The name is Sydney… just Sydney

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I’ve been re-watching Alias lately, and I’ll probably do a more comprehensive series review later, but for now one thing is jumping out at me:

The men go by their last names. The women go by first names. WTF?

At first, I tried to cut them slack because Sydney’s father is also “Agent Bristow” (and he’s often called “Jack” for that very reason). But Vaughn, who at first has no contact with Jack Bristow, calls her Sydney. And Sydney is still calling him “Vaughn” after they’ve been dating for a while.

But that excuse fell apart when Lauren Reed showed up, and everyone mostly called her “Lauren”.

We could go on for pages about the significance of women’s surnames in a patriarchal culture, but I’ll try to be brief: surnames belong to men. Everyone inherits their surname from their father (except in rare instances which are considered abnormal and socially suspect). Men are socialized (at least in the US) to respond to “Hey, Smith!” as easily as “Hey, John!” and be proud of the surname. They’re socialized to feel rejected if a wife refuses to take their name.

Women are conditioned not to get attached to their birth surname because they’re going to trade it in for hubby’s surname. We’re taught from grade school to write out what our names would be if we married our crush du jour and see how the new name sounds. Men’s last names are fixed – a foundation to build on. Ours are borrowed, transient – dust in the wind.

Which is why it irked me when Lauren – who’s kept her “maiden” name instead of taking her husband’s last name, thus suggesting an attachment to her birth surname – still gets the first-name treatment, just like Sydney. The effect is to keep her and Sydney girlish next to the men. I mean, contrast this with “Cagney and Lacey”, who get called by their last names and titles just like the men they work with. Hell, even Stargate SG-1 kept Carter on a last name basis (except with Daniel, who called almost everybody by first name). There’s also Scully of The X-Files. The use of last names remind us that these women have achieved rank, distinguished themselves somehow. Earned the right to be called by another name than the one the kindergarten teacher had for them.

For Sydney, I could come up with one more excuse – that the show is about her as a whole person, not just “Agent Bristow.” But, again, that wouldn’t explain the producers’ choice to have Lauren go mostly by her first name, too.

And no, I don’t think the producers sat down and thought this up to be sexist or to denigrate the two characters (some of the writers and producers are in fact women). More likely, they just automatically envisioned the women characters by first names (and the men by last) because that’s what we’re all trained to do.

Comments

  1. karmakaze says

    One of the reasons why I go by my first initial online (well, when I’m not using a total pseudonym like ‘karmakaze’) is it prevents people who don’t know me well from addressing me by my first name. In my case, it’s more of a privacy issue, but I got the idea from the old feminist trick of listing first initials only, to force people to address them by title+surname.

  2. sbg says

    I used to really hate my surname and for that reason only (yes, really) I wanted to get married. Somewhere along the way I grew up and realized I both didn’t want to get married and did want to keep my surname.

    This name-swapping is so ingrained in our mentalities that it probably doesn’t occur to anyone to question it.

  3. Dom Camus says

    Further to which, Rachel Nichols is “Rachel” and Nadia Santos is “Nadia” but Hayden Chase is “Director Chase” and Irina Derevko is called both “Irina” and “Derevko” at different times.

    The name used appears to correlate with the age of the character, which adds some weight to your theory.

  4. says

    SBG, I used to hate my surname too. Then I realized how guys relate to their surnames – even when they dislike them – and decided I’d learn to be proud of mine. Now I actually think of it as my name rather than my father’s.

    Karmakaze, I’ve used that one myself a few times. :)

    Dom Camus, great catch! You’re right, that does add to the argument.

  5. Ree says

    So do you think Marshall was, subconsciously maybe, considered less of a man since he generally went by his first name? And Will, too?

  6. scarlett says

    I remember being surprised somewhere around s3 or 4 to realise that Weiss wasn’t his first name :p

    I had someone critique one of my fanfictions saying it was absolutely stupid that I’d have Syd always call Caughn ‘Michael’ when she spoke to him because she always called him Vaughn in the show. That was stupid, IMHO. Who the hell refers to their boyfriend by their last name, at least exclusively?

