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- MTV Liquid Television's original title Aeon Flux in the animated shorts, did not originally refer to the show's main character of the female assassin; but rather, the title described the series-concept "eons in flux" as explained by creator Peter Chung. The character later acquired the name "Aeon Flux," when the cartoon became a regular series of its own with spoken parts, thus requiring that the individual characters have names.
- Spoofed in The Simpsons, when Homer tries to entice Mel Gibson to a certain course of action: "Would Braveheart run away? Would Payback run away?" In another episode, it is also mentioned that Homer writes fan letters not to the movie creators but the movies themselves: "Dear Die Hard. You rock. Especially when that guy was on the roof. P.S: Do you know Mad Max?"
- Another Simpsons episode features an actor asking about playing Homer: "Is he supposed to have some kind of neural impairment, like Rain Man or Awakenings?" The sentence could be read as "...like [in] "Rain Man" or "Awakenings"?", but the voice actor's delivery of the line implies a deliberate invocation of this trope.
- Also, during a montage of watching movies on stolen cable, Bart says the following: "This is where Jaws eats the boat! This is where Die Hard jumps out the window! This is where Wall Street gets arrested!"
- "Jump, Free Willy! Jump! Jump with all your might!"
- "Thank you, Blood and Tears! We were sorry to hear about Sweat..."
- "Look, Bart, I'm a Star Wars!"
- Homer seems to always have had difficulty distinguishing between movie characters and movie titles. In high school, he tried to get elected student council president with a campaign poster where the headline read "Jaws and Star Wars agrees..."
- Marge makes a similar mistake, referring to the main character of Showgirls as Showgirl.
- In the "Treehouse of Horror X" story "Life's a Glitch, Then You Die", Homer tries to pretend he's a celebrity, specifically the pianist from the movie Shine. When asked what his name is, he answers "Uh, Shiny McShine?".
- The main character of Static Shock uses the alias "Static." Just "Static." The word "Shock" is only found in the series title, and his occasional Catch Phrase ("I'm Static, I put a shock to your system"). Even a villain, Shiv, once says, "Take that, Super Shocker, or... whatever-your-name-is!"
- It doesn't help that in the theme song, he is explicitly called Static Shock
- WITCH: To quote Irma, "We're not witches! It's just our initials!"
- Vanpires was named for the villains.
- A recent Family Guy episode also spoofed this; Peter is at a hospital and wonders if Scrubs works there, as he wants to meet him, and also "Black Scrubs."
- Carter Pewterschmidt also seems to be under the impression that Medium's protagonist is named Medium.
- One episode of South Park, during a parody, mistakenly referred to Peter Griffin as "Family Guy".
- Perhaps in the South Park world Peter's name/title is just "Family Guy", since the censored episode featuring him had the title card "Family Guy is giving an helmet to Muhammad" to avoid showing the prophet... Who knows?
- Animaniacs was the name of the show; it was never officially used as a collective name to refer to Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. In the theme song, they clearly refer to themselves as "The Warner Brothers and The Warner Sister", a play on the company's name. Despite this, though, much of the print merchandise and even some Kids WB spots incorrectly referred to the trio as "the Animaniacs".
"Who are The Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister?"
"I'm sorry, the correct answer is "The Animaniacs"
- He apologized later.
- G.I. Joe is not the name of any one character, but the name of their organization. The subtitle "A Real American Hero" doesn't help much either, as it implies "A" and "Hero" as in "Singular" instead of "Heroes".
- And that's not at all helped by the fact that in the original 1960s G.I. Joe toy line, he was just one guy. And in the 1970s reboot, he was the leader of the G.I. Joe team.
- There was a character called "G.I. Joe" in the Real American Hero continuity: General Joseph Colton, the "original G.I. Joe" who had been given that codename in the 1960s when appointed by John F Kennedy to create what would later become the G.I. Joe team that we all know. However, Colton was a relatively minor character in the comics and didn't appear in the cartoon at all, so not many casual fans know about him.
- This may possibly change with the second live action movie, as Colton is set to be a major character.
- The surname of The Berenstain Bears isn't "Berenstain" it's "Bear". Berenstain is the surname of the series' creators.
- The heroes of Thunderbirds are International Rescue. The Thunderbirds are their five (eventually six) primary vehicles. The trope, however, was carried into Thunderbirds 2086 and the live-action adaptation, where the heroes were indeed referred to as "The Thunderbirds".
- From a commercial that aired on Adult Swim:
- In Steamboat Willie, Willie is the name of the steamboat, not an old name for Mickey Mouse or Pete.
- Similar to the Static Shock example, Batman Beyond is not the name of the future Batman. He's still just called Batman.
- Parodied by Beavis and Butthead when they commented on Hole's "Violet" video. They repeated referred to Courtney Love as "this Hole chick" because they thought that was her name.
- On an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Space Ghost and guest Denis Leary have the following exchange:
Leary: And I'm Denis Leary, master of the universe.
Space Ghost: Master? I know one or two guys who might disagree with you...master!
Leary: Like who?
Space Ghost: Yoda.
Leary: Okay, who else...?
Space Ghost: [pause] Star Wars.
- Generator Rex is the series. The guy is just Rex. Though in one episode when trying to think up a theme song for himself he refers to himself as "Gen Rex."
- Many people think that Man of Action is just one guy.
- The team of Young Justice is not called Young Justice. It is called simply "the team." The confusion stems from the fact that there was a team in the comics called "Young Justice," and Superboy was a member, along with Robin III, Kid Flash II, and an archer chick with who is kinda-sorta but not really connected to Green Arrow. But it's a case of Name's the Same; the cartoon isn't an adaptation of the comic.
- On The Venture Bros, vampires are vampires, but all black vamipres are Blaculas.
- Jefferson Twilight somewhat justifies it by saying he doesn't know the politically correct term for a black vampire ("Africa-American vampires" doesn't work because sometimes they're British).
- Generally averted in Transformers. "Transformer" is generally accepted as the species name for the Autobots and Decepticons (at least when the two factions aren't considered a race in and of themselves). Some incarnations, however, prefer to use the term "Cybertronian", referring to the robots being from the planet Cybertron. Lampshaded in Transformers Animated.
Sari: "What are you?"
Bumblebee: "Well, I'm an Autobot. Actually, I'm a Cybertronian."
- A lot of people who aren't in the know about Avatar: The Last Airbender and don't live where it's called Avatar: The Legend of Aang, call Aang "Avatar", as if that is his given name or Avatar Aang (which is used very little in the show)
- Looney Tunes and Tiny Toon Adventures do not refer to the characters, just to the no-continuity cartoons themselves.
- Nobody seems to distinguish the Merrie Melodies, either.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force is not the name of everyone's favorite motley crew. To begin with, the characters aren't even any particular group to begin with, and the title was just thrown together.
- Technically, it was the name of the team in the first handful of episodes, when the group was some sort of detective agency. Master Shake even refers to them as such in the first episode. The idea was quickly abandoned, though.
- The main character of Invader Zim is simply Zim. While he gives himself the title of "Invader", he isn't really one. At the very least, the title was revoked after he screwed up on the first invasion attempt.
- Membrane isn't Dib and Gaz's last name, it's their father's first name.