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Idiosyncratic Episode Naming

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Many shows utilize quirky episode naming conventions. Though the episode title is usually not even broadcast with the show (usually only Animated Series do this), this information is gleaned from press releases, closed captioning, and guide information. Of course, in literature it can be more obvious.

American Live-Action TV Pilots are often exempt from this, as pilots do not usually have titles, and are usually made before anyone on the production staff comes up with the idea to name episodes idiosyncratically.

Now, if the names get too in-jokey, quirky or obscure they can have an adverse effect in being difficult to correlate the plot of the episode when its name means absolutely nothing.

When a show gets dubbed in a foreign language, expect this trope to not survive (particularly if it's an English show getting dubbed in German or French or if it's a Japanese show getting dubbed in the west).

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Single-episode exceptions to the rule are the Odd Name Out.

Sub-tropes include Episode Finishes the Title and Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name! (typically taking the "____! _____!!" title format). Compare Character Name and the Noun Phrase if they're used in a series, Unusual Chapter Numbers, Theme Naming, Translation Matchmaking and Title Drop.


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Other Examples

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    Comedy 
  • Stan Freberg's "Wun'erful, Wun'erful" was originally a 7-inch comedy record with Sides Uh-One and Uh-Two.
  • David Cross' standup comedy albums Shut Up You Fucking Baby! and It's Not Funny use track titles that have nothing to do with the routines heard on the album, but are instead meant to mock cliched stand-up comedy material - Sample titles include "Monica Lewinsky and the Three Bears" and "My Child is Enthralling, Especially When It Says Something Unexpectedly Precocious Even Though It Doesn't Understand What It Just Said!". His other albums used more straightforward track titles, but the tour documentary Let America Laugh used the titles of Chick Tracts for DVD chapter titles.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel series by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale all have the protagonist's name followed by a color represented in the story. Examples are Spider-Man: Blue (after the character's emotions), Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk Gray (after the protagonists' early colours). The Yellow also refers to cowardice, as Daredevil is The Man Without Fear; Gray refers to the Hulk's status as a wildcard straddling the line between good and evil.
  • Also by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale: In Batman: The Long Halloween, each issue is named for a holiday (with the exception of the first and last issues, named "Crime" and "Punishment").
  • All of The Walking Dead trade paperbacks have a three-word title.
  • Several arcs in Brian Azzarello's Hellblazer run were named after phrases involving the word "Hell", including "Highwater" and "...Freezes Over".
  • With one exception, the title of each of the 100 Bullets collections is based around its number. Book two is "Split Second Chance", while book ten is "Decayed" (sounds like decade). Some titles don't actually contain the numerical pun, but instead are cleverly part of a phrase that would usually include that number, such as "Samurai," the seventh book, "The Hard Way," the eighth, and the twelfth book, "Dirty." The only book to break this tradition is "Hang Up on the Hang Low", which was named after a Story Arc contained in the book as the story in question had won an Eisner Award.
    • The final volume, "Wilt," is especially clever since it's not only referring to the end of the series, but also to Wilt Chamberlain's jersey number with the LA Lakers, which was 13.
  • Each chapter of V for Vendetta features a word beginning with 'V'; "The Villain", "Virtue Victorious", "The Verdict", "Verwirrung" (German for confusion), etc.
  • Each story in D.R. & Quinch is titled "D.R. & Quinch _____". For example, "D.R. & Quinch Go Girl Crazy".
  • The title of every chapter of Watchmen, and in fact the title Watchmen itself, is a Literary Allusion Title, with the full quote given at the end of each chapter.
  • Every chapter in the 2000 AD story Zenith is named after a rock song. 2000 AD itself refers to issues as 'progs'.
    • The 2000 AD spin off publication The Judge Dredd Megazine also refers to it's issues as 'Megs'. The short lived 'Extreme Editions' which consisted of vintage 2000 AD reprints were also referred to as X(issue number). The Mighty Tharg seemed to like this trope.
  • The Invincible trades are all named after classic sitcoms. For instance, one was Family Matters, then The Facts of Life, and so on.
    • The tradition was unfortunately broken with the "Viltrumite War" trade.
  • The Fun with Milk & Cheese comics were entitled "First Number One," "Second Number One," etc. until the 5th issue was finally "First Number Two." Based on the notion that the Number One issue of a comic book tends to be grabbed up by collectors and speculators to sell more issues.
  • The first 20 issues of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, as well as the two Mary Jane miniseries preceding them, were all entitled "The ___ Thing", with the second word having to do with the comic's plot. For example, issue 4, when Gwen Stacy is introduced, is called "The Unexpected Thing."
  • The four chapters of Give Me Liberty are named "Homes & Gardens", "Travel & Entertainment", "Health & Welfare", and "Death & Taxes", respectively. The contents are not quite that cheery.
    • With the exception of the fourth chapter, which is more cheerful than either death or taxes. Just.
  • Four of the Cerebus the Aardvark graphic novel collections have titles that could be seen as forming a sentence: Women, Reads, Minds, Guys. (Cerebus's belief in female telepathy is discussed at some point during the story.)
  • Each chapter in the first storyline of the Vertigo Comics Madame Xanadu book is titled by a form of divination, which Madame X uses in that chapter: "By the Runes", "Among the Stars", "In the Cards", "Thru the Crystal", and finally the more general "Of the Future".
  • The Sex Criminals collections are titled with consecutive numbers at the beginning: One Weird Trick, Two Worlds One Cop, Three the Hard Way...
  • The collections of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl are all titled with pop music quotations, with the word "girl" replaced with the word "squirrel".
  • The first three main storylines in Batman (Rebirth) are all titled "I Am..." (Gotham, Suicide and Bane). The pattern is then completely broken by "The War of Jokes and Riddles" and "Rules of Engagement".
  • In Mage, each chapter in each of the three volumes is titled with a phrase from a specific Shakespeare play: Hamlet in The Hero Discovered, Macbeth in The Hero Defined, and The Tempest in The Hero Denied.

