Created By: CaveCat on June 3, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on November 18, 2013
Troped

Embarrassing Last Name

A character with a last name that he finds to be embarrassing.

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Page Type:
Trope
Gruntilda: Prepare to join your buddy Bottles! You'll wish you'd never taken on the mighty Gruntilda Winkybunion!
Kazooie: Winkybunion? Is that your last name then?
Gruntilda: Err...um, no. Of course not. But don't you go telling anyone or I'll sue you...
Banjo: Whatever you say, Winky!
Gruntilda: Now die!

Do We Have This One??

While the Embarrassing First Name deals with the character not liking his first name and the Embarrassing Middle Name with the middle name, the Embarrassing Last Name is where a character has a last name that sounds embarrassing to the public. It may be a sign of Unfortunate Name or Unfortunate Implications.

Sub-Trope of Shed the Family Name. Also see First Name Basis or Only Known by Their Nickname.

Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples, Is This Tropeable?


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Watchmen: The Silk Spectre, originally a Polish immigrant, romanized her name to Sally Jupiter. Her daughter/successor, Laurie, is not much of a fan of said name as well as being forced into the role, and prefers to keep her original last name.

Film
  • In the novel and film Hannibal, Lecter needles Italian police inspector Pazzi about his surname, which has an unpleasant history in Florence. He implies that Pazzi's career may have been hindered by his family's historical reputation.

Literature
  • In the Discworld novel Feet of Clay, Watch commander Sam Vimes interviews a new police recruit: a Dwarf called Cheery. As this first name is straight out of Walt Disney, this is embarrassing enough. More is to follow. The dwarf's second name is Littlebottom. and Cheery Littlebottom has an even more embarrassing secret yet...
    • There's also Agnes Nitt, who imagines an alternate personality named Perdita X Dream. When she needs to give her identity in Maskerade, she goes with Perdita X Nitt... and is told they need to do something about the Nitt.
  • There is a running joke in the Waxahachie Smith novels by J.T. Edson regarding how embarrassing the surname Ramsbottom is. Smith even adopts it as his Go-to Alias on the grounds that nobody would pick it as an assumed name.
  • The protagonist of Donald E. Westlake's novel Help I am Being Held Prisoner has the extremely unfortunate last name of Kunt (pronounced Koont, and he insists on the umlauts, or little dots above the u). This would be bad enough under ordinary circumstances, but when he goes to prison it threatens to become completely intolerable.
  • Walk Two Moons has a family called the Winterbottoms (one of the characters mocks this by drawing a cartoon of someone surnamed "Ice-Bottom"), and a mysterious woman named Mrs Cadaver (which a character points out is another word for "corpse").

Live-Action TV
  • Several episodes of Hill Street Blues featured a character who was a struggling comic who was stuck with the unfortunate name of Vic Hitler.
  • In The New Adventures Of Beans Baxter, the Big Bad was the unfortunately named Mr. Sue.
  • In an episode of Inspector George Gently one of the suspects is a retired wrestler who still goes by his stage name. He is made to admit his actual name, and reveals his last name is Fairy.
  • In the episode of ALF where he was JUST about ready to head back to Melmac (not the series finale, but the one taking place around Brian's birthday), Alf reveals his full Melmacian name to be Gordon Shumway (which causes plenty of laughs from the family and embarrassment to him).

Web Comics
  • Jassart LeBlanc's real last name in Snow By Night is Charbonnier. It's embarrassing to him because it means "son of a charcoaler," which is more or less the most looked-down-upon occupation in Saronnean society.

Western Animation
  • In Family Guy Carter forced his wife to change her last name because it was Jewish so that they could get into certain establishments.
  • Alejandro from Total Drama has his last name revealed by Chris to everyone in All Stars. Chris gets a good laugh at learning that his name is "Alejandro Burros Muertos" (Dead Donkey.) This gets lampshaded further into the episode.

Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • June 4, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature In the Discworld novel Feet of Clay, Watch commander Sam Vimes interviews a new police recruit: a Dwarf called Cheery. As this first name is straight out of Walt Disney, this is embarrassing enough. More is to follow. The dwarf's second name is Littlebottom. and Cheery littlebottom has an even more embarrassing secret yet...
  • June 4, 2013
    Melkior
    Maybe the original trope should go to the Trope Repair Shop since it could just as easily be Embarrassing Name and cover any embarrassing names, whether first, last, middle or only?
  • June 4, 2013
    Chabal2
    Inverted in one Monty Python sketch, where Mr. and Mrs. Git clearly don't find their name embarassing, but the man they're talking to clearly does (he has to introduce them to his wife as 'the Gits').
  • June 4, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    Remove the link to itself in the description.

