  • Zootopia: A lot of the criticisms leveled against Bogo's actions as discriminatory and unfair, both by the audience and by characters like Nick and Judy, rely on knowledge that Judy really is an animal with extraordinary skills and drive that could surpass that of several more experienced officers combined, something that Bogo doesn't have any first-hand knowledge of, as he had no direct hand in her hiring. He just had her word to go by about her skills, only had her on the force for a day and a half before she started being deliberately disobedient and causing problems, and he answered her only call for backup to find no evidence of her story. When Judy later proves what she's capable of, Bogo's opinion of her completely flip-flops and he actually shows her respect, now having seen what the audience already knew.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future: Various internet lists detail "plot holes" such as George McFly not getting suspicious of his son Marty looking just like the Marty he met back in 1955 and/or recognizing the names of the planet "Vulcan" or "Darth Vader" from Star Trek and Star Wars that came out years later.
    • For the resemblance to Marty from 1955, his son ends up looking like 1955 Marty exactly 30 years later, long after he would have remembered the exact facial details of someone he had met for a few hours over the course of a week when he was in high school. While the audience is exposed to only the characters shown on screen in the film, George would have met and/or seen thousands and thousands of people since he was in high school. Finally, while Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover don’t look much alike (because, Doylistically, they're played by different actors who are unrelated to each other), presumably there are some shared facial features visible to the characters that leaves little doubt that Marty looks like his father. In addition, the third film shows that shows that George's great-grandfather and grandfather also looked exactly like Marty, and given that he probably would have seen pictures of them, plus his grandfather would likely have still been alive into George's adulthood, he would more likely notice Marty resembling them than he would "Calvin Klein".
    • For the science fiction references, while they clearly hear names they are already familiar with, George has just been woken up from a deep sleep (doesn't wake up from a guy putting head phones on him) with screamingly loud music being blasted into his ear drums, and in his state of being partially awake and filled with terror hears an "alien" mention a couple of names he's never heard before. It's not like Marty repeated himself or allowed him to take notes, so, while he is shown remembering the names the following day, likely because it's fresh on his mind, he would be unlikely to recognize those names a week later, much less one or two decades later.
  • While there are many legitimate criticisms of how the Jedi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy dropped the ball in their investigation (or lack thereof) into the true identity of the Sith Lord, in universe, Chancellor Palpatine isn't as blatantly obviously the culprit as fans sometimes claim. First and foremost, the characters have no idea that they are in prequel films, or what actor plays the man who runs the later Galactic Empire. And while they have their suspicions that there's a broader conspiracy afoot, the war with the powerful, dangerous political faction, led by someone they know is a Sith Lord, is obviously going to be their priority. Count Dooku did tell Obi-Wan that he was the apprentice and that another Sith Lord was controlling the Republic's Senate, but at the time, Obi-Wan had every reason to doubt Dooku's words, since Dooku has apparently embraced both the Dark Side, which corrupts its users, and the Sith ideology, which teaches manipulation and betrayal.
  • Home Alone:
    • In the first movie, the officer gives the house a cursory glance and declares it to be secure, which people often consider to be an example of Adults Are Useless and idiot police. However, in-universe, he can't exactly barge in without a warrant — which he doesn't have — and therefore his suggesting to "count your kids again" actually is justified in-universe.
    • Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House: The writers seem to have had a bad case of this, particularly in regards to Natalie. Take the scene where she's mad at Kevin. The audience knows that he's trying to stop the burglars, but he provides no evidence and no one at the party sees anything (which the film itself acknowledges). As such, Natalie is well within her rights to think he ruined the party on purpose because he wants to sabotage her relationship with Peter.
    • Home Sweet Home Alone: While some of Max's antics can be seen as one big Kick the Dog after Kick the Dog, it's not unreasonable for him to assume the home invaders are here for him — we the viewers know that the McKenzies aren't there for him, but he, a child, only hears them say that they want to take "him" and sell "him" (the doll) to some old lady, and, from his point of view, a pair of human traffickers understandably deserve what he inflicts on them.
