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You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious

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Phoebe: Oh, here's Joseph Francis!
Joey: Woah, what are you middle-naming me for?
Friends, "The One with All the Cheesecakes"

Bob and Alice have known each other for years and have a mostly good relationship. Except for one small thing that drives Alice up the wall: Bob refuses to call Alice by her name.

  • If she's his boss, he'll call her "Jefe", or "Boss" or "Meine Frau" or any number of variations.
  • If she's his sister, he'll call her "Sis" or "Goober" or "Pinhead".
  • If she's his mom, he'll call her Alice instead of Mom or Mother.
  • If Alice prefers to be called Ally, he'll call her Alice. Every time, and revel in it when it makes her scream in aggravation.

Unless something serious has come up. Then he'll drop the nicknames and call her by the name she wants to be called by.

Often played for comedy, but equally often done seriously.

A variation is that Alice is currently dying (in the habitual way of Hollywood, which is to say, very slowly), while Bob is calling out to her, finally using her real name. She will smile up at him and say "You finally called me Alice..." before passing out and/or dying.

This is also a Sister Trope to Out-of-Character Alert:

  • Bob could call Alice "Alice" to let her know there's something off about the situation, and he knows doing so will get her attention.
  • An impostor Bob could call Alice "Alice" in an instance where Alice knows for certain sure Bob would never do so, which would tip her off to the reality that that's not Bob.

Related to First-Name Ultimatum and Full-Name Ultimatum — except it's not generally played for comedy.

Honorifics also merit mention seeing as anime characters in this situation will likely start using more affectionate terms for each other. One of the many complaints of English-speaking fandom is that important moments lose their impact because of the limitations of the English language in translation.

And the inverse is true as well. Bob may call Alice "Alice" all the time, but refer to her by an old nickname he has normally avoided using to underscore a serious or intense situation.

Compare to Accidental Misnaming, Malicious Misnaming, O.O.C. Is Serious Business, and Significant Name Shift.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Crimson Spell, Prince Vald refuses to call his traveling companion, Havi, by anything but his Affectionate Nickname, barring one exception: while attempting to free him from mind control.
    Vald: Tell me, Halvir Hroptr. Tell me why you kissed me. I won't forgive you if you leave me in confusion like this. [...] You can hear me, can you not, Halvir?
  • In Fairy Tail, Gajeel generally refuses to refer to Levy by name, even when he pairs up with her for the S-Class Exam. However, when they're attacked by Kawazu and Yomazu, two enemies that they can't defeat easily, and Gajeel learns that their foes are low-ranking members of Grimoire Heart, Gajeel calls Levy by name when insisting that she warn the others, since Grimoire Heart is a dangerous dark guild.
  • Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist uses this trope to trick the shapeshifting Envy, who is masquerading as her boss, Roy Mustang. Envy, disguised as Roy, meets up with Riza and calls her by her title, "Lieutenant", as he always does. She responds by pulling out her gun and telling him that Roy always calls her by her first name when they're alone. Here's the kicker: this isn't true; she just says that to trick Envy into reacting and revealing himself. And then she proceeds to pwn his ass.
  • In Hellsing, Alucard usually calls Seras Victoria "police girl". If he calls her by name, it's serious.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Kaguya seems physically incapable of calling Shirogane anything other than "president", to the point that it's the entire reason she asked him to run for reelection. Which is why it's such a big deal when she refers to him by his full name when she admits to Hayasaka that she's in love with him.
  • On Maison Ikkoku, Yusaku Godai and Kyoko Otonashi are always "Godai" and "Manager" to each other as part of their complicated romantic dance. When he calls her "Kyoko" to her face, it's important, and when she calls him "Yusaku," it's really important.
  • In My Hero Academia, Bakugou always calls Izuku by his childhood nickname 'Deku'. There is one time in the manga where he refers to Izuku by his given name — when he apologizes to Izuku for being a bully for most of their childhood.
  • One Piece:
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Pearl usually calls his best friend 'Dia', but when serious calls him by his full name, Diamond.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • A heartbreaking example in Episode 10, wherein Homura calls Madoka by her first name in a previous timeline, right after Madoka asks her for a mercy kill. Her last words in that timeline are "You finally called me by my first name." Homura is unable to respond to this at all, and merely wails as she shoots Madoka's soul gem.
    • Also invoked on other occasions. In the current timeline Homura tells Madoka to address her by her first name, as is fitting for best friends to do.
    • Up until Episode 8, Kyouko is too much of a Jerkass to call anyone by their name. As she watches Sayaka turn into a witch, Kyouko yells out "SAYAKAAAAAAA!!", a sign of her Character Development.
  • In Sailor Moon, Pegasus always calls Chibi-Usa "Maiden". In the very last episode of Super S, he finally calls her "Chibi-Usa", and she gasps, "That's the first time you've called me by my real name!" (In English, of course, he had called her "Rini" countless times before, leading to a collective forehead slap by subbies and dubbies alike. The Cloverway dub attempted to fix this by having him call her "Sailor Mini Moon" for the first time, which... didn't have the same impact.)
  • In Steins;Gate, the main character only ever calls Kurisu by her real name when the situation is dead serious.
  • In Sword Art Online, Shino "Sinon" Asada and Kyouji "Spiegel" Shinkawa are acquainted in real life and Gun Gale Online (albeit not close friends), calling each other by their last names in the former and their character handles in the latter. When Spiegel makes a Love Confession to Sinon while in GGO, he calls her "Sinon," then corrects himself and calls her "Asada-san."
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Barnaby usually calls Kotetsu 'old man' just to annoy him. But at the end of Episode 13, after Barnaby has defeated the Big Bad, he calls him Kotetsu for the first time, a sign that their relationship is changing for the better.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Masaya usually refers to Ichigo by her last name in early episodes. In one episode, however, when he is chasing her, after trying to call out to her, he yells her first name, causing her to stop. In the "dub", he just said her first name but louder.
  • Tsubasa Chronicle:
    • Kurogane and Fai normally don't use each other's names — the former uses variations of "mage" or "idiot", while the latter uses pet names such as "Kuro-puu", to Kurogane's unending annoyance. When Fai addresses him simply as "Kurogane" after the Tokyo arc, it is a bad sign, indicating Fai's withdrawal into stiff formality. Kurogane is none too happy about it, and when Fai eventually lapses into using the somewhat respectful but still affectionate "Kuro-sama" it's a sign that the two of them have finally sorted out their issues enough to have formed a fairly comfortable partnership.
    • The trope also applies to a lesser extent between Sakura and Syaoran, who normally refer to each other "Syaoran-kun" and "Sakura-hime" with a couple notable exceptions. (Rather annoyingly, official published translations rarely pay attention to this.)

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman, the Al-Ghul family has this with the Dark Knight. Ra's al Ghul refers to Batman as "Detective". If he ever uses anything else, it's a sign something's seriously wrong. Talia al Ghul tends to refer to Batman as "Beloved", and likewise, it's serious, if she ever refers to him otherwise. When Ra's died and Talia took up the title of Ra's Al Ghul, she started calling him Detective as well.
  • In the Chick Tract "Born Wild", Dexter disrespectfully calls his mom "Connie". After he converts to Christianity, he shocks her by calling her "Mom".
  • When the Human Torch stays in the Negative Zone to hold off the entire horde of Annihilus, The Thing, who almost always treats him like a kid and uses the name Johnny (or matchstick), calls him John.
  • In Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz talks to her power ring like a person, as a result of which it has developed a uniquely casual conversational style, usually calling her "J-Bird" or occasionally "Jess-Mess". In one story, it calls her Jessica when it's delivering bad news, and she realises it must be really bad.
  • Kingdom Come. Bruce calls Superman "Clark", knowing it completely annoyed him, since Supes had fully rejected his humanity and only answered to "Kal". In the final scene, Superman once again re-adopts the name Clark, and prefers it, finally rejoining the rest of the world.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Robotnik calls Snively by his real name, Colin. This is what clues him in that his boss (and uncle) is suffering from a Villainous Breakdown.
  • An example that was casual for the person speaking, but monumental for the readers: in a profoundly silly story arc of Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine is open-mouthed shocked when a leprechaun refers to him as "Mr. Logan". Not only had no one in the comic called him by that name previously, this was the first indication he even had a name other than Wolverine. The leprechaun's only explanation was "We little people know a lot o' things."
  • In Uncanny X-Men #183, Colossus started calling Kitty Pryde "Kitty" instead of the pet-name "Katya" when he broke up with her. More recently, when they got back together in Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, he went back to calling her "Katya".

    Comic Strips 
  • Willie Garvin always calls Modesty Blaise "Princess". The number of times he's called her Modesty can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and it's always a case of Out-of-Character Alert.

