Non Indicative Name / Live-Action TV

  • Angel: Gunn uses a gun maybe once in the entire run of the series (pistols were more Wesley's thing). It's lampshaded more than once. Several people, including Cordelia, assume that "Gun" is a street name, and Gunn has to explain that "Gunn. Two 'n's." is his actual surname, and that he prefers using it to his first name (Charles).
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Vengeance on Varos" is a story with no vengeance in it.
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks" had a futuristic-tech-looking device called the Hand of Omega, which didn't look anything like a hand. As the Doctor says: "Time Lords are capable of infinite pretension."
    • The eponymous "girl" in the episode "The Girl in the Fireplace" never actually appears inside a fireplace. It's the Doctor who appears in her fireplace.
    • The episode "The Name of the Doctor" does not reveal the Doctor's name.
    • And before that, "The Doctor's Wife". The Doctor's relationship with the TARDIS is merely Like an Old Married Couple. Similarly, "The Doctor's Daughter" and "The Next Doctor". Most of these have some sort of justification in-story, but the last is pure Trolling Creator. note 
    • And in between, "Let's Kill Hitler". He just gets stuffed in a cupboard to make way for the actual plot. It does get a Title Drop, though.
    • It's difficult to say what "The Witch's Familiar" has to do with the story, or even exactly which character this refers to. Even if it's taken to refer to Clara's allegiance with Missy (which would make sense), "The Witch's Familiar" is mostly about the Doctor visiting Davros, and consigns Clara's role in the story to being tortured by Missy irrelevantly in the background.
    • "Terror of the Zygons" is about the Zygons invading Earth, while "The Zygon Invasion" is about Zygon terrorists (who are legal Earth citizens).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The "scythe" Buffy finds in the last episodes is actually an axe, specifically a bardiche.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Artifact Title "Seven Kingdoms" originally refered to the seven independent nations of Westeros that existed before Aegon's Conquest: The North, the Mountain and Vale, the Isles and Rivers, the Rock, the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne (with the wall and the lands beyond it not considered part of Westeros). Following the Conquest, the Riverlands and Crownlands were separated from the Iron Islands and Stormlands respectively and Dorne was only added two centuries later when Daeron II married a Martell Princess. The Targaryens claimed authority over Dorne long before it became a reality, and even then made many concessions to the Dornish. This eventually created one kingdom with nine provinces. At the end of Season 6 the Seven Kingdoms is mostly an entity on paper. House Lannister controls the Iron Throne but The North has returned to the control of their hated enemies House Stark, who still claim their independence. The Iron Islands have remained defiant and set to launch a fresh campaign, the Vale has declared for the North. The Tyrell-Lannister alliance has disintegrated after Cersei had their heirs assassinated and the remaining Tyrells are now working with renegade Ironborn and the Martells to restore the throne to Targaryens back to power.
    • The Dothraki Sea is not even remotely a large body of salt water. Rather, it is an area of rolling grassy plains, so named for its immense size and how easy it is to get lost in there.
    • Rhaegar Targaryen's Red Baron is "The Last Dragon" despite the fact that his two youngest siblings and his own youngest son all outlived him. However, he is called as such since he is the last known Targaryen to possess the positive aspects of his family, at least until his sister and youngest son Took a Level in Badass in the present day.
  • Data's pet cat Spot in Star Trek: The Next Generation is not a spotted cat, despite her name. (She's a tabby with light orange fur; female orange tabbies are very uncommon in real life.)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has these things called orbs. For some reason they look like crystal hourglasses. Aren't orbs supposed to be spherical?
    • They're also called the Tears of the Prophets, but don't look much like teardrops, either.
    • For that matter, Sisko is called Emissary, which isn't really accurate. An "emissary" is a person who is sent somewhere to represent the interests of someone else. Emissaries are trusted to use their own judgement to achieve said mission. Sisko is told several times that he is meant to act as a mouthpiece and nothing else. His attempts at initiative in Bajoran religious matters backfire. Every time.
    • And the station isn't in deep space at all; it's quite close to an inhabited planet.
      • It's pointed out in one episode how "human-centric" the name is, as it refers to how far from Earth the station is.
  • Mike Myers' character Linda Richman would occasionally throw out one of these for audience discussion when overcome with emotion. Examples include peanuts, Rhode Island, and the Holy Roman Empire.
