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"And there's the cane from Citizen Kane. Wait a minute, there was no cane in Citizen Kane." note 
Lisa, The Simpsons, "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?"
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Sometimes, a title makes no sense. Sometimes, however, a title will make a sort of sense, but on later ponderings, will be seen as misleading. Sometimes this is due to the title being an Artifact Title or perhaps the writer simply thought it was a cooler name. It also sometimes leads to instances of I Am Not Shazam.

Compare Completely Different Title when it changes the original title to a misleading one. Contrast Exactly What It Says on the Tin. By definition, all examples of "Untitled" Title have inaccurate titles. See also Deceptively Silly Title, Sarcastic Title, Trivial Title or Secondary Character Title. Subverted by Spoiler Title, which is so accurate that it manages to give away important plot points. Inaccurate or misleading titles are an essential part of a Clickbait Gag, which mocks online uses of this trope among other manipulative online tropes.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • There is a horror manga called Anorexia: Shikabane Hanako wa Kyoshokushou. It has nothing to do with anorexia. It's about cannibalism.
  • Basilisk doesn't include any actual Basilisks; the title is metaphorical.
  • The fourth Black Jack OVA is called Anorexia: The Two Dark Doctors. The patient does not have anorexia, but a parasite that makes her involuntarily vomit whenever she eats (which is closer to bulimia).
  • In Code Geass, Episode 13 is titled "Shirley At Gunpoint". Shirley is not held at gunpoint at any point in the episode, and the ending has Shirley picking up a gun and pointing it at an injured Zero.
  • The Japanese title of the fourth Dragon Ball movie, Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug, is "Super Saiyajin da Son Gokū" (Super Saiyajin/Saiyan Goku), during which Goku takes a form that was supposed to be a Super Saiyan, but since it was made before the manga reached the point where Goku became one, it's not what most people would recognize as such (there's no change in eye or hair color, and it's a completely Unstoppable Rage instead of Tranquil Fury). The form was later ret conned by a sidebook to be a "false" Super Saiyan form.
  • Drifting Classroom is about a whole school, and it doesn't drift — it makes one big jump and then stays put.
  • Fist of the North Star ostensibly refers to the main character, but Kenshiro's martial art is actually named for the Big Dipper, and official sources tend to leave the Japanese name for it ("Hokuto") untranslated. The Big Dipper is a constellation often used to locate Polaris, the North Star, but the star is not a part of the constellation itself (it's in the Little Dipper). A more literal translation of the Japanese title, Hokuto no Ken, would be "Fist of the Big Dipper", but that doesn't sound nearly as cool. "Ken the Great Bear Fist", the localized title suggested by Toei's International Sales & Promotion Department (source), is a bit closer - Ursa Major or the "Great Bear" is another name for the Big Dipper - but also doesn't sound all that great.
  • No one in Grenadier actually uses any grenades.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The "Endless Eight" story arc does, in fact, end. Also, the "eight" refers to the loop taking place in August, not the number of repetitions, which is more like fifteen thousand. (The anime confuses this further by showing eight repetitions, one episode each. We only see the final one in the light novel.)
  • How I Became a Pokémon Card does not relate to becoming cards in any way. It's a bunch of Slice of Life one-shots, and the name comes from the manga being drawn by people who draw the Pokémon cards and the fact each chapter comes with a Pokémon card.
  • The first two Inuyasha movie titles, Affections Touching Across Time and Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, are rather deceptive. Both of those things have a very small role in the movies. This is quite a contrast to most tv episodes, where the plots are often spelled out quite literally in the title. For example, episode 36 is titled "Kagome gets Kidnapped by a Wolf Demon".
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Well... apparently the answer is yes because the protagonist never does that. His (skeevy) grandfather told him a dungeon would be a good place to get a girl, but this happens in reverse with his main love interest.
  • Total number of "Crazy Shrine Maidens" in Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens: Crazy Shrine Maidens: 0. The closest thing is Nagi claiming to be a shrine maiden as her cover story. (We eventually meet a real one in the manga, but she's a minor character and not crazy.)
  • Surprisingly few characters are killed in Kill la Kill (unless you count all the cannon fodder that goes flying at every explosion). Of the four characters who die, only Suzuki, the student from the opening scene, is directly killed by another character. Two of the others (the Big Bad and her Dragon) commit suicide and the fourth dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. Most battles are resolved non-lethally with Seni-Soshitsu. This is a pun because in Japanese the "kill" in the title is written and pronounced like "kiru," a verb meaning "to wear [clothes]."
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie 1st The Comics is not a prequel to the Movie, but an Alternate Continuity.
  • "The Midnight Parasites" is an animated re-imagining of the works of Hieronymus Bosch. Only two of the creatures seen are portrayed as parasites (specifically, reproductive parasitoids), and there's no indication it takes place at midnight.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!'s title is a "lie" on many levels:
    • Catarina may have been reborn into the body of the villainess of a game, but the moment that she regains her Past-Life Memories, any sort of villainy becomes an impossibility for her.
    • Despite the statement that "all" of the routes end with doom, there are actually only six of twelve that do.Spoiler  The routes for Alan and Nicol have nothing to do with Catarina at all, and neither do Raphael's good end or the Friendship route. That means that there's an even six-six split between good endings for Catarina and doom endings, even ignoring said reincarnation's potential to throw things entirely Off the Rails.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion's episode 24 is titled "Saigo no Shisha". Usually translated as "The Final Messenger", it also means "The Final Casualty". While Kaworu's is chronologically the last character death in the original series, End of Evangelion is thought to be occurring at the same time as episodes 25 and 26 and includes multiple on-screen deaths.
  • No legends are ever awakened throughout Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened, and Genesect's too ancient and Mewtwo too recent for either of them to have any legends focused on them. Presumably, it refers to Mega Mewtwo Y, but no big deal is made of it in-universe, and the special episode acting as a prequel to this shows that Mewtwo was using it since day one of its life.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • The name makes it pretty clear that it's about a magical girl named Madoka. Except... Madoka does not become a magical girl until the last episode, and even then it's hard to call her a magical girl because she turns into an abstract godlike concept. However, before this happens we do find out that Homura originated from a timeline in which Madoka did become a magical girl earlier on, meaning that Madoka becoming a magical girl did start the plot in a way.
    • The other problem is the "Puella Magi" part, which sounds like a rebranding of "Magical Girl," but the Gratuitous Latin term never appears in-universe—it's only in the title. It does appear once in the sequel movie, as part of the name of a group of magical girls, but neither Madoka nor anyone else is ever referred to as a "Puella Magi."
  • There is a Ranma ½ episode titled "Ranma and Kuno's... First Kiss." Be thankful that you really can never trust a title.
  • Robot × Laserbeam must involve mecha or something, right? Nope. It's about golf. The main character's nickname is "Robo" because he's absurdly analytical and emotionless. He turns out to have incredible innate skill at golf through Awesomeness by Analysis, launching balls with (as the other characters put it) laser-beam precision.
