A pretty rigid rule that no two characters in a work of fiction (novel, movie, play, TV series, comic book, etc.) should share the same first name, or even similar-sounding names. If there's a Laura in the story, there will not be a Lyra; if there's an Ed, there will not be a Ted. (If you wake up one morning and suddenly discover that you don't know any two people with the same first name and that your phone number begins with 555, you can safely assume you've fallen into a work of fiction.)
The rationale behind this is so obvious it almost doesn't need explanation: Both the audience and the writer will get confused by multiple characters with the same name: "Wait, was it good-guy Steve or bad-guy Steve who launched the missile?"
A strong dramatic reason to duplicate names can override the rule, as, for example, in the Jack Nicholson movie The Two Jakes, but it's so rarely done that audiences will pick up on it almost instantly. Unintentional duplication of first or last names also sometimes occurs when characters from previously distinct works of fiction meet one another, or in sprawling, shared-continuity settings like the DC or Marvel Comics "universes."
It's probably more feasible to list the exceptions rather than examples. Usually when there are exceptions, there will be a storyline involving the characters being confused for each other.
One could only wish this were Truth in Television, but as elementary-school teachers know all-too-well, names go through cycles and depending on the era, a single grade 3 class might have five Jasons, Michaels, Lindas or Coreys.
In French-speaking countries, name popularity waves are even more dramatic, to the point where you can often guess somebody's age within five to ten years just by their given name, and very popular names have been attributed to as much as one person out of seven or eight at their peak.
This is also a problem in dubbing with "dubbed names". For example, Gomez Addams in Latin America is "Homero", just like Homer the Spider. Or a mobster named Bruno showing up in a Batman (who is known as "Bruno Díaz" instead of "Bruce Wayne") comic.
The rule may be broken for names that are pretty ubiquitous in any era, such as James, John, Mary, and so forth; then, those identical names may be tweaked for each individual. (James, for one, was the single most popular name for boys in 1940s America, with the result that there are literally thousands of 60-something American guys out there who go by "Jim", "Jimmy", "Jay", "Jamie", or the like.) Of course, more or less silly nicknames are also a solution.
Oblique references to real-life well-known people may also be seen as exceptional to this trope.
The antithesis is Planet of Steves, wherein everybodyis Steve.
Compare One Mario Limit, where the "Steve" is too famous for anyone else to use a similar name. Contrast Inexplicably Identical Individuals, where there is a whole bunch of interchangeable characters that look the same and may share the same name — or have very similar names. Also contrast Name's the Same, where multiple series share one or more characters with the same name.
See also We Named The Monkey Jack and Dead Guy Junior, for other ways characters can share names.
Adolf has three title characters: Adolf Kaufman, German diplomat's kid; Adolf Kamil, the son of a German baker, and that one.
ARIA: The animation features Alicia and Alice which are the same name (Italian/English). It never was brought up.
School Rumble has the Japanese Delinquent Kenji Harima (or, in the Japanese surname-first style, "Harima Kenji") and the American exchange student Harry McKenzie — names which, when pronounced with a Japanese accent, sound nearly identical. Naturally, one of them is often confused for the other in conversation, and Hilarity Ensues.
Also, one of the main girls is called "Suou", she briefly dates a boy called "Asou", nobody seemed to care how similar-sounding their names where.
Rave Master has two characters named Musica, because the author liked the name and couldn't decide which of the concepts to use. Also, there were two main characters named Gale; one the main character's father and one the primary antagonist for the first half of the series. When the latter was named, he was initially assumed to be the former.
Nana's two main characters are Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki. "Nana" as in "Seven", that is. One promptly nicknames the other "Hachi" (Which can mean Eight, and is also based on the famous dog Hachiko due to her clingy personality.)
And later on there are two Misatos and two Rens.
In Gantz there are Kei Kurono and Kei Kishimoto. Less confusing than other examples by the fact that Kurono is a lecherous teen boy, and Kishimoto is a sweet but depressive busty girl.
Kamichama Karin has Kujyou Himeka and Karasuma Himeka. Their names are written with different kanji, though.
They're two parts of the same person so it doesn't really count.
Dennou Coil has two characters with same-sounding given names, Okonogi Yuko and Amasawa Yuko. They get different nicknames (Yasako and Isako) quickly.
Gakuen Alice has two characters with the same name: Misaki, a teacher and Misaki Harada, a middle school student, both of which are major characters.
Clannad has a main character by the name of Tomoya with a primary female character by the name of Tomoyo. Only a one-letter difference.
And also Tomo, her half sister in the sort of sequel.
Koi Koi 7 has two characters named Yayoi Asuka. One is a pink-haired ditz, the other is an eyepatch-wearing silver-haired ruthless type. Once the latter Yayoi is rebooted, she then goes by "Gantai-chan" (literally "Eyepatch-chan").
Get Backers has a Kaoru Haruki, a Haruki Emishi and a Kaoru Ujiie.
In an episode of Excel Saga, the heroine Excel puts up fliers around the city in an effort to find her missing partner Hyatt. In the next episode, one of the fliers is found by two girls named Mikago Hyatt and Excel Kobayashi, who misunderstand and think they're wanted for auditions for a band. These two show up again in another episode as guests on a TV show to sing the Excel Saga theme song.
Naru Taru has the major character Akira Sakura, and minor characters Aki Sato and Aki Honda. None of them are ever mixed up with one another, and it's really just as well - especially given Aki Honda's nature.
The CLAMP metaseries does this very confusingly. There's Syaoran and Sakura, their son, Syaoran, his girlfriend, Sakura, and the latter two's clones, Syaoran and Sakura. Played with in that everyone with the same name looks exactly alike. Except for the Syaoran that DOESN'T look alike them, Li Syaoran AKA Watanuki Kimihiro.
Making that worse, the latter pair ARE the aforementioned parents. And if we take them at their word that the Tsubasa multiverse includes all Clamp universes, there's also Cardcaptor's Sakura and Syaoran. Head hurting yet?
But oh it gets better! The non-clone Syaoran and Sakura, who imply several times during the series that their names are pseudonymous are in the final chapter both revealed to be named Tsubasa.
And now there's Sakura in their new manga, Gate 7, who doesn't seem to have anything in common with any of their other Sakuras.
Which Pokémon trainer do you suppose Ash Ketchum respects more? Aaron, the Elite Four member and bug specialist? Or Aaron, the ancient aura-wielding knight whose Lucario he befriended? And don't forget about Drake and Drake, from the Orange Islands or the Hoenn League, respectively. Or Flint, Brock's father, and Flint, a member of the Sinnoh Elite Four and rival to Volkner. Or Bianca, the girl who was frequently impersonated by Latias, and Bianca, the ditzy female rival in Unova.
In all four cases, the reason for this is because one character is originally from the games and one is anime-exclusive.
In the French games, Brock and Steven are both called Pierre, the latter also being given the last name Rochard. Probably just to avoid confusion, when Steven/Pierre Rochard shows up as a guest star in HGSS, he doesn't give his name.
The (in-game) granddaughter of Professor Oak and an (anime-only) elder sister of Misty are both named Daisy.
Daisy's name in one of the manga adaptations is inexplicably changed to May, which happens to be the name of the female protagonist in Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire.
The games reuse names frequently as well - even those of Gym Leaders. For example, in Sinnoh there is a Parasol Lady named Sabrina. Though Sabrina the Gym Leader does not appear in Sinnoh, there is no confusion.
Given that the show usually has a new character every episode for only a single episode, this trope comes into play very frequently, mostly due to writers forgetting or not caring about previous characters, since it's been years since we saw them. Even amongst anime-exclusive characters. The first of these was Harrison, who appeared in Episode 265, sharing a name with Harrison, who appeared in Episode 216. Others have appeared since then.
It's actually discussed about Max and Max in Episode 323, though unlike the above this was intentional, as the two look almost exactly like each other.
Detective Conan uses this in some mysteries for added... mystery. Not to mention they have a huge list of minor characters, so every once in awhile names are going to HAVE to cross with each other. For example, the series' character sheet listed two one-shot chatacters called Hiroki, and there's at least one more not listed there.
Hilariously used in a recent case where one suspect was also named Kudo Shinchi (aka the main character.) Then he was promptly murdered.Status Quo Is God
In Arata Kangatari, both main characters are named Arata. They're generally distinguished between each other by refering to The Hero by his last name, Hinohara. In Japanese, the reader can distinguish between the two in the dialogue by whether or not "Arata" is written with kana or kanji; Hinohara's name is written with the latter, and any character in either world that knows about the nature of the switch will have their dialogue use the correct kanji/kana when referring their respective Arata.
The sheer number of characters in Prince of Tennis means that names end up being repeated. There are three Hiroshis (Wakato, Yagyuu and Chinen), two Hikarus (Amane and Zaizen), two Kentarous (Aoi and Minami) and so on. Luckily the majority of them are on a Last Name Basis. (Note also that many of these names are homophones, but written with different kanji.)
Monster has two Martins, two Adolfs, and two Karls. There are also three different Ottos, although one is a story-book character within the series.
While the Naruto manga alone, as a sheer result of a huge-ass cast with databooks giving practically every character seen for even a moment a name, has only one exception (both one of Danzo's bodyguards and the host of the 7-tailed beast are named "Fu," both of whom you can use in Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3), if you go multi-media there are several characters with repeated names. For example, both Sasori's puppet armor (and thus the person he made it from) and the Big Bad of the sixth movie/third Shippuden movie are named "Hiruko", a subject of Orochimaru's cursed seal experiments and the main villain of the Three Tails filler arc are named "Guren", a minor filler character is named "Yagura", which later turned out the name of the former Three Tailed beast host and the Fourth Mizukage, and both there are two unrelated Fuma Clans (one from a filler arc, one mentioned to be where Pain's first Animal Path came from). However, the Japanese spellings of these characters names are different. There was a filler character called Jiroubo in addition to the canon Jiroubo. Also Matsuri was used as the name of Gaara's student/fangirl and a girl in Konohamaru's academy class. In the anime, Sabu for some reason had his name changed to Kin, which was the name of one of the Sound Village genin.
In Eyeshield 21, the Kyoshin Poseidons have two Hiroshis on their team (Hiroshi Ohira and Hiroshi Onishi).
Mai Otome has two recurring characters named Mikoto, one an Expy of the Mai Hime character of the same name, the other is Queen Mashiro's pet cat. There actually is a connection between them.
One Piece has a couple people named John: Zoro's old friend and fellow Bounty Hunter Johnny, Marine John Giant, one of the Zombie Generals of Thriller Bark was named Captain John, and the G8 filler arc features a Marine Vice Admiral named Johnathan.
Ace's cover story, where he's hunting down Blackbeard (real name Marshall D. Teach), once has him run into a similar looking but completely unrelated Dr. Blackbeard, who he mistook for Teach, kicked in the face, and was throw into a river by the townsfolk this angered.
It has also has two Jones's - Hody Jones and Davy Jones himself.
Scotch is the name of both the pirate X Drake battles on one of Kaido's islands as well as one of the Yeti Cool Brothers.
If you take Filler into consideration, certain filler characters share names with significant canon characters, such as the filler Marine Drake and X Drake, a filler pirate Bonney and Jewelry Bonney, and so on.
Holding the record for One Piece, there are four characters named Billy: A pirate in Loguetown, a bandit in Alabasta, a cook working for the Marines, and an electric bird in Merveille. All of them are non-canon, meaning the manga could produce an official Billy at any moment.
Digimon has pairs of monsters with the same names that are distinguished by their levels—Rapidmon (Armor) from the Digimon 02 movie and Rapidmon (Ultimate) from Digimon Tamers, and Kumamon (Rookie), originally Bearmon, from Digimon World 3 and Kumamon (Hybrid), originally Chakkumon, from Digimon Frontier. When two digimon are different enough but of the same name and level, fans list the year the new one was introduced to draw a distinction such Adventure and Adventure 02s Agumon and Savers' Agumon(2006).
Some are fixed by Dub Name Change. There are two digimon named Deathmon who are completely unrelated. The dub names the new one Ghoulmon to distinguish them. Then there are two digimon named Deathmeramon, who are only superficially related. The Dub changes the new one to Skullmeramon.The New Metalgreymon may get the same treatment.
Miyukihttp://www.mangafox.com/manga/miyuki/ has two girls named Miyuki. Both are love interests for the protagonist. One of them is his stepsister. Confusion between the two does become a bit of a plot point.
Yu Yu Hakusho has Kurama's little stepbrother Shuuichi, which is same as Kurama's human name.
Hayate the Combat Butler's Izumi and Isumi, are mixed up by fans often, but haven't yet had the issue within the story. Until the story, they apparently had little interaction and even their social groups are separated, so it might never come up.
Most of the male characters have similar-sounding names, but given the Unwanted Harem style of the story, they're never likely to come to even meet.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami has two Orihime; one's a weaver for spirits and gods, the other is the legendary star goddess whose doomed love affair the Tanabata festival celebrates. Still, since they're both practically one-shots (the former, after her first appearance, is only referred to by name once or twice afterwards, and the latter is a one-shot), there's no risk of confusion whatsoever.