    Fan Works 
  • This is used a lot in Bleach Shunsui/Nanao fanfictions, with him dropping the -chan on her name if the situation is serious.
  • In the Family Guy re-adaption Family Guy Fanon, Thelma loves to call her husband Francis or her son Peter by Affectionate Nicknames. She usually calls Francis "Fran Fran" and Peter "Petey" (the latter is revealed to be something she called him since birth!). However, when she's really angry at either of them, or both, she refuses to call them by the nicknames and calls them by real name. Which usual is a sign to both of them that they really fucked up. Best seen in "Roads to Vegas", after Peter chickens out of killing themselves and yells her final line to him.
    Thelma: [falling] PETER, YOU DICK!!
  • Some authors use this in Mass Effect fanfiction. In the games, Commander Shepard is never referred to by a first name, since the player can choose it. Many authors will stick with this, because it seems out of character for others to refer to Shepard as anything but "Shepard." This can go as far as audience expectations; many readers will be thrown off if a character refers to Shepard by a first name, some even prefer that not even the narration uses it. Clever authors will invoke this trope using their Shepard's first name in the same way as a Precision F-Strike, where otherwise sticking to the expectation but having a single use of Shepard's first name will add a tremendous amount of weight to a scene.
  • Like in the series itself, Star Trek: The Original Series fanfics have this trope. If Spock calls Kirk Jim or McCoy calls him Captain that means things are going in some really unplanned directions.
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): When San calls Vivienne by her name instead of calling her "sister", it's usually a sign things are frighteningly serious.
  • In Ashes of the Past, Max gives all of his non-legendary Pokémon nicknames. On rare occasions, though, he'll refer to one of his Pokémon by their species name when giving commands in battle—which means that the actual command is to do the exact opposite of what he said to do. This ends up being one of the reasons why he loses to Iwalani in the Indigo League when Iwalani has her Decidueye aim in the right direction to get Arc with Toxic. May figures that Max must have done it so many times that Iwalani figured this out and told her Pokémon.
  • Ask King Sombra: Sombra never once refers to Coffee Talk by her real name. So when he does, she knows something is up.
    Coffee Talk: After all this time together- Sombra has never once gotten my name right. Which means that you're not entirely him.
  • In The Black Emperor, Kallen breaks years of habit of treating her mother as just another maid and calls her "mom" when she pleads with her to leave the Stadtfeld manor.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Lux realizes that when Yang gets thrown by Totem Kommo-o it's the first time Sabra has used her name instead of "Blondie".
  • Invoked in the Pirates of the Caribbean fic "The Curse of the White Sword"; for the residents of Tortuga, the idea that a mysterious barmaid who has rarely spoken in the month she spent on the island feels comfortable calling Captain Jack Sparrow 'Jack' is practically evidence that she's more than just a barmaid (she's Elizabeth Swan in disguise looking for Jack after Will left Port Royal thinking she'd chosen someone else).
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, no one ever calls Lieutenant Heymans Breda by his first name. But when Riza does it almost absently in the Elemental Chess Trilogy, he knows it's a sign that she's really, really upset.
  • In Doctor Whooves Adventures, the Doctor simply refuses to call Twilight Sparkle by her real name at first. He goes from Midnight Twinkle to Evening Glitter to Morning Glory - but when all the cards are down, he finally gives up the Running Gag.
  • In The Horsewomen Of Las Vegas, Becky Lynch (a criminal in this story) regularly addresses Sasha Banks as "Nurse Magenta" (Sasha is a nurse in this story, and has magenta hair) whenever she visits her for medical treatment. After Becky is seriously injured after being attacked, she has her crew (led by Brooke Tessmacher) trick Sasha into coming to her. Sasha is never happy having to treat Becky and is about to leave when Becky says, "Wait, Sasha." Being addressed by name makes Sasha realize just how seriously injured the usually flippant, jovial Becky really is, and stays to treat her.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Kojiro usually calls Bell "young master" to tease him for his humility as well as a nod to Kojiro's past as a Servant. But when Bell is about to self-deprecate after managing to complete a magic spell on his first try, Kojiro stops himself from calling him "young master" and calls him "Bell'' to show just how serious he is about getting Bell to take pride in himself and his accomplishments.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: Professor Goodwitch normally addresses her students by their surnames. However, when her students are attacked by a terentatek during a field trip, she calls out to them by their first names to save time because they're in a life-or-death battle against a creature she has never seen before.
  • Though we don't get to 'hear' his name, in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Yuki calls Kyon by his real name to calm and center him after a depowered fight.
  • My Family and Other Equestrians: When Applejack calls Blade Star by name and does not use his Embarrassing Nickname of Bones, you can be sure she is serious.
  • In The Phoenix Wright Vampire AU, there's a scene where Edgeworth calls Phoenix "Phoenix, dear" and "Nick" over the phone. Since at this point their Relationship Upgrade is so fresh that the obsessively-formal Edgeworth hasn't even switched to "Phoenix", let alone used "Nick" or any pet names, this makes Phoenix worry that something is very wrong. And it is — Von Karma has broken out of jail and is holding him hostage.
  • Pokémon × Nimja: Play the Game:
    • OGiNiM, the fun-loving Canadian-turned-Bulbasaur, is so devoted to the Dutch hypnotist YouTuber Nimja that he will only refer to him as "Mijnheer," note  which is Dutch for "sir." Therefore, it can safely be assumed something is very wrong if he refers to Nimja by any name other than "Mijnheer".
    • In the first chapter, "Another One Bites the Dust", he refers to Nimja as “Sir” in urgency, which immediately alerts the newly-transformed Mew that something isn’t right. He heads over to the Rijksmuseum and discovers that OGiNiM has become a Bulbasaur. And he's terrified.
    • Later on, in Chapter 4, "Don't Stop Me Now", he calls Nimja "Sir" out of despair and sadness, as he believes Nimja is annoyed by his continued texting. It's also worth mentioning that he switches from HiS UsUaL BiCaMeRaL TeXtInG PaTtErN to talking in all lowercase letters, something that alerts Nimja immediately. He even lampshades this towards OGiNiM by pointing out how rarely OGiNiM calls him “Sir,” as well as all the other O.O.C. Is Serious Business actions OGiNiM has had that day. Nimja wastes no time in letting his biggest fan know that he would never tire of OGiNiM’s texting. He wasn’t angry with OGiNiM, he simply wanted to help him.
  • Psalm of the Lark: Barbara calls the Joker "Jack" when she reveals to Harley that he's been killed.
  • The very first words spoken to Chell by GLaDOS in the Portal fanfiction Resolution count as this. In the games, she doesn't even bother to refer to Chell by name, instead simply going for a sarcastic Hey, You! approach. Here, however, she actively refers to Chell by her first name, shocking her greatly. Similarly, as GLaDOS slowly starts to take a level in kindness, she begins to refer to Wheatley by name, rather than "the moron" or "the idiot ball."
  • Throughout the second half of The Return-Remixed, the Diva Army's resident Drill Sergeant Nasty, Jazz, always addresses Kelly Kelly as "Blondie" and generally does not like her. When Kelly wins the Divas Championship in the climactic battle royal near the end of the story, Jazz then says, "You did good, ... Kelly", and salutes her.
  • Referenced in the NCIS fic Shards to a Whole; since Tim and Abby's sex life leans toward Casual Kink and seldom use each other's full names, Tim's Safe Word is "Abigail," while Abby's is "Timothy."
  • Shen vs. Kai: When Evil Collides: Like in Kung Fu Panda canon, Shen always calls Po by his animal name "Panda", but when he witnesses Po having a Heroic B So D, he calls Po by his name after his attempts to call him "Panda" proved futile. And it's also what makes Po finally respond to him.
  • Ichigo knows to take Zangetsu seriously in The Snow Has Stopped The Rain when he calls him by his real name instead of King (or some variant).
  • Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Something Wicked This Way Comes have an example while Kirk and Spock are having a telepathic conversation after the latter has been seriously injured. Spock, for the most part of the conversation, is quite calm and formal, addressing Kirk as Captain, but as his condition deteriorates and he feels himself dying, he begins calling him Jim.
    Spock: Jim, listen, please. There’s no time.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Klein got trapped in the titular MMO under the unfortunate handle of "BallsDeep69," so by Episode 3 his guildmates think "my name is Klein!" is how he says hello. Kirito usually refers to him as "Balls" or "Ballsy," but if he does call him Klein, it's a sign that he's genuinely touched or his Hidden Heart of Gold is showing.
  • There'll Be Another Time: Stingy points this out when Pixel calls him by his real name Lachlan.
  • In the Twice Upon an Age series, this trope is in play any time the Lord Inquisitor Mahanon refers to the Lady Inquisitor by her full first name. He almost always addresses her by the Affectionate Nicknames "Toria" or "ma da'vhenan," so if he actually calls her "Victoria," he is either very angry or very afraid.
  • The Vow: Shen has for years stopped calling his former nanny Ah-Ma by her name and instead addresses her as Soothsayer. However, when he decides to set her free, he calls her by her name to empathize how serious he's when he says they'll be strangers from that point onward.
  • In Waiting is worth it, when Izuku calls Toshinori "dad" for the first time, he is so surprised by this that he suddenly spits up blood onto the windshield and almost crashes the car. Thankfully Izuku's quirk prevents any serious damage or injuries.
  • In Weekend at Hisao's, when Misha calls up Hisao to yell at him for upsetting Shizune during their argument and force him to open up about his problem with seeing his old friends again, she uses a Full-Name Ultimatum, which is also one of the few times she doesn't call him "Hicchan".
  • In Saki, Momo typically calls Yumi "senpai", occasionally referring to her as "Kajiki-senpai" if she wants to be clear who she's talking about. In Zero-Sum, after receiving a Love Confession from Yumi in the middle of The End of the World as We Know It, she says "Well, I have always loved you since we first met as well, Yumi!" Yumi lampshades how infrequently Momo used her actual name.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail, Tony prefers to call Fievel by the name "Filly", but he shouts his real name while searching for him in the pier fire.
  • Chicken Run: Rocky continuously calls Ginger "Doll Face" until they reconcile after the pie machine rescue.
  • In Coraline the titular character is called "Caroline" by her new neighbors, to her disgust. However, in the Otherworld the correct pronunciation is used. Also, at the end of the film after Coraline and Wybie have disposed of the Other Mother's hand, Wybie calls her Coraline.
  • In Finding Nemo, Gil usually calls Nemo either "kid" or his nickname "Sharkbait". He shouts his name when he thinks he's been killed in the tank filter.
  • Throughout most of Kung Fu Panda, Master Shifu refers to Po only as "Panda", probably due to his lack of respect for him. When Po finally proves himself by defeating Tai Lung, Shifu starts to call him by name.
  • In Mr. Peabody & Sherman Sherman breaks the rules of only calling his father "Mr. Peabody" or "Peabody" when Sherman believes the dog just sacrificed his life to save him and Penny.
  • In Tangled, Flynn consistently calls Rapunzel "Blondie" or "Goldie". When he realizes that the Stabbington brothers got him away from her, and left her vulnerable, he shouts for "Rapunzel!"
  • In Zootopia, Nick constantly refers to Judy as "Carrots". However, when the duo escape the asylum and fall down the waterfall into the lake, he panics and shouts out "Hopps!" then "Judy!" when she doesn't resurface right away. Note that it's the only time in the film that Nick actually calls Judy by her first name.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The American President, the President tells A.J., his Chief of Staff, to call him Andy in private, but he never does until one of the very last scenes. The President asks, hypothetically, if they would have been elected if his wife hadn't died.
    A.J.: I don't know. But I would have liked that campaign. If my friend Andy Shepherd had shown up, I would have liked that campaign very much.
  • Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker always calls Tony Stark, "Mr. Stark" as befitting a teenager who deeply respects and admires his hero and mentor. The only time he calls Tony by his first name is when Tony is dying.
  • Blastfighter: When Tiger and Connie are fleeing from the poachers, Connie collapses; too exhausted to go on. While exhorting her to go on, Tiger addresses her by name for the first time in the film. Connie is so amazed and inspired by Tiger (who is her father) actually addressing her by name that she gets an Heroic Second Wind.
  • In Chicago, Amos is shocked when Billy Flynn refers to him by his actual name at the trial, rather than the Andy or Alan or whatever from all their previous meetings. This helps Flynn get exactly the testimony he needs (possibly making this an Invoked Trope — he goes right back to getting his name wrong afterwards).
  • Dredd. Judge Dredd refers to probationary Judge Cassandra Anderson as "rookie", except when she's not focusing and he has to get her attention. At the end of the movie he calls her Anderson when telling her his assessment of her is over. This is foreshadowing that she's gained his respect and he intends to pass her as a Judge.
  • In Field of Dreams Dr. Archibald Graham knows something is special about Ray Kinsella when he asks if he is former baseball player "Moonlight" Graham, the first time he's been called that in more than 50 years.
  • In The Flintstones, Barney tries to get Bamm-Bamm to call him "Dada" all through the movie. He finally does during a death-defying rescue... which overjoys Barney so much that he doesn't notice the beam about to hit him in the head.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Our hero, Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., hates his father calling him "Junior" instead of his preferred nickname "Indiana." In the end, when he's vainly struggling to reach the grail and futilely risking his life, his father soothingly says, "Indiana. Indiana. Let it go." And that convinces him.
  • All through John Carpenter's Vampires, the priest calls Jack "Mr. Crow." So when he says "Jack, you need to see this," as he's staring at a closed circuit television, you know something bad's about to happen. For the record, he calls him "Jack" from that point on in the movie as well.
  • Variation, from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels: "What are we going to do, Rory?" "Mister Breaker. Today, my name is MISTER BREAKER."
  • Men in Black is an ironic example, in that the names these characters grew up with have been purged intentionally, leaving them only with one initial code names. K and Z take the joke a step further, perpetually calling J every diminutive nickname in the book (Son, Kiddo, Champ, Sport, Tiger, Slick...)
    Agent J: Hey, Z? K? Guys? HEY, OLD GUYS!!
    • Better still, the whole room looks.
  • In Planet of the Apes (1968), the orangutan Dr. Zaius publicly maintains that Col. Taylor, like all humans, is basically just an animal, and is only "talking" the same way a parrot can, and he insists on calling Taylor by the nickname "Bright Eyes". When the two first meet privately, however, Zaius dispenses with all such pretense and readily calls Taylor by his real name. This establishes that Dr. Zaius knows a lot more about humans than he's letting on, and also that he's capable of kindness. Taylor, though still well aware that he's in a very bad position, recognizes the gesture for what it is and thanks him.
  • In The Ring Two, Rachel's son Aidan insists on calling his mother by her first name. So when Samara takes over Aidan's body and subsequently starts calling her "Mom", she realizes something's up.
    • At the end, Aidan calls her "Mom" again. She tells him to call her Rachel.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: During Spock's recovery from his resurrection the moment when he first called Kirk "Jim" was very dramatic, as an indication he remembered their friendship.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness. After resigning in protest, Scotty uses First-Name Basis when imploring Captain Kirk one last time not to fire off the secret experimental torpedoes being loaded onto the Enterprise.


