Title Drop: Live-Action TV
Dorium: You're a fool, nonetheless. It's all still waiting for you. The fields of Trenzalore, the fall of the Eleventh, and the question.
The Doctor: Goodbye, Dorium.
Dorium: The first question. The question that must never be answered. Hidden in plain sight. The question you've been running from all your life! Doctor who? Doctor who? Doctor WHO?
- "Face it. Abnormal is The New Normal".
- Parodied by the Upright Citizens Brigade, when a man tells a video store clerk that he had the title line in Star Wars. The man claims that, in a scene that was cut in the final release, he wanders into the Millennium Falcon for no good reason, says, "I'm just so tired of all these star wars," and walks out.
- He does the same for Out of Africa.
- Mad Magazine's parody of the first film opened with a character in the midst of a space battle saying "Boy, this movie sure is noisy! Maybe that's why they called it—" splash opening title: STAR ROARS.
- Blue Heelers liked doing this. Just to give one example, in the episode Pigs Will Fly, after the station bombing someone starts leaving bomb threats, one demanding "Fifty thousand or pigs will fly."
- The name of the episodes in Criminal Minds are dropped in almost every episode.
- Done in The Twilight Zone in many episodes, usually to point out the black humor ending. Some examples:
- "You were right. PEOPLE really ARE ALIKE ALL OVER."
- "...now I have TIME ENOUGH AT LAST."
- Survivor and The Amazing Race have a habit of turning random lines from contestants into show titles, forcing this to happen Once per Episode.
- HBO shows The Wire, Deadwood, and Boardwalk Empire all use lines of dialogue from particular episodes as the title of the episodes themselves, though the titles are not shown in the opening credits.
- Entourage used a last line Title Drop for the in-universe "Queens Boulevard" movie. This is also lampshaded in Johnny Drama's Show Within a Show, "Not in my town, not in my Five Towns!"
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 makes a habit of commenting whenever a Title Drop occurs in one of their movies. Usually with Joel/Mike and the Bots saying in unison, "We have a title!"
- Doctor Who:
- Used fairly straight the first time in An Unearthly Child, where the Doctor had no clue who "Dr. Foreman" was supposed to be, and mostly used as an in-joke since.
- And sometimes when he does. In The Gunfighters, he introduced himself with a very long, muttered name, provoking the response "Doctor who?"
The Doctor: Precisely.
- Because the title can be used as a question, the title can be dropped every time the Doctor meets someone new and doesn't use an alias. Subverted in Rose:
The Doctor: I'm the Doctor.
Rose: Doctor what?
- Subverted in the same way in The Lazarus Experiment.
- Now elevated to more than just a Running Gag and in-joke after The Wedding of River Song. "Doctor who?" is now the oldest question in the universe, which must never be answered.
- And now in Asylum of the Daleks, all the Daleks repeat "Doctor Who?" over and over after they all get Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- The 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen has the phrase "Doctor who?" used no less than three times, mostly by new companion Clara.
- Several stories from the original series had their titles shoehorned into the dialogue. Examples include The Talons of Weng-Chiang, State of Decay and Battlefield.
- The Mark of the Rani. Shoehorned in by the Master almost every other scene.
- The episode The Long Game has a belated Title Drop; it ends without any reference to what the title meant at all. Not until the Doctor returns to the same location 100 years later, in Bad Wolf, does he realise "Someone's been playing a long game." (The title of "Bad Wolf" had, of course already been dropped all over the series.) And of course not mentioning the "Long Game" of the title until a later episode is itself a reference to the concept of the long game.
- And obviously, there were a few blink-and-you-miss-it Title Drops in Blink.
- After the Doctor "defeats" the Dream Lord, Rory title-drops the episode when asked where he wants to go:
Rory: I'm fine with anywhere. It's Amy's Choice.
- Dropped by the Dream Lord himself earlier in the same episode.
Dream Lord: Pick a world, and this nightmare will all be over. They'll listen to you. It's you they're waiting for. Amy's men. Amy's choice.