Osamu Tezuka had a manga series entitled Adolf ni tsugu ("Tell Adolf"), that featured three characters with the name, set during World War II. One was Adolf Kamil, a Jewish emigre living in Japan, the second was his friend, a Japanese German named Adolf Kauffman, and then... umm... a third one...
Bakuman。 has two Hattoris, who are apparently not related. Akira Hattori is the main characters' editor, while Yujirou Hattori is Eiji Nizuma and Shinta Fukuda's editor. Yujirou is typically referred to by his first name to keep them separate, and when he calls Akira by his last name, Akira thinks to himself that he has the same last name.
There's only one Haruhi. When Kyon asks about her in the movie Disappearance, only one character can remember a Haruhi from years ago. This is a name so common in Japan that it doesn't get a One Mario Limit in spite of the series popularity, but in her world, she really is that special.
This just might be justified by what Haruhi is, so she wouldn't want anyone else to share her name.
In Sketchbook, cat lover Sora encounters a new stray cat and decides to call him Haa. Her brother then points out that there's already a cat with that name around, so she comes up with a new one. She also names all Calico's "Mike", after the Japanese name for Calico "Mikeneko", resulting in "Mike the 2nd", "Mike the 3rd", etc. Eventually neither Sora, nor the cats themselves can remember who's who.
In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, there's Kyouko and Kyousuke, both recurring characters. This may not look identical, but since "-ko" and "-suke" are gender-specific name suffixes, their name were practically homophonous. So, when a character called 杏子 was introduced after Kyousuke, people thought her name would be pronounced Anko because of this trope. "Anko" remained Kyouko's Fan Nickname.
Neon Genesis Evangelion oddly has Ikari as the last name for two main characters (father and son) and a secondary character whose first name is Hikari.
Subverted in X/1999. One character is named Seishirou Sakurazuka. Another one is named Seiichirou Aoki- and is referred to as Aoki, probably in order to avoid confusion.
In the Ace Attorney manga, there are two characters named Buck in the English version, one with the last name Montana and one with the last name Wheatley. Their names are both puns; Montana's refers to his buck tooth, while Wheatley's refers to his occupation as president of a buckwheat company.
The Girls Love manga Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep revolves around two woman named Kakimoto Imari developing a bond after they meet at a clinic. Their name is written the same way, they were born in the same year, and their birthdays are one day apart.
Read or Die has a character named Maggie who's Drake's daughter. Meanwhile, in sister series Read or Dream, one of the main characters is Maggie Mui. Naturally, when crossover series ROD the TV came out this trope came into effect (Drake even has a double take when Maggie Mui introduces herself.)
Descendantsof Darkness has Hisoka Kurosaki and his dead older half sister also named Hisoka which is quite sad when it is implied that Hisoka's father Nagare seemed to have cared more about his daughter than he did about his son
And of course you've got two Hanks running around (Pym of the Avengers and McCoy of the X-Men). And working together in the Secret Avengers, for more name-based confusions since they both fill the scientist role and the team is on a first name basis.
The Plain Janes: The five lead characters are all named Jane. They have adjectives attached to help determine who is who. Ex: Theatre Jane.
Pearls Before Swine has its endless supply of "Bobs" in addition to Neighbor Bob and the fictitious Angry Bob. Stephan Pastis wrote in commentary that "Bob" is a funny name. It has two "b"'s ("b" is a funny sounding letter), it's a palindrome, and a verb.
The Adventures of Tintin has two detectives that look nearly identical and are named "Thomson" and "Thompson" (Dupond and Dupont in the original French). This also a case of No Name Given, as neither has a first name ever mentioned that could be used to tell them apart.
Though in a straight example, a third character coincidentally carrying the same name, Allan Thompson, effectively got his surname erased in the English translation to avoid undue confusion.
In the series Alias (no relation to the TV series), the main character, Jessica Jones, had a run-in with another Jessica, Jessica Drew. Both Jessicas were former superheroes turned private investigators. This is a plot point, because another character, Mattie Franklin (former superhero turned junkie) broke into Jones' office, thinking it belonged to Drew, whom she knew and was looking for.
It also may be some Lampshade Hanging, as Brian Michael Bendis had actually wanted to write the series about Jessica Drew, but Marvel didn't want to risk her on a MAX title. So instead, the somewhat similar Jessica Jones was created and retconned into the Marvel Universe.
Inverted in Amelia Rules! series, the concept of the 'Legion of Steves' being a group of people all named Steve.
Scott Pilgrim has a second character named Scott, who is always referred to by the rest of the cast as "Other Scott". Regular Scott also has a tendency to mix up people with similar names, and for most of the second book confuses Lucas Lee (the villain), Lucas "Crash" Wilson (a member of the series' recurring "Quirky Miniboss Squad") and Luke Wilson (the actor) as well as when referring to Todd Ingram (the evil vegan ex) says "Todd Rundgren or whatever is psychic!"
In The DCU, any two characters who share a surname will always turn out to be related — though rarely will either character be created with that intention. This often occurs with characters who were originally published by different companies that were eventually assimilated by the Borg acquired by DC. They've even done it with a Sanders and a Saunders, who became distant cousins or something.
The major exception to this rule is the existance of both Carter Hall and Hank Hall, who not only share the same surname but also have similar superhero aliases, Hawkman and Hawk, respectively. They have yet to be retroactively related to one another.
In his first appearance, Harvey "Two-Face" Dent was named Harvey Kent. This was changed to avoid suggesting a familial connection to that other Kent gentleman.
Chuck Dixon actually wanted to make Dinah Drake, the original Black Canary, the great-aunt of Tim Drake, the third Robin, but DC Editorial shot it down. Pity, given that it was more plausible than some of the other examples: both Drake families are, canonically, long-time Gotham residents.
In the Batman family, there are two Harvey's; Harvey "Two-Face" Dent and Detective Harvey Bullock.
There are also two Victor's: Victor Fries and Victor Zsasz. Three if you count the first The Question. Vic Sage's birth name is Charles Victor Szasz.
Marvel has two Hanks, both of whom are doctors and Avengers. In an X-Men/Star Trek: The Original Series crossover, Nurse Chapel asks for "Dr McCoy?" The Beast referred to this at least once (outside the crossover), saying that whenever addressed as "Dr. McCoy, he felt the urge to say, "He's dead, Jim!"
They also DO have 2 Steves - Steve Rogers and Stephen Strange. Fortunately, while Captain America is occasionally called Steve, it's very rare for anyone to refer to Dr. Strange by his first name. And when they do, it's always Stephen, not Steve.
Incidentally, Marvel refuses to have two active super-heroes by the same name, in two separate collections but in the same universe. They can have, say, the Chameleon impersonating Spider-Man in his series, or a new Captain America while Steve Rogers cannot use the shield. However: When Jim Starlin wanted to resurrect Adam Warlock, the Warlock from the New Mutants had to go — and was killed in his own series. Similarly, the return of "the man called Nova" (Richard Rider) meant that the girl called Nova (Frankie Raye, herald of Galactus) was to be killed. Silly, because like many above examples, not only were the two Warlocks not related in anyway, they both had enemies called The Magus, who also were not related in anyway other than name. Although the New Mutants Warlock was named so as a homage to Adam Warlock, hence why he also had a villain named the Magus. To further the point. Adam Warlock's Magus was a possible future incarnation of himself. New Mutants' Magus is the father of their Warlock and its their custom for the child to kill the father and then become the new Magus.
X-Man Robert "Bobby" Drake aka Iceman and New Mutant Roberto "Bobby" Da Costa aka Sunspot.
Young X-Man Hope Abbott aka Trance and Hope the Mutant Messiah raised in exile by Cable.
Peter Rasputin and Peter Wisdom. This would not be particularly notable (the X-Books have Loads and Loads of Characters, and Wisdom never uses his full name anyway) except a) they spent a fair amount of time in the same title and b) both of them have dated Kitty Pryde. They also share the name with the Marvel Universe's Peter Parker.
Averted, during Excalibur Rasputin was usually called Piotr, his actual name.
Penance from Generation X came back after Speedball had gone emocore and called himself Penance as well. Nowadays she's called Hollow.
In New X-Men: Academy X, there are technically two Joshes in the New Mutants squad - Joshua Guthrie (Icarus) and Josh Foley (Elixir). However, earlier in Uncanny X-Men, Josh Guthrie decided to go by "Jay" because he feels that after his girlfriend died his old name should be left in his past too.
There is a "Laurie" and a "Laura" in New X-Men: Childhood's End, but one is dead and one can't die.
X-Men used an aversion of this as part of Jubilee's backstory — her parents were murdered because her father happened to have the same name as another doctor who was involved with organised crime.
Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler and Juggernaut's father Kurt Marko. Nathan Christopher Charles Summers aka Cable, named after his grandfathers Nathaniel Essex, Christopher Summers, and Charles Xavier.
Victor Creed aka Sabretooth and Victor Borkowski aka Anole.
Brian Braddock aka Captain Britain and Charles's father Brian Xavier.
Cassandra Cain and Cassandra Sandsmark filled the roles of Batgirl and Wonder Girl, respectively. While Wonder Girl is still the same person, the mantle of Batgirl was passed to Stephanie Brown.
For added confusion, we have Cassandra Cain as Batgirl/Black Bat and Kate Kane as Batwoman.
Cassie Sandsmark was on the Young Justice team with Cissie Jones-King & a girl called Suzee. They were all blonde. Meanwhile Marvel had already had a blonde teen character named Cassie Lang. This was called out by fans as a bunch of girl characters too similar. Eventually Cissie quit & Suzee started going by her real name, Greta.
And then there's James Robinson's Starman series....
In Y: The Last Man Yorick sleeps with a woman with the same name as his fiancee Beth. As a result Beth II (or Other Beth) has a child she names Beth Junior. Eventually all three meet up in Paris.
Hero: "I'm sorry Beth, but Beth has a right to know about... Beth."
Beth 2: "I know it would have probably been easier if I'd named her Betty or Elizabeth, but I've never gotten along with chicks who go by the variations, have you?"
Jason Todd (the second Robin) shares a first name with Jason Garrick (the first Flash), Jason Bard (private investigator and occasional love interest to Barbara Gordon) and Jason Blood (the demon Etrigan), among others.
Most of José Carioca's various relatives are also named José (family reunions must be confusing). Fortunately, they all have unique last names that they can be identified by. For extra fun, José's rival (Who's not related to him) is also named José. This is probably because it's a stereotypical name for a Brazilian.
Peanuts had two characters named Patty. The original Patty dates from the first strip, and wore a checkered dress and bow. The more memorable character was the later appearing Peppermint Patty. One would assume the pun necessitated the exception, but Original Patty disappeared by the mid '70s. (Worth pointing out, too, is that Original Patty was Charlie Brown's very first antagonist in the first-ever Peanuts strip (when CB was something of a Jerk Ass, not the lovable emo kid we know and love), while Peppermint Patty was always portrayed as being madly and desperately in love with the clueless Chuck.)
Three Mikes in the coming-of-age book set in The Eighties, The Copybook Tales.
In an Americomics Blue Bulleteer oneshot, the heroine known as the Blue Bulleteer crosses paths with a hero also calling himself the Blue Bulleteer. Neither has ever heard of the other. She's had the name for longer, but he had it patented. By the end of the story they seem to have reconciled the fact that they operate under the same, because they both keep using it afterwards.
In X-Force, team director/owner Spike Freeman and team member the Spike shared a name. Lampshaded when Freeman says he really likes the Spike, and not just because of his name. This is pretty much the only time it comes up; the two share very little screen time and never even really talk to each other.
Averted in British girls' comic Bunty, whose main strip The Four Marys was Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The girls went by nicknames based on their surname - "Raddy" (Mary Radleigh), "Cotty" (Mary Cotter), "Simpy" (Mary Simpson) and "Fieldy" (Mary Field.)
In Marvel Comics, Cain Marko is the Juggernaut; William Baker, alias Flint Marko, is the Sandman; Michael Marko is "Man Mountain" Marko. This wouldn't be so unusual if the last name weren't so uncommon, really.
In Judge Dredd comics there have been two completely separate characters with the incredibly specific name "Spikes 'Harvey' Rotten", and in addition to sharing the same name, both were reputed to be ruthless bikers and part of a biker gang called "The Muties." The only thing that really sets them apart is their physical appearance. The first Spikes "Harvey" Rotten was a minor character who died in an illegal street race through Mega-City One; the second accompanied Dredd on his trek to Mega-City Two during the "Cursed Earth" story arc.
For April Fools' Day in 2013, the DC Comics website altered the profiles of Superman and Batman on their character pages; making use of the similar names of their mothers. Martha Wayne survived being shot and signed guardianship of Bruce to the butler when she was put into the Witness Protection Program. She was sent to Smallville, married John Kent and became the couple who found and raised the baby who would become Superman. This would make Batman and Superman brothers. The prank was so subtle, that DC Comics had to point it out the day after.
