Do you have a really unfortunate name? Do you know anybody who has an unfortunate name? I don’t just mean a kind of dumb name or one that makes everybody laugh, but a name that is truly dreadful. Almost as if the parents of the so-named person had a sense of humor verging over the line of wicked and into downright lethal. You may not know anyone with a name worth suing over, but you can bet some of your favorite TV shows have featured characters who might have a case.
Joey Joe-Joe Jr. Shabadoo
Is this the worst name in the history of the world? Well, it’s not the most embarrassing and that counts for something. It is a mouthful and certainly does not roll trippingly off the tongue Joey Joe-Joe Jr. Shabadoo starts out as a name made up out of the air by Homer Simpson but the joke takes a significant left turn when it is immediately revealed that one of the barflies who frequents Moe’s Tavern actually bears that unfortunate name.
The British nerd comedy “The IT Crowd” gives us the character named Peter Phile. On paper, Peter Phile may not look like such a horrible name. Certainly nothing worth suing the parents over. But when you say the name Peter Phile, especially if you run the two names together, this seeming innocuous moniker takes on a whole new level of malevolence. Try it and see what I mean.
Corky Sherwood was the young, blonde Debbie Norville-esque character who showed up on FYI after Murphy Brown had been there for years and made it her own. Corky is a pretty difficult name to live with, I’ll grant you, but not enough to cause significant pain in its bearer. Things become a bit bleaker and unfortunate when your fame rests upon audience identification with the name Sherwood and you happen to fall in love with a man whose last name is Forrest. Corky could have simply taken her husband’s name and left it at that. Or she could have simply stuck with her own name. But she was a unique combination of old-fashioned and progressive and so she did the whole hyphenated thing. And so she became Corky Sherwood-Forrest. Suddenly, Corky isn’t the worst thing about her name, yes?
Seriously, what kind of parents would name their kid Sara when their last is Sidle? Actually, this character from “CSI” may very well have taken that last name from her spouse when she married. I don’t watch the show and have no idea, but I have heard the name come up. Like Peter Phile, Sara Sidle does not look quite as unfortunate in print as it sounds when vocalized.
Nothing wrong with Leonard, even though it does have the word “nerd” within it. And while Hofstadter is hardly the best name to go through school, things could certainly be worse. Like, for instance, having hoity-toity parents who want to name you after one of the most important figures in the study of human evolution, Louis Leakey. Okay, admittedly, Leonard Louis Hofstadter would hardly be anyone’s first choice for a full name. But most certainly nobody would want to live through a childhood with the full name Leonard Leakey Hofstadter.