“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title.” We get you, Juliet — names are just names, and what we’re called is irrelevant to our true, inner essence. But does this famous Shakespearean notion prevent modern TV writers from weaving a character’s so-called “embarrassing” middle name into a comedy’s occasional plot line? Of course not! When it comes to sitcom middle names, the weirder, the better. Iphigenia? Miervaldis? Leakey? Sure, why not! Let’s play a name game — click through to enjoy some of television’s silliest and most unexpected middle names, then hit the comments to let us know of any others that you’ve found noteworthy.
Elizabeth “Miervaldis” Lemon, 30 Rock
Unsure how to pronounce Liz Lemon’s middle name? Here, watch this a few times and give it a whirl. According to Tina Fey, the name was inspired by 30 Rock staffer Katie Miervaldis of Latvian descent. Fey explains, “We don’t quite know what Liz Lemon is, but Latvian seemed to make sense.” If that’s the case, we need to find us some Latvian friends. Honorable mention: Our beloved Kenneth “Ellen” Parcell.
Chandler “Muriel” Bing, Friends
For years, the other members of the Friends gang hadn’t a clue what Chandler’s embarrassing “M” middle initial meant, until that fateful day when he accidentally let it slip that he’d rather be called Toby than Muriel. Oh, the things we do for doughnuts.
James “Tiberius” Kirk, Star Trek; Woody “Tiberius” Boyd, Cheers; J.T./James “Tiberius” Yorke, Degrassi
What do Captain Kirk from Star Trek, Woody from Cheers, and J.T. from Degrassi: The Next Generation all have in common? Yup, their middle names are all “Tiberius.” It’s safe to assume that Star Trek‘s James Tiberius was inspired by the Roman emperor, and the rest just followed suit. Because — y’know, William Shatner is the ultimate TV middle-name trendsetter.
Geoffrey “Barbara” Butler, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Geoffrey, everyone’s favorite Bel-Air butler, had a surprising middle name in store. On that note, his last name was pretty entertaining, too. Allow us to present to you Geoffrey “Barbara” Butler, faithful employee of the Banks family. Did you know that he once worked for Led Zeppelin? And Chuck Norris? What a guy.
Callie “Iphigenia” Torres, Grey’s Anatomy
This fictional surgeon’s middle name has its roots in Greek mythology, a tradition of tales even more drama-filled than those found on Grey’s Anatomy. Iphigenia, daughter of King Agamemnon, was sacrificed to the goddess of the hunt after the king slaughtered one of her sacred animals. Right when Iphigenia was about to be murdered, however, she magically disappeared and was transported to another island, evading death and earning the titles “strong-born” and “born to strength.” Sound like Callie to you?
Jackie “Beulah” Burkhart, That ’70s Show
When they returned to their old grammar school on Halloween, the kids of That ’70s Show witnessed yet another fight between Jackie and Hyde. This time, Jackie attacked Hyde so that he wouldn’t reveal what he found in her old file — that Jackie’s middle name is none other than “Beulah.”
Leonard “Leakey” Hofstadter, The Big Bang Theory
Leonard Hofstadter’s middle name is “Leakey,” which, of course, is used to poke fun at his former troubles as a childhood bed-wetter. Although Leakey is truly an homage to archaeologist Louis Leakey, Leonard is embarrassed of the middle name and struggles to avoid the subject.
Frederick “Gaylord” Crane, Frasier
Frasier and Lilith named their son Frederick “Gaylord” Crane. Of course, it’s a perfectly normal and a decently popular surname — but it’s still noteworthy in a Gaylord Focker of Meet the Parents kind of way.
Ted “Evelyn” Mosby and Robin “Charles” Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother
As yet another hint that once made us believe that these two How I Met Your Mother characters would end up together, Ted’s and Robin’s middle names go hand in hand — Ted’s middle name is a feminine “Evelyn” and Robin’s middle name is a masculine “Charles.” Precious!
Ted “Aloysius” McGriff, Hey Dude
We’ll end this list with another Ted. This Hey Dude character knew his way around a ranch and didn’t want anyone to find out his middle name, “Aloysius.” Its Germanic origins mean “fame and war” — indeed, Ted McGriff sure did love popularity and altercations.