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Generic Name

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This is a name that is not merely common and unremarkable, but actively 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.

A suitable name for the Ridiculously Average Guy.

See also Mr. Smith, Hugh Mann and Atrocious Alias. Contrast Awesome McCoolname.


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    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.
  • A minor character in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is named "Hiroshi Satou", both extremely common names (akin to "John Smith" in English). He's The Generic Guy and Saiki, who just wants to be normal, admires him for it.

  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • The All Guardsmen Party are formerly of the Generian 99th Medium Infantry regiment, which is registered in the Departmento Munitorum's records as "GENER IC."

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 

  • 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.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo, which literally means "no one".
  • The main character of Snow Crash is named Hiroki "Hiro" Protagonist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Odo's name literally means "nothing," being derived from a Cardassian phrase that means "unknown sample."
  • Moone Boy. Martin's Imaginary Friend is named Sean Murphy, which is as generic a name as you can get in Ireland. He complains that Martin gave him such a generic name and compares and contrasts it to the name given by Martin's best friend, Padraic, to his own imaginary friend Crunchie "Danger" Haystacks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Pendragon tabletop RPG, the sample characters are all members of the "de Falt" family.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • The original Player Character of Minecraft is named Steve (there's a reason we have a trope named One-Steve Limit) and is a Featureless Protagonist meant to be seen as generic. Later updates added a second default player character named Alex, which in addition to being similarly generic, is also a unisex name.
  • Paper Chase: The name of the college, Anystate University (in the BASIC version) or Anycity College (in the Inform version).
  • 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.
  • Sunless Skies: The Office of Works can be found in London, among several departments with properly purpose-conveying names. Fittingly enough, what they actually do is unclear; it's explicitly stated no one outside it knows what the office's purpose or the "works" within it are, and the only contact you have with them is delivering Noodle Implements to fulfill work orders they have, which only raise further questions.
  • Undertale: The default "true" name of the Fallen Child (and the one that appears if you delete the character name from your save file) is "Chara", which is short for..."character."

    Visual Novels 
  • In the final chapter of Double Homework, the first name of Zeta’s alias, Dr. Mosely, is revealed: Jane.


    Web Original 
  • 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".

    Western Animation 
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • On The Simpsons, the top-hatted and moustachioed Identical Stranger who goes into Moe's immediately after Homer is banned gives his name as "Guy Incognito", and is immediately assumed to be Homer in a Paper-Thin Disguise. It's not.

    Real Life 
  • 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. This often causes confusion, as the Name John Smith is actually quite common.