  • The Sands of Destruction anime is subtitled Sekai Bokumetsu Rokunin, "The Six People Who are Going to Destroy the World". Well, two of those six are actively working to save the world, and another three don't want to destroy the world; they're just stuck with the one girl who does. But even this one girl spends precious little of her screen time actually trying to destroy the world or figure out how to use the device she believes will do it for her. And the world isn't destroyed in the end, either - even she decides it's not such a bad place after all.
  • School Rumble is described by Funimation as "The absolute funniest show you'll ever see that's not about anything that rumbles... ever!", although admittedly there is at least a school...
  • This can happen when an author does not know as much English as they think they do and decides to append an official English version of their work's original English title. For example, one would think that something called Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 would be about the members of a particular class, right? Nope! It turns out to be about a club of girls who are of disparate ages and none of whom (as far as we know) are in the same class as one another. The original Japanese title, Tokurei Sochi Dantai Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu more accurately translates as Preferential Measure Organization Stella Women's Academy, High School Division, C3 Club.
  • Though the titles do make some sense in context, ...Virgin Love and its sequel ...Junai no Seinen (The Young Person's Pure Love) do not do a very good job indicating how smutty the works are.
  • There's a manga entitled Yandere Kanojo, which you would expect to be about dating a lovesick girl, especially due to its female lead's first appearance carrying a bloody baseball bat. Not so, as the "yan" in the title is for "yankee" - his girlfriend is a deredere juvenile delinquent. The female lead's mother, on the other hand...

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore's The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones is actually incomplete. Moore left 2000AD before finishing it.
  • BIONICLE:
    • Comic 25: Birth of the Rahaga is an apt description of the comic's story. The alternative title on its cover, The Final Battle, not really. Unless one means that it's the final battle between these specific characters over this specific artifact. It's also a flashback, which makes the title more bogus.
    • Mahri Nui, the eponymous settlement from graphic novel #6, The Underwater City, only appears on a few stray panels and has little bearing on the plot.
  • The Return of Barry Allen is, in fact, not about Barry's return (which wouldn't happen until Final Crisis), but rather Wally West dealing with an Eobard Thawne from before he came into conflict with Barry.
  • Many things happen in Ultimatum, except an actual ultimatum.
  • The title of Watchmen refers to the graffiti, and the philosophical question "Who watches the watchmen", not a group of superheroes.
    • This does not, however, prevent the fans from calling them the Watchmen. The movie even changes the name of the Crimebusters to reflect it.

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animation 
  • Asterix Conquers America: Asterix doesn't conquer America, he only visits it. A case of Completely Different Title, since the original French title was Asterix et les Indiens (Asterix and the Indians)
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham: Batman is featured, but not the central character. It is more of a Suicide Squad film with Deadshot as the protagonist.
  • Eight Crazy Nights hardly has anything to do with Hanukkah (outside of a few brief references) and may have very well just been a film set during the Winter season.
  • Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is a borderline example. The first Justice League Dark movie was about Batman gathering a team of supernatural heroes to take down a demonic threat. In Apokolips War, even though John Constantine and Raven are central characters, the villain Darkseid relies on tech rather than magic. Also, the film is the Series Finale of the entire DC Animated Movie Universe and every hero ever featured in the movies is given screentime (one way or another). So even though Raven and Constantine save the day, it's not really their movie, and there is no specialized team of magic users, leaving it debatable as to whether or not the "Dark" subtitle is warranted. On the other hand, one could argue that this is possibly the darkest movie in the lineup if one wishes to go that route.
  • An infamous rip-off of Kung Fu Panda is named The Little Panda Fighter. Except that the titular panda is not "little" but one of the largest characters in the movie. Plus, he only fights for thirty seconds at the end of the movie, and he gets his ass kicked.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Considering the movie takes place in America, the eponymous "Princess" isn't a princess, she's just a waitress who gets mistaken for one. The "Frog" is the one who's of royal descent, and the protagonist only becomes a princess after marrying him at the end.
  • When Nickelodeon aired Shrek 4-D in 2-D in 2007, they marketed it as Shrek's Never Before Seen Adventure, even though it had been featured at Universal Studios since 2003 and was released on DVD in 2004 as Shrek 3-D.
  • In the Disney film Tangled, Rapunzel's magic hair never gets tangled, in spite of the many things, it is brushed over, tied to, etc.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. Can you guess who the mysterious killer in this film might be? Could it perhaps be the evil Swami, played by Boris Karloff? Isn't this a Spoiler Title?... Nope. Not even close. The hotel manager did it.
  • Abduction has no kidnappings whatsoever.
  • In Across the Pacific, the Pacific is never seen, let alone crossed. The original plot was supposed to involve a Japanese plot to bomb Pearl Harbor. When the real-life Pearl Harbor bombing occurred, the plot was hurriedly rewritten to be about an attack on Panama, but the title was not changed.
  • The titles of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Alice Through the Looking Glass aren't completely off base, since the first movie is about Alice being in Wonderlandnote  and the second one does have her passing through a mirror at one point. However, they are somewhat misleading; the first one isn't a retelling of the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but rather a sequel (of sorts), depicting Alice as a young adult, and includes elements of Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there. The sequel has even less to do with the original books.
  • All Monsters Attack's American name is Godzilla's Revenge. Godzilla doesn't get revenge on anyone in the film.
    • Godzilla vs. Gigan's widely publicized American title was Godzilla on Monster Island, despite only a couple very short scenes taking place there. The highlight is Godzilla coming to the Japanese mainland to a theme park inspired by his likeness.
  • In Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, though Ecks and Sever have a very brief scuffle after a chase scene early in the film, they never truly face each other as "enemies". They even end up fighting on the same side by roughly the halfway point of the movie.
  • Blue Monkey is about a black bug.
  • Canyon Passage does not feature a canyon that has any kind of major role in the plot (possibly it was an Artifact Title from the novel it was based on).
  • Only one scene in Chinatown takes place in the actual neighborhood itself.
  • Anyone expecting an actual 'House of Horrors' in Dr. Terror's House of Horrors will be disappointed. Supposedly, the house of horrors refers to Dr. Schreck's Tarot deck, which constructs horrifying futures for people, but this is never explained anywhere in the film. Even the name Dr. Terror is barely justified, with a brief conversation explaining that Dr. Schreck's name would translate into English as Dr. Terror. Nobody ever addresses him as anything other than Dr. Schreck.
  • In the 1991 Farce The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish the favour kicks off the plot and the watch is vital to the backstory, but the very big fish is just an odd side gag disposed of — by a tertiary character whose idea of cooking is pulverizing stuff into slurry — within the first 15 minutes.
  • Frankenstein Conquers the World couldn't be farther from the truth in terms of the film's plot since Frankenstein never so much as tries to conquer the world. The original Japanese release title, Frankenstein vs. Baragon, makes sense since the film builds up to the grand fight between the titular monsters.
  • The movie Future War doesn't take place in the future and doesn't have any war.
