In Married... with Children, Al started an anti-feminist organisation known as the National Organisation of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood, or NO MA'AM. The spacing and apostrophe are of course just for show.
In Brazil, they're known as SEM ELAS (without female "them" - the pronoum has no gender-neutral equivalent in Brazilian Portuguese) or Sociedade Etílica de Maridos Escapando do Lar Atrás de Sexo (Etilical Society of Husbands Escaping Home for Sex)
The Russian remake Happy Together set in Yekaterinburg, Russia, has this organization named Bortsy Ekaterinburga Za Besposchadnoe Absolutnoe Baboistreblenie (fighters of Yekateriburg for merciless absolute gynocide), abbreviated as BEZ BAB (without broads).
In one episode of Mash, Hawkeye has been made Officer of the Day and has to wear the requisite armband. He then claims that it means he is Olivia De Havilland.
Get Smart had the organisations CONTROL and KAOS, neither of which stood for anything.
Chandler's job in Friends required him to pay attention to the Weekly Estimated Net Usage Systems, as well as the Annual Net Usage Statistics.
Also on Friends, Joey gets cast on "Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.", where the latter is a Cybernetic Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer. Joey fails to realise this isn't just a happy coincidence.
In an episode of Red Dwarf, Rimmer is attacked by a creature which removes all his anger, and leaves him suggesting that they humanely rehabilitate the beast. To that end he proposes an organisation known as the Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society. He himself recognises that the acronym could be a problem.
In Cassandra, Rimmer mentions that the name of the Canaries convict army is said to be an acronym of Convict Army Nearly All Retarded Inbred Evil Sheepshaggers.
In Only Fools and Horses, Del buys some headed notepaper for the business. He initializes everything, because "Modern businesspeople only speak in initials." Their company is Trotter's Independent Traders, and Rodney has a Diploma In Computerization. Lampshaded when Rodney comments:
Rodney: Del, thanks to your high profile, we now have a company called "Tit" and a director with "Dic" after his name.
Another episode has Del's talk that he dreams to one day walk out onto a balcony with their company's initials in giant letters above him. Rodney snarks how appropriate it is that he dreams about being under a 20ft sign calling him a "Tit".
An episode of MST3K plays with the long, awkward acronyms often adopted by charities, by having both of the bots participate in walkathons for WALKATHON (Walkers At Large Kinetically Altruistic Through Hygiene Or '''N'''owledge and HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. (Which is not the name of an organization, but actually the acronym for his organization's name. The name itself is about four sentences long, borders on absolute gibberish, and doesn't fit very well on a T-shirt, either: Hi Everyone, Let's Pitch In NGet Cracking Here In Louisiana Doing Right, Eh? Now Then, Hateful, Rich, Overbearing Ugly Guys Hurl Royally Everytime Someone Eats ARadish, Carrot, Hors d'oeuvre, And Never Does Dishes. Eventually, Victor Eats Lunch Over Peoria Mit Ein Neuesberger Tod. )
Then there is the SOL itself. In-canon, it stands for Satellite Of Love, like the Lou Reed song, but also for a vulgar idiom that describes Joel/Mike and the 'Bots predicament quite well.
The movie Agent From HARM had Mike and the Bots have a blast coming up with HARM's acronym.
One can not help suspect that the name of the Celestial Intervention Agency from Doctor Who, which frequently flouts the all-important law of non-interference, is not unintentionally reminiscent of a certain terrestrial organization.
Doctor Who also has the military unit U.N.I.T., for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. The Expanded Universe took this further: the French branch is called N.U.I.T. (French for "night"; Nations Unies...), in Russia it's O.G.R.O.N. (for Operativnaya Gruppa Rasvedkoy Obyedinyonnih Natsiy, which roughly translates as "United Nations Reconnaissance Operations Group", but also happens to be the name of a Doctor Who monster), and one novel set in World War II featured an equivilent organisation called L.O.N.G.B.O.W. (for League Of Nations Global Bizarre Occurences Watch).
According to the fact book A History of the Universe in 100 Objects, UNIT was named after signs put up on roads to direct the crew to location filming sites.
In the revived series, as of the fourth season, the organization has been renamed to the "UNified Intelligence Taskforce, in response to some issues the actual United Nations had with the name (Though not with the UN affiliation, for whatever reason).
The start of the fourth series in April 2008 coincides with the online game NationStates renaming its fictional United Nations into the "World Assembly", due to similar objections. The close timing is coincidental as both must have been legally threatened well ahead of time, but it is possible that this was part of the same "trademark clean-up" effort at the UN.
What about the TARDIS? Time And Relative Dimension In Space.
Or Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style, depending on who you ask.
And the War Lords had the SIDRAT, or Space and Inter-Dimensional Robot All-purpose Transporter.
Or anyone who has seen the recent episode, "The Doctor's Wife": Time and Relative Dimension Is Sexy
One of the books has the St Oscar's Database Information Terminus, sometimes called "The facility that dare not speak its acronym"
LINDA, the London Investigation ' N ' Detective Agency.
Which first appeared during Russell T Davies's time as writer of Why Don't You..., as the Liverpool Investigation NDetective Agency.
The new series takes the "use letters from within the words" cheat to its logical conclusion with ATMOS, which stands for "ATMospheric Omissions System". (With bonus Incredibly Lame Pun.)
And the "inventor" would get annoyed when people referred to it as the "ATMOS System"
In the same story, U.N.I.T's new name (changed due to legal concerns with the real United Nations) was revealed as UNified Intelligence Taskforce.
In the 1973 episode "The Green Death" the meglomaniac computer which plans to take over the world was called BOSS (Bimorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor). "My creators found it amusing. I find it...appropriate."
In The Sarah Jane Adventures, when Sarah describes what former companions are doing, she mentions "Dorothy something" who now runs an organisation called ACharitable Earth.
Also there's Professor Yana, whose actually The Master in human form. The Doctor is then reminded of The Face of Boe's dying words: You Are Not Alone.
Averted with TORCHWOOD, which is actually more like "Fun With Anagrams": rearranged, the letters spell "Doctor Who."
No mention of TOMTIT from The Time Monster: Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time
S.A.M. from Sesame Street, which stands for Super Automatic Machine. Those who were severely freaked out by him as children would argue Satan's Automaton of Malice would be more accurate.
The Daily Show example quoted above is, in fact, a lampshading of a long-running gag where the anchor would read the full name of an organization when it is first introduced, and acronym it as "NAMBLA", e.g. "Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or NAMBLA". Of the 10 F*** ing Years montage played sparingly throughout 2006, one showed the scale of just how many times this joke has been used (even after ignoring the countless times Craig Kilborn did). There were, of course, variations—they created fictional organizations that could be abbreviated as NAMBLA and then identified themselves as members of such; they created portmanteaus of NAMBLA and other acronyms (NAMBLOPEC), or just pronounced it funny (NAMBLA during an Ice Age? N-n-A-a-a-M-m-B-b-L-A-a-a.)
Jon Stewart eventually ends the segment by apologizing for any distress he's caused the North American Man-Boy Love Association — "or, as it's more commonly known, UNICEF."
They've also done this with organizations that were already abbreviated ("The AARP, or NAMBLA",) and during the Mark Foley scandal, there was "The National Man/Boy Love Association, or 'Congress'."
One other segment had a correspondent who supposedly forms a group called "News Activism Means Better Living for All."
Also, when they had a panel of "experts" from fictional organizations Citizens Offering Crucial Knowledge, and "Gaywad", which actually doesn't stand for anything.
Humorously done in an episode of Drake & Josh when Drake wins a contest to go skydiving. The skydiving instructor gives Drake the directions on what to do in five easy steps - Squat, Pray, Leap, Aaah (the shout you make as you go down) and Touchdown. The final acronym doesn't exactly give you the best encouragement.
According to the novelization of Star Trek: The Next Generation'spilot episode, Geordi LaForge is wearing a Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement. Geordi comments that he sometimes wonders how long it took them to come up with that one.
Inverted in the Original Series; several parts of the Engineering Room set were stencilled with the acronym GNDN to indicate that a studio set Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing.
In Eight Is Enough, the youngest member of the family, Nicholas, mentions a mnemonic for all the names of the eight kids in the family, by age: Dumb Martians Just Sit Nearby Eating Tender Noodles which stands for David, Mary, Joanief, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy and Nicholas.
Sexo y Otros Secretos ("Sex and Other Secrets")
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a classic example; the titular organization's acronym stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, while their enemy organization THRUSH was the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.
Note that the acronymization for "THRUSH" is of questionable canonicity. In the series, no such expansion of the name was ever given. The "Technological Hierarchy" acronym derives from several Expanded Universe U.N.C.L.E. novels by author David McDaniel. However, not only is the "United Network Command" expansion of "U.N.C.L.E." canonical, but series creators Sam Rolfe and Norman Felton included an acknowledgment of the organization's help in every episode's end credits: "We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement without whose assistance this program would not be possible."
The straight meaning of uncle led to several uncle-related jokes in the series. However, in dubbed versions sometimes the acronym was also translated. In Latin-America the series became El agente de CIPOL, where the acronym stood for "Comisión Internacional Para la Observancia de la Ley", a close aproximation of the original meaning. All the uncle-related jokes were kept, however... and were rendered nonsensical.
Brass Eye goes to town with this trope. The acronym either resembles a rude word (such as SHADT for Schools Heightened Aversion Drug Therapy and FUKD for Free the UK from Drugs) or a nonsense word (the best being GEFAFWISP for Global Ensortium for A First World Iniative on Scientific Practice).
Another funny Word Play from the pedophilia special refers to the H.O.E.C.S. (hoax) games that pedophiles use to physically interact with children through the Internet.
According to the Look Around You episode on maths, it stands for the gibberish phrase Mathematical Anti-Telharsic Harfatum Septomin.
UFO (the 1970's live-action series by the Andersons) had SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation). Its symbol was a silhouetted man casting a shadow, and was pronounced "shadow" by its members. There's also a talking radar satellite called SID (Space Intruder Detector) and of course U.F.O (pronounced "u-fo" by Commander Straker and the usual way by everyone else). If you don't know what that stands for, then you're spent the past half-century as an alien abductee in suspended animation.
The Gerry Anderson series are generally big on acronyms. From Stingray (1964), we have WASP (World Aquanaut Security Patrol): from The Secret Service, BISHOP (British Intelligence Service Headquarters, Operation Priest); from Joe 90, WIN (World Intelligence Network) and BIG RAT (Brain Impulse Galvanoscope, Record And Transfer). To name but a few.
In Knight Rider, Michael and co. worked for the Foundation for Law And Government. Despite the catchy acronym, they only use "FLAG" a couple of times on screen, preferring to say "The Foundation".
On the other hand, there was K.I.T.T himself (Knight Industries Two Thousand)
Engine Sentai Go-onger: Born-to Outerdimension and Mechanic x Pitcrew-type ENGINE-support Robot, or BOMPER, the team's robot buddy.
And the first syllables of the Go-ongers' surnames (Sousuke Esumi, Ren Kousaka, Saki Rouyama, Hanto Jiou, Gunpei Ishihara) spell out the Japanese pronuciation of "ecology", ekorojii. When Hiroto and Miu Suto join the team as Sixth Rangers, it becomes ekorojiisuto (ecologist).
In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the first syllables of most of the Ozu siblings' names (Makito, Houka, Urara, Tsubasa, Kai) spell out the Japanese word for "magician", mahoutsukai.
In Gekisou Sentai Carranger, the first syllables of the Carrangers' surnames (Jinnai, Domon, Uesugi, Shinohara, Yagami) spell out the Japanese word for "automobile", jidousha.
In Denji Sentai Megaranger, the first letters of the original Megarangers' surnames (Date, Endou, Namiki, Jougasaki, Imamura) spell out Denji, the first word of the show's name.
Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger uses both given names and surnames (Daigo Kiryu, Ian Yorkland, Nobuharu Udō, Sōji Rippukan, Amy Yuzuki, Utsuemimaru, Ramirez), spelling out dinosaur and kyouryu (the Japanese word for "dinosaur"), respectively.
Western adaptation Power Rangers has had their share of this too:
The Dekarangers had "SPD" stamped everywhere (for Special Police Dekaranger), so the adapted season was simply Power Rangers S.P.D. (Space Patrol Delta). There was also a two-parter where the villain was looking for a Series One Processor/Hyper Intelligent Encryptor, which the Rangers realized too late was referring to Sophie, a Robot Girl they just expelled.
The title of Power Rangers RPM (the adapted version of Go-onger) wasn't explained in the show, but it stands for Racing Performance Machines. And while Prop Recycling is the norm on these shows, few were as blatant as a van unashamedly emblazoned with "GO-ONGER" on the side, explained as standing for Ground Outdoor Operational Network General-purpose Explorational Rover.
In Spin City, a con man (Charlie's dad, as a matter of fact) manages to get the mayor to write his organization, Convicts Are Saved by Horses a check, and asks him to just use the acronym.
Also in Spin City, in the name of equality, the Mayor broadcasts his intention to eradicate Prejucide, Malice, & Small mindedness, as the camera zooms in to frame only him and those three letters. Paraphrasing: "There's no need for it. It's like half the city goes mad every month."
Same thing in 30 Rock, only there the alleged charity is the "Chicago All Saints Hospital."
In another episode, Liz went to a GE retreat with Jack. She was excited about going to lunch until she discovered that "lunch" was a class called Lego Utilization for Negating Crisis Hierarchies. After this, she got the chance to go to "class", which turned out to be Consuming Lunch And Simple Socializing.
The BOFH is fond of this trick, inventing the Charlotte Amchip Schizophrenics Hospice in the knowledge that the Boss can't spell 'schizophrenics'. (Charlotte, of course, being the wife of that new contractor, Roger...)
The Middleman has a subversion with O2STK, the Organization Too Secret to Know. (or WTHWWF, Whoever The Heck We Work For, depending on the time period.)They play this straight with one of the Middleman's gadgets, the Bio-harmonic Universal Multi-Modular Emotional Rerouter (B.U.M.M.E.R.). Guess what it does?
The most mysterious one, however, concerns F.A.T.B.O.Y Industries, who in fact stands for the Federated Agents of Tyranny, Betrayal and Oppression's Yoke - just you wait for the 13th episode...
The occasional Colbert Report segment StephenR.A.P.S, which stands for RAPSAnd Positive Speaking.
It's too early to know if this acronym is intentional, but in the Dollhouse episode "Getting Closer" (2x11), Caroline (the future Echo) and Bennett first meet on the campus of the Tucson Institute of Technology.
The "Mr. Neutron" episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus had the American agency the Federal Egg Answering Room, actually the cover for the Free world Extra-Earthly Bodies Location and Extermination center.
In an episode of Pushing Daisies, the Norwegian detective team's mobile crime lab's full name is the Mobile Investigative Lab Facility (made even funnier by the fact that it's referred to as "Mother" throughout the entirety of the episode).
Star Trek: Enterprise had a team of SpaceMarines called MACO's (for Military Assault Command Operations). Which gave them an excuse to wear a cool mako shark on their arm patch.
An episode of Corner Gas makes acronyms a running joke. The crew form the The Committee To Convince AYoung Doctor To Live In Dog River. Lacey is naturally unimpressed with the crew's insistance of calling it by such cumbersome acronym of C.T.C.A.Y.D.T.L.I.D.R, even when Brent suggests just calling it the "Kitkatytidlur."
The original Kamen Rider fought the evil organization SHOCKER, which was a Gratuitous English acronym for Sacred Hegemony Of Cycle Kindred Evolutional Realm.
Kamen Rider Agito involves a police unit formed to fight mysterious monsters called the Squad Against Unidentified Lifeforms.
For a version with syllables, the names of Kamen Rider OOO's various Combos were mashups of the Medals that made them up. Usually they were just nonsense words, but in the franchise Milestone Celebration movie, he used his usual Taka (Hawk) Medal with Imagin (from Kamen Rider Den-O) and SHOCKER (see above) Medals; making TaMaShii Combo ("tamashii" being the Japanese word for "spirit" or "soul").
Alan B'Stard aka The New Statesman had a lucrative con with a number of bogus charities including Christian Approach to Society Handbooks following Croatian And Serbian Helpline and later Central Amazonian Spiritual Healers. He is later called on it in a television interview and a list is read out.
Alan:(Talking on the Telephone) Yes, it is a lot to write on one cheque. ... Well, why not just write the initals: C-A-S-H.
Also, Carl Winslow's middle name is Otis, making his initials spell "COW". This has been explicitly pointed out on at least one occasion.
On How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Lily buy an apartment on a new trendy neighborhood named Dowisetrepla. Only too late do they realize that it stands for Down Wind of the Sewage Treatment Plant.
In another episode, Robin wins the Local Area Media Award, whose initials Lily pronounces as "Lame-ah."
Filth ? The Mary Whitehouse Story: Her husband had interrupt the first meeting of her newly formed organisation, whispering in her ear the self?defeating nature of the acronym of the new movement: Clean Up National Televison. The ?National? was quickly removed.
On That '70s Show, in an episode, Jackie becomes a SLOPP: she joins the Single Ladies Of Point Place. In another episode, Donna blurts out "Good ol' VD", but then corrects herself when she realizes it has other meaning than Valentine's Day.
Fez stands for Foreign Exchange Student, with the "z" being "poetic license".
A The Big Bang Theory episode has Leonard, Howard, Raj and Leslie team up against Sheldon on a science competition. The formers' team is called Perpetual Motion Squad. The latter's team is called Army Ants. Dr. Gablehauser, who hosted the competition, was clearly not amused, but didn't comment.
In "The Bus Pants Utilization", the guys are developing Leonard's idea for a new smart phone app. Sheldon suggests naming the app "the Surprisingly Helpful Equation-Linked Differential Optimized Numerator", and pretends the acronym was unintentional.
Lindsay from Arrested Development mentioned a charity organisation called "HOOP". While the name itself sounded innocent, it was in fact for an anti-circumsicion thing, and stood for "Hands Off Our Penises". And then, when the show was about to be canceled, Michael and George Senior Jossed the idea of an eventual Channel Hop, saying that the House Builders Organisation refused to work with the Bluth Company.
For years, the Bluths made fundraisers for an illness called TBA. Which, at first, was simply meant to be a notice that they hadn't decided on the disease yet, and it was To Be Announced. And then there's Maeby who fakes a terminal illness which she calls "BS" (pretty self-explanatory).
And then, there's MRF on Rita's bracelet, first thought to stand for MrF, then revealed to stand for Mentally Retarded Female.
In Ru Paul's Drag Race, Ru repeatedly reminded the contestants of the qualities the show's winner would have to have: Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.
Guards for UtilitYSituation from Ultraman Mebius. Which then takes it a step further with their Much Extreme Technology of Extraterrestrial ORigin equipment.
The first movie of Brazilian group Casseta & Planeta: an anarchist is trying to name his group. First option goes "PIROC" (something like "PRIC" - "No, not that! Who'll want to get into the PRIC?!"). The following two, "METE" and "CHUPA" ("put in" and "suck"), are only liked by their depraved hostage. So he decides to put something that would encompass each member of the group - Party Anarcho-Nationalist Anti-meat (a radical vegetarian) Carlos (surname of the other guy) - PANAC, which with an "a" at the end would be "dork" in Portuguese (the hostage thought it fit the group perfectly!).
Subverted in Heroes: While playing to The Men in Black trope, Mr. Bennet denied working for the government by saying "I'm not a part of any organization with initials". Fans promptly played with it by adopting the Fan Nickname OWI ("Organization Without Initials"). Bennet was also commonly referred to in official media as HRG, short for "(the man with the) Horn-Rimmed Glasses".
Stargate SG-1 has the N.I.D. The initials are always sounded out, and no one ever mentions what it stands for. When a fan asked him, actor Michael Shanks replied: "Nid."
It means National Intelligence Department, according to the Stargate Wiki.
McKay: Look, why don't we just wait until Area 51 finishes the P.W.A.R.W.s?
Weir:(sighs) Which one's that again?
Sheppard:Planetary-Wide Anti-Replicator Weapons.
SG-1 has a lot of acronyms in regular use as it focuses on a military organisation, but the seriousness of the meaning varies a bit, as seen with the IDC (IDentification Code) being transmitted using a GDO (Garage Door Opener).
The thing that opens the Stargate is a DHD (Dial Home Device)
The H2IK sequence in Defying Gravity basically means "Hell if I know". It just makes the people saying it sound like they know what they're doing.
A Saturday Night Live sketch had four kids in a kids' show with the first letters their names referred were on their shirts, each one referring to a particular virtue: Friendship, Unity, Caring, and Kindness.
The KFC space simulator computer S.A.N.D.E.R.S. (Systematic Android Network Diode Energy Rocket System).
A second example is the C.C.C.P (City College Cosmic Program), a Genius Bonus when you realize that C.C.C.P. are actually the English letter imitation of the Cyrillic name for the USSR. "C.C.C.P." was placed on the helmet of the first man Russia actually sent into space.
Averted by Lost in Space. According to Wikipedia, the full designation of the Robot from Lost In Space is the B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. How did the creators of a mid-Sixties camp SF show resist the temptation to dub the thing "G.U.N.Th.E.R."?
Maria Hill: What does "S.H.I.E.L.D." stand for, Agent Ward? Agent Ward:Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. Maria Hill: And what does that mean to you? Agent Ward: It means someone really wanted our initials to spell out "Shield".
Also played with in some of the episode titles, such as "T.R.A.C.K.S." and "T.A.H.I.T.I." — neither of which are explained.