Idiosyncratic Episode Naming

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Most prominently noted in Friends, many shows utilize quirky episode naming conventions. Though the episode title is usually not even broadcast with the show (usually only Animated Series do this), this information is gleaned from press releases, closed captioning, and the guide information. Of course, in literature it can be more obvious. Pilots are exempt from this, as pilots do not usually have titles, and are usually made before anyone on the production staff comes up with the idea to name episodes idiosyncratically. (Although Futurama did call its pilot "Space Pilot 3000", just to be different, and as a nod to MST3K since Groening is a fan).

Now, if the names get too in-jokey, quirky or obscure they can have an adverse effect in being difficult to correlate the plot of the episode when its name means absolutely nothing.

Single-episode exceptions to the rule are Odd Name Out.

Compare Character Name and the Noun Phrase if they're used in a series, Unusual Chapter Numbers, Theme Naming and Title Drop. One sub-trope is Episode Finishes the Title.

Examples of Idiosyncratic Episode Naming include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Many anime series use other words in place of "episode" when ordering episodes (however, some are specific to the original manga versions).
  • Another very popular trick is using music-related terminology or music piece/song titles in episode naming:
    • Black Heaven uses the names of famous rock and roll songs as episode titles.
    • Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 uses 1970s heavy metal/hard rock song titles as episode titles.
    • Cowboy Bebop used episode titles designed to be reminiscent of song titles (sometimes actual titles) or styles: "Waltz for Venus", "Jupiter Jazz", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Mushroom Samba", etc. The finale was titled "The Real Folk Blues", also the name of the show's end Theme Tune, and the movie is called "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".
    • The chapters of the Cromartie High School manga were all references to song, albums, or lyrics. Similarly, the four volumes of the DVD in the American release were named after song and had covers parodying the names of albums.
    • Eureka Seven likewise uses variations of song titles for most of its episodes, with electronic music being the most common genre. AlternativeSoundtrack
    • Kyoto Animation's adaptation of Kanon used a classical music subgenre in each episode title, ending with "Kanon". Studio Toei's version used track titles from the original game.
    • The episode names of Piano are Italian musical terms, starting with "con", which indicate how something should be performed—for example "con amore" (with love).
    • Every episode of Scrapped Princess starts with a musical movement style ("Elegy", "March", "Concerto", etc.) and usually ends with a short description of a major character to be introduced in that chapter.
    • While the individual episodes of Simoun weren't named idiosyncratically, the DVDs were, using musical terms: Choir of Pairs, Orchestra of Betrayal, Rondo of Loss, Crescendo of Lamentation, and Song of Prayer. It makes sense, since the teams of pilots that flew the titular aircraft were called chor (choir).
    • Hentai artist Black Dog names all of his Sailor Moon works after Stands from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure—all of which are themselves named after songs of bands from the 70s and 80s.
    • Shinyaku Ookami Ga Kuru uses song titles from Rammstein.
  • The Hellsing manga is using (famous) game titles as their chapters, such as Warcraft or Final Fantasy.
  • Each episode of Genshiken has a long, convoluted, scholarly sounding title (e.g., "The Sublimating Effects of the Dissimilation Brought on Through Makeup and Costume on Mental Obstacles", an episode about cosplay, likely because Genshiken itself (or rather what its an abbreviation of) is a long scholarly sounding euphemism for "anime/manga fanclub."
  • Episodes of Galaxy Angel are phrased as titles to very strange recipes, such as "Milfeulle's Special made Cake for Surprise & Hug Hug Hug Pot," "Ambition and Poverty BBQ Chicken & Chain-linked Noodles without the Link" and "Dried Pork Legs & Top-Gun Fried Tofu mixed with Vegetables." Keep in mind that the series has Edible Theme Naming concerning the girls.
  • Princess Tutu, Rozen Maiden, and Elfen Lied all have episode titles in German. Each episode of Princess Tutu is also titled after the piece of classical music that's most prominent in the episode.
  • In Weiss Kreuz, episode titles begin with a single Gratuitous German word. Weiss Kreuz Gluhen, meanwhile, uses the titles of the Weiss's previously released Image Songs as episode titles.
  • The Slayers, like W.I.T.C.H., used the alphabet: Each episode in the original 26-ep season followed an alphabetical pattern. Each title was a short exclamation, followed by a longer explanation, and the exclamations were alphabetical: "Angry! Lina's Furious Dragon Slave!" is the opening, continuing with "Bad! Mummy Men Aren't My Type!" and so on, through "Zap! Victory Is Always Mine!"
    • This was dropped on Next and Try, but revived with Revolution ("AMAZING - The Astonishing Dragon Slave!?" to "MISTY - The Blades Are Brought Down!") and Evolution-R ("NEW COMER? A new adventure begins!" to "ZERO HOUR! Those heading to destruction!"), which had 26 episodes between them.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura's episodes all started with "Sakura and..." or "Sakura's..."
  • Tenchi Universe uses "No Need for..." as its episode titles, usually followed by a noun relating to the plot of the episode and an exclamation point. For instance, "No Need for Swimsuits!" was the episode focusing on the group's trip to a beach-like planet and the girls' subsequent entry into a bikini contest. This is significant because "Muyo" from the title of the OVA, Tenchi Muyo (and part of all the series' Japanese titles), literally means "No Need For" - in other words, "No Need for Tenchi". (Among several other meanings.)
  • Mahou Sensei Negima had all of its titles in Latin in the first series anime. The second series anime's titles were all quotes from various characters.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico's Japanese episode titles were all references to cliche phrases or words in Anime that were relevant to the episode: for instance, the second episode's title could be translated "Leave 'The Blue Earth' to Me".
  • Up until season 5, nearly all of Detective Conan's titles would be "(insert victim/event) murder case".
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann uses a line of dialog from each episode as it's title. Each Story Arc uses a different character's dialog—first Kamina, then Nia, then Rossiu, and ultimately Simon. The episode titles are also written in a font appropriate to their speaker (Kamina and Simon's titles are in a graffiti style, Nia's are extremely cutesy, and Rossiu's are angular and futuristic.)
  • The Law of Ueki episodes all are named "The Law of ___". Example: "Episode 16: The Law of the Awakening Organ".
  • Magikano episodes always ask a question. Example: "Are They Really Cursed Cat Panties?!"
  • Every episode of Samurai Champloo is written with four kanji that form a Yojijukugo (four-character idiomatic compound is one translation), which would never translate, so the dub uses alliteration (ex. "Bogus Booty", "Hell Hounds for Hire").
    • Even the plot uses Alliteration, as Fuu is seeking "the samurai who smells of sunflowers."
    • Additionally, multi-part episodes use "verse (number)" instead of "part (number)".
  • The So Bad It's Good show Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na Crescent Love started every episode with "The Princess": ex. "The Princess is here for a homestay?". The final episode was simply entitled "The Princess and...".
  • The Japanese titles of all six episodes of FLCL are written with four katakana morae, possibly as an imitation of the yojijukugo style, but using abbreviated English (or nonsense) words in place of Japanese words.
  • Dai Mahou Touge episode titles tend to run on a bit. With two episodes per OVA, the preview screens are just filled with text.
  • Gunslinger Girl's episode titles are in Italian.
  • Every Chrono Crusade episode has two different titles: one in Japanese and one in English.
  • Every episode of Welcome to The NHK (and every chapter of the manga) is titled "Welcome to the _______!", which leads to such strange constructions as "Welcome to the Lolita!" and "Welcome to the no hope!"
    • The dub titles did away with the word 'the' when it seemed more appropriate, which made those titles just a little less awkward.
  • Episode titles in Mnemosyne always follow the pattern "subject negation verb". Excepting the final episode, "Then, to the Gates of the Kingdom".
  • Every episode title in El Cazador de la Bruja contains the word "Man" or "Woman", usually referring to the character in the focus of a particular episode. The only exception is episode 14, which is also the biggest continuous Mood Whiplash in the show.
  • Every original Japanese episode title of Madlax consists of two kanjis making a single word and an English word, which more or less precisely describe the events of the episode. Sadly, it was Lost in Translation.
  • The 24-episode version of Ah! My Goddess used "Ah! ____________" for all its titles, much less common in the original manga and its other adaptations.
  • Keroro Gunsou (the anime version, specifically) uses the format of [Chracter(s) who the episode is centered on],[Episode theme],de-arimasu
  • Viewtiful Joe had "no Maki" or "Episode" fitting the theme of Viewtiful Joe as a Kamen Rider parody.
    • This convention is often used in comedy manga. Some specific examples are Doctor Slump (both the manga and anime), Kochikame, and the manga version of the aforementioned Keroro Gunsou.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha used to end its episode titles with "nano", meaning "it is" or "is it". For example, the first episode translates to "Is This a Mysterious Encounter?" and the second episode translates to "'Lyrical' is the Magic Word?" The series drops this practice mid-way into season two (starting with Episode 9, "Christmas Eve") and hasn't used it since.[1]
    • Also, the manga use different words for "chapter":
      • ViVid has "Memory;XX☆", a play on the words "vivid memory".
      • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force has "Record XX:" followed by the chapter title. The chapter titles also come only in English.
      • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie First the Comics uses "Sequence : X-Y", where X is the arc number, starting with 0.
      • The A's manga uses "Report XX".
      • StrikerS THE COMICS uses has the most elaborate naming system. The first two arcs, which are a prequel to the anime, have "Episode - XX [A's to StrikerS] Phase Y" and "Episode - XX [Starting Stars] Phase Z", respectively, where the numbering is not continuous between Y and Z. After the manga catches up to the anime's plot, it switches to "Episode - XX (StrikerS #NN.5) followed by the chapter title, followed by the Roman numeral (II) for two-parters. The non-integer number indicates where the chapter fits between the anime's episodes. The final chapter, which takes place after the end of the anime, is simply titled "After Days [The After]" with no numbers at all.
  • The Aria anime episode titles all begin with sono ("that") in Japanese. Given the differences in syntax, this is not always carried over in the English translations, though they usually manage to include that (or those) in the title.
    • The manga chapters are referred to, at least in English translation, not as "Chapter" but as "Navigation." And each volume is termed a "Voyage."
  • Each episode of Black Cat uses the word "cat" in the title. Most of the titles are in the form of "The _____ Cat" or "A(n) _____ Cat", with the _____ being an adjective.
  • Except for the last one and the specials, Chobits titles tend to follow the formula "Chii <verbs>".
  • All the titles of Doujin Work's work episodes are some form of sexual joke or phrase.
    • Kanokon also uses something that sounds sexual for its episode titles.
    • DearS as well.
  • All episode titles in Blue Drop are scientific names of flowers.
  • Oruchuban Ebichu ends its titles with "dechu", a baby-speak version of "desu", which roughly translates as "it is".
  • Every Digimon Savers title (not carried over into Digimon Data Squad) is of the form, "[[[Excited Episode Title]]]: [Hero or Monster of the Week Digimon] [does something]!" Such as "Recover the Bond between Parent and Child - Evilmon's Bewitchment," "Yoshino Gets Her Cinderella Story?! Chrysalimon's Shadow," or "Genius Tohma has Returned! Beat Meramon."
    • There's some of this in the other odd-numbered seasons, as well. (For some reason, it's only done with the odd-numbered ones.)
      • Digimon Tamers has two-sentence titles, either of which could serve as a title alone ("Crisis for Guilmon! The Adventure in my Town," "Protect the Light of the Town! Dangerous Camp of the Digimon," "The Order to Capture the Digimon! The Sinister Foreboding.")
      • Though not an unbreakable rule, Digimon Adventure tended to have titles of the form [Sentence!] [Name or reference]. "Lightning! Kabuterimon," "Roar! Ikkakumon," "Clash! The Freezing Digimon." The titles were also mercifully short, whether following the naming trend or not.
    • Almost all of the Digimon Frontier dub episode titles were clever manipulations of a popular catchphrase, idiom, or song title. Examples include: "Can't Keep a Gumblemon Down" (Can't keep a good man down); "Fear and Loathing in Los Arboles" (after the novel and movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas); and "Glean Eggs and Scram" (Green Eggs and Ham). Note the pilot episode is called "All Aboard" and the finale is "End of the Line".
  • Kaleido Star's episodes all have the word "sugoi" (which translates to "amazing") in the title, and are related to the main plot of the episode. For example, the very first episode is "Hajimete no! Sugoi! Stage" (or "First time! Amazing! Stage", which was titled "Amazing Stage Debut!" in the dub), and the fifteenth is "Utahime no Sugoi Ai" ("The Singing Princess' Amazing Love" or "The Diva's Amazing Love", which deals with the backstory of a character who works as a singer at the Kaleido Stage).
  • Each episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers starts with "Ore wa" or "My"...and, judging by the dub's translations of the episodes, they're often made to sound like vague innuendo.
  • Every episode of the anime version of Girls Bravo started or ended the title with "Bravo" and included a descriptor ("Bravo From the Bathroom!", "Bravo at School!", and "Cooking is Bravo!", to name the first three episodes). Given some of the titles, it begs the question: just what does Bravo mean...?
  • Almost every episode of Penguin Musume Heart is a thinly disguised spoof of another anime's title. Sample titles include "[Anime/[[[Mai-Otome]] Mae, Otome]]", "Roze no Tsukaima", and "Marie-sama ga Miteru".
  • Dirty Pair Flash has a different naming pattern for each of its three parts:
    • The first part's episode titles are follow this pattern: <English adjective> Angel. (The last episode is titled "Lovely Angels".)
    • The second part's episode titles are in mixed Japanese and English, and contain at least one English word each.
    • The third part's episode titles follow this pattern: <color name in Japanese> ? <noun in Japanese> [<approximately the same noun in English>].
  • Nearly every episode of S-Cry-ed is a proper noun, the name of some character, place or thing within the series, without any predicates or verbs.
  • Kiddy Grade had the form of <word>/<usually related word>, except for episode 24. "Depth/Space" is an example.
  • Haibane Renmei has titles composed of three different nouns or phrases for every episode other than eight, such as "Cocoon -- Dream of Falling From the Sky -- Old Home" (From Episode one). Episode eight's title is just "The Bird."
  • Gundam X derives its titles from lines spoken within the episode, typically critical lines. Examples include "Can You See The Moon?" (said by Jamil Neate) for the first episode, "My Mount is Fierce" (said by Shagia Frost) for the episode introducing the major antagonists, and "The Moon Will Always Be There" (said by the narrator/D.O.M.E. for the finale.
  • Last Exile names its episodes after Chess terms.
  • Pokémon Special titles every chapter "VS. [Pokemon name]". The Pokemon name is always one that shows up in the chapter, usually fighting against the heroes, but sometimes not.
    • Most of the English-language anime episodes include the name of a plot-important Pokemon as part of a pun. Or some other pun relating to the episode's plot.
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors every chapter is named with a D word as if guessing what the D in Count D's name stands for.
  • Early chapters in the manga version of D.N.Angel start with "A Warning of _______", referencing the fact that Dark always sends warning letters before he steals something. This was dropped later in its run, and didn't carry over to the animated adaptation.
  • Hyakko drops the word "tiger" in every single episode title, since the title of the series is a reference to Byakko, the white tiger of The Four Gods.
  • Every episode/chapter of Pita-Ten is named "How to ________".
  • While the episode names of Baccano!! can be seen as this due to their matter-of-fact, Exactly What It Says on the Tin nature, it's the Light Novels that really count, with each of their titles being based on rock bands.
    • Some of the books in the series also have idiosyncratic chapter naming: The Rolling Bootlegs name chapters by the time ("The First Day", "That Night", "The Second Day"), Children of the Bottle name chapters after alternating positive and negative emotions (Happiness, Angst, Delight, Anger), and Alice in Jails has chapters that always start with "Let's ___" ("Let's Go to Prison!", "Let's Eat Our Last Supper", "Let's Just Admit That This Is All Your Fault").
  • Since Michiko to Hatchin is set in Brazil (or a version of it), the episodes have Portuguese names.
  • Every chapter in Hayate X Blade has the word "Baka" (idiot) in it somewhere, in reference to its eponymous Idiot Heroine.
  • Each chapter of the manga Yotsuba&! is of the form "Yotsuba to X" ("Yotsuba & X"), where X is the topic of the chapter. For example, the first chapter, where Yotsuba and her dad move into their new home, is "Yotsuba & Moving."
    • The sole exception is Chapter 14, which sees Yotsuba's neighbour Asagi get the title: "Asagi's Gifts". Appropriately enough, it focuses on Asagi and her family.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, the title of every episode except the last one is an English-language proverb or common English phrase.
  • Each episode of Mushishi is named using a poetic description of the effect the mushi of that episode has on humans.
  • Every chapter of the School Rumble manga bears the title of a movie, which is often (at least vaguely) related to the plot events of that chapter. For example, in volume 9 one may read such chapters as "#117 MRS.DOUBTFIRE" or side stories such as "b25 MONSTERS INC". The 'b' in that example is a musical flat symbol (♭); there have also been, oddly enough, chapters designated with a natural mark (♮).
  • Not only does the manga Kitchen Princess call each chapter a recipe, but the title chapters all follow the "Najika and [food]" pattern. The food mentioned is always one she makes in the chapter, even if it's tangential to the actual chapter's plot.
  • Every episode of Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou is named after a computer programming term. Sample episode titles include "hello, world", "Dragon Book" and "jini".
  • In Maburaho, every episode title was a verb in past tense (in Japanese, always ending with "~ちゃった……"). The official English translations took some liberties and made this pattern somewhat less noticeable.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni numbers each episode "episode x-y." This presumably was fine in the visual novels, but in the anime, this gets a little confusing; if someone says, for example, "Episode 2," are they referring to the second 23-minute episode, or the second arc?
    • Alongside this, each episode's name is a reference to chess, with the episodes that mark the ending of a particular "arc" named after types of checkmates.
    • Regarding the visual novels, every new release is titled "_____ of the Golden Witch" (Legend, Turn, Banquet, Alliance, End, Dawn, Requiem and Twilight).
  • Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei's chapter titles are not "_______ has left me in despair!" as one would expect, but paraphrased or Punny Name versions of quotes and titles of various novels.
  • Gintama is full of this. Episode titles are generally whole sentences (if not paragraphs), often things like "When you're tired, eat something sour!" or "A life without gambling is like sushi without wasabi." They often constitute a bit of Fridge Logic, since they seem completely random until you really think about the episode. (Some are a bit more obvious though.)
  • Argento Soma's episode names are two words that progress from each other. "Rebirth and Death", "Death and the Maiden", "The Maiden and the Meeting", etc. It comes full circle with the last episode.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew's episode titles all end in "nya~!"
  • The anime based on the Sands of Destruction video game has all of its episode titles begin with "There are Two Kinds" (except for Ep. 10: "There Are 108 Laws of Clockwork Robotics").
  • Spice and Wolf's episodes are all named "Wolf and..." with the rest of the title referring to elements of the episode.
  • Karin's episode titles always end in 'is so embarrassing', sometimes to the point of sounding like a Blind Idiot Translation.
  • The Japanese episodes of Transformers Armada were all in the form "Word in Kanji (Other Word in Hiragana) - title of the english version, which is also different".
  • Change 123's chapter titles are always some kind of mathematical term.
  • Bokurano just has the current Zearth pilot's name followed by a number as titles.
  • Likewise, the Bakemonogatari anime has the name of the girl attacked, followed by the name of the monster, followed by the number of the episode in the story arc, as titles.
  • Bakuman。 always names its chapters "X and Y", like "Dreams and reality", "A smile and a blush", "Friends and rivals",...
  • Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu episode titles follow the same pattern as the series title "X and Y and Z" (Ex. Maps and Treasure and Striker Sigma V)
    • The first ten episodes of season 2 are named Watashi to Y to Z (Me, and Y and Z)(Ex. Me and Peeking and Training Camp)
    • Both season finales are named after the shows title (Idiots, Test, and Summoned Beasts)
  • Ladies versus Butlers! also mirrors the series name with the episodes all being "X Versus Y"
  • All episode titles of Nanatsuiro Drops have the word 'color' somewhere in it.
  • Chi's Sweet Home begins every episode title with the titualar character's name and a comma, resulting in ungrammatical titles such as "Chi, Frolics About," and "Chi, Goes Outside." The passive voice is often used to shoehorn titles into the naming convention, as in, "Chi, Is Invited In." The English translation of the manga changes it to "a cat [does something]".
  • Black Butler episode titles are all "His Butler, _______"
  • Shinryaku! Ika Musume chapters are all questions or requests like "May I Invade You?" or "Aren't you burnt?". The reason being that in Japanese all the chapter titles end in "naika", with 'ika' in katakana. Ika means squid, and the main character is basically a squid-girl, so......
  • Although it's not apparent from the English translation, all episodes titles of Kemonozume contain references to taste and various flavors. (The first episode is titled "The First Taste" and the last one is "The Flavor Doesn't Matter.")
  • I My Me! Strawberry Eggs does this on two levels: Each episode title has something to do with makeup (appropriately enough), and each DVD volume is called a "Quarter".
  • The title of each chapter of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan is a quote from that chapter.
  • Highschool of the Dead replaces a word in famous names and titles with dead, eg. The Girl Next Dead, Dead Storm Rising, and so on.
  • All 24 episodes of Love Hina have (Japanese) titles that end with "na", in several cases actually being part of a word.
  • Several of the later episodes of Macross Frontier are named for songs from the show. In three cases ("Triangular", Diamond Crevasse", and "Blue Ether"), the song is used as the ending theme.
  • The arcs of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni are in the format of "two-kanji word" + shi-hen: (Onikakushi, Watanagashi, Tatarigoroshi, Himatsubushi, Meakashi, Tsumihoroboshi, Minagoroshi, Matsuribayashi).
  • Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! (My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute!) follows variations of "My Little Sister Can't Be ________!" for every episode.
  • Every episode title of Madoka Magica is taken from a line of dialogue in said episode.
    • The Spin-Off Kazumi Magica does something similar, except that each chapter's title is taken from an unusually named food that appears in it.
    • Oriko Magica follows Madoka's lead.
  • Every chapter in Ame Nochi Hare is suffixed with hPa, which stands for hectopascal, and is used by meteorologists as a unit of measurement for air pressure. This is relevant to the plight of the five protagonists who will transform into girls whenever it rains.
  • A Channel has a regular title in Japanese, and a second title in English that always starts with an "A".
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex employed two conventions. The first was that each episode (in the Japanese iteration) had an English title and a Japanese title, the English title being all caps and often only vaguely relevant to the episode at hand, while the Japanese title is more descriptive. The other convention is that in the first season they label each episode as a Standalone episode (title screen green) or a Complex episode (title screen blue), to show whether or not they fall into the overlying arc of the first season, while in 2nd Gig, they label they episodes as Individual, Dividual, or Dual, to show that episode's relation to the arc.
  • Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai uses the characters for the show's own canonical portmanteau name -- "Haganai" (はがない), itself derived from "Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai ("wa" and "ha" are interchangeable in Japanese) -- on its episode titles, followed by a ShiftJIS Emoticon frequently seen on Japanese Message Boards.
  • Rosario + Vampire uses the hella predictable + sign in the name to make it's episodes. X + Vampire.
  • The episode titles of Saiunkoku Monogatari are all common proverbs. During the first season, someone always Title Dropped the proverb in dialogue, though the practice was mostly abandoned for the second season (probably because of how forced some of the Title Drops were).
  • The anime adaptation of Daily Lives of High School Boys have all skits' names start with "High School Boys and..."
  • Ben-To uses the name of a bento box featured in its respective episode, followed by its calorie count. For example, Episode 1 is called "Sticky Natto Okra Rice with Cheese Topping Bento, 440kcal"
  • Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai uses the form of "Seriously _______!" ("Maji de _____ nasai!")
  • The World God Only Knows has every title be some sort of reference, with the topic changing every few chapters. For example, part of the Ayumi re-capture arc used the names of Westerns.
  • To Love Ru Darkness has every title fit into "Topic in English~A Flowery Description About Said Topic in Japanese~", except for the first four chapters (which repeat the same thing in English and Japanese) and the prologue (which is called "ProloguePrologue and Activation"). An example is "PastMemories Leading to Tomorrow".
  • Every episode of Lotte no Omocha includes the name of a punctuation mark: exclamation, semicolon, parentheses, etc. (That and a few suspiciously shaped objects leads one to suspect a typography fetish is at work here.)
  • Each chapter of My Lovely Ghost Kana uses the word "Life" rather than "Chapter." It also has a title with no particular pattern. Omamori Himari uses "Menagerie" the same way, and Tasogare Otome x Amnesia similarly declares each of its chapters to be "The _th Mystery."