  • The protagonist of Gringo isn't the white American that pejorative usually describes, but a black immigrant from Nigeria.
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) is not a sequel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), mainly since the films are in two different continuities. The Mechagodzilla in the 1993 movie, therefore, is usually named "Mechagodzilla 2".
  • The Grapes of Death. Awesome title, but the grapes themselves don't kill anybody. Farm chemicals applied to the grapes cause people to go berserk.
  • Green Book: "Green Book" is short for "The Negro Motorist Green Book", a travel safety guide for African-Americans visiting the Deep South on where to find friendly places where they could eat or stay during the period of the film. However, this only gets mentioned briefly in the film, and used once. While the difficulties Don faces as a black person in the South do feature, most of it's not really about that, and this is one source of criticism.
  • There are no witches in Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The closest there are to witches is a mask that looks like one, but the real antagonist is a novelties company.
  • The movie Hearts in Atlantis. This is due, however, to it being an Artifact Title from the novella: the original novella was called "Low Men in Yellow Coats" and "Hearts in Atlantis" was an entirely different story (called so because the main character — avoiding going to Vietnam by being in college and thus it feeling like Atlantis — played the card game Hearts a lot (It Makes Sense in Context)). The movie doesn't attempt at explaining the title... Brautigan refers to the sunken continent at some point in the dialogue, but that still doesn't make explicit the "hearts" part.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977): There are no sentient eye-possessing hills, just a bunch of hill-dwelling cannibals. Same goes for the remake.
  • While the title may make sense figuratively — in that the house is responsible for many deaths if Stoker is to be believed—no actual blood appears in The House That Dripped Blood. (Which is odd for a film involving vampires.)
  • If Looks Could Kill is about a teenager who's mistaken for a spy and sent on a dangerous mission. With that title, you'd expect the kid to have been confused with the spy because they look alike, right? Nope. He's confused with the spy because they both have the same name.
  • The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is not a campy, counter-culture romp that the title implies. It's a straightforward horror-ish film. The zombies are actually of the traditional "hypnotized" variety and not the undead variety, so they don't "stop living" when they become zombies.
  • Invisible Ghost (1941) does not have a ghost in it, nor is anyone or anything invisible.
  • Kangaroo Jack is very much a supporting character in the roo's own movie. And it doesn't talk aside from a brief hallucination.
  • In The Karate Kid (2010), the central martial art is kung fu, not karate.
  • The Last King of Scotland is actually about the Last Dictator of Uganda (and the viewpoint character is a Scottish doctor). Idi Amin did claim to be the King of Scotland among his many other self-applied titles.
  • From the title, you might be expecting Marathon Man to be an inspirational sports film like Chariots of Fire. The marathon aspect barely factors into the movie (other than justifying why Babe can run like hell so well), though, which is an espionage thriller from start to finish.
  • Margarita with a Straw: The title is just a drink order Laila made at one point. It really has nothing to do with the plot overall.
  • Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future is not about time travel. "20 Minutes into the Future" refers to the setting of the film: the dystopian near future. The phrase isn't used anywhere in the telefilm, but it does appear as a title card in each episode of the series. The telefilm was released on video with the more straightforward title The Max Headroom Story, but no one bothered to change the title screen.
  • Russian movie Mermaid: Lake of the Dead is about a water siren of sorts, but it's not a mermaid. Blame it on the Slavic Myth of the Rusalka being often translated into "mermaid" given both are water entities - although the Rusalka is fully human instead of half-fish.
  • Monster a-Go Go has a monster (sorta), but he doesn't dance - nor does Go-go dancing figure into the threadbare plot it has.
  • My Life as a Dog isn't a human-canine body-swap comedy, but rather a Swedish coming of age dramedy. The closest it gets to literalizing the title is when the main character has a breakdown and pretends to be a dog.
  • At least half of The Pink Panther movies don't involve the Pink Panther jewel. It's an Artifact Title. And don't expect to see the character The Pink Panther past the intro credits.
  • The two old ladies in Rabid Grannies are neither Rabid or Grannies...
  • The Ref. The title implies something sports-related, and the holiday setting suggests something happy, but the movie is about as black a comedy as one will find from mainstream Hollywood. The eponymous character is a cat burglar who kidnaps a dysfunctional married couple in an attempt to evade a manhunt and winds up having to "referee" their bickering while he plots his escape. In retrospect, the title fits, but a first-time viewer would have no idea what to expect.
  • In Riot on Sunset Strip, no riots occur onscreen.
  • The Room. Despite the title, the characters are neither trapped in a room nor is there anything particularly strange about their apartment. According to director and star Tommy Wiseau, the title refers to a person's Happy Place, which only makes sense for about three seconds. According to Greg Sestero in The Disaster Artist (Oh hai, Mark), it was supposed to be a play that all takes place in the same room, to save money on sets. He just never changed the title when transitioning to screen.
  • Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny is a perfect example of this trope. Both of the titular characters barely get any screen time in the entire film, plus the Ice Cream Bunny has nothing to do with ice cream!
  • The title Scream and Scream Again has no bearing on the film at all (and makes it sound like a Slasher Movie rather than the science fiction conspiracy thriller it actually is.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah is set in Sodom. Gomorrah is never so much as glimpsed and only gets a few throwaway references.
  • Sorcerer has nothing to do with magicians or even anything supernatural. Instead, it's about a group of men who ship truckloads of nitroglycerin. Sorcerer is the name of one of these trucks.
  • Sorceress: There isn't a single sorceress in the whole movie. Instead, there's the main villain, a sorcerer.
  • Half of the 1963 Disney film Summer Magic, starring Hayley Mills, actually takes place in autumn, with the film's ending taking place at a Halloween party.
  • Teenage Strangler: To be fair, Janitor-Strangler is a much less snappy title.
  • In the original four The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, very few people are killed with a chainsaw. In the original movie, for example, only one character dies by chainsaw- two are killed with a hammer, another ends up suffering an Uncertain Doom when she’s left in an icebox, and yet another, one of the villains, is hit by a truck.
  • The Thin Man movies have an Artifact Title. The thin man of the original movie referred to the murder victim, not the main character. The third film is called Another Thin Man for no reason, setting the precedent for the rest of the series.
  • The movie Three Kings actually has four main characters. The name comes from the Christmas carol "We Three Kings", whose opening lyric is changed by one of the characters.
  • A Time for Drunken Horses is a notable aversion. You'd swear it was a metaphor, but it really does have drunken horses.
  • TRON isn't really about Tron, but more about Flynn. TRON: Legacy even more so.
  • War of the Gargantuas was originally made to be a loose sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World but the English version acts more like a standalone film with all references to Frankenstein removed and the monsters dubbed as Gargantuas instead. Additionally, compared to the Japanese title Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira, the English title is misleading because, between the titular monsters, Gaira gets the most screen time while Sanda doesn't appear until the midpoint of the film. Besides this, the first fight between them doesn't occur until the last third of the film so the film isn't technically about a war between them.