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  • In The Alice Network, when Lili asks Eve to pray for her, she uses Eve’s real name.
    “I need people praying for me. I wrote a letter to my old Mother Prioress in Anderlecht, but I’ll take your prayers any day, Evelyn Gardiner.”
    It was the first time Lili used Eve’s real name. Even after the trial, they went on using the old code names. The ones that felt true.
  • In the Amelia Peabody mysteries, Amelia and her husband scrap all the time, but she knows he's really angry at her when he calls her "Amelia" rather than the usual "Peabody".
  • Angels Flight: When a conversation between Harry Bosch and Frankie Sheehan becomes serious, the formal names "Hieronymus" and "Francis" are used.
  • Artemis Fowl:
    • The Eternity Code has Butler telling Artemis his first name because he believes he is going to die. Artemis then sends a message to Butler's sister Juliet, saying "Domovoi needs you." in order to make it obvious to her that this is serious since she knows that he would never let Artemis know his name unless it didn't matter anymore.
    • Comes back later when Butler is watching the tape Artemis made to help them recover their memories after their Mind Wipe. Artemis saying "Your name is Domovoi" is what triggers Butler's memories to come rushing back to him.
    • Root has been known to comment that Holly calls him Julius only when she's about to do something he really won't like.
    • In return, about the only time Root calls her "Holly" instead of "Captain Short" is when he's about to die.
    • Mudboy vs. Artemis vs. Artie, depending on how well-disposed the rest of the gang is feeling towards Artemis at the moment.
    • In the fourth book, Mulch refers to the Atlantean sea-elf Vishby by his real name only once, when he's imploring him to escape from a submarine moments before it gets crushed by water pressure. The rest of the time he uses the demeaning nickname "Fishboy".
  • In The Babysitters Club, when Stacey McGill's parents call her "Anastasia", she knows that she's pushed them too far, and it's time to back down.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, magicians never use their birth names, because those have magical power over them. Bartimaeus knows that "John Mandrake's" real name is "Nathaniel", though, and naturally always uses it when they're alone. He finally switches at the end of the second book, explaining that he now thinks of Nathaniel as just like all the other magicians. Nathaniel takes this as a compliment. It wasn't supposed to be.
  • In The Belgariad, Durnik always calls the sorceress Polgara (with whom he has been deeply in love for years) by the respectful "Mistress Pol", which is how he knew her when she was hiding out with The Chosen One as the head cook on a remote Sendarian farm. It's not until the final book of the quintet, when she utterly magically exhausts herself into unconsciousness, that he cries out a terrified "Polgara!"
  • In Black London once learning Pete's full name, Jack uses it to prove he's being sincere rather than wily and dodgy.
  • In The Cinder Spires soon after an attack on their spire from an enemy nation, Gwen is relieved to see some of the Guard ready and on hand. Gwen has some wounded people who need attention. Benedict gently calls her "Gwendolyn" and notes they shouldn't get in these men's way. Gwen realizes Benedict never calls her by her proper name and quickly deduces these "Guards" are infiltrators; in the confusion of the attack having starting 15 minutes ago, no patrol would be that ready and prepared unless they were a part of the attacking forces.
  • In Dear Mr. Henshaw, the main sign Bill has become closer to his son at the end is him calling him Leigh, instead of "kid", without being prompted.
  • In the Discworld books, Sergeant Colon is one of the few people allowed to call Commander Vimes "Sam", but doing so is usually a sign that he's worried about something. Also, the only person to ever correctly pronounce Mister Teatime'snote  name on the first try was Death.
  • Dracula: Mina Murray knows that Jonathan Harker is about to tell her something serious when he uses her full name "Wilhemina".
    I knew then that he was in deadly earnest, for he has never called me by that name since he asked me to marry him.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Blood Rites does a different variation on the trope: Murphy is well acquainted with Harry's usual irreverence in the face of authority, so when she hears him address his mentor Ebenezar McCoy as "sir", she drops everything she's holding in shock.
    • In Turn Coat, Dresden calls Captain Luccio "Stacy"; her name is Anastasia and she hates that diminutive, but it serves as proof to both of them that each is who they say they are. Also, Morgan calls him by his first name when he tells Dresden to stand aside and let the Wardens arrest him.
  • In The Expanse, Amos is normally The Nicknamer who almost never calls people by their real name. Right before going into a particularly dangerous situation, he notices that Holden is scared out of his mind and barely fighting back all-out panic. While reassuring him, he calls him "Jim" instead of the usual "Cap". Holden even notes that it may have been the first time Amos ever used his first name.
  • In the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning, Jericho only refers to Mac by her first name when she's been brutalized or badly injured — otherwise it's Ms. Lane in a somewhat derisive tone.
  • In Linnea Sinclair's Games of Command, Admiral Kel-Paten only calls his flag ship captain by her surname, Sebastian, as is professional. But when she suddenly falls ill, he addresses her as Tasha, revealing that his feelings for her are less than professional. After her condition has stabilized, he reverts to calling her Sebastian.
  • The Locked Tomb: Gideon the Ninth: Both times Harrow actually calls Gideon by her first name instead of "Griddle" or Nav, Gideon calls her out on it. The first time happens when she's scared Gideon is about to die, and the second occurs when she asks Gideon to make her an important promise after a heart-to-heart.
  • In Harry Potter, near the end of the series, this becomes standard operating procedure. Molly Weasley is embarrassed to have her husband's pet name for her revealed this way. It's "Mollywobbles". Awwwww.
    • A minor example crops up in Half-blood Prince, when Harry and Hagrid, usually good friends, refer to each other as "Potter" and "Professor" in conversation to indicate that they're annoyed with each other.
    • Also, in HBP, after Dumbledore dies, McGonagall asks Harry to say where he and Dumbledore were hours before. You know she's serious when she calls him by his first name. And when he repeatedly refuses to say where they were, she reverts to the more formal "Potter".
      Harry registered the renewed use of his surname.
    • During the final battle in Deathly Hallows, Harry calls Voldemort by his birth name, "Tom Riddle." Voldemort is very surprised and not at all happy at Harry defying the persona of "He Who Must Not Be Named" and addressing him as just another wizard.
      • The narrative itself does this at the end of the book when Voldemort dies; it switches to calling him "Tom Riddle", showing that he was as ordinary a man as any other in death, which Voldemort always feared most. It also serves as a Genius Bonus / Bilingual Bonus, since the name "Voldemort" itself is derived from "Flight from Death", so referring to the character himself by his birth name of "Tom Riddle" signified that his "flight" was now over.
        Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken, the white hands empty, the snake-like face vacant and unknowing.
    • Not much attention is called to it, but one sign of Percy's stuffiness is that he calls his parents "Mother" and "Father", unlike his siblings. However, he calls Arthur "Dad" when apologizing for their three-year estrangement.
  • The Hollows series has a number of inversions.
    • Nick Sparagmos refers to Rachel as Ray-Ray when trying to entreat her to give their relationship another chance. Even while describing mourning for her when he believed her dead.
    • Nick is just fine being called Nick. But Jenks and Ivy tend to call him "crap for brains" and "Professor" just to piss him off because of his stupidity and genuinely clueless betrayal of Rachel.
    • The demon Algaliarept calls people by the names he has been given in exchange for demonic favors. Unless he has them in his thrall, at which point he uses diminutives. And conversely, Rachel's people tend to refer to him by the nickname Big Al due to Speak of the Devil, and only use his proper name when they have to deal with him directly...which is always serious.
    • Rachel's brother Robbie hates to be called "Bert", so Rachel does it when she needs to drive a point home to him.
  • Maya Angelou in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings recalls a conversation with her mother when she was afraid she was turning into a lesbian. She fears the worst when her mother calls her "Marguerite" instead of one of her many nicknames. When her mother calls her "Ritie", she knows it's nothing serious.
  • Jack Reacher: Invoked in one book, when Reacher's love interest in forced at gunpoint to call him and get him out of the way. He immediately understands something is wrong because she begins the conversation calling him "Jack" when normally she, like everyone else in his life, refers to him exclusively as "Reacher."note 
  • John Dies at the End: Throughout the series of books, John only refers to Dave as ‘David’ when he is seriously concerned for his safety.
  • Kiesha'ra: In Hawksong, Danica is walking with her bodyguard, Andreios. As the Avians (Danica included) are very stiff and formal, she knows that Andreios is very serious when he calls her "Dani" in public. In turn, she uses Andreios' full name, instead of his nickname "Rei" to let him know that she's serious.
  • Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter: The first chapter lampshades Dr Conway's use of "David" when speaking to Lucky. Unlike in the first couple of books, his accidental use of Lucky's real first name is a sign that the current problem has him very stressed out.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Mr. D (Dionysus) never calls Percy by his real name, usually "forgetting" it and saying something like "Peter Johnson" instead. Except for once, at the end of the last book, after Percy manages to save all of the gods and the entire world. When called out on it, he immediately pretends to have done nothing of the kind, but it's obvious that he really is proud of Percy.
  • In the second The Raven Cycle book, Blue Sargent knows something terrible must have happened when Gansey calls her by her real name instead of his nickname for her, "Jane".
  • Used in A Song of Ice and Fire with Jaime and Brienne; from their first meeting on, they snipe at each other constantly, mostly addressing each other as "Kingslayer" (Jaime) and "wench" (Brienne). When Jaime wants to convince Brienne that following the Kingsroad is a really bad idea, he finally calls her by name.
    • It gets flipped around much later, when they've become good friends and pretty much always refer to one another by first name. When Jaime gets worried about the fact that she's taking news of the Red Wedding very hard, he goes back to calling her "wench" in an attempt to annoy her out of her depression. It doesn't work.
    • Earlier on, this is done in the first book, after Bran "falls" from the tower. Catelyn, distraught over what has happened to her son, looks for someone to project it on, and finds it in her husband's illegitimate son Jon Snow, who is also distraught over what happened to Bran, his half-brother. To show that she means business, instead of calling him "bastard", or "Snow", she decides to use his first name. Right before telling him that it should have been him. Keep in mind that at this time, he is fourteen.
  • In These Words Are True and Faithful, Sam is used to being addressed by Ernie as "kid" or "boy." When Ernie addresses Sam as Sam, Sam knows something is up.
  • In Touch (2017), Caleb is actually "Asset Thirteen", but chose a name for himself. When his partner Twenty-Three actually uses his number, he's confused and a little worried. It turns out that they've just been ordered to cross the Moral Event Horizon or be killed by their masters, and are being transferred out of the city if they do survive.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Tuon doesn't use Mat's name until after they get married, preferring to call him "Tylin's Toy" or just "Toy" for short. Mat retaliates by calling her "Precious", but falls back into using her actual name after he does it without thinking when warning her of an assassination attempt.
  • In Zer0es, Bellwether usually insists on referring to the members of the Zeroes by their code names. Crash knows things have gotten deadly serious when he calls her and talks about them using their real names.

