Turn Off Your TV When Brainstorming for Baby Names

One of my husband’s relatives has a teenage daughter named Amanda. A few months ago, she told us that Amanda’s name had been inspired by a Melrose Place character. She kind of shrugged as she admitted it, as if to say, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now.”

Her story reminded me of the time I interviewed two girls named Ashley. Both had been named for the same The Young and the Restless character, but neither was proud of that fact.

Television may be fun to watch, but it’s not a fantastic place to find a baby name. Here are two reasons why you might want to turn off your TV as you search for names:

Baby names from TV shows can be embarrassing.

A TV name will permanently link your child to a particular TV show. The show might be cool now, but it won’t be cool forever. (Especially if it’s something as brainless as Melrose Place or The Young and the Restless.)

A name from a show might date your child, the way names like Gidget, Starsky, Kunta, and Fallon have dated other people’s children.

A TV name might inspire teasing. Even worse, it might lead other people to make erroneous assumptions about your child and/or your family. (That family must do nothing but watch TV all day! I wonder if any of them even have jobs…)

Baby names from TV shows can become trendy.

Many people watch what you watch. They hear the same names you hear. They form the same impressions of these names that you form. This is how trends begin.

If you don’t expose yourself to TV, you won’t be influenced by it. You won’t be as tempted to use a TV name as a baby name. This will help you avoid names that have the potential to become very trendy one day.

(But there’s also the flip side. You could always watch TV with the intention of picking out names that might become trendy. That could be just as helpful.)

Why else might TV be a bad thing for baby naming?


4 thoughts on “Turn Off Your TV When Brainstorming for Baby Names

  1. Like Friends’ ‘Rachel’ naming her daughter ‘Emma’!!! I’ve always loved that name, and now feel that I could never use it– way too common, now!

  2. I don’t think it’s necessarily that bad, especially if the name is a very popular name anyway. In the two examples you mentioned, who’s to know that Ashley and Amanda were named for TV characters at all except their own family? Hannah comes to mind. Sure she could be named for Hannah Montana which will be dated and obnoxious even to those who don’t think so already but there are tons of Hannahs whose parents chose the name for other reasons and she could easily blend into that crowd.

    Just as an aside since you mentioned Kunta, my grandmother had the sweetest black cat when I was growing up that she named Kizzy.

  3. Being named for a celebrity or TV character could lead people to assume that your child has a similar personality as the character. Amanda on Melrose Place was a witch; Phoebe on Friends was an airhead. Do you want those traits associated with your child?

  4. @Eriin – That’s a good point. Few people will ever catch on unless they’re told. But the three people I mentioned–Ashley, Ashley and Amanda’s mom–were all pretty embarrassed about the TV character connections nonetheless.

    @C in DC – I could definitely see that happening. Especially if it’s a rather distinctive name (like Phoebe). Good thinking.

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