Category: names from pop culture
You probably remember a show from the eighties called The Golden Girls, which was about four “previously married” women living together in Miami. While they often seemed mismatched, the success of the show lay in the strong bonds of friendship these women shared, and is said to have been the inspiration behind many other shows and movies, including ‘Sex and the City‘ and ‘Girls‘.
Although the ladies had some great names (on and off screen), at the period when ‘The Golden Girls‘ was airing, from 1985 to 1992, people were rather unlikely to want to name their sweet babies after characters in a show about mature women, or the actors who played them. They would have seemed a little fusty in a world of Jennifers and Ashleys; Jessicas and Amandas.
These days their names have much more of an appealing retro/vintage feel, and are again finding favour with today’s parents.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Let’s face it—most TV character names are predictable and dull. It’s almost as though the screenwriters close their eyes and stick a pin into a list of what seem like age-appropriate monikers—Jim for Grandpa, Jack for Dad, Jackson for Son or Betty for Grandma, Beth for Mom and Becca for Girl.
But luckily there are some exceptions, the creative minority that shine out from the others like glistening gems. The names below are drawn from the character lists of current shows or those that have recently expired—running on a bewildering number of channels—network, cable and online. Reality and animated shows not included.
I’ve starred the names that have already seemed to have had an influence in the real world.
And no wonder. When perusing his shows, the character names range from the classics to the bold.
Here’s a list of some of the most interesting character names and which show they were featured on.
Angel: A vampire with a soul; at least on most episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her spinoff show, Angel. Angel’s real name (pre-vampirism) was Liam. His vampire without a soul name is Angelus.
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:
Today is officially Soap Opera Day (woo hoo!) and though this isn’t as big of a deal in the baby name world as it once was, with a lot fewer sudsers on TV than there were when soap operas were the main staple of daytime programming, we have to acknowledge the influence that they did have in the past—just as powerful as reality show show TV names do today.
This is true both in terms of trends (as in sometimes condescendingly considered “soap opera names” on the order of Thorne and Trent, Blade and Brent, and also place names like Sierra and Egypt, boys’ names for girls) and individual names—the classic example of which is Kayla. It’s highly doubtful that there would have been 16,000 baby girls named Kayla in 1996 if popular good girl Kayla Brady hadn’t appeared on Days of Our Lives a decade earlier. And the same goes for all those Ashleys too.
What follows is a list of soap opera names across three decades that did have some influence—though it sometimes took as long as a decade or two to make an impact (and of course there could be other factors involved)—followed by the year in which they were at the peak of their popularity.