    • Also Duran Duran, which is apparently neither a Duran nor a Duran.
    • This also slightly annoyed her in regards to actress Kristin Scott Thomas, since she was a female whose name was two-thirds male.
  • Two-thirds of Saturday Night Live airs on Sunday morning in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones - in fact, in the Pacific, what's shown is a feed of the episode that finished filming 90 minutes before, making the entire title a misnomer (in the Mountain time zone, the program begins after the first hour has finished filming. Alaska and Hawaii get the episodes well later.). Also, NBC's Late Night airs completely during the early morning, except in the Central, Mountain, Alaska and Hawaii time zones where it begins at 11:30.
    • Reruns and compilation specials aren't live either.
    • Also, the Brazilian version of SNL will air on Sundays.
  • The eponymous hotel in Fawlty Towers was not in any way even a single tower.
    • The towers were, one might say... Faulty?
  • A number of movies featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 fit this trope.
    • The B-movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die. A more fitting title would be The Brain That Couldn't Die, But Desperately Wanted To.
      • Furthermore, the eponymous character is technically an entire head, not just a brain.
      • The ending credits list the title as The Head that Wouldn't Die, contradicting the opening credits.
    • The Undead did not feature any ghosts, mummies, zombies, vampires, or undead creatures of any sort.
    • There was nothing Satanic about Devil Doll.
    • None of the children in The Space Children were from space, or ever went into space, for that matter.
    • Boggy Creek 2 was actually the third Boggy Creek movie. Of course, the second film was made by different people, so this could be Canon Discontinuity on the part of the crew who made the third movie.
    • Future War: as Crow puts it, "It's not the future, and there isn't a war, but you know me; I don't like to complain."
    • For a superhero called Pumaman, the guy seemed to have a large number of powers that didn't seem all that relevant to pumas.
      Mike: I hate to be picky, but I don't think pumas are really known for flying...
    • The Thing That Couldn't Die, a movie about a thing that... well... dies...
    • The eponymous aliens of Pod People don't look like people and don't spend any time in pods. To quote Dr. Forrester:
    It has nothing to do with pods. It has nothing to do with people. It has everything to do with hurting.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus itself, but that's really more of a Word Salad Title. They did, however, do a serious investigative news show called Ethel the Frog in one sketch, perhaps as a nod to The BBC's habit of using nonindicative titles.
    • 'The Flying Circus' is a nickname of the Red Baron's squadron from WWI and their colorful planes. Still non-indicative.
    • Another sketch has Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror, a completely tame chat show.
    • Six human, ground-bound men (no pythons, or even snakes of any sort), none of whom are named "Monty," and they perform a sketch comedy show without trapeses, lion tamers, a ringleader, or any references at all to the greatest show on earth. That's pretty non-indicative for four words.
      • You might even call it a meta-indicative title, as the fact that it is a non-indicative title is itself indicative of the content of the show.
  • Several real-life examples are parodied in Mitchell and Webb's "explorer" sketches. Mitchell plays whatever famous explorer discovered and named the area, and Webb plays his second-in-command who points out the obvious disconnect between the name and the place, but ends up having to give in because he's not "the captain."
    Webb: Captain, the Lord has delivered us to a truly wondrous land! Lush subtropical plains stretch out as far as the eye can see. It's ninety degrees in the shade even though it's November, there are herds of seven-foot-tall two-legged creatures bouncing across the landscape at tremendous speeds.
    Mitchell: Yes. Do you know where it reminds me of? Wales.
    • They also have a sketch involving a "giant death ray", which turns out to be harmless. They explain the name as follows:
    Bachman: One question that does spring to mind, Professor, er...
    Webb: Professor Death.
    Bachman: ...Professor Death, is why on Earth you elected to name this contraption the "giant death..." oh I see.
  • Brazilian TV Globo broadcasts three soap operas every day except Sunday: 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock, and 8 o'clock. The last one, however, rarely begins at an hour starting with 8 nowadays (due to the news program that precedes it - the delay gets even worse during election period). A common joke is to describe it as "the 8 o'clock soap opera that starts at 9".
  • In 19 years, when have any of the Power Rangers actually performed the duties of a "ranger"? That is, when have any of them ever helped oversee a national park or conducted guerilla warfare in a forest environment? Then again, a show about park rangers in brightly-colored spandex probably wouldn't be very successful...
