Category: baby names from tv
The kids are back in school and there’s a chill in the air – must be time for the new Fall television line-up!Â I’ve been listening for character names – bland, bold, and everywhere in between.Â Last week we discussed Walden, the new roomie on Two and a Half Men.Â The jury is still out on how the series will fare with Ashton as a co-star, but berries agreed – Walden is a winner of a name.
Even the most high profile shows today attract a fraction of the viewing audience that tuned in just a decade back.Â That might be good news if youâ€™ve been planning to name your newborn Walden, but it does make me wonder: are the days of television launching new names over?Â So many great choices, from Allison to Xander, owe their popularity in part to a television character.
Or is the opposite true?Â You couldnâ€™t name a kid Jed in the 1960s without conjuring up The Beverly Hillbillies. Now that weâ€™re all watching dozens of different shows, maybe it will feel less problematic to borrow a name from a favorite series.Â Here are a few that caught my eye:
Anders â€“ Comedy Centralâ€™s sophomore sitcom Workaholics follows three slacker friends â€“ Adam, Blake, and Anders, known as Ders.Â Anders ranked #936 in 2010 â€“ thatâ€™s pretty obscure, but it is also about the best the name has ever fared.Â The evergreen Andrew might strike some parents as too ordinary.Â The characterâ€™s nickname, Ders, works for Anders or Anderson.
The Simpsons has been running for twenty-two years now (an all-time record for a TV show), with almost 500 episodesÂ under its belt, episodes crammed with weird and wacky characters, often with names to match,Â making both regular and one-shot appearances.Â Â But it’s the show’sÂ more normal names that make a rich source of TV baby names.
When it came to the lead characters, creator Matt Groening did what many of us do, which was to name them after family members: Homer and Marge Groening are his parentsâ€™ names and Lisa and Maggie his younger sisters’.Â As for Bart (full nameÂ Bartholomew Jojo Simpson), thatÂ was derived asÂ an anagram of the word ‘brat.’ (Trivia note: Many of the last names were inspired by street names of Portland.)
Here are some of the most usableÂ Â Simpsons-inspired namesâ€”Â (no Boobarellas here):
Alaska (last name Nebraska)
Some of those characters eventually have fictional children of their own.Â Mad Men couple Pete and Trudy just welcomed daughter Tammy.Â 90210â€™s Jen has a brand new son called Jacques.Â In honor of the two new arrivals, hereâ€™s a look back at some notable small screen births.
Everyone was watching I Love Lucy when Ricky and Lucy welcomed Enrique Jr. â€“ Lilâ€™ Ricky â€“ in 1953.Â The show was a sensation, but Richard was already a Top Ten mainstay, and even Ricky was in the Top 100 before the babyâ€™s arrival.
The first influential television baby probably came from 1964â€™s Bewitched, a sitcom with a supernatural twist.Â Bewitching wife Samanthaâ€™s name caught on, as did daughter Tabitha, who arrived in the showâ€™s second season.
Thereâ€™s more than one way to add a child.Â The Brady Bunchâ€™s six kids became seven when Cousin Oliver came to stay during the showâ€™s final season.Â While his name is the height of fashion today, it didnâ€™t catch on until decades later.Â The character did lend his name to Cousin Oliver Syndrome â€“ the phenomenon of adding a younger child to revive a fading show.Â
I donâ€™t you know if youâ€™ve noticed a growing trendletâ€”at least among celebritiesâ€”for what we might call generic-boy-nickname-names.Â In other words, these arenâ€™t specific short forms like Charlie or Archie, but ol- timey macho boy tags like Buddy and Buster.
In the recent past, weâ€™ve seen Noel Gallagherâ€™s Sonny, a choice shared by British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextorâ€”as well as Adam Sandlerâ€™s daughter Sunny; Jamie Oliverâ€™s Buddy Bear Maurice; Michele Hicks and Jonny Lee Millerâ€™s Buster Timothy; the three Aces of Natalie Appleton, Tom Dumont, and Jennie Finch and Casey Daigle; the two Dukes of Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman; and the Junior of Peter Andre and Katie Price.
We canâ€™t help wondering if this is yet another offshoot of the midcentury Mad Men phenomenon, bringing us back to the days of Father Knows Bestâ€™s Bud (birth name James Anderson, Jr.) and J. D. Salingerâ€™s Buddy Glass (real name Webb Gallagher Glass), and Marlon Brando, who was known to friends and family as Bud.Â In those days, though, Sonny or Buster were not usually put on the birth certificate, andÂ over time those pet names began to be relegated to pets.
Nameberry’s own Nephele, known for her wonderfully cleverÂ and generous anagramming skills, has been studying the lower depths of the popularity list and gives us a report on some of the surprises she foundÂ there.
Now that the Social Security Administration has released its annual baby names listings beyond the top 1,000 (including all names that had at least five occurrences in any given year), names researchers can better track the influence of popular culture on our names.
For example, a girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Greidys” â€“ with an astonishing count of 186 baby girls having been given that name in 2009.Â Its variants “Greydis” and “Greidy” also appear for the first time on the 2009 list, again in the astonishing numbers of 100 and 25 occurrences respectively.
Another girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Chastelyn” with 150 occurrences.Â Its variants “Shastelyn” and “Chastelin” also appear for the first time in 2009, with 34 and 33 occurrences respectively.
While we may expect new names to appear on the SSA lists each year, these new names generally don’t have more than a dozen occurrences, if even that.Â Why are the names “Greidys” and “Chastelyn” (with their variants) suddenly so prominent in their first appearance on the SSA list?
Our Latin friends can answer that question easily enough.Â These names shot to popularity with those who watch the Spanish television network Univision’s reality TV show called Nuestra Belleza Latina *Â (which translates into “Our Latin Beauty”).Â The winning contestant in the show’s third season (2009) was a Latin beauty from Cuba, named Greidys Gil.Â Another popular contestant was Chastelyn Rodriguez from Puerto Rico.Â And thus were two new names embraced by American moms (or dads!) in search of baby names.