  • The question of Who Killed Captain Alex? is never answered, and after a very cursory investigation, the issue is dropped entirely from the film, despite Richard's obvious frustration. Even the director doesn't know who killed Captain Alex.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are both misleading about their actual central characters. Wonka has a major presence in the former film but Charlie's character arc is ultimately more important to the plot, whereas the latter film focuses on and develops Wonka much more than Charlie.

    Literature 
  • 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die contains a list of 1001 movies the author considers must-see movies, with each entry accompanied by a short essay explaining why. Except it's not 1001 movies, it's 1001 entriesOlympia parts 1 and 2 are combined in a single entry, as are the two parts of Ivan the Terrible, the three films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the four Toy Story films. Moreover, two of the entries are Krzysztof Kieślowski The Decalogue (a 10-episode miniseries) and Lars von Trier's Riget (an 8-episode, 2-season TV series), aren't movies to begin with. Also, the book is updated annually (and has been since 2003), with the total number of works included numbering 1235 as of the 2020 edition.
  • An African Millionaire: Episodes in the Life of the Illustrious Colonel Clay by Grant Allen has an accurate title, but an untrustworthy subtitle. The African millionaire who is the central character of the novel is named Charles Vandrift; Colonel Clay is a conman who repeatedly targets Vandrift with scams designed to expose his corrupt dealings, leading to the novel's conclusion that the career criminal is no less respectable than the millionaire.
  • Some of the later Animorphs books got really bad about this. Titles like The Suspicion (where nothing is suspicious), The Prophecy (which features no prophecy), and The Hidden (which features a bizarre morphing buffalo that is definitely not hidden) come to mind. Strangely, these are all books from Cassie's point of view. Make of that what you will.
  • Bas-Lag Cycle: Perdido Street Station has almost nothing to do with the eponymous station, beyond a scene in the climax. On the other hand, it's hard to find a title that would fit with a book like that.
  • BIONICLE Chronicles #3: Makuta's Revenge. Makuta's sole presence are two short monologues at the beginning and around the middle, and the rest of the story doesn't concern him, nor is he responsible for releasing the enemies, the six Bohrok-Kal. Their awakening was an automatic response to the heroes' victory over the regular Bohrok swarms and the Bahrag queens, from the previous book. Now, Makuta did release those, so technically he's indirectly responsible for unleashing the Kal as well, but the title's still a stretch. Later story material then Ret-Conned out the "revenge" part, too.
    • Chronicles #4: Tales of the Masks, bearing the subtitle A New Quest..., makes it seem like it's about the Toa Nuva (featured on the cover) re-enacting the tedious mask-collecting from the first book, but with new masks. The real focus is on exploring the relationships between the Toa and Turaga priests, through the Framing Story of the six Turaga reciting the tales of the mask-hunt, which is of lesser importance overall.
    • Legends #11: The Final Battle, though the last of the Legends series and the climax of the original 2001-2008 saga, was by no means the final battle the heroes had to endure.
  • Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty: a book containing scripts of the series, does not cover the whole dynasty. It doesn't contain The Cavalier Years and Blackadder's Christmas Carol (and was released before Back & Forth).
  • "The Six Suspects", the original title of one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories. The killer is not among the eponymous suspects. In its book publication, the story was renamed "Out of Sight".
  • Burnt Offerings has no offerings, burnt or otherwise.
  • In the Doc McStuffins book Chilly Catches a Cold, Chilly doesn't actually catch a cold. He just gets the toy equivalent of hypothermia and needs to be warmed up by the fire.
  • A Clockwork Orange is a Word Salad Title that only makes sense in a variety of metaphorical senses, depending on which of the conflicting stories that Burgess has given to explain it that you believe. Suffice it to say that there are no literal clockwork oranges in the story.
  • The Decline of the West is a non-fiction book by German philosopher Oswald Spengler which inspired many people to grief about the coming end of civilization. Spengler wasn't completely happy with the title (which seemed to imply that the western world had to fall, like the Roman empire) and commented that he could've changed the title to "The fulfillment of the West", which would be closer to his intention - i.e. the west transforming to a stable but stagnant empire in the end. The fact that many fans only knew the title and didn't care to read the book didn't help.
  • The Dinosaur Art books are collections of paleoart in general, and several featured artists mainly or exclusively produce artwork for prehistoric mammals. However, this is par for the course for books on prehistory aimed at the general audience — the word 'dinosaurs' is more marketable, so all sorts of unrelated animals get to be lumped together with them.
  • The Sesame Street book "Ernie's Little Lie" - Ernie doesn't actually lie. While he is tempted to pretend that he painted the painting his cousin sent him, he immediately decides that that would be wrong, and Bert merely mistakes the painting for one Ernie did, without giving Ernie a chance to explain.
  • While Everybody Loves Large Chests does have boobs in it, those are not the chests that the author means.
  • Fear Street has a book called The Mind Reader which focuses on a teen who has visions of the future. You can see the problem with the title.
  • In Agatha Christie's short story "The Four Suspects", the killer turns out to be a fifth character not counted among the so-called suspects.
  • Goosebumps has a few offenders, such as The Birthday Party of No Return. The birthday party in question has little bearing on what is actually going on.
  • The Goblet of Fire has a relatively brief appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and merely serves to trigger the events of the book, after which it's pretty much never seen or mentioned again. "....and the Triwizard Tournament" would've been significantly more descriptive.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien conceived The Lord of the Rings as a single work, divided into six "books", or sections—each of which would have its own title. When the decision was made to split the work into three separate volumes, each containing two of the originally-conceived "books", Tolkien had to make up new titles on the fly. His choice for volume II, The Two Towers, was meant to be deliberately vague, to represent the divergent subject matter covered by books III and IV; Tolkien himself admitted that it was anyone's guess which pair of towers the title referred to. He later came to regret the choice, however, feeling that if anything it was better suited to the third volume:
    I am not at all happy about the title The Two Towers. It must if there is any real reference to it in Vol II refer to Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirith [in Return of the King], that seems very misleading.
  • Max Havelaar, of de koffiveilingen der Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappy. The subtitle means 'or the coffee auctions of the Dutch Trading Company', but neither the company nor its auctions are mentioned anywhere in the book. Multatuli did this deliberately to get as many people as possible - particularly those interested in the coffee trade - to read his Author Tract.
  • Mog: In "Mog on Fox Night", there is no occasion actually named "Fox Night". The foxes just came in to eat Mog's uneaten food.
  • The third and final installment of The Mysterious Benedict Society has the title The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. The Prisoner's Dilemma is only featured at the beginning of the book and has nothing to do with the overall plot of the story.
  • The Neverending Story ends. Well, the book has a bunch of subplots left with No Ending, apparently to inspire children to become writers by actually encouraging them to write their own fan fiction. It's very meta. Of course, it's technically not possible to have a neverending story even if it has No Ending. It will simply stop eventually. Still, you'd think a book with that name would at least be a Doorstopper.
  • The second book in The Nightmare Room 's "Thrillogy" is called What Scares You the Most?, implying the protagonist will have their face their worst fear. This is not the case, unless her worst fear happens to be witches.
  • One Fine Day is a children's book with a very misleading title. While that is the opening line of the book, the entire story is a depressing tale about a fox who gets his tail cut off and goes out of his way on a frustrating journey just so he can get it sewn back on. There is certainly nothing fine about this fox's day at all!
  • Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: It may be the opening line of the book, and the first few pages may be about fish, but the rest of the book has nothing to do with fish at all. A more representative title would have been "Funny Things Are Everywhere" since that is the recurring theme of the book.
  • Neil Gaiman's short story "Other People" has only one character. The title is, presumably, a reference to the saying "hell is other people."
  • Robert E. Howard's most highly regarded horror story has the unfortunately hilarious title Pigeons from Hell, and is not actually about demonic pigeons. At the start of the story, a flock of pigeons is described as a bad omen, but the birds don't play any significant role in the horrific events that follow.
  • The second omnibus of The Spirit Thief novels is titled Revenge of Eli Monpress, and while there is some revenging going on, Eli's not the one doing it.
  • Harry Harrison's gamebook You Can Be The Stainless Steel Rat: Actually, not really. You are assuming the role of a new recruit in the Special Corps. But Stainless Steel Rat Slippery Jim Digriz is your mentor. He sends you on the mission and assumes a role not too dissimilar to Al Calavicci. So it's the next best thing to being The Stainless Steel Rat himself.
  • Star Wars Legends: The Completely Different Title of the German translation of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron is X-Wing: Angriff auf Coruscant, i.e. "assault on Coruscant". However, the novel is merely about the beginnings of the New Republic campaign to eventually take over Coruscant – the actual assault on Coruscant itself doesn't happen until later.
  • The Three Musketeers is actually about the fourth musketeer who meets and joins the original three. While the main characters are members of the historical "musketeers", the plot focuses on their private dueling and brawling with swords rather than their wartime fighting with muskets.
  • Warrior Cats usually averts this, generally having titles that are either vaguely ominous (Dark River, Forest of Secrets) or Mad Lib Fantasy Titles (Bluestar's Prophecy, The Last Hope). However, in Cloudstar's Journey, there is no literal journey. Not odd unless you know about the character: he was famous for taking his entire group of cats away from their home and journeying for days to find a new one. You'd think the novella would be about that. You'd think...
  • The Widow of Desire seems like a romance story, but while it is about a widow, the desire isn't for her as much as taking over her fur coat company or finding Soviet takeover secrets her murdered husband had found out and hidden.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh:
    • In "Piglet Meets a Heffalump", Piglet doesn't actually meet one— he just mistakes Pooh with a jar of honey on his head for a Heffalump.
    • In "Tigger is Unbounced", Tigger is never actually "unbounced", i.e. made less bouncy— Rabbit, Pooh, and Piglet attempt to unbounce him, but they fail.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 Hours in A&E: This show technically stays within the premise that all the events of an episode (barring the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue) occur within 24 hours... but few, if any, episodes cover that long a period - most just follow a single day or night shift.
  • The Big Bang Theory is mainly about the social misadventures of three socially-awkward scientists and one not-scientist. The titular theory may be mentioned occasionally in passing, but it's hardly the focus of the show.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Doctor Dances" could be seen as this. While the Doctor does dance in it, it has nothing to do with the central plot of gas-mask zombies in Blitz-era London.
    • "The Next Doctor" centers around a man who seems to be a future incarnation of the Doctor. It turns out his brain was scrambled by a Cyberman cartridge carrying information about the Doctor.
    • "Let's Kill Hitler", in which the Nazis and the genocidal dictator himself have little to no influence on the real plot. They either wasted a perfectly good plot or plotted a perfectly good waste, depending on your perspective.
    • "The Bells of Saint John" is just a joke about the phone incorporated into the TARDIS, which has the "St John Ambulance" logo on it, but is not a plot point.
  • The Honeymooners: Both of the main couples have been married for a significant period, so no honeymoons are depicted.
  • iCarly: The episode "iCarly Saves TV". They don't save television, the gang gets the opportunity to turn iCarly (the in-universe webcast) into a TV show, it gets massive Executive Meddling and they give up and go back to the Internet.
  • Idol x Warrior Miracle Tunes!: Sometimes the titles of the episodes only touch upon a minor plot point in the episode. For example, episode 6 is titled "Mai's Cooking Trouble" and Mai being a Lethal Chef only took place within the first 5 minutes of the episode.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes will often have a title "The Gang X" that suggests the Gang does something that actually doesn't happen during the episode.
  • Only three of the twelve episodes of Jurassic Fight Club involve the Jurassic period in any way. Its European-Australian title Dinosaur Secrets is more on point, though two episodes don't feature dinosaurs. The host acknowledged the title's problem, but the final say wasn't his.
  • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger: In some markets, this show was localized as Galaxy Rangers, even though the only characters who are outside the Earth are the main villains.note 
  • Invoked in an episode of Maury entitled "I'm Praying My Brother Isn't My Baby's Father!" The title implies Brother–Sister Incest, but it turns out the woman cheated on her boyfriend with his brother, thus the line is spoken from the boyfriend's perspective. And because this is a daytime talk show, it turned out neither man was the father.
  • Played for Laughs in the Netflix reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Avalanche. Kinga develops a device called the "Don La Font-aine 3000", which converts phrases into genre logos and they don't match at all. I Wanna Do One is done up in a style meaning for a "Ladies-weepy" movie, A Lighthearted Neil Simon Project is done up in the style of a "balls-to-the-wall action flick" and Okay, We Get It is the next Star Wars title!
  • Power Rangers Samurai: The first episode aired is titled "The Team Unites". Yet there is no uniting, at least not in a Recruit Teenagers with Attitude sense. The Rangers already have their powersnote , and the episode is primarily focused on the Green Samurai Ranger, Mike, who technically could be said to "rejoin" the team in the latter part of the episode. It's all but confirmed that it was supposed to be Episode 3, and the true "first episodes" of Samurai came in the form of Origins Episodes mid-season.
  • The DIY Network series Rehab Addict is about a woman who's addicted... to rehabilitating old homes.
  • Revolution: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia". The title implies we'll see events during the Blackout, but the episode proves to be anything but.
  • Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace provides an English-only example. Its original title, Legend of Ruyi, follows a frequent pattern for titles of Chinese period dramas. Someone somewhere decided a direct translation wasn't good enough, so when choosing the official English title they picked one that's nothing like the original. Worse, it gives the impression this is a cute, romantic series. It isn't.
  • Saturday Night Live is a downplayed example, since it's mostly live but has included filmed sketches going back to its earliest days (i.e. commercial parodies, animated shorts, and the Digital Shorts), and these often become breakout skits. Also, over half of the episode takes place after midnight on the East Coast and is thus technically aired on Sunday there. A few sketches also have misleading names, such as the "Rosie the Riveter" sketch, which is about the search for the factory woman to serve as the model for the iconic poster. Rosie is there, but most of the focus is on the three crude "slug thumper" women who also work in the factory.
  • Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Beyond the first few seasons, these shows would often go entire episodes without mentioning or showing a Stargate.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is primarily set on a Space Station. There is very little "trekking" involved, especially for the first two seasons.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation isn't about the original characters' kids, nor is it set one generation into the future. It's actually set a whole century later.
  • In True Blood, the blood is actually fake.
  • Zero Zero Zero: The miniseries centers on an international shipment of pure cocaine from Mexico to Italy. The phrase "zero zero zero" is never uttered, and its meaning isn't apparent from watching the show. It's the nickname among Italian narcotraffickers for the highest quality of cocaine, referencing the highest grade of pasta flour.

    Music 
  • The first song on Twelfth Night's self-titled album is entitled "Last Song."
  • The sixth song on Foo Fighters' In Your Honor is called "The Last Song", though It Makes Sense in Context of the song itself.
  • A Flock of Seagulls' "The End" is the next-to-the-last track on The Story Of A Young Heart.
  • "Sympathy For The Devil" doesn't portray him very sympathetically at all.
  • Intestinal Disgorge's "I'm Going to Fuck Your Kid." They even acknowledge this partway through:
    This song has nothing to do with fucking kids, by the way...
  • The song called Long Happy Life by Soviet-Russian Punk Rock singer Yegor Letov describes (in a very bizarre way) his And I Must Scream state of anhedonia, depression, and anguish during abstinent syndrome after numerous alcohol and drug overdoses.
  • Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats. The genre is way off and the number of songs falls short by 9. If you include the bonus tracks on the latest reissue, it overshoots by 2.
  • Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats. Unlike the Throbbing Gristle example, the songs do belong to the indicated genre; however, there are only ten of them.
  • Though the chorus of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "This Song's Just Six Words Long" indeed contains just six words, the lyrics have far more than six words in them.
  • Invoked by original Beatles drummer, Pete Best, who infamously named his first album ''Best of the Beatles'', confusing fans of The Beatles expecting a Greatest Hits Album.
  • "Jack the Ripper" by Nick Cave is (unlike a huge amount of his songs) not a Murder Ballad. It has nothing to do with the historical serial killer but is about a dysfunctional relationship in which, among other things, the protagonist's woman accuses him of being a sex maniac whenever he makes advances to her.
  • Jazz from Hell by Frank Zappa: The music is not Jazz at all, but computer music with one live guitar solo, recorded during a concert.
  • The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson. It is the most complete collection of Johnson's work around, that's true, but it's not entirely complete. There is one alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" missing.
  • Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka is an album that was merely produced by Brian Jones and doesn't feature him on vocals or instruments at all. Instead, we hear the wonderful performances by the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a Moroccan folk group.
  • Elvis Presley: Arguably the most notorious, yet atrocious concert album in his career is Having Fun with Elvis on Stage, a 35-minute collection of nothing but Elvis cracking jokes with the audience, without any music or context of what is going on. Not only is the record painfully unfunny, but a lot of it also is technically not even a joke, just Elvis saying random things in interaction with his audience. Half of the time he is just rambling, before deciding his jokes are falling flat or his story isn't going anywhere.
  • John Zorn: Several tracks on Music for Children are too difficult, noisy or scary for children to appreciate them.
  • Daniel Amos played with this on their album Vox Humana. The title is Latin for "voice of the human"—but it's an album of New Wave Music and Synth-Pop and the least-human sounding album in their discography. The irony was intentional since a major theme of the lyrics is discerning "the voice of the human" among the background noise of 1980s society.
  • Many of Fall Out Boy's song titles prior to their hiatus prioritized clever phrasing and pop culture references over actually having anything to do with the lyrics or genre. Examples include "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me", "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" and "The Take Over, the Breaks Over" have nothing to do with the songs. From Save Rock and Roll onward, this tendency has lessened as more of the song titles show up in the lyrics themselves.
  • "Punkrocker" by Teddybears is electro-pop, not Punk Rock, even though actual punk rocker Iggy Pop provides the vocals.
  • The second song on Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane is called "Ending Theme".
  • A majority of the songs by System of a Down have titles that are completely irrelevant to the subject matters of the songs.
  • "The Rhyming Song" by The Muppets doesn't rhyme at all. This is lampshaded at the final chorus, where Scooter says, "This is not The Rhyming Song." Fozzie replies, "I know it's not the Rhyming Song!"
  • "Marina & the Diamonds" is a solo act. Indeed, Marina herself explains that "The Diamonds" refers to her fans:
    "I'm Marina, you're the Diamonds."
  • Ben Folds Five is a trio.
  • Darius Rucker has repeatedly stated that he is not "Hootie", and that his (now former) band Hootie & the Blowfish doesn't have anyone named Hootie.
  • The J. Geils Band: J. Geils is the guitarist, not the singer. Not only that, but from 2012 through 2015, the band toured under that name without Geils himself participating. (The band no longer performs as "The J. Geils Band", and Geils died in 2017.)
  • Mike Rutherford's band "Mike + the Mechanics" plays with this. He did try singing lead at first, but then he decided to have other people sing lead instead.
  • This trope has been known to happen to artist/producer duos. One example is "Loggins and Messina". Kenny Loggins (later of Footloose, and Danger Zone fame) originally intended to be a solo artist from the start, but producer Jim Messina contributed so much to what would have been his debut album, that it was called "Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' in". As a result, the act was called "Loggins and Messina" from that point forward until 1976 when they broke up (on good terms).
  • ABBA's compilation Thank You For The Music: A Collection Of Love Songs. Even being very generous and allowing songs about platonic and parental love to qualify, love songs still don't make up even half of the album.
  • Songdrops: In "Striper the Kitty", Striper is actually a skunk that was mistaken for a cat.

    Pinball 
  • The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot: Except for the title, no one ever refers to the titular Machine as "Bride".
  • No Fear: Dangerous Sports has the "No Limits" Major Challenge, where the value of each shot starts at 20 million points, and each one collected adds another million... only to cap out at 70 million.
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    Puppet Shows 
  • The Oobi episode titled, "Sleepover". This episode mostly focused on Uma missing Oobi while he's at Kako's sleepover, the titular sleepover isn't even shown until the end of the episode.

    Radio 
  • The Brewing Network with The Sour Hour. It is theoretically an hour-long, but more episodes are an hour and a half or longer than those with times closer to an hour. There's also the fact it isn't exclusively about sour brewing but goes into all types of funky brewing such as the use of brettanomyces.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • Four Saints in Three Acts has four acts, and fifteen Saints in the Dramatis Personae having different names (there are two Saint Teresas). This is lampshaded in the Prologue to Act Four of this Mind Screw.
  • The 1946 Broadway musical Park Avenue was set entirely on Long Island.