    Fan Works 
  • The subtitles of chapters of Through the Eyes of Another Pony all work in "chapter" (Revenge of the Chapter, Son of a Chapter, The Bride of Chapter...).
  • In Marik and Bakura 333 Ways, each chapter is titled "In Which [blank]", where [blank] is a very brief overview of the chapter.
  • Every installment of the New Look Series is titled like [Victim]'s New Look: [Title]
  • Every title in The Reprint and Repackaging of Evangelion is a song lyric.
  • Instead of numbered chapters, Fuck The Jesus Beam uses named chapters with titles. For example, "Chapter Rape: Holocaust."
  • Hunting the Unicorn names its chapters after characters in The Last Unicorn. The three exceptions so far are "The Midnight Carnival," "The Quest," and "The Clock." The last two are very important, plot-wise.
  • Every chapter of Of Love and Bunnies is named for an episode in which a member of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers or Power Rangers Dino Thunder appeared. It was initially confined to just those two shows, but then the writers starting running out of names.
  • In Winter War, the chapter titles are of the format "[POV character]: [Title]", or "Ensemble: [Title]" if there are several POV characters- e.g., "Nanao: Winter", "Ensemble: "The Day Before". The few exceptions are things like "Karakura: Waiting" (actually the first ensemble chapter) and a very few chapters that list multiple narrators in the heading, like "Momo, Isane: We Have Met The Enemy".
  • The name of every episode of Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show ends with "-no Jutsu!" For Example:
    • "Pilot no Jutsu!"
    • "Spoof Movie no Jutsu!"
    • "Bowie no Jutsu!"
    • "Fanservice no Jutsu!"
    • and "Milkshake No Jutsu!"
  • The long iCarly fanfic ''Beneath The Pale Moonlight'' uses song titles for chapter names. The title of the story itself isn't the name of a song, but is taken from a line in the song Save The Last Dance For Me by the Drifters (not Somewhere Out There from the An American Tail soundtrack).
  • A Posse Ad Esse, a Die Anstalt fanfic, uses Latin phrases for chapter titles. So far, Compos Mentis for Chapter 9 is the least obscure of them.
  • Nerima Magistra Nelly Magi names each chapter after a song.
  • A Salaryman In Nobunas Court has each chapter referred to as a 'Slice' which is appropriate for the story being set in the Warring States era.
  • A Delicate Balance names each chapter after a John Donne poem, a quote from which appears as an Epigraph at the start of each chapter.
  • Zany To The Max: Every Kat the Cat segment is entitled "Kat the Cat: The ___," the blank being a noun that has to do with the episode.
  • Lady Norbert tends to use this trope in a lot of her larger fanworks:
  • Tangled Up In Blues: The chapters are all titled "The [something] Blues", usually referring to the prominent location or character from the chapter, until the last one (which is simply "The Friendship Blues").
  • Most fan works based off on the Ace Attorney series include the word turnabout in the title, like in the canon cases. Examples include A Complete Turnabout, Turnabout Storm and Turnabout Substitution.
  • Whispers: Each chapter is named after a key phrase within.
  • Each episode in the PONY.MOV series follows the naming scheme "[single word related to the contents of the video].MOV".
  • The Daria/Legion of Super-Heroes Crossover Legion Of Lawndale Heroes has (starting with Volume Two) each chapter named after a song title. The author has said that this is an homage to the same naming style as Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • Every chapter of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance is named after a line of dialogue spoken in that chapter.
  • Half of all the thread titles at Absit Omen (a Harry Potter forum roleplay) contain many shout-outs to other fantasy, film, television and music, along with author and character specific titles ('The Adventure of the _____' when following the mysteries an auror character investigates).
  • The Mixed-Up Life of Brad has chapter names made up of puns that incorporate the name "Brad".
  • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, episode titles take the form "The Tale of X"; chapter titles take the form "Nth Night".
  • Every chapter in Retro Chill is titled after a song.
  • Every episode of The Future is Stupid, part of ''Nickelodeon Fanon', named "The (something) is Stupid".
  • Every title of every story in The Vinyl And Octavia Series is "Vinyl and Octavia..." followed by a general synopsis of the plot. To a lesser extent, as there's only two chapters, the fifth story, Vinyl and Octavia Have Multiple Dates, has the chapters named Octavia's Date with Vinyl and Vinyl's Date with Octavia respectively.
  • All the titles in book two of Luminosity are words about a person (Liar, Runner, Guesser, etc.), describing the perspective character.
  • The chapters of A New World, A New Way sidestory Swarm are named after Pokèmon moves. The chapter title also follows suit in a different way, as it's named after a Pokèmon ability.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja every chapter is called a "Song", starting with "The Song of Lost Souls" and moving through "The Song of the New Path", "The Song of the Wanderer", "The Song of Bloody Tears" and so on, so forth.
  • Every chapter of The Biter Bit has an Alliterative Title.
  • Each episode of Super Therapy! is called a "Session", and its title (bar the second) begins with the name of the super analyzed and ends with "Therapy!" (with the exception of "Thor-apy!").
  • Each chapter in Cibus Esculentus Madoka Magica is named after meal courses.
  • In The Bridge spinoff The Bridge: Sound of Thunder, the chapter titles form a short poem when combined.
  • In Various Vytal Ventures, chapter titles are two four letter words, usually a short common phrase, that indicates the chapter's content, like 'Body and Soul', 'Rock and Roll', or 'Wine and Dine'. Word of God is that the final chapters are intended to be 'Rise and Fall' and then ‘Dusk and Dawn’, set long after the end of the RWBY main series.
  • The chapters of Weiss Reacts are often titled Weiss Reacts to X, with X being the subject of the chapter. Climactic or plot-heavy arcs are titled with The (Event Name), and some fanfics are called by Special Chapter: (Fanfic Name).
  • All odd-numbered chapters in The Second Try are numbered from 12th to 17th to represent the Angel fought, while even-numbered chapters are named with a single verb based on its major theme.
  • In A World, Reflected, each chapter is a short phrase separated by a comma. Examples include "A Traitor, Exiled", "A Damsel, Distressed", "A House, Divided", and "A Truth, Revealed".
  • Triptych Continuum: Multiple instances:
    Without Mirrors
    Upon Reflection
    Reversed Images
    True Polarization
  • In Holi-daze, each chapter of 12 Days is titled after the 12 days of Christmas and each chapter of 13 Nights is titled after a horror movie.
  • Starting with Away, every chapter title in Stroll is related to the previous.
  • The chapters of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing/Avatar: The Last Airbender Fusion Fic Tears of Revelry are derived from lines of four songs that formed the core soundtrack of the fanfic, "Seven Devils" by Florence + the Machine, "Remember the Name" by Fort Minor, "We Are One" by 12 Stones, and "Lexington" by Alpha Rev.
  • Each chapter of Blizzard Of The Red Castle works in the English translation(s) of the character(s) principally involved in it.
  • In the Motion Practice series, which recasts various Marvel superheroes as lawyers, all the full-length stories are named after legal terms.
  • In Bloom every chapter title is a stage of a plants life cycle ("Germination") or a term related to agriculture ("Fertile Soil").
  • Oversaturated World: Multiple instances:
    • Oversaturation: The story's nine chapters all have One Word Titles which are terms that relate to color:
    • Fey Breeze: The first four chapters have a seasonal theme:
      • Winter
      • Spring
      • Summer
      • Fall
    • Fanfic/Petriculture: A lot.
    • One-Word Title for the title of each story:
      • Petriculture
      • Inscape
      • Avocation
      • Pi
      • Pandelirium
      • Transdementia
      • Manifesto
    • The chapter titles, for those that have multiple chapters.
      • Inscape: The chapters are all named after playground and parlor games.
      • Avocation: Most of the titles are Job Titles, named after the job that Penumbra had before that chapter, Assistant Pastry Chef, Preening Technician.
      • Pi: All named after properties of circles. Circumference, Diameter, Ratio
      • Pandelirium: Every chapter shares its title with a song by the Legendary Shack Shakers, and the whole story is named after one of their albums.
      • Transdementia: Each chapter is named after a song by School of Seven Bells.
  • In Freakin Gensokyo, one in every five chapters stars the author's tetchy friend Matt. These almost always have a title in the form "The X with a Y for a Head"; for example, The Man with a DIY Railgun for a Head or The Loli with Legislation for a Head.

     Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars has had each film, on top of a title for each, also designated by Episode, with the 1977-1983 trilogy Episodes IV to VI, their prequels from 1999-2005 I to III, and their sequels from 2015+ with VII onwards, presumably ending at IX.
  • Resident Evil follow a standard naming convention, with the film's title followed by a one-word subtitle (beginning with the second movie). Each subtitle actually seems to follow from the previous one in some way: Apocalypse, Extinction, Afterlife and most recently Retribution.
    • Also present in the Capcom movies, Resident Evil: Degeneration and Resident Evil: Damnation.

     Podcasts 
  • All of Wolf 359's episodes are named after a single line or word from that episode, relevancy be damned. This can lead to some pretty cool titles ("Am I Alone Now?", "Deep Breaths", three-parter "Pan-Pan", "Mayday" and "Sécurité", "Limbo", "Memoria", and "Into the Depths"), but most of them are incredibly silly, especially in season one. This is also the case with the Wham Episodes, by the way. The weirdest titles include: "Extreme Danger Bug", "Gas Me Twice", "The Kumbaya Approach", "What's Up Doc?", "Bach To The Future", "Lame-O Superhero Origin Story", two-parter "Knock Knock" and "Who's There?", "Don't Poke The Bear", two-parter "Desperate Times" and "Desperate Measures", "The Hiccups Method" and "Shut Up And Listen".
  • The episode titles for the Cool Kids Table Harry Potter-themed game Hogwarts: The New Class are taken from relevant quotes from the episode itself.

