Fun With Acronyms: Western Animation
"I ain't climbin' inside no ASCRAC!"
As you'd expect, Western Animation
is a rich source of acronym humor
- Fillmore! had a fantastic satire of this. There was a nameless protester who held up a sign that said A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. It stood for "All Creatures Really Only Need Your Mercy."
- As referenced in this trope's explanation, COPS, the '80s cartoon about a futuristic police force whose name stood for Central Organization of Police Specialists.
- In the Venezuelan Spanish dub of the series, while the acronym is still the same, it was translated in Spanish as Comando Organizado de Policias Superiores (Translated as Organized Squad of Superior Cops)
- Darkwing Duck parodied this with SHUSH, which did have a meaning, but it was so secret that nobody knew what it was. SHUSH's main antagonist was the evil counter-agency FOWL, The Fiendish Organization for World Larceny.
- In DuckTales there's an episode that takes place on a robot planet that's ruled by a Humongous Mecha named Master Electronic Leader.
- Spoofed in an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants, when Mermaid Man's biggest villains (including his sidekick, who has done a Face-Heel Turn) form EVIL — Every Villain Is Lemons.
- In "The Great Patty Caper" when SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs are debating whether to add land salt or sea salt in the patties. Mr. Krabs brings up the acronym SCABS for Salt Comes After Barnicle Shavings. Then he brings up the acronym LESIONS, but we never know what it means. Spongebob asks about PUSTUAL, then Mr.Krabs says "Heavens no! That's disgusting..."
- Also spoofed in the informational video episode, in which the acronym POOP stood for People Order Our Patties.
- The above is also done similarly in the Spanish version with CACA, a Spanish slang term for feces: Clientes Adoran Comer Aquí (Customers love eating here).
- In trying to explain what "fun" means, Spongebob turns it into an acronym and breaks out into song.
- Don't forget C.O.B.B.U.T.K.S.B.S.P.O.T.R.A.O.O.B.A.T. (Citizens of Bikini Bottom United to Keep SpongeBob SquarePants Off the Road and out of Boats All Together)
- And The United Organization of Fish Against Things That Are Fun And Delicious, or TUOFATTAFFAD for short.
- Also Plankton's computer "wife", Karen.
Karen: "I'm your wife!"
"You're a W.I.F.E., A W
- And her back-up E.M.I.L.P, Emergency Mother-in-Law Program.
- The Time Travel device (and after it's used as such, MacGuffin) in Dino Riders was the Space-Time Energy Projector.
- The titular heroic organization on M.A.S.K. stood for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. The criminal organization of that show, meanwhile, was the Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem.
- Futurama had Fathers Against Rude Television in the episode "Bender Should Not Be Allowed On Television". ("And for what? A cheap laugh? That's not what F-A-R-T is about!" "No sir! Not us FARTers!")
- The show also had Mankind for Ethical Animal Treatment, and the UN-like interplanetary alliance known as the Democratic Order Of Planets.
- A special feature on the Bender's Game DVD has the anti-piracy organization Downloading Often Is Terrible.
- In "31st Century Fox", Bender starts a group against robot animal cruelty called, "Bender's Animal Robot Front."
- "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" has G.I. Zapp's team go up against the terrorist group, Acronym, A Criminal Regiment Of Nasty Young Men.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory had Deedee and her friends, inspired by a McGruff knock-off at a school assembly, form a neighborhood watch club called "G.I.R.L. Squad", which purportedly stood for Glamorous Investigators Ready to Lick Crime.
- Used for the titles of every episode of Codename: Kids Next Door as an instance of Idiosyncratic Episode Naming. (Except for one of the two stories in the pilot episode.) In addition, every gadget used in KND has an acronym for a name (except the one episode that didn't have an acronym for a title), which is usually explained shortly after said gadget is introduced.
- Then there's "The Grim Adventures of the Kids Next Door", where this practice is lampshaded with the MANDROBOT (Monkeys and Nice Doggies Relax on Bellies of Turtles).
Mandy: What kind of acronym is that?
Numbuh 3: Well, maybe if you weren't in such a rush, I could've come up with a better one.
- Another episode played with it by having Numbahs One and Two convinced that bras are a secret teenager weapon because they put the word into their "Name-inator", apparently the thing they use to get their acronyms, and it came up with the acronym "Battle Ready Armor". Turns out they're 100% correct.
- One episode of South Park took an existing organization called "NAMBLA" (North American Man-Boy Love Association) and created another "NAMBLA" that stood for National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes.