  • Alice Isn't Dead: The Narrator is known only by nicknames for the entire first season, because her wife only ever called her by nicknames. So of course when Alice shows up in the finale to warn The Narrator off following her, we learn The Narrator's real name: Keisha.
  • Wolf 359: In the finale, Minkowski decides to send Eiffel back to Earth so that, no matter how things play out, she'll know at least one member of the crew got home. She sadly says "Goodbye, Doug" as he pleads "Renée, don't do this!", the first time in a long time they've used each other's given names. (It happens a few times in season one as Early-Installment Weirdness.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Any time a wrestler is called by his real first name (e.g. Mark for The Undertaker), you know things just got serious. Especially in real life, since wrestlers usually call each other by their ring names outside the ring.
    • And when it's done blatantly on-air to the point of Lampshading, one can usually count on an audience reaction somewhere between maniacal cheering and awed silence. Or both at the same time, from different sections.
    CM Punk: So let me ask you this, is this little conversation between CM Punk and Triple H? Or is it between Phil Brooks and Paul Levesque?
  • When John Cena proposed to Nikki Bella in the ring immediately following their match in Wrestlemania 33, he used her real name "Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace", as a signal to the audience that this was real.note 
  • When Dolph Ziggler was on a face run in early 2017, he interrupted The Miz during an in-ring promo and challenged him to a Intercontinental Title Match. Miz at first refused, and started walking backstage, when:
    Ziggler: Come back, Miz! Miz, come on!... HEY MIKE!
  • Once in ECW in 1999, during a mic confrontation between Tommy Dreamer (w/Francine) and Lance Storm (w/Dawn Marie), Dawn addressed Dreamer as "Thomas," which Joey Styles questioned.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    "Are you... telling the truth, Apollo Justice...?"
    • And in Trials and Tribulations, Godot calls Phoenix Wright, "Trite," because he blames him for Mia's death. He only calls Phoenix by his real name at the end of the last case in the game after he successfully proved that Godot was the real killer, and proved his worthiness as Mia's successor.
    • In Dual Destinies, Blackquills gives the Judge the less-than-flattering title of "Your Baldness", which he uses throughout the entire game. Right up until the final trial that is, when he becomes dead-set on helping the defence take down the Phantom, and starts calling him the normal "Your Honor" instead.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Shale calls the Warden "you" instead of "it" twice, both times with a high Friendship when Shale was thanking him/her for all they'd done for her.
  • In Dragon Age II, Varric, who tends to refer to most people (except for Hawke, Aveline, and his crossbow Bianca) by pet names, starts to call Fenris "Elf". The moment he invokes this trope to him is when says his actual name when trying to convince him not to kill his sister who lead Fenris to his former slave master in exchange of becoming his apprentice. It is serious because like Fenris, Varric also faced his brother who betrayed him and Hawke back at the expedition at the Deep Roads. Regardless whether said brother was killed or being sent to be taken care of for the rest of his life, it brought no satisfaction to Varric.
  • Played for a bit of a laugh at the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition, if Cullen's romance has been completed. His codex entry updates to include a letter from his sister Mia, who expresses delight at how happy her brother sounded in his most recent letter... and complains that he's not telling her everything, because he's suddenly started referring to the Inquisitor by her first name.
  • Fate/stay night: Most of the time, Rin calls Shirou by his first name, as a way of teasing or taunting him. When she switches to using the more polite "Emiya-kun", it's a sign that the discussion has turned serious.
  • .hack//G.U.: Being the stubborn teenager that Haseo is, he never calls Pi by her name, instead preferring Oba-san ("old hag" in the US version). During what seems to be an I Cannot Self-Terminate scenario in which Haseo has to Data Drain Pi's infected Tarvos Avatar, she collapses, and Haseo invokes this trope by calling her name out loud. Thankfully, Pi got better.
  • It's pretty subtle, but Jay of Jay's Journey only calls Antignarot by his proper name in a few of the more serious scenes (oddly, never in Antignarot's presence.) As Atolla mechanically corrects Jay's mispronunciations of Antignarot all throughout the game, he even starts to correct one of these correct usages.
  • Mass Effect 3. Javik calls Liara by her name instead of as a generic "asari" to motivate her. Shepard Lampshades the Trope by asking if Javik did it on purpose to motivate her. Javik shrugs and says it worked, didn't it?
  • An inversion shows up in Metal Gear Solid 2. When Emma is dying, she begs Otacon to call her, just once, by her real name, instead of "E.E.". He does — after she dies.
    • And in Metal Gear Solid 4, Big Mama really gets Snake's attention by calling him "David." Not only does nobody ever call him that, but most of the cast probably doesn't even know it's his first name.note 
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Sonya Blade refers to Johnny Cage by his last name at first, but after he saves her from Shinnok, she calls him by his first name. Some time after, they have a daughter.
    Kenshi: The war is not over; Quan Chi has escaped. Why are you smiling?
    Johnny Cage: ...she called me "Johnny"...
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: The baby Yoshi that joins your group was born in the Glitz Pit, where Mario was having a stint as a fighter named "The Great Gonzales". Due to this, Yoshi runs with the name and reffers to Mario exclusively as "Gonzales" for the rest of the game... then, after the final battle, when Mario is leaving Rogueport and his allies go to say good-bye, Yoshi calls him by his real name for the first time.
    Yoshi: Gonzales... no, Mario!
  • In Persona 3, Mitsuru always refers to the Protagonist by their surname... until Rank 9 of her Social Link.
  • Shovel Knight: King of Cards: King Knight's mom spends most of the game calling King Knight various adorable pet names, but drops the habit and calls him by his full title after witnessing his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Danette from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has a problem with remembering names, which gets really annoying for Gig whom she frequently refers to as "Hey you in there". Until the end of the game Gig uses up all of his powers to defeat the final boss and appears to have died. She first tries to call for him as "You in there" before screaming "Giiig!" Ironically in one of the endings she still calls him "You in there" even when he's no longer possessing the main character.
  • In the English Dub of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, at the end of the game when Ichiban is confronting Ryo Aoki/Masato Arakawa and attempting to talk him out of killing himself, he drops the "Young Master" title that he always addresses him as and begs Masato to not go through with it.

