Category: names from TV
Fifty years ago, a prime-time comedy launched on ABC. That show was Bewitched, and it put the name Samantha on the map. Here’s how the numbers pan out:
- The year before the show, 1963, there were fewer than 100 born in the U.S.
- By 1964, there were over 400 born
- By 1965, there almost 2,000 born
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.
There’s a certain species of girls’ names that we’ve referred to in our books as freckle-faced, pigtailed and button-nosed: they’re the kind of character names inhabited by Shirley Temple as a curly-haired moppet, and Judy Garland as a wide-eyed, innocent teen, as well as starring in dozens of old popular songs. Basically nickname names that have long stood on their own, none can be found any longer in the current Top 1000 — though one of them ranked as high as Number 31 in the 1930’s.
They’ve been gone a long time, but they still project a lot of spunk, and so, with the revival of nickname names in general we’re wondering if any of these could get their youthful mojo back.
We’re talking about:
Gone since 1995; Highest rating: Number 228 in 1959
Betsy originated as a combination of other classic pet forms of Elizabeth—Betty, Beth and Bessie, and makes appearances in two Dickens novels—Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. The ‘B’ Elizabeth nicknames were superseded by the ‘L’ ones– Liz, Lizzie, Liza and Lisa– but maybe now might be the time for a switch back.
Gone since 1975; Highest rating: 52 in 1936 and 1941
Gone since 1989; Highest rating: 31 in 1937
Peggy, a pet form of Margaret, is the one that’s climbed the highest of all these names. Perky and pure, Peggy was the perfect date for the prom—in 1953. In later decades it’s been traded in for Maggie.
Some of those characters eventually have fictional children of their own. Mad Men couple Pete and Trudy just welcomed daughter Tammy. 90210’s Jen has a brand new son called Jacques. In honor of the two new arrivals, here’s a look back at some notable small screen births.
Everyone was watching I Love Lucy when Ricky and Lucy welcomed Enrique Jr. – Lil’ Ricky – in 1953. The show was a sensation, but Richard was already a Top Ten mainstay, and even Ricky was in the Top 100 before the baby’s arrival.
The first influential television baby probably came from 1964’s Bewitched, a sitcom with a supernatural twist. Bewitching wife Samantha’s name caught on, as did daughter Tabitha, who arrived in the show’s second season.
There’s more than one way to add a child. The Brady Bunch’s six kids became seven when Cousin Oliver came to stay during the show’s final season. While his name is the height of fashion today, it didn’t catch on until decades later. The character did lend his name to Cousin Oliver Syndrome – the phenomenon of adding a younger child to revive a fading show.
Every new TV season or so we like to check out the recently launched shows, as well as those still running, for any interesting names that have emerged since the last time we looked. Most scripters continue to come up with the obvious and the formulaic, giving their characters names like Jessica and Jeff and Rick and Robin, Amy and Andy.
But there are some who do think out of the box—though usually for not more than one character per show. The list below steers clear of reality shows, so no Khloes or Kourtneys, and no cartoon characters or kiddie shows.
- Astrid – Fringe
- Calleigh – CSI Miami
- Chastity – Ten Things I Hate About You
- Chima – The Philanthropist
- Cricket – The Starter Wife
- Divya – Royal Pains
- Effy – Skins
- Elka — Hot in Cleveland
- Felix — Waking the Dead
- Fiona – Burn Notice
- Jinx – In Plain Sight
- Lavender – The Starter Wife
- Lyla – Friday Night Lights