    Theme Parks 
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is an updated version of the original Star Tours attraction at the Disney parks. The title could imply this is supposed to be a sequel to the ride, but it is a prequel since it is supposed to take place before the events of the original ride.
  • The former Twister...Ride it Out attraction at Universal Studios Florida was a special-effects show, not a ride as its title would imply.

    Visual Novels 
  • No murders take place in DRAMAtical Murder, although the villain Toue plans to brainwash people to the point of being brain-dead, which is the mental equivalent of murder.
  • Mystic Messenger: While the "Messenger" part of the title is accurate as the game takes place almost entirely on a chat messenger service, the "Mystic" part is misleading because there is absolutely nothing mystical or supernatural about the messenger or anything else in the game. Mysterious Messenger would have been a much more appropriate title for the game... but it's hard to deny that Mystic Messenger just has a better ring to it.
  • Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. In one scene early on in the "game", John is seen playing air guitar with a plunger while wearing a tie(which, admittedly, his mother expects him to wear despite his insistence that plumbers don't wear ties). The only reason why the game is likely called this is that in the end, Kate says that plumbers don't wear ties when John tells her he's a plumber.

    Web Animation 
  • Each episode of The Cyanide & Happiness Show has a title that's completely unrelated to any of the sketches within it. For example, Episode 2 is called "Why I Hate Summer Camp"; the sketches are a Moby Dick parody, a guy in the bath, and a guy trying to propose to his girlfriend. Summer camp isn't mentioned once. Averted with the depressing episode.

    Webcomics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: "Faraway Morning and Three Short Tales" is the title of Chapter 34, which does have characters telling three short tales. It sounds like a short chapter, right? It's actually one of the longest chapters to date thanks to all of the Character Development and plot revelations going on between each of the tales.
  • MS Paint Adventures is only 3 stories and 1 Orphaned Series and the current one hasn't been an adventure note  in years. And nothing aside from the first panel of the first adventure has been made in MS Paint.
    • Also, Homestuck is only about a kid stuck in his house for about a few dozen pages out of several thousand. Apparently, Andrew Hussie was going to name it Sburb, the name of the game on which the story is based, but thought it was too boring.
  • While petri dishes do crop up in The Petri Dish, they're not the main focus.
  • Questionable Content
    • It doesn't have much questionable, i.e. risque/pornographic, content. There's a decent quantity of sex jokes — the protagonist's mom is a dominatrix, and his pet robot is a pervert — but there are hardly any sex/nudity scenes (none at all for the first thousand or so comics) and naughty-bits are always kept out of sight. The entire compendium is less questionable than any random Oglaf comic.
    • In an in-universe example, the Show Within a Show "Ass Swordsman Tetsuo", about a guy named Tetsuo who can pull swords out of his ass, goes at least 22 episodes without Tetsuo pulling a single sword out of his ass. Marigold "can't tell if it's a brilliant deconstruction of shonen anime tropes or it's just garbage".
  • Sleepless Domain: Ironically, unlike most cases of schoolkids having nightly superhero adventures, the magical girls of Sleepless Domain attend a special school that starts late in the day so they can get a full eight hours of sleep (from 2 AM to 10 AM). The only chronically "sleepless" character is Rue, who goes to normal school because she doesn't trust the government. The title apparently comes from an in-universe magical girl celebrity magazine, though this never comes up in the story. This page pokes fun at the inconsistency:
    Kokoro: A good night's sleep is the first step to kicking ass.
    Alt Text: It's called SLEEPLESS DOMAIN! You're all doing it wrong!

    Web Original 
  • The Day the Music Died has absolutely nothing to do with the fatal plane crash immortalized in "American Pie". It is, however, about how a fictional fandom experienced every possible drama bomb at once. "American Pie" does show up, but only at the tail-end of the story.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series may have 101 Dalmatians, but a majority of the show focuses primarily on three pups and a chicken.
  • There's a The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode called "Raise the Oozy Scab" in which Jimmy, Carl, Sheen, and Cindy look for a treasure called The Oozy Scab. Despite the title, The Oozy Scab isn't raised at all.
  • Amphibia: Hopping Mall may be an episode about buying souvneirs at a Newtopia shopping district, but the big catch comes at the very end when Anne misses her mom and Sprig reveals that his mom passed away when he was little and he never got to see her. To top it off, Anne and Sprig comfort each other in a tearful hug.
  • The Angry Beavers: Only one of the beaver main characters, Daggett, was angry; Norb was fairly easy-going at the beginning, and even when he Took a Level in Jerkass, he was more of a smug, self-centered kind of jerk than actually angry.
  • When you hear the title Angry Birds Toons, you might expect to see the birds angry like in the game most of the time, well, while in most of the episodes the birds turn angry, they don't stay like that way long, with the exception of Red, who is the only bird that stays angry in the majority of the episodes he appears; infact, in the episodes that revolve around the birds and don't feature Red, you'll see that the birds hardly get angry.
  • For Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the title of the show itself. The show is about a group of Anthropomorphic Food. It has no focus on water, none of the main characters are adolescents (or have any confirmed age). The hunger is only slightly relevant, due to them being food, but the fact that they are edible is rarely brought up. The force part was relevant for the first three episodes as a plot to simply get the show airing, as the actual premise of the show would sound ridiculous otherwise.
  • The Around the World with Willy Fog episode "Shipwreck". Despite its title, this is a Breather Episode in which Fog and his companions relax onboard ship; it's also the episode where Fog and Romy take a stroll among some exotic flowers in Singapore. The travellers do become caught in a typhoon towards the end, but they don't get shipwrecked and the following episode reveals that they made it to Hong Kong safely.
  • The The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "Iron Man Is Born" does not retell the origin of Iron Man, nor does "The Man in the Ant Hill" show Hank Pym exploring an anthill. These titles come directly from the heroes' first comic book appearances. Many other episode titles are homages of this sort, but they still sound relevant to the plot; it's these two that stick out.
  • Big City Greens had an episode called "Bleeped"; ironically, the swear words were not bleeped out; they use made-up swear words such as "blort".
  • In the Caillou episode "Caillou Joins the Circus", he doesn't.
  • The Acme Hour on Cartoon Network was 2 hours long on Saturdays but was otherwise inverted.
  • The two-parter Family Guy "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie"; neither title is accurate. In part 1, Stewie appears to kill Lois, but she turns out to be Not Quite Dead. In part 2, Stewie does get killed, but it's Peter who kills him. And to top it all off, both episodes turn out to be a computer simulation.
  • The Fantastic Four (1967) episode "The Menace of the Mole Man" adapts a comic titled, "The Return of the Mole Man!", while "The Return of the Mole Man" adapts a comic titled, "The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man". The former episode's title doesn't match its comic because Hanna-Barbera had yet to adapt the first Fantastic Four issue. (When they finally did so, they left out Mole Man's scenes to boot.)