    Web Animation 
  • When Barbie tries to give Ken a banana pizza in Barbie Vlog, he shows his seriousness by calling her "Barbara". This is one of the very few times that Barbie's full name is mentioned in a Barbie media. Ken just hates bananas that much.
  • Throughout the Machinima series The Codex, Jack calls Candice "Candy" because she gets angry enough to need to be physically restrained by other Spartans. In the finale, when he says "Hey Candice", it's such a break from his normal immaturity and cheerful arrogance that the moment serves as all of his character depth. Before he snaps back to normal and charges through the plasma fire, of course.
  • Red vs. Blue: In Season 14's "The 'Mission'", Idaho and Ohio use each other's and Iowa's real names in one conversation, showing how serious the moment is. Ohio starts off angry at Idaho, but then he breaks out her real name and she is taken aback.
    Idaho: Ohio...
    Ohio: What?!
    Idaho: Fuck it. Vera. Can I call you Vera?
    Ohio: [stammers] I mean, sure, I... I guess. What is it?

  • Benny in Looking for Group has a number of sarcastic nicknames for her adopted father, Krunch, with 'Old Cow' being one of her favorites (since Krunch is a minotaur). When she calls him 'Father' in this strip, Krunch observes "It is never a good omen when you call me that."
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Monster in the Darkness finally calls O-Chul by his real name when he breaks out of his cage to try to kill Xykon.
    • Played another way in the prequel, "Start Of Darkness": Redcloak and his brother, Right-Eye, have a conversation where they promise to call each other "big brother" and "little brother" instead of the names they've adopted for Xykon's convenience. At the end of the book, after Redcloak has mortally wounded Right-Eye, their last words to each other are "Goodbye, little brother." "Goodbye... Redcloak."
    • Another instance, when Belkar decides being left behind is an elaborate prank:
      Belkar OK, elf, enough with the jokes. You got me, fair enough, now bring the ship back. ...Vaarsuvius?
  • Scary Go Round: "Oh, Eustace"
  • The Search For Henry Jekyll: Al only calls Hyde Edward when he's trying to get his attention or especially horrified with his actions.
  • In Weak Hero, after Alex is beaten up and has his arm dislocated by Dongha, the group are all worried about how his best friend Ben is going to react- after all, Ben always flies into an Unstoppable Rage whenever Alex is hurt. They're all surprised when he doesn't seem that bothered, merely wishing Alex a speedy recovery before he heads home. Alex, however, notices that Ben called him "Alex" instead of his nickname "Gogo", and knows that he's actually extremely angry.

    Web Videos 
  • In perhaps one of his more infamous breakdowns, Arin of Game Grumps is trying to get past respawning enemies in Heart of Darkness. Again and again he fails, getting more frustrated as he will check a screen for enemies (that doesn't allow moving forward), go around move on, and suddenly find enemies that were on the opposite side suddenly surrounding him to death. Dan is laughing his ass off Arin's frustration, who is at the point of begging for some amount of sympathy that he calls Dan "Danny", something he rarely does naturally.