James "Jim" Gordon married Babara Kean Gordon. They had two kids, James and Barbara Gordon.
Deliberately averted with various minor characters in The Walking Dead, as it would really stretch suspension of disbelief to not have any repeating names among all the random groups of survivors.
Originally, the name "Starfire" belonged to a Russian superhero, but over time he fell into obscurity. The name then became associated with the Teen Titans character. When the original was used again later, his name had changed to Red Star.
Early in The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker dated Betty Brant while his classmate Liz Allan made a play for him. Both girls were called pet forms of the name Elizabeth. Meanwhile in The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner's love interest was Betty Ross; and Betty (or Betsy) Ross had also been the name of a Captain America supporting character in the Golden Age, who for a time became his sidekick, the first Golden Girl. Betty Brant worked as secretary to J. Jonah Jameson, a position where after her wedding to Ned Leeds she was replaced by the rather similar sounding Gloria Grant.
There's something about "Mary" for Peter Parker: His late mother was called Mary Parker, while his Aunt May bears a name that can be a variation of "Mary". Peter went on to date and eventually marry Mary Jane Watson, the niece of Aunt May's best friend, Anna May Watson (and in the New Testament, Anna is the mother of Mary). It later was revealed that MJ's mother was called Madeline (a French variant of Mary Magdalene). And when Peter and Mary Jane had a daughter, they decided to call her May.
Played with in Fables. Jack Horner, Jack of the Tales, Jack o' Lantern, Jack Frost, Jack B. Nimble, Jack B. Quick, and Jack Giantslayer are all aliases for the same person. Every last fable about someone called Jack, with the exceptions of Jack Spratt, Jack Ketch and Jack Frost (in The Great Fables Crossover), seems to turn out to be him, and he magically becomes the central character of any story he's in, to such a degree they had to boot him out of the comic.
Theres been several Captain Marvels, one male and one female and there were at least two Ms. Marvels too.
Make that at least two male Captains Marvel (Mar-Vell and his son Genis-Vell) and three female ones (Monica Rambeau, Phyla-Vell, and now Carol Danvers). And that is not counting the Golden Age Captain Marvel (Billy Batson) originally published by Fawcett and the self-splitting android Captain Marvel published by M. F. Enterprises in 1966.
Speaking of the Big Red Cheese, the original Captain Marvel was sometimes helped by three young superheroes known as the three Lieutenants Marvel. They all got their powers because they just happened to be called Billy Batson too. To keep them apart, they were called Tall Billy, Fat Billy and Hill Billy.
In Marvel's MC-2 Universe, the Felicia Hardy aka the Black Cat and Eugene "Flash" Thompson got married, had two children and got divorced. One child each ended up with a parent, Felicity Hardy living with her mother, Gene Thompson with his father.
Averted in the Universe as a whole, but played straight in story basis in the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe. Since is also a Mythology Gag, the name Mortimer is used a lot. But, the Mortimers never interact and are keep in the boundaries of the story been told at the same time.
The Iron Man villains Crimson Dynamo (introduced 1963) and Whiplash (introduced 2009) are both named "Anton Vanko," but are otherwise unrelated.
Aquaman's real name is Arthur Curry; at one point, the comic starred a different Arthur Curry/Aquaman, a teenager with no connection to Atlantis. It turns out this Arthur is the original's cousin on his father's side, deliberately named after him.
The general lack of names in fairy tales makes this problem rare, but when Joseph Jacobs collected "Kate Crackernuts", both of the princesses were named Kate. He changed one to Anne to avoid confusion when he published it.
In Grimms' Fairy Tales, Snow White from Snow White (princess pursued by her evil step-mother, helped by seven dwarfs) is not to be confused with Snow White from Snow White and Rose Red (helps a bear who turns out to be a prince, gets into trouble with an evil dwarf). Note that in the original German this problem does not exist as the former ("Sneewittchen") uses a Low German name, while the latter ("Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot") a High German one.
Forward has three different criminal groups using the name "Talon" - two of whom are on the same space station. Apparently none of these criminals are terribly creative.
Kyon: Big Damn Hero, by including characters from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, ends up with two characters with the given name Keiichi, who are about the same age and have similar occupations. Though Tamaru Keiichi, the canonical Haruhi Suzumiya character, is extremely minor and may not even appear more than once.
Discussed in Grace Under Pressure, Courage Under Fire, when Kurt asks Dave why he uses his friend Azimio Adams' first name, but his other friend Anthony Rashad's last name. Dave explains that while there is only one Azimio at school, there are several Anthonys, so calling him Rashad is really just a way to avoid confusion. (Note that Anthony Rashad is the only Anthony mentioned in Canon.)
In The Prayer Warriors, two characters share the same name and are introduced within a short while of each other. William, protagonist of the Attack of the Sphinx story happens to share the same name as Prince William, who appears in The Titans Strike Back as a surviving member of the royal family and a villain; the author even puts a parenthetical note regarding the latter that says "please do not get him confused with William in my other story".
The Saw movies contain a couple of examples: In the first film, Dr. Gordon's wife's name is Alison, which is also Detective Kerry's forename. In the second, a main character is Daniel Matthews, which is also Detective Rigg's forename. However, we don't learn Rigg's or Kerry's first name until the fifth movie, so it's a subversion. Other examples include Mark, a victim in the first film, and later an antagonist from the third movie onward (Hoffman), and the surname "Young", shared by recurring character Amanda and one-off character Timothy.
Averted in Boys which featured an inordinate number of characters (male lead included) called John.
Captain America: The First Avenger: Zigzagged. It features a seven man elite Army squad that included three-and-a-half characters named James. The half is a guy called Jacques, which is the French form of James. However, only one is ever referred to as James, and he usually goes by his nickname anyway. The others don't ever have their names mentioned, except in the credits. Played straight in that there is only one Steve, however.
In Heathers, three of the lead cast are called Heather. As the name implies.
Die Hard has a duo of FBI Agent Johnsons. No relation. One even answers a phone, "This is Agent Johnson. No, the other one." Die Hard 4.0 has a callback with another Agent Johnson, and McClane reacts with alarm at the name.
The Big Lebowski: the basis of the entire plot is that a slacker named Jeffrey Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire of the same name. Nicknamed "The Dude" and "The Big Lebowski" respectively, to avoid confusion.
Pirates Of The Caribbean had William Turner (Bootstrap Bill) and his son William Turner (Will). (And HIS son, William Turner the 3rd)Justified since it a common real life naming convention for fathers and sons. It's also used for a throwaway joke.
The sequel to Chinatown, The Two Jakes, says right in the title that there are two primary characters named Jake.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade features a father and son pair of Dr. Henry Joneses, which is highlighted when a character greets, "Doctor Jones" and both reply. The younger Jones, however, prefers going by "Indiana" rather than his first name or "Junior." In the fourth film, there's a third Henry Jones.
The main character of Groundhog Day is named Phil and of course there's the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Phil, with the typical Bill MurrayType Casting, loathes the rodent even more because of this fact.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding has a funny scene in which the father introduces the extended family. Just about everyone's name is a variation of Anita or Nick.
Gus: Welcome to my home. Over here is my brother, Ted, and his wife, Melissa, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. Over here, my brother Tommy, his wife Anzie, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. And here, my brother George, his wife Freda, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. Taki, Sophie, Kari, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, uh, Nikki, and I am Gus.
In Horton Hears a Who!, Morton mentions that Vlad is after Horton. Horton inquires as to whether he means Vlad the Vulture, or Vlad the bunny who gives out cookies.
In Goodfellas, Karen's narration at her wedding reception mentions the abundance of Peters, Pauls and Maries among the guests.
The movie Pirates Of Silicon Valley, about the early days of Microsoft and Apple, had three characters who were really named Steve - Jobs, Wozniak, and Ballmer. Risk of confusion was removed by using Ballmer's last name and Wozniak's nickname of 'Woz'.
The animated Ralph Bakshi version of The Lord Of The Rings felt that the names Sauron and Saruman were too similar, and so Saruman was renamed to "Aruman". Although they still called him Saruman half the time.
Played with in the baseball movie Major League: Back to the Minors. Finding that he has two Juan's on his team, the manager denotes them Juan1 and Juan2. A pitcher with a psychology degree comments about it possibly giving them issues. The manager asks if he'd like to be Juan3.
The Rocky series has two "Duke"s: a good Duke who was Apollo Creed's trainer until Apollo died and then became Rocky's trainer, and an evil Duke who is Tommy Gunn's manager and just wants to make money out of him. Both Dukes are black.
Also, Rocky's son is Rocky Jr.
The police station in Hot Fuzz has two Andys working there.
Whose last names are Wainwright and Cartwright respectively. Both names have the same origin: they both mean "wagon maker"
In The Terminator, the Terminator kills two other women named Sarah Connor before targeting the future mother of John Connor.
Justified, as the titular robot has no idea what Sarah Connor looks like or exactly which one he's after, but does know what town Sarah will be living in, so he just goes through the phonebook and ices each one on the list.
Also in The Terminator, it's easy to miss but the police detectives with the surnames Traxler and Vukovich have the same first name: Ed.
The Infernal Affairs trilogy has two women called Mary both of whom are successive love objects for Ming.
The Ju On franchise has two characters called Kyoko. The first one, who has psychic powers and thus can sense that something is very, very wrong with the house, appears in the first two movies, and the second one is (arguably) the protagonist of the fourth movie.
Casino Royale 1967 has Sir James Bond pulled out of retirement, his name and number already given to the one we all know - spearheading a campaign against SMERSH, he gives all his agents (men and women alike) the name James Bond, to keep the enemy confused.
Averted in The Golden Compass where Word Of God changed Iofur's (pronounced like Yo-Fur) name to the much more evil sounding Ragnar because it sounded too close to Iorek (said as Yor-ek).
Averted subtly in Unforgiven where the protagonist is called William and the antagonist is called Bill (which is, of course, the short form of William).
Subverted in Letters to Juliet when two Patricias get confused as she thinks there is only one.
To clarify the above point, Sophie gets mistaken when Charlie introduces her to Patricia, recognizing the name of his ex-girlfriend. It turns out that this Patricia at the wedding was his cousin.
Also averted with Lorenzo Bartolini, as there were dozens of men with that name.
The Hammer Horror films suffer from having a lot of characters share names. The Frankenstein movies have a seemingly endless line of guys named Hans, while the Dracula movies seem to have an infestation of Pauls.
Out On A Limb, starring Matthew Broderick, has a pair of brothers both named Jim. "We were named after different people though. I'm named after our Dad, and he was named after our Grandpa."
Played VERY straight in the 2006 film Inside Man starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen. The main plot of the movie involves a bank heist, led by Owen's character. To confuse the police, victims and any potential witnesses, the members of the heist crew call each other differing variants of "Steve": Stevie, Steve-Oh, etc. The rather amazing thing is how smoothly they work despite this.
Lester: "That's our neighbour, Jim, and his partner... Jim."
Sister Bridget cruelly enforces this in The Magdalene Sisters. When Rose introduces herself she says they already have a Rose and has everyone call her by her middle name Patricia. Crispina's real name is Harriett so we could assume there was another Harriett in the laundry as well.
Averted in Slumdog Millionaire where Jamal searches the name Latika in the phone listings and gets over 3000 results. Even when he searches Salim K Malik he gets six results.
Averted in Black Swan. The director's name is Thomas. One minor character- one of Lily's friends at the nightclub- is named Tom.
Averted in, of all things, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Jeff's co-pilot is named Danny, and Tor Johnson's character is Inspector Daniel Clay. This is probably just another case of Ed Wood's general problems with internal continuity.
Averted in Gerry with the characters Gerry and Gerry. One of the few examples where this doesn't get confusing because they're the only two characters.
Averted in Mystery Men, with the leaders of the Disco Boys being Tony P and Tony C.
Averted in The Public Enemy. There are two guys named Patrick, but most of the time they're called Paddy Ryan and Pat Burke, so there's no reason to get confused.
The film Big Business stars Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as two mixed-sets of twins. The two characters played by Tomlin are both called Rose, those played by Midler Sadie.
In Smiley Face, the protagonist's roommate is named Steve, as is her pot dealer. They are referred to as "Steve the roommate" and "Steve the dealer" respectively in the credits.
Totally shattered in the Finnish 1985 movie "Calamari Union", which - depending on the source - features between 14 and 16 characters named Frank.
Subverted in the "Star Wars" movies, which feature the pilot Wedge Antilles, Captain Antilles of the Tantive IV, Bail Antilles (senator from Alderaan), Bail Organa (senator from Alderaan), Mace Windu (Jedi), and Mace (shipwreck survivor on Endor).
Viva Maria's main characters are both named Maria.
