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They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!

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"Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naïve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as 'empty,' 'meaningless,' or 'dishonest,' and scorn to use them. No matter how pure their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best."

The way you address someone says a lot about how you think about them, and what your relationship is. Just think how this can be a potential minefield, especially when meeting someone new; if someone makes a mistake, it usually takes one of two forms:

  • Character A assumes too much familiarity with Character B, only to be corrected, usually in a rather sharp way. "That's Doctor Von Trapp to you!" Depending on how it's played, this can be used to generate sympathy or contempt for either character: If Character A seemed genuinely rude, then Character B will look better; if Character B seems to have overreacted to a relatively minor slip, then the opposite is true. A comic variant is to respond to an insult by requiring the use of a title with it: that's Doctor Idiot to you!!!

  • Character A assumes too much formality with Character B, only to be given a gentle alternative: "Please. Doctor Von Trapp is my father. Call me Biff." Almost always used to show that Character B is not as bad/scary as they initially seemed. (Though if they are a superior, the subordinate may insist on the formal title to show that no, they are not friends.)

The trope is named for Sidney Poitier's famous line from In the Heat of the Night, where a black Philadelphia detective, Virgil Tibbs, is in a bigoted part of the South and the police chief asks, rudely and with use of a racial slur, what people call Virgil. Mister Tibbs responds with affirmation of his experience and value. This is also a downplayed example of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, as Poitier gives an even inflection across the sentence, rather than emphasizing "mister", indicating he's retaining control and demanding respect rather than giving into anger (a staple feature of Poitier's career being that his characters had to be better than the best for the audience to accept him as an equal of white characters).

Note that this happens in real life, making it an example of Truth in Television; however, it is also typically notable in media set in and from previous periods (such as most Jane Austen works). Compare First-Name Basis, Full-Name Basis, Last-Name Basis, and Do Not Call Me "Paul"; contrast The Magnificent; and compare/contrast Terms of Endangerment. If this is a Running Gag, then it becomes Insistent Terminology and possibly a Large Ham Title. See also Friendly Address Privileges.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA, English dub: "That's Mister Kaneda to you, punk!"
  • In Angelic Layer, Misaki initially refers to her Aunt Shoko as just that, "Aunt Shoko" ("Shoko-obasan" in Japanese). However, Shoko insists that she call her "Shoko-san" since she's still in her twenties (i.e., it makes her feel old).
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri normally calls Matoi "mom", but when they're on duty as exorcist ninja she insist even her own child calls her "leader". Matoi also tell Matsuri to call her "Ibuki" when in her school teacher disguise, even in private.
    Matoi: You should be calling me "leader". Wait, no... "Ms. Ibuki"
  • Black Lagoon has Eda going off on the Church of Violence's new apprentice Rico for calling her "Sis" during a gunfight:
    Eda: That's Sister to you, jackass!
  • In Bleach, Hitsugaya often has to insist that Momo and Ichigo call him "Captain Hitsugaya" (as opposed to "Shiro-chan" and "Toshiro" respectively).
    • In the Bleach pilot, Rukia demands that Ichigo address her as "-sama" when he asks to be let back into his body (by contrast, the actual Rukia insists that Hanataro not call her this).
    • While recuperating after his fight with Ichigo in the Soul Society arc, Captain Kuchiki plaintively wonders when Ichigo will stop calling him by his first name Byakuya.
    • Later on, Mayuri and Soi Fon both gripe at Ichigo for not using honorifics with them.
  • In Bloom Into You, Riko Hakozaki insists that her students call her "Hakozaki-sensei," rather than "Riko-sensei," even though Akari notes that the former's easier to pronounce.
  • In Bocchi the Rock!, Seika Ijichi, the manager of the live house where the main characters perform and work part-time, insists that her younger sister Nijika call her "Manager" while working there, but Nijika ignores her.
  • Bokurano shows the soldiers and Koyemshi getting in a fight over the latter's honorifics in a rare moment of humor.
    Sazaken: Are you Dung Beetle-kun?
    Koyemshi: Don't call me -kun.
    Sazaken: Koyemshi, then.
    Koyemshi: That's Dung Koyemshi-sama to you! You may be an adult, but you have no manners!
    [later in the scene]
    Tanaka: Now, now, there's no need to pick a fight over it, Koyemshi-san.
    Koyemshi: -san, huh? That doesn't sound bad.
  • Boruto, when Kakashi is giving out his rough genin ninja training course to the students, Boruto affectionately refers to him as "Old Man Kakashi", and Kakashi repeatedly reminds him to refer to him as "Lord Sixth", (as Kakashi was the Sixth Hokage) as they are in the presence of other people. Similarly, Konohamaru implores Boruto to refer to him as "Konohamaru-sensei" instead of "Big Brother Konohamaru" for the same reason.
  • In Code Geass, Cornelia insists that her younger sister Euphemia call her "Viceroy" while she is in Japan Area 11. She does so again when Euphemia calls her "sister" while Cornelia is calling to express displeasure over her choosing Suzaku as her Knight, possibly as a way of distancing herself from her in that instance (as she otherwise doesn't seem to mind what Euphemia calls her when the two are alone).
  • Diamond Cut Diamond: If you happen to be younger than Yodogimi, you must only refer to her as Yodogimi-san!
  • "Queen" Leonmitchelli from Dog Days gets mad whenever someone calls her a princess.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Played for laughs in the third chapter of the Dragon Ball manga. Bulma demands to be called "Miss Bulma", but Goku does not care.
      Bulma: By the way, would you stop saying "you"? I'm two years older than you, you know! I should be referred to as "Miss Bulma!"
      Son Goku: Too hard, so nope!
      Bulma: What's hard about it?!
    • Used in Dragon Ball Z, though not in the American dub of the anime, just the Japanese versions (and the translated manga). Piccolo mentions Kaio can help them, to which Kaio says "It's Kaio-sama..." or Lord Kaio.
  • In Fruits Basket, the Yuki Fan Club is fanatic about Yuki being addressed with proper respect. They have rules concerning how you should refer to him depending on what year you're in.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Major Alex Louis Armstrong calls his older sister "sis", prompting her to say "Major General Armstrong!" She's a badass.
    • During the Briggs arc, Vato Falman repeatedly has to remind people that' he's Second Lieutenant Falman after being transferred and promoted.
  • Gintama: "Zura janai, Katsura da!".
  • In Girls und Panzer, during the Phase: Erika prequel manga, Maho insists that her younger sister Miho, who's serving as the latter's second-in-command on their tankery team at the time, call her "Commander" rather than "Onee-chan" while they're doing tankery together.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Teshigawara punches a guy in the face for not calling him Mister Teshigawara, having an inflated sense of his own self-importance due to going to Tokyo U. Of course, he was also trying to distract the guy from the fact that he was kidnapping someone.
  • In Heat Guy J, a young girl (about 14 years old) appears in a Filler episode from a nearby village. She insists on being called by her title, Hime ("Princess"), because in her culture, only immediate family members and spouses have the right to know each other's real names.
  • Played for laughs at the end of Inuyasha. A newly married Kagome refers to Sesshoumaru as nii-san. His reaction (and the identical reaction of InuYasha) is priceless. Jakken goes into the usual hysterics insisting that she learn some respect and be put in her place...
  • In episode 4 of Jewelpet Twinkle☆, Miria insists that Akari, being of a lower grade at the magical academy than her, refer to her as "Miria-senpai". By the end of the episode, she changes her mind and says Akari can just call her Miria.
  • In Lyrical Nanoha, since the Saint King's clone is still the Saint King, people sometimes refer to her as "Your Majesty", which really annoys her as she insists that she's just a normal third-grader so they should call her "Vivio". Otto doesn't care and continues calling her that anyway as a form of teasing, causing some fans to start Shipping them.
    • Deed does the same, but by Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Vivio has come to accept it.
    • She does manage to get Chantez to call her by her name in ViVid Strike!.
    • Inverted with Signum, who suggests that she might have to stop referring to Fate as "Testarossa" and using the informal "omae" on her after she becomes Fate's vice-captain in Lightning Squad, but Fate notes that it's fine. Most characters tend to address each other normally in the company of their friends and may do so formally when in an official context or to make a point (Nanoha once calls Hayate "Hayate-chan" when talking about her need to help her out as a friend, then switches to "Commander Yagami" when mentioning that she trusts her as a subordinate).
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Patrick Colasour consistently refers to Kati Mannequin as "Colonel". While this is appropriate when they first meet, as he is her subordinate, he continues to do so on their wedding day, and even several years after they're married. By then, she's been promoted, and it's a Running Gag that she always corrects him with "It's Brigadier General!"
  • Munto: "It's Lord Munto!" ("Munto-sama" in the original.) Particularly effective in the scene where he has already half-disappeared, Yumemi is reaching out for him calling him by name, and he still demands that she addresses him properly. She still doesn't.
  • During My Hero Academia's "Overhaul" arc, Mr. Aizawa insists Midoriya call him Eraser Head when raiding the Shie Hassakai.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei always addresses Asuka in the most impersonal way possible.
    • It's not that she doesn't like her, it's more that Asuka is irrelevant to her purposes. Asuka, on the other hand, certainly does not like Rei, and has been known to refer to her by her last name at best, or by insulting nicknames at worst. A fandom favorite is "Wondergirl."
  • One Piece:
    • In the Rainbow Mist filler arc Robin calls Henzo "Mr. Henzo" (even though she is speaking Japanese). He asks to be referred to as "Professor Henzo", and she complies. In the Drum Island arc, Dr. Kureha, when introducing herself to Nami, and when taking Chopper in as an apprentice, says "Call me Doctreine". Crocodile also referred to Nefeltari Cobra, Alabasta's king, as "Mister Cobra."
    • When Dalton confronts Wapol and addresses him without honorifics, Wapol demands that he address him with the respect owed to his king.
    • Vergo insists on being called Vergo-san. Law refuses to do so until moments before he slices Vergo in two. "Payback is gonna be a bitch, Vergo-san."
  • In the Pokémon: The Original Series anime, Shigeru (Gary) tells Satoshi (Ash) something like this in the first episode. Shigeru, meanwhile, refers to him as Satoshi-chan (Ashy-boy in the dub.)
  • In Princess Lover!, Teppei was raised in a middle-class family, then suddenly gets thrust into high-class society. When greeted by his servants, he tries to insist on them using familiar terms. They finally compromise with Teppei-Sama. It still unnerves him a little. His new peers take to the more familiar name though.
  • Tatewaki Kuno from Ranma ˝ insists that Ranma address him as "Kuno-sempai" ("Upperclassman Kuno").
  • Megumi "Megu-nee" Sakura from School-Live! would prefer if the girls call her by the proper "Sakura-sensei", but they never do.
  • Tamagotchi: The Movie: Inverted. Throughout most of the movie, Mametchi and co. call Tanpopo by the name "Miss Tanpopo". After Mametchi and Chamametchi make up over the former's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the latter, Tanpopo tells them they can just call her "Tanpopo" without the "Miss" since they're all friends now.
  • From the various Tenchi series:
    "Hey Washu..."
    * A-hem*
    "Er, Washu-chan (Little Washu in some dubs)..."
    • Another time, this time in a manga version of the Pretty Sammy subseries. Washu's still an educator and tends to change her form of address depending on either a, the time of day..b, the scenario..or c, whatever's opposite of what her greeter initially used.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: "Let go of me, you furball!" "That's Mr. Furball to you!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • In the Japanese version, Jun Manjoume is frequently addressed informally as just "Manjoume" by many characters, which causes him to angrily mutter "Manjoume-san da!" or "-san da!" (meaning they should attach the "san" honorific to the end of his name). Since "Sandaa" is also the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "thunder", this ends up giving him the nickname "Manjoume Thunder".
      • Over a decade and a half later, the OCG has printed retrained versions of Manjoume's Armed Dragons who all have the name "Thunder" attached to their original names, with Armed Dragon LV10's effect being a reference to Manjoume's "1! 10! 100! 1000! Manjoume Thunder!" Catchphrase.
    • In the English version, people aren't always sure whether to address Dr. Vellian Crowler as "sir" or "ma'am", which causes him to angrily retort that he is "Dr. Crowler, thank you very much" and that he has a "Ph.D. in dueling".
      "I didn't know he was a doctor."
      "I didn't know he was a dude."

