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Saturday, March 07, 2015

What's In A Name?

Have you ever heard of a website called TVTropes.com?  If you haven't, by all means, click on THIS LINK to visit it!  It's definitely a site that I sometimes visit in order to get some inspiration for future blog topics.

As it so happens, the site inspired this post!

Okay, so a little explanation as to what TV Tropes does.  It is a website that takes a look at some of the most common themes that are shown in a variety of films, television shows, comic books, and video games.  Themes that could be considered little tricks and tidbits that screenwriters rely on to create masterpieces.

Or, at the very least, something that people will actually sit down to watch/read/play.

Some of them are commonplace, such as the Amnesia trope (a character loses their memory), the "Dumb Blonde" trope, in which a show features a blonde haired woman or man who seems to have no brain whatsoever, and the Spinoff trope, where a show spawns one or more other shows.

(See NCIS, CSI, Law and Order, etc...)

But some are more creative, such as the "The Other Darrin" trope, where a main character is recast midway through a series, or the "Laser-Guided Karma" trope, where a character becomes a victim of the same crime they committed years ago, or my personal favourite, the "Disney Villain Death" trope, where a character dies under spectacular circumstances - usually in slow motion and may or may not involve a bottomless pit.

Well, in this case, we're going to be talking about how characters are named.  In fact, this blog could be a celebration of the "What's In A Name" trope, if you will.

I've always been fascinated by how characters get their names in shows.  In fact, deciphering the meanings of names is something that I find quite interesting.  For instance, my first name of Matthew is a Hebrew name meaning "gift of God".

(Wow...what a name to live up to, huh?)

Actually, if you want the full explanation of what my full name is...I'm basically considered a gift of God who worked as a wagon maker while crusading in the Eastern Mediterranean...somewhere near Turkey, I presume.  Wow, my name is more exciting than I am!

Anyway, the point is...names can come from a lot of places, and the inspiration behind these names can be simplistic by nature, or very complicated.  By taking a look at some pop culture references and the characters that are associated with each one, it is my hope that I can find some common threads and interesting facts about how characters are named. 

I think this will be a fun topic.  So, let's begin.



CLUE

This is a simple one to explain.  Each of the six murder suspects in the game are named after either a shade of a particular hue of colour, or the colour itself.  The six characters, of course are Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Professor Plum.  And the murder victim is appropriately named Mr. Boddy.



THE SIMPSONS

This is a show that basically follows the "Real Life Places and Things" trope.  Every single character in the Simpsons family - save for Bart - are named after a member of creator Matt Groening's family.  As for supporting characters?  Well, some of them were named after streets in Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon.  Such examples of these characters are
Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, and Major Quimby.

Oh, and Bart's name?  It's just an anagram for Brat.

FINAL FANTASY

One common thread that seems to exist in the Final Fantasy world is the idea of naming characters after elements or things having to do with the weather.  Such examples include Terra Branford (FF6), Cloud Strife (FF7), Squall Leonheart (FF8), Tidus, Yuna, and Wakka (FF10 - their names mean sun, moon, water), and Lightning and Snow Villiers (FF13).

On that note...speaking of video games...



Super Mario Brothers 3

You know the seven Koopa Kids that appeared as bosses in each of the worlds before you tackle Bowser?  They were all named after musicans and/or television hosts!  Here are the people who inspired their names...

Iggy Pop
Morton Downey Jr.
Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead
Ludwig von Beethoven
Roy Orbison
Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmatics
Larry Mullen Jr. from U2

Looking at the picture of the Koopa Kids, Roy kinds of looks like Roy Orbison!

SORCERER HUNTERS (Anime)

For those of you who know anime, this won't come as news...but all five of the main protagonists of this anime are named after a specific kind of cake.  They are
Carrot, Marron, Chocolate, Gateau, and Tira (short for Tiramisu).



KIM POSSIBLE

Really, when you have the last name of Possible, is it any wonder why Kim's family would have names like
Jim and Tim?

POPEYE

Now, you all know that Popeye's main squeeze happens to be the lanky Olive Oyl.  But did you know that Olive Oyl happens to have a relative named Castor?  Yeah, just think about that one for a second.



THE LITTLE MERMAID

In the 1989 Disney film, we are introduced to the seven daughters of King Triton.  They are Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, Alana, and Ariel.  And, considering that one of the seven seems to pursue her own path throughout the movie, it's no coincidence that her name happens to be the only one that does NOT begin and end with the same letter.  Foreshadowing!  That's what's in a name!



FROZEN

The movie Frozen was inspired by the classic fairy tale "The Snow Queen" written by Hans Christian Andersen.  And four of the six main characters in the film are Hans, Kristoff, Anna, and Sven.  Wonder what happens when you try saying those four names really quickly...

BLOSSOM

Okay, so there's a character on Blossom played by Jenna von Oy who goes by the name of
Six LeMeure.  Yep.  Her name is Six.  The reason why she was named that?  Apparently it took that many cans of beer to conceive her.  I suppose it could be worse.  They could have named her Two-Four...

So, that's all that I have right now.  What are some other examples that you can think of?




One last thing.  If you are in an area that observes Daylight Savings Time, you should set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight.  Or, if you want to stay up until two in the morning, you can do it on Sunday morning instead.  Oh, and change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors while you're thinking of it.  Better safe than sorry.

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