Narrator: Hey! That's the name of the show!
If a line of dialogue is the title of the episode, movie or book, it obviously must have some great significance. If it sounds completely random, that just means the true meaning of the title has yet to be revealed. So when a character is heard using the title in dialogue, the audience sits up and takes notice, because the scriptwriter has just planted a neon sign that flashes THIS CONVERSATION IS IMPORTANT.
Note: If a series is named after a central character, setting, group, etc., it usually does not count as a Title Drop. The exceptions are when they are usually called by another name, or when the name is said in a different manner for dramatic effect, usually when introducing the namesake. Hence, Transformers, The West Wing, House, and things like that don't qualify, and are better examples of the trope Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Often, the Title Drop will finally explain why the episode/book/etc is called that way to begin with. If this explanation comes by showing instead of by telling (i.e. it is not actually spoken aloud by any of the characters), then it's The Namesake.
A second variety of Title Drop is the Finale Title Drop, occurs when the title of a work is used as the last line spoken or near its end. Here, it's not nearly as big and flashy and important as the first variety, but it still explains things to the audience a bit more. You can probably find these mainly in thriller works, where it makes you sit up and think (and adds a bit of drama to the ending). It's also common in plays that were written during the Victorian era. A third variety is Title Drop Chapter, in which a chapter of a written work or an episode of a serial work has the same title as the whole work; this often is used for important developments. A fourth variety is the Visual Title Drop in which the title may be represented visually, in a particular shot composition or by placing a particular object in the frame; this is most often used in the same way, to draw attention to something important or to emphasize a theme.
Title Drops aren't always deliberate or premeditated (i.e. the writer takes the title and inserts it for effect). Sometimes the creative process runs the other way, and a phrase from the body of the work will be picked out and used as the title (sometimes the title is the last thing to be nailed down). This often happens with a Title Drop Anthology, where the stories are often written months or years before they are collected in a single volume.
Compare with Justified Title, Title Theme Tune. See also Arc Words, Appropriated Appellation, Title Scream, Singer Namedrop, and Album Title Drop. Often combined with a Literary Allusion Title. The opposite of this trope is Non-Appearing Title, but see also Nonindicative Name and Word Salad Title for titles that are very obscure, confusing, or abstract, with little obvious connection to the subject matter. When a title of a series was once accurate and descriptive, but has since become obscure or out-of-date, it has an Artifact Title.
See a video collection of Title Drops here, and a channel dedicated to them here.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Comic Strips
- Fairy Tales
- Fan Works
- Films — Animated
- Films — Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Animation
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Near the end of the Firefly game of Cool Kids Table. After Kimmi finds the stash of high-quality fuel rods, she declares that they've found "the Motherlode", which also happens to be the name of the pre-made story being played.
- In the Escape from Vault Disney! episode discussing the film The Ghosts Of Buxley Hall, Tony makes fun of the one present that film, in which the title is dramatically exclaimed followed by another character they see as an Italian stereotype exclaiming "Mamma Mia!", immediately cutting to commercial break. Tony then says every title drop in film should be structured the same way, playing a clip where Doc Brown says the title of Back to the Future followed up with another "Mamma Mia!".
- Invoked in episode three of Mystery Show, which starts with Starlee and her client naming the episode:
Carson: Okay, so, what two words do you know about my mystery?Starlee: Belt Buckle.Carson: That is a good title for it.
- In episode 12 of Sequinox, Sid cites the title of that and the previous episode during her internal monologue.
Sid (transatlantically): The trouble with dames is that dames is trouble.
- Towards the end of the first episode of Sporadic Phantoms, Robin calls their concerns about The Sharing "a sporadic phantom of a thought".
- Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard did this on every Ring of Honor show they did commentary on if it had a title that could be dropped.
- A more literal case happened during the "8 Mile Street Fight" at the 2006 "Bound For Glory" when Christian Cage hit Rhino with an 8 Mile street sign.