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 50, Paddi, after consuming a special sunflower seed invented by Mr. Slowy that makes whoever eats it emit heat and warm up anyone close to them, tells Sparky to call him "Master Paddi". Later in the episode, Wolnie is surprised to find Paddi outside and calls him "Paddi", only for him to tell her to call him "Master Paddi" as well.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In The Maltese Penguin, Frobisher, a parody of a Hardboiled Detective, begins his monologue:
    Frobisher: My friends call me Frobisher. My enemies call me Mr Frobisher. And the junk mail department of the Galactic Readers' Digest call me Mrs F R Rubbisher — but that's neither here nor there.

    Comic Books 
  • An early '60s Archie Comics issue had Jughead declining a trip with the others to explore a cave. When Reggie calls him chicken, Jughead retorts "That's Mister Chicken to you! And you'd better watch out for cave-ins!"
  • In Batman: Earth One, when Bruce greets Oswald Cobblepot as "Mr. Cobblepot", he answers "Please... it's Mayor Cobblepot."
  • In B.P.R.D. Iosif Nichayko, director of Russia's Special Sciences Service, insists on being called "Iosif" rather than his title.
  • Morbius is fine with being referred to by just his last name, but will object to being called Mr. Morbius, insisting it's Doctor.
  • When the CIA enter Gracie Mansion on the sly in Ex Machina, Mayor Hundred quickly exerts his authority by admonishing the agents to address him as "Your Honour".
  • Issue 16 of Futurama Comics, Professor Farnsworth insists on being called "Professor" rather than "Mr. Farnsworth", as he "didn't go to Professoring University for 10 years to be called 'Mister'!".
  • In the beginning of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, when Wilhelmina Murray and Campion Bond meet, Bond asks the privilege of using Wilhelmina's first name. She is an Ice Queen and thinks he's a creep, so she flatly refuses.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • In issue #74, upon seeing that Robotnik is alive and well, Sonic addresses him by name. The villain responds "That's Doctor Robotnik to you, hedgehog!"
    • General Stryker, the leader of the Dingoes, pointedly reminds the Echidna leaders during a meeting with them that his title is General Stryker, not Mister Stryker.
  • Superman:
    • In some characterisations of Jimmy Olsen, he always addresses his Planet colleagues as "Mr Kent" and "Ms Lane", no matter how many times they point out they've known him for years and ask him to call them Clark and Lois. It's also a Running Gag in multiple media that Perry White doesn't like it when Jimmy calls him "chief".
    • Evil Sorcerer Satanis demands to be called Lord Satanis, and in Two for the Death of One he is visible peeved at the fact that Superman clearly cares nothing for his "title".
      Superman: "Another illusion, or are you the real Satanis?"
      Satanis: "Lord Satanis, Superman! The ruler of future-Earth... And soon to be the ruler of all time!"
    • In The Killers of Krypton, the Big Bad is very insistent on being called Empress Gandelo.
    • In Superman vs. Shazam!: During an argument, Steve Lombard's boss reminds him he is supposed to call him "Mr. Edge":
      Steve Lombard: And boy, was I great, Morgan. Such pictures I got, you wouldn't believe!
      Morgan Edge: Try me, Lombard. And call me Mr. Edge— Not Morgan!
  • In the Tintin comics, Captain Haddock is always called "Captain Haddock", to such an extent that his best friend isn't sure of what his first name is. (The only time his first name is ever mentioned is when Tintin says that he thinks it's Archibald.)
  • Transmetropolitan: When Spider addresses the Smiler as "Callahan", the Smiler smacks the cigarette right out of his mouth and shouts "Mr President!".

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • An Anthem for Sheltered Bays after introducing himself to a merman Eren, Levi reprimands him for talking to him with too much familiarity and demanded to be called "Corporal" since Levi didn't have a last name.
  • Dirty Sympathy Winston Payne calls Klavier "Mr. Gavin", when Klavier tries to get him to be less formal Payne staunchly refuses to illustrate that they are not friends.
  • Do You Believe in Fairies?: Candace's friends take offense to Julius calling her "Candy". He was a big bully as a child and still makes her nervous as an adult, so he can't use the Affectionate Nickname.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • "That's Super Kami Guruuu!"
      Nail: Can I just call you Guru for short?
      Guru: Super Kami Guru allows this.
    • Later used in the Cell Saga.
  • Discworld adventure story Gap Year Adventures by A.A. Pessimal has two travellers in the Discworld's Africa accepting that the price for their letters and despatches making it home on the same day via the Service is the near-certainty that they will be intercepted and read by the Patrician's Palace. note . Mariella Smith-Rhodes is aware of this, understands that their mail getting home so quickly is a fantastic privilege, but still cannot resist the temptation to refer in her letters to "kindly old Uncle Havelock who is so concerned for our welfare and keen to know what we're doing." At the end of the story, Vetinari congratulates Mariella on her achievements, then reminds her the word "avuncular" describes an older man with a keen and largely benevolent interest in the welfare of, perhaps, a favoured niece and a sincere interest in helping her get on in the world. A minute or so later, she has been co-opted into using her talents as an Assassin to work for Ankh-Morpork as a freelance Dark Clerk.
    Thank you, sir. (beat) Uncle Havelock.
    (after a surprised pause) Indeed, miss Smith-Rhodes.
  • Full Circle:
    • Out of habit, Oscar refers to Oprah by her formal Director title of "Ms. O" before a rising growl from her causes him to hastily correct himself and call her by her actual name of Oprah instead.
    • The inverse happens hen Olive and Oscar go to eat at the Confalones restaurant. The two Confalone brothers refer to Olive and Oscar as just that before they correct each other by requesting they be referred to by their titles, not their real names.
    Oscar: Heh, well, actually it's Ms. O now.
    Olive: And President Oscar.
  • Harry's New Home has Sirius insisting that Harry call him by his name after Harry gives him a horrible Ma'am Shock and addresses him as Mr. Black.
  • Defied in I'm Scared Too when a secret agent gets mad at Kim being on a First-Name Basis with his boss:
    Kim: I'm not on contract, I don't have any loose ends — Betty hasn't —
    Will: — that's Dr. Director.
    Kim: — excuse me, Elizabeth hasn't told me anything confidential for civilians.
  • In Make a Wish a shopkeeper with a touch of seer ability gives Harry a passport bearing the alias "Padamus Da Grim Nomed Black." After an awkward encounter with a customs agent in the Netherlands, anyone asking for his name is told simply "Black." Requests for a first name are met with "Mister."
  • In Neon Metathesis Evangelion, Asuka tells Ritsuko that if she wants to give orders to her as a pilot, then she also has to treat her as such. And indeed address her as a professional pilot, not a child: Soryu, not Asuka. In fact, whether people are on First-Name Basis or Last-Name Basis is often focused on: Asuka, due to her German upbringing calls all classmates by their personal name, nevermind Japanese customs (which she knows about), and thus eventually gets the whole pilot corps to be on a First-Name Basis; when Ritsuko is angry at Asuka she deliberately reverts the address to "Asuka"; and a sign that their friendship has broken down is when Misato takes to calling Ritsuko "Akagi".
  • In OSMU: Fanfiction Friction, Todd tells the Mobile Unit agents to call him by just that instead of by any previous names (Agent Todd, Odd Todd, Gardener Todd or Caretaker Todd).
  • Parodied in the RWBY fanfic Roadside Assistance when Yang offers to help fix Weiss' car:
    Weiss: No, it's just that not many people know me, they mostly know my father but I don't believe I know your name?
    Yang: Yang Xiao Long.
    Weiss: It's a pleasure to meet you Ms. Xiao Long, I—
    Yang: Whoa, whoa. Ms. Xiao Long is my father. Please, call me Yang.
  • In the Naruto fanfic Sugar Plums, the protagonist has two different instances. She doesn't like people calling her Aka no Usagi-sama (Red Rabbit), but she also never lets anybody call her jo-chan or Ume-chan. At least, not since the death of her first squad leader, who did call her Ume-chan.
  • Tangled In Time, when Ganondorf lives under the alias Siegfried Dragmire in Lake Hylia, he is never referred by his first name and is referred by the narrative as Mr. Dragmire.
  • Trusting In Faith: Glinda can call Nessarose a variety of nicknames, but "Nessie" is off-limits even to her. It's not the familiarity or even the nickname itself that bugs her. It's that her older sister Elphaba calls her "Nessie" and the nickname brings up bitter memories.

