This is not just a name that is very common and unremarkable; this is a name that calls attention to how generic it is. In other words, the name is a word that means "generic," and is therefore a very uncommon name.
See also Mr. Smith
, Awesome McCool Name
and Atrocious Alias
Anime & Manga
- The five component vehicles in Supercar Gattiger are given the uncreative names Center Machine, Left Machine, Right Machine, End Machine, and Up Machine.
- In the Sinister Dexter story Malone, Finny has erased his memory and changed his face and moved to a planet called Generica.
- G.I. Joe was originally named this way. They were average Joes who were in the General Infantry. Until later, when they became elite special agents.
- Jenn Erica from the comic strip Ink Pen.
- Grey Murphy of the Xanth series is initially portrayed as an extremely mediocre person, and his name is clearly a reflection on this. It's even justified in the circumstances of his birth: Grey was born shortly after his father Magician Murphy had been exiled to the boring world of Mundania, and so perhaps Murphy Sr. named his son after the fact that he would be growing up in this kind of "gray," mediocre world.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo, which literally means "no one".
- The main character of Snow Crash is named Hiroki "Hiro" Protagonist.
- Jerri Blank and her family from Strangers with Candy. Her name arose from the creators' need for a placeholder, which they grew attached to and decided it was "just ugly enough."
- In the Pendragon tabletop RPG, the sample characters are all members of the "de Falt" family.
- The continent on which Dragon Age takes place is called "Thedas" – which is an abbreviation of THE Dragon Age Setting that was used as a placeholder by the developers and then was kept as the name.
- F-Zero brings us the pilot John Tanaka, whose name is a combination of a generic Western male given name and a generic Japanese family name.
- In the PC adventure/RPG Quest for Glory I, should you decide not to name your hero, his name will be "Unknown Hero". This gets awkward if you bring the hero into later games, and NPCs address you by that name.
- In practically all articles on The Daily Mash, someone will be called "Tom Logan" - typically someone (not really) interviewed for the article in some relevant profession or context. Or occasionally, an Animate Inanimate Object such as a block of cheese.
- Also, they often draw from a small bank of generic names for other interviewees. In one article, two separate people in different contexts were identified as "Nikki Hollis".
- The Parr family from The Incredibles. Any golfer knows "par" means average, hence it's a name that tells you how totally normal these people are and are in no way superheroes in disguise.
- Bobby's World: Bobby's family are the "Generics". However, whenever someone pronounces it like the English word, a family member corrects them: it's pronounced "Jenn-er-ick".
- Mayor Blank, from The Tick.
- The Anybody family from Mr. Bogus.
- In one Family Guy episode, Brian moves to L.A. to try and make it in Hollywood. One of his co-workers at his crummy minimum wage job successfully sells a script with a protagonist named John Everyman.
- In the United States, when a legal case needs to name someone whose name is either not currently known or not wanted to be revealed, the name John Doe is used. If more than one, it can be John Doe #1, John Doe #2, etc. If female, it can be Jane Doe or Jane Roe. Which is why the famous abortion case is Roe vs. Wade, as the woman wished to remain anonymous. The Wade was Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, representing the State of Texas.
- Also, "John Smith" and "John Citizen" are placeholder names.
- The Doctor is fond of using "John Smith" as an alias for this reason. Lampshaded in the episode "Midnight" when people don't believe it.
- A fairly antiquated term for the average voter/customer is "John Q. Public". Still used a bit today, although Q has become a much less common middle initial.
- H. G. Wells' "Things to Come" centers around a city called "Everytown".