  • The classic "plot-hole" complaint / nitpick about Raiders of the Lost Ark, as discussed here, is that Indiana Jones should have just let the Nazis take the Ark of the Covenant back to Berlin where, upon opening it, the Nazi High Command would have suffered the same "melted by divine power" fate that the movie's bad guys did. note  Leaving aside the fact that this wouldn't have made for a particularly exciting action-adventure film or active protagonist, this hinges on retroactive fourth-wall knowledge of what the Ark actually does that none of the characters in the film have until Indy realises it seconds before the Ark is opened at the climax. The viewer who has seen Raiders multiple times knows that there's nothing to worry about, but as far as Indy himself is concerned for 99.5% of the movie, the Ark is a powerful supernatural weapon that must be kept out Nazi hands at all costs.
  • Trading Places: While the audience knows that Billy Ray really did accidentally bump into Louis and had no intention of stealing his briefcase, from Louis's perspective it comes across as Billy Ray just getting caught in the act and trying to claim it was a misunderstanding so he can avoid arrest, especially since he had previously encountered Billy Ray pretending to be a blind amputee and, in this instance, he also ran away when Louis alerted the police.

  • In American Psycho Patrick Bateman's friends and colleagues brush him off when he confesses to his atrocities, usually thinking he's joking. While the ease with which they do so is part of the novel's satire of self-absorbed yuppie culture (realistically, you'd think Patrick would at least earn a reputation for being tasteless or having a bad sense of humor once he does this enough), the audience can only think they're outright stupid or evil for doing so because the audience knows Bateman is telling the truth (at least as far as Bateman knows.) From their point of view, they haven't heard any media coverage of a new serial killer in town, and even if they had, Patrick doesn't live or act like most real or even fictional serial killers (at least at the time. He did become a Trope Codifier for many modern serial killer tropes). And if he was a killer, why confess so freely? That he's joking, vying for attention, or just acting weird for no or some harmless reason when he casually claims he's killed his friends and dozens of others is the far more obvious conclusion, and so the one people go with.
  • Wolves of Mercy Falls Series: While the reader is fully aware that the wolves are people and have no control over their actions, most of the residents of Mercy Falls don't have this knowledge. All they know is that they are living with a surprisingly large yet elusive wolf pack that lives uncomfortably close to humans and semi-regularly attack people. Any possibility of coexistence should have gone out the window years ago after Grace was pulled off her swingset and dragged into the woods and almost eaten. The hunt at the beginning of Shiver is depicted as horrible from the wolves' perspective, but from the townsfolk's it's simply prompted by the death of one of their own. From any other viewpoint, Grace and Olivia would be Too Dumb to Live for retaining positive opinions of the wolves after being attacked and bitten while Mr. Culpeper would be lauded as a hero for protecting his community.
  • The Zombie Knight:
    • When Hector was wanted after the incidents at his school, the readers knew that he was, in fact, the good guy. This wasn't visible to anyone in-story though; to them he was just the weird kid with scary powers who encased a couple of people in metal. They didn't know that the people he killed were mindless zombies controlled by Geoffrey.
    • Sanko's behavior in the Ranlords vs. Vanguard arc makes a whole lot more sense if you consider this trope. Of course we know that the Rainlords didn't actually betray the Vanguard, but from Sanko's point of view, there is only evidence that incriminates the Rainlords. When they refuse to cooperate with the investigation, this marks them as guilty in her eyes which sets off the fight that might have been avoided otherwise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Baltar's acquittal in Season 3 can seem to the audience like a stupid decision considering all the terrible things he's done, but it's easy to forget that the worst of them are still unknown to the public at the time. No one knew that he betrayed humanity to the Cylons (albeit unintentionally), nor that he allowed the nuke that destroyed Cloud 9 to fall into their hands. He was on trial primarily for being a negligent president who collaborated with the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, which is true, but it's also true that had he refused, they likely would have simply executed him and found another figurehead. (And indeed, the one time he tried to stand up to them, they jammed a gun into his temple.)
  • Big Brother: Because this show in particular makes heavy use of the Confession Cam, as well as the fact viewers are able to see in multiple rooms at once (or swap at will in impossible ways), it's not uncommon to hear people dismiss the players as "Stupid" or "Idiots" because they can't see what we can. The confessionals are still private after all.