- The main antagonist of Birdman was the terrorist organization F.E.A.R., which the characters could never seem to decide to pronounce letter-by-letter or just say "fear." Either way, it was never revealed exactly what F.E.A.R. stood for.
- The Irken invaders in Invader Zim are provided with "SIR"s, or Standard-issue Information Retrieval units. Zim, ever getting the short end of the stick, received a "GIR" model. When asked what the 'G' stood for, GIR cheerfully replied that he didn't know, then began to beat himself on the head while giggling maniacally.
- Word of God says "GIR" doesn't stand for anything.
- In another episode, Professor Membrane invents a machine called a Perpetual Energy Generator.
- On The Boondocks, Huey explains in an interview that he is the creator of over a dozen radical leftist groups, including Africans Fighting Racism and Oppression (AFRO), the Black Revolutionary Organization (BRO), and the Black Revolutionary Underground Heroes (BRUH).
- On The Venture Bros., the Venture nanny robot H.E.L.P.eR. (Humanoid Electric Lab Partner Robot; Apparently that acronym was so hard to match they had to put an "e" in for aesthetic reasons) and security robot G.U.A.R.D.O.
- One word: W.I.T.C.H.. Born of Hay Lin jokingly writing down on her hand the initials of the group after they found out they had magic powers (according to Taranee and Irma, she had been poisoned by the ink of writing on her hand too many times).
- The 4Kids dub of Winx Club made a pointed jab at W.I.T.C.H. when Stella wanted to call themselves "B.S.M.T.F.": "Beauty, style, magic, taste, and flair. And those are also the first letters in each of our names."
- When the previous team of Guardians is revealed, Hay Lin does it again, and gets C.H.Y.K.N. (pronounced "chicken"). She isn't fond of that revelation.
- In the comic book she does it again with the names of the main actresses in a musical whose plot (written by Will) is based on the first arc. The result? M.A.G.I.C.
- Also from the Jetix stable is A.T.O.M., standing for Alpha Teens on Machines.
- The episode "Monster Con" from The Life and Times of Juniper Lee features a secret government agency known as Humans for the Abolishment of Magic (HAM), which uses high-tech equipment to see and capture monsters that are Invisible to Normals.
- An episode of The Simpsons had the Career Aptitude Normalizing Test.
- Apu earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the Springfield Heights Institute of Technology.
- One episode included Bart and Lisa ordering boxes from American Shipping Service.
- And this jewel: PPASSCCATAG: Proud Parents Against Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples And Teens And Gays. According to Dr. Hibbert, it's a brain disease.
- That episode is "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens and Gays". More known as "Marge vs. SSCCATAG" and/or "Marge vs. Everyone".
- Averted in an early episode with Springfieldians for Nonviolence, Understanding and Helping, which is both unfunny and without a double meaning.
- Krusty once hosted the Krusty Komedy Klassic — at the Apollo Theater. Produce Pelting immediately followed (after he lampshaded the nasty abbreviation).
- Parents United against Krusty's Evil.
- "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)" had Electronic Automatic Robotic Lighthouse.
- To Professor Frink, nerd stands for Not Even Remotely Dorky, "So thank you. Thank you for the compliment".
- At a sexual harassment seminar in the Nuclear Plant, the whiteboard in the background reads, "Realize Even Soft-core Pornography Eventually Causes Trouble."
- In "The President Wore Pearls", Principal Skinner unleashes operation SLAAAM: So Long Athletics, Art And Music.
- One episode shows that Martin Prince has a robot called, Childlike H umanoidUrban Muchacho.
- Subverted with Lindsey Naegle's anti-youth group, which had a pretty lame (and unnecessary) acronym for a name, SSCCATAGAPP ("Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples And Teens And Gays Against Parasitic Parents"). Of course, seeing as her goal was to deprive Springfield of all child-friendly things, maybe that was the point; she had No Sense of Humor and didn't like anyone else having it.
- Transformers Animated has a train invented by Professor Sumdac called the "Fully Automated Rapid Transit System". According to the series creators this was entirely unintentional.
- This was lampshaded during a script-reading where Sumdac showed off his "Bi-directional Unified Transit Terminal, which would let the Autobots get back to Cybertron by putting a crack in space. Everyone else makes several veiled jokes about it, while Sumdac apparently remained entirely oblivious.
- Lugnut's Megaton Punch was given a name in the fandom before later being made official. It's called the Punch Of Kill Everything.