    Radio 
  • BBC radio comedy The Burkiss Way, being originally conceived with the conceit of being the radio version of correspondence course "The Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living", used the form "Lesson X: ______ The Burkiss Way": "Lesson 1: Peel Bananas The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 4: Solve Murders The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 12: Make Short Comedy Programmes The Burkiss Way", etc. As the show drifted away from the original format to a more surreal form, they began playing with the format: "Lesson 19: Replace The Burkiss Way", "Lesson 21: Get Cut Off The Bur-", "Lesson 23: Son Of The Burkiss Way", etc. This was lampshaded with "Lesson 28: Ignore These Programme Titles The Burkiss Way". The penultimate episode of series 4 is called "Lesson 33: The Last Burkiss Way"; the actual final episode is then called "Lesson 34: The Next To Last Burkiss Way". There are two Lesson 39s, both called "Repeat Yourself The Burkiss Way"; the second starts the same as the first, before stopping with an apology for putting the wrong tape on. Lesson 45 is usually referred to as "Write Extremely Long Titles The Burkiss Way"; The full title as given in the Radio Times is "Lesson 45: Write Extremely Long Titles With Lots And Lots Of Words In, Like This, So That The Radio Times Will Have To Allot More Space Than The Measly Half A Centimetre Of Billing Space We Usually Get And At Least It'll Look A Bit More Prominent On The Page, Although Still Nowhere Near The 50 Column Inches They Give To The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy The Burkiss Way".
  • Adventures in Odyssey has used a few. The 1993 season used verses from the Lord's Prayer as titles for individual episodes: "Our Father","Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Thy Kingdom Come","Thy Will Be Done", "Our Daily Bread", "Forgive Us as We Forgive", "Into Temptation", "Deliver Us from Evil", "For Thine Is the Kingdom", "The Power", "And the Glory", "Forever...Amen". These episodes were later released in a compilation titled "On Earth as it is in Heaven."
    • During Bernard and Eugene's Road Trip arc, the episode had titles based on numerical succession: "First Hand Experience", "Second Thoughts", "Third Degree", "It Happened in Four Corners" and "The Fifth House on the Left."
  • Bleak Expectations: the first season titles described the continual ruination of Pip's life with "A <stage of life> <adverb> <verb>" (starting with "A Childhood Cruelly Kippered"); later seasons continued the theme with "A <adjective> Life <adverb> <verb>" (starting with "A Lovely Life Cruelly Re-Kippered").
  • The first season of Revolting People had the episode titles "Storm Clouds"; "More Storm Clouds"; "Even More Storm Clouds"; "Tons of Storm Clouds"; "A Helluva Lot of Storm Clouds"; and "An Incredible Amount of Storm Clouds". Season 2 had "Trying Times"; "Even More Trying Times"; "Some More Trying Times"; "And Yet Even More Trying Times"; "A Bunch More Trying Times"; and "Still in Trying Times". They dropped the idea in seasons 3 and 4.
  • As in the TV show that succeeded it, the Dragnet radio show episodes were all of the format "The Big ____"
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in its entirety was split up into phases (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Quandary, Quintessential and Hexagonal) and each phase was split into six "fits" (reference to Lewis Carroll).
  • Doctor Who – Expanded Universe
    • The BBC Audio Books dramas starring Tom Baker and written by Paul Magrs are split into the Arcs Hornets' Nest, Demon Quest and Serpent Crest.
    • The Big Finish Doctor Who arc The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 2: The Triumph of Sutekh comprises four stories with the title "The <item> of <Egyptian god>" (The Pyramid of Sutekh, The Vaults of Osiris, The Eye of Horus, and The Tears of Isis).
  • Undone had single word titles beginning "Un": series 1's were "Unalike", "Untoward", "Ungainly", "Underground", "United" and "Unending".
  • All episodes of Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation have titles starting "How to...", describing the topic from which Jeremy will be digressing this week. The shortest so far is "How to Die", the longest is "How to be Better Theologically, Socially, Nationally and in Terms of One's Own Personal Development, Responsibility and Interaction with the Fellow Humans with Whom We Share this Fragile Planet, and Ting" (usually referred to as "How to be Better").

    Tabletop Games 
  • The code names of Magic: The Gathering expansions always have some kind of theme to them, ranging from Mexican words to food; examples have included "Rock/Paper/Scissors" (for Shards of Alara/Conflux/Alara Reborn) and "Live/Long/Prosper" (for Zendikar/Worldwake/Rise of the Eldrazi).
  • Many genre supplements for the original Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG used the "(adjective) (noun), (adjective) (noun)":
    • Big Robots, Cool Starships (mecha and science fiction)
    • Cold Hands, Dark Hearts (gothic and horror)
    • Big Ears, Small Mouse (talking animal cartoons)
    • Hot Rods & Gun Bunnies (modern action; bends the convention a bit).

    Theater 
  • Angels in America is a total of eight acts long, and each act has a name. Some of them are more... interesting than others.
    • Millenium Approaches Act Three: "Not-Yet-Conscious, Forward Dawning"
    • Perestroika Act Three: "Borborygmi (The Squirming Facts Exceed the Squamous Mind)"
    • And then there's Perestroika Act One: "Spooj"
  • Each scene in the musical Music in the Air is titled after a form of classical music. The first scene, which shows the evolution of a songbird's twittering into a melody later to be known as "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star," is fittingly labeled 'Leit Motif'.

    Web Animation 
  • Bonus Stage defines its seasons through the use of this.
    • The first season's titles are all one word, with one exception, "The NYE".
    • Season 2's titles have "2" in them, except for the first episode, "Return". In addition, the titles of the second through fifth episodes of this season are the names of the first four episodes of the series, with "2" added.
    • Season 3's titles start with "Virtual".
    • Season 4 has rather contrived titles with "Curs" in them.
    • Season 5's episodes have "Fi" as the first two letters.
    • Season 6's titles are riffs on episode titles of The Simpsons.
    • Season 7's titles are more general puns.
  • Awesome Series has all the titles named after the work being parodied, but with one word replaced with "Awesome".

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In The With Voices Project, all the Ib With Voices episodes are named for the colors of the walls of the rooms Ib is exploring at that time.
  • In New Vindicators, every chapter in the main narrative is named after a song. In the European game, this isn't the case, although the first major arc has chapters named after chess terms, relating to Meaningful Name.
  • The title of every episode of The Time... Guys is based on a saying with the word "time" in it.
  • Some FAQ/walkthrough writers on GameFAQs do this. For instance, Split Infinity, a major Final Fantasy FAQ writer, uses names of characters for version "numbers."
  • THE MAJORITY OF SMOSH VIDEOS ARE ALL CAPS AS EXCLAMATIONS OF AWESOMENESS, STUPIDITY, OR BOTH.
  • Caught Chatting follows the pattern of Two and a Half Men, naming each episode after a quote from it.
  • Psycomedia uses this for the Frankenpodcasts, which are named after the Universal film series.
  • The Platoon Of Power Squadron calls each episode a hypothesis.
  • For its first season, Noob named its episodes "level [number]".
  • In hybrid webcomic/browser game Demon Thesis, you control four college students who are unexpected gifted with Elemental Powers among other magic abilities and thrust into fighting all sorts of creatures, up to and including Eldritch Abominations. Each major arc is labelled after part of the school or college experience, so we have arcs labelled as Intramurals, Field Trip, Midterms, Spring Break, etc.
  • For the first four years of the ApprenticeEh vlog, they used movie, TV, and book titles but replaced all or part of a word with "vlog". This ended at the start of 2015 when they changed up their whole vlog format.
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee titles each episode after a word or phrase from that episode's conversation.
  • Cat Muto's Persona 3 Let's Play videos all had Latin titles that began with Memento.


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