Astronomy[edit | hide]

  • Moons.
    • Jupiter's moons are named after the lovers and descendants of Zeus
    • Saturn's moons are named after other elder gods (originally the Titans, but expanded to include Norse, Gallic, and Inuit gods)
    • Uranus' moons are named after characters from Shakespearean plays or The Rape of the Lock
    • Neptune's moons are named after water spirits.
    • Mars's two moons are named after the sons of Mars.
  • Geographical features on any ball of rock we can see have even more odd naming conventions: all craters on Mercury have to be named after dead artists. Thanks Wikipedia!
  • Everything on Venus is named after famous women or female mythological figures. Except the Maxwell Montes, Alpha Regio, and Beta Regio, because those were named before the convention was established.
  • The planets themselves are named after the Roman gods. Even, in some cases, our own (Terra is sometimes used; it means Earth in Latin and is the shorthand name of the Roman Earth goddess.)
    • Most of them are. Uranus was a Greek god (the Roman counterpart being "Caelus"). And "Earth" derives from the Anglo-Saxon word erda which means dirt or soil.
      • Of course, "Earth" is only the English language term for the planet; each language tends to prefer its own inevitably ancient term. If any international term exists, it is, as the first troper suggested, "Terra". It being, well, Earth, it has never been discovered, and so has never been formally labelled.
  • The dark zones of basaltic rock on the Moon are called Seas (Mare in latin) and are usually called Sea of <Emotion> or Sea of <Water-related term>. The landing spot for Apollo 11 was in the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis). Others include Sea of Serenity, Sea of Crisis, Sea of Vapor, Sea of Moisture, Sea of Clouds. The major craters on the Moon are named after famous Astronomers: Copernicus, Tycho...
  • In a general sense, the International Astronomical Union gets together every so often to decide how surface features will be named once they are discovered. For example, there are currently no known surface features for Pluto, but once images from interplanetary spacecraft arrive, any feature found on the images will be named after underworld deities.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marvel series by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale all have the protagonist's name followed by a color represented in the story. Examples are Spider-Man: Blue (after the character's emotions), Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk: Gray (after the protagonists' early colours).
    • The Yellow also refers to cowardice, as Daredevil is The Man Without Fear; Gray refers to the Hulk's status as a wildcard straddling the line between good and evil.
  • Also by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale: In Batman: The Long Halloween, each issue is named for a holiday (with the exception of the first and last issues, named "Crime" and "Punishment").
  • Several arcs in Brian Azzarello's Hellblazer run were named after phrases involving the word "Hell", including "Highwater" and "...Freezes Over".
  • With one exception, the title of each of the One Hundred Bullets collections is based around its number. Book two is "Split Second Chance", while book ten is "Decayed" (sounds like decade). Some titles don't actually contain the numerical pun, but instead are cleverly part of a phrase that would usually include that number, such as "Samurai," the seventh book, "The Hard Way," the eighth, and the twelfth book, "Dirty." The only book to break this tradition is "Hang Up on the Hang Low", which was named after a Story Arc contained in the book as the story in question had won an Eisner Award.
    • The final volume, "Wilt," is especially clever since it's not only referring to the end of the series, but also to Wilt Chamberlain's jersey number with the LA Lakers, which was 13.
  • Each chapter of V for Vendetta features a word beginning with 'V'; "The Villain", "Virtue Victorious", "The Verdict", "Verwirrung" (German for confusion), etc.
  • Each story in DR and Quinch was titled "D.R. & Quinch _____". For example, "D.R. & Quinch Go Girl Crazy".
  • The title of every chapter of Watchmen, and in fact the title Watchmen itself, is a Literary Allusion Title, with the full quote given at the end of each chapter.
  • Every chapter in the Two Thousand AD story Zenith is named after a rock song. 2000 AD itself refers to issues as 'progs'.
    • The 2000 AD spin off publication The Judge Dredd Megazine also refers to it's issues as 'Megs'. The short lived 'Extreme Editions' which consisted of vintage 2000AD reprints were also refered to as X(issue number). The Mighty Tharg seemed to like this trope.
  • The Invincible trades are all named after classic sitcoms. For instance, one was Family Matters, then Facts of Life, and so on.
    • The tradition was unfortunately broken with the "Viltrumite War" trade.
  • Evan Dorkin's "Milk & Cheese" comics were entitled "First Number One," "Second Number One," etc. until the 5th issue was finally "First Number Two." Based on the notion that the Number One issue of a comic book tends to be grabbed up by collectors and speculators to sell more issues.
  • The first 20 issues of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, as well as the two Mary Jane miniseries preceding them, were all entitled "The ___ Thing", with the second word having to do with the comic's plot. For example, issue 4, when Gwen Stacy is introduced, is called "The Unexpected Thing."
  • The four chapters of Give Me Liberty are named "Homes & Gardens", "Travel & Entertainment", "Health & Welfare", and "Death & Taxes", respectively. The contents are not quite that cheery.
    • With the exception of the fourth chapter, which is more cheerful than either death or taxes. Just.
  • Four of the Cerebus the Aardvark graphic novel collections have titles that could be seen as forming a sentence: Women, Reads, Minds, Guys. (Cerebus's belief in female telepathy is discussed at some point during the story.)


Fan Works[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Star Wars has had each film, on top of a title for each, also designated by Episode, with the 1977-1983 trilogy Episodes IV-VI and their prequels from 1999-2005 I to III.
  • Kill Bill has Volumes 1 and 2.
  • In Sweden, this happened to Mel Brooks movies. The Producers was renamed after the play in the movie to Det våras för Hitler (Springtime for Hitler). Ever since then, as soon as a Mel Brooks parody film was released in Sweden, it would be renamed to "Springtime for [subject matter]", e.g. Det våras för rymden (Springtime for space), Det våras för sheriffen (Springtime for the sheriff). Mel Brooks didn't like this practise, and Life Stinks was the last movie to be renamed in this fashion.
    • In Israel, Leslie Nielsen's comedies received the same treatment. The Naked Gun was named The Gun Died Laughing, and its sequels were named appropriately. Since then, other films would be translated as "The [something] Died Laughing" - Spy Hard was named The Spy Died Laughing, Wrongfully Accused, a parody of The Fugitive, was named The Fugitive Died Laughing, and 2001: A Space Travesty was named Space Died Laughing.
    • In France, The Naked Gun were translated in "Is there a cop to save the queen", "Is there a cop to save the president", "Is there a cop to save Hollywood". It was a following of the Airplane movies translated in "Is there a pilot in the plane" and "Is there finally a pilot in the plane". 2001: A Space Travesty was translated in "Is there a cop to save humanity”.
    • Weirdly, Leslie Nielsen movies seem to be a complete sub-category, as this also happens in Japan. “The Naked Gun” was known as “The Man With the Naked Gun”, a parody of the Bond movie title in Japanese as well as in English. “Wrongfully Accused” became “The Fugitive With the Naked Gun”, “Men with Brooms” (a curling movie) was “The Man With the Naked Stone”, and even his earlier movies were renamed on video, so that 1990’s “Repossessed” became “The Man With the Naked Crucifix”! Although a lot of movies have this happen - title changes to make them look related to the star’s later, more successful movies when placed together on a video store shelf…
    • Airplane! was retitled "¿Y Dónde Está El Piloto?" ("Where's The Pilot?") in the Latin American Spanish dub. From then on, many other comedie titles used a similar phrase: "¿Y Dónde Está El Policía?" ("Where's The Cop?" - The Naked Gun), "¿Y Dónde Está El Exorcista?" ("Where's The Exorcist?" - "Repossessed"), et cetera.
    • A similar thing happened with the Spanish dubs for Spain: Airplane! became "Aterriza Como Puedas" ("Land The Way You Can"); afterwards, The Naked Gun became "Agárralo Como Puedas" ("Catch [him] The Way You Can"), Jane Austen's Mafia! became "Mafia, Estafa Como Puedas" ("Mafia, Con [someone] The Way You Can"), et cetera.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • All of the titles in The Belgariad are a reference to chess: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery and Castle of Wizardry all refer to chess pieces, while Magician's Gambit and Enchanter's End Game are strategic terms.
    • Eddings is on record as saying these weren't his idea and he didn't like them: they were his editor's titles. He wanted to publish a trilogy, but the books would have exceeded the publisher's size limit.
  • Save for Taltos itself, the novels of Steven Brust's Taltos series are all named after Houses of the Dragaeran Empire. Sometimes the chapters of a specific book also follow a pattern: Issola bases them on etiquette principles, while Dzur uses dishes of food.
    • Brust has stated that he intends to have one more book with an Odd Name Out: the final one, after all the "house" books have been done, will be The Final Contract.
    • The Khaavren novels, meanwhile, loosely base their titles on The Three Musketeers and its sequels, to which the series is an Homage. The chapter titles also imitate the style, using a lengthy and flowery description of the chapter contents that always begin "In Which..."
      • "In which the plot, in the manner of soup to which cornstarch has been added, at last begins to thicken."
  • The names of the books and chapters in A Song of Ice and Fire series, excluding the Dunk and Egg prequels. The books follow the formula of "Article+Noun+Preposition+Noun" (As in, A Feast for Crows, or A Game of Thrones), and chapters are named after their viewpoint character, save for prologues and epilogues.
  • All 54 main seriesAnimorphs book titles were of the form "The X", where X was a single word. The four Chronicles books were "The___Chronicles", except for "Visser". Megamorphs titles were more varied, as were the Altermorphs.
  • The title of each book in A Series of Unfortunate Events alliterates (e.g. The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room). The last book, simply title The End, is the exception.
  • Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novels all have two-word titles, with the same number of letters in each word ("Storm Front," "White Night," "Fool Moon," etc.).
    • They also hint to the book's theme.
      • And they are all puns.
        • Most of them are [Descriptor] [Noun] titles as well.
    • It's been theorized that this form is deliberate because it looks really good on book covers.
    • The original title for the book that became Storm Front was Semiautomagic
      • By that token, it bears pointing out that the working title for Death Masks - in which the Shroud of Turin was the McGuffin - was "Holy Sheet". Rumor has it that the publishers demanded a change.
    • Unfortunately, the publishers of the British version of the tenth book didn't notice the same number of letters thing; it became Small Favour.
    • This naming convention was broken with the 12th book, with a one-word name, which is itself ironic: "Changes". This was, according to Word of God, a deliberate in order to set it apart. He was also going to have Ghost Story and Cold Days be one word titles thus forming a separate Idiosyncratic Episode Naming scheme for them since they are basically a pseudo-trilogy within the overall series. However, at the publisher's demand he had to change them to their current titles (Ghost Story was going to be Dead and Cold Days original title is unknown).
  • Jim Butcher's Alera series always has the word "Fury" in the title - "Princep's Fury", "Captain's Fury", "Furies of Calderon", etc. After the first book, the word preceding "Fury" is the rank/title of the main character (meaning the later titles can be majorly spoiler-ific.)
    • The first book was going to be this way too (and change the naming convention to ___'s Fury). The title was originally Shepherd Boy's Fury, but Executive Meddling changed it.
    • The first book kind of fits the "main character's rank/title" pattern. "Calderon" is what Kitai calls Tavi throughout the book.
  • The French translation of the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was called La Huitième Couleur, ("The Eighth Colour"). This was followed by The Light Fantastic becoming Le Huitième Sortilège ("The Eighth Spell") and Equal Rites becoming La Huitième Fille ("The Eighth Daughter"; not strictly accurate, as Esk's elder siblings are all brothers). Then they gave up, and just called Mort Mortimer.
    • As for the English version, all books following Moist von Lipwig are in the format of Verbing Noun; Going Postal, Making Money, and (yet unreleased) Raising Taxes.
  • Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco books started out this way, with The Silver Pigs being followed by Shadows in Bronze, Venus in Copper, The Iron Hand of Mars and Poseidon's Gold. At which point, she ran out of metals that were known to the Romans and sounded promising in a title. Titles from then on follow no particular pattern, though several play with a well-known phrase (Three Hands in the Fountain, for example.)
  • Nearly all the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich include a number in the title, and the numbers are sequential. The only four exceptions to the "title includes the number of the book in a chronological listing of the series" pattern so far are four holiday-theme entries, all of which include the word Plum in the title.
  • John D. MacDonald's mysteries starring Travis McGee all included a color in the title.
  • Enid Blyton used this device to disambiguate her very similar series about different groups of children solving mysteries. All 21 of The Famous Five book titles begin with the word "Five", and likewise the words Secret Seven appear in the titles of all 15 books about them. More subtly, the six "Barney Mysteries" are all called The __________ Mystery with the missing word beginning with R, and the title formats The ________ of Adventure, Mystery of [the] _________ and The Secret [of] _________ each define a series too.
    • Don't forget the hilariously awesome parody novel Five Go Mad In Dorset.
  • Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Milhone" series of detective novels began with A is for Alibi, and continued in alphabetical order up to (so far) U is for Undertow.
  • Every title in Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles is formatted [Gerund] [Preposition] Dragons. One book, which she absolutely could not think up a title for, was jokingly sent to her editor as Bowling For Dragons.
  • Almost all of Tony Hillerman's novels have either a two word title or a three word title starting with "the." ("The Fly on the Wall", "Dance Hall of the Dead," and "People of Darkness" are the only exceptions). Usually, they will be of the format [Verb]ing noun, The [noun] Way, or The [adjective] [noun].
  • Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories are titled The Adventure of ________
  • Each book in J. D. Robb's Eve Dallas series has a title using the pattern _______ In Death, beginning with Naked in Death.
  • All twelve of the Philo Vance novels had titles The ______ Murder Case; except for The Gracie Allen Murder Case, the extra word had six letters.
  • The first nine Ellery Queen novels had titles of form The (nationality) (noun) Mystery.
  • All the Perry Mason novels were called The Case of the (adjective) (noun). The two words were usually an alliterative pairing, i.e. The Case of the Notorious Nun, etc.
  • Edward S. Aaron's Sam Durell novels had titles in the form Assignment _______
  • The Drizzt Do'Urden novels sometimes have idiosyncratic names within series.
    • The Dark Elf Trilogy has all one-word titles.
    • Three of four books in the Legacy Of The Drow series worked like this: Starless Night, Siege Of Darkness, Passage To Dawn.
    • The current series, Transitions, has three books, each with the title The _____ King.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, The Hand Of Thrawn "duology" had books titled Specter Of The Past and Vision Of The Future.
    • The Legacy of the Force novels each had a one-word title.
    • The Corellian trilogy included planets/space stations in the Corellian system as its titles.
  • Martha Grimes' Richard Jury novels are named after pubs or bars featured in the stories.
  • Most of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series works the same way, titled from night clubs.
    • By the same author, the Merry Genry series, the titles of which could be stated as " A [suggestive verb] of [noun]." A Kiss of Shadown, A Caress Of Twilight, A Stroke of Midnight, A Lick of Frost, and the ones that aren't are Seduced By Midnight, Mistral's kiss, and Swallowing Darkness. I like the books (in a very Guilty Pleasure sort of way,) but the titles kind of make me want to pat Laurell on the shoulder and say, in a loving yet exasperated manner, "Honey. I get it. The books have a lot of sex. Can you spend more time writing 'em and less time thinking up the most innuendo-laced, porn-sounding titles possible?"
  • Lilian Jackson Braun's series titles use the formula "The Cat Who <something>".
  • Honor Harrington has the eponymous character's first name somewhere in the title of just over half of the books focused on her: "The Honor of the Queen", "Field of Dishonor", "Honor Among Enemies", "Echoes of Honor", "War of Honor", and "Mission of Honor", as well as the first two anthologies set in the Honorverse, "More than Honor" and "Worlds of Honor". In addition, both of the novels in the spin-off Saganami Island series have had the word Shadow in their titles and the two novels in the spin-off Wages of Sin series have parts of the Statue of Liberty (vis "Crown of Slaves" and "Torch of Freedom") in their titles.
    • Notably, all even numbered main series books have honor somewhere in them. its starting to wear then, as the last 3 even books have all been "something" of honor. they seem to be running out of good puns, but cant drop the gimmick.
  • M.C.Beaton has done this with her two popular series, Agetha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth. Agetha Raisin has the Character Name and the Noun Phrase book titles. Agetha Raisin and the [Thing That Causes The Problem] while Hamish's cases are all along the lines of Death Of A [Noun Describing The Person Who Snuffs It]. Though in special circumstances, such as A Highland Christmas they will avert this.
  • All the Twilight book titles are in the form of celestial metaphors. Additionally, most chapters titles are simple one- or two-word phrases.
    • Except in part 2 of Breaking Dawn, where the story is narrated by Jacob; and therefore, the chapter titles are all in same sarcastic tone as Jacob's narration. (eg: "Why Didn't I Just Walk Away? Oh Right, Because I'm an Idiot.", and "The Two Things at the Very Top of My Things-I-Never-Want-To-Do List")
  • The Dragonlance series gives related books related titles. For example, the trilogy about Mina is "Amber and X", there are several sets of "Dragons of Adjective Noun" books, and many others.
  • The Magic Tree House books also have alliterative titles (Night Of The Ninjas, Dolphins Past Daybreak). If the title isn't alliterative then it rhymes (Ghost Town At Sundown) or manages to make a pun (The Knight At Dawn).
  • Robert Ludlum.
    • While he was aware that he had adopted this naming convention, he didn't treat it as having any significance. One time (probably in the 70s) he came up with a title that was not "The ______ ______". Both his agent and his publisher queried this, then called him in for a meeting to beg him (almost on the verge of tears, he recalls) to change the title to follow his previous convention.
    • This was mocked in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, where Joel and the 'Bots come up with a Long List of bogus titles in "the Ludlum library": The Horshack Conspiracy, The Forbin Conundrum, The Slingshack Congealment, etc.
  • Lawrence Block's books about Bernie Rhodenbarr all start with "The Burglar Who..." or "The Burglar In...". Block unintentionally created a pattern with his books about Matt Scudder, which all had five word titles (Eight Million Ways to Die, A Dance at the Slaughterhouse, Time to Murder and Create, etc.) until somebody pointed it out to him. He called the next one A Long Line of Dead Men to break the pattern.
  • Garrett P.I. series have titles in the form Adjective Metal Nouns (Sweet Silver Blues, etc).
  • Every book of Suzumiya Haruhi is entitled "The ______ of Haruhi Suzumiya". Examples are "Melancholy", "Disappearance", "Rampage", "Intrigues" etc.
    • Fanfic titles often follow the convention. A Death Note crossover was called "The Boredom of Shinigami Ryuk".
    • It's always two kanji after the phrase (the original grammatical format is "Suzumiya Haruhi no ________"). Anything after the "no" is always a complicated enough word for two kanji, but not so complicated it requires three. Kyoto Animation and Kadokawa carried this over to the music and games, too; even some of the puns in Haruhi-chan use this format.
  • Chapter names in Raymond E. Feist's The Riftwar Cycle are all one words. Each book subtitle (the first book has two, one for each part) has an interesting naming gimmick. The first one is called "Pug and Tomas", the second "Milamber and the Valheru" and the third is "Arutha and Jimmy", to show that each part will focus on a particular pair of characters. The first 2 pairs are in fact only one pair, and the reason for the name change isn't obvious until some time into the second part.
  • The Dirty Pair novels' titles usually follow the pattern "Dirty Pair no Dai______" ("The Dirty Pair's Great _______"). The only exceptions are the side story "Dokusaisha no Isan" ("Legacy of the Dictator") and possibly "Doruroi no Arashi" ("Storm of Doruroi"), although the latter is considered part of the Crusher Joe series.
    • The Dirty Pair Flash novels' title follow the pattern "Tenshi no ______" ("The Angels' ______").
  • Frank Herbert's original Dune novels all contain the word "Dune", and four out of six follow the formula "X of Dune".
    • The three Prelude to Dune novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson are each named after a noble house in the Dune Verse.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels all contain the word "Foundation" in their titles. The first three "books" in the Foundation series were not originally written as books, they were written piecewise and published that way. The original stories did not follow this convention; it was only when they were later collected in book form that the tradition started. For added confusion "Second Foundation" is the third book in the series.
  • Each novel in Charlaine Harris' The Southern Vampire Mysteries series has the word "Dead" in its title.
    • In Harris' Harper Connelly Mysteries series, each title features the word "Grave".
    • In Harris' Lily Bard Mysteries series, titles follow the pattern "Shakespeare's ______".
  • The chapter headings and subheadings of Ian M. Banks's novella The 'State of the Art' are revealed, in that the end in the supposed translation notes, to be the names of various ships and the Minds that control them. Although since Culture ship names can be pretty much anything whether this qualifies as a pattern is debatable.
  • All of the books in The Hollows series, written by Kim Harrison, are titled after westerns, most often those starring Clint Eastwood (The Outlaw Demon Wails).
  • Shouji Gatou names all "mainline" Full Metal Panic novels by [Japanese verb][Three-word English proverb] system (Yureru Into The Blue, Owaru Day By Day, Moeru One Man Force etc). His comedic short story anthologies (read Fumoffu!) are correspondingly named by Japanese proverbs, each having the number of respective book somewhere inside. Recently he complained that he starts to run out of suitable proverbs.
  • Winnie the Pooh. Well, technically, that gets filed under In Which a Trope Is Described.
  • Almost all of Lynn Kurland's De Piaget and MacLeod romances are titled after songs (Till There Was You, With Every Breath, My Heart Stood Still, The Very Thought of You, When I Fall In Love, If I Had You, This Is All I Ask, From This Moment On, etc); those that aren't are song lyrics (Stardust of Yesterday from "Stardust," Another Chance to Dream from Greg Sczebel's "Everybody," Love Came Just In Time from "Just In Time," etc.) The sole exceptions to this seem to be Dreams Of Stardust and Much Ado in the Moonlight.
    • Similarly, every Nine Kingdoms book is ________: A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms.
  • Canadian children's author Linda Bailey with her Stevie Diamond mystery books. The first one was titled How Come the Best Clues Are Always In the Garbage?, so her publisher insisted subsequent titles all had to be questions about ten words in length. For example, the title of the third book was going to be Who's Got Gertie?, but this was deemed too short, so it was extended with And How Can We Get Her Back?
  • Each chapter of Walter Jon Williams' This Is Not a Game is titled "This Is Not a(n) _____" or "This is not the ______".
  • PG Wodehouse:
    • Most of the titles of the Jeeves and Wooster stories (usually the novels, but also a chunk of the short stories and the American publication re-titlings) use "Jeeves and the _____" or some quotation of Bertie's from the story directed at Jeeves, "_____________, Jeeves" (examples of the latter include "Right Ho, Jeeves", "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves", and "Thank You, Jeeves").
    • All of the Psmith and Mr. Mulliner books have their respective main character's name in their title. (At least in book form; the first two Psmith books had different titles in their original magazine serial publication, because it had not yet become apparent that Psmith was the Breakout Character.)
  • Robin Hobb's first three trilogies were all on the same pattern. Book one and three would have (X's)(noun), while book two had (adjective)X. For the first trilogy, X=Assassin, in the second, X=Ship, and for the third X=Fool. The Soldier Son has the same general pattern but relaxes a bit on the exact words used. (Shaman's Crossing/Forest Mage/Renegade's Magic)
  • The Harry Potter books are all titled "Harry Potter and the <thing>"
    • Four of the books follow the formula "Harry Potter and the <X> of <Y>": Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix.
    • More, if you want to get technical: "Stone of the Philosopher/Sorcerer", "Prince of Half-Bloods" and "Hallows of Death".
      • There's also the theory that the books follow a pattern of "object," "place," "person." However that would mean that the Order of the Phoenix referred to the meeting place. Aside from that it's an airtight pattern.
  • The Rabbi Small mysteries by Harry Kemelman all have titles of the form "<X>day the Rabbi <Y>." Many use days of the week ("Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet," "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late"). He started with "Friday", because the day of the week was plot-relevant and worked through to "Thursday" in chronological order. The later books kept the "day" theme but in a rather more forced way: ("One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross").
  • Each of Gordon R. Dickson's Dragon Knight series has the title start with "The Dragon". Half of them are The Dragon and the _____.
    • His children's books are all titled Secret Under ______.
  • The Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay likes to stick with 'D' alliteration and always have 'Dexter' in the title. Examples include 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter', 'Dexter by Design', 'Dearly Devoted Dexter', Dexter is Delicious'.
  • There's a trend of the German versions of Stephen King novels to get titles that are one word. It is particularly striking in the first half of the Dark Tower series, which looks like they were trying to go for one syllable titles for the whole run. This might or might not have to do something with the success of It, but that seems particularly likely in the case of Misery, whose translation was published in the year after It was a bestseller, under the title Sie ("She"). As to the Dark Tower series: The Gunslinger -> Schwarz ("Black"), The Drawing of the Three -> Drei ("Three"), The Waste Lands -> Tot ("Dead"), Wizard and Glass -> Glas, Wolves of the Calla -> Wolfsmond ("Wolf Moon"), Song of Susannah -> Susannah - the last, Der Turm, gets an article. the other wiki has a full list for the completists.
  • Starting with the eighth book, the reference/humor series Uncle John's Bathroom Reader began naming its books Uncle John's [adjective] Bathroom Reader.
  • Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow series are all named on a bird theme. After the first three, the names also reference popular sayings or quotes (Murder with Peacocks, No Nest For the Wicket, We'll Always Have Parrots, Cockatiels At Seven, etc.) and they all involve the named birds in some manner. They also progress seasonally, so that the reader expecting Six Geese A-Slaying to be set at Christmas is going to be absolutely correct. The Turing Hopper series are all have references to computer terms in the name (You Have Murder references AOL's well-known "You've Got Mail!", while Delete All Suspects is more similar to "Delete All Files"), which is thematically appropriate since the main character, Turing, is an AI.
  • After Donald Westlake restarted his series of Anti-Villain Parker novels (under the pseudonym Richard Stark), the titles of the first five novels were chained together thusly:
    • Comeback
    • Backflash
    • Flashfire
    • Firebreak
    • Breakout
    • Chain the last part of the last title to the first part of the first: Outcome.
  • All of the Night Huntress novels have the word "Grave" in their title, since they're about vampires, half-vampires, ghouls, and ghosts.
  • All of the Kate Daniels novels have the title format of "Magic (Verb)s", with the verb more or less related to the story arc. "Magic Mourns" is about a funeral being cancelled due to a missing body, and Magic Strikes is about an underground gladitorial arena.
  • The Otherworld novels have a different title format for each narrator. Elena's novels are all -en verbs: Bitten, Stolen, Broken and Frostbitten. Paige's novels are "(Type of) Magic": Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic and Counterfeit Magic.
  • The Mas Arai series of Naomi Hirahara are all composed of one English and one Japanese word. The author sort of follows the same pattern herself, but "Naomi" is a name in English (derived from Hebrew) and Japanese, though it's pronounced differently.
  • Each city in Invisible Cities has a feminine name. The city chapters are titled either "<adjective> cities" or "cities and the <noun>".
  • War Of The Spider Queen hexalogy has titles ending in "-tion". In order: Dissolution, Insurrection, Condemnation, Extinction, Annihilation, Resurrection. They also refer to the events of the book (Dissolution deals with the dissolution in Menzoberranzan for example).
  • Each of John Updike's "Rabbit" novels has a title with an alliteration involving the main character's name: Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest.
    • A decade or so after the last Rabbit book (at the end of which the character dies), Updike wrote a short novella following up on the activities of his descendants. The title was - what else? - Rabbit Remembered.
  • Every book in The Guardians series is titled "Demon (Word)", with the word being related to the main plot. Demon Bound is about a woman bound by a Deal with the Devil, and Demon Forged is about a blacksmith's trial by fire. The series itself is about the war between angels and demons.
  • Dean Koontz' series starring Odd Thomas are called; Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd and Thomas goes on holiday. ... No okay it's called Odd Hours.
  • All the titles in book two of Luminosity are words about a person (Liar, Runner, Guesser, etc.), describing the perspective character.
  • The Matthew Swift books all have titles of the form: "[Plot-related noun phrase], or, the [single, longish action noun] of Matthew Swift".
  • Every chapter title in Scott Westerfeld's novel The Last Days is the name of a rock band. This is fitting because the title of the book is the name the protagonists finally chose for their own band.
  • The autobiography of Jewish-Italian chemist Primo Levi is named "The Periodic table". Every chapter is named for a chemical element more or less related to the content.
  • Every chapter in Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel follows the pattern [noun] [preposition] [article] [noun], for instance "Conversation with a Commissioner".
    • In the sequel, The Naked Sun chapter titles follow the pattern "A [noun] is [verb]ed". In the second sequel The Robots of Dawn, chapters are simply titled after the most important characters that appear in each chapter. Robots has a fairly small cast of important characters, and several chapters are titled "Again [Name]".
  • All the chapters in Garry Kilworth's novel House of Tribes are named after cheeses (including Wensleydale). Of course, given that most of the main characters are mice...
  • The Firebird Trilogy used the word "fire" in each title: Firebird, Fusion Fire, and Crown of Fire.
  • The Julesburg Mystery Series themes its titles off of deadly water phenomena: Riptide, Whirlpool, and Undertow.
  • Mindy Starns Clark titled her Million Dollar Mystery series using common sayings with incremental units of money in each title: A Penny for Your Thoughts, Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels, A Dime a Dozen, A Quarter for a Kiss, and The Buck Stops Here.
  • Kathey Reichs' early Temperence Brennan books don't have Idiosyncratic Episode Naming (although one of them is called Bare Bones), but since the TV adaptation Bones started in 2005, they've all had the word "bones" in the title.
  • The R.D. Wingfield novels that inspired the TV series A Touch of Frost all go for the Epunymous Title: Night Frost, Hard Frost, Frost at Christmas etc.
  • John Sandford's Lucas Davenport novels are all titled __________ Prey, from 1989's Rules of Prey through 2011's Buried Prey.
  • Dick Francis' mystery novels usually have titles incorporating slang or terminology borrowed from the world of horse racing (which Francis, a former jockey, used as the setting for most of the books).
  • Every single Irving Wallace novel is called The ________ (The Word, The Chapman Report, The Prize, The Miracle and so on).
  • Every chapter of the web-novel Domina is a Latin word or short phrase. On that note, the chapters are referred to as "scenes."
  • All the book titles in the October Daye series come from Shakespeare.
  • Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser book names contain "Swords", some "Swords Against X".


