MTVLiquid Television's original title Ĉon Flux in the animated shorts, did not originally refer to the show's main character of the female assassin; but rather, the title described the series-concept "eons in flux" as explained by creator Peter Chung. The character later acquired the name "Aeon Flux," when the cartoon became a regular series of its own with spoken parts, thus requiring that the individual characters have names.
Another Simpsons episode features an actor asking about playing Homer: "Is he supposed to have some kind of neural impairment, like Rain Man or Awakenings?" The sentence could be read as "...like [in] "Rain Man" or "Awakenings"?", but the voice actor's delivery of the line implies a deliberate invocation of this trope.
Also, during a montage of watching movies on stolen cable, Bart says the following: "This is where Jaws eats the boat! This is where Die Hard jumps out the window! This is where Wall Street gets arrested!"
"Jump, Free Willy! Jump! Jump with all your might!"
"Thank you, Blood and Tears! We were sorry to hear about Sweat..."
Homer seems to always have had difficulty distinguishing between movie characters and movie titles. In high school, he tried to get elected student council president with a campaign poster where the headline read "Jaws and Star Wars agrees..."
Marge makes a similar mistake, referring to the main character of Showgirls as Showgirl.
In the "Treehouse of Horror X" story "Life's a Glitch, Then You Die", Homer tries to pretend he's a celebrity, specifically the pianist from the movie Shine. When asked what his name is, he answers "Uh, Shiny McShine?".
"There was this guy that got killed and I think it was in Miami, so CSI Miami investigateded it. Then some family said how much they love The Olive Garden. Then I fell asleep. When I woke up, Letterman was talking to Alias".
"Once upon a time, there was a hilarious ogre named Shrek 3."
The main character of Static Shock uses the alias "Static." Just "Static." The word "Shock" is only found in the series title, and his occasional Catch Phrase ("I'm Static, I put a shock to your system"). Even a villain, Shiv, once says, "Take that, Super Shocker, or... whatever-your-name-is!"
It doesn't help that in the theme song, he is explicitly called Static Shock.
The misconception is widespread enough that when he started showing up in comics again as a member of the Teen Titans, the writers would erroneously refer to him as "Static Shock" at various points.
W.I.T.C.H.: To quote Irma, "We're not witches! It's just our initials!"
Carter Pewterschmidt also seems to be under the impression that Medium's protagonist is named Medium.
One episode of South Park, during a parody, mistakenly referred to Peter Griffin as "Family Guy".
Perhaps in the South Park world Peter's name/title is just "Family Guy", since the censored episode featuring him had the title card "Family Guy is giving an helmet to Muhammad" to avoid showing the prophet... Who knows?
Not really the case, since in that episode, the unnamed "mother" (clearly Lois) specifically calls him "Peter." It's just the townsfolk and the network that don't use his name.
Animaniacs was the name of the show; it was never officially used as a collective name to refer to Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. In the theme song, they clearly refer to themselves as "The Warner Brothers and The Warner Sister", a play on the company's name. Despite this, though, much of the print merchandise and even some Kids' WB! spots incorrectly referred to the trio as "the Animaniacs".
The title-song introduced "Animaniacs" as all of the main characters on the series (a take-off on "Looney Tunes").
"Who are The Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister?"
"I'm sorry, the correct answer is "The Animaniacs"
He apologized later.
G.I. Joe is not the name of any one character, but the name of their organization. The subtitle "A Real American Hero" doesn't help much either, as it implies "A" and "Hero" as in "Singular" instead of "Heroes".
And that's not at all helped by the fact that in the original 1960s G.I. Joe toy line, he was just one guy. And in the 1970s reboot, he was the leader of the G.I. Joe team.
There was a character called "G.I. Joe" in the Real American Hero continuity: General Joseph Colton, the "original G.I. Joe" who had been given that codename in the 1960s when appointed by John F. Kennedy to create what would later become the G.I. Joe team that we all know. However, Colton was a relatively minor character in the comics and didn't appear in the cartoon at all, so not many casual fans know about him.
This may possibly change with the second live action movie, as Colton is set to be a major character.
Some of the commercials for G. I. Joe toys used the phrase 'Real American Heroes' -and then the show would come back on with 'A Real American Hero.'
The surname of The Berenstain Bears isn't "Berenstain" it's "Bear". Berenstain is the surname of the series' creators.
