Name Blindness
A name has a meaning obvious to the audience, but the characters are unaware of any meaning.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-06-20 21:43:31 sponsor: Randomwaffle23 edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2013-07-12 17:51:44)

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"Seriously, would you ever do business with a person named Sly Sludge? It's like marrying a woman named Nasty Mcspendsmoney."
Nostalgia Critic review of Captain Planet and the Planeteers

A character has a name like Peter Badguy, and the other characters act exactly as they would if his name were Peter Brown. Big surprise when we learn that Peter is secretly plotting against them.

Name blindness is a condition characters suffer from when they fail to see the obvious meaning a name has. Often they act as if there is nothing unusual about the name, but they may assume the opposite of the name's meaning ("I always trust a guy named Peter!") Often Played for Laughs when the characters are Comically Missing the Point. Name blindness allows a Sdrawkcab Alias to be effective, because the reversal is usually obvious to the audience. It can also be what makes a villain a Devil in Plain Sight.

Subtrope of Meaningful Name and Genre Blindness. Compare Steven Ulysses Perhero, Louis Cypher, and What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?. Related to Unusually Uninteresting Sight. See also Names to Run Away From Really Fast.


Examples:

Anime
  • Dr. Faker in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, whose name does not seem to be noticed as highly representative of his character.

Comic Books
  • Spider-Man's side kick/mentee Alpha is named Andrew McGuire. Perhaps there aren't Spider-Man movies featuring the actors that he's named for in the Marvel 'verse.

Film
  • "Dr. Acula" from Ed Wood's films may be the all-time champion of this trope.

Literature
  • Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, if the reader knows that his last name is derived from the Latin word for wolf.
  • Witches Abroad - the resolution of the plot hinges on the fact the witches Granny Weatherwax and Lilith de Tempscire are long-seperated sisters. This fact is not revealed until quite late in the book. But for those who can exploit a Bilingual Bonus, it's there right at the start: Tempscire is a French rendition of the name Weatherwax. Quite a few French speakers still missed it, though....
  • The Honorverse has Robert Stanton Pierre...Rob S. Pierre. And the inevitable outcome still took the ruling Legislaturalists completely by surprise.

Live-Action TV
  • Riffed on in Stargate Universe, with the novelization of the pilot mentioning that Lt. Gen. Jack O'Neill tore a strip off the name-blind idiot that called it "Icarus Base".

Video Games
  • Nearly any video game which allows players to name characters will fall under this, as characters tend to have identical dialogue regardless of the name the player gives.
  • MARDEK Chapter 3 had a character in the reptoid village who was actually named Blatantly Evil Chancellor, and he looked the part too. His boss, Sslen'ck, is completely oblivious.
  • Frequently used in the Ace Attorney series of games.

Webcomic

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The boys in South Park often make fun of Ms. Choksondik's name, calling her names such as "chokes on rocks" or "makes me sick". Even when she angrily corrects them with her real name, they never realize the pun behind it.
  • Played with in an episode of Futurama, where an alien spy on a DOOP ship claims his name is Hugh Mann.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop Penelope is the ward of one Sylvester Sneekly, who is secretly also the Big Bad The Hooded Claw.
  • In The Simpsons, no one has ever noticed that Bart's teacher Mrs. Krabappel has a name which sound like crab apple. The closest they've ever come:
    Homer: Wait a minute. Bart's teacher is named Krabappel? I've been calling her Crandall. Why didn't someone tell me? Oh, I've been making an idiot out of myself!
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