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Insistent Terminology: Live-Action TV

  • Angel: In Wesley's first Angel appearance, wants to make sure everyone knows that he's a rogue demon hunter.
    Cordelia: What's a rogue demon?
  • Agents Of Shield:
    • Thor's not just handsome, he's dreamy according to Skye and May.
    • In "F.Z.Z.T," it's not a vaccine it's an anti-serum. Which is technically correct; a vaccine works to prevent infection, and is useless for treatment, while an anti-serum is used to treat an active infection.
  • America's Next Top Model: Want to know what really ticks Tyra off? Calling it a "season" instead of a "cycle." Others don't have this problem.
  • Arrested Development: "ILLUSIONS, Michael." A trick is something a whore does for money... Or cocaine!
    • Though funnily enough, near the end of the series the shadowy pimp Michael is talking to reveals himself to be GOB when he talks about his girls "turning illusions," hinting that there's really no reason besides forced eccentricity.
  • Ashes to Ashes: Alex Drake specializes in psychology, not psychiatry.
  • Babylon 5: In the fourth season the Centauri emperor complains about his Pain Technicians. They used to be called Torturers, but ever since they got organized it's Pain Technicians.
  • Batman: It is always "Stately Wayne Manor". Always.
    Suzy Knickerbocker: Oh, I don't know, Boy Wonder, I hear millionaire Bruce Wayne is really one of the hippies. All that marvelous money and fantastic Wayne Manor.
    Batman: Stately Wayne Manor.
    • There is one exception: In "Penguin's a Fink" it is just called Wayne Manor.
      • In 'Fine Finny Friends'/'Batman Makes the Scenes', even the surveillance camera monitor for stately Wayne Manor is labelled "Stately Wayne Manor".
  • The Big Bang Theory
    • Sheldon is not a rocket scientist. He's a theoretical physicist! Also, Sheldon takes great pains to point out that his team t-shirt spells "The Wesley Crushers" (Those Who Crush Wesley) and not "The Wesley Crushers" (Multiple People Named Wesley Crusher). Dr. Sheldon Cooper would also have you know that he's not crazy; his mother had him tested. She later confirms this (...though she should have followed-up with that specialist in Houston). Sheldon also does not play "pranks"; he subjects people to his classic pranks.
      • He also prefers it when accurate terms are used. One of the more notable things he prefers is to refer to sexual intercourse as 'coitus', probably to separate it from sex as in 'male or female'. (Note: Coitus actually strictly refers to heterosexual intercourse in which a vagina is penetrated by a penis and nothing else so calling any other type of sex this is inaccurate).
    • Repeated reminders that Howard does not have a doctorate
      "Doctor Gablehauser"
      "Doctor Koothrappali"
      "Doctor Gablehauser"
      "Doctor Hofstadter"
      "Doctor Gablehauser"
      "Doctor Cooper"
      "Doctor Gablehauser"
      "Mister Wolowitz"
    • Also Howard would like to point out that he does not live with his mother. She lives with him.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Dr. Narcisse always refers to any black people as "Libyans". As he spends quite a bit of time proselytizing about the plight of his fellow "Libyans" the term gets used a lot.
  • Hank from Breaking Bad is not collecting rocks, he's collecting minerals (geology pendantry ) And Walt isn't a meth dealer, he's a meth manufacturer.
  • On Cheers, when Sam finally reveals to Carla the deep, dark secret that he's losing his hair, he quickly corrects her; he's not wearing a wig, he's using a "hair replacement system".
  • In Criminal Minds, Dr. Spencer Reid would like you to know that he has an *eidetic* memory, not a photographic memory. Also, during the first few seasons, some of his team members are very insistent that he be referred to as "doctor", although that had more to do with the fact that he was his early 20's and looked fifteen at the time than with anything else.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the 2007 Christmas special, Bannakaffalatta, a red-skinned, spikey alien cyborg, takes it personally when the Doctor tries to call him "Banna".
    • The Doctor in general is rather insistent that he borrowed the TARDIS, not stole it. Meanwhile, the TARDIS herself insists that she stole him.
    • Steven Taylor, one of the First Doctor's Companions, would often call him "Doc". The Doctor would demand that Steven call him by his proper name.
    • Similarly, Ace refers to the Seventh Doctor as "Professor", which, like "Doc", often irked the Doctor.
    • The classic series has 26 seasons. The revival's first series, which being a continuation should have started with season 27, instead starts with series 1. Most British shows would refer to a season as a series, so why classic Doctor Who called them seasons is a mystery.
  • On Dollhouse:
    Topher: He seemed to be having a kind of... man-reaction.
    Claire: Victor had an erection?
    Topher: I prefer man-reaction.
  • Done repeatedly on El Chavo del ocho.
    Doņa Florinda:This is your great job? Balloon seller?.
    Don Ramon: I'm not a balloon seller, I'm a dealer specializing in folkloric articles for child consumption.
  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert is gored by a bull, and a Running Gag is made of his insisting that he was injured in the "upper thigh." This finally snaps when he confronts the bull again. "You chased me down, and you gored me. RIGHT IN THE ASS!"
  • In Get Smart, when Max calls the Chinese ultra-villian 'The Craw', the villian corrects him in a proper Chinese ultra-villian accent, "No, not da Craw, da Craw!"
  • Remember that Ser Davos Seaworth, of Game of Thrones, used to be a smuggler in the old rebelleion days, not in any way a thief or a pirate. As he said "I didn't do the thieving. I just moved what they [the pirates] stole from one place to another."
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother is constantly insisting to others (including Ted) that he is Ted's best friend instead of Marshall.
  • How Not To Live Your Life - Jackson doesn't play songs, he plays melody/word formations.
  • In the French series Kaamelott:
    • King Arthur (son of Pendragon and Ygerne) and Anna of Tintagel (daughter of Gorlay and Ygerne) always correct anybody calling them either brother/sister with "half-brother/half-sister". They once said it simultaneously. As her husband Loth can attest, Anna can get violent if you forget the "half-" part.
    • Also, during the whole "Livre V", as Arthur has renounced the throne, he keeps correcting anybody calling him "Sire".
  • In Keeping Up Appearances, Hyacinth insists on her last name, Bucket, peing pronounced Bu-Kay.
  • In the early seasons of Law & Order, EADA Ben Stone insisted on calling people "sir" or "ma'am". The more he disliked you, the more polite he got.
    Ian O'Connell: May I ask you a question, sir? How with the map of Donegal on your mug did you ever end up with a name like Stone?
    Stone: Happenstance, sir. Same way you ended up with the name of a real Irish patriot.
  • On Leverage, Eliot — for whom food is very much Serious Business — gets quite upset when Hardison keeps referring to the "culinary institute" they're infiltrating as a "cooking school."
  • In the alternate timeline in the sixth season of LOST, Ben Linus likes to be called Dr Linus. He's actually a doctor of history.
  • In Mad Dogs, Rick is NOT an accountant; he's a Financial Consultant.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Never call Ferdinand Von Zeppelin's flying machine a "Balloon". "Eet is not a BALLOON!! Eet is an AIRSHIP! An AIRSHIP!! You vant to play wis balloons, GET OUTSIDE!!"
    • No no, it's spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove!
    • S. Frog, sir.
    • "Mrs. Anne Elk." "Miss." She even verbally puts it in brackets.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of these (see Real Life below) was used as a running gag in seasons 3-4: Whenever Joel referred to "comic books" the bots would take offense and insist on the term "graphic novels."
  • The Office
    • Gareth Keenan and his American counterpart Dwight Schrute constantly refer to themselves as "Assistant Regional Manager," prompting nearby employees to insist, "Assistant to the Regional Manager," a much less impressive and largely meaningless title.
    • There's also Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration. He's even introduced this way by the pastor at his wedding.
    • In Dwight's case, at least, it actually is meaningless; in one episode, when Dwight is particularly obnoxious about the authority it supposedly gives him, Michael admits that no such title exists, and he just made it up one day to keep Dwight quiet. Dwight takes this very hard.
      • Dwight's karate instructor also does this by making him his sempai.
    Dwight: A Sempai is the assistant Sensei.
    Jim: Assistant to the Sensei.
  • On Orphan Black, Allison is initially very resistant to the "C-word" (not that one) so they're "genetic identicals."
  • Memetic mutation has done this to Dr. K of Power Rangers RPM. It's Bio-Armor, not spandex!
    Dr. K: The material is a self-assembling nanofiber formed with an inter-cellular shape memory alloy.
    • Not just memetic mutation, as it's cropped up again a few episodes after the first incident. Schoolkids on a field trip get a Q&A session with the Rangers, and K has to be restrained when the S-word comes up.
    • Dr. K is very insistent on terminology. During the Q&A session she holds with her Series Operators in the beginning of "Ranger Blue", Scott asks her about the eyes in front of their Zords. She tells them that they are not eyes, but that they are actually optical field scanning sensors for their cockpit's displays. But, of course, this doesn't go around the fact that...
