A title that implies something optimistic, happy, and generally positive... for an episode that's not. Favorites include traditionally joyous holidays (Christmas
, Valentine's Day), emotions on the positive side of the spectrum (Love, Joy), and generally optimistic words (Beautiful, Wonderful).
Expect the Wham Episode
to use this.
Anime and Manga
- As End Of Evangelion is basically an alternate Episode 25 and 26, it has its own episode titles. The second half of the movie where everyone basically dies was titled "My Purest Heart for You (Sincerely Yours)". One gets the feeling that Hideaki Anno was feeling especially nasty at the time.
- Probably from the cross-referencing the TV episodes and more generally, Shinji Ikari, that the titles are such. In that case, it's not so ironic.
- Christmas in Japan is a time for people to share time and joy with the people they love. So what's a better title for the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha episode where the innocent Ill Girl watches her entire adopted family massacred right before her eyes than "Christmas Eve"?
- Vandread has a character who became the cold and efficient pilot she is today due to her Dark and Troubled Past. Naturally, the anime spends an episode delving her backstory. The episode's title? "What a Wonderful World". It even came complete with the song to further punctuate her loss.
- The freaky (even by this show's standards) episode of Paranoia Agent known as "Happy Family Planning" comes to mind. Even the Title Drop is ironic - it's on a package of (extra thin) condoms seen at one point.
- Most episodes of Tenchi Universe are titled "No Need for (Subject of Episode)", but "No Need For Ryoko" features Ryoko's apparent death.
- Kaiji's final episode of the first season is called "Afterglow". In it, Kaiji loses his bet with the chairperson, along with the four fingers of his left hand.
- The final episode of Death Note, in which Light Yagami's plan to become "the God of the new world" goes down in flames, implying the inevitable undoing of all his achievements is entitled "New World".
- The House MD episode "Merry Little Christmas" was anything but. It ends with House sprawling in a pool of his own vomit/drool in front of the TV after nearly overdosing on Vicodin, while his "best friend" Wilson just looks at him lying there then walks away in disgust.
- The irony is questionable, since this is is obviously a reference to the song Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, which is really a pretty nasty piece of work in the first place.
- The original lyrics are even bleaker, but Judy Garland refused to sing them.
- Also a pun title, since the patient of the week is a little person.
- The first season finale of Desperate Housewives, "One Wonderful Day." Wonderful indeed - at the end of the episode, one husband is dead, another husband is in prison, and a third character is Left for Dead. (The Stephen Sondheim song suggested by the show's Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, however, doesn't go any darker than a Sarcastic Echo.)
- Supernatural does with "Everybody Loves a Clown" (also a candidate for horrific) and again in "The Kids Are Alright." They are not. They are really really not. Not to mention "Time is on my side" given it comes an episode before Dean's contract is due.
- Also "A Very Supernatural Christmas." Anything but merry. Features evil old people and torn out fingernails.
- "I Believe the Children Are Our Future" is something of a subversion in that Antichrist Jesse turns out to be a nice kid.
- "An Echolls Family Christmas", one of the most highly-regarded episodes of Veronica Mars, ends with a character being stabbed at his own Christmas party by a woman he cheated on his wife with at a Halloween party...while he was making eyes at another woman (also not his wife).
- "Fool for Love"' is Buffy the Vampire Slayer's exploration of Spike's backstory, and while there are a few moments of romance, it's mostly bad-assed carnage as Spike tells the stories of how previously he killed two slayers.
- Probably more likely is that it's both this and a Literary Allusion Title to the Sam Shepard play of the same name, which is very similar in structure.
- Word of God confirms that the fourth season episode where Faith wakes up from a coma and steal Buffy's body was originally called "rise and shine".
- The momentous X-Files episode "Nothing Important Happened Today."
- Named after King George III's supposed diary entry for July 4, 1776, the day the United States declared its independence from Britain. (Of course George could be forgiven for his ignorance given the lack of telecommunications in those days.)
- The Young Ones episode "Boring" has lots of interesting things going on, but Rick, Viv, Neil and Mike just don't happen to notice any of them.
- Which is also the concept of the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "The Dull Life of a City Stockbroker".
- Borderline example: The very first episode of Red Dwarf was called "The End". Borderline because the episode actually did deal with a massive accident that wiped out almost the entire crew, setting up the series for After the End. (And with that situation set up, the episode ended with a caption in the same font, saying "The Beginning".)
- A similar example from Teen Titans; the three-part season finale episode of for season four was called "The End" also. However, even though it dealt with the end of the world, it actually ended with the Earth being restored, and the show continued for another season. One of Raven's lines in the end of the episode is "I guess, in the end, there really is no end. Just new beginnings."
- The LOST episodes "Something Nice Back Home" and "There's No Place Like Home" both feature unpleasant flashforwards of the time after the Oceanic 6 get home.
- Babylon 5 has several episodes with deliberately unassuming titles that contain very important events, for example, "Interludes and Examinations", in which several important characters variously die, leave their job because of addiction, and make a deal with the devil. Among other things.
- "Taking a Break from All Your Worries" from Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined). According to the producers, the original concept was supposed to fit the title. It turned into an episode about drowning your marital problems at the bar and interrogating Baltar with psychotropic drugs.
- The last episode of Doctor Who before the show was cancelled was called "Survival". The show has since returned.
- The series finale of Stargate SG-1 was called "Unending."
- A borderline example is the Stargate Atlantis episode "Sunday" because it sounds like an episode about the characters relaxing and having a day off and mostly is...until they kill off a main character.
- Choujin Sentai Jetman has the episode "Glory of the Emperor Tranza", which ends with the emperor in question completely beaten down by the heroes, physically forced to acknowledge The Starscream as the new emperor, and finally being mind raped by said new emperor and left drooling and rambling in an insane asylum.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is basically this trope when applied to an entire show, but usually tend to avoid using these kinds of episode titles with the exception of "A Very Sunny Christmas" which has Charlie finding out he's a Son of a Whore, a Mall Santa's ear getting bitten off, and theft.
- Survival of the Fittest can fall into this at times when a title of a thread sounds more cheerful and optimistic than it actually is, such as one where a character is getting killed. Sometimes it isn't intentional, and the handlers had no idea what exactly was going to happen in the thread. In other cases, it's intentional. One example in v4 pre-game is titled "Happily Ever Afters (Below The Waist)", which has JJ Sturn Kick the Dog by breaking up with Rosa Fiametta after sleeping with her and then hitting her. In v4 proper, another example was titled "Thank You For Being A Friend" in which Reiko Ishida crosses the Moral Event Horizon by strangling her only living friend to death in a fit of rage.
- To many people who played the original Yoshi's Island... Poochy Ain't Stupid. Considering the level is Lethal Lava Land, involves a dog who has limited control of the direction he's going and is so Nintendo Hard as to be infuriating...