    We want to avoid Linking To An Article Within The Article.
  • June 7, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Remove Fail O Suckyname from the description. It's unrelated. You want Unfortunate Name.
  • June 8, 2013
    Lawman592
    Live-Action TV
    • Several episodes of Hill Street Blues featured a character who was a struggling comic who was stuck with the unfortunate name of Vic Hitler.
  • June 9, 2013
    peccantis
    Seconding comment #2
  • June 9, 2013
    XFllo
    I would like to say that Unfortunate Name and Fail O Sucky Name are currently discussed in Trope Repair Shop. Fail O Sucky Name might get renamed because it's misused (it's for a situation when a character willingly chooses an ugly name, and the trope name isn't very clear on this).

    I think Embarrassing Last Name is mostly covered by what is now Unfortunate Name (which might get renamed as well).

    BTW, the Gits from your example have horrible first name as well so they clearly don't this trope, even if this YKTTW would shape into a sub-trope..

    If you want, join the discussion and suggest even more merging with name tropes like Embarrassing First Name and Embarrassing Middle Name, though I personally think these deserve their own trope.

    Link to TRS on Fail O'Suckyname. Awesome Mc Coolname was mentioned as well.
  • June 12, 2013
    Buraindo
    Agreed with the above.
  • June 12, 2013
    foxley
    In The New Adventures Of Beans Baxter, the Big Bad was the unfortnately named Mr. Sue.
  • June 14, 2013
    MrRuano
    Watchmen: The Silk Specter, originally a Polish immigrant, romanized her name to Sally Jupiter. Her daughter/successor, Laurie, is not much of a fan of said name as well as being forced into the role, and prefers to keep her original last name.
  • June 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^Silk Spectre, not Silk Specter.
  • June 30, 2013
    foxley
    There is a running joke in the Waxahachie Smith novels by JT Edson regarding how embarrassing the surname Ramsbottom is. Smith even adopts it as his Go To Alias on the grounds that nobody would pick it as an assumed name.
  • July 2, 2013
    Duncan
    I think the Watchmen example may actually be Stage Names, which is a related trope, though in Sally Jupiter's case it's more about people not being able to pronounce "Juspeczyk", than actually being embarrassed.
  • July 2, 2013
    Po8
    I agree with those who think that Unfortunate Names (why the plural?) covers all of the Embarrassing * Names tropes better. In particular, names that are chosen in comedy for embarrassing effect (e.g. "Biggus Dickus / Incontinentia Buttocks") are hard to classify by a particular part of the name.
  • July 5, 2013
    JoeG
    The protagonist of Donald E. Westlake's novel Help I am Being Held Prisoner has the extremely unfortunate last name of Kunt (pronounced Koont, and he insists on the umlauts, or little dots above the u). This would be bad enough under ordinary circumstances, but when he goes to prison it threatens to become completely intolerable.
  • July 17, 2013
    ACarlssin
    Any character who has "bottom" anywhere in their surname.
  • July 25, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Adolf Hitler almost ended up having his last name as Schicklgruber due to that being his father's original last name. But due to some messing about with the family baptismal records, Alois Schicklgruber became Alois Hitler at the age of thirty-nine, with Adolf being born after the change.
  • July 26, 2013
    Chabal2
    Discworld also has Agnes Nitt, who imagines an alternate personality named Perdita X Dream. When she needs to give her identity in Maskerade, she goes with Perdita X Nitt... and is told they need to do something about the Nitt.
  • July 28, 2013
    DAN004
    I don't know if this counts (it's less embarrassing and more endangering) but -
    • One Piece: Portgas D. Ace (note that it's surname first) uses his mother's maiden surname rather than his dad's, partly because Ace hates him, partly because his father is the late Pirate King Gol D. Roger and that he doesn't want to be related to someone with a notorious reputation as him.
  • July 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    re Monty Python's Gits: they don't find their first & middle names (A Snivelling Little Rat Faced and Dreary Fat Boring Old) particularly embarassing, just the last name.
    A.S.L.R.F. Git:I noticed a slight look of anxiety cross your face for a moment just then, but you needn't worry - I'm used to it. That's the trouble of having a surname like Git. ... Oh, you've no idea how the kids get taunted. Why, only last week Dirty Lying Little Two-Faced came running home from school, sobbing his eyes out, and our youngest, Ghastly Spotty Awful Vicious Little is just at the age when taunts like 'she's a git' really hurt.
  • August 3, 2013
    2heartgirl
    • In Family Guy Carter forced his wife to change her last name because it was Jewish so that they could get into certain establishments.
  • August 4, 2013
    Abodos
    Jassart LeBlanc's real last name in Snow By Night is Charbonnier. It's embarrassing to him because it means "son of a charcoaler," which is more or less the most looked-down-upon occupation in Saronnean society.
  • August 5, 2013
    lakingsif
  • August 5, 2013
    Hodor
    • In an episode of Inspector George Gently one of the suspects is a retired wrestler who still goes by his stage name. He is made to admit his actual name, and reveals his last name is Fairy.
  • August 6, 2013
    lakingsif
    Some of these really aren't that embarrassing, like in Real Life where you've put "any character who has 'bottom' anywhere in their surname"? First real life not character, and second, that's not embarrassing. The moment in Despicable Me 2 where the minions laugh at "Ramsbottom" comes under this, but generalising like that isn't correct - personally, I don't think you should Real Life examples at all, being that it's more when a character finds their or another's surname embarrassing and in real life one person may not like their surname but their brother, or anyone else with it, could.