White Jackson and Black Jackson from Blood Meridian. Neither Jackson is amused by the nickname. Black Jackson eventually decapitates White Jackson, but the nickname sticks
In Louis Sachar's "Wayside School" series, three of the kids in Mrs. Jewls' class are named Eric Fry, Eric Bacon and Eric Ovens. In the story which introduced them, the joke was that if at least one of the Erics possessed a quality then the rest of the kids believed that the other Eric(s) had it as well. This resulted in the thin Eric being nicknamed "Fatso," the athletic Eric being nicknamed "Butterfingers" and the nice Eric being nicknamed "Crabapple."
The Star Trek Novel Verse averts this several times. Cardassian characters are particularly notable for sharing names - a character in ''The Never-Ending Sacrifice'' has the same first name as one of Gul Dukat's sons (Mikor). In the same book, a minor supporting character (Martus Lok) shares a family name with an established major character (Pythas Lok) but is likely not a relative. In Starfleet Corps of Engineers, there's also Winn Mara, a minor supporting character and a Bajoran. She shares one of her names with Kai Winn Adami from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but there's no evidence they're related. Word Of God has more or less confirmed the name "Winn" was chosen to deliberately subvert the One Steve Limit rule. Finally, two unrelated Tellarites with the name Teg have appeared in novels by David Mack, the first in ''A Time to Heal'', the second in ''The Persistence of Memory''
A Song of Ice and Fire has a number of characters named after each other, including a number of Jons (Jon Snow, the Umbers named Greatjon and Smalljon, Jon Arryn) and the Robert Baratheon/Robert Arryn pair. Young Bran Stark has a number of forebears named Brandon. Minor characters are also named for other major characters, or their names just happen to be common Westerosi forenames. Bronn and Lollys Stokeworth naming her son Tyrion is taken by Cersei as a direct insult and causes her to make an attempt on Bronn's life. The television adaptation notably changed a few names in order to establish clarity.
When Kevin James LaBrie joined Dream Theater, he dropped his first name and adopted James as his stage name, to avoid having two Kevins in the band (along with Kevin Moore). The band still had two Johns, however.
And Mike Mangini has replaced Mike Portnoy as the drummer.
Deep Purple has had multiple singers, but the best known is Ian Gillan. The drummer is Ian Paice.
And Our Lady Peace frontman Michael Maida became Raine Maida to avoid confusion with guitarist Mike Turner (and possibly just to be more memorable.)
Progressive metal band Symphony X has three Michaels: Michael Romeo on guitars, Michael Pinnella on keyboards and Michael Lepond on bass guitar.
Extreme metal band Dimmu Borgir once had three Stians: Stian Thoresen (vocals, better known as Shagrath), Stian Arnesen (bass, better known as Nagash) and Stian Aarstad (keyboards, no stage name).
The core members of They Might Be Giants are John Flansburgh and John Linnell. They are often referred to by fans as "the Johns." For almost five years, their touring band of Dan Miller, Dan Hickey, and Danny Weinkauf was often called "the band of Dans." In 2004, Dan Hickey was replaced by Marty Beller, introducing a third name to the group.
Australian Pink Floyd introduce themselves on stage as six Bruces, four Sheilas, and Rolf.
When Long Island band Taking Back Sunday replaced their lead guitarist and back-up vocalist for the second time, they ended up with two Matts, Matt Rubano on bass and now Matt Fazzi on guitar. They differentiate by last name.
The Rodney Carrington song "Fred's Riding Fred" parodies this, as the narrator is drunk and can't remember the names of anyone in the story, so he names them all Fred. This includes the protagonist, the horse and the protagonist's girlfriend.
Helloween has Michael Weikath and had Michael Kiske. Weikath is frequently referred to as "Weiki" and Kiske is occasionally "Michi" (though "Michi" seems to be more a fangirl thing).
Partial example/subversion with Alice in Chains. The band had two bassists named Mike, but not at the same time.
Relient K has Matthew, John, Matthew, Jon, and MatthewDave Ethan.
The Academy Is... has Mike Carden (rhythm guitar) and Michael Guy Chislett (lead guitar). Before Chislett joined the band, the very first lineup included Mike Carden and Mike DelPrincipe (drums).
The Cab has Alex De Leon, Alex Marshal, and former member Alex Johnson.
The Beatles had lead guitarist George Harrison and producer George Martin, which can lead to all sorts of confusion when you're reading about the production of certain albums.
Bruce McCullough from The Kids in the Hall had a song called "Daves I Know", each verse being about a different Dave (or David) from his life.
Marillion has two members actually named Steve: lead singer Steve Hogarth and lead guitarist Steve Rothery. They are often referred to as "h" and "Rothers" respectively to avoid confusion.
Def Leppard have two "Rick"'s, Rick Allen, the drummer, and Rick Savage, the bassist. Rick Savage is differentiated by the nickname "Sav". (Interestingly enough, they also had a "Steve", rhythm guitarist Steve Clark, who died in 1991.)
Australian band Powderfinger includes two Johns. One goes by JC, which doesn't really help since the other's surname also begins with C.
Also, in the band Toto, guitarist Steve Lukather and keyboardist Steve Porcaro.
When he formed Dexys Midnight Runners, Kevin Rowland insisted that Kevin Archer (the group's first guitarist) start going by his nickname "Al" Archer. Apparently, he even said, "There's only room for one Kevin in this band."
The Brechtian cabaret band The Tiger Lillies consists of Martin the Monster Clown lead singer, and two guys called Adrian.
From about 1995 to 2008 Nocturnal Rites had both Nils Norberg and Nils Eriksson in their line up. Norberg used to sign his autograph as "Nils2".
Danish pop band Alphabeat has six members: Anders, Stine, Anders, Rasmus, Anders, and Troels.
During their peak, Duran Duran had three members all with the last name Taylor. Not one of them was in any way related to either of the other two.
Devo has both Robert Mothersbaugh and Robert Casale. They are generally referred to as Bob1 and Bob2.
Jon Anderson left Yes in the late 70s and Trevor Horn took his spot for the album Drama before the band went on hiatus. When they reformed for 90125, Anderson returned as vocalist, but Trevor Rabin became their new guitar player, and Horn produced the album.
Kevin Crompton (Cevin Key), Kevin Ogilvie (Nivek Ogre), and Dave "Rave" Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy.
Journey has/had three Steves: Steve Perry (lead singer), Steve "Smitty" Smith (drummer) and Steve Augeri (lead singer following Perry's departure from the band.
The original lineup of Pink Floyd technically had two Rogers, but it wasn't much of an issue because Roger Barrett was already going by Syd before the band started.
US thrash metal band Whiplash is an odd example as one of their Rock Trio lineups had two Anthonys and one Tony, but they all performed as Tonys.
The Spice Girls had two Melanies. Melanie B (Scary Spice) and Melanie C (Sporty Spice). The initials remained in their stage name as they started solo careers, although Scary was simply known as Mel B.
Insomnium's original lineup consisted of Niilo Sevänen (vocals and bass), Markus Hirvonen (drums), and two guys named Ville on guitar. After Ville Vänni left the band, leaving Ville Friman as the only "Ville" in the band, his replacement was...another Markus.
Canadian band Martha and the Muffins (of Echo Beach fame) was named for singer Martha Johnson, but they also had keyboard player Martha Ladly during their successful period in 1979/80.
An early line-up of Whitesnake featured drummer Dave Dowle, known as 'Duck' to distinguish him from David Coverdale; he was soon ousted in favour of Coverdale's old Deep Purple mate Ian Paice.
The most recent line-up includes two Brians: drummer Brian Tichy and keyboard player Brian Ruedy.
KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's real first name is Paul; he used his nickname of 'Ace' to distinguish himself from Paul Stanley (who, ironically, is not a Paul at all. His real name is Stanley Eisen.) For similar reasons, Paul Caravello changed his name to Eric Carr upon joining the band as drummer.
Lampshaded by The Donnas who went by the names of Donna A, Donna R, Donna F and Donna C until reverting to their own names by their fourth album.
For a short time in 2010 Evanescence featured two members called Will Hunt, both drummers. Vocalist Amy Lee dubbed the 'new' one Will 'Science' Hunt during his time with the group.
Finnish power metallers Stratovarius (known for their tendency to be a Revolving Door Band) featured guitarist Timo Tolkki and vocalist Timo Kotipelto for several years until the former quit the band.
The Faces featured bass player Ronnie Lane and guitarist Ronnie Wood, the latter now better known as a Rolling Stone.
Two out of the three Beastie Boys are named Adam. They're usually credited by stage names anyway - Adam Yauch is MCA while Adam Horovitz is Ad Rock.
David Bowie's real name is David Jones, but assumed the surname of Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees.
Sheena Easton's song "9 to 5" was renamed "Morning Train (9 to 5)" to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's song "9 to 5."
A very old exception is the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde contains two characters named Isolde, both of whom pursue a romance with Tristan. The two are typically referred to as "Isolde of Ireland" and "Isolde of Brittany" to minimize confusion.
Arthurian Legend on the whole is bad about this. There were at least four Elaines, three of which were associated with Lancelot: Elaine of Benoic (his mother), Elaine of Astolat (the Lady of Shalott), and Elain of Carbonek (the mother of Galahad). The last was one of Arthur's interchangeable third half-sisters, and to make matters more confusing, T.H. White combined Astolat and Carbenok in The Once And Future King. Yet another Elaine was Percival's mother-in-law. There were also three Guineveres, two of which were half-sisters/twins known as the "True Guinevere" and the "False Guinevere." The True Guinevere was Arthur's wife, although the false one switched places with her on at least one occasion. Partly this is because the French re-tellings adapted the original Old Welsh names of the sisters Gwenhwyfar and Gwenhwyfach in such a manner that they became identical, although given that these names mean "Gwenhwy the Greater" and "Gwenhwy the Lesser", respectively, it's not really much better.
Jesus' twelve apostles included two Jameses, two Simons and (according to some gospels at least) two Judases. Furthermore Jesus' own brothers included another James, Simon and Judas. Oh, and then there's John the Baptist, John the Apostle, John the Evangelist (who may or may not be the apostle) and John from the Book Of Revelation who may the apostle, the evangelist, or a different John altogether. People would try to avoid praying to the loyal Judas for fear that it would be answered by the more famous one, so he only got the prayers of the truly desperate, who had tried beseeching everyone else. St Jude thus became the Patron Saint of Lost Causes.
There are an astounding numbers of Marys that appear in the New Testament. The Virgin Mary, obviously, but then there's Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany — the latter two are often mixed up and confused as being the same person. This is probably the reason why most people don't know who Mary of Bethany is. Thus helping to explain why we have a One Steve Limit in the first place, since it was a pope who originally caused this confusion.
Jesus/Joshua/Yeshua was just about the most popular boy's name in New Testament times given the political climate, which is why Jesus was often referred to with the qualifier "of Nazareth"; according to some people, Barabbas (the guy who was released in Jesus' place) was also named Jesus. Also, the Apostles contained two Jameses and two Judases (Yehudah of Kerioth/Yehudah the Sicarius became Judas Iscariot; the other Yehudah was called "Thaddaeus", meaning "the friend", and is also called Jude.
There are two Noahs in the Old Testament, one of whom was a woman. That's because the one who built the ark is properly called "Noach". The Hebrew pronunciation of the two names is quite different.
There are two Michaiahs too, again a man and woman.
Or Elijah and his disciple, and also prophet, Elisha.
A more direct example would be Jeroboam and Jeroboam II, two unrelated kings of Israel.
Manasseh: son of Joseph, or initially-wicked king who repented?
Rahab, the woman from Jericho who repented or the sea monster that got put down?
There are two men named Lazarus in the New Testament, but one of them is fictional (a character made up by Jesus).
WCW had a good number of Scotts at one point (Hall, Steiner, Norton, Riggs, Armstrong,Putski, Dickinson [a referee], Hudson [a TV announcer]), and then Raven's mother showed up for a storyline revealing that he too was a Scottnote his real name is Scott Levy. In addition, Raven's Flock included Riggs and Sick Boy (real name Scott Vick.)
WCW had an infestation of men named Rick during the 90's. In 1997 alone their roster included at least 12 wrestlers using Rick or Ricky as their first name (Ric Flair, Rick Fuller, Rick Martel, Ricky Morton, Rick Rude, Rick Steiner, Ricky Santana, Rick Grange, Rick King, Ricky McDaniel, Rick Thames, Rick Thorn note the last six were Power Plant [WCW's wrestling school] members or jobbers that only wrestled one match.). This list does not include Ricks that had already retired (i.e. Ricky Steamboat) or had yet to debut (i.e. Rick Cornell aka Reno of the Natural Born Thrillers) in 97.
WCW always seemed to have a swarm of jobbers named Rick. Between 1991 and 1996 they had 24 men, not counting the big names, known as Ricknote (Santana, Thames, Stockhauser, Garcia, Hayes, Hudson, Keller, Matrix, Teasley, Valentino, Tango, Fargo, Hardrock, Ryder, Bravo, Ford, Cannon, Nelson, Stockhauser, Jones, Cats, McCord, Wilkins, Riddle, Kenan) and they had a combined record of 1-125 note The one win belongs to Thames. He beat WCW World Heavyweight ChampionVader by DQ in February 93.
Garrison Cade competed as Lance Cadenote His real name was Lance K. McNaught once Lance Storm retired.
Zig Zagged to all hell and back by Ken Kennedy. He started wrestling under his real name Ken Anderson. Then when he joined the WWE he changed his name to Ken Kennedy to avoid comparison to the fictional Anderson Wrestling Family. Then it was revealed in-story that his name is Kennedy because he's the bastard son of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Then it was revealed that he was making that up. Then he got fired and is now performing in TNA as Ken Anderson.
TNA has a preponderance of men named Robert currently. Rob Van Dam , Bobby Roode, Robbie E, and Rob Terry. TNA is also a subsidiary of Panda Energy, owned by Robert Carter.
There have occasionally been wrestlers in WWE with the same first names though they are normally called by their last names by announcers. Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, as well as the similar sounding Christian. WWE renamed Christopher Pavone "Caylen Croft" because his previous ring name of Chris Cage was too close to Christian's previous name of Christian Cage. There was even a storyline started when Lilian Garcia goofed and announced Benoit as "Jericho". There was also the time when Mark Henry and Mark Jindrak were on the roster at the same time. There was also John Cena, John Bradshaw Layfield, John Laurinaitis, John Morrison, and Johnny Curtis.
One notable case is the case of two Steve Williams, so while the wrestling world was happy to have too many Steves, the second Steve had to change his last name to Austin. And now you know the rest of the story.
At one point in WWE there was a Jacqueline, generally called Jackie by everyone, and Miss Jackie Gayda. As Jacqueline went by the name "Miss Jackie Moore" in TNA there is often confusion whenever reporters recap old events and forget that Miss Jackie wasn't her name in WWE. According to Ivory (Word of Saint Paula?), they avoided this problem backstage by simply calling them Black Jackie and White Jackie.
Brooke/Miss Tessmacher recently fell victim to this after the signing of Brooke Hogan to TNA.
Alicia Fox used the names Victoria and Tori in OVW and FCW (her real name is Victoria, of which Tori is a nickname) so of course when she was called up they already had a Victoria and a Torrie Wilson. It'll give you a bit of a chuckle to hear she was put into a storyline with another Victoria - Vickie Guerrero.
WWE's previous Tori was known as Terri Powers as an indy wrestler, but changed her name to avoid confusion with Terri Runnels. However she was in the company when Victoria entered in 2000 and Torrie Wilson in 2001 meaning they had 3 women with the same name.
The AWA had FOUR Richards or similar names hold the AWA World Heavyweight Title during the promotion's existence (Dick the Bruiser [William Richard Afflis], the Destroyer [Dick Beyer], Mighty Igor Vodic [Dick Garza], and Rick Martel [Richard Vigneault].)
Interestingly, WCW actually adhered to this rule during its existence. From January 1991 through March 26, 2001, of the 19 different men who held the WCW World Heavyweight Title, none of them had the same first name as any of the others. This ended when Chris Jericho won the title on October 21, 2001, during the InVasion/Alliance storyline, since Chris Benoit had won it on January 16, 2000.
When Shawn Daivari was in WWE's developmental league Ohio Valley Wrestling, they changed his name to Khosrow, most likely as a tribute to The Iron Sheik, whose real name is Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, although the name "Khosrow" never made it to WWE TV, and also to presumably avoid anyone possibly confusing Daivari with Shawn Michaels. Similarly, when WWE brought in the tag team the Heartbreakers (Antonio Thomas and Romeo Roselli), they renamed them the Heart Throbs because Shawn Michaels' Red Baron is "The Heartbreak Kid."
Parodied in the BBC comedy Deep Trouble, which in its second series had an Alison and an Alice. But since the show is set on a submarine, everyone is usually referred to by rank and surname anyway (and Alice Barry in fact insists on being called Barry).
BBC comedy The Burkiss Way once featured a group of servants who were all called Rose, male and female alike, since they could only afford one name between them.
Truth in Television, or rather Truth In Radio for that matter. 96 Trent FM (now known as Trent FM) had Matt Wilkinson presenting afternoons and Matt Wilkins appearing at various times of the day. Hilarity Ensues. Confusion reigns. So Matt Wilkins became Matt Marsden, on Trent FM at least. Now he's at Key 103 under his original name.
The Archers: Edward "Eddie" Grundy, and his second son, Edward "Ed" Grundy.
Similar to the bible example above is The Comedy Of Errors, which involves two sets of identically named identical twins separated at birth and maintaining the same bourgeois/servant relationship. Hilarity Ensues.
As You Like It, for no particular reason (i.e. makes no particular mention of it in the story, unlike Comedy of Errors), has two characters named Oliver (Orlando's eldest brother and the country priest) and two characters named Jaques (Orlando's middle brother and the melancholy wit in Duke Senior's retinue).
The history plays have a lot of duplicate names, because real history is like that. Shakespeare did try to reduce their number, though; for example, Lord Richard Grey and Sir Richard Ratcliffe — both characters in Richard III — are referred to by their last names only.
Lampshaded in Richard III where Queen Margaret starts riffing on the remarkable bodycount of the past few plays in Act IV, Scene iv: "I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him: Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him..." and it goes on from there. There's a special kind of pride that comes from hearing that scene and actually knowing who all the Henries, Richards, and Edwards were.
Henry IV Part 1 is basically about a war between King Henry and Prince Henry versus Henry Percy and his son Henry Percy. They get the last name / title / nickname treatment in the script, though.
A Midsummer Night's Dream gives us Puck, known by the euphemism "Robin Goodfellow", but in addition to him, we have Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Julius Caesar had both Cinna the conspirator and Cinna the poet. Unfortunately for Cinna the poet.
In the Stage Version of Bugsy Malone Joe is a recurring name.
RENT has two (minor) Steves: one of them is a member of the Life Support group (so we know that he is named after a friend of Larson's who died of AIDS), and the other is one of the (unseen) people Joanne is talking to on the phone in We're Okay. It's also not entirely impossible that these are the same person, but it's not relevant or interesting or significant in any way if they are.
Notably averted in 1776, in which the two main characters are both named John (Adams and Dickinson). In point of fact, there are no less than four Johns in the show (Adams (MA), Dickinson (PA), Hancock (MA), and Witherspoon (CT)). There's also the Georges (Reed (DE) and Washington (VA)) and Thomases (Jefferson (VA) and McKean (DE)). However, since they usually address each other as "Mr. Lastname," it doesn't really matter.
Similarly, The Crucible is based on historical fact and so features a number of characters with the same name—in this case, also John: Proctor, Hale, and Hathorne. However, like in 1776, this never becomes an issue because most of the men are referred to by surname. The only man referred to as John is Proctor. Also in the play are Thomas Danforth and Thomas Putnam.
However, in real life there were two Ann Putnams, a mother and daughter, the younger of which was the leader of the 'afflicted girls'. Ann Putnam the elder is in the play, but her daughter is only mentioned, and when she is she is called Ruth Putnam.
The Amish in Plain and Fancy have four Jacob Yoders and two Abner Zooks. Fortunately, only one Jacob Yoder appears in the show, though Fat Jacob Yoder and Hairy Jacob Yoder are mentioned.
Completely averted in Yeast Nation, in which every character is named Jan. Every single one. (Of course, it's written by the same guys what did Urinetown, so...)
Also, some of the names sound similar: Krekka, Krahka, Krika, Krakua; Onewa, Onua
Transformers falls into this sometimes. In the live-action films, a character named "Brawl" is erroneously referred to as "Devastator". This is fine and dandy, but he is called "Brawl" in his toys and licensed media. Then, Revenge of the Fallen introduces the Constructicons, a bunch of Transformers that combine to create a colossal Decepticon... by the name of "Devastator". In Transformers Cybertron, one of the Mini-Cons is named Thunderblast, which just so happens to be the name of a Decepticon in the same series. In addition, several characters tend to have similar-sounding names, i.e. Soundwave and Shockwave, Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal, Ravage and Rampage, etc.
In the scope of the entire franchise, some names get used a lot. Aside from the typical Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream and Bumblebee in pretty much every line-up, there was a point in the mid-2000s when around five toys were named "Prowl", and they represented anywhere between two to four different characters.
My Little Pony suffered from this during the middle of its G1 run. There were two "Twilight"s, two "Sniffles", two "Snookums", three "Sea Breeze"s, and many ponies with the name "Cuddle"s. The G3 line reused many names from G1 and the G2 line reused certain names too. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic took a few characters in the toy lines and reused their names, though changing the designs for several.
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni has Jirou Tomitake and Daiki Tomita — both of whom are almost always addressed or referred to by their surnames. Incidentally, they both happen to look similar, though Tomita is just a minor character. Plus, Tomitake's name is implied to be an alias, anyway.
Averted in Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, where the Ushiromiya family's human butler Genji's family name ("Ronoue") is pronounced almost exactly the same as the name of Beatrice's demon butler ("Ronove"). This is implied to be because Ronove is one of Yasu's many Imaginary Friends, and he/she based Ronove off of Genji. To further reinforce this, a flashback in the EP8 manga reveals that young Genji looked very much like Ronove.
SHUFFLE has two Rins: the male lead and one of the love interests (in her case it's short for Nerine). Sometimes you can tell which character is being addressed by the honorifics used. For instance, when Sia uses the affectionate term "Rin-chan", she means Nerine; she likes Rin but doesn't know him as well, so he's usually "Rin-kun" unless she's being very serious.
An important plot point in Tsukihime. The main character and the Big Bad are both called Tohno Shiki. The main character is adopted, in fact, it seems the main reason he was adopted was because the head of the family thought that it was amusing that he had the same name as his son.
The two names are spelled differently in kanji though, so after The Reveal there's no confusion whatsoever to the readers. It had previously been assumed that he just wrote his name in katakana as kid out of laziness. English fans of the series write out SHIKI in all caps to differentiate.
Then there is Tohno Shiki's alter ego Nanaya Shiki.
Interestingly, the author also used this exact name confusion thing in Kara no Kyoukai. It's even the same name: Shiki. Again, they're spelled differently in kanji and in fact both of them are different from both of the spellings in Tsukihime. Furthermore, this Shiki has three personalities.
So all in all, there are six different characters that bear the name Shiki in the Nasuverse.
The first case of Ace Attorney - Justice for All has two witnesses; Dick Gumshoe and Richard Wellington. Though the name similarity isn't pointed out at all, since their names were completely different in the original Japanese version. Similarly, the series also features Larry Butz and Lawrence Curls, though they don't even appear in the same game. The English version of Ace Attorney Investigations plays this trope straight and dodges it, changing the character Zinc White's name, probably to avoid any connection to Redd White from the first game. One case has two characters named Manny Coachen and Manfred von Karma, although the latter's a character from an earlier game.
Dangan Ronpa averts this, since Celestia Ludenberg's real name is Taeko Yasuhiro, and there's another character named Yasuhiro Hagakure. This provides a big clue towards figuring out who the murderer is in Chapter 3.
This XKCD has an Alt Text which jokes that, when so many hurricanes form in one season that all 21 pre-set names, all letters of the Greek alphabet, every single other word in the Oxford English Dictionary and all NUMBERS have been exhausted, the exasperated meteorological community will collectively throw their hands in the air and name every single hurricane as "Hurricane Steve". Your forecast for this evening: Steve.
Played with in Girl Genius. The one pair of characters that have the same name turn out to be the same person.
The same comic's Aaronev Wilhelm Sturmvoraus Fürst von Sturmhalten, Transylvanian-German aristocrat, and Sanaa Wilhelm, Transylvanian-German convict, provide an excellent example of WHY this trope exists. Some fans insist they are related, despite the fact that in 19th-century Central Europe, Wilhelm isn't just a common name, it's the common name. (It's ultimately revealed that not only is Sanaa not related to Aaronev, "Wilhelm" isn't even her real surname.)
Alice has main characters named "Joan" and "Joanne".
The Wotch has Samantha Wolf and Samantha Smith, Allison Taverner and Allison Wise, and Miranda West and Sarah West (not related).
Tailsteak's apparently currently defunct Band is composed of Paul Henderson, Brian Smith the willowy übergeek, Brian Smith the hulking drummer, and Tyler, the alien/demon/squid. Neither Smith ever reveals his middle name or answers to a nickname, having sworn a "blood oath" to that effect.
Nale: Another one? Good gods, man, that's eleven so far who Must Not Be Named. Not To mention the four Who Must Not Be Looked At, the two Who Must Not Be Spoken To, and the one Who Must Not Be Toilet-Trained!
Narbonic features a secret society of people called Dave and a woman with the same name as her mother because she's a clone.
Troop 37 has two spoiled cheerleaders named Melissa with nickname Missy.
Arthur, King of Time and Space uses a variant spelling for Iseulte of Ireland to distinguish her from Isolde of Brittany. It keeps all the Elaines, though, and the "false Guenevere" in the fairy tale arc (in the contemporary arc she's called Fascha, and is Guenevere's full sister).