    My last name is obscure and difficult to pronounce, even by Polish standards, and I used to dream about marrying a guy with a common western name. Somewhere along the line, I actually became proud of this name. I had spent so long teaching people how to spell and pronounce it that I couldn’t imagine not having it. And my ex-fiancee name was a very common western one (think one or two below ‘Jones’ in the number of white pages listings) and we would have massive fights about me taking his name.

  7. says

    Ree, that sounds about right for Marshall. While he called himself “Flinkman” more than once, he never got much respect from the other agents (particularly the men). Every once in a while they’d thank him or give him his props, but he definitely wasn’t “one of the guys”.

    As for Will, he was frequently called “Mr. Tippin” or “Will Tippin” or just “Tippin” – for example, in scenes where Jack and Sloane were debating what to do about him investigating Danny’s murder. It wasn’t “What do we do about Will?” but rather “What do we do about Tippin?”

    Scarlett, I actually found it uncomfortable when Sydney would call him Vaughn in bed. Seriously, WTF?

  8. Lavode says

    Yeah, I always found that annoying. Except that one time when Dixon called Sydney during some dangerous mission and dramatically told her to stop because “Anna is here!”
    That was cool, especially since I share a name with Ms Espinosa.

  9. says

    Quick thoughts (only FYI, not meaning to discount or argue with anyone else’s):

    1.) I hate my surname, since I find it ugly, awkward, and difficult for people to spell properly.

    2.) I don’t even especially care for my given name, and use the short form constantly, introducing myself that way.

    3.) Despite my dislike for my surname, I hate it when strangers use my given name right away, without permission/invitation…I find the “immediate familiarity” thing annoying and a bit insulting. I can only imagine how irritating it must be for women.

    4.) My wife originally kept her maiden name, then later changed her mind and used the hyphenated combo of her name and mine, then still later dropped her maiden name altogether. Whenever she asked me about it, my response was always pretty much “whatever you want…your name”. I don’t see why there’s such a big fuss about it (from men, I mean…wanting/insisting their wives take their name).

    5.) One of the best conventions I’ve heard of (but seldom used) is for both husband and wife to drop their surnames and adopt a whole new mutually agreed upon surname. Sounded interesting.

  10. Gategrrl says

    Back at my mini High School reunion (just a bunch of us from our group), one of my then-friends mentioned how when he and his wife were married, he had to jump through hoops and more hoops to get his named changed to combine it with hers: he said all the officials connected to the process kept asking him again and again if he really wanted to do it. He kept insisting that yes, he did, goddamn it.

    The reason he did it, though? His wife’s family was fresh out of male heirs, and she was the last in her family to carry that name. So he was carrying on the patriarchical tradition (he and his are Jewish) by doing something a little out of the ordinary. AND I think she a higher tribe with more status than his own. It’s complicated.

  11. Gategrrl says

    Oh, and as an aside, when I got married, I kept my own last name. I was used to it, it sounded better with my first name, and I felt really uncomfortable with the thought of changing my name.

    Might have to do with the fact my mother changed her name with her first, then second husband, and then finally kept the name from her second husband and wouldn’t do it anymore: it was the name she was known by professionally by that point.

    On a less personal note, I’ve noticed how first and last names are used on shows, and where the default is, depending on the writers/staff of the shows. It’s obvious when a female character garners the guy-respect from the writers/producers, when she’s allowed to be addressed by her last name.

    On Cold Case, Lily Rush is usually called Rush, except by her mother, her sister (both of whom she has dysfunctional relationships with) or her romantic partners. I really like that show.

    Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis? Teyla a last name, but no one calls her by it. Dr Weir was called Dr. Weir most of the time. Sam Carter was established as “Carter” and now she’s called Colonel by most, Sam by some and rarely Carter because even to underlings, that’s too familiar.

    On Monk, Monk is called by his last name by most everyone except by his personal assistant/nurse; most everyone calls his personal assistants by her first name, whomever she is, doesn’t matter if she’s a mother or not, or deserves the rank by dealing with his incredible phobias and OCD all the time.

    Buy I’ve noticed on cop shows, the women cops are almost always refered to by their last names, unless they aren’t respected in their job. Doctor shows, I don’t know. I don’t watch them. What’s the pattern on ER or that other one that gets talked about a lot here? Grey’s Anatomy?

  12. thisisendless says

    Ree: I agree with you about the Marshall thing.

    In terms of first names.. two things. One, I get annoyed that we refer to all the (presidential) democratic candidates here in America by their last name, but Senator Clinton is always “Hilary”. Newscasters have been getting better about referring to her as Clinton, but still it irks me. Granted, a lot of her own promotion paraphernalia uses her first name, but people use her first name as much as they use other candidates last name. And pundits are particularly bad about this.

    And in terms of MY first name, I HATE the fact that I have to wear a nametag with my first name on it at work. (I’m a waitress). So because I am serving food I somehow don’t deserve the respect of NOT being addressed by my first name by any shmuck who wants a refill on their coffee?!?!? I DON’T KNOW YOU. Please don’t use my first name 800,000 times by the time you are finished dining. And when people use it a lot, its always in a way that I have a hard time explaining, but almost like they are trying to be “on my level.” Its kind of almost patronizing. Like suddenly this person is “my pal”. (Sorry I have a hard time describing it.)

    But my point is, ultimately it always rubs me the wrong way because it feels way too familiar for someone I don’t know and I don’t like it. Maybe I will ask if I can change my name tag to read “Miss ‘Lastname'”. Except that my last name is one that is odd and easy to make fun of. But I like it now that I am a quasi grown up.

  13. says

    Gategrrl: interesting about your friend. I’m not sure how to evaluate that, given my lack of knowledge about the various Jewish customs in that regard. From my perspective, it sounds unselfish, but maybe from his perspective, it was expected….?

    Great observations about the use of last names in shows. I don’t know the doctor shows anymore either – although come to think of it, even on House, which really, really shortchanged its main female characters IMO, they were called by last name just like the guys.

    ThisIsEndless, I’ve been a server. I know just what you’re talking about. :)

  14. scarlett says

    As far as te Hilary Clinton thing is, though, I wonder how much of it is that Bill was for a long time far greater a political figure than she was and is still very well known, so, having been there ‘first’ he’s the ‘default’ Clinton. I think there is still some ‘call women by their first names’ thing coming into play but I wonder how much of it is just that they need to differentiate her from Bill and they’ve been calling Bill ‘Clinton’ for much longer.

  15. says

    Jay, I missed your comment somehow. You know, I’ve never been in a position where people have called me by my last name (with or without title) because at the businesses where I’ve worked, even the management people are on a first name basis. Retail clerks and servers are now trained to learn customers’ first names and use them, which is another practice I hate, but I’m not sure there’s any gender discrimination. It’s just cutesy and overly familiar.

    Any insight into why your wife eventually ended up with your name? Just curious – I’ve known women who just got called “Mrs. Hubby’s Surname” (by people who couldn’t be bothered to learn two names) so often that eventually they gave up, and women who felt pressured in other ways to conform. If your wife had a different reason, I’d be interested to hear (if you know and/or don’t mind sharing).

    As for why guys should care: they shouldn’t. It’s all pretty meaningless for most of us. For that matter, I should mention that a lot of WOMEN can be nasty about a woman not taking her husband’s name – treating it like a display of uppitiness, or not really loving the husband, etc. Why anyone cares about this… I think most people are just too lazy to remember more than one name per household, so they’re latching onto a tradition as justification for the laziness.

  16. harlemjd says

    As to Grey’s Anatomy, the interns (less prestige) go by both – mostly first names in social situations, mostly last names in medical ones. I don’t see any difference in ratio between male and female interns. (I also think that the last name use has a distancing function here, to help train them to be clinical, and not emotionally involved.) The residents go by last name almost exclusively, but by first name to their significant others and when having “heart-to-heart” moments among themselves. The only “heart-to-heart” moments I can think of where an intern counseled a resident (George to Bailey during labor; Christine to Burke after he was shot), the resident’s full name was used. The Chief tends to switch back and forth for everyone.

    The one exception to the resident last name rule was Addison Montgomery-Sheppard. I think that had less to do with her being a woman than with her last name being very long, and so much discussion with/about her being social in nature. She was still Dr. M-S in a professional context, except to Derrick and Meredith (but even they used it in front of patients).

  17. says

    There isn’t much that Criminal Minds does that bugs me, but this is one of them.

    It’s not as bad. Penolope Garcia is more often “Garcia” than “Penelope” and Spencer Reid and Derek Morgan (and now David Rossi) have been addressed by their first names….