    Western Animation 
  • In the episode "Stranded" of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Cindy, starting to grow closer to him, refers to Jimmy by name instead of one of her usual insulting nicknames, much to his (and later, the others') surprise.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Broke His Crown", Princess Bubblegum is visibly upset at having to attend dinner at the Ice Kingdom. Marceline asks her to call the Ice King "Simon", but she is reluctant to do so since she only views the Ice King as a villainous kidnapper with zero redeeming qualities. When Princess Bubblegum notices something wrong with Ice King's crown, Marceline doesn't believe her until hearing PB call him "Simon".
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph typically refers to fellow members of the Gaang by their nicknames. When the situation's serious or when Toph is trying to make a point, she'll stop doing so.
  • On The Cleveland Show, Rallo is only addressed by his given name, Montclair, on one occasion, when his father Robert asks him about something serious.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, when one operative refers to another operative by name instead of number, it means either A. They're particularly close or B. Something serious is happening or about to happen.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: Dick Dastardly insists on being called "chief" by his Vulture Squadron charges, but Zilly will usually call him "D.D." out of a nervous tic. And Muttley will invoke his name during a grumble ("Sanfrassin' razzaffrazzin Rick Rastary!") after getting cheated out of a medal.
  • Lois attempts to invoke this in one episode of Family Guy, when Diane Simmons is pointing a gun at her back, and she refers to Peter as 'Pete' in the hope that he'll suspect from her out-of-character behavior that something is amiss. Peter notices, but doesn't think anything of it.
  • On Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Mr. Herriman always calls Frankie "Miss Frances". So it's a sign of just how desperate he is when his fear of dogs overwhelms him in one episode and he calls out for "Frankie" to save him.
  • Generator Rex: If Six ever calls Dr. Holiday 'Rebecca' instead of 'Holiday', then you know that something really serious is going down.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Arnold's grandfather used to call him "Short Man", though Arnold didn't mind the nickname. But when his grandfather referred to him by name, Arnold knew it was important.
    • Though it is later revealed that "Shortman" is actually Arnold's last name.
    • Likewise, Helga had a number of rude epithets for him, including "Football Head", but in private, she could indulge her romantic feelings for him and called him "Arnold." There were a few instances — largely when she was terrified or frightened — when she shouted his real name in desperation, such as when she nearly drowned in a flood.
    • Arnold's (very senile, or possibly very clever) Grandma only calls her husband and Arnold by nicknames based on whatever crazy character she's playing at the moment. When she calls them by their real name (especially Phil), it's a sign there's something really big happening, such as when Arnold was depressed about never knowing his parents.
  • Justice League: In "Twilight", after calling him "Superman" throughout the episode, Batman switches to using Superman's real name as he tries to convince him to escape from Brainiac's exploding base.
    Batman: Kent, don't be a fool.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Shayera abandons her Hawkgirl moniker after her part in the Thanagarian invasion. For the most part, that's respected. But when the Hawkgirl name comes up again, it is always for serious reasons:
    • Vigilante uses the name as a weapon to remind her that while she was The Mole, the Hawkpeople were going to cheerfully kill the human race, and tortured him on a more personal note.
    • Roulette uses the name to announce that a Brainwashed and Crazy Shayera is about to engage in a fight against Vixen.
    • A woman with very little English used the Spanish form of Hawkgirl to thank Shayera for saving her and her child. This was especially poignant because the rest of the crowd in which she stood was berating Shayera for her part in the Thanagarian invasion.
  • In the Magic School Bus episode about weather, when everyone buys into the idea that Ralphie is the superhero Weatherman except Keesha. At the end, when Ralphie has been disillusioned by his inability to stop the thunderstorm he made, but they need his knowledge to get out of it, Keesha urges him, "Come on, Weatherman, think!"
  • Men in Black — Kay calls Jay "Jay" — compared to how he's ranked Jay from Tiger (competent streak) to Slick (regular) to Sparky (did something REALLY stupid) — when Jay gets REALLY intuitive against heat-loving (to the point of psychopathy) aliens. Too bad Jay's not good enough (at golf) to hold it.
  • Very subtle example in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Season 3 finale "Magical Mystery Cure". Shining Armor calls Twilight by name instead of his nickname "Twiley" during her coronation.
  • In the 1985 Pound Puppies TV special, Cooler spends the entire time calling Violet "Sam", until she's in the path of an out-of-control car. Her reaction to him calling her by name to warn her: "Cooler, you called me Violet!"
  • Episode 11 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated had a pissed-off Velma call Shaggy, who chose Scooby over her, "Norville" to express how she feels about losing out to a dog.
  • On The Secret Saturdays, Van Rook's first name is used when circumstances become dire for him. Like moments before he dies in a Heroic Sacrifice
  • In The Simpsons:
    • Homer invariably calls Bart "Boy", or "The Boy" (when referring to him in conversation with others). Whenever he uses Bart's actual name, he's generally really angry. He'll typically follow this with "Why you little...!" and throttle him. Whereas Marge calls him Bart normally, "My special little guy" when she's feeling particularly lovey-dovey, and if she's really angry, she'll go to Full-Name Ultimatum with "Bartholomew J. Simpson!"
    • Likewise, Bart usually calls Homer either by his first name (a big no-no for children in most families), or some form of nickname, based on his real name (Homeboy, Home-slice), or referencing his size (Fatty, Big guy). When he calls him "Dad", he's generally really genuinely upset or desperately needing help.
    • Inversely, in "Lisa the Greek", Lisa is upset after realizing that her father was only spending time with her because she had a nack for correctly predicting the outcome of football games so he could make bets and win money, rather than simply because he wanted to spend time with her, and calls him "Homer" instead of "Dad".
    • Mr. Burns almost always calls his assistant simply "Smithers" and Smithers almost always calls his boss "Mr. Burns" or "sir". However, during a heated confrontation between the two as Smithers urges him to reconsider his sun-blocking plan in "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 1", they have this exchange:
      Mr. Burns: There has been a shocking decline in the quality and quantity of your toadying, Waylon, and you will fall into line, now.
      Smithers: No, Monty, I won't. Not until you step back from the brink of insanity.
  • Sofia the First: Beginning in Season 2, Sofia no longer pronounces Cedric's name as "Ceedric" like in Season 1. In "The Enchanted Feast" when she addresses him properly to warn him Miss Nettle is out to steal her amulet, at first he starts to correct her, but stops in surprise to realize too late she pronounced it right this time.
  • Superman: The Animated Series, Superman does a variant he's trying to convince Robin to tell him about Batman's disappearance.
    Superman: Where's Bruce?
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splinter usually calls his students/adopted sons by their full names. In a tie-in book for the 1987 series, when it looks as though Michelangelo is about to be lost in space and is almost out of air already, he starts using their nicknames so that he can give orders all the faster. Donatello mentally notes this as a sign of just how worried he is.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, during Shiro and Adam's argument about the Kerberos mission, Adam calls him Takashi (his first name). This is the only time someone refers to Shiro using his first name, and the conversation is revealed to be the end of Shiro and Adam's relationship.

    Real Life 
  • Variation: In US military service, it's a common rumor that the soldiers swear at each other almost pathologically, so that when someone in the unit gives out an order that's completely devoid of vulgarity, it drives the point home that they're in it deep.
  • Professional basketball player Becky Hammon's full name, Rebecca Lynn Hammon, was not used in professional contexts until she was signed to the Russian national basketball team and began to feature in Russian-language articles.
  • Inverted in Willy-Nicky correspondence, a series of messages between Wilhelm II and Nicholas II. Here are the leaders of two strongest nations of their time, using their own nicknames to appeal to their familial ties, desperately trying to avert war. Alas, it was not to be, and the result would forever change the world.


Video Example(s):


Lead The Way Blu

Eduardo, Jewel's father, had at first such disdain for Blu he never got his name right until the big showdown against the loggers. Blu is so overwhelmed and overjoyed he almost forgets the fight until Eduardo reminds him why they are here.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouCalledMeXItMustBeSerious

Media sources: