Sunday Summary: 12.11.17The other week I asked about television shows with great names on the Facebook page. One leapt out at me: Midge, from Amazon original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Not only are the names delicious, but I’ve been binge-watching the series. And it’s all kinds of fabulous.

It’s another project from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. There’s no question she’s a brilliant namer. And she’s got some great bits about names in the show, too – particularly Midge Maisel’s attempts to find a new stage name:

Midge: What do you think about my name?

Susie: Well, I wouldn’t send my parents a thank you card, but I’ve heard worse.

The lead characters are Miriam, nickname Midge, and Susie – not Susan. It’s set in 1950s Manhattan. Other names, some mentioned only briefly:

  • Zelda
  • Imogene
  • Archie
  • Abe
  • Harriet
  • Virgil
  • Astrid
  • Vivian
  • Petra
  • Louella
  • Esther
  • Palmer

Pretty brilliant, right? Also, Lenny Bruce features in the series, though he’s a real person so Sherman-Palladino doesn’t get credit for that one.

It has its dark moments, but it’s witty and funny and downright addictive.

And have I mentioned the names?


  • This category of not-quite-surnames fascinates me. They often strike me as unsophisticated. Rootless. Except then some of them will become well-established as given names, and my opinion will reverse. Daxton, for example, strikes me as handsome, though it’s mostly a recent invention.
  • Speaking of surnames, would you use your maiden name as a child’s middle? What if it wasn’t an easy surname? I know someone who used two of the four syllables of her maiden name as her kids’ middle. That always struck me as pretty brilliant.
  • There is now a giant stuffed turtle living in my house. Name: Maurice, inspired by Belle’s dad in Beauty and the Beast. (I think.) Funny how our children discover names. As it happens, it’s a name on our family tree, but not one that we’ve ever discussed.
  • Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I’ve been wondering about Evermore as a poetic child’s middle name. (It’s an original song from the 2017 remake.) I took a wrong turn down a street called Edenmore earlier today and found myself thinking the same thing.
  • More name quotes from Nancy – I love the one about Ellen Terry. How things change!
  • Duana starts out considering whether John Francis is a boring name, and ends up offering some sage wisdom on what happens when we announce our children’s names.
  • French and Polish nature names – or at least words that could potentially work as given names. That’s the second time Kalina has come up this week!
  • Ooh … and more nature name rarities, this time from English.
  • Need some encouragement to try unusual first-middle combinations for boys? This list will inspire.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Yes, what is Duana thinking? John Francis is a lovely name, obviously the letter writer isn’t after something particularly out of the ordinary. Swiftly would’ve given much better advice!

  2. Also watching and loving MMM! Apropos of nothing, came across a woman named Carillon! thought she was Caroline/lyn based on how everyone was saying it and then wanted to ask her if that has driven her crazy her whole life.

  3. Oooh, the Duana names post hurts me! One of my sons is John Francis (both family names, both saint’s names, both classic). We call him Johnny. I have had such great feedback on the name. It ticks all of the boxes for me and I while I do know two other little Johnnies I also know three Kobies, two Maxs, and lots of Jacks/Jacksons. (and my dad calls my John ‘Jacky’).

    Ultimately does it matter if a name is ‘boring’? John Francis makes a lovely quiet statement about our heritage. The name isn’t in your face but I think it makes a statement about who we are as a family. I hope the letter writer goes ahead with it. And if she changes her mind she can always call him Jack, Johnny, Jay, or Frank!