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Ironic Episode Title

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A title that implies something optimistic, happy, and generally positive... for an episode that's not. Favorites include traditionally joyous holidays (Christmas, Valentine's Day), emotions on the positive side of the spectrum (Love, Joy) and generally optimistic words (Beautiful, Wonderful).

Expect the Wham Episode to use this. Deceptively Silly Title is a subtrope.


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     Anime & Manga 

     Fan Works 
  • Best Friends Forever concerns Twilight Sparkle's maddened attempts to keep her friends alive for all eternity, which feature her repeatedly regressing them to infancy against their will and destroying their minds in the process. Oh, and Twilight was driven to this conclusion while watching Fluttershy slowly die of old age. For good measure, the story ends with Celestia killing Twilight to spare the Mane Six from any more of this, leaving Celestia struggling with the guilt of having killed her former friend.
  • A decidedly downplayed and simple example would be "Camping on a Deserted Rock is FUN!", from Calvin & Hobbes: The Series.
  • The third story in the Angel of the Bat trilogy is named, "Da Pacem Domine", which is Latin for, "Give peace, Lord." The phrase is borrowed from a chant utilized during the Crusades and is tied in with the story's villains, who are most certainly not peaceful.
  • The One to Make It Stay has All the Laughs We Had in the Past, so named not just as a reference to Lush's Etheriel, but referring to the nostalgia surrounding Team Miraculous in happier, less stressful times. Said story features some of the strain between the teammates coming to a head, turning into a massive Wham Episode when Adrien loses his ring to Miracle Queen and it ends up in Hawkmoth's hands, heralding major changes.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • La Souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) is about a woman who never smiles, trapped as she is in a desperately unhappy marriage to a boor.
  • The unnamed lead character in the 2018 Canadian short film Attainment (which contains no dialogue) is so obsessed with becoming the best competitive figure skater in the world that he over-trains to the point where he suffers from a complete mental and physical breakdown. His dream is thus shattered and it becomes unattainable.
  • The James Bond film No Time to Die. Both Felix Leiter and Bond himself die in this one.


     Live-Action TV 
  • The House episode "Merry Little Christmas" was anything but. It ends with House sprawling in a pool of his own vomit/drool in front of the TV after nearly overdosing on Vicodin, while his "best friend" Wilson just looks at him lying there then walks away in disgust. The irony is questionable, since this is is obviously a reference to the song Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, which is really a pretty nasty piece of work in the first place. The original lyrics are even bleaker, but Judy Garland refused to sing them. It's a pun title, since the patient of the week is a little person.
  • The first season finale of Desperate Housewives, "One Wonderful Day". Wonderful indeed - at the end of the episode, one husband is dead, another husband is in prison, and a third character is Left for Dead. (The Stephen Sondheim song suggested by the show's Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, however, doesn't go any darker than an Ironic Echo.)
  • Supernatural:
    • "Everybody Loves a Clown", also a candidate for horrific.
    • "The Kids Are Alright." They are not. They are really really not.
    • "Time Is On My side" given it comes an episode before Dean's contract is due.
    • "A Very Supernatural Christmas" — anything but merry. Features evil old people and torn out fingernails.
    • "I Believe the Children Are Our Future" is something of a subversion in that Antichrist Jesse turns out to be a nice kid.
    • "The Hero's Journey" denies all heroic moves to both Sam and Dean, who have to be saved by Garth all the way through.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • "An Echolls Family Christmas", one of the most highly-regarded episodes, ends with a character being stabbed at his own Christmas party by a woman he cheated on his wife with at a Halloween party...while he was making eyes at another woman (also not his wife).
    • "Happy Go Lucky." He really isn't.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Fool for Love" is exploration of Spike's backstory, and while there are a few moments of romance, it's mostly bad-assed carnage as Spike tells the stories of how previously he killed two slayers. It's also a Literary Allusion Title to the Sam Shepard play of the same name, which is very similar in structure.
    • Word of God confirms that the fourth season episode where Faith wakes up from a coma and steal Buffy's body was originally called "rise and shine".
  • The momentous The X-Files episode "Nothing Important Happened Today", named after King George III's supposed diary entry for July 4, 1776, the day the United States declared its independence from Britain. (Of course George could be forgiven for his ignorance given the lack of telecommunications in those days.)
  • The Young Ones episode "Boring" has lots of interesting things going on, but Rick, Viv, Neil and Mike just don't happen to notice any of them.
  • The concept of the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "The Dull Life of a City Stockbroker". Although the stockbroker himself may agree with the title.
  • The very first episode of Red Dwarf was called "The End". Borderline because the episode actually did deal with a massive accident that wiped out almost the entire crew, setting up the series for After the End. (And with that situation set up, the episode ended with a caption in the same font, saying "The Beginning".)
  • The Lost episodes "Something Nice Back Home" and "There's No Place Like Home" both feature unpleasant flashforwards of the time after the Oceanic 6 get home.
  • Babylon 5 has several episodes with deliberately unassuming titles that contain very important events, for example, "Interludes and Examinations", in which several important characters variously die, leave their job because of addiction, and make a deal with the devil. Among other things.
  • "Taking a Break from All Your Worries" from Battlestar Galactica (2003). According to the producers, the original concept was supposed to fit the title. It turned into an episode about drowning your marital problems at the bar and interrogating Baltar with psychotropic drugs.
  • The last episode of Doctor Who before the show was cancelled was called "Survival". The show has since returned.
  • The series finale of Stargate SG-1 was called "Unending".
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Sunday" because it sounds like an episode about the characters relaxing and having a day off and mostly is... until they kill off a main character.
  • Choujin Sentai Jetman has the episode "Glory of the Emperor Tranza", which ends with the emperor in question completely beaten down by the heroes, physically forced to acknowledge The Starscream as the new emperor, and finally being mind raped by said new emperor and left drooling and rambling in an insane asylum.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is this trope when applied to an entire show, but usually tend to avoid using these kinds of episode titles with the exception of "A Very Sunny Christmas" which has Charlie finding out he's a Son of a Whore, a Mall Santa's ear getting bitten off, and theft. (Granted, sunshine isn't very Christmas-y).
  • How I Met Your Mother has the episode Happily Ever After which happens right after Ted is left at the altar by his fiancée Stella.
  • Gotham's Grand Finale was named "The Beginning", in reference to it being the start of Bruce Wayne's tenure as Batman.