The heroes of Thunderbirds are International Rescue. The Thunderbirds are their five (eventually six) primary vehicles. The trope, however, was carried into Thunderbirds 2086 and the live-action adaptation, where the heroes were indeed referred to as "The Thunderbirds".
Similar to the Static Shock example, Batman Beyond is not the name of the future Batman. He's still just called Batman.
Though later, in Justice League Unlimited, they finally did a Title Drop to reveal the project that ended up creating Terry was "Project Batman Beyond". The Batman himself is still never called this, though.
Averted by the overseas renaming as "Batman of the Future". Lame name, but accurate.
Parodied by Beavis And Butthead when they commented on Hole's "Violet" video. They repeatedly referred to Courtney Love as "this Hole chick" because they thought that was her name.
Leary: And I'm Denis Leary, master of the universe. Space Ghost: Master? I know one or two guys who might disagree with you...master! Leary: Like who? Space Ghost: Yoda. Leary: Okay, who else...? Space Ghost: [pause] Star Wars.
Generator Rex is the series. The guy is just Rex. Though in one episode when trying to think up a theme song for himself he refers to himself as "Gen Rex."
Many people think that Man of Action is just one guy. It isn't; it's a quartet of comic book writers.
The team of Young Justice is not called Young Justice. It is called simply "the team." The confusion stems from the fact that there was a team in the comics called "Young Justice," and Superboy was a member, along with Robin III, Kid Flash II, and an archer chick with who is kinda-sorta but not really connected to Green Arrow. But it's a case of Name's the Same; the cartoon isn't an adaptation of the comic.
Jefferson Twilight somewhat justifies it by saying he doesn't know the politically correct term for a black vampire ("Africa-American vampires" doesn't work because sometimes they're British).
Generally averted in Transformers. "Transformer" is generally accepted as the species name for the Autobots and Decepticons (at least when the two factions aren't considered a race in and of themselves). Some incarnations, however, prefer to use the term "Cybertronian", referring to the robots being from the planet Cybertron. Lampshaded in Transformers Animated.
Sari:"What are you?"
Bumblebee:"Well, I'm an Autobot. Actually, I'm a Cybertronian."
A lot of people who aren't in the know about Avatar: The Last Airbender and don't live where it's called Avatar: The Legend of Aang, call Aang "Avatar", as if that is his given name, or Avatar Aang (which, while his official title, is used very little in the show).
Technically, it was the name of the team in the first handful of episodes, when the group was some sort of detective agency. Master Shake even refers to them as such in the first episode. The idea was quickly abandoned, though.
Also used in the crossover episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, as the kid's meal mascots for a fast food chain called Burger Trench.
The main character of Invader Zim is simply Zim. While he gives himself the title of "Invader", he isn't really one. At the very least, the title was revoked after he screwed up on the first invasion attempt.
One website referred to Scrooge McDuck as "DuckTales."
A lot of people who aren't super-familiar with Moral Orel call the Orel "Moral." The name of the town is Moralton, and the early episodes (at least) are about Orel learning morals. Creator Dino Stamatopoulos says this is one of his pet peeves, saying "You don't call Dennis "Menace".
On Squidbillies, Rusty laid eggs, and Early wondered if they contained Draculas. They did.
Given that they don't really have an official group name, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fit this. They're usually just known as "the turtles" or "the ninja turtles". The 1987 cartoon is a notable exception, as they are called by the name several times, most notably Splinter in the pilot as he finishes explaining their backstory.
Another Disney Example is that people would commonly refer to Duchess and her kittens Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz as The Aristocats. One character meet and greet website refereed Marie as "The Aristocats".
Robot Chicken had a skit where a woman reveals to her parents that she is dating Frankenstein's monster, referred to as "Frank/Frankie", and her father constantly thinks he's a monster trying to attack them. By the end, the daughter gets married to him, and the mother tells the father "I'm so proud of you finally coming to terms with our daughter marrying Frankenstein", and the father gets mad, saying "Franken-STEIN? He's Jewish?", and shooting at their car. Granted, this could count as Rule of Funny, but it's still an example nonetheless.
Miraculous Ladybug: The heroine just goes by Ladybug. Miraculous isn't her civilian name, that would be Marinette. Miraculous refers to the jewels that a Miraculous Holder uses to transform with their Kwami. The only time the phrase is used is when Marinette uses Lucky Charm to purify an enemy as she gives a Title Drop. This might be why Nick opts to rename the show Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.