The Nameberry 9: Sherlock, Selina and Joan

July 22, 2012 Linda Rosenkrantz

In the Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s  Abby Sandel discovers some forgotten classics and some interesting  new possibilities among the newsiest names.

It’s been a quiet week for celebrity birth announcements.  If Uma has named her daughter, she isn’t telling.  Reese isn’t due for a while, and neither is Tori.

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:

Dylan – The original Beverly Hills, 90210 launched a long-running franchise, and helped propel the name Dylan into the US Top 100.  He hasn’t left since the series premiered in 1990.  Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and his wife Allison just chose the name for their new son, Dylan Jay, a little brother for Madeleine Leigh.

Selina Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus is nominated for an Emmy for her role as Selina Meyers, Vice President of the United States.  Selina has fallen out of the Top 1000 in recent years, and the more popular spelling, Selena, is also dropping.  But that could make her the perfect pick for parents seeking an alternative to Isabella.

Mary – Speaking of fading, why have we turned our backs on the evergreen Mary?  She’s regal, she’s storied, and she’s an intriguing character on the smart, sophisticated, smash hit Downton Abbey.  Instead, it seems like the British import is more likely to boost Sybil.

Joan – I’m still waiting for Mad Men to help resuscitate Joan.  If the sharp, savvy character played by Christina Hendricks can’t convince parents to consider this feminine form of John, I’m not sure what will bring her back to wider use.

Sherlock – Speaking of Joan, there’s another (yes, really another) Sherlock Holmes-inspired project headed to television this Fall.  This time, the show is set in New York City, with Lucy Liu playing his slightly re-invented sidekick, Dr. Joan Watson.  There’s already a successful BBC series, the Robert Downey, Jr. movies, and a long string of adaptations featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s enduring detective.  But Sherlock has never popped as a boy’s name – though he’s recently made an appearance on the Nameberry ticker.

Dixon – Speaking of names that haven’t caught on, I’m always a little surprised that the new 90210 didn’t do more for Dixon.  Now another show is giving the name to a character.  Vegas debuts this Fall, with Dennis Quaid as the new sheriff in 1960s Las VegasDixon is the name of the sheriff’s son.  Between his stylish sound, and all of his television exposure, could Dixon be the next Logan?

Arrow – I’ve been on the watch for Arrow ever since this noun name appeared in a recent Nameberry birth announcement.  Now that Archer is on the rise, could Arrow be far behind?  Sure, it is a little bit superhero – at least two comic book characters have answered to ArrowNow there’s a television series based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow.

Brave – While we’re talking noun names, maybe Pixar’s Brave will encourage parents to consider Merida – but could it also boost BraveEponymia included both Brave and Bravery on her 2011 Rarities list.  Blogger Rubyellen has four girls, named Soul, True, Glow, and yes, Brave.

Anneau – Let’s end with a random spotting from the tag cloud, one that seems fresh and different for a girl born in 2012.  Anneau is the French word for ring.  More subtle than Jewel, less common than Annabelle, and yet perfectly wearable.

Would you ever use a name that you first spotted on television?  Does it matter if the name is classic, or one that feels strongly associated with the character?



25 Responses to “The Nameberry 9: Sherlock, Selina and Joan”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.