    ….but generally speaking, the male agents nicknames are their surnames (or variations of) and the female agents nicknames are their first names (or variations of). And the guy that gets called by his first name most often is the youngest and most feminine. Considering that first several episodes had several scenes where they talked about how Gideon would always introduce Spencer as “Dr. Reid” and why……yeah, it all bugs me even more that it would otherwise ‘cuz it’s not as if the writers are unaware of the power of names.

    And yeah, I suspect it’s largely due to how men and women are socialized to connect (or not) with their last names. (I also suspect the writers want to keep reminding us – for good reasons – that the female agents are female.)

    That said, I decided long ago that if I ever become published, I am going to (try) to use my middle name as my surname. Partly because of everything we’ve been talking about and partly because it bugs me that most surnames are more masculine than they are feminine.

  18. says

    I wrote a rant about the changing-last-name thing a while ago

    As for the first-name-only thing, I feel like it reinforces women as part of the “domestic” sphere. As Jay was kind of pointing out, there’s this “immediate family” dynamic to first names, and certainly a level of familiarity and intimacy that doesn’t lend authority. I feel like there’s also an implication of the women’s identity being less important, more interchangeable, because first names tend to be more casual as well as less unique (and therefore less identifiable as belonging to a specific individual).

    scarlett–I used to suspect that the constant references to Hillary Clinton by her first name were based on the familiarity with Bill, but that falls flat, to me. It’s a simple enough structure to begin an article by using her full name, establishing her as the default “Clinton” referent, then her last name throughout the article. People’s reading comprehension (and writing) skills can certainly handle that. The other thing that irks me on that one is that if this were simply a matter of distinction, she could easily be called (and would feel no discomfort/political difficulty identifying herself as) “Rodham-Clinton”.

    Back to television, it seems to me the Law & Order franchise and is various spinoffs have been pretty good about keeping the last name/first name thing appropriate and balanced.

  19. scarlett says

    Purtek:

    I suspect I run in feminist circles, since everyone I know has refered to her as ‘Hilary Clinton’. No-one calls her Hilary, it’s always HC. And in that context, I think fair enough, since people have been referring to her husband as ‘Clinton’ for much longer.

    Nonetheless, I think there’s a tendancy to refer to women by their first names. I think Beta hand a great point – she was always Sydney, as opposed to Vaughn, Dixon, Nadia.

  20. says

    Oh, I’m not doubting Betacandy’s overall point by any stretch of the imagination. My point about Clinton isn’t based on conversations I’ve had in person or online with individuals I know, but rather on the way I’ve seen her discussed in the media, which is why I think it relates to the same point Betacandy is making re: Alias. It strikes me as part of the same overall condescending dynamic.

  21. Jennifer Kesler says

    I too thought that “Hillary” was an attempt to distinguish her from her husband… until it hit me that nothing could help her more than to let her name be the same as that of one of our most all-time popular presidents, whom I suspect would totally win if he could run again.

    It might be that SHE doesn’t want to ride his coattails, which is admirable… except Dubya didn’t let it worry him, did it? Why should she?

    And yes, Purtek, from what I’ve seen (and you know I basically watch when Chris Noth is on, and that’s about it, LOL) they do call the women by last names in all the same situations they call men by them, and the exceptions don’t seem to be gender-related, either.

  22. says

    I’ve always liked the Icelandic format, where the woman’s surname is her-mother’s-first-name-+-‘daughter’ and the man’s his-father’s-first-name-+-‘son’ (at least I think that’s how it works).

  23. says

    Any insight into why your wife eventually ended up with your name? Just curious – I’ve known women who just got called “Mrs. Hubby’s Surname” (by people who couldn’t be bothered to learn two names) so often that eventually they gave up, and women who felt pressured in other ways to conform. If your wife had a different reason, I’d be interested to hear (if you know and/or don’t mind sharing).

    Quick update, to answer your questions.

