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Category: Zoey 101

TV Baby Names: Blasts from the Past

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The names of characters from the television shows that we watched when we were young often stick with us forever, from kiddie shows to teen-oriented programs to favorite sitcoms.  Grover, Oscar, Kermit–those Muppetish images are hard to shake: Oscar seems to have recovered from his Grouchiness, but Kermit might stay green forever.  Ditto the shows we might have been glued to through our school years–especially if they happened to feature a teen idol.

A name from an old TV show might remain with us because we found it especially appealing, or if it was attached to a favorite character, or perhaps if we hadn’t heard the name before, giving it a fresh resonance.  Here’s a list of some examples from the past few decades that fit one or more of those criteria and which might inspire a baby name choice today. (Some of the shows continued running from one decade to the next, but we’ve listed them under the one they started in.)

1970s TELEVISION SHOWS

ALMANZO — Little House on the Prairie

BAILEY  (girl)– WKRP in Cincinnati

BARNABYBarnaby Jones

BLAIR — The Facts of Life

BO –The Dukes of Hazzard

DAISY —  The Dukes of Hazzard

FLORIDA — Good Times

ISAAC — The Love Boat

JOSIEJosie & the Pussycats

SABRINACharlie‘s Angels

TANNER — The Bad News Bears

1980s TELEVISION SHOWS

ADDISON — Moonlighting

ALEXIS — Dynasty

BRUNO — Fame

CHASEFalcon‘s Crest

COCO — Fame

COLT — The Fall Guy

LEONARDO — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

LILITH — Cheers

LIBERTY — De Grassi, The Last Generation

MADDIE — Moonlighting

MALLORY — Family Ties

MURPHYMurphy Brown

SUMMER — Baywatch

THEO — The Cosby Show

WINNIE — The Wonder Years

ZAX — Benji, Zax & The Alien Prince

1990s TELEVISION SHOWS

AIDAN — Sex in the City

ANGELBuffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel

AVERYMurphy Brown

BRIGHT — 7th Heaven

CORDELIA  — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

COSMO — Seinfeld

DAWSONDawson‘s Creek

FELICITY — Felicity

FOX  —   The X-Files

GENEVA —  Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper

GRIFFIN — Party of Five

JOSIAH — The West Wing

MABEL  — Mad About You

MAYAJust Shoot Me

MEADOW — The Sopranos

MICHAELA  — Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

MIRANDA  — Sex in the City

OWEN — Party of Five

PIPER — Charmed

PO — Teletubbies

PRUE  —  Charmed

SIX — Blossom

URSULA — Mad About You

XANDERBuffy the Vampire Slayer

XENAXENA: The Warrior Princess

WILLOW —  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

ZOEY — Cybill/Zoey 101

Do you have your own nostalgic favorites? Is there one that you’ve actually used or would consider using for your child?

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baby name zooey

You’ve probably noticed that Aiden is now way more popular than the original Irish Aidan.  And also that Zoey is catching up with Zoe, while other names like Isiah, Kaleb, Camryn and Sienna are either ahead of or breathing down the necks of their conventionally spelled cousins.  Sometimes the reasons for these changes are clear-cut, sometimes it’s just something in the ether.

Not that this is a new thing.  I remember the first time that someone asked me to spell my first name.  “Huh?”  “Well, is it Linda with an ‘i’ or Lynda with a ‘y’?  Without my really noticing, Lynda had become a spelling alternative in the wake of  the popularity of Lynn.  Something similar has happened with Aidan/Aiden.  When the epidemic of rhyming ‘en’-ending names erupted–Jaden, Braden, Caden et al–it was a logical development to make Aiden a legitimate member of that family.  And when ‘K’-beginning boys’ names became a rage, Kaleb began pursuing Caleb up the list.

The case of Zoe/Zooey is a little different, as the spike of the latter version can be pretty much traced to a single phenomenon–‘Zoey101′–the Emmy-nominated teen sitcom starring (now teen mom) Jamie Lynn Spears, which appeared on Nickelodeon in 2005.  And the publicity surrounding Jamie Lynn’s big sister Britney’s second son helped spread that spelling of Brayden.  The rise of the British actress Sienna Miller spurred the spelling change of the Italian town of Siena, actress Jorja Fox legitimized the phonetic spelling of Georgia, and Gossip Girl hottie Chace (originally his middle name) Crawford has the spelling of his name chasing Chase.

In terms of image, rather than spelling, Scarlett Johansson challenged the long-term connection of her name to Gone With the Wind spitfire Scarlett O’Hara, just as the charms of Jude Law have managed to erase the age-old associations of his name to Judas.

More recently we’ve seen a couple of starbabies who might have some influence on the future spellings of names: Brooke Shield’s Grier (rather than Greer) and Angie Harmon’s Emery (rather than Emory).

Can you think of any others?

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