- Another Title Drop is in the episode The God Complex.
Rita: Why is it up to you to save us? That's quite a god complex you've got there.
- Exploited perfectly in The Name of the Doctor, and best of all, not in a way the audience would expect.
The War Doctor: What I did, I did without choice, in the name of peace and sanity.11th Doctor: Yes, but not in the name of the Doctor.
- Close in Time Heist. "It's not a bank heist; it's a time travel heist."
- From the old series, the Doctor namedrops the title of the sixteenth season episode The Armageddon Factor after realizing that whoever is behind the war between Atrios and Zeos intends to allow both to be destroyed.
4th Doctor: There'll be a rather large bang, big enough to blow up Zeos, take Atrios with it, and make sure the whole thing ends in a sort of draw. That's the way these military minds work. The armageddon factor.
- The meaning of the title Star Trek is fairly self-evident, so they managed to go without doing this for thirty years. Then, in Star Trek: First Contact, Zephram Cochrane says, "So you're astronauts, on some kind of star trek?" Also, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale Q nearly does it: "It's time to put an end to your trek through the stars".
- Done several times in Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Armus: I am a skin of evil, left here by a race of titans, who believed if they rid themselves of me, they would free the bounds of destructiveness.
- "Skin Of Evil":
Moriarty: Your crewmates here in my little ship in a bottle, seem a bit more optimistic.
- "Ship in a Bottle":
Picard: There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of... there were loose threads... untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads... it had unraveled the tapestry of my life.
Q: Goodbye, Jean-Luc. I'm gonna miss you... you had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end...
- "All Good Things...":
- This is also done in some episodes such as the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky". "Plato's Stepchildren" is another memorable title drop, as it occurs within moments of the episode's beginning, and has relatively little relevance on the plot of the episode from then on.
- Also in Star Trek VI, Chancellor Gorkon proposes a toast to "The Undiscovered Country: the future." Justified because everyone is constantly spouting William Shakespeare throughout the movie; but it's played as a bit of a gaffe/uncomfortable foreshadowing, because the real "undiscovered country" in Hamlet is death.
- Subverted in the Star Trek: Voyager two-part episode "Year of Hell". When things first start to go pear-shaped Janeway says, "This is turning into the week of hell."
- In the second episode of Hogan's Heroes, an Allied pilot looks down to see an arrow made by the lit cigarettes of the Stalag 13 men standing in formation and comments, "There they are, Hogan's Heroes." On a few other occasions they're referred to as the "Unsung Heroes" by the media.
- Arrested Development lampshades the series title in "Forget-Me-Now" as Rita laments the puerile sense of humor of American men.
Rita: And they think the stupidest things are funny.
Michael: Yeah, that's a cultural problem is what it is. You know, your average American is in a perpetual state of adolescence, you know, arrested development.
Narrator: Hey, that's the name of the show!
- The pilot episode had a newspaper headline proclaiming "Arrested Developer!"
- The episode "Justice is Blind" had a particularly clever one. "Justice" is the name of Maggie's alleged seeing-eye dog.
- Eureka doesn't just title drop, it does a title sequence drop. It has always had part of the title sequence end with Carter watching buildings floating in mid-air. 4 seasons later, they have a problem of the week involving anti-gravity and they drop the title sequence mid-way through the episode, almost exactly like the title sequence, including the theme music.
- Burn Notice also features a title sequence drop. The title sequence opens with Michael narrating "My name is Michael Weston. I used to be a spy." In the fifth season, another character introduces Michael near the end of an episode by saying "That's Michael Weston. He used to be a spy."
- Mike does it himself during the season 1 finale.
- In the second season, Stargate SG-1 frequently had a character reference the episode's title, but it always sounded more akin to Cochrane's "some kind of star trek" comment than anything profound.
- On Orphan Black, Sarah asks her foster mother Mrs. S. where she came from. Turns out she was an orphan brought in from the underground... or, as S. describes it, "from the black."