     Video Games 

     Web Animation 

     Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest can fall into this at times when a title of a thread sounds more cheerful and optimistic than it actually is, such as one where a character is getting killed. Sometimes it isn't intentional, and the handlers had no idea what exactly was going to happen in the thread. In other cases, it's intentional. One example in v4 pre-game is titled "Happily Ever Afters (Below The Waist)", which has JJ Sturn Kick the Dog by breaking up with Rosa Fiametta after sleeping with her and then hitting her. In v4 proper, another example was titled "Thank You For Being A Friend" in which Reiko Ishida crosses the Moral Event Horizon by strangling her only living friend to death in a fit of rage.

     Western Animation 
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has an episode called "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown". The clown only shows up for one second.
  • Steven Universe; in the episode "Dewey Wins", Nanefua Pizza wins the election and becomes mayor of Beach City, even though the title is clearly saying Dewey Wins. Although Dewey believed he'd be crushed by the pressure of an actual crisis, he admits Nanefua would be a better mayor than him. The title is a play on a famous picture of Harry Truman after the presidential election, holding up a newspaper with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman". The headline was premature; Truman had actually won.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron and the episode "A Bright And Shiny Future". Guess what happens.
  • From Teen Titans; the three-part season finale episode of season four was called "The End". However, even though it dealt with the end of the world, it actually ended with the Earth being restored, and the show continued for another season. One of Raven's lines at the end of the episode is "I guess, in the end, there really is no end. Just new beginnings."
  • The last episode of the second season of Codename: Kids Next Door was called Operation E.N.D. The "end" of the KND was successfully prevented, and the show itself had four more seasons.
  • The Legend of Korra: The episode in which Zaheer kills the Earth Queen is titled "Long Live the Queen". However, there is context behind this; the title itself is taken from the traditional proclamation: "The King/Queen Is Dead, Long Live The King/Queen", making it a meaningful, Spoiler Title because it's usually announced after a monarch's death, but also ironic because in this case, no one has succeeded immediately after.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The episode "The Precious, Wonderful, Adorable, Lovable Duckling" is about a duckling that only pretends to be cute and innocent, but is actually evil and hates Courage. Doubles as Ironic Name.
  • An episode of Arthur is titled "Vomitrocious" which is Muffy's catchphrase...but the episode is about Francine.