I don't see a problem with it. I love Phoebe, and yes people would probably think of Friends when they heard it (at least people my age), but Phoebe was awesome! Phoebe on Charmed as well. I would hesitate if the character was awful, but that's how it is for me with mythology and literary names as well. I'd never use Loke/Loki because the character in Norse mythology was horrible. I do have Calliope on my list, and a lot of people will probably think of Dr Callie Torres from Grey's Anatomy, but again, she rocks, so who cares?
I don't watch that much tv so I don't know about Gilmore Girls for example. Or The Vampire Diaries.
It depends on the how unique the name is, how popular the show was, and when the television show was on.
For example, if someone named their son "Opie" I would immediately think of the Andy Griffin show because it is a very uncommon name. While the show was popular, it was on a long time ago so I expect few of the child's contemporaries would make that association.
With the name Dorothy, I think few would automatically jump to the conclusion that you were naming your child after a character in the Wizard of Oz because Dorothy was a pretty common name in the time period the Wizard of Oz came out. Most people would like conclude that you were selecting the name to honor a grandparent or because you like vintage, grandmother names.
With your example, I don't think Ross and Phoebe are uncommon enough names that people would automatically assume you named your child after a Friends character. Adults today may make the Friends connection if you named three kids, Ross, Phoebe, and Monica or Ross, Chandler, and Phoebe but I doubt many of your children's contemporaries would.
Some names may be more obvious than others.
I don't think Friends names (Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe) are that obvious especially since the show has been over for almost a decade. Except Chandler, maybe. Chandler will always be friends to me, because it's so uncommon.
Plenty of people us TV/Movies as inspiration and unless it's painstakingly obvious or a really bad connection (in Literature & Film: Lolita), no one's going to comment unless they know that your favorite show is such and such and you named your child a name from the show. Even then, I can't think of anyone that's going to care.
Unless there is a strong name connection, I don't think people are going to treat a child as if they had the personality of the person from the show.
I love the name Melanie ever since I read/watched Gone With The Wind. I think Melanie would make a wonderful namesake, so I plan to use it. If I remember correctly, the name Melanie only because popular after the book/film anyways.
It depends on whether I actually like the film/movie. If so, then I don't care about the association. Also if it's a classic and the name is really tied to that particular movie/show then the association never fades. People still ask my mom if she chose my name because of GWTW. She hates that movie so it really annoys her. The association doesn't bother me; plus I'm sure that if I name my son Ashley I'll hear it a lot more.
In some cases it's the combo of names. Having a little Luke isn't a big deal but if you name his sibs Mace and Leia then it's obvious you're a Star Wars fan. Lucas, Mason & Leila would be a more subtle set
The answer is sort-of for me. Most of the names I like I have seen on a character on a character in a book, TV programme or film at some point, though the TV programmes and films I love the most are almost always based on books themselves. If I haven't read the actual book yet I intend to at some point in the future. And most of these are set >100 years ago cause that's the sort of stuff I'm into. I find it much easier to fall in love with a name if I can see it on a person, whether real or fictional (and, in the cases of books, in my imagination too).
I think it kind of depends on the name. If it's a common name, like Rachel or Samuel, then it wouldn't matter that much. If it's something like Hermione or Cullen, then I wouldn't use it, unless you WANT the association. If the character is evil or something, I wouldn't use it, but with Hermione, it would be a good association. She's smart and kind in the Harry Potter series. If you really love a movie or TV series, you could maybe name your kids after some of the actors or something, and not as many people would make the association. If you like Casino Royale, you could have Daniel and Eva. If you like Doctor Who, you could have David and Matthew, etc. (Although I think this might me a little off the point.)
Ditto this :) I'm not a big tv watcher but there are certain names I've picked up on my list from tv (and books, music, movies, etc.) Pop culture will always have an influence over names, I think.
Originally Posted by dindlee
I think it's nearly impossible to choose a name that *hasn't* been used in TV and film; it's just a question of how well-known the character is. It's also worth remembering that there are so many channels and programs that it's rare for a character to be so well-known that just the name would bring the character to mind for most people. I've never watched a lot of the shows that were mentioned (Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Vampires, etc.). For me to write off a name because of a character it would have to either be: a) a name that is really uncommon and used on an incredibly well-known figure (Homer, Bart, Fonzie, Murphy on a female -- although that show was a long time ago now!); or b) a character that I personally found both memorable and awful. So for me, Janice will always remind me of Janice on friends, but I honestly had trouble coming up with another character who was annoying or bad enough to even consider striking off my list. (And I never liked the name Janice much in the first place.)
Thanks for your thoughts, everybody! We've been talking about this a LOT at my house and it's nice to hear other perspectives. Also, there are a lot of shows out there that I don't watch with some great names on them, apparently!