Unique Names Day: The secrets behind television’s weirdest character names
Happy Unique Names Day – the one day of the year where people with bizarre names are celebrated instead of bullied relentlessly. I know what you’re thinking – and yes, there is a day for everything now.
To celebrate this absolutely vital day in the calendar, we’ve compiled a list of five of our favourite television characters with unusual names. Of course, we could have just padded out a Game of Thrones character list – so we’ve limited ourselves to characters in shows set in the real world (where their parents – or creators – had no excuse).
1. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Buffy is the character that probably comes to mind instantly for most – how were we supposed to take the story of a undead-fighting high school girl seriously when her name was Buffy? Apparently that was the point of the peculiar name, according to creator Joss Whedon: “It was the name that I could think of that I could take the least seriously. There is no way you could hear the name Buffy and think, ‘This is an important person.’ To juxtapose that with Vampire Slayer, just felt like that kind of thing—a B-movie. But a B-movie that had something more going on. That was my dream.”
[Although Buffy can be a nickname for Elizabeth, Buffy’s name was just Buffy].
2. Screech Powers (Saved by the Bell)
Okay, the real name of Saved by the Bell‘s resident dork wasn’t actually “Screech”, it was the incredibly ordinary Samuel, but did you know Screech received his name from a real American producer? When asked about the name of the character, developer and producer of Saved by the Bell Peter Engel revealed: “I knew a guy named Screech Washington. He was a producer. I said I’m not going to hire him, but I’m going to steal your name.”
3. Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)
The show mostly just referred to him as Kramer (which is understandable if your first name is the same as a buffet chain), so you might have missed this one. The first name “Cosmo” wasn’t actually revealed until the show’s 97th episode, although originally the character’s given name was going to be the far less eyebrow-raising “Conrad”. Kramer’s first name was revealed as Conrad in a second season episode “The Bet”, which was axed due to its controversial nature.
“The Bet” writer Larry Charles said: “It was Conrad. Because I was kind of thinking of Conrad Birdie from ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’ So, it was Conrad, actually. And then eventually it became Cosmo. I remember feeling mixed feelings because I had named him Conrad. Although, Cosmo is a great name. But Conrad was good, too.”
4. Michonne (The Walking Dead)
The Walking Dead is totally set in the real world, except for the zombies, so it counts. While the name existed before The Walking Dead, it only seems to have been added to baby name websites after the emergence of the kickass katana user on the zombie drama. However, there is one way Michonne’s name is unlike any before it: The Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman has confirmed that the television show is actually pronouncing it wrong (it’s “Mi-shawn” not “Mi-shown).
5. Titus Andromedon (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Titus Andromedon is too cool a name for that to be the character’s real name, which is actually the relatively normal Ronald Wilkerson, but it sounds like the breakout character of the hit Netflix comedy was actually named after the actor himself: Tituss Burgess. Speaking about the character’s unusual moniker to Vulture, Burgess said: “I don’t know why Tina [Fey] and Robert [Carlock] decided to name him Titus, but I do know that it was written with me in mind. Beyond that sort of gift, I don’t know how they came to a conclusion that Titus was an appropriate name for the character. I laughed out loud.”