Celebrity Names Blog

Name Candy Reality Check: "Up All Night"

Name Candy Reality Check: "Up All Night"

It’s Wednesday, so we’re excited to catch the second episode of NBC’s new comedy series, Up All NIght, starring Christina Applegate as a new mom returning to work for a larger-than-life talk show host (Maya Rudolf) and Will Arnett as Applegate’s stay-at-home husband.
 
Did you catch last week’s premiere? If not, don’t feel left out! Here is a name game for you to play:

Q: Up All Night, set in present day, has female characters named Amy, Ava, and Reagan. One is a newborn, and the other two are in their thirties. Which name belongs to the baby?

A: Amy.

Amy is the daughter of Reagan (Applegate) and Chris (Arnett). Ava (Rudolf) is Reagan’s talk show host boss. Seems a little backwards, right? The writers of the show definitely knew how to pick popular names, but -- and this could be purely intentional -- they seem to have the decades mixed up.

Amy, at number 135, is by no means an uncommon name, but if Amy’s mom was born around 1975, she’d have given her daughter a name that held the Number 2 ranking for five years around the time she was born. Reagan probably knows a handful of Amys; At its peak, Amy was the name given to 0.8% of children. For reference, that’s double the amount of Avas born in 2010.

To be fair, Reagan knows what it’s like to have an unconventional name and probably did not want that for her kid. Though today Reagan ranks a few places above Amy at number 127, it was pretty near obscure in the mid ‘70s, drifting in and out of the top 1000 until falling out completely from 1981 to 1992, during the years surrounding Ronald Reagan’s 1981 to 1989 presidency. Safe to say, Reagan probably got a bit of teasing in school.

Ava is a particularly curious choice for a larger than life, Oprah-meets-Ellen, mid-thirties woman. It’s understandable that the writers chose an Oprah sound-alike, but why a name so closely associated with children under ten? In the ‘70s, Ava was a bit more popular than Reagan, but not by much, drifting in and out of the top 1000. But since 2006, it’s been the top five every year.

Up All Night has looked promising since we first got word of it. Arnett, Applegate, and Rudolf are all real-life parents and talented, likeable comedians that seem like they’d be really fun to have over for dinner parties (Tina Fey is invited too, naturally), so we’re not too worried by questionable name choices.

Have you watched Up All Night? What do you think of the show?

-- K.L.

Comments

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September 21, 2011 5:59 PM
By Goddess in Progress (not verified)

Too funny, I watched the show and wondered what you'd say about the names! I was also surprised that the mom was Reagan and the baby was Amy, definitely sounds switched! I'll overlook it, though. So far the show definitely has promise. :-)

September 21, 2011 6:30 PM
By British American (not verified)

Yeah, it kind of bugs me that the baby has the Mom-ish name and the Mom and her friend have the popular names of today.

I also heard them mention a Henry last week - the new friend the Dad met. I think that was the baby's name, rather than the other Dad? That's more in trend and likely to be one of the writer's kids names.

I thought the previews were hilarious, but was disappointed that the parents were tired from being out partying, rather than from parenting. Thought they missed the mark on that one. Will tune in tonight though again - good job you reminded me!

September 21, 2011 6:36 PM
By Kelley (not verified)

I've heard of Amy being a nickname for Amelia, so in my head I pretended the baby's full name was Amelia, a much more common name for an infant born today.

September 21, 2011 6:45 PM
By Allison Margaret (not verified)

I heard about this show on NPR this morning and was surprised to hear that the baby's name is Amy. Christina Applegate playing a character named Reagan makes it even worse!

Speaking of Reagan, I have a hard time believing that any post-President Reagan babies with the name are NOT named Reagan because their parents admire Ronald Reagan. I certainly can't dissociate the name from the president. I am surprised I've never seen a sibset of Reagan & Rand (after Ayn Rand).

September 22, 2011 7:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I watched this last week. I enjoyed the show, but the names did bother me. I was actually fine with the name Amy on the baby since there are still parents today who love that name. But an Ava and a Reagan on women who were in their 30s felt unrealistic to me. One or the other I could have overlooked, but the two together was too much. I kept pretending Reagan's name was actually Meagan. Then Free Agents had an adult named Emma. Since I was watching it the same evening I'd watched Up All Night, I got really tired of seeing adults with the trendy names of today.

