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Unusual Pop Culture Name

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Bear: And, uh, she's Elora Danan.
Kenny Boy: Like the baby in Willow? That's a great movie. That's a Ron Howard joint.

A character's parents obviously and explicitly named them after an aspect of pop culture, such as a famous fictional character, a title of a work, or a well-known brand.

Primarily, it is used to characterize their parents as eccentrics — maybe they were nerds, hippies, uneducated, or iconoclasts. The other effect of an Unusual Pop Culture Name is to give the character a complex relationship with their name. Because the reference is so overt, people around them might go Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, and the name is treated as an Embarrassing First Name or even an Unfortunate one by the name holder or their peers. In these cases, they might go with a more mundane nickname. Rarely, they might admire their namesake or have positive feelings towards the name despite all the attention it gets.

To qualify, the name must be an obvious pop culture reference, likely in the One-Mario Limit. Someone named "Paul" for Dune's Paul Atreides doesn't count because the name Paul is so commonplace that the association is diluted. But if his full name is something like "Paul Atreides Tropington" and his parents were mentioned to be science fiction fans, that counts because the name "Paul Atreides" can only be associated with Dune.

A common variation is one parent being the type to name their kids after a fictional character before the more sensible parent reins in that desire. Another variant is to involve Family Theme Naming, Shout-Out Theme Naming, or some other type of Theme Naming; a guy named "Luke" isn't all that noteworthy by himself, but if the audience learns his sister's name is Leia, then it's an unambiguous reference to Luke Skywalker and his twin Leia Organa from Star Wars, so it might raise a few more eyebrows.

A form of Shout-Out. Sister Trope to Named After Somebody Famous, when a character is named for a celebrity or historical figure. Compare Baby Name Trend Starter, when a fictional character inspires swathes of real-life parents to name their kid after them. Contrast Almost Famous Name, when the character has a name that is very close to a famous person's, but not exactly. Usually because the parents weren't aware of the famous connection and/or it isn't deliberate. See also Character Name Alias, when a character pretends their name is a fictional character's name.


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    Comic Books 
  • Death: The Time of Your Life: Vito introduces himself as " in ''The Godfather". He later mentions that his mother was a fan and nearly named him Don Corleone.
  • In Fables we see a minor human character who has two kids, Luke and Eowyn.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Johnny Kizinski names his youngest son Frodo after convincing his wife that it was the name of a relative of his from "the old country" who died fighting the Russians. His other son is named Sarek. And recently, Chad and Reese named their son Peeta.
  • Superman:
    • Superboy-Prime's complete name is Clark Kent. In his Alternate Universe, Earth-Prime, Superman is a fictional character, so his parents (surnamed Kent) named him after Superman as a joke. Coincidently, he later discovered that he was Superman's counterpart on this Earth during Crisis on Infinite Earths, so it all worked out.
    • Superman: Secret Identity is an Elseworlds version of Superboy Prime, meaning Superman exists in that world as a fictional character.
      • Clark Kent's parents deliberately named him after the famous superhero, of whom he's ironically not a fan, largely because of all the name-calling and jokes that result from such a name. This is all extra-complicated when he develops powers like Superman.
      • When Clark has twin daughters, he explicitly averts this by giving them non-Superman names... but they in turn name their sons Clark, Jimmy, and Perry.
  • Wonder Woman (2006) has Darla, a domestic abuse survivor who volunteers at a shelter for abused women. Her father gave her that name because he was a fan of Our Gang as a boy.

    Fan Works 
  • Merlin (2008):
    • Fanfics set in the future where Merlin doesn't use an alias will often have Merlin claim he was named for the Arthurian Legend character, when he in fact is the real Merlin.
    • Fics where Merlin and any other characters were reincarnated may play the trope straight if they keep the names of their original counterparts — while "Arthur" and "Gwen" are not unusual modern-day names, "Percival" and "Gwaine" need more of an explanation.

    Films — Live Action 

  • 1632: Tom Stone named his sons Faramir, Gwaihir and Elrond. In an admittance that the names are embarrassing, he has them go by Frank, Gerry, and Ron later on.
  • The protagonist of America 2014 is named Winston Smith, after the protagonist of 1984 (this Winston was also born in 1984). Of course, the whole book is a homage to 1984.
  • Avalon High: Ellie's full name is Elaine, named for Elaine of Astolat from "The Lady of Shalott" by her Medieval Literature scholar parents. For her part, Ellie doesn't love the fact that she's named for a character who killed herself over a man, but it ends up being a plot point since her name leads others to believe she is the incarnation of the Lady of Shalott, when she is actually the Lady of the Lake.
  • The children's book series The Genius Files by Dan Gutman features the thirteen-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald. Coke was not named after the soft drink but after a type of coal — their father was a college professor who had written a book about the history of coal and thought Coke sounded like a good name for a boy. But when the parents discovered to their surprise that they were having twins they decided to go with Theme Twin Naming and named their daughter Pepsi.
  • In The Dresden Files protagonist Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden's unusual middle names can be chalked up to his stage magician father naming him after stage magicians David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone Sr., Harry Blackstone Jr. (and probably Harry Houdini, too). Overlaps with Meaningful Name and Ironic Name, as Harry is a real wizard, but most people consider him either a madman or a stage magician.
  • Good Omens: A Hippie Parent named her daughter Pippin Galadriel Moonchild. She hates it and goes by "Pepper".
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins: Gilly's real first name is Galadriel. While she initially isn't fond of it, she develops more positive feelings when she learns that her namesake is a strong and rebellious queen.
  • While it's not explicitly stated in-universe, Word of God has confirmed that Harry Potter's Hermione Granger was named for the character from the Shakespeare play The Winter's Tale in an effort by her parents to seem more sophisticated. At the time the name was fairly obscure.
  • Chia Pet McKenzie from Idoru was named after the terracotta figurines. Her mother was an immigrant, did not speak English, did not understand the commercial, and just liked the sound of "Chia Pet", so it was not intentional.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The titular character's mother Sally Jackson named her son after Perseus of Classical Mythology because she knew he was a demigod and Perseus was the rare one who got a happy ending. He doesn't really hate it but makes a choice to go by "Percy".
  • The Scholomance: Protagonist Galadriel (named by her Hippie Single Mum) goes by El, and she even wryly compares herself to her namesake.
    Just think about the 'Love me and despair' version.
  • In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur meets a woman named Fenchurchnote  and immediately makes the connection to The Importance of Being Earnestnote  and asks if she was found in a handbag at Fenchurch Street Station. No, she was conceived there.
  • Théâtre Illuminata Trilogy: Beatrice "Bertie" Shakespeare Smith discovers she was named for the Beatrice from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, because, according to the woman who named her, "Of all Shakespeare's heroines, she best speaks her mind as is put upon by no one. Perhaps the name will gift that strength of spirit upon you." It does.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Terry and Sharon's twin daughters are called Cagney & Lacey. The titular characters of that show are New York police officers like Terry, so his job obviously influenced his baby naming.
    • Jake and Amy name their son after the protagonist of Die Hard, McClane (Mac for short), after rejecting the more commonplace "John" and "Bruce".
    • Jake legally changed his own middle name to "Sherlock" in homage to fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
  • In Community's fourth season finale, we see that an alternate universe version of Troy and Britta have had a child together named Chewbacca (ie. the Wookiee from Star Wars). Troy apparently convinced Britta that it was a traditional African name.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Ted asserts multiple times that he wants to name his children Luke and Leia after the Skywalker twins of Star Wars. Subverted in the end; the finale reveals that his daughter is named Penny, but he got to name the son Luke.
  • Subverted for laughs in Jane the Virgin. Petra and Rafael have twins called Anna and Elsa. It's a Running Gag that people will think they're named after the sisters from Frozen (2013), and one or both of the parents (usually Petra) will respond with confusion or indignation: they actually picked the names out of a hat.
  • One of the protagonists of Reservation Dogs is named Elora Danan Postoak, which is established when a meth head in the pilot spouts trivia about Willow when he learns her full name.
  • That '90s Show: Eric named his daughter Leia. He also wanted her middle name to be Tattooine, but Donna put her foot down.
  • The final episode of The Vicar of Dibley reveals that Geraldine's middle names are 'Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious Chim Chimeny Chim Chimeney Chim Chim Cher-ee'. She explains that her mother was a huge fan of Mary Poppins. And insane.

    Other Internet 

  • Sandra and Woo: Sandra's boyfriend is named Cloud because his parents were really into Final Fantasy VII around the time of his birth. His little sister is also named Yuna, though it's not stated if they were playing Final Fantasy X when she was born or if they were simply continuing the theme.
  • In Terror Island, one character admits his name is kind of weird and prefaces it by explaining that his parents were huge fans of William Shakespeare. They named him First Folio.

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