Created By: Randomwaffle23 on June 20, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on July 12, 2013
Nuked

Name Blindness

A name has a meaning obvious to the audience, but the characters are unaware of any meaning.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"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!
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • June 21, 2013
    Duncan
    Anyone using a Sdrawkcab Alias.
  • June 21, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Tropeworthy? I'm not sure. It's common for a Meaningful Name to be quite obvious to the audience but it's an elephant to everyone in-universe.
  • June 21, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    "Dr. Acula" from Ed Wood's films may be the all-time champion of this trope.
  • June 21, 2013
    arbiter099
    Sounds like Genre Blindness narrowed down to MeaningfulNames and Obviously Evil people/companies that people shouldn't trust but do anyway.
  • June 22, 2013
    CaptainPeregrin
    Yeah, I don't see why this needs a trope of its own. It's basically just a non-lampshaded Meaningful Name.
  • June 22, 2013
    Randomwaffle23
    A non-lampshaded Meaningful Name is where the characters don't point out the name's meaning. Here, they're completely unaware of it. I'm fairly certain name blindness is a trope, but I suppose whether it deserves its own page is up for debate.
  • June 22, 2013
    surgoshan
  • June 22, 2013
    MagBas
    If something really is a trope, this definitively deserves their own page.
  • June 22, 2013
    AgProv
    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....
  • June 22, 2013
    grapesandmilk
    • 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 realise the pun behind it.
  • June 24, 2013
    Nazetrime
    I know a case where nobody notices a Significant Anagram. It takes the character showing up in enemy colors and bacisally saying "looks like you still haven't figured it out" for the one of the smarter members among the protagonits to notice it.

    Would that count ? (Significant anagrams aren't always as obvious as Sdrawkcab Alias)
  • June 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Futurama an alien spy on a DOOP ship claims his name is Hugh Mann.
  • June 25, 2013
    TheHandle
    Louis Cypher and any other Names To Run Away From Really Fast, unless it's lampshaded (it usually isn't).
  • July 2, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Penelope is the ward of one Sylvester Sneekly, who is secretly also the Big Bad The Hooded Claw.
  • July 2, 2013
    StarSword
    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".
  • July 2, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 2, 2013
    Stratadrake
  • July 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    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!
  • July 6, 2013
    Stratadrake
    We don't need more examples. We need more discussion on tropability.
  • July 7, 2013
    Randomwaffle23
    As far as I'm concerned, anything with enough examples is a trope.
  • July 7, 2013
    Coventina
    I'd say it qualifies, really. There's already a frightening number or examples.

    And by the way, Remus Lupin qualifies twice: Remus was the brother of Romulus, and was raised by a wolf. (Look up the founding of Rome for the tale, if you like.)

    There were multiple other examples of this in the HP series, too.
  • July 7, 2013
    bwburke94
    Re: Lupin

    The last name was inherited, the first name was presumably a pun on the last name. Remember, he wasn't a werewolf when he was born.

    And it's canon that he was bitten by a werewolf because of his name.
  • July 7, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ^^ That's still just Meaningful Name. In fact, IMHO, this whole thing still feels like Meaningful Name But More Specific.
  • July 8, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    OK, since Wiki Talk requested that intervention:

    First off, having a lot of examples is not an argument in favour of tropability. I can find lots of white-skinned Big Bads in fiction; that does not make Caucasoid Big Bad a different trope from Big Bad.

    Second, I have some difficulty at finding a distinction between examples for this and those for Meaningful Name.
  • July 9, 2013
    dalek955
    • 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.
  • July 10, 2013
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    "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
  • July 10, 2013
    MattStriker
  • July 10, 2013
    Indalecio
  • July 10, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Comic Book Example: Spider-Man's side kick/mentee Alpha is named Andrew Mc Guire. Perhaps there aren't Spider-Man movies featuring the actors that he's named for in the Marvel 'verse.
  • July 10, 2013
    hevendor717
    I'm thinking of Dr. Faker in Yugioh Zexal, whose name does not seem to be noticed as highly representative of his character.
  • July 11, 2013
    Randomwaffle23
    I'd just like everyone to know that if this doesn't make it, I'll be making sure that all the information here is dumped into Meaningul Name, despite the fact that this is a distinct and purposeful use of a Meaningful Name.
  • July 11, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Threw in some italics and namespaced a couple of examples... that Spider Man example is quite curious, by the way. I have no idea how to un-Red Link it so that it doesn't read the name McGuire as a Wiki Word.
  • July 11, 2013
    MattStriker
    To have the wiki ignore 'code', use (=McGuire=) , only replace the round brackets with square ones.
  • July 11, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Nevermind. The example is still a Red Link, though.
  • July 11, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    If it helps it was *supposed* to link to this http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/SpiderManTrilogy?from=Film.Spider-ManTrilogy Istead it goes to a blank page. I think I goofed while linking it but if you click it says its going to spider-man trilogy. :/
  • July 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^Because it's going to Mainspace instead of Filmspace and nobody has made a redirect. Anyway, that would be an example of a "hidden" work link which is frowned upon nowadays.

    Still, if you absolutely must do it, the markup should be [[Film/SpiderManTrilogy McGuire]], which makes McGuire.
  • July 11, 2013
    Indalecio
  • July 11, 2013
    arbiter099
    • Doctor Insano Can't believe that he was elected President of The United States, running under his own name.
  • July 12, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ x (3-7): Fixed the link.
  • July 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    @randomsurfer: What the hell, I though I tried writing it in exactly that form. I wonder what I did wrong...

    Anyway, I don't think the hidden work link is a problem, since the actual source of the example is the Spider Man comic and not the two movies, which it simply references.
  • July 12, 2013
    Larkmarn
    As much as I don't think this is tropable in general (since I agree that this is just Meaningful Name but unlampshaded), the Spider Man one makes no sense since, in-universe, that's just a meaningless name
  • July 12, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Being the person who tagged the motion-to-discard, my thoughts haven't changed at all but to summarize them: Going by the stated laconic, "obvious meaning" is just Meaningful Name But More So (i.e. Flanderized). "to the audience" risks crossing over into YMMV. And "other characters are unaware of any meaning" is downright Chairs -- deliberate (usually retrospective) symbolism notwithstanding, it could just be Who Names Their Kid Dude or any other Unfortunate Name.

    And to add to Septimus's comment, while having a number of examples following a consistent pattern is proof that a trope exists, it is not an argument in favor of creating a potential Sub Trope off an existing article. Large numbers of examples are typically dealt with by splitting subpages according to media, not qualifier X. And # of examples is decidedly not a rebuttal of PSOC, since any PSOC will (almost by definition) have a large number of examples.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=2qdc10p1iipg5xsz01csfh75&trope=DiscardedYKTTW