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February 13 2010

The Joss Whedon TV character name generator. Small Screen Scoop ponders on Joss' penchant "for naming characters by using the last half of their full first name".

So I just realised that when my mother wanted to nickname me Zanna as a child (vetoed by my father; I ended up as Annie, unfortunately) - she was simply channelling Joss. Hah.
Erm...not sure it works with Kay...unless you all want to call me ay? Or maaaybe I could work in another of Joss' tricks and put an a on the end?

Okay - you may all now call me Aya.
I think it could work for my name (Carrie), but I'm not sure how to spell it. If I wrote Rie, I'm sure it would be pronounced rye, and I don't want to be confused for bread. Ree? I don't know, but I think I like it better than Carrie.
Huh, I would be Leigh... But I could just re-spell my name too have a Joss one (Kayleigh to Kaylee!)
I would be Mon or if I used one of my middle names Ant.
Hello everone, my name is El - Or possibly Walt. Depends on what mood I'm in.
We call my daughter Nicole, Cole or sometimes Coly. Unusual, yes. Never knew it was Jossian. Cool! ;-)
Hmmm... would than make me Ifer? I think I'll stick with Jen.
I know Low, Olet, Delia, and Colm are always laughing at Chris, Winnie, and Alex for having such un-Jossian names. =P

Mine would be...Cholas?...Olas? Something like that.

Also: the formula seems to depend on a name that already has a common nickname. (Alexander to Alex, Winifred to Winnie (haven't seen one since The Wonder Years, but still), Christopher to Chris.) Joss is all about subverting your expectations.

[ edited by Xantastic1316 on 2010-02-13 15:03 ]
Dana5140 I LOVE that Andrew means manly... Also Mr Gordo (meaning fat/obese) made me laugh!
I would, in fact, be Topher.

I'd rather just be Bicks.
Heh. This reminds me of a time when a group of friends decided to all call each other by our middle names for the evening. It was very confusing.

As far as 'normal' nicknames go, I think I prefer Zanna to Susy. But either is better than Annie and I'd never answer to Sue. It's good to have options... :)
I guess I could be Trick, but then I'd have to start working for the mayor and hiring weirdos to kill the Slayer(s).
Emily -> Ily?
I'm Cameron, but Eron sounds like Enron - bad omen right there.
Molly or Becca. Either works for me.
I'd be 'An' which would be workable were I not a bloke. Three given names and not one of them works with the Whedon shortening schema (though my middle names have conventional short versions).


Also, Damn you Wales ! Sorry, OT but I had to get that off my chest. Carry on ;).
Yeah, I'd be Quest.

Cute article, but a bit fluff. I'm not sure three instances (Not "instants," as they put it) counts as a penchant. It could just be that Joss enjoys the unusual.

I once had a list of the meanings of character and actor names, and it was interesting how some of the meanings truly fit the person. I'll have to dig that out again and post it here. Funny thing - for the longest time I thought Giles was his first name. I was a bit surprised to learn it was Rupert. (I came into the show late.) Rupert, by the way, is a variant of Robert, which means "bright, shining fame." That one I can remember off the top of my head. (Beats the meaning of my actual first name, which is "rope, binding.")

I skimmed over the comments in that article, and had to laugh at Sergey, who insisted "I'm not gey!"
Chael, or, if I go with my middle name, Vid.
It just occurred to me to try this out on other non-shortened Whedonverse characters, and they're even less well suited than some of us. At the end of season 1, Angel Investigations' members would have been Gel, Sley and Delia. Heh. Just... no.
My name could work out to Ani, which isn't so bad (better than my real name, actually).

Years after I first watched Buffy, I actually met someone who goes by Xander, which is actually very fitting for him in addition to being cool.
I, as a rule, go by josh rather than Joshua. That said, a good friend and sometimes drummer of mine has always called me "Schwa", which kinda fits this scheme. Anyone else in the world I would not let call me that. Certainly not for as many years as I've had this nickname! (somewhere in the neighborhood of 13)
My middle name gives me Rome. (Sooo Catholic :)
From the article, Alice would be Lice. BWAH! I have to scream with laughter on the inside since I'm still getting over bronchitis.

Yeah, Nya (for me) just doesn't cut it. But what future character names would be boss? (Can't wait to hear what the names are in Cabin in the Woods):

Neane (Janeane)
Chi, pronounced Kai (Malachi) - my favorite
Cille (Lucille)
Gelo (Angelo) Funny because he'll still be teased for being Jello
Wyn (Bronwyn)

You can make a million of 'em.
My one-syllable real-life moniker doesn't qualify at all, but AdmitIt is vaguely catchy.
Mine would be Na. :P
I would be Bert, better then being called Herb i guess
Nathan... Lame. Take my middle name and I could be Chael, though. That one's pretty cool.
Me too fortunateizzi. My middle name would be Keri which is so much better than the original.
Ren? En? Uren? Auren?
If I go with my middle name, Elle. <--- That I'm ok with. In fact, it makes me joyous because Elle was by far my favourite character from Heroes.

