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Identically Named Group

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Sheila: I want you to meet my gal pals. This here is Sheila, and this is Sheila, and this is...
Aricele: Aricele. But my friends call me Sheila.

A specific subtrope of Significant Name Overlap, which is about a defined group of characters who are clustered together based on the fact that they share the same name. The group may even be named after their shared name, in a form of Egocentric Team Naming, or called as such by other characters. In some cases, this is justified by renaming new members or only recruiting people who share the name, although they may have one member whose name doesn't fit in for laughs.

This is usually done to emphasize that the group is supposed to be fairly homogeneous — they can all be superficially similar or part of the same organization or team. It also allows creators to reuse the same name in a way that isn't confusing since they are all lumped together.

This can overlap with Inexplicably Identical Individuals if they also all have the same appearance. Compare Planet of Steves, where everyone in a setting or place is named the same thing; this is restricted to smaller groups within a population of otherwise normally named people. See also Theme Naming and Collective Identity.


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  • Used for a joke in an ad for Nynex Yellow Pages. A group of men at a convention are all of them are named "Herb". After we hear from some of them, we cut to a listing in the yellow pages for "Herbs" (as in what you'd use to garnish food).

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sakura Discord is about a group of six friends who all have the word 桜 "Sakura" in their name.
    • Used as a Mythology Gag in the creators next series where the protagonist's three best friends have the character 田 "Da" in their last names. And one of them is also named Sakura.
  • In the English dub of Tokyo Mew Mew, the three mean girls who bullied Bridget/Lettuce were known as the Three Beckys.

    Comic Books 
  • British girls' comic Bunty had a long-running strip called "The Four Marys", which featured four schoolgirls who were all named Mary. To avoid confusion, they were (except in early installments) referred to by nicknames based on their surnames note .
  • Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen: Someone places an ad in the paper asking for help from "Jimmy Olsen", only for six boys with the name to turn up - Superman's Jimmy (who was the actual target) and five others of varying appearances. The six agree to go by nicknames (e.g., "Tall Jimmy") to minimize confusion. This works among themselves, but the rest of the Daily Planet staff (who kept running into them) found it rather bewildering to call for "Jimmy Olsen" and get an entirely different person. As the adventure concludes, they agree to meet up again (though future meetings are never seen on-panel).
  • Rat Queens: The Four Daves is an adventuring party composed of men all named Dave. To tell them apart, they're referred to by their species (Human Dave, Orc Dave, etc.)
  • Shazam!: The Lieutenant Marvels, three boys who are all named Billy Batson and meet up to help the "main" Billy Batson (Captain Marvel/Shazam himself).

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the documentary The Filth And The Fury, John Lydon talks about his days before Sex Pistols, where he would hang out with a group of other teens who all shared the same first name, talking about it being like a A Clockwork Orange gang: "The Johns". Included in this group was John Ritchie, later to be known as Sid Vicious.
  • In Heart of Darkness (1958), a character reveals that she is one of a harem of women whom Kurtz has given the name Maria, after his daughter.
  • The titular Heathers are a clique of popular girls who all have the first name Heather. They are distinguished via surnames (Heather Chandler is the Alpha Bitch, Heather Duke is the Beta Bitch, and Heather McNamara is the nice one). All hell breaks loose when they induct New Transfer Student Veronica into their group.
  • Inside Man had a gang of bank robbers who were all named with variations of "Steve". Of course, they were trying to confuse people.
  • In Office Space, the pair of consultants hired to help the company downsize are both named Bob; they are referred to as "the Bobs" throughout the film.
  • In the movie Our Lips Are Sealed starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the twins meet a girl named Sheila who later also introduces them to her friends, all named Sheila.
    Sheila: I want you to meet my gal pals. This here is Sheila, and this is Sheila, and this is...
    Aricele: Aricele. But my friends call me Sheila.

  • In The Adventures Of Ali Baba Bernstein, Ali Baba (real name David) Bernstein invites every other David Bernstein in the phone book to his birthday party. Most of them are adult men.
  • In Armada, Zack Lightman's two best friends both happen to have the first name "Michael", so he often refers to them as Cruz and Diehl, and sometimes resorts to calling them "the Mikes".
  • The Ashleys are three beautiful, fashionable, popular girls who rule their prep school. Of course, they are all named Ashley, and are distinguished by nicknames.
  • The Graveyard Book has the Jacks of All Trades, a secret brotherhood that has existed for thousands of years. All of the members are named Jack.
  • In The Ickabog, Ma Grunter renames all her orphans to John and Jane.
  • In the Thursday Next books, it's not uncommon for people to change their names to those of writers they particularly admire, regardless of gender. This eventually leads to enormous confusion, including "an incident in a pub where the assailant, victim, witness, landlord, arresting officer and judge had all been called Alfred Tennyson". The government stepped in and created a registry, so everyone with a name of this type also has an identifying number (tattooed behind their ear) they use for official purposes.
  • In the story "Too Many Daves" by Dr. Seuss, Mrs. Mccave has 23 sons and she named them all Dave.
  • Wayside School has the Erics, three boys all named Eric.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Acapulco: In the third episiode of season 2, Maximo fails to recall the names of Chad's college fraternity friends, who are all (like Chad) tall, white, and blond bros, so he just calls them all Chad in the narration.
  • Big Time Rush has the Jennifers (1, 2, and 3), a trio of self-absorbed actresses who rule Palm Woods.
  • In Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton addresses all the kitchen hands (male and female) as "Bob".
    "Bring on the next sabotage, Bobs!"
  • Jules's coworkers the Alisons on Dollface, comprised of Alison B, Alison S, and Izzy (who pretends her name is Alison).
  • Family Matters: In the episode "The Big Reunion", it's revealed that Carl was part of a high school band named The Darnells. The other three band members were all named Darnell, only Carl was the Odd Name Out.
  • Whenever he was a guest on Late Night With David Letterman, Chris Elliott would talk about how his father named his 10 brothers Bob (but named him Chris instead). They were all differentiated by the numbers 1-9 after their names (there was a set of twins; they were 6a and 6b). He says they all opened Bob's Big Boy restaurants across the country.
  • The Bruces from Monty Python's Flying Circus 'The Bruces Sketch'. Except for Michael, though he was renamed Bruce "to keep things clear".
    Bruce: Is your name not Bruce then?
    Michael: No, it's Michael.
    A Different Bruce: That's gonna cause a little confusion...
  • Newhart: "Hi. My name is Larry. This is my brother Darryl. And this is my other brother Darryl."
  • Invoked with the Chanels of Scream Queens (2015), a group of sorority girls who go by "Chanel" followed by a number. However, only Chanel #1 is actually named Chanel; the rest took the names on after being inducted into Kappa Kappa Tau.
  • Three Busy Debras is about the Debras, a group of suburban women all named Debra.

  • The Arrogant Worms live album Live Bait features a short intro to the song "Trees and Rocks", in which Trevor Strong complains that northern Ontario is eighty billion kilometres wide and inhabited by thirteen people, all of whom are named Frank. Even the girl.
  • For a time in the late 90s, the band They Might Be Giants consisted of two Johns (founding members John Linnell and John Flansburgh) and "the band of Dans": Dan Miller (lead guitar), Danny Weinkauf (bass guitar), and Dan Hickey (drums). This ended when Dan Hickey was replaced by Marty Beller in 2003.
  • Indie rock band The Three Johns, comprising Jon Langford, John Hyatt, and Phillip "John" Brennan.

    Video Games 
  • The Bard's Tale: The titular Bard comes across an ancient order of monks all inexplicably named Bodb. He gets so frustrated with this by the time he meets the last, he threatens to run him through if he says his name is Bodb. So the final Bodb says he can call him homely instead.
  • The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark: Candopher Candyman, on introducing himself, says 'Candopher' is an "old family name" — his father was also named Candopher, as was his grandfather, and his grandmother... it turns out that everyone in his family, male and female, is named Candopher.

    Web Animation 
  • Love of the S*n: The S*n is sorted alphabetically, meaning Charger Block's room is surrounded by thousands of other charger blocks who are also named Charger Block.

    Web Video 
  • Parodied in Game Grumps' "Two Steves" gag from their Sonic Boom playthrough. They're just two characters named Steve... and not only is the only reason they hang out and do a show together because they share the same name, but that's their entire personality.
  • An episode of Teen Girl Squad introduced two other nerdy students from their school, Sci-Fi Greg and Dn'D Greg. The spinoff short "4 Gregs" reveals they're part of a quartet, with Open Source Greg and Japanese Culture Greg being the other two members. There is also a "Regular Greg" but he is not in their clique.
  • The Rare Hunters of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series are all named Steve, because Marik's mind-control powers only work on guys named Steve, or people whose middle name is Steve. Or last name, presumably. It also works on girls named Steve, although those are understandably rare. Téa is one of them since Marik forced her (and Joey) to legally change their names to Steve. He admits it's an annoying limitation.
  • Josh of Let's Game It Out made a Let's Play of Tech Corp where he only hired employees named "Jane Miller". He also made a game brand named "Janeware" whose games all consisted of plays of the name "Jane" (Into the Janeverse, Jane Harder, The Janenin...)

  • In Cheating Men Must Die, nearly every character Su Lüxia transmigrates into shares her name, the sole exception being from a world she's already visited and taken over a character from.
  • Check, Please!: To Bitty's confusion, everyone on the Samwell University men's lacrosse team appears to be named Chad. If the captain, Chad L., is anything to go by, they also share a slang dialect that's incomprehensible to outsiders.
  • The Dave Conspiracy in Narbonic consists of everyone in the world who is named "Dave." If a Dave is kicked out, a mysterious something forces him to go by "David."

    Western Animation 
  • In Big Hero 6: The Series, there is a trio of villains called the Mad Jacks, consisting of two men named Jack and a woman named Jaq (pronounced the same). One of the Jacks was originally called Greg but changed his name to fit this trope.
  • The titular Eds from Ed, Edd n Eddy are a group of friends who all have the first name "Edward". Ed is the tall Dumb Muscle, Double D (nicknamed as such due to his name being spelled "Eddward") is The Smart Guy, and Eddy is The Napoleon and self-proclaimed leader of the trio.
  • Kid Cosmic: There's the three recurring patrons of Mo's Oasis, who are named Carl, Carla, and Carlos. In the final episode, they are joined by an alien named Carlax.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: After Zack left his old Boy Band the Lumberzacks, his bandmate Max took over, renamed them the Lumbermaxes, and made everybody else change their name to Max.
  • The Oblongs has the Debbies, a group of popular girls that are all coincidentally named Debbie. The six of them even all look identical to one another, despite being unrelated. They all take great pride in their wealth and good looks, ostracizing and bullying anyone that doesn't meet their standards.
  • In The Owl House, Word of God confirmed that all of the Grimwalkers before Hunter were also named Hunter. Belos did start off giving them individual names, but eventually gave up on that and gave all of them the same name, both as a sick play on his occupation (Witch Hunter) and because he didn't actually see them as individual people.
  • Recess:
    • There's a group of girls who're in the same grade as the main six who all have the first name "Ashley." They all dress in stylistically similar outfits and are mostly distinguished by the first letter of their last name—the last names of the four girls are Armbruster ("Ashley A"), Boulet ("Ashley B"), Quinlan ("Ashley Q") and Tomassian ("Ashley T"). In the episode where it's revealed to the entire school that Spinelli's first name is also Ashley and she's forced to join the group, she's temporarily referred to as "Ashley S."
    • Later episodes reveal that Ashleys A, B, Q, and T each have a younger brother named Tyler (Tylers A, B, Q, and T) and a younger sister named Brittany (Brittanys A, B, Q, and T). In the episode introducing the latter, there was Chain of Deals that partially involved getting Ashley A's diary back from her sister, who's a kindergartener at their school — when Spinelli asks, "Which one of you is Brittany?", four little girls resembling the Ashleys step forward. Spinelli ultimately has to specify "Um... Brittany A."
    • An episode showed the Ashleys' mothers together in exactly the same way as their oldest daughters, indicating that they're friends—and, if they're anything like their children, it's probably safe to assume that they also all have the same first name.
    • In an episode where Spinelli's forced to take ballet lessons, she meets a quartet of snooty ballerinas who all have the first name "Megan" (and also resemble the Ashleys).
  • In The Simpsons, when Bart and Lisa start attending a school in Waverly Hills, Lisa tries to make friends with a trio of girls named Caitlin, Katelyn, and Kate Lynn.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Dear Vikings", all the Vikings Spongebob and Squidward meet are named Olaf... except one.
    Viking: This is Olaf. And this is Olaf. And this is Olaf. This is Olaf, Olaf, Olaf, Olaf, and um...
    Olaf: Olaf.
    Viking: Olaf.
    Squidward: So, let me guess. Your name must be...
    Viking: That's right. Gordon.

    Real Life 
  • Project Steve is a list of scientists who believe in evolution, all of whom are named Steve (or a variant thereof) in honour of Stephen Jay Gould. It was a tongue-in-cheek Self-Imposed Challenge for the project to demonstrate the sheer overwhelming majority of scientists in favor of evolution rather than against it, as it surpassed the number of signatories of the creationist list (which had no such limitation) that prompted the project in the first place.
  • Three similar world records have been held: largest gathering of people with the same surname,note  one for first names,note  and one for both first and last names.note 
  • Boxer George Foreman's boys all share their dad's first name.
  • The Eric Conspiracy of Unix system manglers called Eric.
  • In the NFC North division of the National Football League, the head coaches during the 2019 and 2020 seasons included Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears), Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions), and Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers), with the fourth coach being Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings).


Video Example(s):


The Ashleys

When Spinelli's first name is revealed to be Ashley, she's forced to join the school's group of Ashleys, to her horror.

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