September 23, 2011 11:46 AM
By mk (not verified)

The one that seems out of place to me is Reagan because her character would have been born before Reagan was president (although he was in politics in the 70s). I wonder if we'll get a story about her name in a future show.

Ava I can see. It's not like Maya was all that popular in the 1970s either (and her last name is Rudolph).

September 27, 2011 12:44 PM
By Adrian (not verified)

We have a newborn, and we saw previews for this show when my wife was pregnant. We figured we'd really be able to relate, so we watched the debut episode. We were so turned off by the shallow, self-absorbed, foul-mouthed hipster parents that we won't be watching again. Yet one more reminder of why we never watch TV!

As for the names, I assume we're supposed to believe that Reagan's character is older than 31. Ronald Reagan didn't burst onto the national scene until 1980, so unless Reagan's parents grew up in California and really liked the governor, it's unlikely that a character her age would have this name. Maybe we can assume Reagan's mom was a fan of "The Exorcist"? Granted, that character was Regan, not Reagan, but at least the movie came out in '73.

On the other hand, my name was only #177 the year I was born, and my wife's, Lori, was on the decline from its peak in the '60s. So not everyone gets a name that reflects their generation, I suppose. With all the Madisons, Mackenzies, and -adens out there, our own daughter, Miranda, won't really fit in, name-wise, with her age group, either (#175 this year). So I don't mind seeing names that don't exactly "fit in," although Reagan for a mid-30s woman is really a stretch.

September 27, 2011 1:36 PM
By Lara Jane (not verified)

I can see fans of Shakespeare using the name Regan -- but not really, she was a horrible character. Her sister, Cordelia, is infinitely more worthy as a namesake, and yet you never hear it used, apart from the Buffy character.

Amy is silly as a baby name, there's no getting around it!

September 28, 2011 12:12 AM
By Charly (not verified)

I was truly stunned to see that Amelia is indeed about 100 places higher on the Social Security rankings for babies born today: when I hear "Amelia" I think "Earhart" or "Bedelia," not an actual person. Nearly all the girls I tutor (ages 9-17) have names ending in -a or -l; in my grades (I'm 23), -y and J- names reigned supreme. I don't like either name: Amy reminds me of whiny Amy March who steals Laurie, and Amelia still sounds more "old lady" than "classic" to my ear. In fact, I think the only Amelia I've ever come across is a nonagenerian that my grandma knows from church. Just doesn't have the same "still works today" vibe that Cecelia, Ida, or Roxie has to my ear.

September 28, 2011 1:25 AM
By shadelit (not verified)

Huh. I am mid-30s, and I went to school with a Reagan, two Regans and an Ava, and had a friend whose older sister was Ava. They certainly weren't as common as Jennifer or Heather, but they don't seem particularly outlandish for characters in their 30s to me. My own name is pretty unusual in my generation, as well. Amy is a little unusual for a baby these days, but I know two Amelias who are often shortened to Amy, and a little Aimee.

I guess I always think it's a little weird when people say they "don't buy" an unusual name. I would understand if they were talking about an 18th century romantic heroine named Kaylee or Madison, but I don't find Ava or Reagan to be so indelibly stamped.

Then again I live in an area where people tend to shun common names as overused. My own son's name hasn't cracked the top 1000 since the 1800s, but nobody looks askance. I'd find him believable as a 21st century character, anyway.

September 28, 2011 6:55 PM
By Lyllah (not verified)

I have a feeling that part of the reason Amelia has become even more popular in the last couple of years is because of geeks like me. The Doctor's current/last companion had that name(Doctor Who) and she is by a far margin my favorite ever. Hence, the name is now on my list.

November 18, 2011 12:38 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm assuming they chose the name Amy because Will Arnett is married to Amy Poehler -- have you noticed Christina Applegate's character wears a necklace with the name "Amy" on it? I think it's a ploy to keep Will Arnett to get too excited playing opposite Christina Applegate...

October 12, 2012 1:09 AM
By Signe Bratcher (not verified)

it’s been the top five every year.

October 15, 2012 1:02 AM
By Avelina Coombs (not verified)

I watched the show and wondered what you'd say about the names.

October 18, 2012 1:11 AM
By Ima Blakely (not verified)

It’s been the top five every year.

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