    • The term ranger comes from the japanese series Super Sentai in which Power Rangers uses stock footage and costumes from. Many of these series' have the word "Ranger" in the title or some combination of the word "Ranger".
      • Also The term "Ranger" is idicative as the term has been used for law enforcement and military like The Texas Rangers (not the baseball team) and Army Rangers also Lord of The Rings' Aragorn was referred to as a ranger so the term could loosely mean warrior and not necessarily refers to a park or forest ranger.
    • Power Rangers Zeo's main villain was KING Mondo, ruler of the Machine EMPIRE.
    • The grand prize goes to Treacheron from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. He's one of the most loyal evil lieutenants in the franchise's history.
      • Though name is probably meant to be ironic like calling a really big guy Tiny.
      • Lost Galaxy itself has little to do with the Lost Galaxy as it's only brought up in a small arc.
  • Super Sentai have had a few.
    • Seijuu Sentai Gingaman: Ginga could be translated as Galaxy, but the show has nothing to do with galaxies and is just a meaningless proper name.
      • Averted somewhat with it's Power Rangers counterpart, Lost Galaxy it is set in space, though as stated above the show has very little to do with "The Lost Galaxy". That wasn't exactly the fault of the show as Lost Galaxy was notorious for its chaotic behind-the-scenes issues, such as script rewrites. The titular Lost Galaxy was meant be a much bigger presence in the show.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger. Gosei translates as "five star" as seen with Gosei Sentai Dairanger. Goseiger does have the usual five warriors but has nothing to do with stars o any nature unless you count Gosei World as with Gingaman the term Gosei is just a Proper name.
  • Power Rangers Megaforce takes place in the city of Harwood County.
  • Strangers with Candy is not (typically) about strangers or candy. The show is meant to parody "After School Specials" that are known to drop Anvilicious Stock Aesops on school-age kids, one of the most obvious being "never accept candy from strangers." The title also may refer to the Comedic Sociopath leads; accepting candy from Jerri Blank is probably never a good idea.
  • Psychoville is set all across England, and not in any specific town. The name is, in fact, derived from the title given to foreign releases of The League of Gentlemen, which is set in a specific town, and is not about a league, nor are many of the characters particularly gentlemanly. The title actually refers to the writers.
  • Parodied in an early episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun; during one of their rooftop chats, Harry muses "Why do they call it a fur coat? It's not really fur, and it's not really a coat". Tommy then explains to him that it actually is both those things.
  • Blake's 7, for the last two of its four seasons, was noticeably missing Blake. With the exception of the stunning final espisode.
    • And there usually weren't seven of them: The number was usually fudged to mean either six humans and a computer, or five humans and two computers. For part of the series, though, there were six humans and two computers, so... you figure it out.
  • Many fans of Terriers attributed its low ratings and cancellation to the title, which gave the (incorrect) impression that it involved dogs, while failing to convey that it was a noir-ish detective series. Had it been renewed, it might have been re-titled Beach Dicks.
  • Similarly, Cougar Town stopped being about middle-aged women chasing younger men (with the exception of one minor recurring character) after the first few episodes. The makers seriously considered retitling it, but in the end stayed with the Artifact Title. They do, however, mock the title in the title card every week.
    • Neither is it about a town populated by the large, North American feline.
      • Lampshaded in an episode where the characters steal a sculpture of a cougar from the college one of them attends: "Why does this school even have a cougar? Nothing here has anything to do with cougars." The title card joke that week also says, "Pay attention. The title: Cougar Town almost makes sense this week!"
    • One advertisement had a woman next to the feline with both thinking the show was about them.
  • Many of the artists who appeared on MTV Unplugged played electric instruments that were, indeed, plugged in, although the musical arrangements were usually softer and more laid-back than expected from the artists. MTV Turned Down would have been a more accurate name.
    • Although this is the result of some drift. It started out with all the artists playing acoustic.
  • Played for laughs during a performance of Scenes From a Hat on Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
    Suggestion: What's really going through president Bush's mind during Cabinet meetings.
    Colin Mochrie: There isn't even a cabinet in here...
  • Many of the scenes in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia take place at night.