    Films — Animation 
  • From Aladdin, after Jafar makes himself sultan:
    Sultan: You vile betrayer!
    Iago: That's Sultan Vile Betrayer to you!
  • From Aladdin: The Return of Jafar:
    Abis Mal: Who are you?
    Aladdin: My friends call me Al, but you can call me Aladdin.
  • In Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Joker asks Harley to bring him the mutagen so that he can transform the entire rogues gallery into super powerful mutants but addresses her as "Nurse Harley Quinn". Harley glares at him and refuses to hand the ooze over until Joker corrects himself and calls her "Doctor Harley Quinn".
    Harley: You're damn straight!
  • The second variant is played for humor in Finding Nemo. Not knowing the sea turtle's name, Marlin calls him "mister turtle". As it turns out, "Turtle" is his surname — "Dude, Mr. Turtle is my father. Name's Crush."
  • In Lilo & Stitch, as Dr. Jumba Jookiba is all too fond to point out, he "prefer[s] to be called EVIL GEN-EE-OUS!!!"
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • Pressing Pumbaa's Berserk Button:
      Banzai: Hey! Who's the pig?
      Pumbaa: Are you talking to me?
      Timon: Uh-oh, he called him a pig.
      Pumbaa: Are you talking to me?!
      Timon: Shouldn't have done that.
      Pumbaa: Are YOU talking to ME?!
      Timon: Now, they're in for it!
    • And from earlier in the movie:
      Simba: Little Banana-Beak is scared.
      Zazu: It's Mister Banana-Beak to you, fuzzy!
  • Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back: Comet wants Houston to stop calling him "kid".
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse features this exchange:
    Peter: What did you say your name was?
    Dr. Octavius: Dr. Olivia Octavius.
    Peter: Can I assume your friends call you Doc Ock?
    Dr. Octavius: My friends actually call me Liv. My enemies call me Doc Ock.
  • In Toy Story, there's the following exchange after Mr. Potato Head claims that Sheriff Woody intentionally knocked Buzz Lightyear out the window.
    Woody: Wait a minute, you—you don't think I meant to knock Buzz out the window, do you, Potato Head?
    Mr. Potato Head: That's Mister Potato Head to you, you back-stabbin' murderer!
  • Toy Story 2: Mr. Potato Head saying, "Prepare to meet Mr. Angry Eyes!" Too bad he got his spare feet instead...
  • In Toy Story 3, Mr. Potato Head does it again when he purposefully tries to get sent to the Box, and during the opening sequence there's "That's Mister Evil Doctor Porkchop to you!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Reversed in The American President. President Andrew Shepherd's Chief of Staff and best friend, A.J., always calls him "Mr. President," even when they're alone. At one point, he insists that A.J. can call him "Andy" when they're alone. A.J. responds, "Whatever you say, Mr. President."
  • Austin Powers: "Doctor Evil! I didn't spend six years in evil medical school to be called 'mister', thank you very much!"
  • The Avengers. Tony Stark doesn't like how Pepper Potts is on First-Name Basis with S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson and insists that his first name is "Agent".
  • The Big Short:
    Executive: So Mike Burry, a guy who gets his hair cut at Supercuts and doesn't wear shoes, knows more than Alan Greenspan and Mike Paulsen.
    Mike Burry: Doctor Mike Burry. Yes, he does.
  • Played for Laughs in Birds of Prey (2020), where Helena Bertinelli assassinates her targets while telling them "They call me the Huntress...". However, nobody actually does, instead passing her name around as the significantly less grandiose "Crossbow Killer" based on her weapon, much to her annoyance.
  • Somewhat inverted by Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and Spiderman Homecoming where he keeps calling Tony "Mr Stark" despite Stark introducing himself to him as "Tony". Although Stark doesn't seem to mind as he never corrects Parker.
  • Deadtime Stories: Volume 2: In "On Sabbath Hill", Dr. Carson objects to the homicide detective investigating Allison's death calling him 'Mr.' Carson. The detective remains distinctly unimpressed.
  • In Death Spa, an arrogant and patronizing computer genius reluctantly hands his computer logs to the police and tells Sgt. Stone "I'll need those back, miss". Stone just looks at him and corrects him "Sergeant".
  • Subverted in Die Hard during this exchange between Gruber and McClane
    Hans Gruber: Touching, Cowboy, touching. Or should I call you, Mr. McClane? Mr. Officer John McClane of the New York Police Department?
    John McClane: Sister Teresa called me Mr. McClane in the third grade. My friends call me John, and you're neither, shit-head.
  • All sort of variations happen in Doctor Strange (2016):
    • When Strange first comes to Kamar Taj, the Ancient One addresses him as Mister Strange. Strange says it's Doctor Strange, but the Ancient One points out that's no longer true, now, is it?
    • Later, with the big bad
    Kaecilius: Mister...?
    Strange: Doctor.
    Kaecilius: Mister Doctor?
    Strange: It's... "Strange".
    Kaecilius: Maybe. Who am I to judge?
    • And then after a fight scene in which Strange kills someone, he insists he is Doctor Strange, and when he became a doctor he swore an oath to do no harm.
  • Done twice in A Few Good Men within seconds of each other.
    Kaffee: I'm not through with my examination. Sit down.
    Col. Jessup: "Colonel"!
    Kaffee: What's that?
    Col. Jessup: I would appreciate it if he would address me as "Colonel" or "Sir." I believe I've earned it.
    Judge Randolph: Defense counsel will address the witness as "Colonel" or "Sir."
    Col. Jessup: [to Judge] I don't know what the hell kind of unit you're running here.
    Judge Randolph: And the witness will address this court as "Judge" or "Your Honor." I'm quite certain I've earned it. Take your seat... "Colonel."
  • In Gettysburg, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is annoyed with his brother for calling him "Lawrence" in front of the troops, as he thinks it will lead to accusations of favoritism. There's also this exchange:
    Messenger: You're Chamberlain?
    Col. Chamberlain: [death glare] Colonel Chamberlain to you.
  • In the 1968 film Ice Station Zebra Rock Hudson explains: "We operate on a first-name basis here. My first name is "Captain."
  • The Trope Namer, In the Heat of the Night. "They call me Mister Tibbs!" Unlike many references to and parodies of this quote, the emphasis was not solely on the word "Mister", but the whole phrase "Mister Tibbs".
    • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The phrase made such an impression that it became the title of the sequel: They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (Emphasis in the original title, in the form of an underline.)
  • In The King's Speech, Queen Elizabeth, upon meeting Myrtle Logue, insists upon being addressed as "Your Majesty," the first time, and "ma'am" afterwards, prompting Myrtle to politely say "Your Majesty, you may call me Mrs. Logue, ma'am."
  • Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels:
    • Vinny Jones' character Big Chris, a loan enforcer for Hatchet Harry, admonishes (read: slams a tanning bed lid on his face) a delinquent debtor who gets it wrong when speaking of the creditor.
      Debtor: Tell Harry— [SLAM!] —I mean Mister Harry...
    • When Rory Breaker's thug addresses him as "Rory" while he's in the midst of a cold fury, he responds, "That's Mr. Breaker. Today, my name is Mr. Breaker!"
  • In The Mask of Fu Manchu, the title character, after someone addresses him by his unadorned name, explains that he has three doctorates from three Western universities.
    Fu Manchu: My friends, out of courtesy, call me Doctor.
  • Done in Monkey Business by Groucho Marx's character:
    Gangster: Now listen, bozo—
    Groucho: That's Mister Bozo to you.
  • In The Monster Squad, Fat Kid is rarely referred to as anything but "Fat Kid", even by his friends and especially by EJ and the other local bullies. But he gets to combine this trope with a Dramatic Gun Cock after taking out the Gill-Man with a shotgun.
    EJ: [cowering behind a counter] Hey! Fat Kid! Good job!
    Fat Kid: My name... [pumps his shotgun] ... is HORACE!
  • More Dead Than Alive: When Cain finally has enough of Billy's whining, threats and generally being a Jerkass, he declares that form now own Billy will address him as 'Mr. Cain'.
  • Played for Laughs by My Science Project. When a cop asks Hippie Teacher Bob Roberts for his name, Bob, who insists on First-Name Basis with his students, answers, "Robert Roberts, Esq. to you, honky!" (Bob is white.)
  • The Night of the Hunter: "Preacher Harry Powell."
  • Nixon: When the head of the CIA calls him "Dick", Nixon replies with, "My friends call me 'Mister President.'"
  • In The Pink Panther movies, once Jacques Clouseau is promoted to Chief Inspector, he makes sure to point it out to everyone calling him "Inspector".
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Captain Jack Sparrow always insists on the title. Understandable, as being a pirate captain borders on his purpose in life; it's certainly far more than a mere job. By Dead Man's Chest, other characters have bought into it:
      Beckett: Perhaps you remember a certain pirate named "Jack Sparrow".
      Elizabeth & Will: [in unison] Captain!
      Elizabeth: Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • Bites him in the ass in the same film, when he tries to get out of the deal with Davey Jones which got him his ship in the first place, by pointing out that he didn't actually get to keep the ship for the entire allotted time for which the deal was made (because his first mate led a mutiny and stole it). Jones counters that since he's been going around insisting on being called "Captain" anyway, it still counts and his time is up.
    • Inverted in The Curse of the Black Pearl with the Governor's daughter Elizabeth Swann: she tries to get on a First-Name Basis with Will the blacksmith, only for him to politely stick to calling her "Miss Swann". It's later played straight when Jack holds her hostage to avoid being arrested, calling her Elizabeth only for her to spit out "It's Ms. Swann!"
  • When Holmes describes Moran as "Mr. Sebastian Moran of Her Majesty's Indian Army" in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Moran replies:
    "Colonel Sebastian Moran, if you please."
  • At the end of RoboCop 3, OCP's former CEO, who'd replaced the Old Man prior tot he film, sees Murphy and asks, "Murphy, is it?" Murphy responds that only his friends can call him that and that his enemies, which he includes the former CEO as, should call him RoboCop.
  • In Sam, Alexander Blondell insists that his clients address him as Mr. Blondell. Sam's repeated attempts to refer to him as 'pal, 'buddy' or even 'Alexander' are met with a polite but firm correction:
    "It's Mr. Blondell. M-I-S-T-E-R B-L-O-N-D-E-L-L."
  • Star Trek (2009):
    • This is not James T. Kirk. "This is Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise."
    • Mr. Chekov acknowledging orders from Spock, who's the Captain in Pike's absence; "Aye Commander, uh... er... Captain. Sorry, Captain." This is an extension of contemporary tradition that you address someone in command of a ship as "Captain" regardless of rank. The confusion happens from time to time in real life, especially if civilians (or even members of other branches) are onboard.
    • In order to demonstrate the utter contempt and arrogance of the villain in an extremely direct and subtle way:
      Pike: This is Captain Christopher Pike of the Starship Enterprise. To whom am I speaking?
      Nero: Hi Christopher. I'm Nero.
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk keeps insisting that Spock call him "Jim". Spock (who, as McCoy points out, is "not exactly working on all thrusters") insists that it's improper to address him so informally while he remains in command, so he continues to call him "Admiral", which only raises suspicions when he does this in 1986 San Francisco.
  • In Sunset, Chief Dibner calls Wyatt Earp 'Wyatt' and Wyatt responds:
    "And it's Mr. Earp. Or Marshal. Or even just Earp. But not Wyatt. Not till I tell you."
  • Tales from the Crypt: When Rogers arrives at the home for the blind, the orderly politely greets him as "Mr. Rogers". Rogers snippishly corrects him to "Major Rogers". He soon proves to be very unwilling to leave not only his military title behind, but also the mentality that goes with it.
  • In the movie Three the Hard Way, a policeman is looking at the hero's driver's license:
    Cop: Your name is Mister Keyes? What kind of a name is "Mister"?
    Keyes: Yeah, my momma wanted me to get some respect.
  • Top Gun: When Maverick and Goose meet Iceman and Slider, Slider says, "It's Mr. Iceman to you."
  • In To Sir, with Love, as soon as he starts teaching the class, Thackeray declares that he is "no dude, or brother, or man. I am Mister Thackeray." He also makes a point of referring to all his pupils as Mr. or Miss as a mark of respect. This was also done in the sequel.
  • The 1950 Treasure Island film adaptation. After Long John Silver and his mutineers have successfully captured the Hispaniola and left the officers barricaded in a stockade house on the island, Silver approaches the house to negotiate.
    Silver: Captain Silver, seeking permission to come aboard.
    Smollett: Captain Silver? Who's he?
    Silver: Me, sir.
  • In the prologue to Vigilante Diaries, Wolfman and Vigilante discover that their latest mission was nothing but a cover for one of Barrington's black ops. Wolfman angrily calls Barrington "Motherfucker!", causing Barrington to respond:
    "That's Commander Motherfucker to you."
  • At one point in Young Guns II, Pat Garrett is accused of letting Billy the Kid escape by deliberately getting to the Kid's hideout late. US Marshall Poe calls him "Pat," leading to:
    Garrett: The next time you address me common, I'll knock you down on your prissy ass!"

  • An Inverted Running Gag in Animorphs—in Andalite culture, every warrior must serve under a prince (which is a military title, not royalty); since Jake is leader of the team, Ax thus calls him "Prince Jake," no matter how many times Jake asks him to stop. As the series progressed it became obvious that Ax was more making a joke out of it than anything else.
    Ax: Yes, Prince Jake.
    Jake: Don't call me prince.
    Ax: Yes, Prince Jake.
  • Aubrey-Maturin:
    • Referred to in an early book in the series. When Dr. Maturin asks why Jack so desperately desires promotion to the rank of Post Captain, as he is already called "Captain". Aubrey replies that it is only a courtesy, as he is in fact merely a commander.
      Aubrey: How would you like it if some fellow could call you "Mister" whenever he chose to come it uncivil?
    • Similarly, he references naval surgeons, who were not doctors, in order to explain the distinction to Maturin. See below in Real Life about British surgeons.
  • In Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor, a retired U.S. Coast Guard Master Chief gets rather upset when people call him "Chief" instead of "Master Chief", given that it's a figurative demotion to a lesser rank (Chief Petty Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer, respectively).
  • Discworld:
    • A variant bordering on subversion occurs with His Grace His Excellency Commander Sir Samuel Vimes the Duke of Ankh. He started out simply as a Captain of the Watch, and was Captain Vimes. Then he retired and said, "They call me Mister Vimes," in a reference to In the Heat of the Night. That didn't last; though Vimes did mean to retire, in short order he was made a Knight, and Commander of the Watch. Still later, he was made a Duke. He's not fond of "Sir Samuel" or "Your Grace," though... while he does understand the value of titles, he prefers to use his Watch rank. He's Commander Vimes, thank you very much. He is occasionally "Sir Samuel, if you must," if calling a duke by his job title is giving someone apoplexy.