  • Mr. Robot: Invoked in season 1. Elliot's inner monologue is framed as him talking to his imaginary friend, but he sometimes acknowledges that the theoretical person he's talking to knows more than he does. This leads to a Bait-and-Switch in one sequence, where a plan he makes works out when it seemingly shouldn't, and it's then revealed that he'd done something off screen to make it work. He then effectively tells his imaginary friend/the audience that sometime, he knows more than they do.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Deanna Troi is often mocked by fans for supposedly using her telepathic and empathic abilities to discover and state the obvious. However, the things she often states tend to only be obvious to the audience who gets to hear the soundtrack and easily see outside the bridge of the ship; its her job to bring the other characters up to speed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: A considerable amount of ink has been spilled over the questionable actions of the God-Emperor of Mankind, especially during the Great Crusade and in the run up to the Horus Heresy. One commonly cited example is taking Angron away from his followers on Nuceria and leaving them to be slaughtered for rebellion. Ultimately what it comes down to is that for all his incredible power, the Emperor is still ultimately human at heart and made a ton of serious mistakes.

    Video Games 
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: The boss fight against Evan is played for laughs because players of the first game know that Adam the Clown's death wasn't Frank's fault. Adam attacked first and slumped over on his own chainsaws while they were still active. In the context of the story, however, Evan met his brother's killer (who had just expressed no remorse for killing him and had also callously insulted his family) and wanted to avenge his fallen brother.
  • Elden Ring: Some players complain that Melina gets angry at you and refuses to speak to you ever again if you inherit the Frenzied Flame to spare her life by burning the Erdtree in her stead, because you can later purge the Frenzied Flame from yourself with Miquella's Needle, preventing any of the negative effects of becoming its host. A particular point of contention is that you can even have that item in your inventory when Melina makes her declaration, so she's supposedly being illogical for still insisting that you not use the Flame. The problem with that logic is that neither your character nor Melina have any way of knowing you can purge the Flame at that point in the game. The first item that might point you at Miquella's Needle is a merchant note from earlier in the game, and it does indeed say that the needle can ward off the outer gods and avert the fate of the Lord of Chaos... but when you actually get the needle (by trading it with Malenia's rebirth flower for her own Unalloyed Gold Needle), it does no such thing, because the needle is unfinished. In order for it to work you have to implement twisted time by using it in front of Dragonlord Placidusax, and there's no way to get to him until after you inherit the Flame, burn down the Erdtree, and cause Melina to leave. Furthermore, while the item's description tells you all of this, in-universe your character never even gets confirmation that they're supposed to use it this way. The only thing that would even lead you to connect the needle and Placidusax is that flower-Malenia gives you one of Placidusax's scales along with it in the aforementioned trade, which could be taken as a hint to go use the needle in his presence. Essentially you're risking the destruction of all life everywhere forever based solely on a vague hint and a hunch, which would be more than enough reason for Melina to disparage you even if it does end up working.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Many people, such as Awkward Zombie, poke fun of how Obviously Evil Xehanort is yet our trio still trust him. Or how Zack and Terra would trust the first person they see even if it's a Disney villain. Forgetting, of course, that in the world of Kingdom Hearts, Disney movies do not exist (Thus Terra has no way to know about them). Terra usually learns his lesson — and if anything this falls into the Accidental Aesop of "Don't trust the first person you meet". Not only that, but Aqua and Ventus also do the exact same thing of trusting the first person they meet and taking things at face value — but are often forgiven because the first person they meet is usually a protagonist — if they meet a villain first off (i.e. Maleficent or Hades), they instantly spell out that they are evil.
  • Life Is Strange 2: Players are primed to hate the antagonists because they are either racist or are against the pair because they are on the run for the murder of a cop. However, only the players are actually aware of a few things:
    • A) The cop was careless and cowardly, and shot Esteban because the cop couldn't respect basic gun safety (i.e. don't point it at someone unless you plan to use it).
    • B) Players of the first game are already aware that telekinetic powers exist in the game's universe and the cop's death was simply an accident because Daniel activated his power in a peak of emotional distress and trauma. This is not common knowledge in-universe.
    • C) Some of the antagonists have a legitimate grievance against Daniel and Sean depending on player choices:
      • In Wastelands, Merill catches Finn and Daniel trying to steal from him and not only holds the gun at them, but he points it at Cassidy and Sean as well because Merill thought they were all together. (Even though the players know that Cassidy and Sean were just at the wrong place at the wrong time and were actually trying to stop the heist).