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Supernatural often names its episodes after classic songs—for example, an episode where a town's local children are being possessed is called 'The Kids Are Alright', and the episode where John Winchester dies is called 'In My Time Of Dying'. Many such songs are also played in various episodes.
  • Most likely because the fans will probably refer to the episodes this way anyway, most episodes of Friends follow the pattern "The One With... ____" or "The One Where ____". The only exception is the finale ("The Last One"), and to some extent, "The One That Could Have Been" (the what-if ep) and "The One Hundredth".
    • There was actually an interview somewhere in which the writing staff explained that they "wanted to name them what people were going to be calling them anyway".
    • The episode naming style of Friends was parodied with the title of the Thirty Rock episode "The One With the Cast of Night Court," which guest starred Friends's Jennifer Aniston (and the cast of Nightcourt).
  • The Friends Spin-Off Joey uses a similar naming convention, in which each episode is titled "Joey and the ____".
  • One reason why Coupling has been considered a British version of Friends, is that several episodes have titles staring with "The Girl With" - this was a Running Gag that started when the boys were suggesting names for a hypothetical porn film in which a woman's breasts had independent brains, with suggestions like "The Girl With Two Brains" (Steve: "Three brains, Patrick!") and "The Girl With Two Breasts" (Steve: "That's the worst one yet!"), the latter being the title of the episode. For the record, the name Steve preferred for the movie was "Wobblewars", Patrick's first suggestion.
  • Similarly, The Class starts every episode title with "The Class..." followed by a verb phrase describing at least one of the story arcs in the episode and sometimes several.
  • Seinfeld uses a subtler convention, in which each episode follows the pattern "The ____". What followed was a term or important aspect of the episodes story like "The Chinese Restaurant" and "The Serenity Now." The only exception in the entire show's run is the second episode "Male-Unbonding".
    • Apparently the reason they did it was so they wouldn't spend a whole lot of time thinking of an episode name that people would never see anyway.
    • Some episode guides list the title as "The Male Unbonding" to bring this one in line with the others.
    • The OC did the same—even when this led to odd constructions like "The My Two Dads".
  • Every episode of Grey's Anatomy shares its title with a song, though the songs chosen run the gamut of genres and eras.
    • Ditto for ALF.
    • And Goodnight Sweetheart.
    • And May to December.
    • And True Blood, although the songs are often obscure and not well-known. And the song is always played at some point during the episode or over the credits.
    • And Degrassi, though the producers get even more specific. Every episode title is a song from the 80's or the 90's.
    • And Desperate Housewives, though this is even more specific than the above, as noted below.
    • And Space Cases a good deal of the time.
  • Grey's spinoff, Private Practice, seems to be going the Friends route, as each of its episodes starts with "In Which..."
    • Dropped after season 1.
  • Farscape featured a lot of idiosyncratic names of episodes. Most were puns which played off of a Shout Out to another famous title or work and managed to tell the audience what the episode was about at the same time.

Examples: A Clockwork Nebari, Rhapsody in Blue, Home on the Remains, the entire Look at th Princess trilogy specifically the Maltese Chrichton, I-Yensch, You-Yensch etc.