Also, Imortals pick their names when they are reborn, and it's usually mythology based. Apparently, the hissy fits when two Zeuses meet is histerical.
Kevin Pease's Absurd Notions, during its college run, reversed this for a joke. (The archive commentary notes that the real joke is the ubiquity of the name "Jennifer" in the early seventies. Later on in the strip two Jen Greens appear, but they quickly get the initialism nicknames Jyg and Jag.)
Mountain Time is rife with people (and monsters) named Paul. There's even a Paula or two.
Melonpool's cast is the comedic version of this trope. First you have Ralph (evil genius) and Ralphie (Ralph's good clone). And then you have Sam (the talking dog), and Sammy (the giant talking hamster). Sammy's very far from intelligent, though, and just picked the first name he liked.
Lampshaded in Questionable Content: When we are introduced to Marigold, she mentions the name "Angus". When recurring character Angus later shows up, Dora says "I thought she mentioned your name!". Granted, there aren't a lot of people named "Angus", but still...
Parodied in Ansem Retort. When the main cast (with Riku) went into hiding, there was a supporting fill in cast, with Rikku. Darth Maul just referred to her as "girl Rikku".
The Problem Sleuth story of MS Paint Adventures had a ball with this; by the end there were at least 6 variations of Pickle Inspector, numerous Ace Dicks, and a few Problem Sleuths, and multiple timelines for all of them. This resulted in an occasional page dedicated to explaining who was doing what. Justified in that they were all variants of the original characters.
Homestuck subverts this in a similar way. Objectively, no characters share a name, despite the long list of them. (It helps that the two main sets of characters are separated by culture and species, allowing a lot of Aerith and Bob.) However, many characters interact with their own future or past personas.
Plus, presumably all game concept characters, such as Jack Noir, Cetus, and PM carry over into each session of Sburb. While ostensibly being the same person and sharing a basic personality, the variations of each character sometimes are quite different, only sharing the initials of their title. Spades Slick, for example, while still ruthless, is much less bloodthirsty than the Sovereign Slayer.
Played straight later with the post-Scratch Guardians presumably having the same names as the pre-Scratch Kids, and Rose and Dave's iterations have the same "titles" as their guardians in the Beta Session, meaning there are 2 Mom Lalondes and 2 Bro Striders. Also, a third set of Dersite Agents was introduced, which means there are three separate characters running around, all named Jack Noir.
In Fans!!' second year, one of the new members was named Tim, but there was already a Tim on the major cast. (The strip where the new Tim introduced himself had the page title "God Made Two of 'Em".) Characters and readers alike generally called the new one "Tim the Fanboy". Eventually, two developments reduced the ambiguity: Tim adopted a new name (as part of his Face Heel Turn), and we found out his unabbreviated name was Timin, whereas the other Tim is presumably a Timothy.
While Everyday Heroes does, in fact, have only one Steve, it had at one point two Janes (who were members of the villainous team "The Jane Gang").
Also, the neighborhood moms are named Jane, Joan, June, Jenny, Ginny, and so on ...
In Li'l Mell (featuring the young version of Mell Kelly from Narbonic), there are two girls named Taylor (one blonde caucasian, one dark-haired Asian), and their male counterparts named Tyler.
Coga Suro has, in fact, precisely one Steve; the main character.
Subverted in Spinnerette, where the main character learns that the name Spinnerette is already a name used by a spider-themed (Specifically, Drow-themed) villainess. The character is later referred to as Evil Spinnerette by everyone else.
Lampshaded (and subverted!) in thisMultiplex strip.
Parodied in thisTreading Ground strip where a manager refers to two employees as Nate and Black Nate, even though their names are Nate and Jimi.
In Charby the Vampirate, one of the Rose Sisters (who initially only appeared in one strip but later returned) is named Rosemary, and one of Zerlocke's sisters (introduced much later, but a much more important character) is also named Rosemary. When the Rose Sister found out there was someone else named Rosemary, her response was "Whaat?There can be only one! Destroy her!" (She was talked out of it).
Averted in Elf Blood where one of the lead characters, Mara, shares her name with (and indeed was probably named after) the Elves' Mother Goddess.
In The Dreamer, there are two characters named Benjamin - Benjamin Cato and Benjamin Tallmadge. Cato lives in the 21st century, while Tallmadge lives in the 18th century.
Homestar Runner does this in action film spoof Dangeresque 1: Dangeresque Too? The hard-boiled detective Dangeresque (played by Strong Bad) is assigned a partner also named Dangeresque (played by Homestar); the latter is usually called "Dangeresque Too".
There's also Science Fiction Greg and D&D Greg from the Teen Girl Squad 'toons. The TGS spin-off "4 Gregs" introduced Open Source Greg, Japanese Culture Greg, and minor character Regular Greg.
Subverted in Yu Gi Oh The Abridged Series, where Marik's Millennium Rod can only control people whose names are, of course, Steve. Given that Marik controls a bunch of one-shot characters with it, the series ends up with a lot of Steves.
It is revealed that only one of their names has to be Steve; "Steve" Arcana, Steve Jobs, and Keith Steve Howard (Bandit Keith) are all under his control at some point. Later, he mind controls Joey and Téa by tricking them into legally changing their names to Steve.
At a convention, LK explained the background of the entire gag, mentioning that in his version, "Steve" has pretty much become another word for "henchman".
In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, a surprisingly large number of characters were named either "James" or "Anne" in their secret identities. The setting also contained no less than three Defenders, two Brawlers, two characters called The Magician, two Speed Demons, and at least three Crusaders.
In the MSF High Forum, there have been reuses of Echo, Mira, and even Jessica. Also invoked, when an NPC changed her name to Echoe, or a variation thereof, to fix things. As this is a forum, similar-sounding but differently spelled names are okay.
Behind The Veil has some of the more common names repeated, but the one that takes the cake is the tale of the two Jons: Both are Bone Gnawers, Theurges, at the same sept.
Since the Whateley Universe has such a massive number of named characters, it's not surprising that there are lots of names occurring more than once. Like Elaine: Elaine Nalley and Elaine Fleischer are both gorgeous mutants with The Most Common Superpower, and they're both inventors. When they both went on Phase's birthday trip to Boston, Elaine Nalley went by 'Doc' to avoid confusion among the other guests. On the other hand, the school does enforce rules about distinct codenames for everyone.
The Angry Joe Show features several appearances by one of Angry Joe's friends, also named Joe. To distinguish between the two, he's often referred to as "Other Joe."
Red vs. Blue has two Franks (Franklin Delano Donut and Frank Du Fresne), but like the rest of the cast, both are always referred to by their nicknames Donut and Doc respectively. There's also three Leonard Churches (Doctor Leonard Church, Alpha, and Epsilon) and three Allisons (the original, the original Agent Texas, and the Epsilon-created Agent Texas). None of the three Allisons co-existed (and the original is barely even referenced), and the Churches are generally called "the Director"/"Director Church"/"Doctor Church", Church/Alpha, and Church/Epsilon. Still, it gets confusing when it comes to fan theories. "And then Church did this." "Wait, do you mean Alpha-Church or Epsilon-Church?"
Later episodes reveal the Ashleys all have sisters named Britney in kindergarten and brothers in third grade named Tyler.
One episode had Spinelli meet a group of girls who were all named Megan, a deliberate parallel to the Ashleys.
Justice League features John Stewart, the Green Lantern, and J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. The Flash sometimes refers to them as "The Two Johns." In addition, Closed Captioning for the episodes will sometimes get the names mixed up. Even so, "J'onn" is usually pronounced more like "Jean" while Stewart is often referred to as "Lantern" or "G.L.", to mitigate this.
Red Tornado is also John Smith. (Though he rarely goes by this name even off duty.)
A minor example, from the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing" part I:
The Railway Series had a bus named Bertie, and a Small Railway engine named Bert.
The TV series had a bus named Bertie, a diesel named Bert, and a Narrow Gauge engine named Bertrum.
It also featured tank engines named Bill (introduced in Season 2) and Billy (Season 11).
Perhaps the most obvious example of all, Diesel in Duck and the Diesel Engine and Diesel in Stepney the Bluebell Engine.
Then we also have Henry, Henrietta, and Hank (which is a pet form of the name Henry). 'Arry could also fit here, as Harry can derive from Henry and Harold (the latter of which is also the name of the helicopter).
The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has two characters whose names can confuse the viewers due to their similarities. There's April's boss named Burne (confused as Verne) and her rival named Vernon.
Kim Possible had a student named Ron Reager at the high school. His initial appearance was just for a joke on his sharing a name with Ron Stoppable, but he actually made two more appearances in the Post Script Season!
Invoked in another episode, when Dr. Drakken is flabbergasted to learn that the upstart teenager who's always foiling his plans is the daughter of his old college roommate, whose mockery drove him to the evil side of mad science. He tries to claim that he never put it together before because Possible is a very common name, then wanders off to find a phone book when everyone points out that it's really not. The phone book does not help him.
The Simpsons has the Ancient Mystic Society of No-Homers; which means only one Homer can join. Unfortunately for Homer Simpson, it's already admitted a Homer Glumplich.
The Simpsons is particularly aversive of this trope: Homer and Ned's mothers are both named Mona, Chief Wiggum and Marge's father are both named Clancy, Prof. Frink and the camp accessory salesman from "Homer's Phobia" are both named John, notwithstanding the incredibly similar Carl (of Lenny and Carl) with Karl (Homer's one time secretary); the very closely related Eddie, Edna, and Ned (with the latter two eventually getting married; or Lou (a cop), Louie (a Mafia member), Lewis (a Living Prop), and Luann (Milhouse's mother). Plus rhyming names such as Rod, Todd, and Maude (all in one family); Sherri and Terri (Theme Twin Naming) or Moe and Joe (Mayor Quimby). Milhouse shared the same name as some random Shelbyville kid ("I thought I was the only one"). And that's not even mentioning Martin Prince or Waylon Smithers, who were named after their fathers (or the prominent first-season character Marvin Monroe, not to be confused with Martin). One particularly elusive one is the presence of two Charleses, one being the minor, bespectacled plant worker "Charlie" and the other being "C. Montgomery Burns." There's also a gag about two people having the unlikely name of Bort. Of course, this is probably just a side-effect of Loads and Loads of Characters.
Chief Wiggum and Ralph Wiggum weren't related by design; they randomly wound up with the same last name, and later, having put two and two together, made them father and son.
An accidental reference to this trope appeared in the episode when they go to New York. Homer contacts the traffic authority over the phone and receives a pre-recorded message, with the specific details added in, in a man's voice. The message states that he "will be met by Officer Steve" "Grabowski"— that is, Steve is part of the pre-recorded message, implying that all of the officers are named Steve.
Another aversion: In "Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh," there are three girls at Waverly Hills Elementary named Caitlin (with a "C"), Katelyn (with a "K"), and Kate Lynn (two words)
Yet another aversion: There are two Larrys: the bald guy that isn't Homer who can usually be seen at Moe's, and Mr. Burns's illegitimate son from "Burns, Baby Burns".
Sealab 2021 had Debbie and "Black Debbie," who in her first appearance protested her nickname and pointed out the other wasn't called "White Debbie." Some fans call Debbie "White Debbie" for this reason.
Quinn: How would you like it if people called you "White Stormy"? Stormy: [confused] You mean, there's a Black Stormy? Quinn: [looooong pause] No.
Similarly, Code Monkeys has Black Steve, who was probably called that to differentiate himself from Gameavision's original owner Steve Wozniak, but he continues to be called that even after Wozniak sells the company to Mr. Larrity in the first episode.
Batman The Animated Series, early on, had both Detective Harvey Bullock and District Attorney Harvey Dent. In the first episode, the latter even addressed the former by name (which sounded a little strange)
Batman Beyond has two characters named "Ace": The DCAU's version of Ace the Bat-Hound, and the "Ace" member of the Royal Flush Gang (a mute android in Beyond). The two rarely get confused.
Winx Club: Pepe, Icy's duck, followed the Trix to Light Haven/Light Rock at the end of season one and hasn't been seen since. The creators must have forgotten about him since in season four, Musa's pet bear was named Pepe.
At several points in the series, Candace mentions wanting to name her future son Xavier, while in "It's About Time!," the tour guide mentions that the time machine was invented by an Xavier Onassis. Of course, this shouldn't be much of an issue, since one's already dead and another isn't even born...until the time-traveling episode "Quantum Boogaloo," where the plot required both to appear. Perhaps to get around this, Onassis shows up without his name ever being mentioned.
On a semi-related note, the show introduced Phineas and Ferb's Aunt Tiana around the same time Disney was hyping a different Tiana. Co-creator Dan Povenmire noted the similarity but said it was just a coincidence, as he named the show's Tiana after one of his sisters (the other being the namesake of Linda).
Enforced on Jimmy Two Shoes. After The Rodeo Clowns steal one of his shoes, Jimmy notes that without it, he's Jimmy One-Shoe. At that point, a monster dressed exactly like him with only one leg hops by, muttering "And that name is already taken."
Spongebob Squarepants and Squidward once encountered a band of Vikings all named Olaf, except for their leader (Gordan), curiously enough.
Li, one of the old ladies who act as adviser for Azula.
Quon Lee, imperial guard from finale who had a talk with an engineer in airship.
Halfway through season 2, Zuko took on the name "Lee" while incognito, and stopped using the alias once the "Dai Li" (That's pronounced "Die Lee") showed up.
And Dai Li is just a different transliteration of the exact same Chinese characters for Ty Lee's name!
The whole thing is lampshaded in "Sokka's Master":
"You're gonna need a better Fire Nation cover name. Try Lee. There's a million Lees."
On a semi-related note, The Dai Li's Government Conspiracy was upheld by placing several women who called themselves "Joo Dee" to watch over suspicious citizens. Justified in this case because they were all brainwashed into the identity anyway.
There are two "Estellas" in Jonny Quest The Real Adventures: Estella Scheele, a one-off antagonist seen in "In the Realm of the Condor," and Estella Velasquez, Jessie's mother. And they're both redheads, too.
Kyle in South Park's cousin Kyle, although it seems that instance only exists for the joke that Sheila considers her own son to be "Kyle 2." Other aversions exist through extremely minor characters, such as a second Terrance (who only most prominently appeared in the episode right before Terrance and Phillip were introduced, and was later pushed to the background) and three recurring Living Props named Kevin, and various stock names used for random characters. note According to Matt Stone, "Kevin" is most often used for random male characters as he finds it to be the dumbest, "whitebread" name a man could have.
"Stephen" has been used for the fathers of Butters, Token, and Jimmy. Originally, their respective names were "Chris", "Bob", and "Ryan".
Two of the kids (Timmy and Tweek) have dads named Richard, with a third Richard serving as the school's shop teacher.
The Brown noise episode featured Kenny G who has a disturbing role in the episode. None of the boys mention that he has the same name as Kenny.
The names of "Rebecca" and "Kelly" have been used as stock names for various female characters, although the original two were one-shot love interests of Kyle and Kenny.
Sharon Marsh and Sheila Broflovski were both originally named Carol, as was Linda Stotch. Due to it being a placeholder name for the moms, some fans have taken to referring to Kenny's unnamed mother by it as well.
In The Fairly Oddparents episode "Genie Meanie Minie Mo," Timmy's wish forTrixie Tang to fall in love with him backfires when she ends up giving kisses to everyone in the country whose name is Timmy Turner, with him the very last one on the list.
In the storybook "Too Many Turners", Timmy wishes that he had lots of brother and sisters, but after he sees how much trouble all those siblings are, he calls out for Cosmo and Wanda to get rid of them, resulting in this scene:
"Cosmo! Wanda!" Timmy called, pushing through a crowd of siblings. "What?" asked a boy named Cosmo. "Yes? asked a girl named Wanda. "Never mind," Timmy said, sighing.
Also, Elmer, Timmy's friend with the boil, shares his name with an elf who will be featured in A Fairly Odd Christmas.
One episode of Mighty Max has the protagonist, Max(well), compete with another Max(imilian) who might actually be The Chosen One. (Aside from the name, they were born within five minutes of each other.)
Danny Phantom plays with this a bit with Danny's "Dani-with-an-I" Opposite Sex Clone, Danielle. So, for at least two episodes we had both Daniel "Danny" Phantom and Danielle "Dani" Phantom.
Futurama: "Clarification: the Philip J. Fry from planet Earth or the Philip J. Fry from Hovering Squid World 97?"
In "The Luck of the Fryrish" we find out that the first person on Mars was also named Philip J. Fry, and happened to look exactly like Fry's brother Yancy. "Oh, so your brother was that Philip J. Fry?" (Justified by the revelation that Yancy named his son after his long-disappeared brother.)
As Told By Ginger has Macie's parents both named Bobby and Bobbie Lightfoot. Hoodsey's first name is Robert as well.
Time Warp Trio had main character Joe and his Uncle Joe, whom gave him the time traveling book the series revolved around. The titular trio (Joe, Sam, and Fred) would also go on to meet their great granddaughters from 2105, whom were named Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha. And that's not getting into the historical figures they'd meet, whom being real life people, also shared a first name with another historical perosn they met while time traveling or a member of the cast.
Martian Manhunter himself is named J'onn J'onzz, aka "John Jones," on a team that includes a John Stewart. And then, on J'onn's suggestion, Red Tornado takes the name John Smith. (For added fun, there's also Zatara, whose first name, Giovanni, is the Italian form of John.)
In season one we have the villain Hugo Strange, while season two gives us the hero Adam Strange.
Aqualad's friend back home is named Garth, while Beast Boy's real name is Garfield "Gar" Logan. And for a meta coincidence, his voice actor is named Logan Grove.
On Adventure Time, there's Billy, the legendary hero, and Billy, the buzzard.
There's also Simon the ladybug and Simon Petrikov, the Ice King.
On Goof Troop, two of the main characters are named Peter, one named after the other. The show generally gets around this by calling the younger one "PJ" but the difference in sound between "Pete" (the elder's preferred nickname) and "Peej" (an oft-spoken diminutive of the younger's initials) is so subtle that sometimes it's possible to hear one as the other. The two are as different as night and day.
Averted in the Littlest Pet Shop 2012 episode "So You Skink You Can Dance." All the male dancers of the Shake A Leg show are named Igor.
Usually thoroughly averted in real life workplaces, schools or other other organised gatherings. When groups of friends, workmates, or classes have some shared names they're likely to find ways to differentiate people fairly quickly to avoid confusion.
Although it may be played straight if you have an uncommon name (especially if it's an uncommon first name in combination with an uncommon last name). You can actually go years without running into someone with the same name as you.
It is very common for royal families to have repetitive names both in the same generation and in historical perspective.
Marie of Roumania (sic) was born in Germany and became queen of Yugoslavia. On the other hand, her mother, Marie of Edinburgh, ruled Romania. Hilarity Ensues.
George Foreman named all five of his sons George (George Jr and George III to VI), and one of his five daughters Georgetta.
On 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan named his children Tracy Jr. and George Foreman.
The Romans were pretty bad about breaking this rule. But the Julio-Claudian dynasty took the cake.
The famous Julius Caesar shared his full name (Gaius Julius Caesar) with his father, grandfather, and quite a lot of other relatives, among them his great nephew known as Augustus. This makes their history just a little confusing sometimes.
Even worse for women. Officially, a daughter's name was just the feminine version of the family name—Julius Caesar's sister, daughter, and paternal aunt would all be named "Julia". In practice, sisters would be distinguished by nicknames or other variants (a beauty might be called "Helen", a girl born on Lesbos might be called "Lesbia", etc.); but if you find a statue of "Agrippina", it can be hard to figure out which of Agrippa's many famous female descendants it represents.
And to further confuse things, his adopted son (originally named Gaius Octavius) changed his name in accordance to the named-after-your-father tradition, so both Caesar and Augustus actually went by the name Gaius Julius Caesar; though the latter, as an adoptee, had the optional Octavianus.
Then there were also the three emperors Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero, who where the third, fifth, and sixth emperors beginning with Caesar. The first two were actually names "Tiberius Claudius Nero", but despite other claims, Neros full name was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus, which also wasn't much better.
In addition Julius was assassinated by Marcus Brutus, who shared a name with his ancestor who was instrumental in overthrowing the last king of Rome.
On the whole, the Romans weren't very big on inventive names. In classical times, their list of "acceptable first names" had been boiled down to ~20. This is, if they didn't outright number them through.
Mainland China has rather simple, conventional naming traditions when compared to other Chinese-speaking nations/areas/whatever such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. This essentially means it's rather likely that two or more people will share the same-sounding first and last names. This is generally averted with either calling them "male [name here]" and "female [name here]", or, if there are any of the same gender, making references to the different characters in those names. Of course, people sharing the exact same names, calligraphy-wise, in the same classroom are not unheard of...
Two female ice-racers (short-track speed skaters) named Yang Yang represented China in the 1990s – indeed, both of them were on the relay team which won an Olympic silver medal in at Nagano in 1998. According to David Wallechinsky’s Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, “Although their names were spelled differently in Chinese, they were pronounced the same. When they began competing together internationally, it became necessary to distinguish between the two for record-keeping purposes. One was given the name Yang Yang [L] for large and the other Yang Yang [S] for small. Large and small referred not to their sizes but their ages, L being the older of the two. However, Yang Yang [L] decided that she didn’t like the letter L and changed her designation to Yang Yang [A]. The younger Yang Yang remained content with her S.”
Demetrius of Magnesia wrote a book, “On Men of the Same Name” which provided something of the same function to the ancients as the disambiguation pages on The Other Wiki provide for us. It is cited often by Diogenes Laertius in his Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, first at i. 38. This makes concern for the problem Older Than Feudalism.
Not to mention those eighteen Louis were only the ones who became kings. Don't forget Louis XIV, son of Louis XIII, was such a long-living bugger that he outlived not only his son Louis but also his grandson Louis making Louis XV his great-grandson who also named his son Louis and... you get the idea.
The House of Reuss, wherein every male member of the family has been named Henry/Heinrich since the Middle Ages.
To keep them apart, they are numbered by order of birth, but separately within the elder and younger line of the house. One starts numbering afresh from I (1) when LXXXXIX (99) is reached, the other starts numbering afresh at the beginning of a new century. Within the family they usually use nicknames to tell each other apart (there are a number of derivative forms in German, such as "Heinz" and "Heiner", sometimes they also use foreign versions like "Henry", "Henri" or "Enrico").
France also provides us with the War of the Three Henrys, a three-sided Civil War in which the Royalist party was led by King Henri III of France, the Catholic League was led by Henri, the Duke of Guise, and the Huguenot army was led by King Henri of Navarre. Henri of Navarre won, becoming Henri IV.
There was another War of the Three Henries in 10th century Germany. In this case, the three Henries, the Bishop of Augsburg and the Duke of Carinthia and the deposed Duke of Bavaria, were all on the same side, rebelling against Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, who was allied with Duke Otto of Swabia and Bavaria. When the rebellion was put down Henry of Carinthia's Duchy was given to another Otto
The Breton War of Succession, which ran concurrently with the first part of the Hundred Years War, was also known as the War of the Two Jeannes.
Russian leaders used a limited number of names. From XIV to XVI century, they were almost exclusively named either Ivan or Vasily. Keep in mind, they used patronymics, so they all were also Ivan Vasilyevich or Vasily Ivanovich. The trend resumed in XIX century, when Russia had three Alexanders and two Nicholases. The last Tsar even named his son Alexy with intention that his heir would break the tradition... and guess what, they made a Revolution to never let him do it.
There are at least two historic sultans named Suleiman. "Suleiman the Magnificent" is the one who conquered Europe all the way to Vienna.
King George V had four sons living to adulthood, three of whom had "George" somewhere in their cluster of Christian names. However, the first went by David (Edward VIII), the second by Albert, and the fourth used George as his first name. However, when Albert became king in 1936, he, following the course of his grandfather Edward VII, declined to use Albert as his regnal name in recognition of his great-grandfather Albert, Prince-consort. Instead, Albert became George VI, to emphasize continuity with his father's long reign - which meant that the royal family now contained two brothers named King George and Prince George.
Louis XVIII (Louis Stanislas Xavier) of France was a younger brother of Louis XVI (Louis August).
Henry VIII was married to, in order, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. Three names for six wives.
Mitch Hedberg used to tell a joke about his ex girlfriend named Lyn and his current girlfriend (who later became his wife, and even later his widow) named Lynn.
Karl Freiherr vom Stein was replaced in his post as Prussian statesman in 1807 for about half a year by Karl Reichsfreiherr vom Stein zum Altenstein.
Karl Reichsfreiherr vom und zum Stein was Prussia's premier minister from 1807 to 1808. Karl Reichsfreiherr vom Stein zu Altenstein was co-leading minister (along with Count Dohna-Schlobitten) from late 1808 to 1810. The latter was however generally known as Altenstein (and signed that way).
In rural Northern Ireland, people with the same name would be differentiated by the name of their father, resulting in conversations something like this: "So ah wuz talkin' teh Stephen the other day..." "Which Stephen?" "Wullie's Stephen - ye know, th' one that married Billy's Helen."
The royal house of Prussia would often do something similar in the case of duplication. For instance in the late 18th century, King Frederick William III had a younger brother called Louis, but there was another Prince Louis, son of Prince Ferdinand (the youngest brother of King Frederick the Great), who was therefore called Prince Louis Ferdinand, even though Ferdinand was not one of his Christian names. Frederick William III had another brother called William as well as a younger son called William (later William I of Prussia and Germany). The former was sometimes called "Wilhelm Bruder" (William brother).
This trope is a rule in many showbiz unions, forcing those with common names to don pseudonyms:
David X. Cohen is named thus because there was an existing David S. Cohen.
