Alice is The Ditz, The Fool, a Cloudcuckoolander... the point is, she's an idiot. And since she's an idiot, she can't remember Bob's name, even though she's known him for ages. She can try, but it's unlikely that she'll ever hit upon the right name - unless things have just gotten real. Maybe she actually likes him and just has an odd way of showing it.
Of course, she may be a normal person, but even normal people get mixed up with names sometimes. Or she's just a jerk, and doesn't really care about Bob or his name. The outcome is the same - she can't pin the name down. This may be a Running Gag.
Better yet, maybe Bob is an alien, Super Hero, or an otherworldly creature in general, with a strange and/or long name - how could she know it?
Malicious Misnaming is a Sister Trope in which using the wrong name on purpose is a bullying tactic.
If the misnaming is a one-off incident in an emotional moment, it's Wrong Name Outburst. If The Fool genuinely thinks Person B is someone else, it's Thoroughly Mistaken Identity.
open/close all folders
In a FedEx commercial, a guy walks into a FedEx/Kinko's and sets down a package that he says needs to be shipped to Pahonicks. The rep claims they can ship anything anywhere, but he's never heard of Pahonicks. The customer gets exasperated and says it's the largest city in Arizona, to which another customer says, "You mean Phoenix?" Cue awkward laughter from stupid guy, as everyone looks on in pity.
Ichigo does this a lot according to Tatsuki, though not too frequently onscreen — not only does he get names wrong, but he misread Uryu's name as a GIRL. He also manages to totally forget about a classmate who's been bugging him for years to join his club.
Ichigo, upon meeting Yasutora Sado, misreads his name card, and keeps calling him "Chad" despite being corrected. The nickname eventually sticks, and in the dub and English manga (in which the classmates typically use first names), his classmates, teachers and Ichigo's other friends call him "Chad", when in the original, they had called him "Sado" — only his grandfather calls him Yasutora.
Due to the difficulty of pronouncing his name and her being a cloudcuckoolander, Orihime always calls Shishigawara "Sushigawara".
Ichigo, after meeting Kurumadani Zennosuke, ends up often calling him "Imoyama". He gets quite annoyed, saying "If you don't know, just say so! Don't try to guess people's names!!"
In Club 9: Haruo Hattori has such a thick country accent that when she introduces herself to Tokyo club hostesses, they immediately start calling her "Hello-chan".
In the episode of Cowboy Bebop where the crew finds Ed's father, he has an assistant named MacIntyre. He never gets it right, always forgetting and at times calling him MacIntosh or something else beginning with "Mac". At least he's aware of the problem, at one point referring to his assistant as "MacInwhatever" when he was in a particular hurry and didn't have time to even attempt to get it right. (The assistant, naturally, yells a correction even as they hurry off.)
Because of some initial confusion, all of the Deimon Devil Bats in Eyeshield 21 think Raimon Taro's name is "Monta." Sena misread the kanji for his name as "Kaminari Montarou"; Hiruma later uses this mistake to his advantage by claiming it's a nickname derived from football legend Joe Montana (and lies to Monta by saying he played the same position).
Onizuka frequently calls Principal Uchiyamada "Xavier", after monk Fransisco Xavier, because of Uchiyamada's bald head. He doesn't do it on purpose at all, he seems to just associate the two in his mind for some reason.
He also can't seem to remember Teshigawara's name at all. His attempts to recall it don't even come close. Just to give an example of how bad it gets, he once refers to him as "Toxic Socks Warrior", without any sign that he doesn't think it's his actual name.
Assistant chief security maid Yashima Sanae in Hanaukyō Maid Tai La Vérité. In Japan, "Sanae" is normally a first name, so people often call her Sanae instead of Yashima even though they've known her for a long time. She always corrects them when they do so, telling them that Yashima is her first name and Sanae is her last name.
Vita in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's always screwed up Nanoha's name before they became allies. "Nantoka" actually means "something" and is used when someone refers to something that they do not know the name of. Also a bit of a pun, since the nano in her actual name is basically something you stick at the end of a sentence when you're not sure (which was the main aspect of the first season's Idiosyncratic Episode Naming).
Because Luffy of One Piece is a complete airhead, he always calls Boa Hancock "Hammock". He eventually starts to call her by her correct name, which she, due to being crazily in love with him, interprets as a proposal for marriage.
Pokémon: This happens to Butch a lot in both the English and Japanese versions of the anime. He's been called Botch, Biff, Hutch, Bob, Butcher, and many others. In the original Japanese, his name is Kosaburo, but he always gets called Kosanji. Seems to happen so often that he immediately replies "It's Butch!" when spoken to. In an episode of the spinoff Pokémon Chronicles, Butch is actually called the correct name for a change, and he replies with "It's Bu-Oh, wait, that's what you said!" Another time, he called himself by the wrong name when attempting to correct someone when they got it right.
Also a Running Gag with Stephan in Best Wishes. It would get pronounced as "Steven" or "STEPH-an" and he was quick to correct it to "Steph-AN".
Main character Madoka in Rinne no Lagrange cannot for the life of her get Villagullio's name right and he eventually gave up on trying to get her to say it right. Eventually, so does Makoka and just calls him Guivi-nii, though she almost gets it when she tries again in the second season.
Quite a few of the dolls from the Rozen Maiden anime have trouble remembering fellow doll Kanaria's name.
S-CRY-ed: Straight Cougar kept getting Mimori's name wrong because he honestly can't remember her name because he's always in a rush.
SD Gundam Force: Nobody ever gets Bakunetsumaru's name right the first time around. Because it's difficult for people not native to Ark to remember it, they usually call him 'Baku'.
Sailor Moon: Usagi does this in a "Sailor Stars" episode with the Victim of the Week, called Garayan, calling him Garapan, which means colourful men's underwear in Japanese. She just is that much of an airhead.
Toriko: Zonge, a wannabe gourmet hunter, is frequently mislabeled as Zombie or a varient by almost everyone except his two sidekicks- even the captions get it wrong.
Count Alses of Tytania always misremembers Fan Hyulick's name as "Fan Hyulen". He is corrected on a regular basis, but this only serves to irritate him.
Dita from Vandread is the Cloudcuckoolander version. Despite the fact that she's romantically interested in the male lead, she can't seem to remember his name and calls him "Uchuujin-san" ("Mr. Alien") instead.
In WORKING!!, Popura is such an airhead she cannot call her co-worker Souta Takanashi properly by his name, instead calling him "Katanashi, much to his frustration." Inami got confused with that until she found out that he only lets Popura call him that. Later, Popura meets three of his sisters at their home:
Popura: You are all Katanashi-kun's family members!?
Kazue, Kozue and Nazuna: It's Ta-ka-na-shi.
In Is This a Zombie?, Orito always calls Yuki Yoshida "Tomonori" because the kanji for her name also translate to Tomonori. He continues to do it even after she corrects him. A few other characters pick up the habit from hearing Orito do it.
In Bakemonogatari, Hachikuji has a Running Gag of always mispronouncing Araragi's name in increasingly inventive ways, then claiming she "stuttered". It's implied she does this on purpose to tease him, rather than not remembering his name.
In Gintama, Katsura is constantly referred to as Zura (Which can mean "wig") by Gintoki and others, which almost always prompts him to say "It's not Zura, it's Katsura". He's so used to being called by the name he'll sometimes say the phrase even if those in the vicinity aren't actually talking about him.
In Tintin, Bianca Castafiore just can't seem to get Captain Haddock's (or his butler, Nestor's) name quite right. The Captain gets his own back at one point. But what's funny is that she never gets it wrong the same way twice.
Rung of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is never correctly addressed by name when he is conscious or present. The other characters will either forget his name, mispronounce his name, or simply identify him based on his profession. However, characters do not seem to have this problem at all in prose stories or when he is not present.
in A Game Comes To Equestria, this is Hermos' problem with his first appearance in the story, having his name mislabeled as "Hymie" when he entered the rodeo. It isn't until the end of the whole event (and the events that followed) that everpony else gets to know his actual name.
In A Marauder's Plan, Sirius was having a hard time remembering the name of Fudge's assistant after some inadvertent Dementor exposure. He successively thought of the man as Marty, Monty, Murphy and Murray.
In Groundhog GDIME, Charlize from England wants to visit the "Bruinduin", a river in Middle-earth. She is misnaming the Bruinen or the Anduin. Charlize seems to get her own wish and find herself in the Bruinduin, "a small, unimportant river in some obscure part of Middle Earth".
Lothíriel by JunoMagic is about a woman from Germany. Many other Germans call her "Losíriel" because they can't say the English "th" sound.
Not as Planned has a fan who inserts herself into Middle-earth. This girl misnames almost everything because she is too stupid to know the correct names. "Like, it's not my fault you can't use English names right." She says "Riverdale", "Bramir", "Gamly", when the correct names are Rivendell, Boromir, Gimli.
In The Great Mouse Detective Basil always gets Olivia Flaversham's last name wrong despite her (and later, the other characters) corrections. At the climax, he addresses her father by the proper name, so when he later messes up again when saying goodbye to Olivia, you know he's just being affectionate.
In Finding Nemo, the absent-minded Dory can never the name of Marlin's eponymous son, calling him at various points Chico, Harpo, Elmo, and Fabio. She eventually gets it right and recognizes him as Nemo near the end of the movie, much to her own delight.
Frozen has a misunderstanding where Olaf the snowman believes that Kristoff is named Sven, the same as the reindeer. He proceeds to call Kristoff "Sven" for most of the film.
Also Anna calls him "Christopher" the first time and is corrected.
Reggie Belafonte from Surf's Up does this; literally a second after being told our hero's name. Cody Maverick becomes Cody Mavencourt. Semi-justified, as the guy(?) cares pretty much zero about the clients he manages.
In The Bucket List, Jack Nicholson's character, Edward Cole, has a habit of calling his subordinates whatever name(s) he prefers; the way he acts, you'd think it was accidental if it weren't shown clearly that he does know their real name (making this a subversion). It's not Malicious Misnaming because it's not a variation of their real name or meant as an insulting or bullying tactic. He basically acts as if their real name is immaterial.
Ed: Do you know what a philistine is, Joe? Richard: Sir, it's Richard. Ed: That's right, Phil. Now, give 'em the spiel.
Later we find out he's done the same thing to his personal valet, Tommy (though he might just be messing with Carter):
Carter: Can I ask: Is it Tommy, or Thomas? Tommy: Actually, it's Matthew, but he finds that too Biblical.
In John Carter, John introduces himself as "Captain John Carter of the Army of Virginia" to the Tharks. The Tharks assume his name is Virginia and never catch on to their mistake. John gets annoyed at first but rolls with it.
In Shanghai Noon, Jackie Chan's character introduces himself as Chon Wang, but Roy and the other Wild West characters mistake this for John Wayne...and comment it's a stupid sounding name.
The hero in Idiocracy says "I’m not sure if..." to a machine, which proceeds to assume his name is literally ‘Not Sure’ and tattoo this name on his arm. Everyone calls him ‘Not Sure’ for the rest of the movie.
In Being There, the hero coughs as he tells Eve his name. Eve mishears "Chance the Gardener" as "Chauncey Gardiner" which becomes the hero's new name.
In Skyfall, James Bond introduces M to Kincade, and Kincade thinks her name is "Emma". She shows a slight hint of annoyance before she decides to just let him think that.
A Running Gag of DOA: Dead or Alive is people calling Weatherby "Wallaby" or something like that. At the end, his love interest Helena calls him by his name, which leads to him angrily trying to correct her before he realizes she got it right.
In Stephen King's Carrie, the high school principal is an out-of-touch nebbish. He first calls Carrie "Carrie Wright" instead of White, and then misremembers her first name as Cassie.
Early in Watership Down, there's a memorable scene where the Threarah accidentally refers to Hazel as "Walnut."
Waddington's inability to get other people's names right (he keeps calling Finch 'Winch' and 'Pinch') becomes an important plot point in The Small Bachelor by P. G. Wodehouse.
The early books in the Fearless series had a side character named Zolov, an old Russian chess player who repeatedly referred to Gaia as "Cindy", due to his Alzheimer's disease.
In Blood Rites, Trisha is a self-involved, superficial ditz who keeps getting Harry's name wrong on the set. This ends up saving Harry from arrest, as she gives the police the wrong name when she falsely accuses him of attacking her.
In Harry Potter,Professor Binns is always so caught up in his lecture that he barely notices his students are even there listening to it. On the very rare occasion that they stay awake in class long enough to ask him a question he always gets their names wrong.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of FirePercy hero-worships his boss, Mr. Crouch, who always calls him "Weatherby" instead of "Weasley." Made a bit strange because he apparently knows Percy's father Arthur fairly well, though perhaps not well enough to know they're related?
Edmund: You can start by not calling me "Bladder".
In Mr. Belvedere, Heather's friend Angela constantly gets Mr. Belvedere surname wrong, calling him "Mr. Bellybutton", "Mr. Bellpepper", etcetera. Angela never said the same (wrong) surname twice.
On an episode of M*A*S*H, a visiting surgeon keeps getting BJ's name wrong. The only time he gets it right is when he's drunk.
Friends: Phoebe accidentally calls her boyfriend David by the name of her ex-boyfriend Mike. She tries to cover by claiming Monica calls Chandler 'Richard' (her ex-boyfriend) all the time and it's totally normal. Of course Chandler gets worried and Monica is annoyed given she's never done anything of the sort.
On one episode of The Nanny, a photographer refers to C.C. Babcock as "Miss Boobcock", which gets reprinted in several places and even on a billboard.
On Fringe Walter is incapable of calling Astrid by her correct name, except once when he was on drugs.
On The West Wing, the Genius Ditz Lord John Marbury almost always refers to Leo, the White House Chief of Staff, as "Gerald." He does get Leo's name right at least once, so it may be Obfuscating Stupidity on Marbury's part, but it's hard to say.
In the first two seasons of Doctor Who, the Doctor continually referred to Ian Chesterton as "Chatterton". As with many of the First Doctor's Verbal Tics, it's not clear if this was because the Doctor was an absent-minded eccentric, or because William Hartnell was.
In "The Gunfighters", the Doctor constantly calls Wyatt Earp "Mr Werp" because no-one bothers to correct him.
Trigger from Only Fools And Horses always calls Rodney "Dave". The show had endless fun with what one might think would be a repetitive gag by coming up with variations such as:
Trigger: [Del might name his son] Rodney, after Dave over there.
Death in Paradise: In "An Unhelpful Aid", Sergeant Young keeps calling Fidel "Freddie".
In Star Trek: Voyager, Tuvok says "I am Vulcan", meaning "I am from Planet Vulcan" or "I am of the Vulcan race", but Neelix thinks his name is Mr. Vulcan.
During the time that Mr. Hooper was alive, Big Bird almost never got Mr. Hooper's name right. Commonly, he would call him "Mr. Looper".
Similarly, when Mr. Handford appeared on the show, the other characters would call him "Mr. Handfoot", and he would have to correct them, seemingly to no avail.
In an episode in which Freddy Flapman, a real estate agent, tries to convince Big Bird to move to a new habitat, a Running Gag throughout that episode is Big Bird getting Freddy's last name wrong and Freddy having to correct him. Freddy ends up doing it to himself at the end of the episode.
A Running Gag with Gunther, the barber, in Curtis. He always gets Curtis's name wrong.
During a 1940s football game broadcast, sportscaster Red Barber accidentally introduced his play-by-play partner Russ Hodges as "Russ Hughes". An amused (or perhaps miffed) Hodges responded, "Thank you, Red Baker."
In Wicked, G(a)linda often refers to Boq as "Biq," usually because she can't remember. He politely corrects her every time.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Mechanicals keep referring in Ninus's tomb as "Ninny's tomb", to Quince's increasing frustration.
In Les Misérables, Thénardier seems to have a lot of trouble remembering Cosette's name, calling her Colette (and possibly Courgette).
Which started out as a Throw It In when an actor said the wrong name during a performance.
In "A Very Potter Sequel", Harry and Ron call Hermione everything from 'Hermy-One' to 'Hermononucleosis'.
Atelier Iris 2's Max addresses Felt by increasingly bizarre permutations of his name, at one point referring to him as "Klein" (the name of the protagonist from the previous Atelier Iris game). If corrected, he'll call him Felt for the remainder of the current conversation, so apparently he's just that bad with names.
The heroine Jade first meets her sidekick Double H after freeing him from Electric Torture. His brain is... a little fried, and after hearing her mention the "IRIS" Network, he starts calling her "Miss Thyrus." (He also calls himself "Triple Z" at one point.)
Jade herself once refers to the suspicious "Mr. de Castellac" who hired her on a mission (which was actually a charade aiming at establishing a contact between her and the IRIS Network) as "de Cadillac".
In Destroy All Humans!: Path of the Furon, Emperor Meningitis mistakenly addresses Crypto as "Klepto", due to being senile.
Meningitis: Pox? Is that you? What have you done with your body? And what's that with you? Oh, it's your little house boy, Klepto! Crypto: CRYP-TO. Meningitis: Whatever!
Ōkami proves that not even a God is immune to this trope. Most people you encounter find the name Amaterasu a bit too much of a mouthful to remember. The nicer ones will call you Ammy or (after a previous, respected alias) Shiranui. Less respectful ones settle for Furball.
Used repeatedly in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The Puni elder thinks Mario's name is "Marty-o," the ancient mayor of Petalburg calls him "Murphy" due to his hearing problems, and the Yoshi who joins your party calls you "Gonzalez." That last one is justified because said Yoshi is born in a fighting-club type place, the Glitz Pit, where Mario's stage name is "the Great Gonzalez". (Mario didn't choose the name; his manager did.)
The clueless "detective" Pennington, who thinks Mario is Luigi. (In the sequence just before the final battle resumes, another character calls Mario by his proper name, and the detective is absolutely stunned at the notion of himself simply being wrong.)
And also Zess T. who keeps referring to Mario with names such as "Stompy" and "Sir Crush-A-Lot" after he accidentally steps on her contact lenses.
And Doopliss. After he replaces Vivian of the Shadow Sirens, Beldam starts calling him "Freak-in-Sheet".
Levi the Slasher of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, who becomes The Nicknamer because she has a hard time remembering people's name, even simple one's like "Fate", who she keeps mispronouncing as "Hate", before she decides to just call her "Original" since it's easier to remember for her.
In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, Dr. 0 (Zero) is commonly referred to as O (the letter). By the time you meet him, he's still annoyed by it but doesn't care to correct it. You can either convince him to take pride in his name Zero by noting that it reduces all numbers multiplied to it to zero or have him accept O as meaning the "Oh!" of scientific discovery.
In Tales of Lagoona 2: Peril at Poseidon Park scatterbrained Mayor Abraham Tobias Peabody kept calling the granddaughter of the park owners Linda, Lorraine and every other L-name except her actual name, Leona. At one point he asked his aide "Bubbles" (real name Vinny) "Who's this Leona I keep hearing about?"
Professor Hotchkiss, a recurring character from the Nancy Drew games Treasure in the Royal Tower and Legend of the Crystal Skull, calls Nancy by a different name every time, even in the same piece of dialogue. An expert on wood whom Nancy consults over the phone in Danger on Deception Island has the same problem.
A running gag in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is everyone referring to Lea by his former name, Axel. He ends up giving in when Riku calls him by his former name after Lea saves a comatose Sora from Master Xehanort.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney also seems to be a frequent victim of this (rival prosecutor Klavier always calls him "Herr Forehead"), and there's even a scene where Apollo keeps getting the names of other characters wrong, prompting Trucy to say his name wrongly in the same way (such as calling him "Apololo" when he refers to Alita Tiala as "Alita Tialita").
Morgan Fey keeps calling Detective Gumshoe "Gymshoe".
Gumshoe continually calls Phoenix "Harry Butz" throughout the first game, not only getting Larry's name wrong, but using it on the wrong person. Mia also misinterprets Larry's name as Harry.
In Doraleous And Associates, a Running Gag of the series is that no-one outside the the Associates can pronounce his name right, with "Doralingus" being the most popular pronunciation.
In Melee's End, Marth constantly mixes up people's names because he's a complete ditz.
In DM of the Rings, nobody could keep any of the names straight. Notable ones include Aragorn referring to Théoden as "King Crazypants", mixing up Sauron and Saruman, and forgetting the names of their own party members. Rivendell is Rivertown or Riverdale, Théoden is Theogan, and the Nazgûl are Nargazoids.
Aragorn:Hail to the king, baby! Aragorn, son of Andúril is back! DM: ... Andúril is the name of your sword, dumbass.
Drowtales has Zith, a cameo character who chronically mispronounces everyone's names, to the point that the page has an author's note on the bottom explaining all the misspellings were intentional. Her concept art features her calling Quain'tana "Quainana" much to the Ill'haress' disdain, but seems to be good enough at her job otherwise given Quain's intolerance for incompetence. Also something of a Fandom Nod since many members of the comic's forum have trouble spelling character's names.
El Goonish Shive: Bunnies (that is, EGS fans) do this sort of thing a lot on the forum. The most common seems to be calling Susan "Sarah" or Sarah "Susan".
Characters in Ménage à 3 fairly frequently mangle each others' names, usually as a sign that someone is or was drunk, has just met somebody else, or is just plain careless — sometimes all three. Notably:
DiDi has so many boyfriends that she can't remember their names. For example, she calls Erik "Armand", "Philippe", "Derick" and "Jerry".
Sonya mangles new character Peggy's name heavily here and here, simply because she's very drunk at the time. (This also generates an In Joke reference to author/artist Giz's past work on Penny and Aggie.) She still hasn't got Peggy's name quite straight the next morning.
Reginald from Nedroid takes this to the extreme when, at the end of an evening of romance, he accidentally calls his date Becky "Lord Voldemort".
The MenDrinkin'Coffee often do this to themselves, calling themselves "the Coffeemen," "Coffedrinkers," "Men who also drink coffee," and "the three dumbasses," to name a few.
In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Old Man Dexter", as Dexter is deemed too young to watch late-night TV, he scientifically ages himself... a little too much. As such, senility kicks in as he asks his sister to help him up on the living room couch.
Dexter: A little help there, um... Dodo? DeeDee: DeeDee. Dexter:Daa Daa? DeeDee: DeeDee. Dexter:Doo Doo? DeeDee: DeeDee. Dexter: Yeah thanks, Billy.
Duckman constantly forgets the name of his son, Mambo, calling him by other unusual or ridiculous names like La Bamba and Mandingo. In one episode, he forgets Charles' name instead.
On The Fairly OddParents, several characters have forgotten Timmy's name. Trixie Tang is the one that comes to most fans' minds, but several others have forgotten at one point: Cosmo, his parents, Adam West, and Quddus (in the TRL interview).
One House of Mouse animated short, "computer.don", was about Donald Duck buying a talking personal computer that can recognize people's names, but the computer misunderstands Donald's Speech Impediment and consistently refers to him as "Duo."
In "The Greatest Story Never Told" of Justice League Unlimited, episode centerpiece Booster Gold is constantly referred to or otherwise mistaken for Green Lantern despite his gold-and-blue color scheme.
Total Drama Island: Lindsay is getting everybody's name wrong. Although she can usually remember somebody's name if they're (at the moment) important to her. For example she remembers Heather's name throughout the whole TDI season; when she calls her "Hannah" in the special Heather is clearly shocked, because is means Lindsay is no longer her puppet. It's Played for Laughs much more in World Tour, where she just can't get her boyfriend's name right. She calls him Noah, a character she's had no on-screen interaction with. Ergo, she can remember a name or a face, but never both!
Daria's title character has this by way of Phrase Catcher—in early episodes people she didn't know had a tendency to always call her something else. In one later episode a substitute thinks she has a "hippie name" and insists on calling her "Darlene."
One episode of Rugrats had Grandpa Lou's sister come to visit. The entire time, she kept calling Didi different names. When she leaves and Stu accidentally calls her a different name, she freaks out and shrieks "It's DIDI!"
This actually causes most of the problems in the episode "Angelica Breaks A Leg" - the doctor there keeps calling the Pickles "Peaches" and ends up getting X-Rays mixed up as a result.
In the What A Cartoon! Show short "Snoot's New Squat", Snoot's superior officer keeps getting his name wrong, calling him "Agent Squint" and the like.