    And the Hitler thing - Alois I-don't-really-know-my-surname-I-think-it's-Shicklgruber was adopted and it took until his thirties for his surname to actually be properly processed. Also, it was Heiddler, not Hitler, but spelling was not important and so Adolf was Hitler, not Heiddler or Shicklgruber. That's only if Alois was his father. His mum was never sure, apparently.
  • August 8, 2013
    DAN004
    I find it funny how often I see Sir Cave Cat's YKTT Ws together. :P

    By the way, I recommend you making some edits for the examples, seeing as you haven't did it yet. :P
  • August 9, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^I, good sir, am actually female. I suggest that you check out a Troper's page before you assume what gender they are.
  • August 9, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Ah, stupid me assuming There Are No Girls On The Internet. :P
  • August 10, 2013
    Madrugada
    Moderator note: I removed the hat this was given. It is nowhere near ready to launch in its present state, and that's what a hat means.

    Please do not give hats unless the write-up, exactly as it stands is ready to launch. A Hat does not mean "I think this is a good idea in general" or "I like this" or "We should have this." It means "I think that this could be put onto the wiki as a page right now, in the condition it's in at this moment."
  • August 19, 2013
    NESBoy
    This should be a good page quote:

    Gruntilda: Prepare to join your buddy Bottles! You'll wish you'd never taken on the mighty Gruntilda Winkybunion! Kazooie: Winkybunion? Is that your last name then? Gruntilda: Err...um, no. Of course not. But don't you go telling anyone or I'll sue you... Banjo: Whatever you say, Winky! Gruntilda: Now die!
  • August 24, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In the novel and film Hannibal, Lecter needles Italian police inspector Pazzi about his surname, which has an unpleasant history in Florence. He implies that Pazzi's career may have been hindered by his family's historical reputation.
  • September 1, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 18, 2013
    Burmy
    In the episode of ALF where he was JUST about ready to head back to Melmac (not the series finale, but the one taking place around Brian's birthday), Alf reveals his full Melmacian name to be Gordon Shumway (which causes plenty of laughs from the family and embarrassment to him)
  • September 18, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    Oh, good! I was wondering why this trope didn't exist.
  • September 24, 2013
    reflaxion
    Funny that we have Embarrassing First Name and Embarrassing Middle Name but not this.

    Example added: Soul Eater. Anime/Manga folder created.
  • September 24, 2013
    reflaxion
    Suggestion: In line with the two aforementioned tropes, this should reflect a last name that is embarrassing to the character, not the public. Otherwise it crosses too closely to Unfortunate Name, in my opinion.
  • September 29, 2013
    DAN004
    May I add my own example? Dunno if it fits, though...
  • September 30, 2013
    BlueIceTea
  • September 30, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Yes, yes it is
  • October 3, 2013
    DAN004
    Does my One Piece example count?
  • October 10, 2013
    pawsplay
    Real Life examples? Anthony Wiener. Former US Representative caught sending inappropriate images of his congressional aide to "about six women." There are photos from his attempted political comeback that show men at a gay pride parade holding up signs that say, "We Want Wiener."
  • October 10, 2013
    reflaxion
    ^ Sounds more like Unfortunate Name to me. Then again, the two sound the same to me at the moment.
  • October 12, 2013
    pawsplay
    I think it is the same.
  • October 12, 2013
    DAN004
    I guess Unfortunate Name is Out Of Universe while this trope is In Universe. Here, the last name is only embarrassing in context. There are always overlaps, though.
  • October 22, 2013
    BlueIceTea
    • Walk Two Moons has a family called the Winterbottoms (one of the characters mocks this by drawing a cartoon of someone surnamed "Ice-Bottom"), and a mysterious woman named Mrs Cadaver (which a character points out is another word for "corpse").
  • October 29, 2013
    jatay3
    One Real Life subversion is names that come from clergy(Monk, Bishop, etc). According to The Story of Surnames by L.G. Pine the name is probably not a reference to an illegitimate birth from a wayward cleric but to having an ancestor who was an actor who specialized in said roles. Another possibility is that it references the birthplace of an ancestor.
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    Soul Eater example needs context.
  • November 13, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • Alejandro from Total Drama has his last name revealed by Chris to everyone in All Stars. Chris gets a good laugh at learning that his name is "Alejandro Burros Muertos" (Dead Donkey.) This gets lampshaded further into the episode.
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