22 TV Characters to Name Your Baby After

Here’s a list of 22 TV characters whose names Mashable.com thinks are worth considering for your child. Check out the list and  see my objections to some of the names under the list. Then visit Mashable.com to see the photos they’ve collected to help you visualize all of the characters.

  1. Veronica (Veronica Mars)
  2. Olivia (Law & Order SVU)
  3. Titus (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
  4. Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
  5. Jane (Jane the Virgin)
  6. Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  7. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
  8. Joan (Mad Men)
  9. Carlton (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
  10. Archer (Archer)
  11. Peggy (Mad Men)
  12. Aria (Pretty Little Liar)
  13. Selina (Veep)
  14. Daria (Daria )
  15. Dexter (Dexter )
  16. Hannibal (Hannibal)
  17. Fez (That 70’s Show)
  18. Rory (Gilmore Girls)
  19. Lorelai (Gilmore Girls)
  20. Nancy (Weeds)
  21. Maeby (Arrested Development)
  22. Cookie (Empire)

I agree with Mashable.com that their list of colorful TV characters provides a useful option if you’re thinking of using the name of a character from  Game of Thrones–many of which are hard to spell and pronounce and come across as confusing to people not familiar with that show. But I question the appropriateness of using some of the names in Mashable’s list for your baby:

Hannibal (the name immediately calls a cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lector, to mind )

Fez (the name immediately calls a Turkish felt hat with tassel on top to mind)

Maeby (this character in Arrested Development has an affinity for her first cousin and often stumbles into potentially incestuous situations; if that doesn’t dissuade you from using the name, consider that it’s likely to be misspelled more often than not)

Jane (the name immediately calls “plain Jane” to mind)

Cookie (the name sounds more like something sweet to eat than a little girl–or a grown woman)

 

 

 

Where Do the Fastest-Rising Boys’ and Girls’ Names Come From: 10 Celebrity and Media Backstories

 

I can’t think of a sillier way to name babies than selecting names associated with popular movies, TV shows and celebrities. Just think of the ridiculous names foisted on their children (and their fans) by these sources in the past. I’m referring to outrageous celebrity baby names like North West and Blue Ivy, movie & TV show characters’ names like Katniss (“Hunger Games”) and Daenerys (“Game of Thrones”), and reality TV show names like Khloé (“Keeping Up with the Kardashians”).

And yet every year the fastest-rising names reported by the Social Security Administration, on or around Mothers’ Day, are usually derived from just these sources. In fact, Laura Wattenberg has written: “Reality TV stars are the biggest source of new names today.” Let’s take a look at some of the fastest-rising boys’ and girls’ names to see precisely what inspired large numbers of parents to pick them in 2013:

Fast-Rising Boys’ Names

-Jayceon (2013: #206; 2012: #1,017)
Backstory: Jayceon is the given name of popular west-coast rapper, Jayceon Terrell Taylor. Taylor’s stage name is “The Game” or “Game.”

-Jase (2013: #89; 2012: #270)
Source: Jase is a fictional characters on “Duck Dynasty,” a popular reality TV show. In the show, Jase is Phil and Kay Robertson’s son. In the show, he’s the COO of Duck Commander, the family business–although Jase would rather hunt and fish than go to work. (Are you aware of the fact that “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson, has revealed himself to be biased on both racial and gender issues?)

-Milan (2013: #484; 2012: #1,159)
Backstory: Milan is the name of Shakira’s baby boy. Shakira is a popular Columbian recording artist who is a singing coach on “The Voice,” a popular reality TV show.

-Castiel (2003: #956; 2002: #1374)
Backstory: Castiel is a fictional character portrayed by Misha Collins on “Supernatural,” a series presented by the CW TV Network. In the show, Castiel is an angel who introduces the theme of Christian theology.

-Kyrie (2003: 590; 2002: 868)
Backstory: Kyrie Irving briefly played college hoops at Duke and was the #1 draft pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He was named an all-star in 2013 and 2014–his first two seasons in the NBA.

Fast-Rising Girls’ Names:

-Daleyza (2013: #585; 2012: #3,769)
Backstory: Daleyza is one of singer Larry Hernandez’s daughters on “Larrymania,” a popular Spanish-language reality TV show.

-Everly (2013: #383; 2012: #907)
Backstory: Everly is movie star Channing (“21 Jump Street”) Tatum’s baby daughter. He also made a movie in 2012 called “Magic Mike,” that documented his 8-month “career” as a male stripper. (I suppose that would make Channing Tatum an “inspiring figure” to some people.)

-Sadie (2013: #50; 2012: #120).
Backstory: Sadie is a fictional character on “Duck Dynasty,” a popular realty TV show. In the show, she is Willie and Corrie Robertson’s daughter. (Are you aware of the fact that “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson, has revealed himself to be biased on both racial and gender issues?)

-Kendra (2013: #187; 2012: #387)
Backstory: Kendra Wilkinson is the star of the eponymous reality TV show “Kendra.” She is also one of the stars of a reality TV show called “The Girls Next Door.” which documents her life in the Playboy mansion where she is one of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends. (I suppose that would make her an “inspiring namesake” to some people.)

-Jurnee (2013: #896; 2012: #1467)
Backstory: Jurnee Smollett is an actress who played the role of Eve in the movie “Eve’s Bayou” and the role of Jess in the TV show “Friday Night Lights.” In  2013, she was seen on TV in these roles: Heather Hall on “Parenthood,” Nicole Wright on “True Blood,” and Ms. Young’s daughter on “Do No Harm.”