[ edited by CarpeNoctem on 2010-02-13 19:08 ]
Actually, I would be Liam--fairly standard name there. (Or "I am" I guess?) Or, since I often go by Billy, Ly. (Lee?)

(And btw, I think that the William/Liam naming convention for Spike and Angel works out well--Spike is like Angel but with Will, as he fought for his soul whereas Angel got his reluctantly.)
l always thought it was cool how Joss use the navy's phonetic alphabet in naming his actives on Dollhouse how he came up with that concept was pure genius.
I'd be Sef, which kinda just sounds like "Seth" with a North London accent.
Just call me Rod.
I'd be "Tian"... Wow, this sucks.
Ryn. I dunno, kinda cool.
I think I shall buck this tradition and use the last part of my last name since "Nya" is right out: Rett. Actually, not too bad.
Arl just sounds like someone's being lazy with my first name. Or I'm a caveman.
I could be a 'Rah', but it sounds a lot like a cheer cut short. I prefer the name I was given in grade school. 'Haras' has a much better ring to it, don't cha think?
Heh, I had a friend called Haras too. It worked well enough for me as Hannasus too but not so much for Naillig and Amme. :)
Avid? Vid? Id?
"An" is obviously a no-go, but I could live with "Lan" - nice techie name.

I also note that this scheme would make the brothers Whedon, "Oss, Ed and Ack"
*shrugs* He has just as much of a habit of naming people after the FIRST half of their names. Cordelia was Cordy, Wesley was Wes, Angel was short for Angelus, Anya was short for Anyanka, etc. For that matter, he names plenty of characters after half of their LAST name, like Oz (Osbourne) and Wash (Washburn . . . hey, what's this guy have against people with "burn" in their last names?).

Seriously, I don't get what's so fascinating about a pattern of, as far as I can tell, exactly three characters. *rolls eyes*
Well, it isn't that unusual for longish names like Katrina (also Joss territory) Regina, etc. but it is sort of a concentration in one place, kind of. But I think this is more of a fun thing than a real way to analyze Joss's work, but watch someone prove me wrong. I mean, people still talk about Paul Newman's "H Pictures."
I guess with Willow Rosenberg, Michelle Flaherty, and Lily Aldrin Alyson Hannigan is in the short-I-sound phase of her career.

(In my futurefics Buffy and Angel name their youngest after Aunt Fred but she's always called Winnie. Her middle name is Faith but by a weird genetic accident she looks like Drusilla. Auntie Willow owns a business called Rougemont, Inc.)

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2010-02-13 22:47 ]
With Lily and Willow we could start assuming Alyson Hannigan is trying to start a plant theme. *nods*
Don't forget Rosenberg. You're definitely onto something there.

"An" is obviously a no-go, but I could live with "Lan" - nice techie name.

Lan party !

Not a proper syllable break though unfortunately. I kinda want to give it anyway though because then i'd be 'Wan', which is, like, virtually one third Jedi.
And she obviously meant to add 'Willow' to the end of that line in American Pie and she just never finished the sentence.

Anyone?

*crickets chirp*
"An" is obviously a no-go, but I could live with "Lan" - nice techie name

Iconic name, Lan. One of the main characters in Robert Jordans' Wheel of Time series. (Reminiscent of Aragorn.)
Chirp-chirp

Problem with calling me Bert is it sounds diminutive for a totally different name. Heck, my niece is 41 and she still calls me Robbie.

Now, if Alyson ever played a character named Hyacinth Kaplan it'd be a double-pattern, maybe even triple. Or she could be called Mia Donahue*, which would establish the pattern by breaking it. *the actual name of a character in the non-fanfic story "Trayvers" I'm working on but any resemblances to Aly are completley coincidental.
Well, I'm Parker Daniel Nystrom, so I could go with 'mongrel or inferior Dog', 'worse than Nathan', or 'opposed the civil rights act'. Great choices, there.
Although I had noticed this trend, especially among the nerdy-likeable characters, I think the more interesting point is that Joss (real name Joseph) has a preference for unusual nicknames for names that already have more traditional nicknames available.
I would be Ice, which strangely enough, is what my grade 6 teacher used to call me.
I would be "Yan" or "Ny" My name is Nyan.

Hmmmm, I don't know which I prefer.
The article's right that Firefly didn't have any, but Kaylee came close. Her full name was "Kaywinnet Lee Frye", right ? At least, I think she was introduced as such in "Shindig", but maybe it was a just an alias for the party that she and Mal were snuck into.

My name's too short, doesn't work. But backwords it's "Sirk", which was sorta dorky-fun for a day when we did that in grade school. I think we were inspired by the sequel novel to The Secret of NIMH, Racso and The Rats of NIMH, which we read/studied in Grade 4 (I know, "The Secret of NIMH" is really only the name for the Don Bluth animated adaptation, the first novel's really called "Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH" or something like that).

Buffy is a variation on Elizabeth, isn't it ? Elizabeth = Beth = Bethy = Buffy ? That was the word early on in the show's life, when folks were like, "What kind of name is Buffy?" (but it exists in real life, so). So although just "Buffy" is the character's real name (same as how I'm not a "Kristopher", just a Kris), she could almost qualify for this article's categorizing as well.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-14 06:24 ]
If I use my full name then it comes out as Topher, which isn't at all bad, but it's not very original.

If I use my abbreviated name, then it would be is or ris. That's kinda cool, but not really long enough. So I would have to come up with some other letters from somewhere, though not too many, as then what would be the point? Hmmm.

Well, I guess that I could use the remaining letters of my first name, stick them on at the end and that would make risch. But nah, what kind of a name is risch? ;)
If you pronounce "is" as "izz" instead of "iss" (rhyming with "hiss), could be cool (reminds me of the little eyeless, carnivorous critters in The Maxx, the Iszes). "Ris" works too. "He is ris!" Provokes superpowered Jesus/resurrection-theme imagery. Or it could be read as one of my favorite names, "Reese" (or Rhys, or Rease).
Thanks for the recommendations!

"izz" reminds me of Grey's Anatomy (Izzie), of which I am not a fan.

"Ris" isn't so bad, but I'm not trying to ride the coattails of Jesus. But even more worrisome if that some nicknames are meant to be the opposite of what they are. Like "Tiny" for a tall person and I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about me. For example, 'We call him "ris" because he has trouble "rising" ' (ha ha). That would not work well with my fragile male ego.

"Reese" would have been fine a few years ago, but now I automatically think of Derek & Kyle Reese from T:SCC. They were fine, but then I think of those T:SCC fans who have trolled various Dollhouse discussions in anger and I become sad. =(

So, despite all of your thoughtful and good suggestions, I think that I will stick with what I have. Regardless, thank you very much for the suggestions. =)

(And yes, I have been told before that I over think things.lol)
I guess I'm Rell. Which is the first time I've ever thought my first name sounded anything other than dorky or hickish. Or possibly Kryptonian.

Ryn. I dunno, kinda cool.
  ~  kazzmere | February 13, 20:50 CET

In my younger days my family had a cat named Katharyn which became nicknamed Ryn, so I think it sounds a fine name.
Especially if you also have problems crossing a sunbeam without frolicking and/or falling asleep.
Carolyn becomes Lyn, which is what I went by in elementary school. Of course, since Lynn is already used by itself, some of the fun is lost.
Especially if you also have problems crossing a sunbeam without frolicking and/or falling asleep

Wow, Grotesk, it's like you know me.
Mine would be Ber (Amber). Aaron Burr, perhaps? Burrs attached to my socks? Delightful. Yep, it sucks. My middle name would be Ynn (Lynn).

I've toyed with smooshing them into Amblyn before, but it always ends up making me picture E.T. going across the moon (Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment).

[ edited by NileQT87 on 2010-02-14 21:45 ]
Is Xander a common name / abbreviation in the US? It's not common here in Australia - and often get's spelled with a Z. Alex is the more common abbreviation of Alexander.

I ask because we named our son Alexander - initially because I liked Alex, but my wife thought it was too short. It wasn't until about six months later I worked out I could call him Xander - with some glee. Xander is the name that has since stuck. In fact if someone refers to him as Alex I often have no idea who they are talking about.

And if my wife asks that's the story I'm sticking to!!

PS My wife's name is Jayne. But obviously she came with that name and it's not a Firefly reference!
To my knowledge, Xander is incredibly uncommon; Alex is standard here too. And that seems to be why Joss used it. As I said upthread, Joss is all about subverting your expectations.
Sadly I can't play due to having monosyllabic first and middle names. I do go by both, Ruth Ann, so I guess what would shorten that to Ann. But that brings back long repressed memories of high school French class when I was harrassed by the teacher for choosing such a boring "French name" (I've always liked my name and never saw the need to go by another). So I'll stick with my family nickname - Rue.

I do have friends who have an 18 month old named Matthew who goes by "Chooch". It's a combination of a young friend who dropped the "Matt" part of his name and the fact that Chooch had to wear a helmet, which was decorated with choo-choo train stickers, for a while. Given his family, I'm pretty sure he'll be "Chooch" pretty much forever.

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