- On iCarly, Freddie thinks up the name, title drops it, then explains it a little more:
Freddie: i, Internet...Carly, you...
- The episode iLove You has a Title Drop, but it's a Shocking Swerve. Everyone is expecting it to be one or both Sam and Freddie saying "I Love You" to the other in a romantic moment to cement them as the Official Couple, instead it's said after they break up as Sam is about to leave, and they stay broken up after.
- While The West Wing doesn't qualify as a whole, a number of episodes do on their own, such as "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc", "An Khe", "Eppur Si Muove" and the finale "Tomorrow" (it's the last line spoken in the entire show).
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip also has "The 4 AM Miracle".
- Most episodes of House feature Title Drops of the episode titles, which are otherwise not shown.
- Slings and Arrows deliberately avoids dropping the title: in the first rehearsal where Jack (who's playing Hamlet) reads the "to be or not to be" soliloquy, he misspeaks and says "the stings and arrows of outrageous fortune".
- Three of the four episodes of a miniseries called The Way We Live Now had one of these, although usually the exact wording would be changed to something like "The way people live now."
- In Lost, many episodes feature Title Drops (even bizarre phrases such as "Tricia Tanaka is Dead"). The series' name is Title Dropped every episode, in lines as "we're lost", "we've lost him" et cetera..
- How about Ben's "And now your more lost than you ever were"
- Strangely, the writers set themselves up for and didn't use an amazing title drop opportunity in ''What They Died For" when Jacob is describing the attributes of the candidates. Everything he said would have been summed up nicely by saying "All of you were lost." but he just stops speaking.
- Speaking of "What They Died For", Jacob drops the episode title when confronted about the recent deaths of Sayid, Jin and Sun; "Come and sit down, and I'll tell you what they died for".
- In the season one finale of One Tree Hill, The Games that Play Us, Karen is talking to Lucas one last time before he leaves Tree Hill. Karen puts her arm around Lucas and says 'There is only one Tree Hill'.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The writers hammered home the fact that Bianca Lawson's character wasn't your average single-episode guest star when she introduced herself as "Kendra, the vampire slayer."
- Used straight in the first episode of the third season, where a demon asks each of his prisoners their names (with the insinuation that he will kill them if they actually claim one). Our protagonist responds quite cheerily, "I'm Buffy, the vampire slayer!" Cue the carnage.
- Also used in season 7, where Buffy was moonlighting as a counselor for troubled teens. ("Buffy the vampire slayer would break down this door." "And Buffy the counselor?" "Waits.")
- There are a few episodes that do their own title drop, as well, such as "Lie To Me" and "Two to Go". Also, the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling", has the title in a line of the second-last song.
- This happens with the episode title of Season 3's "Dead Man's Party".
- Most (if not all, there's a couple I haven't caught) episodes of Buffy do this. Yes, even "What's my line" (some of them sneak it in via central pieces of music, such as "I only have eyes for you" and "Once more with feeling")
- Many episodes of Angel featured Title Drops, though not every one of them. Not surprising since Angel was the main character and the main characters work for Angel Investigations. It also wasn't necessarily a key moment of the episode. Prominent ones include "A Hole In The World" and "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been".
- Same goes for NCIS.
- The Sopranos drops a title almost every episode. This became more and more noticeable as the series went on and got more and more unusual titles. In the first season, for example, there were titles like "Meadowlands" (though that, in a subversion, wasn't actually said until the following episode), "College", "A Hit Is A Hit", and "Nobody Knows Anything" (which was used at least twice in the ep). In the sixth season, you had things like "The Fleshy Part Of The Thigh" (which is where a supporting character offers to shoot a wannabe gangsta rapper, nonlethally and with minimal complications, in order to give him street cred).
- That Girl famously ended its opening segments with somebody pointing at the title character and saying "That Girl!", with a sometimes contrived and convoluted lead-in to get to that point.
- Saturday Night Live ends its opening skit with "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", a slightly rearranged version of the show title which had its origins in the rather obscure fact that when the show launched in 1975, its actual title was Saturday Night rather than Saturday Night Live because the latter title was already taken for the short-lived Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.
- Because of its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, the title for each episode of The Amazing Race will be heard once during the episode.
- The X-Files is fond of this trope, especially for their myth-arc episodes. A few however are misnomers and refer to scape goats and not the real culprits. An example would be the episode "The Red Museum" which features the eponymous cult who were victims in the mystery, not the culprits like the town believed.
- Every episode in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill, though the conversations are often not particularly important to the plot.
- In the last episode of Boy Meets World:
Cory: "Boy Meets World"...now I get it!
- Parodied in Two and a Half Men. There is usually a Title Drop in the episode, but it is usually a completely irrelevant line that gets little attention drawn to it and has no impact on the plot.
- Mr. Show inverts the trope by choosing a completely random line from each episode as the title, such as, "Oh, you men!"
- Many episodes of Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister end with a character, usually Sir Humphrey or Bernard, responding to something Hacker has said by saying "Yes, (Prime) Minister." Nigel Hawthorne, showing his serious actor chops, made a point of saying this with a different emotion every time.
- By the time of the Christmas Special at the end of season 3, this was the expected ending to each episode; so when Humphrey revealed Hacker's promotion by saying "Yes, Prime Minister" for the first time, it was quite an aversion.
- Parodied in Blackadder when Edmund decides to take the name of The Black...Vegetable! Fortunately Baldrick suggests a better title for
the serieshis Lord.
- The Young Ones reserved their Title Drop for the final few minutes of the series. As the lads ride to glory in a stolen double-decker bus with wads of stolen cash, Rick celebrates their victory and newfound freedom in a rousing speech: "We’re young ones! Bachelor boys!" Seconds later, the bus crashes through a Cliff Richard billboard and plummets off a steep cliff, whereupon landing it explodes into a fireball from whence nothing or no one could escape. The End.
- Twice thus far in Being Human: once in the Pilot and once in the finale.
Dean: You're the same thing, only bigger. The same brand of cockroach I've been squashing my whole life. An ugly, *evil*, belly to the ground supernatural piece of crap. The only difference between them and you... is the size of your ego.
- Played with in "Wishful Thinking." Sam claims to be writing a book to get a witness to talk to him. When she asks the title, he has to think quickly to come up with "Uh, well, the working title is...Supernatural?"
- Subverted in "It's a Terrible Life." Sam (who is actually Sam Wesson, in an alternate reality) comments about the suspicious deaths in the episode, "What if these suicides aren't suicides? I mean, what if they're something not natural?"
- Dean delivers this speech to Lucifer in "The End":
- Sam does this in "The French Mistake". A twofer, since he's actually referring to (a fictional representation of) the real show, rather than some other element in the story.
- Also happens on "Party On, Garth".
- The Men of Letters Bunker is described at one point as "the supernatural mother load."
- 'By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy.' Done again, various times, for episode titles, eg. "Thanks, Grilled Cheesus!". They even managed to drop the title with a song for the episode Extraordinary Merry Christmas.
- Smallville sometimes Title Drop the episode title in an awkward, glaring, and embarrassing manner. A few examples:
Lex: So the Prodigal son returns.Chloe: You are not forced into Exile.Chloe: I'm Devoted to you. I love you, Clark.Lana: I want Power.
- While there are many episodes that avoid the word, sometimes something like this come up.
Lex Luthor ("Phoenix"): I have no doubt that I'll rise from the ashes again.
- While there are many episodes that avoid the word, sometimes something like this come up.
- "I guess it's not so bad, being Dead Like Me."
- Alton Brown referring to the Iron Chef America participants as "Your Iron Chefs, America" in their introduction seems a pretty blatant attempt at this.
- In an episode of Leverage, the Villain of the Week remarks that as long as he is holding Nate and Sophie hostage, he "has leverage."
- "We provide...leverage."
- Every episode of Good Eats begins the same way:
- Alton Brown: Why, (food of the day) isn't just delicious, it's—
- Intro Tune: Good Eats!
- Every episode of The Beiderbecke Trilogy (The Beiderbecke Affair, ...Tapes and ...Connection) uses the first line of dialogue as its title.
- How Do They Do It? They say it at least four times an episode.
- Happens occasionally on Game Shows:
- "You are The Weakest Link. Goodbye!"
- "All this can be yours, if The Price Is Right."
- "I can Name That Tune in five notes." "Four notes." "Three." "Name that tune."
- A partial one: "My name is [name], and I am (or am not) smarter than a fifth grader."
- "So if you're fast enough, smart enough, and if you've got the guts, you can Win Ben Steins Money!"
- In-universe example: On an episode of The Odd Couple, Felix appears on Lets Make A Deal. While on the show, he says "Hey Monty, let's make a deal."
- "Press Your Luck or pass?"
- "This is Bud Collyer reminding you to tell the truth!"
- Veronica Mars, being Character Titled, often has a title drop, but one episode managed to do a Theme Tune title drop/quote, with Veronica saying 'We used to be friends, a long time ago', right before the theme song 'We Used to Be Friends' starts, the first line of which is 'A long time ago, we used to be friends'.
- The Closer plays it straight in the pilot episode, as this is how Pope describes Brenda. In a later episode, it's played for laughs, as a funeral director under investigation says "I'm what's known as the closer", meaning he's the one who inspects the bodies and closes the coffins before funerals. Brenda and Sgt. Gabriel share a surprised look when the word is mentioned.
- And if you ever...ever...think it doesn't happen on The Disney Channel, too...well, Good Luck Charlie.
- No Ordinary Family nearly does this during the Previously On with "We started out as/We were no longer an ordinary family" and then gets played straight in dialogue during the season finale.
- In a 1970s British comedy set in World War II India, a new arrival writing a letter to his mother decides not to tell her how awful the place is, and writes It Ain't Half Hot Mum instead.
- In Law & Order, the individual episodes often title drop the names of that particular episode. The title of the show itself has also been said on occasion.
- Near the end of As the World Turns 53 year run, Bob Hughes (the who started out as the preteen son of the central family and ended up as the patriarch), says in a speech "Every day that the world keeps turning is a gift."
- The National Geographic Channel show Taboo does this during every segment of the show. For example, the narrator may say "Some people consider X to be taboo", with extra emphasis on taboo. Arguably justified because that is an actual word.
- The Shadow Line has a lot of musings on the theme of shadows, lines and light throughout the series, but the title itself is only dropped once, during a conversation about Gabriel's possible corruption in episode 5.
- In-universe examples from Seinfeld: Whenever the gang goes to the movies, the film(s) they watch often feature title drops.
- "Everybody into the Chunnel!"
- "Oh, Rochelle Rochelle...",
- Pretty Little Liars does it with a jumping rope song in episode 2x14.
- Al has title-dropped a few times on Married... with Children, never happily. Extra points when taking the ellipsis pause, on occasion
- There is no episode of Heroes that does not have someone use the word "hero."
- Both Battlestar Galactica specials use this.
- In Razor, Admiral Cain awards Kendra Shaw the eponymous title, which she applies to the most loyal and merciless of her soldiers.
- In The Plan, it's first used in print on Brother Cavil's religious flyers, and subsequently in spoken lines by the Cylons.
- How I Met Your Mother has been title-dropped several times (including in the first minute of the pilot: "Kids, I'm going to tell you a wonderful story; the story of how I met your mother") both by Future!Ted and Past!Ted, generally couched in conversations and/or using variations ("Kids, there's more than one story of how I met your mother" "When I have kids, I'm gonna tell them the full story of how I met their mother").
- The show tends to title drop almost every episode, with the few exceptions making perfect sense anyway (for example, "How Lily Stole Christmas", an episode that centers on Lily being called a "Grinch".
- Farscape has a few episodes that drop their titles, such as "A Human Reaction", "Picture If You Will", "Dream a Little Dream", and "Dog With Two Bones". "Self-Infliced Wounds: Could'a, Would'a, Should'a" is partial example, as only the sub-title of the episode is dropped.
- The true-crime TV show "Deadly Women" is a gross offender. The narrator is guaranteed to drop the name of the episode at LEAST once. For example, in the episode Hearts of Stone, she says "They killed... with Hearts of Stone."
- From the first episode of Scrubs:
Bob Kelso: Dr. Dorian, do you not realize that you're nothing but a large pair of scrubs to me?
- In Game of Thrones, every episode is Title Dropped since the episodes are typically named after a significant line from them, and the titles aren't displayed. However, the one that tops them all is a series title drop and episode title drop in one line:
Cersei Lannister: When you play the game of thrones, you win... or you die. There is no middle ground.
- The words in the show title were the very last spoken words in the series finale of Happy Days.
- Fresno parodied this with a Distant Prologue of Spanish explorers coming into the land that would one day be the city of Fresno, and it turns out the name is a word used to describe how nasty the grapes taste.
- Played with by Terriers. Britt suggests to Hank that their private detective business needs a mascot, something that tells people that once they're on the case, they never give up. They think it over and can't come up with anything.
- JAG: Occurs throughout the series times whenever a character introduces oneself followed by he/she is from JAG or is a JAG lawyer. Individual episode names are also often, but not always, dropped.
- In "Brig Break", Harm looks out the window and sees the prisoners exiting the brig and herding Meg Austin onto a bus. He immediately shouts "BRIG BREAK" before trying to stop them from escaping.
- Inverted on an episode of Raw in late 1997. Announcer Jim Ross had told the hot new Heel tag team of "Road Dogg" Jesse Jammes and "Badass" Billy Gunn that they had been acting like "a couple of new age outlaws." They soon became known as the New Age Outlaws.
- Every version of Stephen King's The Dead Zone has featured the phrase "the dead zone." However, oddly enough each version ascribes the phrase a different meaning. In the TV series, Johnny's powers stem from the fact that his brain was badly enough damaged during the coma that certain mental functions were re-routed through an area which had up until then been dormant — a "dead zone."
- The final episode of the Filipino soap opera Princess and I reveals that one of the two princes (that was part of the Love Triangle) was narrating the story all along to a group of children. The following title drop is ironic, considering he Did Not Get the Girl, giving leeway to his best friend and the princess.
- Breaking Bad, from the pilot: "Some straight like you, giant stick up his ass, all the sudden, age — what, sixty? He's just gonna break bad?" This is a piece of regional slang in the city where the show is set as well.
- In the sixth episode of Teen Wolf. It's also a Stealth Pun and Bilingual Bonus.
Stiles: Be a man. Be a werewolf. Not a TEEN WOLF, a werewolf.
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Carey telling the boys they're "Grounded on the 23rd Floor".
- Frasier: The names of the episodes will always be mentioned in the show itself, whether by the title cards following each act break or by the characters themselves.
- In the very first episode of The Thin Blue Line:
Fowler: In the grand order of life there are but two forces: those of order, and those of chaos. And between them there lies us, the thin blue line.(Goody immediately points out that that means three forces.)
- Virtually every episode of The Lone Ranger TV series ends with some variant of the following:
Townsman #1: Who was that masked man?Townsman #2: That was the Lone Ranger.
- At the start of the second episode of Sons Of Liberty, Benjamin Franklin comments in a meeting with British leaders: "If you make martyrs of these men, the people of Boston won’t see these men as sons of tyranny. They’ll be seen as sons of liberty."
- The Walking Dead: Expect the episode names to be uttered by any of the characters within the episode. The series title is dropped by Rick after the group is driven from the farm, and he reveals they're all infected.
- He drops it again in episode 10 of the fifth season.
- The Wonder Years final episode: "And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back... with wonder."
- "Fellow guests, I am Mr. Rourke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island."