14 TV Shows With Infuriating Episode Title Formats

Keep it simple, stupid
14 TV Shows With Infuriating Episode Title Formats

Nobody saw the current way we watch TV shows coming — navigating the menus of streaming services to get through a virtual box-set collection. It would be incredibly handy if episodes had names that, you know, made sense given what each episode was about, but in far too many cases they don’t.

The textbook thing a lot of shows did — shows like Gossip GirlFarscape, even Hannah Montana — was to take an existing title of a song, book or movie and incorporate some element of the show into it. Like, there’s an episode of Charmed called “Something Wicca This Way Comes.” That’s excellent. Well done. 

Some shows display their episode titles — take a bow, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — but for most of TV production history, episode titles have existed mainly for internal use and TV guides. The hardcore fans knew them, but for most people episodes were, as Friends famously took and ran with, “The One With…”.

There are clever touches out there. You can see the title of any episode of Insecure and know what season it’s from, for instance — Season One episodes end with “As Fuck,” Season Two start with “Hella” and so on. But for a lot of shows, trying to find a specific episode you want on a streamer is an enormous pain in the ass. Ideally skimming the titles would be enough, but tons of shows went for their own idiosyncratic titling formats that make it impossible — you have to read the shitty little episode synopsis as well. Imagine the millions of hours lost annually by people having to read two or three additional sentences about every goddamned episode of fucking Bones.

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Orphan Black: Not a-Clone in Having Irritating Episode Titles



Orphan Black’s five seasons each have a theme across their titles (Season One is all Darwin quotes, for instance), which seems to have more to do with being all clever and fancy than helping to identify actual episodes.

Two and a Half Men: A Hundred Hours of Quips to Sift Through

TWO a half MEN


Two and a Half Men named its episodes after a snippet of dialogue lifted from them  — all well and good if you know every line of all 262 (mostly, if we’re honest, crappy) episodes, but otherwise fairly unhelpful. 

The X-Files: Trust No One to Title Episodes Sensibly



While many episodes of The X-Files have totally sensible titles, there are plenty that smack of the writers feeling a little too pleased with themselves — episodes have titles in German, Latin, French and occasional gibberish.

Monk: Mr. Monk Can Fuck Off



Every Monk episode starts with “Mr. Monk,” e.g., “Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month.” That’s fine, unless you’re using a phone, in which case they’re too damned long, and Mr. Monk needs to sort his shit out. 

Mr. Robot: Quite_Clever_If_You_Like_That_Sort_of_Thing.docx

MR O الإ B O


Mr. Robot’s episodes are titled in a very clever, apt way — titled like file names of different video formats complete with production codes, such as eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v. However, they ran out of video formats, so it all became increasingly less clever.

Third Rock From the Sun: What a Lot of Dicks!



Third Rock From the Sun found the character name Dick hilarious, using it in the titles of 102 out of 132 episodes, including “Angry Dick,” “I Enjoy Being A Dick,” “Assault With A Deadly Dick” and “Gobble Gobble Dick Dick.”

ALF: Go Fuck YoursALF!



Every episode of ALF is named after a song. Occasionally there’s a link — an episode where Brian has to dress as asparagus in a play is called “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green” — but for the most part it’s just completely arbitrary. 

The Big Bang Theory: The Irritating Nomenclature



The Big Bang Theory’s titles are a lot more based around being fun to say and sounding nerdy than being useful for identifying the episode. What happens in “The Veracity Elasticity,” “The Proton Displacement” or “The Friendship Turbulence”? Who knows. 

Desperate Housewives: Desperate House Whyyyyyyyyyyy?



At first, Desperate Housewives’ episode titles were incredibly impressive — they were all named after Stephen Sondheim songs, but in ways related to the plot. Keeping that up was understandably difficult, so soon enough the titles started to seem pretty arbitrary.

The Drew Carey Show: Uninterested in Carey-ing on the Gimmick



During Season One of The Drew Carey Show, a half-assed attempt was made to theme episode titles around science, but by Episode 10 — “Science Names Suck” — the wheels had fallen off. The show stuck around for 223 more science-less episodes. 

The Good Fight: The Bad Titles

the good g whit


Every season of The Good Fight had a different gimmick — one year they titled episodes like Friends, one year like Sunny. Second season episodes, however, are named after how many days into Donald Trump’s presidency they aired, which is… difficult.

Hawaii Five-O: Drawing Attention to Monoglots

A 20 A FL


The fault lies with the public, who outside of Hawaii mostly don’t speak pidgin, but Hawaii Five-O’s penchant for giving every episode a pidgin name makes it very difficult for non-pidgin speakers (and, yes, more of us should learn pidgin).

Clerks: Bob Wasn’t Silent Enough

L e C RKS Based on Characters Created by KEVIN SMITH


The makers of Clerks: The Animated Series gave its episodes such wilfully unwieldy, lengthy titles that one of them, the penultimate episode, had a 49-word title too long to fit on a Wikipedia title page. That’s just showing off.

Robot Chicken: Absolute, Total Nonsense



Robot Chicken occasionally had actual episode titles, but generally used it as a space for more silliness. Season Four’s titles make a message from a man trapped in a DVD factory but, broadcast out of sequence, make no sense whatsoever. 

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