"The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention! Now THAT... IS... irony!"
A character wrongly declares some situation to be ironic, and another character corrects them.
seems to be something just not everyone can grasp.
Compare to Sarcasm-Blind
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- In the movie Reality Bites, Lelaina was refused a job because she was unable to define irony. She then complains to Troy that nobody knows what it means, and he promptly replies with a clear and succinct definition.
- Though it seems even Troy doesn't know what it is, since his definition "when the actual meaning is the complete opposite of the literal meaning" is contradictory to the point of bordering on paradox.
- A running gag in Discworld regarding dwarves is that they are so straightforward, serious, and unimaginative that they think that irony means "something like iron."
Live Action Television
- Shawn from Psych in one episode.
Gus: That's not irony, Shawn.
- Jason Alexander as host of Saturday Night Live hosted the Show Within a Show "Tales of Irony," during which he complained that none were ironic.
- An episode of King of Queens had Doug call something ironic and Arthur insist that that's not what irony is. At the end of the episode, Arthur wakes Doug up in the middle of the night claiming he looked up ironic in the dictionary, and admits he was wrong: he thought "ironic" meant "made entirely of iron".
- From Blackadder:
Blackadder: Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?
Baldrick: Yes, it's like goldy and bronzy only it's made out of iron.
- Just Shoot Me!, "When Nina Met Elliot". After Nina realizes that she was the one who ran Elliot over that day he was going to propose to her girlfriend, the following exchange occurs:
Nina: You know what's ironic? The same day I ran Elliot down, is the same day I ruined his life forever.
Maya: That's not ironic, that's what happened!
Nina: So true.
- Inversion from Castle: Castle and Beckett are able to identify a murderer because he sends someone to retrieve the victim's mail, which contains evidence that points to him as the killer. Beckett notes that it's ironic that the murderer's efforts to cover for himself got him caught, since the cops weren't planning to check the victim's mail and would never have found the evidence. Castle immediately thanks her for using the word ironic correctly.
- In another example Castle has this comment for a suspect whose shrink was murdered
Castle: It's a common mistake, but it's not ironic that Dr. Cosway's not here for you to lean on. It's just simply tragic. It would be ironic if her death made you feel better.
- An episode of the short lived series "The George Wendt Show" contains an example. When someone said something sarcastic, George responded as if he took him seriously. Someone else then said condescendingly, "He was being ironic," to which George replied, "Actually, he was being sarcastic. But it's ironic that you didn't know that."
- Many comedians (in particular Irish comic Ed Byrne) observed that the Alanis Morissette song "Ironic" did not contain a single thing that was ironic, but that may be the point of the song.
- Herbert Lindenberger, professor of comparative literature and English at Stanford, went on NPR to explain that the Morisette song had perfect examples of situational irony and cosmic irony. So apparently, it's pretty (drumroll please) ironic when people claim that the examples in the song are not ironic. According to people who are a lot more educated than most of us.
- All that goes to show you is that people from Standford can be just as mistaken about the definition of irony as average people.
- One of Jon Lajoie's many rapper personas (from "WTF Collective") is MC Doesn't Know What Irony Is. He really, really doesn't.
- In the season 2 finale of Red vs. Blue, the majority of the cast had a (off-screen) two-hour discussion about whether or not the situation they had found themselves in was ironic. The opening lines to the discussion produces several examples of things which which aren't ironic, including this gem from Caboose:
"I think it would be ironic if we were all made of iron."
- Dave, the Inner Hipster of Film Conscience.
"You're missing the point, man. Was Plan 9 purposefully ironic? Troll 2? The Room? What do those movies have in common?"
"You have a T-shirt for each of them?"
"Well, yeah. That."