Category: baby names from tv
by Linda Rosenkrantz
The names of TV characters have had an influence on baby naming since the era of must-see daytime soaps and Dallas and Dynasty, and more recently we’ve seen the effect of the Mad Men midcentury matrix and individual names like Finn and Dexter and Addison and Aria and Arya taking hold.
Things are a little different now, with fewer people glued to their TV screens—or even their tablets or phones—to watch ‘appointment’ television. And yet, with the new season beginning, I can’t help wondering if any of the more distinctive names of the characters on debuting shows might catch on. The one freshman period program, Reign, offers some possibilities, as do The Originals—a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries and the sci-fi The Tomorrow People.
And with two hunky ex-models playing characters named Killian on two different new shows, I think I’d put my money on him.
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.
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:
But there’s no such thing as a quiet week in name news. Influences are everywhere, and this week’s announcement of the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award nominees got me thinking about the small screen, and the many names boosted by a TV series.
Of course, it isn’t a straight line. It often takes years to tell which names will have long-term influence, and which will fade away. Kimora and Miley are sliding. Others are holding on strong – Alexis is still solidly established in the US Top 50 decades after Dynasty left the air.
It isn’t that we name our children after television characters, not exactly. And yet the connections are impossible to deny. Could it be that a popular series is one of the best ways to convince parents that a new name is mainstream, and worthy of consideration?
Most of this week’s newsiest names have a link to the small screen: