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Author Topic: Philip J Fry: Friend, Lover of horses ~ Character Name Meanings  (Read 2910 times)
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Tastes Like Fry

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« on: 04-21-2012 04:53 »

laff tongue

As a writer myself, I like to give names to my characters that suit their personality. Seems like I'm not the only one! I just quickly researched some of the main characters names and it seems these characters were given names with intention! Either that or it's just a bunch of coincidences.  shifty

Feel free to post your own findings on names and meanings.

Philip: Friend, Lover of horses
Leela: Divine Drama
Bender: A person or thing that bends, as a pair of pliers or a powered machine.
Hubert: Bright Mind, Intelligent
Hermes: Messenger of the gods, speed
Amy: Dearly beloved
Cubert: Legendary son of Daere (fiend)
Dwight: White, fair, blonde  wtf?

((I used a couple of name meaning sites, and a dictionary for Bender))
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #1 on: 04-21-2012 11:52 »

Within the context of the show, "Cubert" simply means "Clone of Hubert". Outside of the show it can also mean a number of other things (it can mean the same as Hubert, Cuthbert, Robert, Herod, or Egbert, for example. Many of those names have interchangable meanings or multiple meanings. At least two of those names are directly descended from the same ancient root word, which has another meaning that one would presume is never meant in the context of a name). You might want to do some more research to find out what I'm talking about.

I fail to see the supposed significance of "Philip: Lover of horses". It might work as a reason for the scene in Bender's Game where he's clearly aroused at riding Centaur Leela, but that's a stretch that even Armstrong would have difficulty with.

As for Hermes, you left out his other occupation. Whilst he was the messenger of the other gods due to his speed, he did have another role. In fact, that other role seems fitting in light of his occupation as a beaurocrat and their well-noted prediliction for the pilfering of paperclips and whatnot in an office setting.

Finally, you've left out characters such as Zapp Brannigan (whose name has rather obvious connotations), Kif Kroker (the same again), and Randy (oh so obvious). The background characters tend to have names which are more obvious jokes, but they're sometimes good jokes.

With all of that said, I really hate people searching for "deeper meaning" in a name, or naming a character with something "significant". It's cheap and detracts from the overall merit of the story in which they feature, IMO.
Tastes Like Fry

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« Reply #2 on: 04-22-2012 09:13 »

Within the context of the show, "Cubert" simply means "Clone of Hubert". Outside of the show it can also mean a number of other things (it can mean the same as Hubert, Cuthbert, Robert, Herod, or Egbert, for example. Many of those names have interchangable meanings or multiple meanings. At least two of those names are directly descended from the same ancient root word, which has another meaning that one would presume is never meant in the context of a name). You might want to do some more research to find out what I'm talking about.
Only saying what I found, (and it still makes sense - son of a fiend), but "Clone of Hubert" makes more sense - thanks for sharing that tidbit.


I fail to see the supposed significance of "Philip: Lover of horses". It might work as a reason for the scene in Bender's Game where he's clearly aroused at riding Centaur Leela, but that's a stretch that even Armstrong would have difficulty with.
The "friend" part is more relevant to who Fry is. The lover of horses part, I found to be hilariously random so I included it.

As for Hermes, you left out his other occupation. Whilst he was the messenger of the other gods due to his speed, he did have another role. In fact, that other role seems fitting in light of his occupation as a beaurocrat and their well-noted prediliction for the pilfering of paperclips and whatnot in an office setting.
If I have left it out, then I simply had not found it! But that makes his name all the more fitting.

Finally, you've left out characters such as Zapp Brannigan (whose name has rather obvious connotations), Kif Kroker (the same again), and Randy (oh so obvious). The background characters tend to have names which are more obvious jokes, but they're sometimes good jokes.
Quote from: Tastes Like Fry
I just quickly researched some of the main characters names

With all of that said, I really hate people searching for "deeper meaning" in a name, or naming a character with something "significant". It's cheap and detracts from the overall merit of the story in which they feature, IMO.
wtf? 

I feel it's important because I start all my stories with my characters. Once I have my characters (with their personalities, names, past and relationships with each other established), the story builds itself around them.

((That's why Twilight sucks, the characters are shallow))
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #3 on: 04-22-2012 15:14 »

Firstly, your research is a little slapdash and leaves something to be desired. You will find great gain in being a little more thorough.

Secondly, somebody's name doesn't necessarily have any relation to their personality. The character can exist independantly of any label that's applied to them. When the name has to be "meaningful" in order to lend some depth to your character, that's poor writing. When the character is a believable individual in their own right who doesn't need a meaningful name, why give them one? That just smacks of hammering home a point where it's not necessarily needed. It can be rather insulting to the intelligence of your audience.

People get their names shortly after birth. It doesn't actually mean that their personality is going to reflect those names. If a name was something you generally only obtained after years of growth, then sure, it would be fitting to make sure that characters have names that relate to their personality, aspects of plot, their role, or something else that's "important" to the story.

But it's not. It's a contrivance, and when it's an obvious contrivance all it ends up re-inforcing is that this is not real, it's a fiction. The best writing tends to be believable at least on some level. Even the stories about dragons and spaceships and impossibly suave secret agents tend to have something that allows you to disconnect from the fact that it's not real, and ride along with the flow of the story. They have an internal logic.

If your lead character is a priest and has a name like "Pious Prayalot", that implies that he comes from a priestly or devout family who named and raised him with that vocation in mind. There's no self-determination there. Similarly, if your villain is called "Stabber McKillington", it would seem that he also comes from a family who have had his destiny in mind for him since before he could talk. Where's the sense of who these people are, deep down? Is this a universe where everybody's fate and personality and lifestyle and ultimate endpoint are determined by their fathers and mothers? Is it a universe where you can tell who is good and who is bad by looking through a phone book? This can break the internal logic that your world runs on, if you do it especially badly.

"Meaningful" names (or at least the obvious ones) tend to have an opposing influence on the suspension of disbelief unless the story is really well written. They make you all too aware that you're reading the exploits of a character rather than a person, and that what's happening was scripted by the author, rather than being an organic flow of events that is narrated.

With all that said, there are plenty of character names that have some sort of extra meaning who come from stories that are very, very good. Further reading is recommended though. A lot of the best ones are still not obvious, especially outside of literature intended for children. The ones that are obvious tend to be lampshaded, and the story tends to be more amusing than serious. There is at least one exception to every point I've made, but you'll find that the cases of exceptions tend to be... well... exceptional. In general, making names obviously meaningful might make your writing seem a little immature. It might even make it seem as though you lack the creativity to disguise the name's meaning a little. It might lead to the audience disconnecting from the story somewhat, and it might end up being a substitute for character depth rather than a seasoning or enhancement to it. The pitfalls are myriad.

The thing about meaningful names is, the meaning should be something that you only recognise once you get to the end of the book or the end of the film. If it's something that you get immediately, it tends to cheapen it. For me, at least.

Finally, there are several other reasons that Twilight sucks. Which I'm not going to go into here.
Svip

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« Reply #4 on: 04-22-2012 15:19 »

But at least we can all agree that Twilight sucks.
futurefreak

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« Reply #5 on: 04-24-2012 09:11 »
« Last Edit on: 04-24-2012 09:35 »

I find that quite interesting indeed, TastesLikeFry! I don't think Hermes was the original name, though. Can't recall what they said he was originally called.

Obvious trolling aside, these names should probably just be taken with a grain of salt. It's fun to think about, but I doubt they thought that hard when picking the names.

I can see why they chose 'Bender' aside from his obvious propensity to bend - people who go on drinking binges are told to go on "benders" - when I found this out a few years post having first watched Futurama, it made even more sense to me.

I can see why they chose Zapp Brannigan too - he embodies many qualities of the starship captain in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Svip

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« Reply #6 on: 04-24-2012 09:41 »

Philip J. Fry's first name was chosen to honour Phil Hartman who was murdered in 1998 and did some voice acting for The Simpsons.
futurefreak

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« Reply #7 on: 04-24-2012 09:58 »

Can't believe I didn't realize that. I was always aware that part of Zapp's persona was tailored toward Phil Hartman voicing him, until that tragedy happened.
x.Bianca.x

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« Reply #8 on: 04-24-2012 10:01 »

I find that quite interesting indeed, TastesLikeFry! I don't think Hermes was the original name, though. Can't recall what they said he was originally called.

It was Dexter if I'm not mistaken.
futurefreak

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« Reply #9 on: 04-24-2012 10:04 »

Yes! Great memory. Thanks Bianca.

I'm probably biased now, but I prefer Hermes. Also Dexter and Dwight...ehhhh. Too Stan Leeish for me.
Svip

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« Reply #10 on: 04-24-2012 11:01 »

I find that quite interesting indeed, TastesLikeFry! I don't think Hermes was the original name, though. Can't recall what they said he was originally called.

It was Dexter if I'm not mistaken.

It was Curtis.  So not great memory.
futurefreak

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« Reply #11 on: 04-24-2012 11:15 »

Oh no, why has your own webpage forsaken you! tongue
Svip

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« Reply #12 on: 04-24-2012 11:37 »

It hasn't.
futurefreak

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« Reply #13 on: 04-24-2012 12:19 »

I find that quite interesting indeed, TastesLikeFry! I don't think Hermes was the original name, though. Can't recall what they said he was originally called.

Hermes, Svip, not Fry. But thanks for the factoid tongue
Tachyon

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« Reply #14 on: 04-24-2012 21:34 »
« Last Edit on: 04-24-2012 21:36 »


Not sure whether this was what tnuk was implying, but in regards to to Zapp there's also the literal meaning of his surname:

bran·ni·gan [bran-i-guhn]
noun

1. a squabble; brawl.

futurefreak

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« Reply #15 on: 04-24-2012 21:40 »

I really can't see him as a Curtis Fry. Can you Tachyon? wink Hehe.

I really like the explanation they gave in the series for picking Philip. It's too perfect.
Solid Gold Bender

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« Reply #16 on: 04-25-2012 02:56 »

"Oh poor Curt, so stupid." I guess I can kinda see it.
Tastes Like Fry

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« Reply #17 on: 04-25-2012 03:11 »

But at least we can all agree that Twilight sucks.
Indeed we can!

totalnerduk; didn't mean for it to get all complicated - just was pointing out name meanings for a bit of fun. But thanks for your insight and opinion!
 
I can see why they chose Zapp Brannigan too - he embodies many qualities of the starship captain in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Hadn't made that connection, but now that you mention that, it all makes sense now! ><

Dexter?! Not liking that name for Hermes... or Curtis Fry ><

Thanks Tachyon!

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