- Transformers: Shattered Glass has a Kill Sat called the Global Orbital Defense Satellite; the control transmitters of which are located at the Burpleson Air Force Base.
- Transformers Prime had the nuclear device called the Dynamic Nuclear Generation System, which was constantly referred to, with completely serious delivery, "the dingus".
- Also from Prime is the terrorist organization, M.E.C.H. What the acronym stands for is currently unknown.
- Another one from Prime is C.Y.L.A.S. (Cybernetic Life Augmented by Symbiosis). A life support system made from Breakdown's remains.
- The Fantastic Four (1978) animated series replaced the Human Torch with the "Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics", or "H.E.R.B.I.E."
- Kim Possible had fun acronyms for things such as the villainous Worldwide Evil Empire, or "WEE" and the counter-agency Global Justice, or "GJ".
- And since this is Kim Possible, there was lampshading:
Gemini: The Worldwide Evil Empire, also known as WEE. It's an acronym.
Ron Stoppable: Acronym. Hmm, yeah, that's a school word. I should know this.
Gemini: I am Gemini!
Ron Stoppable: Dude, I am Virgo, but what's your name?
Ron Stoppable: Oh, it's an acronym! Oh-kay!
- And then we have the one college Kim's dad applied to: MIST: Middleton's Institute of Science and Technology.
- Stripperella's favourite charity is Animals Need Universal Support, which she plugs at every opportunity.
- The leader of the Spacecats, the Disembodied Omnipotent Ruler of Cats, was perpetually oblivious about how his name abbreviated.
"What a DORC."
- The Secret Show had the good guys UZZ and the bad guys THEM, while what UZZ stands hasn't been revealed THEM stands for The Horrible Evil Menace.
- The Weekenders gave us this little gem:
Carver: I'm C.A.R.P! It stands for Cool And Radically Popular.
Tino: Good thing you didn't want to be Cool, Rich And Popular.
- Totally Spies! can't avoid this either. There is an organization called League Aiming to Menace and Overthrow Spies, even after Terrence found out what the acronym was, he kept it anyway.
- He felt the name was appropriate after hearing the pathetic plans the villains had, but what can one expect from a bunch of idiots that are so Genre Blind that not only do they put the heroes in overly elaborate death traps, in subsequent encounters that keep making that same mistake.
- There's also the main organization World Organizatin Of Human Protection, which a villain try to change the past nearly turned into World Organizatin Of Harming People. Another episode had a group called G.O.O.P.E.R, which later revealed to be an acronym for Global Organization Of Pilfering Extraterrestrial Resources, and apparently nobody but the members of the group knew this.
- This often (but not always) happens with the girls' gadgets. The most recurring one is the "UPWATI"note , or Underwater Power Walking Apperatus That's Inconspicuous.
- Played with every which way in Phineas and Ferb:
- The episode "Interview with a Platypus," with Dr. Doofenshmirtz planning to flood Danville so everyone will have to buy his latest invention: the Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transport (Pronounced "BOE-at"). Perry thwarts this plan by opening the Metropolitan Oval Aquatic Trench at just the right moment.
That spells moat
[pronounced properly] I never realized that
for us again
- From "Backyard Aquarium":
"Say hello to the Platypus Secret Agent Arrival In Order To Foil My Evil Plot Capture-inator! Or as I like to call it, my P.S.A.A.I.O.T.F.M.E.P.C.-inator." and "Behold! The Hot Dog Vendor Revenginator! Or, my H.D.V.R., er, er, inator. I have to work on my acronyms." -Doofenshmirtz, again lampshading this trope
- Subverted with Perry's spy agency, "The Agency" officially O.W.C.A (pronounced in a similar fashion to orca) or "The Organization Without a Cool Acronym." Yes, Yes they did just go meta with their lampshading, somewhat of a Running Gag.
- "Owca" is Polish for "sheep", so it kinda makes sense as a name for an agency that hires exclusively animals as its agents.
- "Comet Kermillian" gives us Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Steak Containment Unit, pronounced "SKUH"... And then later on "SKOO".
- Doofenshmirtz's unfortunately named evil organization known as the League Of Villainous Evildoers Maniacally United For Frightening Investments in Naughtiness. L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. Getting even more crap past the radar since 2007!
- In "Moon Farm" Perry gets in Doofenshmirtz's home through a Central Access Threshold door. Doofenshmirtz really needs to just realize a cat door for what it is. See also the BO-AT above.