If you read my post about the fastest-rising boys’ and girls’ names, I focus on the “themes” or “clusters” that are rising together (rather than individual names that rely on a particular celebrity or TV show which is likely to disappear when the show tanks or the celebrity steps in doggy-doo, as Phil Robertson and Paula Deen did, quite recently. It’s no fun to be named after a TV show that was cancelled for good reason or a celebrity who developed an awful reputation after his or her name was written on your birth certificate.

 

 

 

Dear Bruce: Nobody Has the Right to Pass Judgment on “Game of Thrones” Names

Dear @Mercurial Jane,

I assume you took offense after reading my recent post: “Surprise: “Game of Thrones” Fans are Naming Daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi (as Well as Arya)” In that post, I commented that Daenarys and Khaleesi are likely to be misspelled and mispronounced by most children and adults who are not familiar with Game of Thrones.  I wonder if you noticed my comment that Arya was likely to work better as a baby name than Daenarys and Khaleesi, because it looks and sounds like Aria and won’t be as hard to spell or pronounce as either Daenarys and Khaleesi.

it is likely to be frustrating and annoying for children whose parents give them names of characters from Game of Thrones (or any movie or TV show) that are likely to be mangled and likely to get them teased or bullied. (I also mentioned Katniss (a name from The Hunger Games) as another impractical baby name because it is also likely to be misspelled and mispronounced.)

I hope you’ll agree that the child who has been victimized by a name he or she doesn’t like is one person who has a legitimate “right to pass judgment.”Another person who has a right to pass judgment would be a baby-name expert whose mission is to help parents make intelligent baby naming decisions by avoiding names likely to subject their children  to embarrassment or teasing. Sorry to inform you that teasers and bullies will go right ahead and make children with strange-sounding names miserable without asking for your permission.

I hope you realize I’m not criticizing Game of Thrones. I’m simply pointing out that not every name mentioned in a TV show or movie will make a great name for children. And to pick a name that will be a pleasure for the parents and the child, parents need to distinguish between what works well in the TV show and what is likely to work well in the real world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Every Generation’s Baby Names Are the Refuse of Terrible Literature”

After spending almost a week in California (and not writing any new blog posts), I decided to get back to work and write some new posts. Just after writing yesterday’s post about Daenerys and Khaleesi, I read Alexandra Petri’s Wa Po article titled “Never mind Khaleesi” which puts fictional name fads into a historical context.

So, I’m suggesting you give it a read. I found it fun, even though I disagreed with Petri about a few names:

-When Petri writes: “Well, it can’t get worse than that horrible Edward/Jacob/Bella Twilight situation a year or so back, and then it does,” I think she’s referring to the inordinate popularity of Jacob, Bella and Edward rather than their quality as names. I think all three are fine names, though Jacob is still a top-ten boy’s name–so I’d avoid it for that reason.

-I enjoyed Petri’s comment about Paisley, “This is like naming your child Terrible Tie Pattern or Ugly Scarf.” However, I like Paisley as a name for girls (because I remember wearing paisley ties in the 60s and liking them). Unfortunately, Northern Ireland’s Ian Paisley is an awful namesake (from human rights perspective).

-Petri “prefers Paris to Londyn but not if you’re going to spell it Parys.” In my view, Londyn and other names that substitute “y”s for other vowels invite people to misspell the name and make the child wish her parents had been more considerate.

-Petri also had some good news: “Baby Anastasias stayed relatively stable in the years following the publication of 50 Shades of Grey, and the number of Baby Christians actually went DOWN from 2011 to 2012.” And, in better news, “This is the first year Adolph did not chart!”

-Petri complained about parents’ disinclination to spell Zachary (or even Elvis) properly. I agree completely.

-And finally, I love this comment from Petri about baby names:” Every generation’s baby names are the refuse of terrible literature. It is a tradition of long standing.”

 

 

 

Surprise: “Game of Thrones” Fans are Naming Daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi (as Well as Arya)

It’s no surprise that “Game of Thrones” fans are making Arya a fast-rising name. Last year more than 700 Throne’s fans gave that name to their own daughters in 2012, according to WTOP.com. What is surprising is that Thrones fans would also name their daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi even though both names will be difficult to spell and pronounce for anyone who is not a “Game of Thrones” fan. A moment’s thought about the practical problems with both Daenerys and Khaleesi is all it would take to realize that daughters given those names are likely to grow up hating them.

Arya sounds like Aria (a solo vocal piece with instrumental music from an opera) and won’t be completely mystifying to the uninitiated. But Daenerys and Khaleesi (a name I’ve already misspelled 3 times in the process of writing this article)  are likely to confuse and mystify anyone who’s not a big fan of the show. The increasing popularity of those impractical and burdensome names demonstrates just how far parents can be influenced by the effect of a popular TV show, movie or book.

Another suddenly popular name, Katniss (the protagonist of the Hunger Games) is also likely to confuse anyone not familiar with the book or movie. Unfortunately, Katniss sounds like catnip. Parents who get swept along by their strong feelings for fictional characters can be helped by spouses, partners, friends and relatives willing to call their attention to the practical realities of living with names that are likely to be misunderstood and mangled by most people who read or hear them.