  • Played with by the title of the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Foster's Goes to Europe". Given the way this type of title is typically used, you'd think it's about things the cast do while they're in Europe. It's actually about the trip to Europe, specifically, everyone trying to get ready to leave the house, which in a sense makes it Exactly What It Says on the Tin. And even though most of the cast miss their flight, Madame Foster, who stole their tickets, actually manages to get to Europe.
  • Fred and Barney Meet the Thing. Fred and Barney do not meet the Thing, if you can call him that; they're in segments that never cross over.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: "The Incredible Shrinking Mandy" has Billy attempting to shrink Mandy, but he accidentally makes her giant instead. (This was likely done intentionally.)
  • The animated short Hector's Hectic Life doesn't feature any character named Hector. The main character is named Princie.
  • In The Loud House episode "Cheater by the Dozen", there are no actual cheaters; Bobby was Mistaken for Cheating.
  • In the Milo episode "Milo's Sore Tummy", Milo only fakes having a sore tummy.
  • Minuscule episodes usually have titles that are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but some titles are vaguely related metaphors or complete non-sequiturs:
    • Episodes featuring buzzing insects usually have "ZZZZZ" meshed into their title, but "Zzzepplin" focuses entirely on the spiders.
    • "Go Blue Go" has blue and green dragonflies competing in what can only be described as bug-Quidditch. The blue team loses.
    • One would assume the series' Bizarro Episode "Night of the Mandibles" centered around the cast fighting off an army of undead insects. What they actually face is MUCH worse. Plus the episode takes place almost entirely in broad daylight.
  • "How to Say I Love Roo" from My Friends Tigger & Pooh is about Roo trying to find an "I Love You Day" gift for Kanga, rather than the reverse.
  • The My Scene movie My Scene Goes Hollywood does feature a Hollywood movie and actors, but the whole movie takes place in New York City where the girls live.
  • Ready Jet Go!: You would think that the episode "Asteroid Patrol" would be about the kids trying to look for asteroids from the treehouse. In the episode, Sean does set up an asteroid watch station in the treehouse and gets the rest of the clique involved, but most of the episode revolves around Jet trying to fix Sean's telescope.
  • The Rick and Morty episode "The Ricklantis Mixup" only features the prologue and epilogue of Rick and Morty's Atlantis adventure. The bulk of the episode is instead a Vignette Episode focusing on the Citadel of Ricks. At the end of the episode, Rick taunts the audience for missing out on the Atlantis plot.
  • Rugrats:
    • The spinoff All Grown Up! features the characters as tweens.
    • Angelica doesn't actually break a leg in "Angelica Breaks a Leg", she just pretends to.
    • Spike doesn't actually become a dad in "Spike's Babies", he just looks after some stray kittens temporarily.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "The PTA Disbands", the PTA most emphatically does not disband (though at one point, a guy mistakenly believes it did, panics and jumps out a window. And jumps back in when informed of his mistake). The episode got its title because writer Jennifer Crittenden thought that that was the worst thing that could happen to a school.
    • After Nelson and Bart finish seeing a film named Naked Lunch.
      Nelson: I can think of at least two things wrong with that title..."
    • "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment": Homer's actual dispute is with a city statute and the 21st Amendment, ending national Prohibition but allowing local jurisdictions to continue to ban alcohol, by proxy.
    • "22 Short Films About Springfield" only has 19 segments (17 if you count Lisa's three segments as one short). TheRealJims, in his 60 Second Review of the episode, resorted to counting two transitional scenes and the show's standard Title Sequence as short films to get up to 22 "without any sort of cheating".
  • The Smurfs episode "Hefty And The Wheelsmurfer" is called "Fortachon y Pitufina" ("Hefty And Smurfette") in the Spanish dub, although the episode isn't exclusively about Hefty and Smurfette in any sort of relationship.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Nickelodeon has a bad habit of advertising certain episodes with different titles. One particularly misleading example is "Goons on the Moon" being advertised as a Christmas special called "SpaceBob MerryPants", even though Santa Claus plays a relatively minor role, and the episode doesn't take place during Christmas anyway.
    • "Gary Takes a Bath": The entire episode centers around Gary avoiding taking a bath and SpongeBob going to increasingly elaborate measures to get him to do so. In the end, SpongeBob is the one who takes a bath.
    • "Shuffleboarding": Despite the title, Shuffleboarding itself is never seen in the episode as SpongeBob and Patrick won the game off-screen in a very short amount of time. The main plot of the episode is SpongeBob and Patrick dressed as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy arresting people of Bikini Bottom.
    • In "Bossy Boots", the title of the episode can be seen as quite misleading as the conflict/theme was never about Pearl being over-controlling or bossy (she was a reasonable boss) but more on the Krusty Krab undergoing dramatic changes that the employees didn't enjoy.
  • Steven Universe:
    • "Steven the Sword Fighter", in which Steven never once touches a sword. The closest he gets is imitating a sword move in a movie with a mop handle.
    • Kiki is only seen delivering one pizza in "Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service", with the episode focusing on Steven helping Kiki fight her nightmares caused by doing her sister's delivery route for her. Though with a character named Kiki delivering pizza, the pun on Kiki's Delivery Service was irresistible.
    • "Dewey Wins" is about Beach City's Mayor Dewey running for reelection. Guess how that ends for him. This is seemingly a reference to the famous false "Dewey Defeats Truman" newspaper headline.
    • The show has episodes where the title is technically accurate to what happens but still misleading. For example: "Hit the Diamond" sounds like it's referring to the Diamonds, when it's a Baseball Episode. "Kindergarten Kid" sounds like it's about something being born in the Kindergarten, but it's actually about Peridot trying to catch a Gem monster in the Beta Kindergarten. "Gem Harvest" sounds like it's referencing Peridot's throwaway line where she was worried about being harvested, but it's really a Thanksgiving special.
  • Tamagotchi Video Adventures clearly has the word "Adventures" pluralized in the title, and in the actual program there's a Tamagotchi Toons logo at the beginning - again, with "Toons" pluralized. This implies there's more than one "adventure", but it's only one VHS program. It's thought to be a pilot for a direct-to-video Tamagotchi cartoon that never got greenlit.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • "Serious Business" is about rules on how to use the toilet.
    • "The Return of Slade" is not about Slade at all. Slade is only mentioned at the beginning of the episode, cut away to a non-existing fight with a title card that says "Three episodes and a made-for-TV-movie later" it cuts back to them winning, explaining stuff that would have happened if they showed it. And that was the last time he was mentioned. The rest of the episode is about Cyborg and Beast Boy wanting a clown, which quickly devolves into another one of the show's mean-spirited jabs at its haters.
    • "Batman vs. Teen Titans: Dark Injustice" is the April Fools' Day episode, so of course it's about April Fools' Day pranks, with Batman not appearing to fight the team at any point.
  • In Transformers: Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising, the Predacons are very minor side characters who have little to no impact on the overall plot. Technically, some Predacons are risen, however, they are zombies who fight against the real Predacons. The title probably came to be because Hasbro wanted to advertise their beast-themed Transformers figures, even if the movie's story barely focused on them.

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