Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Names from Parks and Recreation

Hello, readers!

Today's post is about one of my all-time favorite TV shows, NBC's Parks and Recreation. For those of you who haven't seen it, it stars Amy Poehler as a civil employee doing her best to keep her hometown of Pawnee, Indiana running.

Being that the character of Leslie Knope is one of my personal heroes, I decided to take a look at the list of main characters (excluding Mark) and review their names. Let's go!

Popular from the 1950's through the 1980's, Leslie has only begun to decline in recent decades. It was originally used for boys, and still has an upbeat, unisex vibe. Next to similar newcomers Rosalie, Harley, and Aurelie, I think Leslie's sound will keep it in the top 1000 for awhile.

Primarily short for Benjamin, Ben is now its own stand-alone name at #723 in the US. It's concise and friendly sound has made it more popular in the UK and Germany, too. I personally like the long form of the name, but Ben packs a lot of punch in only three letters!

This is a very bright and springy name for a less-than-enthusiastic character. April has now been surpassed by other month names, but the connotation of sun and flowers will keep it around. Sisters Heather and Dawn have also been on the decline.

Like Ben, Andy is a nickname-turned-name, but doesn't quite have the same gravity. I still think of goofy Andy from Parks and Rec, or young Andy from Toy Story - a little immature. Still, it's very sweet and accessible for any little one.

Arguably among the simplest of names, Ann is still well-known, but not well-used. Variants Anna or Hannah are the current favorites, and somehow sound more complete. Still, Ann makes a fantastic middle name, especially for long last names.

Short for Christopher or Christian, the name Chris spiked in the 1960's but declined slowly afterward. The religious-based, multigender appeal has kept it in use for all kinds of babies. But many Chris names seem overused at this point, so I'd look for a less-common option.

All of his appellations are on the decline, after peaking in the 1940's. But these could be quirky, unexpected nicknames for a new baby! Longer names like Jerome, Garrett, and Terrence are preferred today.

The savvy, luxurious businesswoman of the show, Donna's strong and feminine name suits her well. These days, another Italian word referring to a woman has been on the rise: Ella. And somehow I'm having trouble seeing the name Donna getting popular again anytime soon.

Long-form Thomas has never left the top 100 in the US, so while some points are lost for lack of creativity, other points are gained for staying power and elegance. There are dozens of namesakes, real and fictional, throughout history, so pick your favorite!

The no-nonsense libertarian of the bunch, Ron Swanson has some of the more memorable lines on the show. His first name, however, is not quite as notable - both Ron and Ronald have been declining in popularity for years. Variants Reynold or Renaldo are a bit more enticing.

Tell me your favorite names in the comments!

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