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Category: Friends

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Ever since Little Ricky’s birth on I Love Lucy coincided with the birth of real life Desi Arnaz, Jr (aka Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV) —which was celebrated on the cover of the very first issue of TV Guide in 1953—audiences have been interested in the arrivals—and names, of course– of TV babies.

Some of these babies had names that were typical of their eras, while others were newer and more influential. Some of the newborns were allowed to grow up, while others remained babies, some were merely plot devices that quickly vanished. One of the names was important enough to be featured in the show’s title—Hope on Raising Hope.
Here, in rough reverse chronological order, are some of the most memorable TV baby names:

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Delilah and Desiree–Bad Girls Gone Good

When Pam and I wrote our first name book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason (back when Jennifer & Jason were still baby names), we had a little section called NAMES THAT ARE TOO MUCH TO LIVE UP TO, listing examples that had such a potent image that whey would overpower an innocent babe–including such biblical temptresses and goddesses as Jezebel, Salome and Venus. Well, things have now changed to the point where those names and others equally powerful have slipped into  the mainstream.  Why?  Partly the current anything-goes atmosphere, partly some tipping point moments, such as:

DELILAHWHY THE BAD GIRL RAP? Biblical temptress who betrayed Samson.  DEFUSER? Lame old Tom Jones song; was considered as baby name by Rachel and Ross on Friends.

DESIREEWHY? Precocious French teenager engaged to and then jilted by Napoleon.    DEFUSER? Jumped onto the Social Security list in 200 at #181.  Not sure why.

JEZEBEL: WHY? Scheming, promiscuous New Testament hussy; name came to mean hussy.  DEFUSER? Feminists started to see her as a victim, became the name of a hot weblog.  Name still means hussy.

LOLA: WHY? Sexy 19th century Spanish dancer/courtesan Lola Montez, sexy Marlene Dietrich character in The Blue Angel, sexy Pajama Game song ‘Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets’. DEFUSER? Madonna nicknames baby Lourdes Lola, Kelly Ripa mentions daughter Lola every mornining

LOLITA: WHY? Iconic Nabokov lollipop-licking nymphet; DEFUSER? Actress Lolita Davidovich says it’s a common name in Eastern Europe, director Brian de Palma bestows it on his baby.

SALOME: WHY? Deceitful dancing New Testament seductress, seen as even worse in Oscar Wilde play and Strauss opera; DEFUSER? Not sure, but it was defused enough for TV actress Alex Kingston to use it for her daughter.

SCARLETT: WHY? The Scarlet Letter, phrase “scarlet woman,” spoiled and selfish Scarlett O’Hara;  DEFUSER: Scarlett Johanssen

VENUS: WHY? Roman goddess of love, deadly Venus Flytrap plant; DEFUSER: Tennis ace Venus Williams

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