      In several of the later books, The Truth and Thud!, to name two, his junior officers call him Mister Vimes (always Mister, never Mr.) as a measure of their respect for him. It's implied that they've earned this right by dint of their long-standing and hard work. And while he almost never says it, Sergeant Colon, whom Vimes knows has earned the right, will—when he's very worried—call Vimes "Sam".

      He also goes by Blackboard Monitor Vimes, which is a subversion. He tacked it on to his list of titles as a bit of self-effacing lightness when visiting the Low King of the dwarfs, only to discover that since dwarfs value the written word above all else, this is Serious Business. The modern dwarfs hold the title in reverence as Vimes was the steward of the Words, and the conservative dwarfs think it makes him a monster who destroys the Words.
    • Mistress Weatherwax. She won't let you forget it. Unless you come from her home country of Lancre and/or have known her for a really long time; then she generally won't object to being called "Granny." Only Nanny Ogg and Archchancellor Ridcully are allowed to call her by her first name note , though, as they're the only two for whom she holds more than passing acquaintance. In the short story "The Sea and Little Fishes", Mrs. Earwig commits the unpardonable sin of calling her "Miss Weatherwax".
      • Similarly, Granny is just about the only person who ever calls Nanny Ogg by her first name. Possibly her husbands also called her Gytha, but they're dead now.
    • Susan Sto-Helit insists on being addressed as Miss Susan in the same way that kings insist on 'Your Majesty', and for pretty much the same reason. Strangely, despite the fact that she is a duchess, nobody has ever addressed her as 'Your Grace'.
    • Amusingly invoked in Night Watch by Carcer. One of his men calls him Sarge, Carcer appears to let it go, then five paragraphs later sucker punches the man and snarls "It's Sergeant!"
      • This borders on hilarious when you contrast Carcer with Vimes (briefly a Sergeant at Arms), who's generally fine with being called 'Sarge', 'Keel', or even 'hey, you'. Later on in the novel, though, Vimes corrects Vetinari's claim of 'Commander' with 'Sergeant, sir. In this place. At this time.'
    • In Moving Pictures, when Silverfish calls Dibbler a scheming, devious megalomaniac, Dibbler retorts, "That's Mister Megalomaniac to you!" as he has the man thrown out of the studio.
    • Vetinari has a habit of subtly correcting people who presume to call him by his first name ("Havelock") by addressing them with their title.
    • Despite the fact Nobby Nobbs is his best friend, Colon will always correct him if he calls him "Fred" with "That's Sergeant Colon to you, Nobby." In Jingo, when they're supposed to be undercover, he has a moment of hesitation before deciding "That's Frederick to you, Nobby."
    • After being made Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography (entirely against his will, and on the proviso he in no way tries to claim any authority from it whatsoever), Rincewind insists on being called Professor Rincewind. While it may be a meaningless title, it's his meaningless title.
  • In the Erich Segal novel Doctors, Dr. Laura Castellano testifies before the Health Commission about the harmful effects of smoking on a developing fetus (the book is set before such precautions were mandatory). One of the senators challenges her claims and in the process of doing so, calls her "Miss" Castellano, then "apologizes", asking if the proper term is "Mrs." or "Ms". His obvious intent is to undermine her by implying that she's uninformed because she herself does not have children. Laura doesn't let him get away with it:
    "You may call me Doctor Castellano, if you please."
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel At Childhood's End by Sophie Aldred, the business manager of A Charitable Earth cannot get used to calling his boss by her first name, while the former Ace hates being called "Miss McShane". They eventually compromise on "Miss Dorothy", which she finds funny because it makes her sound like Basil Brush's sidekick.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Harry objects when a security guard gives him a receipt for his Staff made out to "Mister Smartass" because it should be "Doctor Smartass." In reality, he dropped out of high school and later earned a GED, with no further formal education.
    "That's Doctor Smart-ass. I didn't go through 4 years of insult college to be called Mister."
    • Also, despite Marcone's constant protests, Dresden calls him John. However, the moment Marcone replies informally, Dresden says "Don't call me Harry," and hangs up the phone.
    • Dresden once calls the Archangel Uriel, Uri. Given that his name translates to "God is my light" with the "el" part being the reference to God, Uriel is NOT pleased. However he does accept "Mr. Sunshine" as an alternative.
      • Really Dresden just does this to basically everyone. Some people protest, some people get mad, some people just let it pass. It's so common that Murphy does a Dramatic Drop when he actually refers to his mentor as "Sir".
  • In the Dale Brown novel Edge of Battle, Sergeant Major Ray Jefferson does not appreciate being called a mere Sergeant. It becomes something of a Running Gag.
  • In Jane Austen's Emma, one of the clearest ways that the reader is led to dislike the garish Augusta Elton is her over-familiarity. She attempts to make Emma her close friend at first meeting, she calls her new husband "Mr. E", addresses Jane Fairfax as simply "Jane", and worst of all, calls the county squire "Knightley". "'Knightley' indeed!"
  • In Everworld, the Egyptian gods are really into long titles. Sobek, a relatively minor deity, won't even talk with you unless you address him as "Lord Sobek, god of the crocodiles of the Nile, called Rager, son of Seth and his consort Neith, called the nurse of crocodiles."
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, McLean had told Angel and the Bird Woman they would find his son in the swamp. Not realizing that he was a Parental Substitute, not an actual father, Angel is surprised to hear Freckles talk of Mr. McLean. The Bird Woman talks of this trope rather than telling her that McLean is a bachelor and a Scotsman (where Freckles is Irish).
    "Did you know Mr. McLean had a son?" asked the Angel. "Isn't the little accent he has, and the way he twists a sentence, too dear? And isn't it too old-fashioned and funny to hear him call his father 'mister'?"
    "It sounds too good to be true," said the Bird Woman, answering the last question first. "I am so tired of these present-day young men who patronizingly call their fathers 'Dad,' 'Governor,' 'Old Man' and 'Old Chap,' that the boy's attitude of respect and deference appealed to me as being fine as silk. There must be something rare about that young man."
  • The form of address used by various characters in referring to a certain, ah, You-Know-Who is important to characterization throughout, and becomes critical in the last book of, the Harry Potter series. Depending on who's talking about him and to whom, he'll be He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (formal, almost "official" parlance), You-Know-Who (casually between most wizards, if anyone speaks of Voldemort casually), Voldemort or Lord Voldemort (a rare brave few), the Dark Lord (mostly Death Eaters), Riddle (used very sparingly), or Tom (almost exclusively the purview of Dumbledore). The closest he got to actually being named in the media was when Cornelius Fudge referred to him as "Lord Thingy."
    • Even those characters who would once use Voldemort's full name, to show their bravery or contempt, drop it like a hot rock once he comes back, for practical reasons. Those on Potterwatch use the term "Chief Death Eater" as a substitute.
    • Also, it seems Harry can't even mention Snape without someone (usually Dumbledore) correcting him to "Professor Snape".
  • In Holes, the kids all insist on being called by their nicknames, even if said nickname is insulting ("My name is Armpit!"). Which leads to Squid telling Stanley to tell his mother that "Alan" says he's sorry.
  • Michelle Henke from the Honor Harrington books prefers to be addressed as "Admiral Henke" or "ma'am" rather than by her noble title of Gold Peak or "milady", though she will deign to use the latter in official communiques.
    • There is also a tradition in the Manticorian navy that midshipmen are expected to address senior officers as sir or ma'am even if the officer in question has a knighthood or peerage, since midshipmen are to junior to be expected to keep the titles straight.
  • This is Serious Business in In the Courts of the Crimson Kings; the Eastern-bloc ambassador nearly suffers a on-the-spot execution when he refers to their "fraternal aid" to the Martian Emperor, implying a blood relationship where none exists.
  • In Hilari Bell's Knight and Rogue Series novel The Last Knight, Michael comments on how Fisk always calls him Sir — or Noble Sir, if angry — even though asked to call him Michael.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A Little Knowledge", Hark omits all honorifics and circumlocutions to convey a deadly insult and therefore deadly intent. At the end, Witweet also omits them when he makes it clear he holds their lives in his hand.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Return of the King, Pippin greets Aragorn as "Strider"; Aragorn does not mind, but his companions are of the opinion that you don't address kings like that.
    • Pippin (and Merry) also address Denethor, Faramir, Théoden, and other royals/stewards by their common names and the informal "you", since Hobbits don't have the custom of addressing their nobility by title and the formal second-person pronoun has fallen out of use in the Hobbit's dialect of Westron. This leads to the people of Minas Tirith believing that Pippin and Merry are Hobbit royalty.note 
  • In John Hemry's The Lost Stars novel Tarnished Knight, Hardrad always refers to other CEOs by their first names, becaue it will humiliate them, knowing they can't do this.
  • Langston Hughes wrote a series of poems about a woman named Alberta K Johnson who insisted on being called Madam. Most of the poems are even titled Madam and blank.
  • The Night of the Hunter: "Preacher'' Harry Powell."
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan addresses his followers by title, and asks whether they are content to have the titles as empty shells.
    Thrones, Dominations, Princedomes, Vertues, Powers,
    If these magnific Titles yet remain
    Not meerly titular, since by Decree
    Another now hath to himself ingross't
    All Power,
  • In Phoenix Rising, Kyri Vantage several times tells people, "Lady Vantage is my aunt. Just Kyri will do."
  • In The Pillars of Reality, Master Mechanic Mari is young for her rank, and many people (particularly those senior to her) either forget it or deliberately snub her by pretending to. However, the rules of the Guild allow her to insist on it, even to people she would never get away with correcting on other matters, and she does.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero in Hell, after Mab calls Miranda "Miranda", she kicks herself for not realizing he was Not Himself and the shapechanger; he always calls her "ma'am" or "Miss Miranda". Later, after he is freed, Mab carefully watches himself and corrects himself from "Miss Miranda" to "Miranda" and "Mr. Prospero" to "Ludovico."
  • In the RCN series book What Distant Deeps, Lady Posthuma Belisande doesn't much care for her given namenote , but she also seems to be a very friendly person, at least to social peers, and thus invites them to call her "Posy" rather than by her title. She playfully tells Daniel Leary, at their first meeting, that she'll slap him if he calls her "Lady Belisande" again.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote, Murrel manages to get to talk to Dr. Hendry by asking his daughter whether "Dr. Hendry" was in.
    It was a very determining detail that Hendry had once been proud of his doctor's degree; and a yet more determining detail that none of his new neighbours were now in the least likely to give it him. And this was his daughter, who was just old enough to remember when it had been freely given.
    • At the climax, Michael Herne reveals that the Severne family are not the ancient noble house they claim to be, having gotten their hands on the title recently and in a legally dubious manner, and their real name is Smith, even though he is in love with the Honourable Rosamund Severne. He leaves, certain he has lost all. Later, he learns that she no longer goes by Rosamund Severne; if he wants to find her, he should ask for "Miss Smith".
  • In James Clavell's Shogun, the protagonist's surname (Blackthorne) is all but unpronounceable to the Japanese. The local lord assigns him the status-neutral name Anjin (Pilot) to simplify communication. As soon as he's learned enough Japanese to understand honorifics he runs with this and gets a lot of leverage out of insisting on being referred to as Anjin-san ("Mr. Pilot") instead of just Anjin: the samurai he encounters can't really argue against it without being seriously impolite, and once they comply, they've implicitly conceded that he has a legitimate place in their society.
  • Inverted in The Stars My Destination, the Presteign of Presteign objects vigorously to being called "Mr. Presteign"... because that's how his subordinates are adressed. The proper mode of adress for him is "Presteign".
  • In Star Wars Legends:
    • Mitth'raw'nuruodo is almost universally called "Thrawn" by the time of The Thrawn Trilogy. Books and stories set earlier have him get people to use the shorter name first as a courtesy when the humans he meets insist that he use their last names and proceed to hopelessly mangle his name - "And please call me by my core name, Thrawn" - and later with a shade of contempt. "Perhaps my core name would be easier for the average fleet officer. Call me Thrawn." By the time of the Hand of Thrawn duology, most of the galaxy remembered him well but hadn't known he had more name. Other Chiss are a bit more reluctant to tell people their core names. Apparently they're usually for personal use.
    • Han Solo got into a variant of this. People in the rebellion knew him as General Solo, but he often insisted they call him Captain Solo, because he felt "General" was too stuffy and pretentious.
  • Alphas, betas, and omegas in Survivors are referred to by their titles. Sweet allows her friend Lucky to call her that in private, but he must call her "Beta" around others. Likewise, Alpha gets offended when Bella calls her brother by his name in the third book:
    Bella: But the cloud wasn't Lucky's fault.
    Alpha: You will address him by his proper name. And whether or not Omega caused the black cloud, it took the shape of a Sky-Dog.
  • The mystery novel The Sybil In Her Grave by Sarah Caudwell features a character who so enrages the dominatrix he's engaged for the afternoon that she leaves him in an uncomfortable situation and he must be rescued by one of the other characters. His mistake? Calling her "tu" instead of "vous".
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, Bruno overdoes it:
    "Dindledums?" said Bruno. "Oh, they're ever so pretty! And stones aren't pretty, one bit. Would oo like some dindledums, Mister Sir?"
    "Bruno!" Sylvie murmured reproachfully. "You mustn't say 'Mister' and 'Sir,' both at once! Remember what I told you!"
    "You telled me I were to say Mister' when I spoked about him, and I were to say 'Sir' when I spoked to him!"
    "Well, you're not doing both, you know."
    "Ah, but I is doing bofe, Miss Praticular!" Bruno exclaimed triumphantly. "I wishted to speak about the Gemplune and I wishted to speak to the Gemplun. So a course I said 'Mister Sir'!"
  • In Tales of MU, female human students are customarily addressed as "Ms. (Last Name)", while other races are referred to as "Miss (Given Name)", as modern-style surnames are mostly used by humans. Half-human protagonist Mackenzie Blaise eventually insists on being addressed as "Ms. Mackenzie".
  • In the Lisa Gardner novel The Third Victim, Rainie addresses Richard Mann as "Mr. Mann" only to have him respond "Please call me Richard. Mr. Mann was my father." In his case, he is not only discouraging formality, but making a disdainful comment about his father, which becomes significant when Mann turns out to be responsible for the murders.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child, Eff is shocked when William calls her "Miss Rothmer". Her twin brother Lan says she should be used to it, having put her hair up; Eff protests — but not from William; William points out that "Miss Eff" and "Miss Francine" would be worse.
  • Tough Magic provides a slightly zig-zagged example: Gast actually prefers being called by his first name, but when in a postion of authority, insists (politely), on being referred to by title or whatever other way is appropriate.
  • At the beginning of Victory of Eagles, when Temeraire starts organizing the logistics for his new militia after getting word of a French invasion, he finds that getting the head of the breeding ground's herdsmen to see him as more a military commander than a valued beast put out to stud is best accomplished by insisting on a change of address.
    Lloyd: You shall all be fed, the cows will come here every day, there's no call to save them, old boy—
    [Temeraire causes a small avalanche on the other side of the valley with a roar, then leans in close enough to look the human dead in the eye]
    Temeraire: You will say sir.
    Lloyd: Sir.
  • Played, justifiably, straight in the Village Tales series (alongside Last-Name Basis and literal instances of Do Not Call Me "Paul"). Regardless of social class and rank, if the Duke of Taunton likes you, you are encouraged to address him familiarly. If he doesn't like you … "You call me as, 'Your Grace', damn you." His servants are referred to in accordance with their positions: the Cook and the Housekeeper take a "Mrs" and Lady Crispin's lady's-maid is, although married, "Miss Stephens" to all save Lady Crispin, who is allowed to call her by her Christian name. The footmen are addressed by Christian name. The ducal butler is, to all save the seniormost members of The Family, "Mister" Viney. (To the Duke, he's simply "Viney" … except when he's "Paul." Mr. Viney does not like it when this happens: not because of the name, but because this means the Duke is about to talk to him churchwarden to churchwarden, or as captain of the local cricket side to vice-captain, and Complications Are Sure To Ensue.)
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In Memory, Miles Vorkosigan gets a temporary appointment as an Imperial Auditor — a government position with nearly unlimited power (serving as a stand-in for the Emperor himself) described as "...a cross between a Special Prosecutor, an Inspector General, and a minor deity". He informs his cousin Ivan (who has been addressing Miles as "Coz" since they were children): "That's Lord Auditor Coz to you, for the duration." After Miles gets a permanent post as Imperial Auditor, both Ivan and Miles's clone brother Mark address him as "Lord Auditor Coz/Brother" on occasion to needle him.
    • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan notes that Tej refers to her parents, Baron and Baronne Coronne as Da — and the Baronne.
  • Happens in several Warhammer 40,000 novels:
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis, Curth's first meeting with Dorden starts with his calling her "Ana" and her snapping "Surgeon Curth". She realizes a bit later, as they discuss the complete inadequency of the rooms he has been given to work with, that he was not coming on to her, and feels guilty. (Between her commandeering the resources to make the rooms adequate, and his volunteering to work on her wounded refugees before the fighting actually starts, they patch things up, leading to a First-Name Basis request at the end of the novel.)
    • In Sabbat Martyr, Gaunt's adjunctant Beltayn gives him a message from "Lugo". Gaunt says, "That's Lord General Lugo" — and then says while he doesn't mind, a bad habit could get Beltayn in trouble.
    • In Gav Thorpe's 13th Legion, a navy lieutenant refers to "Schaeffer" and gets told "That's Colonel Scaeffer" to you.
    • In Graham McNeill's Ultramarines novel Dead Sky, Black Sun, when Pasanius calls Uriel "Captain" in the beginning, Uriel says that does not apply while they are under the death oath; at the end, he calls him it again, and reminds him that they have fulfilled their death oath, and so Uriel is his captain again.
    • In The Killing Ground, when Leodegarius brings Uriel to his third ordeal, he address him as Captain Ventris, which Uriel thinks a good sign.
    • In James Swallow's Blood Angels novel Red Fury, when a Flesh Tearer refers to the Blood Angel Chapter Master as "Dante", Rafen insists on "Lord Dante."
    • In Ben Counter's Soul Drinkers novel Chapter War, Eumenes exults in Sarpedon's submission, demanding he address him as "my lord."
    • In Horus Heresy, a non-Astartes human refers to Horus merely as Horus, and is severly rebuked by the Space Marines around her.
    He is the Warmaster. The Warmaster. You would do well to remember that.
    • The Traitor's Hand: Beije tries to establish a first-name relationship with Cain in the first chapter, Cain politely but firmly insists on last names. (They may have been classmates at the schola, but they weren't friends.)
  • Spoofed in X-Wing: Wraith Squadron. One of the other Wraiths jokingly calls Kell Tainer "Demolitions Boy", and Tainer, who technically outranks them, corrects them to "Demolitions Boy Sir".