  • In La Femme Nikita, first-season episodes titles were one word long, second-season episode titles were two words, and so forth (the show ran for five seasons).
  • The NBC spy comedy Chuck titles its episodes "Chuck Vs. ___" (usually a geek reference).
    • The second episode is "Chuck Vs. the Helicopter", which looks funny when you see it on an episode guide after "Pilot".
      • Though "Pilot" has, according to some sources, been renamed "Chuck Vs. the Intersect" to fit the theme.
      • Although that may be apocryphal, as this troper has never seen it. "A Sudden, Arboreal Stop" as the title of the West Wing pilot is similarly apocryphal.
  • During the first season of Dawson's Creek, each episode was named after a classic or popular movie.
  • Every episode of Scrubs follows the naming convention "My ____", as it is told from the perspective of J.D., the main character. The only exceptions are episodes told from the perspective of other characters in the show, which are called either "His Story", "Her Story", or "Their Story", with a number.
    • At one point the writers persuade themselves that they're terribly clever and name an episode "My Ocardial Infarction" (a myocardial infarction is a heart attack).
    • Season 9, which is from the perspective of the medical students at the new Sacred Heart, uses "Our ____". This was previously used on the Season 8 Webisodes from the perspective of the new interns (mostly Sunny).
  • Each episode of Boston Public was named "Chapter _____", with the titular number corresponding to the episode number.
    • The new series The Firm appears to be doing the same thing—appropriate, given that it's inspired by a novel.
  • Every episode of Wonderfalls mentions an animal in the title, and is also two words.
  • Fitting with the premise of the show, episodes of 24 are titled with the time period represented during the episode. For example "2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m.". To disambiguate episodes in different seasons, subsequent seasons named episodes in the following manner: "Day 2: 2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m.".
  • Every episode of the first season of War of the Worlds took its title from a biblical reference.
  • Remington Steele incorporated the word "Steele" into its titles, usually as a pun for "steel," "steal" or "still" (e.g. "A Steele At Any Price," "Steele Belted," "Steele Knuckles And Glass Jaws") but not always ("A Good Night's Steele").
  • Knight Rider did the same with the word "Knight". Most particularly, the season openers (except for the second season) used titles of the form "Knight of the _______": "Knight of the Phoenix", "Knight of the Drones", "Knight of the Juggernaut".
    • The 2008 revival has returned to this convention, though there isn't too many variations you can take from that pattern.
  • Power Rangers occasionally uses a set formula for a season's episodes.
  • Almost every episode of Dragnet used a title of the form "The Big ______".
  • Every episode of Love, American Style used a title of the form "Love and the ______" or "Love in the _____".
  • Every episode of Monk begins with the words "Mr. Monk", e.g. "Mr. Monk Goes to the Circus", "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine", etc. (Odd Name Out: "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk.")
    • Lampshaded in the episode "Mr. Monk and his Biggest Fan", where Marci tells Monk she has named all of his cases, with the names being the real-world episode titles. Monk is baffled why anyone would bother.
  • Every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is titled after the movie riffed in it: Manos: The Hands of Fate, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians....
  • The last few episodes of News Radio's second season were named after Led Zeppelin albums, such as Presence and Coda. Just in case you missed the joke, the second and third seasons had episodes titled Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin Boxed Set. Though this wasn't done for idiosyncratic reasons as much as laziness on the part of the writers. (And just in case you were curious, none of the episode titles have anything to do with the episode's contents.)
  • Every episode title of The L Word is a word or phrase that starts with the letter "L". Examples are "Longing", "L'Ennui", "Labia Majora", "Life, Loss, Leaving" and "Lobsters".
  • Episode titles of The Wild Wild West always began with "The Night of the _____" or "The Night the _____". (Variants: "The Night of a Thousand Eyes," "The Night Dr. Loveless Died" - except he didn't, "The Night of Jack O'Diamonds"... and the Odd Name Out, "Night of the Casual Killer," although Susan Kesler's book on the series lists it as "The Night of the Casual Killer" to maintain uniformity.)
  • Each episode of Still Standing begins with the word "Still": "Still Bad", "Still Losin' It", etc.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. used titles of the form "The ________ Affair". (Odd Name Out: "Alexander The Greater Affair" - a two-parter, yet.)
    • And each individual act of every episode (until the final season, when they didn't do that for the first act) was subtitled, usually with a quote from the dialogue in that act. Exception: "The Monks Of St. Thomas Affair" used the lines from "Frere Jacques.")
  • The Amazing Race (starting with season 2) and Survivor (starting with Cook Islands) refer to their episodes with quotes from the episodes. (For TAR, it has become quite a sport guessing who says the quote.)
  • Another Reality TV example is America's Next Top Model, titling its episodes "The Girl Who/With ___". (Main drawback: The show has had 4 of its 14 cycles so far end with an episode titled "The Girl Who Becomes America's Next Top Model": cycles 1, 7, 8, and 9.)
    • Not all episode titles begin with "The Girl;" sometimes they would begin with The Girls. The titles referred to an action that one or several of the contestants took during the course of the episode. Between Cycles 10 and 14 episodes did not begin with "The Girl"/"The Girls" (but they still described events in the episodes).
    • Since Cycle 15, episode titles are named after the guest judge of the episode. The exceptions: recap episodes.
  • Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is a Stephen Sondheim fan, and so uses Sondheim songs as the titles of his episodes.
    • Since they've started to run out of song titles, they now often use lyrics from Sondheim songs.
  • On Nip Tuck, the episodes are named after the main patient undergoing surgery at McNamara/Troy that episode.
    • This has interesting potential for drama; when you see an episode named after a major character, you know something is happening. Of course, it also gave us the episode "Quentin Costa," in which we learn the identity of the Carver, which we had been waiting for for about two seasons. Three guesses what's funny about that title.
  • Starting with the fifth, each season of That '70s Show picked an appropriate band and used their song titles for every episode. (In order, the bands were Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Queen.)
  • Smallville always uses one-word titles. (Except "Absolute Justice", which was a double-length episode, so still one word per hour.)
    • See also 'Lou Grant (with the technical exception of the two-part episode "Andrew," both parts of which had a subtitle - "Premonition" and "Trial"), Stressed Eric and now Revenge.
  • Law and Order shows usually use one-word titles, often using words with a double-meaning. For example, the Law and Order Special Victims Unit episode "Taken" appears to be about a kidnapping, but it turns out to be a con job. A particularly egregious example would be the episode "Head," about a woman who rapes a boy in a bathroom because she has a brain tumor.
    • In at least two instances, SVU had two-part crossovers with other Law & Order series using IEN for the titles. A crossover with Law and Order Trial By Jury was named "Night" (SVU) & "Day" (TBJ). A crossover with Law and Order was named "Design" (SVU) & "Flaw" (L&O prime).
  • Blackadder from season 2 onwards.
  • Special case: Emily's Reasons Why Not had every episode except the pilot have a title starting with "Why Not To", e.g., "Why Not to Date Your Gynecologist". However, only the pilot ever aired in the US.
  • Episode titles of Bones are all formatted "The [victim] in the [place]" ("The Woman in the Sand," "The Superhero in the Alley"). Exceptions are "The Man on Death Row" and "The Graft in the Girl," which follow the linguistic pattern but do not refer directly to the victim, and "The Girl With The Curl," which is just out of left field as far as the pattern goes. ("The Truth in the Lye," while a horrible pun, still technically refers to the victim.)
    • The 4th season premiere had "The Yanks in the UK" which was talking about Booth and Brennan.
      • Possibly, but the victim (and her family) in that episode were also Americans. Booth was asked to help specifically because the victim's father was a powerful American businessman.
    • The series also varied from the 'victim' format with the over-dramatic title The Pain in the Heart for the third season finale, where Zack is revealed as the Gormogon's apprentice.
    • Season 5 had "A Night at the Bones Museum," probably because the major murder heavily involved a mummy, and the show already had an episode with "mummy" in its title. There are several other exceptions in this season for varying reasons.
    • Season 6 contained an episode named The Finder, acknowledging that it was a Poorly-Disguised Pilot rather than a real episode.
    • One first season episode that varied from the "The" format was "A Boy In A Bush". Still held to the pattern, but with A instead of The.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun always worked "Dick" into the title. That's what happens when you downsize standards and practices. For those who don't know, that's the name of the male lead.
  • Similarly, every episode of Slings and Arrows after the first two was titled with a Shakespeare quote.
    • More specifically, a quote from the play that was being rehearsed that season (Hamlet in S1, Macbeth in S2, and King Lear in S3)
  • Though there was no idiosyncratic system for episode titles on Babylon 5, every season had one significant episode whose title also doubled as the overall name of the season, fitting in with the concept that the show was a series of novels for television. The titles were "Signs and Portents" (season 1); "The Coming of Shadows" (season 2); "Point of No Return" (season 3); "No Surrender, No Retreat" (season 4); and "The Wheel of Fire" (season 5).
  • Freaks and Geeks had many episode titles that combined two rhyming thematic words: "Beers and Weirs," "Carded and Discarded," "Tests and Breasts".
    • Some non-rhyming examples: "Tricks and Treats", "Girlfriends and Boyfriends", "Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers", "Discos and Dragons".
      • Eastwick did this as well.
        • And Hart of Dixie does something similar ("In Havoc & In Heat," "Homecoming & Coming Home," "Mistress & Misunderstandings") with the exception of "Hell's Belles," and even that rhymes.
  • The X-Files sometimes used complimentary or opposing episode names for multi-part and mytharc episodes: "The End"/"The Beginning," "Two Fathers"/"One Son," "Biogenesis"/"The Sixth Extinction I & II," "Within"/"Without."
    • Perhaps "Deadalive" was the result of a shortened two-parter?
    • Most of the time, though, episodes titles for The X-Files were extremely vague words or phrases brought up by a single line of dialogue or some other subtle or insignificant aspect of the episode, and the titles were simply there so the creators had something to refer to each individual episode as.
  • The Sopranos, after a few episodes, started to have a somewhat idiosyncratic naming convention where each episode had a title that would be spoken aloud by a character somewhere in the episode (one of the best of the early episodes titled in this manner was "Nobody Knows Anything"). AS the series went on, the titles themselves became more idiosyncratic, and some viewers (e.g. Television Without Pity) started actively checking to see how long it took before the writers managed to work the title into the dialogue ("Fleshy Part Of The Thigh", anyone?).
    • The British private eye series Public Eye did the "random dialogue as episode title" thing before (the show's creators were big fans of Naked City, which took a similar approach to its episode titles), and Damages also uses it ("Tastes Like a Ho-Ho", "They Had to Tweeze That Out of My Kidney", "You Got Your Prom Date Pregnant", "Don't Throw That at the Chicken," etc).
    • Deadwood did this too, starting during its second season.
    • And so does Two and A Half Men (e.g. "Humiliation is a Visual Medium").
    • Don't forget Mr. Show.
    • And Ringer (such as "The Poor Kids Do It Every Day" and "If You're Just An Evil Bitch, Then Get Over It").
  • Doctor Who has a venerable tradition of titles in the format, "The (noun) of (scary abstract noun)", eg. The Hand of Fear, The Face of Evil, The Reign of Terror, The Seeds of Doom, The Edge of Destruction, The Robots of Death... and so forth. The Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama ...ish hung a lampshade on this when the Doctor mentioned an encounter with the sentient word called The Adjective of Noun. Eventually parodied with Steven Moffat's The Curse of Fatal Death.
    • And of course, there's "(The) X of the Daleks". Way to spoil the surprise, BBC.
    • After John Nathan-Turner became producer (1980), many stories had one-word titles (e.g. Meglos, Logopolis), often named after characters or planets. Before that, there were three such stories (Inferno, Robot and Underworld) in 17 years.
      • Similarly, the first three series of Blakes Seven (produced by David Maloney) had no pattern to the titles. The fourth series (produced by Vere Lorrimer) had all one-word titles.
    • Stories where multiple doctors meet are called "The <number of doctors that make an appearance> Doctors", except the mini episodes Time Crash and Dimensions In Time.
    • Each finale episode of the RTD era had a title associated with endings (The Partings of the Ways, Doomsday, Last of the Time Lords, Journey's End, The End of Time), but this has changed to beginnings since Moffat took over (The Big Bang, The Wedding of River Song).
  • The episodes of series 3 of Torchwood were simply called 'Day One', 'Day Two', etc. (Unfortunately, the second episode of the first series - in which, as in the second series, there was no particular rule for naming episodes - is also called 'Day One.')
  • Batman: most of the episodes of the 1960s series have names that rhyme (sometime approximately) two by two. Episodes 21 and 22 of the first season, for instance, are called "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't". (Exceptions: "Green Ice"/"Deep Freeze," "The Clock King's Crazy Crimes"/"The Clock King Gets Crowned", and "The Greatest Mother Of Them All"/"Ma Parker.")
    • When the format changed in the final season (going from two weekly episodes to one, and fewer cliffhangers), this naming trope was dropped.
    • Batman the Brave And The Bold did a shout-out to this with the first two-parter being named "Deep Cover for Batman" and "Game Over for Owlman".
  • iCarly episodes are of the form "i<Insert Phrase Here>", many of which can be read as complete sentences (e.g. "iGive Away a Car", "iSpeed Date") but not all ("iSam's Mom"). Unlike most series that use this trope, this also applies to the pilot (called "iPilot").
  • The Showtime drama Brotherhood had all its Season 1 episode titles as references to religious texts, usually The Bible. The second season uses Bob Dylan lyrics for episode titles. The episode titles for the third season are William Shakespeare quotes.
  • Life Unexpected's episodes are tiled as to rhyme with the series title, apart from the pilot, which could also be called Life Unexpected. Examples: "Home Inspected", "Rent Uncollected", and "Bong Intercepted".
    • Unfortunately they eventually bent this rule. A lot (hence episodes like "Truth Unrevealed," "Music Faced" and "Stand Taken").
  • Everybody Hates Chris: Every episode title has the form "Everybody Hates _____". Including the pilot ("Everybody Hates The Pilot").
  • Every episode of Police Squad! had two titles. At the end of the intro, the name of the episode would be given on screen, and at the same time, a voiceover would read out a completely different title. Which one was actually relevant to the episode varied.
    • Or just give away who perpetrated the crime in one Who Dunnit episode; screen title: The Butler did it.
  • Neighbours had episode titles that form utterly terrible puns, often based on a song or literary allusion that has something to do with the plot of the episode, such as (this troper's favorite) 'Assault and Pepper'. Thankfully, they have now stopped releasing the names of episodes.
  • The titles for season two of Carnivale referred to the town in which the Carnivale set up camp - i.e. "Ingram, TX", "Cheyenne, WY", and the finale, "New Caanan, CA" - or where Ben Hawkins was discovering more bits of the endgame - "Alamagordo, NM", "Old Cherry Blossom Road", etc. The first season did this somewhat - "Babylon", "The River" - but if it'd stuck to the trope, we wouldn't have such fun titles as "The Day That Was the Day".
  • The World War II TV show The Rat Patrol episodes were always "The ____________ Raid".
  • Every episode of The Middleman is "The _____ ______ ______", such as "The Accidental Occidental Conception." This formula was even used to name the pilot episode "The Pilot Episode Sanction."
  • The Blair Brown US TV series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd had every episode title starting with "Here" or "Here's". Most of the first season episode titles began with "Here's Why", the rest mostly began "Here's a". Some episode titles: Here's why you should always have a cake burning in the refrigerator, Here's why you should never wear high heels to the bank, and Here's a side effect of serious moonlight.
  • The Big Bang Theory phrases its episode titles like scientific terminology. ("The Fuzzy Boots Corollary", "The Hamburger Postulate", "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization", etc.)
  • Episodes of The King of Queens that crossover with Everybody Loves Raymond include a pun on Ray in the title. ("Road Rayge", "Rayny Day", "Dire Strayts")
    • All episodes of The King of Queens, except for the pilot episode, have a two word title, usually involving a pun like "Queasy Rider" or an intentional misuse of an existing phrase like "Major Disturbance" ("Major" is the name of Doug's best friend's son).
  • Every episode of the first season of Eli Stone shared its title with a George Michael song.
  • The Mentalist uses the word "Red" in its titles, sometimes fitting the episode (i.e. "Red Hair and Silver Tape" which refers to the trait of the victims and the item used to bind them.)
    • During the middle of the first season the seemed to run out of "red" puns, so they went with "Scarlett Fever", "Bloodshot", "Carnelian, Inc", Russet Potatoes", all different shades of red, before returning to only red from "A Dozen Red Roses".
    • Seemingly averted in the second season episode "18-5-4", until you realize that R is the 18th letter of the alphabet, E is the fifth, and D is the fourth. The episode deals with cryptography.
    • Before that, there was another apparent aversion with "Aingavite Baa"- except the title is Shoshone Indian for "red water". The episode is about water pollution on an Indian reservation.
    • All are a reference to the series' unseen villain and object of Patrick Jane's obsession, Red John.
  • Leverage episode titles are all instances of The Crime Job. This is parodied by the creators themselves in the online special The Hand Job: Getting What You Want the Leverage way
  • Almost every episode title of Gossip Girl is a play on a movie title, more than a few of which fall squarely into Incredibly Lame Pun territory. Examples (mostly kept here to titles including main characters or families):
  • The first season of The Drew Carey Show had many episodes with titles related to chemistry. Also parodied itself with episode 10, titled "Science Names Suck" and episode 15, titled "There is No Scientific Name for a Show About God".
  • Skins titles are the first name of the main character that they focus on.
    • Except the Series 1 and 3 finales, which focus, respectively, the entire cast and most of the cast, and are both titled "Finale". The Series 2 finale also focuses on the whole cast, but is titled "Everyone".
  • All of the episode titles in Are You Afraid of the Dark? begin with "The Tale of", eg "The Tale of the Lonely Ghost" or "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark".
  • The episode titles of Two Guys, a Girl And A Pizza Place were modeled after the title of the show, following the pattern "Two Guys, a Girl and ________". When the show was renamed simply Two Guys and a Girl, the pattern was dropped.
  • Episode titles of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia describe what happens in the episode, usually referring to the main characters as "The Gang." The title card serves as a punchline by bluntly affirming or contradicting the last line of the cold opening. For example, just after Frank insists that no one is going to get hurt by his scheme, the title appears: "Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire."
    • It's a little more formulaic than that. The vast majority of the episode titles are <The Gang/Gang member> <verb> <noun/controversial isse>.
  • The pilot episode for Caroline in The City used the same title as the series itself, but every subsequent episode title used some variant of "Caroline and the _____".
  • Every episode of the short-lived sitcom Alright Already had a title of "Again with the _____".
  • A considerable number of MASH episodes took their titles from classic movies or songs. These could be either taken straight ("It Happened One Night", "Hey, Look Me Over"), slightly adjusted ("Hawkeye Get Your Gun", "A War for All Seasons"), or turned into horrible puns ("U.N. the Night and the Music", "The Novocaine Mutiny"). The title of the series' final episode ("Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen") was paraphrased from a line in Cole Porter's song "Just One of Those Things".
  • Each episode title in Harper's Island is onomatopoeia associated with a death that occurs in that episode. They are also all one word, except for one episode, which is three ("Thrack, Splat, Sizzle").
  • Every episode of The George Carlin Show was a sentence in the form of George (Predicate): "George Goes Too Far", "George Helps a Friend", etc.
  • All episodes of British children's show Bernards Watch had the word "time" in the title (since they were about a watch that could stop time).
    • As was the case with another British children's show, Kappatoo (only here it was about time-travelling doubles).
  • Each episode of Party Down takes its name from whatever event the crew is working.
  • In Kamen Rider Kuuga, the episode titles are simply two kanji. Kamen Rider Hibiki has titles that are all two-word noun phrases, and Kamen Rider Kiva precedes the actual title with a musical term or reference. Those three series' relevant Kamen Rider Decade episodes retain their naming conventions.
    • Kamen Rider Double uses a "<story arc>/<episode>" format. In addition, each story arc title includes a single Latin letter that stands for two words: a concept central to the arc and a character central to the arc.
    • Kamen Rider OOO and its use of the Rule of Three means each title has an "X, Y, and Z" format (eg. A Fist, an Experiment, and a Super Bike; Pride, Surgery, and a Secret; or Chocolate, Faith, and the Power of Justice.)
    • Kamen Rider Fourze ups the ante by having four kanji, when put together, make a sentence pertaining to the plot of the episode.
    • Garo has its episodes titled in the same manner as Kuuga's.
  • Most episodes of The Norm Show were titled "Norm vs. _____".
  • A number of Disney Channel shows do this:
    • In Hannah Montana, every single episode is named after a song, including the pilot: "Lilly, Do You Want To Know A Secret?" Other examples include "Oops! I Meddled Again," "Welcome To The Bungle," and "I Want You To Want Me... To Go To Florida."
    • Several Sonny With a Chance episodes are named "Sonny With A _____", "_____ With A Chance", or vice versa.
    • Shake It Up calls every episode "______ It Up," with the exception of "Shake It Up, Up And Away." Perhaps to make up for it, the Crossover with Good Luck Charlie is called "Charlie Shakes It Up."
    • Every episode of A.N.T. Farm has the word "ANT" somewhere in it (for example, "TransplANTed" and ""America Needs TalANT").
  • Super Sentai uses these often:
  • In the Yorkshire Television series The Beiderbecke Affair, all episode titles are in the form of a question or comment, which is then the first line of dialogue. (E.g., "What I don't understand is this ...")
  • Privileged has all of the episode titles start with "All About...", e.g. "All About the Power Position", "All About Love, Actually" etc.
  • Curiously, Privileged star JoAnna Garcia's next series, Better with You, also went for this trope - in this case, the episode titles all began with "Better With..." (e.g. "Better With Firehouse").
  • Originally, Father Ted was to model its episode titles after the 'Mr Moto' episode titles (e.g. Think Fast Ted, Are you right there Ted?) but the writers could only think of a few examples and dropped the idea.
  • Every episode of season 1 of Stargate Universe has a one-word title. This troper guesses that if there's a season 2, every episode will have a two word title.
    • Moreover, every episode of season 1 (so far) has been apparently named based on Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: in order, Air, Darkness, Light, Water, Earth, Time, Life and Justice. Where's Fire, you ask? Well, it seems that the Darkness/Light two-parter was originally going to be a single episode, titled, yes, Fire. Half-expecting a Heart episode now.
      • Sadly, season 2 is going to drop the theme and just name episodes like they'd normally do. Still, a lot of one word titles...
  • The Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV show titled their episodes as a statement starting with "Honey..." The only exception is "From Honey with Love".
  • Each episode of Day Break has a question as the title: "What If He Runs Away?", "What If It's Her?", since the protagonist is trying new tactics each time the day restarts. (And yes, they all start with "What If...".)
  • Community is set on a community college campus, and every episode features a subtle play on college course titles as it relates to the episode—such as "Football, Feminism and You", "Advanced Criminal Law" and "Social Psychology". Odd Name Out: "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas".
  • The Forgotten uses "<something> John/Jane" for its titles. This is taken from the practice of identifying unknown victims as John or Jane Doe.
    • Three episode titles however, has Doe instead of John/Jane (namely "Double Doe", "Donovan Doe" and "Living Doe").
  • Breaking Bad: Put together, the titles of the episodes "737", "Down", "Over", "ABQ" give a Spoiler for the season 2 finale. The episodes in question are connected by a strange crime-scene Cold Open with a conspicuous Empathy Doll Shot.
  • The Cake Boss uses three-word titles with Alliteration that are typically about the cakes they're making plus some hijinks the bakers get up to. For instance "Robots, Rollerskates, and Relatives" had a robot cake, a rollerskate cake, and Buddy's sister and nephew driving him and the staff insane.
  • Accidentally on Purpose titles its episodes after movies, in keeping with the main character's job as a film critic.
  • Both the original and the revived Charlie's Angels used the word "angel" in some form in the names of most of its episodes ("Angels in Paradise," "Angel on My Mind," "Angels Go Trucking," "Catch a Falling Angel," "Angels in the Deep," and others).
  • Though never seen by the viewing audience, every episode of Prisoners of Gravity (a Canadian show about science fiction hosted by Rick Green) had a topic-appropriate title with the initials P. O. G.
  • Nearly every episode of the short-lived Steven Weber sitcom The Weber Show (a.k.a. Cursed) had an episode title which was some variant of "...And Then (Something Happened)".
  • Gary Unmarried begins every episode title with "Gary" or "Gary's" followed by a description of a person or action.
  • The name of almost every episode on Charmed worked on more than one level—each often included a terrible pun which was at least peripherally relevant to the plot point/MonsterOfTheWeek, unless the name of one of the sisters was somehow worked into the title. At the same time, most names were also puns which played off of a Shout-Out to another famous title or work. While just about anything was fair game, the most common contenders were works of literature, rival TV shows, classic films, and well-known songs, often oldies. Examples:
    • Literature: "Something Wicca This Way Comes", "The Demon Who Came in from the Cold", "The Importance of Being Phoebe", "Sense and Sense Ability", "Valhalley of the Dolls", "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell", "Malice in Wonderland."
    • TV shows: "That 70s Episode", "Sword and the City", "I Dream of Phoebe", "Spin City", "Styx Feet Under", "Extreme Makeover: World Edition", "Desperate Housewitches", "Rewitched", "The Jung and the Restless", "My Three Witches."
    • Films: "Dead Man Dating", "From Fear to Eternity", "Secrets and Guys", "How to Make a Quilt Out of Americans", "Apocalypse Not", "Sleuthing with the Enemy", "The Good the Bad and the Cursed", "Death Takes a Halliwell", "Look Who's Barking", "Enter the Demon", "The Three Faces of Phoebe", "Saving Private Leo", "We're Off to See the Wizard", "Y Tu Mummy Tambien", "Baby's First Demon", "Necromancing the Stone", "Little Monsters", "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father", "Crimes and Witch-Demeanors", "A Wrong Day's Journey into Right", "It's a Bad Bad Bad Bad World", "The Bare Witch Project", "Cheaper by the Coven", "There's Something about Leo", "Ordinary Witches", "Charmageddon", "The Seven Year Witch", "Scry Hard", "Freaky Phoebe", "Death Becomes Them", "Kill Billie", "The Lost Picture Show", "Hulkus Pocus", "Mr. and Mrs. Witch", "12 Angry Zen", "The Last Temptation of Christy", "Engaged and Confused", "Gone With the Witches", "Little Box of Horrors."
    • Songs: "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Dream Sorcerer", "Blinded by the Whitelighter", "Sympathy for the Demon", "The Day the Magic Died", "Nymphs Just Want to Have Fun".
  • Brazilian sitcom Os Normais, for its first two seasons, had titles with "Normal" in the title, most usually in the form "______ is Normal" (exception: "Normas do Clube", the club's norms, but one word is just one letter away from "normal"). Third season only had it on the season finale, "Finishing is normal").
  • All the episodes for the short-lived UPN show, Special Unit 2, had simple two-word titles that began with "The" - as in "The Brothers", "The Web", "The Walls", etc.
  • An example of idiosyncratic series naming - the BBC has broadcast a number of shows that have the aim of finding a new lead for various Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. Although the format remains consistent from one series to the next, the title changes to reflect the particular musical being auditioned for. In each case, the title is taken from one of the songs in that musical. The four series so far are How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (The Sound of Music), Any Dream Will Do (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat), I'd Do Anything (Oliver!) and Over the Rainbow (go on, take a wild guess).
  • QI has series with letters rather than numbers; each episode in the series is given a title that begins with this letter, which serves as the theme for that episode.
  • Cirque Du Soleil's Widget Series Solstrom, which involved magical solar wind, used the word "wind" (sometimes plural) in every on-screen episode title. For some reason, when it was broadcast in the U.S. the episodes were given plainer titles that dropped this convention ("Howling Wind" became "Gothic", "Once Upon a Wind" became "Adventure", etc.), but the original titles were reinstated for the DVD release.
  • Every episode title of Maude began with "Maude's ..."
  • Aaron Sorkin used the episode title "What Kind Of Day Has It Been" for the first season finale of *three* successive series: Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (in the case of the last-named, it was also the series finale).
  • Every episode of No Ordinary Family begins with the words "No Ordinary." For example, "No Ordinary Marriage," "No Ordinary Earthquake."
    • All except the first, which was simply called "Pilot". This is probably for, on the chance the pilot from the first episode comes back, they can have an episode titled "No Ordinary Pilot."
  • Every episode of Hawaii Five-O (2010 version) except for the pilot uses a Hawaiian word or phrase for its title.
  • On The Defenders, episodes are named after cases ("Las Vegas v. Reid", "Nevada v. Rodgers", etc.)
  • Every episode of 100 Questions was named after one of the 100 questions in the dating test that served as the driving force for the action. (Therefore, the series was theoretically supposed to end after 100 episodes. It was cancelled after only 6 aired, though.)
  • Every episode of Cougar Town is named after a song by Tom Petty
  • Having episode titles at all is something of a Running Gag for Conan since no late-night Talk Show has ever had them.
  • House of Anubis has every episode in the form of "House of ______" such as House of Leaves, House of Mouse, and House of Cards
  • Most episodes of John Doe have unique names. A few, though, try to reference the title of the show as much as possible, usually involving wordplay. Examples: "Doe Re: Me", "John Deux", "John D.O.A.", "Doe or Die".
  • Jenny McCarthy's sitcom Jenny began every episode title with "A Girl's Gotta..."
  • Apart from being sitcoms, what do "Hello, Larry," "Grace Under Fire," "Arrested Development" and "Mad About You" have in common? They're all episode titles of the shortlived Love, Inc. (all its episodes were named after other sitcoms).
  • Maybe It's Me, Committed, and Opposite Sex all called their episodes "The ______ Episode"; Half & Half went a step further, going for "The Big ______ Episode." (Fate rewarded this addition by not having this show cancelled after one season, unlike the other three.)
  • The First Shop of Coffee Prince lists each new chronicle as "[# of episode] Cup."
  • The first three seasons of Rawhide called every episode "Incident ________ " (e.g. "Incident Below The Brazos"). This was dropped after the first episode of season four ("Incident At Rio Salado"), but returned for seasons five and six; when Bruce Geller and Bernard Kowalski became the new showrunners in season seven the "Incident..." episode naming was dropped for good (as were Geller and Kowalski themselves after a season, but that's another story).
  • The second and last season of What About Brian called each episode therein "What About ______..." (e.g. "What About Calling All Friends...").
  • Most of the episode titles in Lost Girl either include the word fae (often in a pun) or use the name/species of a fae that appears in the episode.
  • Every episode of the short-lived Law and Order: L.A. was named after a neighborhood or area of Los Angeles.
  • Every episode of Big Time Rush is named "Big Time _____" except for "Green Time Rush" and "Welcome Back Big Time".
  • Every episode of Supah Ninjas is named after the antagonist of the episode.
  • Every episode of the first season of Covert Affairs (not counting the pilot) is named after a Led Zeppelin song. The second season switches to R.E.M. song titles.
  • Bucket And Skinner's Epic Adventures names all of its episodes "Epic _____".
  • 1990's UK TV series Preston Front named all its episodes using the format [Character]'s [Object]. This produced titles ranging from the prosaic ("Hodge's Driving Test") to the punning ("Spock's Dilated Pupil" - that's 'pupil' as in 'student') to the vaguely surreal ("Polson's Lilo").
  • Episodes of In Plain Sight are given punny titles often by combining the central element of the episode with a cliche or film or music reference. "A Fine Meth", "Coma Chameleon", "Second Crime Around"...
  • NBC's short-lived sitcom Perfect Couples titled all its episodes (save the pilot) "Perfect _____".
  • A Gifted Man titles all its post-pilot episodes "In Case Of ______".
  • Bottom used episode titles that could be preceded by the word "Bottom", e.g. "Smells", "'s Up", "Hole", "'s Out" - or more obscurely, "Parade", "Culture", "Burglary" and "Apocalypse".
  • One Thousand Ways to Die consistently uses death-related puns on famous phrases, adages, etc. This applies both to the episode titles and to the individual scenes depicted within. In addition, many of the scenes contain alternate names that play the death pun in a different but still relevant direction.
  • Every episode of Disney XD's Mr. Young is titled "Mr. _____".
  • My Place is a historical children's series that stretches from 2008 to past 1788. Each episode is in a different decade, and its name is the year it takes placed in.
  • Players, a meeting of minds between Ice-T, Dick Wolf and Shaun Cassidy about con artists, gave all its episodes titles including the word "con" (examples: "Mint Condition," "In Concert").
  • In 1964, Paul Almond shot a documentary for BBC TV detailing the lives and aspirations of a dozen seven-year-olds. It has since been followed by sequels every seven years, all of which were called <multiple of 7> Up, the last being 56 Up.
  • In a case of Episode Finishes the Title crossed with Character Name and the Noun Phrase, every episode of Two Broke Girls except the pilot begins with "And ...".
  • Life With Boys gives all its episodes titles ending with "...With Boys" (example: "In The Principal's Office With Boys").
  • The Tony Randall Show, about a judge, phrased every title as a case file, e.g. "Case: His Honor vs. Her Honor."
  • Adam-12 quite often used "Log (number)-(crime type)", though it *was* deviated from at times.
  • Taken to the extreme in the Swedish comedy series Nile City 105,6 where all episodes have the same name: "Adult men do stuff together"
  • Pink Panther and Pals is pretty obvious, as each episode in which the Pink Panther is the protagonist features the word "Pink" somewhere in the title (subverted slightly with "Pinxillated"). Probably a shout-out to the classic animated Pink Panther shorts (1963-1980) with this naming convention.
    • The 1993 animated series saw several episodes contain the word "Panther" and others that didn't contain either word.
  • Each episode of Alcatraz is named after the convict(s) being hunted down that week.
  • A lot of the Lifetime Movie of the Week will have Something Sounding Scandalous: The Victim's Name Story or the inverse (Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial in Italy) . Not all Lifetime movies use this title format, but enough do that it's used by almost all parodies. Premise: Lurid Phrase is also common.
  • Every episode of Burke's Law, an Aaron Spelling detective show starring Gene Barry, was called "Who Killed __________?" The 1994 Revival, also starring Barry, used the same naming convention.
  • How To Be A Gentleman and How To Be Indie both went for episodes with titles beginning "How To Be..." (although the latter clocked up way more than the former).
  • Every post-pilot episode of I Hate My Teenage Daughter was called "Teenage _________."
  • Every episode of Madigan was called "The ___________ Beat," due to half the episodes being set in New York and the other three being set in Europe.
  • Strange Report, from ITC and Norman Felton's Arena Productions, took its lead from the series title: "Report #(four-digit serial number): (Subject of episode) - (Actual episode name)." (Example: "Report #0649: SKELETON - Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.")
  • In arguably the most bizarre naming convention on this page, all the post-pilot episodes of Don't Trust The B—— In Apartment 23 have titles which end in an ellipsis...

Music[edit | hide]

  • The score for Batman Begins is titled idiosyncratically: the first track, Vespertilio, is the Latin word for bat, and the other titles are all scientific names for different genera of bat. This is not the case for The Dark Knight's music; however, many of the track titles are either taken from lines of dialogue in the film, or a slight variation on them: I'm Not A Hero, Blood On My Hands, And I Thought My Jokes Were Bad, Like A Dog Chasing Cars; etc. However, it's noteworthy that the lines of dialogue spoken do not correspond to the scenes in which the music plays. For example, "Like A Dog Chasing Cars", an energetic treatment of one of the main themes, is not played over the scene where the line is spoken, which is a quiet conversation with the Joker. In fact, it's not even played over any of the scenes involving high-speed vehicular chases, which mostly go without score.
  • The band New Order frequently have song titles that do not appear in the lyrics and have nothing to do with the song such as True Faith, Blue Monday or Bizarre love triangle
  • Michael Giacchino has a lot of fun with his track titles. Some examples:
  • Christopher Young's promotional release of his score for the movie Hush has the following tracklisting: "Hush," "Little Baby," "Don't Say A Word," "Mama's Gonna Buy," "You" and "A."
    • He aso blazed a trail for Michael Giacchino in the Incredibly Lame Pun stakes. Observe:
      • "Grusin Twosome" (Bandits promo)
      • "Heist Society" (Entrapment)
      • "Music For Violence And Orchestra" (Swordfish promo)
      • "Jerry's Gold Myth" (The Power)
  • Danny Elfman has written a cue called "Weepy Donuts" for every Gus Van Sant film he's scored.
    • Also, many of his Batman-era scores (including Batman) have a track called "The Final Confrontation."
  • All the tracks for Jerry Goldsmith's Link have titles ending with "Link," e.g. "Main Link," "Swinging Link," "Mighty Link," and, of course, "End Link."
  • Each song on the Mountain Goats's 2009 album The Life of the World to Come is named after a Bible verse.
  • Between 1972 and 1977, the band America had seven consecutive album titles that started with the letter H. The group used used six more non-consecutive H titles since then.
  • Queen named two consecutive albums after Marx Brothers films: A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.
  • Peter Gabriel initially wanted all of his solo albums to simply be named "Peter Gabriel," as if they were issues of a magazine. The label let him get away with that for three albums, but then they named his fourth album "Security" themselves and told Peter to knock it off.
    • Since then, most of his studio albums have featured two-letter words as their titles, and other releases such as Hit and OVO have been quite tersely named as well.
  • Extreme metal band Dimmu Borgir tend toward three-word album titles that are often quite nonsensical: Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, Godless Savage Garden, Spiritual Black Dimensions, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Death Cult Armageddon.
  • Death metal band Morbid Angel consistently have their nth album staring with the nth letter of the alphabet. Straight from their first, Altars of Madness, to their ninth, Illud Divinum Insanus.
  • Progressive Doom Metal band, Madder Mortem, use their name as an acronym for the titles of their albums: M - Mercury, A - All Flesh is Grass, D - Deadlands, D - Desiderata...
  • ¡Forward, Russia! used to give all their songs numeric titles in order of writing. This ended after their album Give Me A Wall.
  • Most albums by Chicago are called "Chicago" followed by the number of the album.
  • Asia's studio albums were all named with a word beginning and ending with "a" up until the eighth one, Rare.
  • British folk-rocker John Wesley Harding (aka Wesley Stace) named several of his albums after Frank Capra movies: It Happened One Night, Here Comes The Groom, Why We Fight. Another one, The Name Above The Title, was named after Capra's autobiography.
  • Progressive metal band Dream Theater named their sixth and eighth albums Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Octavarium, respectively. In addition, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence had six songs and Octavarium eight.
    • Some fans also think that Train of Thought contains a subtle nod to leetspeak (not surprising considering how warmly the band references things such as the John Petrucci Psycho Exercises dubs), as the letter T is usually represented by a 7. This was their seventh studio album and contains seven songs.
  • Boys Night Out's Trainwreck album had all its songs named (verb)-ing such as 'Dreaming', 'Waking', 'Medicating' etc.
  • Global Communication's magnum opus 76:14 had all its tracks named after the length of the song much like the album name itself (being 76minutes and 14seconds long. The reasoning is they didn't want to influence anyone's interpretation of the songs by naming them a certain way.
  • Aphex Twin's 'I Care Because You Do' features several anagrams of 'Aphex Twin', 'The Aphex Twin' and 'Richard David James'. Such as 'Wax the Nip' and 'The Waxen Pith'
    • Similarly, his Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 is named by pictures instead of words. The songs are based on lucid dreams and the pictures associated all tie into it. It's kinda unnerving but also really cool.
    • A good deal of the songs released in the Analord series of 12" singles are named after viruses or malicious software ("Backdoor.Ranky.S" for instance) - apparently something of a prank on those who would try to find them on filesharing programs.
  • KMFDM album titles have been five letters long since "UAIOE" up to "Hau Ruck" (originally FUBAR), which broke the chain. Hell, KMFDM even misspelled words to keep the chain moving (Attak, Xtort), and Tohuvabohu came close to resuming the tradition with five syllables, but it wasn't until Blitz when the tradition resumed.
  • All the song titles on German singer Annett Louisan's debut album Boheme follow the pattern (article/noun) - Das Spiel (the game), Das Gefühl (the feeling) etc., with the sole exception of Daddy.
  • Almost every release by The Jesus Lizard has a 4 letter, one syllable title, the exception being one self-titled EP.
    • All releases by the Foetus moniker for JG Thirlwell, aka "That guy who does the music for The Venture Brothers," are titled the exact same way.
  • Of Montreal's demo collection The Early Four Track Recordings: Evidently none of the songs were given proper titles when they were recorded, so the track listing consists of non-appearing titles that form a surreal story about the misadventures of Dustin Hoffman ("Dustin Hoffman Does Not Resist Temptation to Eat the Bathtub," "Dustin Hoffman's Wife Comes Home", "Dustin Hoffman's Wife Seems Suspicious About the Absent Bathtub", etc).
  • Parodied in A Mighty Wind with Kingston Trio/Weavers/Limeliters pastiche The Folksmen. Their first 5 albums all have single word gerund titles with a missing final "g", such as Pickin' and Wishin' . Their 6th album, Saying Something, breaks this trend (as well as using electric instruments for the first time); and is described (in a cut scene) by the band as the reason they lost their fanbase.
    • Perhaps they were inspired by Miles Davis' late-'50s quintet albums, which were titled Cookin' , Relaxin' , Steamin' , and Workin' .
  • Japanese Black Metal band Sigh do this with their major releases. Each one begins with one of the letters of the band's name, in order: Scorn Defeat, Infidel Art, Ghastly Funeral Theatre, Hail Horror Hail, Scenario IV: Dead Dreams, Imaginary Sonicscape, Gallows Gallery, Hangman's Hymn, Scenes from Hell.
  • All of Soul-Junk's releases are named after years. His first album was 1950; every subsequent album has counted up (1951, 1952, and so on) while his EP's have counted down (1949, 1948, etc).
  • On Gileah & the Ghost Train's self-titled album, all the track titles begin with "The"; eight of the ten song titles are, aside from the definite article, only one word long; and they're all arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Blur's Britpop trilogy of albums began with Modern Life is Rubbish and Parklife; it was planned that the third album would also have "life" in the name, but this trope was Averted Trope when Alex James suggested The Great Escape instead.
  • The first three Coheed and Cambria albums' names corresponded to the album's place in the mythos: Second Stage Turbine Blade; In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3; Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. The fourth album's full name follows this trend (Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. 2: No World for tomorrow), but the newest, Year of the Black Rainbow, (a prequel) Subverts this completely. It should be noted, however, that the first track on the album is entitled "One".
  • Anvil have so far given all thirteen of their studio albums a three-word title with alliteration on the first and third words, and the second word being something with one syllable. Examples include Forged in Fire and Plugged in Permanent.
  • J-Rock band Do As Infinity likes this. The first letter of every major release is always the same as the last letter of the previous album. So far, they have: Break of Dawn, New World, Deep Forest, True Song, Gates of Heaven, Need Your Love, Eternal Flame.
  • Not everyone does this, but this also happens with the sides of an album (in record and cassette media). While the majority of albums are labeled "Side 1/A" and "Side 2/B", a number of albums have gotten creative with this. (see also Distinct Double Album) Among many examples are:
    • The Don McLean album American Pie, which labels it's sides as "One Side" and "Another Side".
    • Guns N' Roses' debut album Appetite For Destruction with "Side G" and "Side R" (standing for "GNR", an acronym for the name of the band)
    • A number of REM albums. They also tended to turn the creativity Up to Eleven with their side names: Lifes Rich Pageant (1986), for example, had the "Dinner" and "Supper" sides, while Green (1988) -- which was promoted by the band as an environmental message—had the "Air" and "Metal" sides (the oxygen in the air reacting with metal to make rust, of course). Sadly, this was abandoned with Up (1998).
    • Cheap Trick's debut had the sides labeled Side 1 and Side A, as a joke about there not being any "b material" on the album. This actually led to some confusion when it was first released on cd - the first 5 tracks were actually what the band considered the second side, which has since been corrected on newer reissues.
      • The original CD version placed the songs in the same order in which they were listed on the record cover.
    • The double album Double Nickels On The Dime by The Minutemen had Side D, Side Mike, Side George and Side Chaff: The first 3 sides were named after whatever member chose the tracklisting for that particular side, and the fourth was called "chaff" because it was all the remaining songs no one picked.
    • Blue Oyster Cult's Tyranny and Mutation contains the song "The Red and the Black". The sides were labeled "The Red" and "The Black". The "Red" side was labeled with CBS Records' usual red label with black lettering, but the "Black" side featured red lettering on a black background.
  • Thus far, Adele has a pattern of naming her albums after the age she was when she recorded them. Accordingly, her debut was called 19 and the followup was 21.
  • As the title implies, Mike Watt's album Hyphenated-Man has song titles that are all hyphenated phrases ending in the word man: "Belly-Stabbed-Man" and "Own-Horn-Blowing-Man" for instance. The song titles seem slightly less weird when you find out they're also all descriptions of figures in Hieronymus Bosch paintings.
  • Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling's songs are all titled after episodes of The Prisoner, preceded by an "episode number" (which corresponds to the order of episodes of the show, not the order of the songs): "Episode 1 - Arrival" for instance. This is unsurprising, since all of their songs are actually about The Prisoner. The only exception thus far is a cover of Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan".
  • Joe Walsh apparently used a "too lazy/stoned to come up with a decent title" theme for his albums. The apex of this would be You Bought It, You Name It, which was reportedly his response to a record company executive who asked what the album was called. However, he never sank to the level of Yes, who titled 90125 after its catalog number.
  • Almost all of Richard Hawley's studio albums are named after places in his hometown of Sheffield. The one that isn't, Late Night Final, still fits the general theme, since "Late night final" is something vendors selling the Sheffield Star evening newspaper would yell.
  • Every song title on I by The Magnetic Fields starts with the letter I, and the track list is also arranged in alphabetical order. Rather than having this concept in mind beforehand though, Stephen Merritt apparently just went through all the recent songs he had written and only picked the ones that started with "I" for the album.
  • Fittingly enough, Venetian Snares' Winnipeg Is A Frozen Shithole features song titles that all involve insults towards Winninpeg, Manitoba, usually of the profanity-laden variety. Aaron Funk is actually from Winnipeg, by the way.
  • E-Type's fourth album was titled Euro IV Ever.
  • All of the songs on Slint's Tweez are named after band members' parents, with the exception of "Rhoda", which is instead named after Britt Walford's dog.
  • Uk Subs albums follow an alphabetical pattern. Observe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uk_subs#Albums
  • Nearly all of rapper Trick Daddy's albums contain the word "Thug" in the title.
  • R&B singer Jaheim's first three albums contain the word "Ghetto" in the title.
  • The track lists to The Polyphonic Spree's albums always include a "section" number before the song title, with each album picking up where the previous album left off. For example, the last track of The Beginning Stages Of... was "Section 10 (A Long Day)", so the first track of Together We're Heavy was "Section 11 (A Long Day Continues/We Sound Amazed)". It's debatable whether the "Section" parts are canonically part of the full title though; they tend to drop this idiosyncrasy when their songs appear on compilations or singles and just call them by their subtitles. Also, covers and non-album tracks don't count as "sections", nor did their soundtrack to the film Thumbsucker.
  • See if you can spot what these and all the other cuts on Christophe Beck's soundtrack album for RED have in common: "Rapidly, Executioners Destroyed," "Rocking Escape Ditty," "Rescuing Ex-agents Daily," "Relieved Embrace, Done."
  • All of alternative rock band Kings of Leon's albums to date have had five syllables (being Youth and Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak, Because Of The Times, Only By The Night, and Come Around Sundown).
  • Thus far power pop band The Cab has named them albums with names that have the first word related to sound and the seconf to warfare: "Whisper War" and "Symphony Soldier".
  • All of the songs on Whirlwind Heat's Do Rabbits Wonder? have non appearing titles and are named for colors (i.e. "Pink", "White", "Silver").
  • Sonic Youth's Silver Sessions For Jason Knuth EP - all of the titles fit the mad-lib pattern of "Silver (noun)".
  • Tim Fite has a trilogy of "ain't" album titles - Good Ain't Gone, Fair Ain't Fair, and Ain't Ain't Ain't.
  • All of the tracks on Miles Davis' album "Aura" (except for the first track, Intro) are named after colors: White, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, Blue, Electric Red, Indigo, and Violet.

Radio[edit | hide]

  • BBC radio comedy The Burkiss Way, being originally conceived with the conceit of being the radio version of correspondence course "The Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living", used the form "Lesson X: ______ The Burkiss Way": "Lesson 1: Peel Bananas The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 4: Solve Murders The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 12: Make Short Comedy Programmes The Burkiss Way", etc. As the show drifted away from the original format to a more surreal form, they began playing with the format: "Lesson 19: Replace The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 21: Get Cut Off The Bur-", "Lesson 23: Son Of The Burkiss Way", etc. This was lampshaded with "Lesson 28: Ignore These Programme Titles The Burkiss Way". The penultimate episode of series 4 is called "Lesson 33: The Last Burkiss Way"; the actual final episode is then called "Lesson 34: The Next To Last Burkiss Way". There are two Lesson 39s, both called "Repeat Yourself The Burkiss Way"; the second starts the same as the first, before stopping with an apology for putting the wrong tape on. Lesson 45 is usually referred to as "Write Extremely Long Titles The Burkiss Way"; The full title as given in the Radio Times is "Lesson 45: Write Extremely Long Titles With Lots And Lots Of Words In, Like This, So That The Radio Times Will Have To Allot More Space Than The Measly Half A Centimetre Of Billing Space We Usually Get And At Least It'll Look A Bit More Prominent On The Page, Although Still Nowhere Near The 50 Column Inches They Give To The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy The Burkiss Way".
  • Adventures in Odyssey has used a few. The 1993 season used verses from the Lord's Prayer as titles for individual episodes: "Our Father","Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Thy Kingdom Come","Thy Will Be Done", "Our Daily Bread", "Forgive Us as We Forgive", "Into Temptation", "Deliver Us from Evil", "For Thine Is the Kingdom", "The Power", "And the Glory", "Forever...Amen". These episodes were later released in a compilation titled "On Earth as it is in Heaven."
    • During Bernard and Eugene's Road Trip arc, the episode had titles based on numerical succession: "First Hand Experience", "Second Thoughts", "Third Degree", "It Happened in Four Corners" and "The Fifth House on the Left."
  • Bleak Expectations: the first season titles described the continual ruination of Pip's life with "A <stage of life> <adverb> <verb>" (starting with "A Childhood Cruelly Kippered"); later seasons continued the theme with "A <adjective> Life <adverb> <verb>" (starting with "A Lovely Life Cruelly Re-Kippered").
  • The first season of Revolting People had the episode titles "Storm Clouds"; "More Storm Clouds"; "Even More Storm Clouds"; "Tons of Storm Clouds"; "A Helluva Lot of Storm Clouds"; and "An Incredible Amount of Storm Clouds". Season 2 had "Trying Times"; "Even More Trying Times"; "Some More Trying Times"; "And Yet Even More Trying Times"; "A Bunch More Trying Times"; and "Still in Trying Times". They dropped the idea in seasons 3 and 4.
  • The Roman Mysteries has all its novels using a The X of Y format, with the X always being a group of people and the Y always being a place in the Roman Empire.
  • As in the TV show that succeeded it, the Dragnet radio show episodes were all of the format "The Big ____"


Software[edit | hide]

  • Each Ubuntu release is named (in increasing alphabetical order) after an animal accompanied by an alliterative adjective - for instance, Hardy Heron or Gutsy Gibbon; and alpha releases are named with terms suitable for the respective animal, like Flight, Knot, Herd, and Tribe.
    • Also, the release numbers, rather than being the typical boring major.minor increments, are year.month. E.g., 8.10 was released Oct 2008. Long-term support releases (the ones that are supported for 3 years on desktops and 5 years on servers, as opposed to 18 months for both in other releases; releases tend to come out every six months) have "LTS" included.
  • Recent versions of the Linux kernel itself have an irregularly updated name, some of which sound a bit like Ubuntu versions ("Affluent Albatross", "Sliding Snow Leopard"), and some of which don't ("Avast! A bilge rat!"). They're pretty much based on whatever Linus feels like calling them, with International Talk Like A Pirate Day being one of the few recurring themes.
  • Fedora Linux (and Red Hat Linux, before it became Fedora) uses a naming convention where each release's codename is related to the previous release's codename, but in a way different from the previous previous relation. For example, Bordeaux is a region in France, and also a comic book character; Zod is comic book character, and also a record label; Moonshine is a record label, and also a movie title.
  • The TeX typesetting software lets its version number converge towards pi with each release since version 3.0. It has currently reached version 3.1415926. The author, Donald Knuth, has stated that upon his death the version number should become precisely pi, and no further changes should occur, with "all remaining bugs being classified as features".
  • Likewise, Knuth's font rendering engine METAFONT is currently at version 2.718281 and converging towards e.
  • The OGRE 3D game engine names each release after deities from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, starting with Hastur and continuing to the present with Shoggoth.
  • Debian names each release after a Toy Story character: Buzz, Rex, ..., Sarge, Etch, Lenny, Squeeze, and the latest in-development version Wheezy. The unstable release is permanently named Sid, after the boy who broke toys.
  • The various releases of Mac OS X are all named after big cats.
  • For a while, all the programs and applications released for desktop environment KDE snuck the letter "K" in their names. The trend has been waning in recent years, though.
    • Inverted Trope with the codenames of the release candidates of KDE 4.0, whose codenames all began with a "C". Most likely done to parody KDE apps that replace "C"s with "K"s such as Konversation, Kommander, KolourPaint, etc.
  • Many GPL-Licensed programs have names beginning with a silent G, for example Gnus, a newsreader. Java programs often have J prefixed to their names (this seems to be especially common with applications based on the swing GUI toolkit, where all class names are prefixed with J)
  • Likewise, much software written in Python names itself "py<something>". It is noteworthy that Java and Python pretty much occupy opposite ends on the spectrum of perceived "elite"-ness, yet for some reason these two specifically seem to compel programmers to declare what language they are using. No one knows why.
  • Many Mozilla/Gecko-based programs follow the format [Nature noun][Animal] - Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, Sunbird, Songbird. Not all of them do, though (e.g. Camino).
  • Windows versions have largely followed this pattern—Windows 95 was originally called "Chicago", Win95 OSR (OEM Service Release) 2 was called "Detroit", Windows 98 was called "Memphis".
    • Windows XP, 7 and Vista were respectively named "Whistler", "Blackcomb" and "Longhorn", after a pair of ski resorts(since merged) and a bar located between them(reflecting the original plan for Vista to merely be a waypoint between the two big releases); 7's codename was dropped when the Office manager took over the project(he killed Office's use of codenames as well), which fits in with Windows 2000, which only had a codename for the scrapped home version(Neptune).
  • Intel tends to use codenames based on locations in the Western United States or Israel.
  • AMD uses places with Formula One racetracks (Barcelona, Istanbul, Shanghai, Magny-Cours, Interlagos) as codenames for server chips, and various stars (Deneb, Thuban, Zosma) for its desktop chips.
  • Major releases of Google's mobile operating system Android are named after desserts, e.g. "Cupcake", "Donut", "Eclair", "Frozen Yogurt" ("Froyo")"Gingerbread", and now "Ice Cream Sandwich" First letters of current and upcoming releases' names' also follow the alphabet.
    • The next version is all but confirmed to be called "Jelly Bean".


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The code names of Magic the Gathering expansions always have some kind of theme to them, ranging from Mexican words to food; recent examples have included "Rock/Paper/Scissors" (for Shards of Alara/Conflux/Alara Reborn) and "Live/Long/Prosper" (for Zendikar/Worldwake/Rise of the Eldrazi).
  • Many genre supplements for the original Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG used the "(adjective) (noun), (adjective) (noun)": Big Robots, Cool Starships (mecha and science fiction), Cold Hands, Dark Hearts (gothic and horror), Big Ears, Small Mouse (talking animal cartoons), "Hot Rods & Gun Bunnies (modern action; bends the convention a bit).


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Angels in America is a total of eight acts long, and each act has a name. Some of them are more... interesting than others.
    • Millenium Approaches Act Three: "Not-Yet-Conscious, Forward Dawning"
    • Perestroika Act Three: "Borborygmi (The Squirming Facts Exceed the Squamous Mind)"
    • And then there's Perestroika Act One: "Spooj"
  • Each scene in the musical Music in the Air is titled after a form of classical music. The first scene, which shows the evolution of a songbird's twittering into a melody later to be known as "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star," is fittingly labeled 'Leitmotif'.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The chapters in each of the Gyakuten Saiban games all feature the word "gyakuten" (which means "reversal" or "turnabout") in it. This carries over to the series' English adaptation, Ace Attorney, where each chapter has "turnabout" in the name (except for "Rise From the Ashes", the "bonus" fifth chapter in the DS version of the first game, and that only in the English translation).
  • The name of the Ogre Battle series, along with the subtitles of the first two games (Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together), are titles from Queen songs. Yasumi Matsuno, the director for the first two games of the series, originated this due to him being a major Queen fan. He also inserted Queen references of varying prominence into all of his other games. Most notably, Final Fantasy Tactics has a chapter titled "Somebody to Love".
  • All of the map themes in Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals have are titled "Roy's ____" (Courage, Challenge, Battle, ect.)
  • Examples in the Metal Gear series.
    • The expanded versions of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater are titled Substance and Subsistence (both words that end with "-stance/stence"). However, Integral, the expanded version of the first Metal Gear Solid, does not follow this pattern.
    • The five Snake Tales in Substance are named alphabetically: "A Wrongdoing", "Big Shell Evil" "Confidential Legacy", "Dead Man Whispers", and "External Gazer"
    • All five acts of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots end with the word "Sun", appropriately with a massive sun dominating the background whenever the title is shown at the beginning of each act. Although not exactly acts, the ending and post-credits "Debriefing" are similarly called "Naked Sin" and "Naked Son", respectively.
    • All the downloadable expansion packs for Metal Gear Online have been named after Kojima's themes for the Metal Gear Solid series - Gene, Meme, Scene and Sense.
  • Every scene in Dynamite Headdy has a name parodying that of some famous film, e.g. "Mad Mechs", "Stair Wars", "Fly Hard", "Fatal Contraption"...
  • The Half-Life franchise has consistently used tongue-in-cheek episode names, such as Surface Tension (heavy fighting in an outdoors environment), Insecurity (in the Expansion Pack Blue Shift, where you play as a security guard) or Route Kanal (escaping City 17 via its sewer system).
  • In Half-Life, the titles of the expansion packs, Opposing Force and Blue Shift, as well as the PlayStation 2 side-game Decay, are all scientific terms.
    • Some offer a nice bit of foreboding: after all, there's a reason We Don't Go to Ravenholm.
    • Not to mention the golf references: "Water Hazard" and "Sandtraps" (bonus points for being called "Bunkers" in the Spanish translation).
  • The Castlevania series, starting with Rondo of Blood, have usually had musical names (Symphony of the Night, Harmony of Dissonance) or X of X names that described a main plot point (Curse of Darkness, Portrait of Ruin). The Japanese releases usually have a similar name (Harmony was originally Concerto of the Midnight Sun).
    • Averted in the Wii title Judgment, the Game Boy game Legends (although it was originally titled Dark Night Prelude in Japan), and the PSP remake of Rondo, called The Dracula X Chronicles. The canceled Dreamcast title Resurrection (starring Legends' Sonia) would have also been an aversion, but... well.
  • All three of the Halo games have these strewn about every level in campaign, including such favorites as "The Gun Pointed At The Head of the Universe", "Breaking Stuff To Look Tough", and "I Would Have Been Your Daddy."
    • While these are mostly idiosyncratic, the "I Would Have Been Your Daddy" level is named after something the character of Sergeant Johnson can say during the level, as a taunt to the enemies. The full line goes "I would have been your daddy...but the dog beat me over the fence!"
    • I defy anyone to start the section titled "It's Quiet..." without saying aloud "...too quiet..."
  • Marathon, Halo's spiritual predecessor, had its fair share of these. All the levels in Marathon 1 involving the Pfhor (The aliens of the game) were titled with such pun-ishing phrases as "phfor your eyes only", "ain't got time phfor this", and "two times two equals...". Later chapters in the series had names such as "Begging for Mercy makes me Angry!", "If I had a Rocket Launcher, I'd make someone Pay", and "You Think You're Big Time? You're Gonna Die Big Time!". Not to mention the occasional latin three-word title thrown in, occasionally with some form of grammatical or lexical error.
  • The level names of The Ultimate Doom's fourth episode and the episode name are phrases taken from the Bible: Thy Flesh Consumed, Hell Beneath, Perfect Hatred, Sever the Wicked, Unruly Evil, Against Thee Wickedly, They Will Repent, ...And Hell Followed, and Unto the Cruel.
  • Bubble Bobble series: Bubble _________ and/or "The Story of Bubble Bobble (confusing installment number)".
  • The levels in 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games generally follow the naming pattern "______ Zone Act X". The ones from Sonic CD are also alliterative.
    • As are the name levels or Sonic 3D
    • Sonic 3's multiplayer levels are named Azure Lake Zone, Balloon Park Zone, Chrome Gadget Zone, Desert Palace Zone, and Endless Mine Zone.
  • Mario has a few of these. All of the boss levels in Super Mario 64 are called "Bowser in the ______" (Dark World, Fire Sea, and Sky, in that order). All of the main levels in Super Mario Galaxy are "{{[[[Alliteration]] Alliterative pair of words}}] Galaxy".
  • Entire video game consoles have had this with game titles, but that's it's own trope.
  • Dead Space. The first letters of each level spell something plot-relevant.
  • In Thunder Force II, each separate area equates to half a stage. So one overhead section and one side-scrolling section equals to one stage.
  • In The World Ends With You, each day is essentially its own chapter. And there's three weeks, totaling up to 21 days, with each week being a different arc.
  • Each new installment of Rappelz is called an "Epic", and they're numbered with Roman numerals.
  • Raiden Fighters Jet's simulation stages start at level 1, then go up to level 5, then in increments of 5 up to level 50, with the exception of a jump from level 20 to 30 (there's no level 25). Additionally, unless you're playing the full mode in the 360 port, you don't go up the stages sequentially; you may jump stages depending on your performance, and on one instance you can actually go backwards (level 40 to 35).
  • All of Eternal Sonata's chapter titles are named for or are references to Chopin's works except the last chapter, "Heaven's Mirror."
  • The chapters of Vampire Night all include the name of a musical form. The last chapter is "Moonlight Symphony" (not to be confused with "Moonlight Sonata").
  • The Tales Series of course, each game begins with the phrase "Tales of" and adds a somewhat random word after it, like Phantasia, Symphonia, Innocence, Destiny, once using an article (in Tales of the Abyss, however, Crossover Games are more likely to use one). If a game gets a Spin-Off, the title will include a short phrase, like in Dawn of the new world.
  • Each of LittleBigPlanet's patches are named after a cheese.
  • The sectors of Iji each have an abstract noun as the title: "Hope", "Reality" etc.
  • More of a meta-example but Crytek's current library of published games all have the word "Cry" in them, likely as a self-nod.
  • The first, second, and fourth installments of the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series are Tiberian Dawn, Tiberian Sun, and Tiberian Twilight, respectively, leaving 3 (Tiberium Wars) as the Odd Name Out.
  • The vast majority of quests in Fallout: New Vegas are named after songs, typically pop or country tracks from the '50s and '60s (aside from a few odd ones out such "No Gods, No Masters"). All the quests in the Lonesome Road add-on are two words long, starting with "The."
  • The stages in Radiant Silvergun are numbered chronologically rather than in the order they are played. Thus, the order goes "3, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 1" (Stage 2 is a flashback and Stage 1 takes place in the past after the player enters a time warp).
  • Pokémon games have either a color or precious stone or metal theme in each generation. The Gen I games were originally Red And Green, which are complimentary/opposite colors. However, it was changed to Blue for international release. Pokémon Yellow, the third game, means that the four games were named for each of the four primary colors: red,green,blue and yellow. The Red/Green pairing was returned for the remakes, Fire Red and Leaf Green. The later ones were all precious metals or stones...Pokémon Gold and Silver plus Crystal, (rereleased as Heart Gold and Soul Silver),Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire plus Emerald, and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl plus Platinum. Pokémon Black and White broke with that trend and went back to the color opposites. Black 2/White 2 breaks the 'third game' tradition and sticks with the same two colors as the previous installments.
    • Many of the games also represented the colors of the starter elements in gen 1 and in many games the Pokemon themselves. Blue/Green, Red and Yellow had green for grass and Bulbasaur, red for fire and Charizard, blue for water and Squirtle, plus yellow for Pikachu's color and for electricity/lightning. Gold for the golden Ho-oh and silver for the mostly silver Lugia. Ruby and Sapphire have the ruby red Groudon, the sapphire blue Kyogre and the emerald green Rayquaza. Black and White have the black Zekrom and white Reshiram. Diamond and Pearl are the exceptions. Palkia is kind of pearl-colored, but Dialga is bluish green rather than diamond colored. Giratina, the Platinum mascot, does have a grayish white lower body like the metal, but has other colors as well.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Bonus Stage defines its seasons through the use of this. Season 2's titles have "2" in them, Season 3's titles start with "Virtual", Season 4's titles have "Curse" in them, Season 5's episodes have "Fi" as the first two letters, Season 6's titles are puns on episodes of The Simpsons, Season 7's titles are more general puns.
  • Awesome Series has all the titles named after the work being parodied, but with one word replaced with "Awesome".


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Tasakeru: Instead of titles, each chapter opens with a haiku that describes the events within.
  • Some FAQ/walkthrough writers on GameFAQs do this. For instance, Split Infinity, a major Final Fantasy FAQ writer, uses names of characters for version "numbers."
  • Caught Chatting follows the pattern of Two and A Half Men, naming each episode after a quote from it.
  • Ilivais X has each chapter as a "day", which makes sense given each one takes place within a rough 24-hour period (though it tends to be more divided on when the main characters sleep). Also, most of the chapter titles not only relate to the specific Monster of the Week, but also somewhat to the character interactions. For example, "Shifting Hearts" not only refers to how they fight a Transforming Mecha that becomes the "heart" of a Combining Mecha, but also to how this is the point where Mille and Iriana start definitively heading towards being an Official Couple.
  • The name of every chapter of The Saga of Tuck is a pun on "Tuck", with the exceptions of 28-29, 43, and 104-117 (yeah, it's long), which break from its usual first-person narration.
  • Each installment of Unlikely Eden is named for either the last word or words in the passage.
  • In the Whateley Universe, all the Phase stories have titles "Ayla and the...". Probably because Phase was/is a pompous rich kid with years of prep schooling, the novels have meaningful chapter titles as well. The first novel has five chapters named for the books of the Old Testament. "Ayla and the Tests" has eight chapters named for some of the labors of Hercules. Pompous and too much prep school.
    • "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" had chapter titles taken from Spenser's "The Faerie Queene".
  • Chaos Fighters has a few examples of replacing something for chapter: path for every novel in main series and file for Chaos Fighters: Cyber Assault-The Secret Programs.
  • Raocow does this for each episode of his Let's Plays. For example, during his LP of VVVVVV, every episode title was six different letters in a row. During Hyper V, every episode was numbered with Roman Numerals, and so on and so forth.
    • His play-though of Super Mario Bros X goes meta (and recursive) into this trope as each episode name is a Trope Title from this site.
  • Psycomedia uses this for the Frankenpodcasts, which are named after the Universal film series.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force's second season had two naming themes (and some in the middle that didn't match either). It started with "Super" ("Super Birthday Snake", "Super Hero", "Super Bowl"...) and ended with "The" ("The Cubing", "The Clowning", "The Dressing"... including an episode named just "The". The season ended with "The Last One", which was purportedly short for "The Last [Expletive Deleted] One of 2003")
  • Every episode of Clone High had two names, separated by colons, such as ?Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand? or ?Film Fest: Tears of a Clone?. This was subverted in the second episode title, ?Episode Two: Election Blu-Galoo?. Supposedly this was a joke based around the theme of clones within the show.
  • Every episode of Codename: Kids Next Door has a title of the form "Operation: ______", where the ______ is always an acronym that both fits the theme of the episode and expands to a phrase that fits the theme.
  • Every title of an Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode is based on an aphorism or pop-culture reference with "Ed" inserted into it somewhere ("One of Those Eds", "X Marks the Ed", "The Day the Ed Stood Still", etc.).
    • Another example is "Boom Boom! Out goes the Ed", which is a play on Pat Traver's song "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)".
  • Family Guy was supposed to have idiosyncratic episode naming. Each episode was supposed to have a Film Noir-ish death-themed title that had nothing to do with the plot of the episode. The practice was quickly abandoned when it became difficult to tell which episode was which during the production process. The first four episodes retain these names: "Death Has A Shadow", "I Never Met The Dead Man" (both of which were originally titles for episodes of the classic '40s Radio Drama Suspense), "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", and "Mind Over Murder."
    • More often, it's just innuendo: "Deep Throats", "Prick Up Your Ear".
  • Another DFE series, The Houndcats, used titles of the form "The ________ Mission".
  • Every episode of Men in Black: The Series was named "The _____ Syndrome".
  • About half of The Mysteries of Alfred Hedgehog episodes has a title of which the form "The ______ Mystery" or "The Mysterious ______" is utilized.
  • Every Pink Panther short made in the 1960s and 1970s has the word "Pink" in the title. Similarly, every short in DFE's The Inspector series has some French wordplay in the title.
  • Sav! The World's series Oban Star-Racers names most of its episodes in the form "X Like Y", where Y is the name of the Monster of the Week. X is always an adjective that begins with the same letter or sound as the antagonist's name -- "Playful Like Para-Dice", "Agile Like Aikka", et cetera. Unfortunately, this meant they were forced to use the word "Cruel" twice.
  • Probably related is Viz Video's practice of giving its Ranma ½ releases—first on videotape and later on DVD—names that were puns or parodies of the titles of other works well known at the time in North America. For example, the theatrical film Ranma 1/2: Kessen Tôgenkyô! Hanayome o torimodose!! (literally, Ranma 1/2: Battle at Togenkyo! Get Back the Brides!) was released as Nihao My Concubine (referring to the 1993 Chinese film distributed in the United States as Farewell My Concubine). Other such titles included Like Water For Ranma, Smells Like Evil Spirit, One Grew Over The Kuno's Nest, and Big Trouble in Nekonron, China.
  • Skunk Fu!! uses "The Art of ____". There was even an episode where they did "The Art of Art".
  • Almost every episode of the first season of Sonic the Hedgehog had the word 'Sonic' in it, despite how little it would have to do with the actual plot. This was discarded in season 2.
  • The 26 episodes of the second season of WITCH were all named in the form "(letter) is for (word starting with that letter)", and in their proper sequence run from "A Is for Anonymous" to "Z is for Zenith", without repeating or dropping any letters.
  • Totally Spies! went through a phase in the third season where most episodes had titles ending in the word "Much?" (e.g. "Head Shrinker Much?"), reflecting the Valley Girl-esque way Clover sometimes speaks.
  • The episodes of Clerks the Animated Series had descriptive and increasingly lengthy titles (apart from the last episode, entitled simply "The Last Episode Ever"). The longest was that of the second-to-last episode, "Dante and Randal and Jay and Silent Bob and a Bunch of New Characters and Lando, Take Part in a Whole Bunch of Movie Parodies Including But Not Exclusive To, The Bad News Bears, The Last Starfighter, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Plus a High School Reunion".
  • Most episodes of the cartoon The Tick (animation) had titles of the form "The Tick vs. ______"—for example, "The Tick vs. Science" or "The Tick vs. Reno, Nevada".
  • Most episodes of the cartoon Darkwing Duck had pun-laden titles. One pun was usually enough, and by and large they were simple variations on stock phrases, like "Slime Okay, You're Okay", "Whirled History", and "Water Way to Go" or well-known movie titles, like "Dry Hard", "Planet of the Capes", and "Steerminator". A few, like the two-part episodes "Darkly Dawns the Duck" and "Just Us Justice Ducks" were not puns, but were still obviously wordplay, while some, such as "Smarter than a Speeding Bullet" fit the variation on stock phrases form, without being puns.
  • Conan O'Brien's new Talk Show Conan has fake titles similar to Family Guy's: "Baa Baa Blackmail," "Murder, She Tweeted").
  • Transformers: Beast Wars had a Story Arc featuring the characters coming into contact with mysterious aliens. These arc episodes were the only Beast Wars episodes with idiosyncratic names: "Other Voices" Parts 1 and 2, "Other Visits" Parts 1 and 2, and "Other Victories".
  • In a convention reminiscent of the old $10,000 Pyramid game show, The Spectacular Spider-Man's episode titles are all derived from scientific terminology. "Survival of the Fittest," "Interactions", and "Natural Selection" are concepts from evolutionary theory, while "Market Forces," "Competition", and "The Invisible Hand" are from economics. "Catalysts" and "Reactions" are from chemistry, while "The Uncertainty Principle" is from physics. The rest of the season's titles "Persona," "Group Therapy," "Intervention", and "Nature vs. Nurture" are from psychology.
    • Season 2 has "Blueprints", "Destructive Testing", "Reinforcement", and "Shear Strength", which are from construction and architecture; "First Steps", "Growing Pains", and "Identity Crisis", from child psychology; "Accomplices", "Probable Causes", and "Gangland" are from criminology, and "Subtext", "Opening Night", and "Final Curtain" are from theatre.
  • Every episode in the first series of Max Steel had titles beginning with the letter S. Possibly, if Greg Weisman had been kept on as developer, this would have carried on for the rest of the show.
  • Each episode of Mission Hill has two titles—a normal one that describes the plot, which would be printed in TV listings, and a racy one containing a vulgar pun. Example: "Andy Joins the PTA (or Great Sexpectations)".
  • The first episode of Aozora Shoujotai is titled DEFCON I, with subsequent episode titles counting up to DEFCON VI.
  • Samurai Jack would use some form of "Jack and the..." or "Samurai versus..." (or "Jack versus..." and "Samurai and the...", making it idiosyncratic and effectively descriptive of the episode.
    • This was due to each episode being considered a 'chapter' in the story. The DVD menus, for example, don't list the episode titles but rather, the number (i.e., Jack and the Scotsman is XI).
  • The first four episodes of the fourth season of South Park all had "2000" appended to their titles, making fun of its overuse at the start of the new millennium. "Timmy 2000", anyone?
  • Every episode of Doug had "Doug" or "Doug's" as the first word of the title.
    • Every Nickelodeon episode did, yes. When it became Brand Spanking New Doug (i.e. the Disney era) this continued for the most part - but Patti got one while Judy had two, and every Quailman episode had a title beginning with his name.
  • In Batman the Animated Series one episode is called "Night of the Ninja," a latter follow up episode with the same villain is titled "Day of the Samurai."
  • Justice League used a combination of this trope and a Mythology Gag by using various DC comic series as titles, most being sub-lines of Justice League titles. "Secret Origins," "In Darkest Night," "The Brave and the Bold," "Wild West Stories"..
  • While most Teen Titans episodes usually made sense, the first episode of the fourth season was entitled "Episode 257-494".
  • On DVD, the titles of the first 10 episodes of the fourth season of Robot Chicken form a message saying that its author is trapped in a DVD factory. The rest of the season's episode titles form the factory owner's reply.
    • Most of the S1 episode titles were rejected names for the series.
    • The first half of season 5 episode titles are movie title mash-ups, i.e. Saving Private Gigli, Schindler's Bucket List, and Catch Me If You Kangaroo Jack.
  • Nearly every episode of Metalocalypse contains either "Deth" or "Klok" in the episode name. Those that didn't (like "Murdering Outside the Box") referred to either death, music, the band, or something creepy.
  • Total Drama Island had nearly all the first season episodes being an Incredibly Lame Pun or a spin on a common saying such as "If You Can't Take the Heat", or "Not So Happy Campers". Most, like "Dodgebrawl" and "Hide and be Sneaky" also gave clues to the challenges.
    • In Total Drama Action, each episode had a title that both fit with the movie genre and parodied a famous movie title: ("Dial M for Merger", "Crouching Courtney, Hidden Owen", and "Top Dog". The only exceptions are the Aftermaths, which used the contestant that had the main focus in the title, as in "O-win or lose".
  • Every episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle had two titles: One very punny, and one alliterative.
  • Street Sharks was nothing but constant in squeezing the word "Shark" into every title, from "Card Sharks" to "Shark Father" "Shark-Apocalyse Now".
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, each season is called a book and is named after one of the four elements (Example: Book One, Water), and each episode is called a chapter.
    • However, this trope is averted for the actual episode titles, all of which have something to do with the episode itself, thought a very large amount of them are "The X".
  • The Simpsons name a lot of episodes like "X vs Y". Homer vs. Patty and Selma, Bart vs Thanksgiving, Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment, Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy, Bart vs. Australia, Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment, The City of New York vs. Homer, etc, etc.
    • There's also a large number of "X The Y", ranging from Homer The Smithers and Homer The Moe to Lisa The Iconoclast and Bart The Lover.
    • There are also lots of titles built around puns on Homer's catchphrase, both in its standard form ("D'oh-in in The Wind") and the way it's designated in the show's scripts ("I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"). The current count is D'oh: 8, (Annoyed Grunt): 4.
  • On The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show, the Pith Possum segments all had titles with the words "dark", "darkness", "black", or "night" in the title, with Department of Redundancy Department in full effect. e.g. "The Phantom Mask Of The Dark Black Darkness Of Black".
  • Obscure 1960s cartoon Q.T. Hush named each story arc "The ________ Caper". The names of the chapters for most arcs also followed the naming format. For example, all 10 chapters of "The Doomsday Caper" was named the "____ of Doom" (ie: "Quicksand of Doom", "Flash of Doom", etc.). "The Carnival Caper" had all of its chapters start with the word "Carnival" (ie: "Carnival Chaos").
  • Every Nudnik shorts have the title character's name in the titles ("Here's Nudnik", "Nudnik on the Beach", etc.).
  • So far, every episode of The Amazing World of Gumball looks like it will take the format "The [noun]".
  • Every episode of Dan Vs is in the form of "Dan Vs ___". Examples: "Dan Vs New Mexico" or "Dan Vs The Dentist"
  • Every Peanuts movie and television special had Charlie Brown's name in it, except the second movie "Snoopy Come Home" and the lesser-known 1991 television special "Snoopy's Reunion."
  • Like Supah Ninjas (see the Live-Action TV folder), every episode of the 'Super Secret Secret Squirrel' segment of Two Stupid Dogs is named after that instalment's villain, e.g. "Queen Bee" and "Greg".
  • Every episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series is named after the episode's featured experiment, with the exception of "The Asteroid", "Bad Stitch", "Rufus" (named after the Team Pet from Kim Possible due to being mistaken for an experiment—the experiment's real name is Launch), and "Mrs. Hasagawa's Cats".
  • Both The Raccoons and Batman the Brave And The Bold give their episodes titles ending with exclamation points!
  • The majority of the episode titles for Charlie and Lola are essentially statements from Lola, often in a humorously protracted fashion. Examples include "I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato", "We Do Promise Honestly We Can Look After Your Dog" and "I Do Not Ever, Never Want My Wobbly Tooth to Fall Out".
  • Kid vs. Kat has episodes that feature the name of main character, Coop, or a word that explains the plot added to existing phrases. For example "Coop D'Etat," "The Incredible Shrinking Coop," and "Kat to the Future."

Notes

  1. Mind you, the first 8 episodes of A's had the pink scribbly font, the background of Raising Heart, and a little soundbite together with Nanoha saying the episode name. And then comes "Christmas Eve" with nothing more than white text on a black background, and silence. It does a very good job in setting the viewer up for what happens next.
  2. "Rampage"
  3. "pain", though episode 2 cheats a bit by using it to reference Itasha, which uses the same kanji