  • When Jamie Lynn Sigler (aka Meadow Soprano) was attempting to kick start a pop music career ((no, seriously,)) she said that one of the reasons she auditioned for the part of Meadow was because when she saw the title The Sopranos, she honestly thought it would involve music somehow.
  • The title characters in Crash and Bernstein are a puppet named Crash and Wyatt Bernstein, who is almost never referred by his last name.
  • The Real Housewives series features several divorced people and one could argue that since the show is a source of revenue, they are no longer housewives
  • The Naked Brothers Band spends the entirely of every episode at least partially clothed.
  • Supernatural. Played for Laughs in "Free To Be You And Me" when Dean sets up Castiel with a prostitute called Chastity. The Celibate Hero's response to hearing this entirely inappropriate name is to down half a glass of beer.
  • Everybody does not die in the House series finale "Everybody Dies"
    • The show's not about a house, either.
  • Community: Greendale Community College has the North Cafeteria, which is in the western portion of East hall, which is northwest of North Hall, which is near the center of campus. Also, the English Memorial Spanish Center, named after Portuguese explorer English Memorial.
  • The Wire: The Greek turns out to not even be Greek.
  • Despite the title being "Painkiller" Jane, she feels pain from every wound, even after healing.
  • The Big Bad of the first season of The Blacklist is known as "Berlin." Except that he's actually Russian, not German, and was most recently in Siberia, not Berlin.
  • Airplane Repo is, in fact, about repossessing airplanes. And boats. And an occasional helicopter. And other high-value assets. But mostly planes.
  • Subverted in Person of Interest, in which the Brotherhood has a member named Mini who tells strangers it's an ironic nickname that pokes fun at his heavy build, but his colleagues know it isn't the reason.
  • NCIS: Delilah, Tim McGee's love interest in recent years, shares her name with the Biblical temptress who betrayed Sampson, but has proven to be faithful and steadfast toward Tim, and one of the sweetest women you could ever hope to meet.
  • Dragons, Wagons & Wax only has dragons, wagons and a wax candle in the Action-Hogging Opening. The rest of the show it a low-key Live Action children's program.
  • The Victorious episode "Stuck in an RV" doesn't actually take place in a RV, but instead a trailer attached to Beck's truck. An RV drives itself.
  • The American Heroes Channel, a Discovery Channel affiliate, has gone through several renames to keep its name relevant to its actual programming. Originally the Discovery Wings Channel, it started airing largely military-themed shows, so it was renamed the Military Channel. Later, it started airing programs about firefighters and such, so it was renamed the American Heroes Channel. However, it shows heroes who aren't American, i.e. British Commandos in World War 2.
  • Every episode of Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish has a non-indicative title. Once an Episode he reads a "Found Poem" (a collection of internet comments from people getting worked up about minor issues) and the title is a line from it: "Winston Churchill's Pants", "Dat Is Data, Dat Is", "I Like Eggs", etc. It's usually impossible to work out the subject of the poem from the title, and that in turn is usually only tangentially related to what the show is about.
  • The trope comes up in Better Call Saul in a passing reference to Golden Delicious apples, which Charles McGill describes as "usually pretty tasteless".
  • The iconic Ultraman kaiju Red King is not red, but a yellow-blue mix. The real reason for his name was that he was originally intended to be the Big Bad in a prototype of the series called Redman, and the name ended up sticking when he was recycled as a recurring Monster of the Week.
  • The Batman-themed TV series Gotham has a gangster character named Fish Mooney. You hear the name and you assume "Fish Mooney" is some scuzzy Irish guy. But the character is not scuzzy (on the outside, anyway), not Irish, and not a guy.
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency we are introduced four violent hoodlums who break into Todd's house and destroy everything in sight...named the Rowdy Three.
    Todd: What's going on?
    Dirk: The Rowdy Three!
    Todd: There are four of them.
    Dirk: I'm wildly aware!
    • Later, Amanda Brotzman joins the Rowdy Three, bringing their number to five. And in the second season, three of them have been captured by the government, leaving Amanda and Vogel to operate as the Rowdy Three with a membership of two.
  • The Indian Detective: At the start, as he notes, Doug is ethnically Indian, though not really Indian to people from India. He's also not a detective, but only a constable. By the end he has become one in fact, even if unofficially, and embraced his roots more deeply by being in India.
  • History Channel's Truck Night in America takes place during the daytime.