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Bob Backlund, during his mid-1990s heel gimmick as a highly volatile, out-of-touch elder wrestler who considered "the new generation" rude and disrespectful, often demanded that fans and interviewers address him "Mr. Bob Backlund" (including the first name), and there'd be hell to pay if they refused. On television, several segments aired where he was seen interacting with young fans and — among other comically ridiculous stipulations that included such things as naming all the presidents in chronological order within 45 seconds (and no "ums" or "ahs") — refusing to sign his autograph if they didn't comply with his requests.
  • After winning the TNA X Division championship, Doug Williams stopped answering by the more friendly Doug, and demanded to be called Douglas Williams.
  • If those fans would stop chanting "Okada" for a second they'd realize he'd rather they call him "mister" Okada.
  • A part of Vince McMahon's Face–Heel Turn during the Attitude Era was his insisting people call him Mr. McMahon.
  • In his role as the Exalted One of The Dark Order in AEW, the late Brodie Lee insisted that everyone refer to him as Mister Brodie Lee. Since he was 6'5" and 275lb with a Hair-Trigger Temper, most people were willing to accede.
    • At about the time Lee passed away, AEW signed his then 8-year-old son Brodienote  to an actual contract; he's since made regular appearances as the titular leader of The Dark Order. Within a year of his father's passing, AEW started consistently billing the younger Brodie as "Mr. Brodie Lee Jr."
  • During his time as General Manager of WWE SmackDown in 2004, Kurt Angle insists on only being addressed to as "Mr. Angle" since he only uses "Kurt" when he used to wrestle; he became wheelchair-bound after he was attacked by The Big Show two weeks ago.

  • In the Front Line Theatre play "Ham For Sale", while Jack Benny is obnoxiously intruding upon the rehearsal of a dramatic play with Basil Rathbone and Barbara Stanwyck:
    Jack: Oh, Mr. Cortez [the director], let me ask you something—when Basil comes in... Or Bayzil. By the way, how do you pronounce that? Basil, or Bayzil?
    Basil: Mister Rathbone.
  • The Goon Show:
    Bloodnok: That's Mister Scum to you!

  • Darwin's Soldiers does this for comedy. When Shelton intercepts a thought message by Achilles to Narcissus, he replies as such.
    Achilles: Why did they give us such a wimpy commander?
    Narcissus: Hey, Achilles, I don't think it's such a great idea to be insulting the commander, especially when he's right here.
    Achilles: Not going to stop me. I'm not afraid of a pussy.
    Shelton: [spoken] It's Commander Pussy to you.

  • In Roller Derby, this trope acts as a Berserk Button for heel manager Georgia Hase.
    "That's MS. Georgia Hase to you, and don't you forget it!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Applied accidentally to the lich darklord whose real name is Firan Zal'honen, but who is now known throughout Ravenloft as "Azalin". When he first arrived in Darkon, he used his title "Wizard-King", in the dialect of his homeland, to introduce himself; for the natives of the Land of Mists, "Azalin" was the closest they could come to pronouncing it, and they latched on it as his name. Just to make things more awkward, he's formally referred to in court documents as "Azalin Rex", or "Wizard-King King".
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines use Sergeants and Captains as ranks, which can cause some confusion when dealing with the Imperial guard (a Space Marine can spend years as an initiate and decades as a battle-brother before he'd even be considered for promotion to Sergeant, fanon assumes he'd be on par with a general of the Guard). To avoid the problem within their own navy, they use the term "shipmaster" for ship commanders instead (who isn't necessarily an Astartes himself).
    I'll give you your orders in the morning, Holt.
    Commissar Holt!

  • In George Bernard Shaw's play The Devils Advocate, General Burgoyne walks in on his underlings referring to him by a not-so-respectful nickname, and responds:
    General Burgoyne: I believe I am Gentlemanly Johnny, sir, at your service. My more intimate friends call me General Burgoyne.
  • In the musical Little Shop of Horrors, as well as in the film based on it, the Depraved Dentist Dr. Orin Scrivello insists on being called "Doctor." Even his abused girlfriend Audrey is forced to do so.
    Dr. Scrivello: Somebody talkin' to you?
    Audrey: Excuse me.
    Dr. Scrivello: Excuse me what?
    Audrey: Excuse me, Doctor.
    Dr. Scrivello: That's better.
  • Act II, Scene II of The Merchant of Venice plays with this trope as it was used in Elizabethan England. Launcelot, a peasant who's been away from home for some time, runs into his father, Gobbo, who's been looking for him. However, Gobbo is blind and doesn't recognize his son, so Launcelot, being the play's Plucky Comic Relief, decides to mess with him...
    • First, Launcelot, pretending not to be himself, asks him if he's talking about "young Master Launcelot." Since "Master" was a title of address reserved for the higher classes, Gobbo insists that his child is "no master, sir, but a poor man's son." (However, he does unintentionally call his son "Master", having no idea who he's speaking to.)
    • When Launcelot continues to insist on using "Master Launcelot", Gobbo says, "Your worship's friend and Launcelot, sir," a polite way of speaking for his son and saying that his son should be addressed as a "friend" rather than by a formal title. Launcelot points out that, if he's a "your worship" and Launcelot is his friend, "ergo", Launcelot must be called Master Launcelot.
    • For added fun, Launcelot repeatedly calls Gobbo "father," and Gobbo still doesn't recognize him, because at the time "father" was a general term of address to old men, used by the peasant classes. After Gobbo recognizes Launcelot as his son, he ceases to refer to him with the words "you" and "your", using the more familiar "thou" and "thy".

    Theme Parks 
  • At Universal Studios:
    • Wheelie in Transformers: The Ride mentions that he likes to be referred to as "General Admiral Commander Wheelie".
    • Penelope in the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium restaurant likes to go by "Professor Doctor Penelope".

    Video Games 
  • Inverted in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica. Cloche is painfully aware of her title and this is precisely why she doesn't want her closest friends using it. Everyone else, though, has to call her 'Lady' or 'Holy Maiden'.
  • BioShock Infinite: Booker insists that Elizabeth calls him by his first name, not "Mr. DeWitt", possibly out of refusal of formality or the fact that they've been through a lot together.
    • Booker in the alt-universe DLC Burial at Sea likewise asks Elizabeth to call him Booker as a call back to the main storyline, but Elizabeth refuses. While this initially seems to be a formality thing (Burial at Sea's Elizabeth is much older than the main game's), it's actually foreshadowing that it's alt-universe in the most literal sense: that game's Booker is actually a repentant Comstock, and Elizabeth knows this and is leading him to his death. She likely refuses to call him Booker out of respect for the main game's Booker.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Vivienne is positively incensed when the Iron Bull calls her "Viv" in party banter. She tells him that he may address her as either "Madam de Fer" or "First Enchanter." He backpedals instantly and for the rest of the game addresses her simply as "Ma'am," which she deems acceptable.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, there is an option to reply to Oghren's drunken 'Hey, you!' with 'That's Commander Hey You, by the way.'
  • Fallout 2 had Enclave Sergeant Arch Dornan deliver a blistering rant to this effect.
    "If I like you, you can call me "sarge". But guess what? I DON'T LIKE YOU! DO YOU UNDERSTAAAND?!"
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon: In her first appearance, Dr. Darling rebuffs Sloan's calling her "Darlin'" by insisting on the title.
  • When Aerith first talks to Barret in Final Fantasy VII. (This is even more amusing when you name him "Mr. T".)
    Aerith: ...thank you, Mr. Barret!
    Barret: Who you callin' Mr. Barret? That don't sound right!
  • In the second Gabriel Knight game, it comes back to bite a German doctor in the ass when Gabe calls him "Klingmann" and he replies "They call me Herr Doktor Klingmann here."
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof
    • Megumi, the ghost of a girl who died 30 years ago as a first-year in high school, gets annoyed when Yuna, the protagonist and a second-year, calls her by her first name without honorifics, pointing out that she should technically be more than twice Yuna's age. Yuna counters that Megumi died at a younger age than Yuna is now, and Megumi doesn't act her "true" age.
    • Tsukuyo Sonou, a teacher at the school who looks rather young for her age, not to mention cute, frequently has to remind her students to call her "Sensei" instead of "Sonou-chan" or "Tsukuyo-chan."
  • Mass Effect 3 gives you the opportunity to invoke this trope when Lt. James Vega initially calls Commander Shepard either "Loco"note  or "Lola"note . If you correct him, it'll be "Commander" for the rest of the game, otherwise, "Loco" or "Lola".
  • Mega Man Battle Network's version of Mr. Famous would always insist "Just Famous!" whenever Lan called him "Mr. Famous." The exchange in Rockman.EXE was "Meijin-san!", "-san wa iranai," (literally, "No need for -san").
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Aether Foundation Branch Chief Faba does not take kindly to his assistant Wicke calling him "Mr. Faba" and points out he has a title for a reason. "How else will anyone know how important I am?"
  • Dr. Chizuru Urashima from the Project X Zone 2 insists that she'd be referred to as "Doctor" rather than her name.
  • In Resident Evil 0, Rebecca tells Billy that "That's Officer Chambers to you" when she confronts him and he's quite dismissive of her. Billy immediately calls her Rebecca with extra emphasis and flicks her nose.
  • The opening cutscene of Rugrats: Royal Ransom:
    Kimi: Look! It's Angelica!
    Angelica: That's Queen Angelica to you!
  • Momma Bosco in the Sam & Max: Freelance Police games, being a Straw Feminist, is very particular about how she is addressed. When Sam and Max first meet her in Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, she insists on being called Ms. Momma Bosco. In Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, after she got a PhD, she will correct you if you don't call her Dr. Momma Bosco.
  • Gobbet in Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong will insist on calling your character "Seattle" unless you use this trope to ask her to call you by your street name instead.
  • Spiderman PS 4: Norman Osborn jokes about this when he first appears:
    Peter: Mr. Osborn...
    Norman: Oh, please. How long have we known each other? It's "Mr Mayor." [chuckles] It's Norman. Norman!
  • In the German version of StarCraft II, Matt usually addresses Raynor with the formal "Sie", but when it's only the two of them in the Cantina (like in the cinematics "Hearts and Minds" and "Who we choose to be") he switches to the more familiar "Du".
    • An exceedingly minor character in the StarCraft Expanded Universe, Captain Serl Gentry, is a military scientist. You could call him "Doctor" or "Captain", as he has earned both ranks, but he does not like it when an enlisted nurse calls him Doctor. He only tolerates "Captain".
  • Tales of Monkey Island:
    Guybrush: Doctor De Singe?
    De Singe: That's the Marquis De Singe to you, ruffian.
  • The Big Bad in Tales of Hearts introduces himself thus, revealing that he has possessed the main character.
    Kohak: Why are you here, Creed Graphite?
    Kunzite: Creed?! Calm down. Creed knows nothing about you.
    Creed: Don't forget the "sama", Mechanoid.
  • Treasure Hunter G has The World's Last Mad Scientist Dr. Hello. Yes, he insists you call him "The World's Last Mad Scientist Dr. Hello" every single time you address him. He's otherwise a nice guy and quite good at his job.
  • Depending on your Relationship Values, Velvet Velour from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines will ask you to either call her "Miss Velour", "Velvet" or "V. V.". The trope can therefore take either form depending on how formally your character addresses her (except for by a Malkavian, who just calls her "Doll").
  • Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation has a scene where an incompetent Imperial governor makes the potentially fatal mistake of referring to a commissar as "Mr. Holt."
    Commissar Holt: (click) Choose your next words with exceptional care.
  • In Warhammer: Dark Omen Commander Bernhardt prefers to go by "Commander". The only guy who doesn't is the Witch-Hunter, Matthias. (Who usually calls him either "Bernhardt" or "You there!") who in turn wants to be called by "My proper-title of Witch-Hunter General". Matthias eventually forgets himself and Bernhardt notes it. ("Ah. You called me Commander.")
  • Ryuji Goda from Yakuza 2 will absolutely thrash you if you call him the "Dragon of Kansai". He has it out of the other legendary Dragon, the "Dragon of Dojima", Kazuma Kiryu, because in his own words: "There's only room for one dragon."

  • In Dumbing of Age, Leslie Bean tells her Gender Studies class to call her "Leslie". The following year, she jokes that, now they're not her students, they have to call her "Ms. Bean". Joyce believes her.
  • Girl Genius involves characters inhereting titles, so this trope natutally shows up:
    • After the Prince of Sturmhalten died, his son Tarvek insisted on being called "Prince Tarvek" instead of "Master," to show that he's claiming his father's title.
    • Tarvek seemingly likes doing this.
      Higgs: Nice one.
      Tarvek: That's "nice one, Your Highness."
      Higgs: Not 'til I see that farthing.
    • The opposite happened when Baron Wulfenbach supposedly died, and his son Gil refused to be called "Baron" by his father's servants.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Before the comic began, Renard came to be called Reynardine after the events that led him to be imprisoned in the court. Since Surma gave him the name as part of a ploy to trap him, it was closer to a case of Your Name is Mister Tibbs. Coyote continues to use his old name since he ignores any authority but his own, and Antimony switches to calling him Renard after learning the story.
    • When Antimony's father appears after an unexplained two-year absence, he coldly instructs Antimony to address him as Sir.
  • Selkie contains a type one: It's Professor Trunchbull. Naturally, the fandom picked up on this and started defiantly calling him Mr. Trunchbull.
  • A Type 2 example in The Wotch. In this strip Samantha and Katie meet Samantha's grandfather.
    Katie: Nice to meet you, Mr. Wolf.
    Mr. Wolf: Please, not that! My dad was Mr. Wolf. Call me Grampa.

    Web Original 
  • Tweeted by absurdist comedian Adam Levine:
    I walk into priest's office
    Me: Excuse me? Mr. MacKenzie?
    Priest: Please, Mr. MacKenzie is my father. Call me Father MacKenzie.

    Web Videos 
  • Mario Party TV: It's Mr. Doom, not Doom. Get it right. Placing adjectives in the middle (e.g. "Mr. Freaking Stinking Cheating Doom") is acceptable.
  • The Trial Of Tim Heidecker: Tim Heidecker frequently addresses Judge Szymczyk as just "Judge" instead of "Your Honor," much to his annoyance.