- Vanessa's mom says she'll meet her at "feh". Turns out she was referring to the Freight Emergency Harbor. It Makes Sense in Context sort of.
- "The Secret of Success" gives us a whole slew of them from a stereotypical college preparedness workshop:
- B.L.A.R.F.: Be Living Always Really Focused
- N.A.R.G.: Never Abandon Realizing Your Goals, which Candace notes should be N.A.R.Y.G.
- There's also F.R.E.E.P.O., but we never find out what it means.
- The Canadian cartoon League of Super Evil, aka L.O.S.E. The show's premise is of the comical Villain Protagonists and their constant failure to conquer their own neighborhood.
- The Galaxy Rangers work for the Bureau of ExtraTerrestrial Affairs.
- Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles had a pro-integration group called People for Interspecies Tolerance. What made it brilliant was the fact that their enemies were called the Quarrymen.
- The Canadian show The Wrong Coast had a sketch that combined S.W.A.T. with Antiques Roadshow to create S.W.A.T.A.W.A.T.A.T.A.A.: Special Weapon And Tactics As Well As The Ability To Appraise Antiques
- Rocko's Modern Life had an episode in which Heffer shows Rocko his ticket to the All Scottish Show. The acronym-making first letters are large red capitals, bigger and colored differently than the rest of the letters.
- In the origin story episode of Pinky and the Brain, when Project B.R.A.I.N., (Biological Recombinant Algorithmic Intelligence Nexus) the gene-splicing program that gave Pinky and Brain their intelligence, appears to have failed, the military superior to the scientist working on the program angrily tells him that he'll now be working on "Project B.R.A.W.N." When asked, he says that he doesn't know what it's for; he just made up the acronym on the spot.
- In "Das Mouse", while commandeering a submarine, Brain asks Pinky to randomly change the radar signal beacon letters so that they couldn't be followed. Naturally, Pinky changes it to "NARF", unfortunately a government facility translates it to Nuclear Attack Readiness Formation.
- The Horde of Ecumenical Yodelers is a secret society consisting of world leaders. They don't actually yodel.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack featured the main characters in a runaway trolley. Cut away down the harbor to the resident Gadgeteer Genius showing off his latest ramp-like invention: "I call it R.A.M.P.! Radical Ascension—"Then the trolley smashes right through it.
- He also created M.U.S.L. (pronounced "muscle"), short for Magical Under Sea Lair.
- In Inspector Gadget the criminal organization MAD either stood for Mean And Dirty or the Malevolent Agency of Destruction. It was never officially revealed what the name stood for, or even if it was an acronym at all.
- Prior to that the Tom Of T.H.U.M.B. segment of the 1966 King Kong cartoon (Tiny Human Underground Military Bureau) had a criminal organization called "MAD" which meant Maladjusted, Anti-social and Darn mean.
- Played with in Donkey Kong Country, as K. Rool describes his latest weapon, the K.Rool to Crystal Coconut and Back Missile.
K.Rool: I call it the KCC-BM!
Klump: Um, "cuss-boom?" I think you need to recruit a few more vowels, sire!
K.Rool: You idiot...
- During World War II, Warner Brothers animators produced a series of shorts for soldiers to educate and inform them on military matters. The cartoons starred the "world's worst soldier", Private Snafu. S.N.A.F.U. is of course a military acronym; Situation Normal, All
F ucked Fouled Up.
- In the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, one episode had a bunch of lunatics called Humans Against The Extraterrestrials.
- The 2012 cartoon turns Baxter Stockman's iconic mousers into Mobile Offensive Underground Search Excavation and Retrieval Sentries.
Leonardo: Seems kinda forced.
- American Dad!: Stan comes home and laments that everyone is making fun of him for having accidentally pooped in a neighbor's pool. And with the worst possible timing; Bullock just assigned him to the Tactical Urban Response Division! He briefly flashes his coat showing the acronym before it dawns on him.
- One Recess episode where the government cancels recess in a poor attempt to boost test scores, they re-introduce it under the acronym Reversing Effects of Continuous Educational Stress Syndrome, or "reckess" as it is pronounced.
- Young Justice gives us Professor Ivo's Mobile Optimal Neural Quotient Infiltrators. It apparently took him a long time to come up with an acronym for Monkey.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force has a form of this: When asked what DNA stands for, Carl responds, "It stands for, Do Not enter my pool, Ass-man'."
- On The Powerpuff Girls The Professor created the DYnamic NAnotechtronic MOnobot and Biogenetically Engineered Experimental Bipedal Organism.