Singer Katy Perry changed her last name, Hudson, so she wouldn't be confused with actress Kate Hudson.
Katy Perry (or at least her 'people') also attempted to sue an Australian woman whose name is Katie Perry because Katie Perry has a clothing brand with her name never mind the fact that she (Katie) had started the brand years before Katy had become famous.
Averted in the current squad of Real Madrid, where shirt number 9 belongs to (Cristiano) Ronaldo. Until 2007 the owner of the number was the Brazilian Ronaldo (Luiz Nazario da Lima). Also, because of the Brazilian Ronaldo, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira has been using the nickname Ronaldinho. To go further, the Brazilian Ronaldo played under the name Ronaldinho too, in Atlanta, 1996, to distinguish him from teammate Ronaldo Guiaro.
If you're Korean, chances are that your last name is either Kim, Park (sometimes Pak), or Lee.
The joke is that if you throw a rock off the mountain near Seoul you'll hit someone with one of those names.
The Chinese are not quite as bad as the Koreans, but there is still a roughly 1-in-4 chance that any random Chinese you meet will have the family name Wang/Wong, Li, or Zhang.
In fact, there's an old Chinese saying referencing the five most popular names in China that goes, "Zhang Wang Li Zhao Tian Xia Liu". As is typical of Mandarin Chinese, there's a Pun involved - the fifth name, "Liu", is a homophone for the word for "flow". The saying thus translates roughly to "Zhang's, Wang's, Li's, and Zhao's fall from the sky".
Project Steve is a list of scientists who believe in evolution, all of whom are named Steve (or a variant thereof) in honour of Steven Jay Gould.
Averted by Apple Computer, which was founded by two guys named Steve.
Sebastian Vettel started driving for Formula One race team Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) in late 2007. For 2008, his teammate was Sébastien Bourdais. When Vettel moved to STR's sister team Red Bull Racing in 2009, he was replaced by Sébastien Buemi as Bourdais' teammate. Sadly, when Bourdais was fired mid-2009, his replacement was named Jaime and not a variant of Sebastian. However, STR at the end of 2009 STR attempted to have rallying champion Sébastien Loeb test for them, presumably as a possible driver for 2010, though Loeb was unable to obtain the Super License required to race in Formula 1. So Loeb returned to rallying where his team mate at Citroen was Sébastien Ogier.
And now for One Steve Limit-lite: One of Mercedes's drivers is Nico Rosberg, and one of Williams's drivers is Nico Hulkenberg.
In the past, there was Mika Hakkinen and Mika Salo.
And in the past brothers have competed in F1-Michael and Ralf Schumacher.
Timo and Tommi Makinen (no relation), both champion rally drivers, both nicknamed the "Flying Finn".
In NASCAR drivers who raced most of their careers at the same time include Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett; Jeff Gordon and Robby Gordon (no relation); Cale Yarborough and Lee Roy Yarbrough (also no relation, note the spelling!)
Additionally, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Dale Jarrett were active at the same time from 2000 to 2008.
There was a Facebook group about how if Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner got married, back when they were dating, they would both be Taylor Lautner.
Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, co-hosts of ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning". They go by Greenie and Golic.
Averted by the team of Bob Gale and Bob Zemeckis, who simply went by the collective moniker "Bob & Bob" when they worked together on the Back to the Future films.
Have you tried to read a history book about the Hundred Years War? There are about a dozen different guys that are named Charles (Charles V the Wise, Charles VI the Mad and VII the Victorious, Charles of Anjou, of Aragon, Charles the Bad of Navarra, etc)...which makes it kinda difficult to follow.
Evidently feeling there weren't enough Charleses, prince Wenceslas of Luxemburg, who grew up at the French court, changed his name to Charles at his confirmation in honour of one of the last direct-line Capetians, king Charles IV. He fought at Crecy on the losing side along with his father, king John (the Blind) and after his father's death went on to become emperor Charles IV of Germany.
Dave Gorman and his friend (also named Dave) had a drunken bet going. Namely that there was another "Dave Gorman" an assistant manager for East Fife FC. So they travelled several hundred miles from London to Fife to meet him. When they got there, they asked the manager if he knew any other Dave Gormans. "No. Well, wait, my Dad is also Dave Gorman. Oh yeah, and my son is Dave Gorman too." Dave Gorman (the original) happened to be a stand up comedian...so he travelled internationally to find other Dave Gormans and then he made his own show called "Are You Dave Gorman?
Dave Gorman (on Letterman): Yes, I have an idea for a new show. It's called "Are you Osama Bin Laden?"
Dave Gorman's friend... "Dave" Danny Wallace?
Mr & Mrs. Kelly Hildebrandt. They met when she looked up people with her last name on Facebook.
Many large creative projects, like creating a stage show or making a film, will include lots of people, and occasionally there are some who share the same name. For example, in all his films since Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan has worked with special effects supervisor Chris Corbould.
Early in the station's life, UPN ran an ad campaign based on the fact that three of their exclusive shows starred people named Richard: Platypus Man with Richard Jeni, Marker with Richard Grieco, and Legend with Richard Dean Anderson. How successful was this ad campaign? Note that none of the three shows have a page at this time.
Also on UPN was Star Trek Voyager, which had Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill, and Robert Picardo as part of the cast. They went by Robert, Robbie, and Bob respectively to keep things straight.
Harrison Ford was worried that he shared the same name as a silent movie star, but his fame as since eclipsed that of the original Harrison Ford.
When citing a list of United States presidents that only gives last names, presidents with similar names will often be differentiated with nicknames and variations. For instance, referring to "Roosevelt" often means TheodoreRoosevelt, whereas one who is referring to Franklin DelanoRoosevelt will refer to him as FDR. More recently, simply saying "George Bush" would tend to refer to the more recent one by default (though many will call him "George W. Bush" specifically anyway), while someone referring specifically to George Bush senior would likely call him "George H.W. Bush".
Subverted by Grover Cleveland (who really was the same guy who just got elected twice non-consecutively). Also Played With in that John Fitzgerald Kennedy is almost always called JFK, even though he was the only President Kennedy. This may be because of his many relatives who were also active in politics.
In Mexico there's the "C.U.R.P." which is an ID number based on your name, birthplace and birthday, if your name is "José" (for males) or "María" (for females) then that name's ignored for curp purposes unless it's your only name (it's actually more common for people in Mexico to have two names than only one). For added fun you can ask any "María" if her full name is "María Guadalupe", you have a 50% chance to get it right.
The C.U.R.P.'s code is based on your name, first and second surnames, plus the date of birth. Given that there are a lot of surnames in Mexico that are really common, even to the point of making jokes (e.g. Juan Pérez), it's really common for people to have a repeated code (ex. GOHP130459 = GOnzález Hernández Pablo 13(d)/04(m)/59(y)), in which case they add an extra number (ex. GOHP1304592)
In the Canadian House of Commons, when there's a standing vote, MPs are called by their last names — unless they share a last name with (or have a similar last name as) another MP, in which case the name of the riding (constituency) is appended: for example, Ms. Davies (Vancouver East) and Mr. Davies (Vancouver-Kingsway). Fate dictates that the longer and more unwieldy your riding name is, the more likely you are to share a name with another MP, just to make life difficult for the clerks; during one troublesome period, there was a M. Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord) and a M. Guimond (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques).
Winston Churchill was a best-selling American novelist at the beginning of the twentieth century. When the British Winston Churchill began his public career, he identified himself as Winston S. Churchill so he wouldn't be confused for the then better-known author.
The town of Phil Campbell, Alabama is the home of the Phil Campbell Convention, which hosted 22 Phil Campbells and 1 Phyllis Campbell when it was first held in 1995. When the town took a direct hit from an F-5 tornado in April 2011, guests for that year stepped up to provide help.
Chris Colfer and Darren Criss who play Kurt and Blaine on Glee. It's been said that if they got married, Chris's name would be Chris Criss, or Chris Squared.
American Football players Roy E. Williams and Roy L. Williams who, to confuse matters even further, both played for the Dallas Cowboys at the same time. Luckily since one was a Wide Receiver and the other Safety they were never on the field at the same time (although the temptation to use the WR as an extra Safety in "prevent" defences must have been quite high...)
Former Miami Dolphin running back Karim Abdul-Jabbar changed his name to Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar after been (ahem) firmly requested to do so by former NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
A startling example was Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who had a younger brother, also called Nicolae. Supposedly their drunken father announced the name at the younger child's christening, forgetting that he already had a son with that name.
During Finnish Presidental Election in 2012, there were three people running named Paavo; Lipponen, Väyrynen and Arhinmäki. None of them made it to the second round.
At the 1996 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, two of the finalists were Michael Dupee and Michael Daunt. Dupee, the eventual winner, spent the finals being called "Mike" to avoid confusion.
In the 2008 Teen Tournament, the final two games featured two Rachels, so one went by "Steve" (really!).
It's been said that Star Trek did so well because it had good Genes. Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (Senior), and Eugene Lee Coon.
The above is more punny when you realize the Greek prefix "eu-" does literally mean "good". The name Eugene is Greek in origin and translates to "well-born".
There's the Galton-Watson process in mathematics, which investigates the extinction probability of family names. Francis Galton came up with it because his contemporary Victorians were concerned about great aristocratic lines dying out. It shows how the number of names falling (in the absence of new ones) is inevitable given time. And sure enough, countries which have been using surnames extensively for a long time (like China) now have relatively few different last names, while countries which adopted them more recently (like much of Europe) have many more.
The Germans in the 16- and 1700's didn't have much name variety. Famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach had a great-grandfather Johannes Hans Bach, first cousin once removed Johann Michael Bach, father Johann Ambrosius, brother Johann Jacob, second cousin Johann Nicolaus, a first cousin once removed, an uncle, and a son named Johann Christoph, as well as two other sons named Johann Christian and Johann Christoph Friedrich. And a daughter Johanna.
A rugby test between Ireland and New Zealand on June 23rd, 2012 had three Smiths in the New Zealand backline - Aaron (halfback), Ben (right wing) and Conrad (outside centre) - resulting in hilarious moments where the commentators would talk about how "Smith passes to Smith, who kicks the ball for Smith to chase," or something similar.
Another example from rugby union is the Welsh national team, which is famous for its impressive number of Joneses.
Andy Hillenburg is an American stock car driver from Indiana, and Andy Hillenburg is an American winged sprint car driver from Oklahoma. The former also raced non-winged sprint cars earlier in his career.
The American Constitutional Convention of 1787 had two delegates named "Charles Pinckney." Both were from South Carolina, and were cousins (well first cousins, once removed); they distinguished themselves because the elder one had the middle name "Cotesworth" and often went by the initials "C.C.", while the younger had no middle name at all.
According to Leonard Susskind in 'The Black Hole Wars' There were lots of physicists in the twentieth century named Steve, and parents even started naming their kids Steve, hoping that they'll become great physicist. (if someone remembers the details, please correct)
When a Hassidic Rebbe dies it's common for his followers to name children after him. A few years after the passing of Rabbi Yoel of Satmar, kindergarten teachers in Satmar schools had to deal with classes consisting almost entirely of Yoels and Yoelis.
The Confederate Army had generals A.P. Hill and D.H. Hill. They both fought at the battle of Antietam.
They also had two full (four-star) generals called Johnston, Albert Sydney (who was killed at Shiloh) and Joseph (who survived the war).
Try not to confuse the Army of Tennessee (Confederate, named for the state) with the Army of the Tennessee (Union, named for the river).
There were several regiments in the Union and Confederate armies that bore the same name, most commonly of course in the border states (e. g. 1st Kentucky, 2nd Tennessee, 3rd Maryland, 3rd Missouri etc.). A very notable case was the 1st South Carolina Regiment of the Union Army, one of the first Black regiments, which bore the same number and name as one of the first Confederate units.
Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson C. Davis was a general serving with the Union army.
Winfield Scott was the commanding general of the Union forces at the beginning of the war. Winfield Scott Hancock was one of the more famous corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac.
Although to be fair, Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886) was named after Winfield Scott (1786-1866), who was first promoted to (Brigadier) General during the War of 1812, and so had been quite famous as a military leader for some time before the younger man was born, although he was still the commanding officer of the Union forces at the start of the Civil War, until he was 75. Interestingly enough, both men ran (unsuccessfully) for President - Scott was the Whig Party candidate in 1852, and Hancock was the Democratic Party candidate in 1880.
Any astronomical or geographical feature, so as to prevent confusion when scientists want to discuss about them. However, Kansas City is one of the exceptions.
Professional snooker has always had a player called 'Davis' at the top level. The 1920s, 30s and 40s were dominated by Joe Davis. His younger brother Fred played during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Then the unrelated Steve Davis played through the 1980s to the 2000s. In the 2010s another unrelated Davis — Mark Davis — is in the top rank of players.
There have been at least three politicians called Gerhard Schröder in post-1945 Germany, including West Germany's first foreign minister, the Christian Democrat (and former Nazi party member) Gerhard Schröder, and the seventh federal chancellor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder.