A character or non-character in a show, named (and celebrated) by fans after a line they misheard.
Not to be confused with the supervillain/Evil League of Evil
applicant inspired by the trope.
Also not to be confused with Mondegreen
, which is something different despite sharing an origin
and half a name.
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Anime and Manga
- A somewhat surreal in-story version appears in Airplane II: The Sequel
Witness: Striker was the squadron leader. He brought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it.
Prosecutor: Buddy couldn't handle it. Was Buddy one of your crew?
Witness: Right. Buddy was the bombardier. But it was Striker who couldn't handle it, and he went to pieces.
Prosecutor: Andy went to pieces?
Witness: No. Andy was the navigator. He was all right. Buddy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued.
Prosecutor: Howie came unglued?
Witness: Oh, no. Howie was a rock, the best tailgunner in the outfit. Buddy came unglued.
Prosecutor: And he bailed out?
Witness: No. Andy hung tough. Buddy bailed out. How he survived, it was a miracle.
Prosecutor: Then Howie survived?
Witness: No, 'fraid not. We lost Howie the next day.
Prosecutor: Over Macho Grande?
Witness: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 generated a few of their own such as:
- The RiffTrax for Plan 9 from Outer Space created the entire city of Levytown, which the film's hero is gonna go do, from a slurred line.
- In The Santa Clause, the poem "The Night Before Christmas" is read. Upon hearing the line "there arose such a clatter", the boy asks where the "rose suchak ladder" came from. Then when Santa turns out to be real, a ladder made by the Rose Suchak company magically appears as well.
- Withnail and I: Peter Marwood. The surname comes from the script, the first name comes from the fact many fans have independently and distinctly misheard, "He's just had an audition for rep," as "Peter's just had an audition for rep."
- In Young Frankenstein, Igor tells the title character that they brain they used belonged to an "Abby Normal."
- "Olive, the other reindeer."
- In Bored of the Rings, happy fun explosive toys come in crates labeled with the name of "a fairy whose name was something very much like 'Amy Surplus.'"
- In The Magician's Nephew, Aslan tells the creatures of Narnia than an evil has come into the world. The animals immediately begin a search for the neevil. They find Uncle Andrew, the magician of the title, and decide he's the neevil, and they wonder if Aslan will let them keep him as a pet.
- In Louis Sachar's Someday Angeline, the title character's teacher is named "Miss Turbone". Angeline's father thinks it's "Mr. Bone", and is initially confused as to why the teacher wants to be referred to as a "Mr."
Live Action Television
- Richard Castle, was named deliberately so that when people yelled his nickname, "Rick Castle!", it sounded like "Rick Asshole!". He isn't that bad, really, just a bit dangerously charming. It's Nathan Fillion - the guy is Made of Win.
- Stargate SG-1: Walter Harriman of the SGC got his last name through a Mondegreen of an actor (perhaps Don S. Davis?) either accidentally calling him "Airman" or yelling "Airman" in his general direction. Previously he was Walter Davis. (His first name was added on a whim by Richard Dean Anderson).
- In one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock looked off camera and yelled what sounded like, "Take over here, Ryan!" and then recurring background extra Lieutenant Leslie said, "Yes, sir!" and obliged. Fans decided that the lieutenant was actually a completely different character from Mr. Leslie who just happened to share the same actor, and Lieutenant Ryan even had a Star Trek Wiki page for almost a year. Then one user posted the official subtitle of the scene, and showed Spock was saying "Take over here, Rand!" referring to a main character, Janice Rand, who for some reason did not follow Spock's order. It's confusing. But to make a long story short, Lieutenant Ryan never existed.
Music and Folk Rhymes
- In one Peanuts story arc, Sally tells Charlie Brown about her role the upcoming Christmas play, in which she's supposed to say "Hark!", "then Harold Angel sings." Charlie Brown assumes she misunderstood the lyrics, but it turned out that one of the other cast members really was named Harold Angel.
- "Gay Luigi" from Hotel Mario ("Nice of the princess to invite us over for a picnic, eh Luigi?"), by way of YouTube Poop.
- Ghetsis from Pokémon Black and White is sometimes known as Dennis due to misinterpretation of the background music during his fight.
- Before the theme was known to belong to Ghetsis, the nickname belonged to Genesect.
- Halo: Combat Evolved introduced to us "Dustin Echoes", after a line where Cortana responds that all that's left is "just dust and echoes." Bungie even joked about this on their commentary for the cutscenes!
- Due to Game Grumps, Buddy from Another World is more commonly known as Mike Aruba / Mycaruba based on Danny's interpretation of Buddy's only soundbyte.
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff has a basketball player accidentally named "Hass The Rock", because the dialogue referencing him having the "rock" (ball) mispells "has" with an extra S. His official name is "The Big Man".
- And similarly in Homestuck, Grandpa Harley became Hass "The Flame" Harley in fanon.
- In Beast Wars, Cheetor winds up in the ship the Predacons use as their base and is told by a melodramatic Terrorsaur "Welcome to The Dark Side." And that is how the ship became known as the Darksyde (the "y" was added later to dodge copyright issues).
- A sea serpent in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was given the Fan Nickname "Steven Magnet" after YouTube's automatic audio transcription gave that as the transcription for one of his lines.
- The Venture Bros.: "Dawn Venture" is an in-universe example; thanks to a misunderstanding associated with a cross-dressing Dean's marriage to Baron Underbheit at sunup, Hank is convinced to this day that he has a long-lost sister named Dawn.
- In the Adventure Time episode 'Five Short Graybles', BMO refers to its imaginary friend 'Football'. Due to the characters heavy accent, many fans have misinterpreted it as 'Fuppo'.
- A theory on the origin of the bloody term "bloody" is that it was originally "by Our Lady" (the Virgin Mary) and was misheard and corrupted over multiple bloody generations to this bloody term.
- Another theory that relates to that term, along with the word "zounds", is that they're both corruptions of the swears "By Christ's blood" and "By Christ's wounds". These eventually were shortened to "'sblood" and "'swounds", and then became the "bloody" and "zounds" that we know today. These theories actually have a bit of credibility, though.
- Pre-Civil War Northerners who sympathized with Southern interests were called "doughfaces", a term popularized by congressman John Randolph. But some historians think that he actually called them doe faces, but was misunderstood.
- The "an evil/a neevil" Narnia example is similar to a real process that gave us words like "apron" and "adder." People heard "a napron" or "a nadder" as "an apron" and "an adder." Same for the nickname "Ned" for Edward; it was "mine Ed" which transformed into "my Ned."