- Tiny Toon Adventures has the Adult Coalition Against Funny Cartoons. Don't even try pronouncing it.
- Another episode revolved around a new robot student called Cybernetic Laser Ionized Digital Entity. Within the same episode, Monty buys a rival robot, Super New Improved Droid Eradicator.
- One episode of Batman Beyond revolves around a giant robot called the Galvanic Lifter Machine or GOLEM.
- An episode of The Fairly OddParents shows that Vicky is part of a group called Babysitters Raging Against Twerps.
- In another episode, Timmy's enemies team up to form the League Of Super Evil Revenge Seekers.
- Tuff Puppy is fond of these, namely the names of headquarters.
- T.U.F.F. = Turbo Undercover Fighting Force
- D.O.O.M. = Diabolical Order Of Mayhem
- G.L.O.O.M. = Genius Larry's Order Of Mayhem
- F.L.O.P.P. = Fiendish League Of Potential Perpetrators
- In The Angry Beavers episode "Salmon Sez", the Beavers' dam is blocking a group of salmon from migrating, thus preventing them from spawning. Not knowing what "spawn" means, Daggett comes up with his own definition in acronym form: Smashing Property And Wamping Norb. He then comes to the conclusion that the salmon want to "SPAWN [his] brother to death!"
- On Disney's Doug, there's a competition to name the new school, and Doug's suggestion is Learning Is Educational Middle School. It's not until he gets the acronym put on a sweatshirt for the competition that he realizes the Unfortunate Implications.
- In one episode of Code Monkeys, Dean's fraternity is revealed to be Alpha Sigma Sigma. It's possible that the fraternity picked the name solely for the acronym.
- From The Critic, during a meeting with Hollywood agents.
Agent: Jay, ever since we at Preferred International Talent Brokers merged with United Labor Leading Specialists...
Agent: (turns around and looks at the giant P.I.T.B.U.L.L.S. sign) Hey look, that does spell pitbulls.
Agent 2: Well what do you know. Well we are aggressive.
(Agents all laugh which quickly turn into dog-like growls.)
- Diffusion, information, et Communication: better (and later) known as "D.i.C" (later "DIC").note
- Godzilla: The Series had S.C.A.L.E. or Servants of Creatures Arriving Late to Earth, eco-terrorists believing the mutations living on Monster Island was just evolution saying humanity's time was up. Leader of said group was so outside her gourd that she wouldn't have minded being eaten by anyone of them.
- And of course there's also the Five-Man Band known as H.E.A.T. or Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team (originally proposed as High-performance Environmental Attack Team), and their Robot Buddy Butt Monkey, N.I.G.E.L. or Next-millenium Intelligence Gathering Electronic Liaison. Randy promptly lampshades with "Shouldn't that be 'NMIGEL'?"
- One of the Monster of the Week is called a Dragma, but its name's origins comes from the Democratic Resurgence Against a Global Mechanized Armageddon.
- Danger Mouse: In "Journey To The Earth's 'Cor!", DM finds the room with the machine holding his car frozen in mid-air, inside a door marked "C.H.M.F.F.G.," which Penfold surreptitiously pronounces as "chimuffguh." DM says it's for Car Holding Magnetic Force Field Generator.
Penfold: Ooh. How'd you know that?
- "One Of Our Stately Homes Is Missing" had B.L.E.E.P., which was the Building Location and Emergency Extradition Platoon.
- TOM, the host of Toonami, is short for Toonami Operations Module.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" has Pinkie Pie guarding Mr. and Mrs. Cake's entry in the Equestrian National Dessert Competition, a cake known as the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness, or "MMMM" for short.
- Archer works as a spy in I.S.I.S. for International Secret Intelligence Service. Then there's their O.D.I.N. for Organization of Democratic Intelligence Networks.
- D.U.F.U.S., Dr. Quark's robot from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Robotnik's Rival", stands for Design Unit Flexible Underling Substitute.
- The Wingdinglish inscription inside the titular artifact in BIONICLE: Mask of Light reads Technic Organic Apps One Destiny. Toa are the heroes of the BIONICLE world, and this was likely an Easter Egg referencing to the old "Six Heroes — One Destiny'' tagline. Of course, when the characters read it, it becomes a long-winded text of made-up words.
- Littlest Pet Shop (2012) takes this quite literally: Blythe attends a fashion camp called Fashion University North.
- One funny example is that, counting our namespace title for it, WesternAnimation.Looney Tunes' first letters spell WALT.