    Western Animation 
  • From a Sonic Sez segment of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    Sonic: Great swing, Tails!
    Tails: That's Astronaut Tails to you, Sonic!
  • In American Dad!, the sleazy, perpetually horny Principal Lewis is coming on to a woman who calls him "Mr. Lewis". He responds "Please, my father was Mr. Lewis. Call me Chocolate Dinosaur."
  • Archer:
    • In "The Wind Cries Mary" when Malory is complaining about Dr. Krieger's failure to exterminate the ants in the office.
      Malory: And you, Mr. "I-Can-Solve-Your-Ant-Problem..."
      Krieger: First of all, it's "Doctor I-Can-Solve-Your-Ant-Problem", and second of all... here's your refund.
    • Also when Sterling pulls a Bavarian Fire Drill at Area 51 in "Nellis":
      Archer: Not that it's any of your business, er, Lieutenant...
      USAF Colonel: Colonel.
      Archer: Lieutenant Colonel...
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • "Freeze!" "That's Mister Freeze to you." (fires)
    • The episode "Joker's Favor": When Batman meets Charlie Collins, he is a pathetic victim of The Joker who is Holding Out for a Hero and could have helped The Joker to kill a lot of people. When Batman meets him again at the alley, Batman calls him Charlie. After Charlie confronts the Joker and pranks him with a bomb, Batman addresses him as Mr. Collins.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Type 2 in the very first episode — Ben's trying to tell his new partner Rook to call him by his name rather than "Sir", but Rook misunderstands. He doesn't get it straight until part 2.
    Rook: Yes, sir.
    Ben: Call me "Ben", dude.
    Rook: Okay, Ben dude.
  • The second form is parodied in Bojack Horseman:
    Mr. Peanutbutter: Please, Mr. Peanutbutter was my father's name...and it's also my name!
  • A Pimp Named Slickback in The Boondocks is possibly the weirdest example of this. You can't just call him Slickback, a Pimp, or even "this person" apparently, it's like A Tribe Called Quest: you have to say the whole thing, all the fucking time. Funnily enough, Tom DuBois at one point addresses the character as "Mr. A Pimp Named Slickback", to which he replies by stating that saying "Mr." in front of his name isn't necessary.
  • Both variants were used in an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door. Hoagie's mother addressed Kuki's mother as "Mrs. Sanban", only for Mrs. Sanban to insist on being called "Supreme master of accounting Madam Sanban." At the end of the episode, Mrs. Gilligan says bids farewell to Mrs. Sanban, using her full title, only to be told "Please, call me Genki."
  • In Cyberchase, the Big Bad of the show The Hacker constantly wants to be referred to as ''The'' Hacker. In fact, it's become a Running Gag that whenever someone refers to Hacker as just "Hacker", he will often respond by saying "That's The Hacker to you!"
  • The announcer on Danger Mouse tells his recording director where to get off at the start of "Bandits, Beans and Ballyhoo!"
    RD: (pleadingly) Isombard…
    Announcer: Mister Sinclair to you. And once and for all, no!
  • Danger Rangers has Type B, with Quenton P. Manderbill in "Where the Fun Never Stops." "Please, Mister Manderbill is my father. Call me Quenton."
  • At the end of the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Outlaw Scrooge McDuck", when Louie is on the phone to Goldie O'Gilt.
    Louie: Hello, Miss O'Gilt. Can I call you Goldie? Absolutely not? Great.
  • From the Family Guy episode "Seahorse Seashell Party", during Meg's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    Meg: Oh yeah, Mr. Selfish-Ass Dad?
    Peter: That's Mister Mr. Selfish-Ass Dad to you, young lady!
    • In another Family Guy episode, Brian Griffin (the dog) is made the teacher of Chris' class. Brian tells the class not to call him "Mr. Griffin" because "that's my father's name". Chris speaks up and says, "I thought your dad's name was Coco (a dog), and he got hit by a milk truck!", lampshading the fact that Brian is a dog who took the last name Griffin from his owner.
    • And there's the instance where Lois approaches a mall security guard:
    Lois: Excuse me, sir-
    Security Guard: Actually, it's "officer".
    Lois: No, it's not. It's barely "sir".
  • From the Histeria! episode "Loud Kiddington's Ancient History":
    Miss Information: And to our right is the great Carthaginian general Hannibal.
    Hannibal: That's Mr. Hannibal to you!
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has Shendu's brother, Tchang Zu insisting Shendu to call him "master" rather than "brother".
    Shendu: As the thunder claps, so do I applaud your skill, brother.
    Tchang Zu: Shendu, you may call me, master.
    Shendu: Of course, "master".
  • Kim Possible:
  • In The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, there's the Sandman. The Vision Crafter, Given of Wishes, the Lord of the Sleep Realm, the King of Dreams!. But you can call him Steven.
  • In The Lion Guard, Bunga says he and Simba are sort of brothers because Timon and Pumbaa raised them both. He calls Simba "bro"
    Simba: That's King bro to you.
  • Played for Laughs in Milo Murphy's Law:
    Milo: Hi, Zack's Mom!
    Dr. Underwood: Please, just call me Dr. Zack's Mom.
    Boy: I'm a big fan, Mr. Slash. Can I have your autograph?
    Slash: Just call me "Slash." Mr. Slash is my dad.
  • My Dad the Rock Star: When Skunk first approached Buzz Sawchuck, he asked "Mr. Sawchuck?" and Buzz replied that was his father.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • When Candace got a job as a lifeguard, she first addressed her boss as "Mr. Webber" and he said that Mr. Webber was his father and he was to be called "Captain Webber".
    • Parodied in "Ferb TV"—Baljeet stars in a Show Within a Show called Doctor Ninja Baljeet, and insists on being addressed as such. After all, he didn't spend all those years in ninja school to be called Doctor Baljeet.
  • In The Simpsons
    • When Marge addresses the owner of Little Vicky's dancing school, a former child star a la Shirley Temple.
      Marge: Hi, Little Vicky!
      Vicky: Oh, that was so long ago. Now I'm just Vicky.
      Marge: Oh, all right then, Vicky.
      Vicky: Little Vicky.
      Marge: But you just said-
    • In "Marge Gets a Job", Smithers sings a parody of the song from Citizen Kane, except that while the original explains "He doesn't like that 'Mister', he likes Charlie Kane!", this one insists "To his friends he's 'Monty', but to you he's Mr Burns!"
    • In "You Only Move Twice" when Homer accidentally calls Hank Scorpio "Mr. Scorpion".
      Hank Scorpio: Don't call me "Mr. Scorpion". It's "Mr. Scorpio" but don't call me that either, call me Hank!
  • From SpongeBob SquarePants:note 
    Patrick: And I am Professor Patrick.
    SpongeBob: Professor?
    Patrick: Doctor Professor Patrick.
    Patrick: Mister Doctor Professor Patrick, for you.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Carnage of Krell", after one too many insults from General Krell regarding his status as a clone trooper, Captain Rex insists on being addressed by his rank.
    Krell: You are making a mistake by crossing me, clone.
    Rex: It's Captain... sir.
    [mutual Death Glares ensue]
  • Super Mario World: This classic exchange in an episode of the cartoon.
    Mario: You didn't tell me you were bringing a secret weapon, Luigi!
    Luigi: That's Mama Luigi to you, Mario! -wheeze-
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) plays with this trope when Donatello tracks down the mad scientist who's stolen his Time Stopper.
    Prof. Cycloid: Yoohoo, I'm up here, shellback!
    Donatello: The name's Donatello, psycho!
    Prof. Cycloid: That's Professor Psycho! I mean Cycloid! I mean Professor Cycloid! Now see what you've done, you've got me all mixed up.
  • In Toxic Crusaders, it was a Running Gag for the series' main villain Dr. Killemoff to yell "That's Dr. Killemoff" to everyone who addressed him as just Killemoff.

    Real Life 
  • In the educational setting, most teachers and administrators (and to a lesser extent, support staff) expect their students to address them by a courtesy title — Mr., Mrs. or Miss; Coach, if they are a coach; an administrative title, such as Principal or Superintendent; or Dr. if they have a Ph.D. or M.D.note  — and their surname, especially in the classroom, or short of that, "sir" or "ma'am." Sometimes, teachers with particularly long or difficult-to-pronounce last names will allow them to refer to them by a shortened last name along with the courtesy title (e.g., "Mrs. K" for Mrs. Krabappel). Usually, they will correct a student who errantly refers to them by their given name, although rare exceptions are allowed for close family — that is, it would be silly for a teacher or principal to expect his son to address him "Mr." at school. The point, however, is for the students to show respect and to remind students that it is the adults, not the students, who are in charge.
  • Many clergypersons — outside of their closest friends and family — expect that parishioners will refer to them by their title (e.g., "Pastor," "Reverend," "Rabbi," etc.) and their last name, although some are fine with people using the first name in combination with their title (e.g., "Pastor Dan").
    • This is actually a linguistic oddity that has come into common usage. "Pastor" and "Reverend" aren't titles, they're honorifics.
  • Years ago, before social conventions became relaxed, minors were often expected to refer to adults — the exceptions needing to be explicitly stated — by a courtesy title and their last name, or "sir" or "ma'am." This sometimes included dating relationships, where the date would be expected to address to his/her significant other's parents with the courtesy title Mr. and Mrs.
    • In business relationships, where the customer service representative was speaking with a client they did not otherwise have an established relationship with (previous or personal), they might be expected to call them "Mr." or "Mrs.," or short of that, sir or ma'am. Also, in some businesses or companies, subordinate workers might be asked — at least initially — to refer to their superiors by Mr. or Mrs., although many are informal enough that they are allowed to call their supervisors and bosses by first name almost immediately.
  • In the courtroom, in addition to attorneys referring to adult litigants, witnesses and defendants (and sometimes, minors over a certain age) by a courtesy title and last name, everyone is expected to refer to judges as "Your Honor" or, short of that, "Judge (last name)." Depending on the context of someone who erroneously addresses a judge, the response may range from a gentle reminder (usually for younger witnesses) to a contempt of court citation (for those who blatantly disrespect the judge); usually it will be a firm reprimand followed by more severe measures for repeat offenses.
    • In other countries, due to Eagleland Osmosis judges are sometimes addressed as "Your Honor" even when that's not technically the proper form of address there, and people who do so will be gently (or less gently, depending on how much it annoys the judge) corrected.
  • One of the reasons that the Religious Society of Friends (commonly called the Quakers) were unpopular with their neighbors was their insistence on using the familiar "thou" with everybody, refusing to recognize differences in station (with the notable exception of God, who got a formal "you"). As the thou/you variant has fallen out of usage in English, so has this practice. Quakers also do not traditionally use titles, preferring to address everybody equally, usually by first names - for example, Quaker children are more likely than others to use their parents' given names rather than 'Mom' and 'Dad'. Additionally, at Quaker schools teachers and administrators are, by default, addressed by their first names unless they make it known they prefer to be addressed more formally.
  • To the Amish, titles are seen as a sign of vanity, a major taboo in the Amish community. Thus, people are often addressed by their full names.
    • Justified in that most Amish people share a small number of last names and a somewhat larger number of first names, so full names (and sometimes other identifiers) may be needed to distinguish between people with the same or similar names.
  • Every sergeant ever who deals with new meat has used that line or a variation, or occasionally, when called 'sir', 'Don't call me "sir"; I work for a living!' While any member of the US Army with the rank of Sergeant or higher, such as Master Sergeant, may be addressed by a soldier as "Sergeant", woe betide any Marine who calls any Sergeant other than an actual E-5 "Sergeant". On the other hand, Gunnery Sergeants are often called "Gunny" by those 'deemed worthy', and Master Gunnery Sergeants are likewise called "Master Guns".
    • US Army soldiers (especially in ground combat units) will sometimes refer to the First Sergeant, who is the highest-ranking sergeant in a company, as "Top", short for "Top Sergeant". Recruits can be unpleasantly surprised by the First Shirt's reaction if they haven't yet earned the right.
    • US Army Non-Commissioned Officers will frequently call each other Sergeant Smith and Sergeant Jones even if they've been together for ten years. The Officer corps is a bit more lax, where superior officers and equals may often use your first name, but addressing the Old Man or another superior officer with anything but Sir is a quick way into the doghouse.
    • It's perfectly acceptable in the Air Force for an enlisted to refer to a lieutenant as "L.T." Not so in the Corps. In fact, any superior in the Air Force may be addressed as "Sir" or "Ma'am", to include Non-Commissioned Officers, owing to the Air Force's somewhat more egalitarian culture (which is claimed as a result of World War II, where small close-knit aircrews of officers and enlisted men were much less likely to bother with the Army's usual formalities compared to an Army unit of dozens of troops and a handful of officers.)
  • UK PM Anthony Charles Lynton Blair insisted on 'Tony', by which he is usually known. The impressionist extraordinaire Jon Culshaw once convinced Number Ten that he was William Hague with a pitch-perfect impersonation, and got his call through to Blair himself, which was rumbled when Tony noticed that Culshaw was calling him 'Tony' when the real Hague always called him 'Prime Minister'. When his Government, comprising people who had spent most of their political careers in opposition, first met, they decided to stick with the first name basis that they'd used in the past.
  • US President Jimmy Carter (full name James Earl Carter) refused to answer to "James", insisting on "Jimmy" to the point where he used it in his Oath of Office.
  • Mr. T adopted his unusual stage name in order to force people to always address him as "Mister," in response to the prevalence of derogatorily calling black men "boy." It's not just a stage name, as he had it legally changed. He once put it, "First name, Mister. Middle name, That little period thing. Last name, T."
  • BDSM communities have conventions for address that can differ between regions, and is usually far more formal in online communities than at Real Life leather events. Addressing someone as "Sir/Miss" can be an acknowledgment of their role and experience, an identifier of the speaker's submission, or simply a term of respect between peers. The titles "Master/Mistress" refers to those with a more or less 24/7 power exchange relationship, ie, training a full-time submissive or slave. Many newbies to the scene mistakenly spread the term around, which may endear them to some Old School Dom(me)s, but usually is a source of amusement when applied to submissives and switches.
  • It's SIR Ben Kingsley, and you'd better not forget it.
  • Sir Alan Sugar, the Donald Trump of the UK version of The Apprentice. Watching the show you'd think "Siralan" was one word. Unfortunately, the similarly obsequious insistence on referring to him as "Lord Sugar" now he's come up in the world has put an end to that name (and made him sound like a pimp instead).
  • German-speaking countries tend to be very serious about using the formal 'you' (Sie) in conversation, to the point of it being a major milestone in a friendship when you know someone well enough to use the informal version (du, i. e. "thou") with them. People who are next-door neighbors for twenty years will still often refer to each other as Herr and Frau so-and-so. Even married couples would refer to each other as "Herr X" and "Frau X" in front of others. German shops and other businesses do nowadays make a concession to Anglophone-style customer care: their employees do usually have name badges. However, as a rule, their name badges will always say include "Herr" or "Frau".
    • When German-speakers find it fresh or even insulting to be addressed with the informal "du", they will stereotypically use a variation of "did we ever herd pigs together?" In the aftermath of World War 2 that could for instance become: "did we ever steal coal together?"
    • The Romance languages as a rule have these, with different cultures having different rules for the use of titles and formal or informal address. For example, it is very rare in Mexico for strangers not to use doctor(a) when addressing a medical doctor or even a medical student, but using the formal form of You (usted) is uncommon and very situational. Yet the informal second-person plural (vosotros) form is almost never heard outside Spain. In Latin America, second-person plurals are almost universally addressed with the formal ustedes.
    • Japanese honorifics are terribly complex and take into account context, social status, the presence of strangers, and even gender. Not using them correctly can be a sharp barb. Fortunately, courteous Japanese speakers will cut Westerners a fair amount of slack.
  • In Sweden up until either 1875, everyone was supposed to use Ni (you in the sense it had before thou fell out of use) instead of titles, or the late '60s/early '70s, when people switched to Du (you in the familiar sense) and titles actually fell out of use, excepting a few special situations.
  • Until the late 18th Century, surgeons in the UK and Ireland learned their trade as apprentices, rather than through a university education. As they didn't have medical degrees, they were not entitled to call themselves "Doctor". Nowadays, an aspiring surgeon must first graduate from medical school (gaining the title "Doctor"), then complete at least four more years of training in surgery. After successfully completing their postgraduate training, they revert to using the traditional "Mister" as a badge of honour to distinguish themselves from ordinary doctors.
    • This has had interesting implications in the world of veterinary medicine; veterinarians are "Doctor" in North Americanote  and in continental Europenote , but for many years weren't in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, where veterinary education is an extended Bachelor's degree instead. Some British veterinarians ("veterinary surgeons" in the UK) have been known to resent being called "doctor" by those who don't know any better, seeing the title as an insult because veterinary surgeons are, well, surgeons and not "mere" doctors. However, this is on the way to becoming a Dead Horse Trope. Since 2015, the trade association for British veterinarians has allowed vets in that country to use "Doctor" regardless of their actual degrees. If the reality series Bondi Vet is any evidence, Australia allowed the same before the UK did, seeing that all the vets on that show are credited with "Dr".
  • John Smeaton, famed for his actions during the attempted Glasgow Airport bombing, confessed that his subsequent meeting with the Prime Minister went something like this:
    Gordon Brown: Call me Gordon.
    John Smeaton: Yes, Prime Minister.
  • The rules that governed how you addressed and referred to people in 19th century England were convoluted enough that even some contemporaries got it wrong. Arthur Conan Doyle is notorious for having Sherlock Holmes address characters incorrectly, even when there's no reason for him to do so. On the other hand, Jane Austen is meticulous and in one case uses the rules to skewer one of her characters.
  • In 2009, while testifying on the Louisiana coastal restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Brigadier General Michael Walsh referred to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer as "Ma'am" when replying to one of her questions. This is proper military protocol, a respectful term usually reserved for one's superiors, and the typical address used from a military officer to a U.S. Congress person. The Senator interrupted his reply with the following: "Do me a favor, can you call me 'senator' instead of 'ma'am'? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it. Yes, thank you." The General's immediate reply was still "Yes, ma'am," but he corrected himself after that.
  • Martial arts dojos often insist on students referring to each other as "Mr. so-and-so" to foster respect among the students. In Japanese styles, honorifics are used - albeit inconsistently outside of Japan.
  • Brent Spiner does an amusing version of this while imitating Patrick Stewart at a convention, shown here
    Brent: (as Stewart) My friends call me Patrick. You may call me Mr. Stewart. In fact, you may call me SIR Mr. Stewart.
  • William Shatner's salute to George Lucas:
    George... May I call you George? ... Thank you. You can call me Mr. Shatner.
  • Brazilians of humble origins often call any richer or more educated person "doctor" ("doutor") as a term of respect.
  • Coach Bob Knight, already infamous for his bad temper, was finally fired from his position after physically attacking a student who cheerfully greeted him by saying "Hey, Knight, what's up?", without the prefix of "Coach" or "Mr."
  • According to those who knew him personally, W.E.B. DuBois insisted on being called "Dr. DuBois," even among people he considered friends. Although for him it had more to do with being aloof and distant with people than any sort of professional pride.
  • When George Washington was first sworn in as president of the United States, he was addressed as "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties". The manner of address was criticized for sounding too kingly, so it was changed to "Mr. President", though some Federalists such as John Adams lobbied to spruce it up a bit. So far, all American presidents have used it.
  • At least according to some novels, it annoyed Abraham Lincoln quite a bit that General George McClellan insisted on addressing him as "Your Excellency" instead of "Mr. President".
  • Zigzagged by Laurence Olivier on the set of Sleuth 1972. When Michael Caine, who had never met a Peer before, asked how he should be addressed, Olivier replied, "I must always be addressed as Lord Olivier. And now that that's settled, call me Larry."
  • In parts of the American South, it's customary for children to address adults in the style of "Honorific Firstname" when the relationship is one of considerable familiarity. A more impersonal relationship typically gets the honorific and last name. Several places now use the "Honorific Firstname" (such as Mr. John, or Miss/Ms. Mary) for close family friends, replacing the older Uncle/Aunt (as friend of the family).
  • The US Navy and US Coast Guard have a system of titles and honorifics that can sometimes get complex:
    • An individual in command of a ship is always referred to as Captain, regardless of their actual rank. This includes smaller vessels such as destroyers and early submarines, which may have been commanded by officers of rank as low as Lt. Commander.
    • Commanding officers will also be referred to as his/her command's name, especially when arriving or leaving formal visits to other ships or stations. The announcement would be "Third Fleet, Arriving" or "Vicksburg, departing." Other high-ranking officials will be announced by their title and branch ("Colonel, United States Marine Corps, arriving", for example)
    • Since there can only be one Captain on a ship, other officers on board who hold the rank of Captain get a courtesy promotion when being addressed: they are "Commodore" or "Major", as appropriate.
    • Junior officers (Ensign through Lt. Commander) are often referred to as "Mr.", as in the film title "Mister Roberts." This is an appropriate form of address regardless of whether the JO in question outranks or is outranked by the speaker.
    • Officers are also commonly called by an abbreviated version of their title, such as "Ops" for the operations officer or "Auxo" for the auxiliaries officer.
    • Senior Chief and Master Chief Petty Officers do not like to be called simply "Chief". In less formal settings, a Senior Chief can be addressed as "Senior", but Master Chiefs will generally *only* answer to "Master Chief" or "Master Chief [last name]." Senior Chiefs tend to be more forgiving about being called "Chief" (at least initially) because their rank insignia looks almost identical to the Chief insignia at first glance so it's a pretty common honest mistake to make.
    • The senior enlisted man (or woman) on a surface ship is the Command Master Chief or CMC; on a submarine, they are the Chief of the Boat (COB); and in no event would you want to mix up the titles.
    • "Petty Officer Smith" is a correct but VERY impersonal form of address for ranks E4 through E6; using the individual's rank and rate such as "MM 2 Smith" is almost always preferred. For brevity's sake, the last name is often dropped unless needed to avoid confusion (eg. there's more than one BM 1 in the room).
  • From the point of view of Navy traditionalists, named ships are almost universally "misaddressed" in (civilian) media and speech. Proper address of a ship's name, at least in English, is to treat it as if it were a person. Therefore, a ship should never be addressed with "the" before its name. In other words, "the Enterprise" is incorrect, and she should actually just be addressed as Enterprise. The exceptions would be if discussing a class of vessels (the Nimitz-class carrier) or using some other description before the name (the WWII aircraft carrier Intrepid).
  • Some older married women insist on being addressed as "Mrs." and will be deeply offended if anyone calls them "Ms."
    • In a similar vein, early in the 20th century, it was considered proper to refer to a married woman as "Mrs. [Husband's First Name] [Last Name]" (e.g., "Mrs. Thurston Howell III"). Referring to her as "Mrs. [Her First Name] [Last Name]" implied that she was divorced. A misunderstanding of this protocol is, supposedly, why Sigourney Weaver renamed herself after an unseen male character in The Great Gatsby.
    • Some women (such as Doña Clotilde in the previous El Chavo del Ocho example) like to be called Miss rather than Ms. (pronounced "miz") because they feel Ms. sounds too old.
  • P.E. teachers. Call him Sir (or least "Coach"), or get 50 push-ups.
  • In any situation involving advocacy, such as an attorney giving a summation or writing a brief, he or she will subtly slant the narrative by using courtesy titles in reference to his/her client and any favorable witnesses, but use a Last-Name Basis (assuming he/she uses their names at all) for the opposing side, including opposing witnesses. Thus, in a lawsuit, an attorney's own client will be "Mr. Smith", but the opposition will be "Jones" or simply "Plaintiff" or "Defendant".
  • French President Emmanuel Macron notoriously, in 2018, delivered a lengthy public "The Reason You Suck" Speech to a teenage boy who had dared to address him by the affectionate form of his first name, "Manu", including "you call me Mr. President or sir".
  • When Julius Caesar was made dictator for life, the Senate initially chose to refer to him as king, to which he supposedly responded "I am no king! I am Caesar!" (In modern speech, this would be more like "It's not 'Your Majesty', I'm just Mr. Caesar). Caesar ended up becoming the title of either the Emperor of the Emperor's second-in-command, and is the source of the German kaiser and Slavic tsar.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): They Call Me Mr Tibbs


"They call me...MISTER PIG!"

Banzai inadvertently makes fun of Pumbaa prompting him to attack the hyenas.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (23 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheyCallMeMisterTibbs

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