      • Wolves draws attention to this by having a cop point out the unlikelihood of a series of random accidents following Sean and Daniel across the United States. Even though players are fully aware of the circumstances of those events.
  • Mr. Love: Queen's Choice: Season 2 Chapter 20 sparked controversy as to how thoroughly the Heroine, in-story, understood that Lucien did not approve his research team to apply the first batch of bullets used in Chapters 13 and 14 onto her. This sent Lucien's CN server fans into confusion and rampage; leading to Lucien's fan communities forming armies bombarding developer suggestion mail boxes on issues not about Lucien, but over the Heroine's character development by voicing their objections as to how their Player Character — the character representing the players, who has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory from S1, lost her cool and lashed out on Lucien('s car) whereas players were already on board with the understanding that Lucien should be trusted, no matter what kinds of shady moves he makes. This issue also brought up the question as to how much of a weight adjustment should papergames make to retain their consumers' rights by leaving the necessary room for players to see themselves as the Player Character, while giving their writers more creative freedom to develop the Heroine's own in-story unique character.
  • Persona 3: The audience is shown that Shinjiro is a cool guy with a genuine heart of gold that deeply regrets accidentally killing Ken's mom; however, from Ken's perspective, he's just the guy that killed his mom and ran away from the consequences for years. Shinjiro is also a decent party member to use while Ken is a major case of Overshadowed by Awesome. Unsurprisingly, a good chunk of the fanbase sees Ken as unsympathetic and doesn't consider his point of view.
  • The Last of Us Part II: Part of why Abby is seen unsympathetically by some fans.
    • First, we've played as Joel in the first game and are thus aware of the complexities of his character, and the understandable (albeit selfish) reasons why he killed the Fireflies to save Ellie. From Abby's perspective, however, he'd just be an unrepentant murderer as she only knows that he killed someone she cared about in cold blood. The reality is that she wouldn't be aware of Joel as a person unlike the player, nor would she be aware that Joel came to see Ellie as a daughter. Also, while she was gleefully going to kill the pregnant Dina to avenge the equally pregnant Mel, she had no way to realize nor would have believed that Ellie didn't know that Mel was pregnant.
    • There's also the complaints that Abby being made sympathetic by caring for Lev is "clichè" or "not enough to redeem her", when it's basically the same as Joel having been made sympathetic by caring for Ellie. The difference is that the players didn't hate Joel before he met Ellie, as instead of seeing his horrible acts in the past, we only hear mentions of it: they were enough for Tommy to want to permanently break ties with Joel and had "nothing but nightmares" from what he did to keep them alive, Tess refers to her and Joel as "shitty people" and Joel basically confesses to Ellie that he's killed innocent people before. One can thus only imagine Joel's past dark deeds, while his horrific murder by Abby is shown in clear and gruesome detail, causing far more resistance to empathize with her character despite being portrayed as similar to Joel's past self and how he turned softer by caring for a child.
    • Ellie on the other hand, could have easily been the villain from another perspective. Everything Joel did in the first game was, from Abby’s perspective, a perfect reason to do what she did in the second game. But it inadvertently pushes Ellie to get revenge on everyone involved, crossing the line at some point during her murder quest but definitely before she threatens to kill an unrelated third party in front of a nearly lynched and exhausted Abby. This is only tolerable due to how easy Abby was to hate for some.
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale): While Larry is a Jerkass who makes a bad first impression by saying they should effectively kill Duck because he might be infected, his hatred of and once trying to kill Lee is pretty justifiable from his point of view; players know that Lee can be a good person deep down who's trying to protect people, especially Clementine during the zombie apocalypse. But from Larry's perspective, Lee was convicted of killing a State Senator, making him seem like one of the last kinds of person you want with you in a survival situation where law and order has broken down, so even after Lee saves Larry by helping get his meds (Larry doesn't witness all the trouble Lee goes to for them), he still has every reason to see Lee as a potential threat to him, his daughter, and the children in the group, even if practically throwing him to the zombies is going a little far.

  • Cucumber Quest: In light of the Princess R competition, Almond received a lot of hate in certain circles for being antagonistic towards the Nightmare Knight. However, the only one to have seen his softer side thus far is Princess Parfait; additionally, nobody in Cucumber's party knows that the Nightmare Knight who nearly sent them into the sun was most likely a fake. And Almond does have good reason to be legitimately concerned that Cucumber is in danger, since the Disaster Masters want to get rid of the Legendary Hero and the Nightmare Knight is much stronger than he is.

    Web Video 
  • Carmilla the Series: The section of the fandom that tends to bash Laura for disliking and distrusting Mattie tends to fall under this. We know that Mattie (probably) didn't kill the newspaper kids, being well-versed in genre conventions and tropes and knowing that Mattie is a textbook Red Herring. and to us, she seems like a pretty cool, if morally ambiguous character. So, to the audience, it's rather obvious that Mattie isn't the culprit. Laura, however, has no reason to believe that. Between Mattie threatening to murder Laura the first time they met, attacking and nearly killing Perry in a fit of rage, and openly admitting to killing other people, from Laura's point of view, of course Mattie's the prime suspect. In any real life murder investigation, Mattie would be arrested straight away.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: Dana gets a lot of flack from some fans for not always forgiving Terry when he misses dates because of Batman duties and making his life difficult, even though as far as she knows, he's just an old man's part-time assistant who's doing a very bad job of balancing his new responsibilities with his prior relationships.
  • DuckTales (2017): "The Ballad of Duke Baloney": It can be easy to forget that, when Scrooge takes out a huge wad of cash tied with a gold money clip, visibly changes his mind, and tosses Duke a dime instead, while we the audience know Scrooge is reminded of his younger self and wants to inspire him the way he was inspired as a kid, Duke isn't privy to that background knowledge, so from his perspective it looks like an obviously rich duck with cash to burn made the conscious decision to short-change him (especially since a dime would be worth less due to inflation and, unlike in Scotland, it's legal tender). Scrooge revealing he's "the richest duck in the world" (but still not paying full price) just further hurts his case, and makes his gesture of "teaching you self-reliance" come across as Condescending Compassion. (How Duke reacted was still extreme, though.)
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros: While Daisy is very unforgiving toward Donald early in Season 1, it's also easy to forget she doesn't know the damn good reasons Donald has to ditch her that the audience is in on. For example, in the first episode she takes the day off to be with Donald on his birthday, only for him to leave her stranded in a very sketchy and unsafe part of town for hours on end after promising he'd be right over, and she implies this is far from the first time he's done something like this. During their romantic dinner when Donald is trying to woo her back, she can tell he's hiding a big secret about his new life from her (since he claims he's unemployed yet hired her three nieces to house-keep), and then ditches her a few times during said dinner. While the audience knows he has good reasons for the above (his Mean Boss called him in to work, his house burned down, he had to save the world), Daisy is Locked Out of the Loop, so from her perspective he's just being secretive and unreliable as usual.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1": The cause of the backlash over everyone refusing to believe and walking out on Twilight. Twilight made the same poor decisions as themexamples  and discredited herself with her behavior throughout the episodeexamples , hence Twilight immediately accepting their apologies and spending as much time admitting she was wrong as well. However, as the episode takes place almost entirely from Twilight's perspective, it disproportionally shows why her actions seem justifiable while the justification for everyone else'sexamples  receive little emphasis. It also overlooks the obvious proof to audiences that Cadance was an imposter (not remembering "ladybugs awake", their different magic color) is something nopony but Twilight knows and that magic color is never confirmed as diegetic respectively, as well as Twilight failing to mention either thing when making her case.
    • "The Times They Are a Changeling": While it's very easy to call out the ponies, especially Shining Armor, only the audience and Spike are aware that Thorax is good. The others retain very personal memories of the changelings' invasion some time prior as their only impression of them, hence their reactions.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: There's been a lot said about how unrealistic it is that Mariner would be allowed to serve on her own mother's ship and that such a thing would never be allowed in a real military situation... which forgets the fact that it's actually a secret arrangement until the first season finale, and is only possible because Mariner's father is an admiral who can override such regulations if he wants (Mariner was actually on his ship before he booted her to the Cerritos). This may be due to the fact that Mariner and Carol Freeman do interact as mother-and-daughter plenty in the first season when they're alone, which keeps the fact at the forefront of the audience's mind. It also does cause a lot of friction when the secret is exposed, and later discussions imply that it's still continuing under Admiral Freeman's say-so.