    Dillon: They look like eyes!
    Ziggy: Big, googly anime eyes.
  • One of the first things Ned in the pilot of Pushing Daisies says is that the people he brings back to life are not zombies or undead, merely "alive again".
  • Rizzoli & Isles:
    • Bass is a tortoise, not a turtle.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Terminators insist on being called cyborgs, rather than robots.
  • Scrubs
    • There is an employee who is noted for resembling Snoop Dogg who is very insistent on making sure everyone knows his title, making sure nobody calls him Snoop Dogg Intern when he becomes Snoop Dogg Attending and so on. Although he wishes that, just once, someone would just call him Ronald.
    • The Janitor objects to his uniform being called a jumpsuit (or, more usually, being referred to as "Jumpsuit" himself). "It's a shirt and pants. Who wears a belt with a jumpsuit?"
  • In Sherlock, Holmes is not a psychopath. He's a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research!
  • In one episode of Special Unit 2 they were trying to catch a djinn before she could grant her 3000th wish and be free. To do this, their resident gearhead created a capturing device:
    Jonathan [describes the device, using terms involving sucking and a storage bag]
    O'Malley: So you created a vacuum cleaner.
    Jonathan: It's not a vacuum cleaner.
    Captain: (enters scene) Have you finished briefing Benson and O'Malley on the vacuum cleaner?
  • There's also "adult film actress" instead of "porn star" in Sports Night, also by Aaron Sorkin.
  • In Stargate SG-1, Senator Robert Kinsey tries to smugly comment on Thor's presence and refers to him as "Commander," only for Thor to restate that he is Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet. Kinsey does it again when he meets Bra'tac, referring to him as "mister," whereupon SG1 explains that it is Master Bra'tac.
  • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mr. Data is an "artificial life form" or "android", not a "robot"
    • And his name is pronounced 'Dayta', not 'Datta'.
    • It is a cellular peptide cake... with mint frosting.
  • In an example from one of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Ferengi episodes, the good guy Ferengi repeatedly have to correct people who refer to "Grand Nagus Brunt" by insisting that they call him "Acting Grand Nagus Brunt".
  • In Supernatural, Samuel Winchester is insistent that his name is Sam not Sammy, but has trouble convincing his older brother.
  • Teen Wolf
    • According to Stiles, Lydia's hair is not merely red, it is strawberry blonde.
    • Scott and Jackson are CO-captains of the lacrosse team.
  • Fabio Viviani from Top Chef season 5. After a judge called his filet mignon sandwich "essentially a cheesesteak", he went on to declare, "It's a filet mignon sandwich. Not a cheesesteak."
  • On Veronica Mars Cassidy Casablancas is always referred to as 'Beaver', in the s2 finale he finally snaps, yelling "MY NAME IS CASSIDY!"
    • Lampshaded since Veronica Mars calls him Cassidy (and whenever she calls him Beaver, she corrects herself).
  • Warehouse 13 is located in UH-niville, not YOU-niville. This is because the "Un" in Univille is short for "unincorporated."
  • The West Wing, thanks to its focus on the arcana and minutia of politics, encounters this quite often.
    • For example, in episode 1x08, "Enemies", Sam Seaborne is roped into writing a birthday message for the Secretary of Transportation. That he is staggeringly overqualified for this minor assignment is emphasized throughout.
    Josh: What're you guys working on?
    Toby: It's a birthday card.
    Sam: Actually, it's a birthday message.
    • Sam Seaborn's friend Laurie is a "call girl", not a "prostitute". It's an important distinction, Toby.
    • And don't disrespect the president.
      Hoynes: I have had it up to here with you and your pal.
      Leo: Excuse me....Are you referring to President Bartlet?
      Hoynes: Yes.
      Leo: Refer to him that way.
    • Legislative uses tends to come in two flavors:
      • Names that simplify or brand the issue so as to make it hard to oppose, such as the real-life "death taxnote " or Annabeth reframing the alternative to Charlie's poverty assistance plan a "poverty/poor tax."
      • Names that are obfuscatingly wordy so as to make them easier to oppose, like the "Comprehensive Access and Responsibility Act" for the Patients' Bill of Rights. (The Republicans agreed to discuss changing the name back.)
  • In White Collar, criminals always remember to say "allegedly" after anyone mentions any crime they have committed and/or been charged with, but not been convicted for.
  • Brilliant cop Lester Freamon of The Wire is very insistent about the amount of time he spent banished in the pawn shop unit — thirteen years and four months.

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