    Apparently, I got it a little wrong…she never went hyphenated, she went from “Casey Middlename Maidenname” to “Casey Middlename Maidenname Goodenbery”. And legally, she’s still at that…she never changed it again. But instead of signing her name “Casey R. E. Goodenbery”, she just signs “Casey R. Goodenbery”. Basically, she told me (when I asked) that

    a.) keeping her name gradually became less important to her…she identified more with her first/middle names than her surname, and just about everyone we live around knows her maiden name (they know her family), so she didn’t feel the need to keep using it.

    b.) it was easier and shorter to just use the regular “first-middle-last” format, than to put the extra name in.

    So in answer, I guess it’s #1.) lack of identification with surname (as was mentioned by others as common…though I’ll note she had more identification with it when we were living in NY, and no one there knew it, than when we’re living up here, and most of the town knows it) and #2.) simplicity of use (which you alluded to).

    I might add #3.), which I just remembered recently…she initially wanted to not take my surname at all, and while I told her I was okay with that, she still decided not to because she was afraid it would alienate my parents (it would look as if she didn’t like the name)…and because of the way my parents treated her, that was a legitimate concern (I’ve never really forgiven my parents for how they treated my wife when we first got together).

    Probably a lot more than you needed to know, but hope it was enlightening in some way.

  24. says

    Kathleen, that IS an interesting option. So then if you had a son and a daughter, they’d have different last names from each other and from each parent, right? Kinda blows out of the water the argument that societies would collapse if nuclear families didn’t all share one surname.

    Probably a lot more than you needed to know, but hope it was enlightening in some way.

    Absolutely. It’s not like there are tons of studies or textbooks surveying how various women think about or react to this stuff. Anecdotal stories are all we have to go on.

    Also, it’s really hitting me just how inaccessible surname pride is for most women. I mean, even if you’re aware of this stuff, you have to form some basis for connecting emotionally with this identity, and I don’t know where I would go looking for that.

    I’ve always connected with my full name because that’s what I wrote under, but the last name? Doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, even though I decided early on I’d never consider changing it.

  25. MaggieCat says

    Also, it’s really hitting me just how inaccessible surname pride is for most women. I mean, even if you’re aware of this stuff, you have to form some basis for connecting emotionally with this identity, and I don’t know where I would go looking for that.

    Adding another one to the anecdote pile: when I was in middle school a friend of mine had a hyphenated last name that was made up of Mother’sLastName-Father’sLastName, because when her parents had gotten married her mother hadn’t wanted to give up her name. She was a teacher and was known by the name, had papers published under that name, etc, so both she and her husband had changed their names to the hyphenated version. I always thought that was a nifty way to deal with it. It certainly seemed much more fair compared to the traditional version.

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about the whole marriage=name change thing. Even as a child I was attached to all of my names (okay, I had a brief distaste for ‘Margaret’, but I’ve always liked my middle and last names), and since none of them are exactly short my already difficult-to-fit-on-that-teeny-line signature could start to become really unwieldy if I had to add another one to the list.

  26. Gategrrl says

    Oh, I have another anecdotal last-name story to add to the list! I just remembered!

    When I was living in South Korea for a year and a half, I was hit with culture shock at the incredibly patriarchical culture there. Traditional Korean culture makes current chauvenistic Western culture look like it’s extremely liberal.

    Anyhow, to the point. After I’d been there for a while, a few Korean women/wives/unmarried women had told me, married women do NOT take their husband’s family names. They weren’t happy with that state of affairs, and indeed, there was some kind of movement to change that. Why? Well, in Korea, a highly Confucist society, a woman marries into her husband’s family, and is henceforth under her mother-in-law’s control. (If you marry the oldest son, you’re especially screwed.) But the new wives don’t take their husband’s name out of tradition, and they felt that because of that, they weren’t really part of the new family they’d joined and if they had a real harridan for a mother-in-law, well, it was screw-the-new-wife time.

    I found it an interesting reversal of what happened during the feminist movement in the West and the US.

    This was over ten years ago now, so I don’t know how much has changed since the early nineties, but that sort of cultural change takes a long time to permeate a society.

    Some of the strongest women I’ve ever known were Korean. They put up with a LOT of crap.

  27. SunlessNick says

    A time a couple of months ago, I was listening to the radio, when this woman – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/Depts/Anatomy/about/staff/roberts.htm – was being interviewed about old bones and archaeology. (I had first heard of her from this show – http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/E/extremearchaeology/index.html – and had naturally decided she rocked).

    The guy interviewing her thought she rocked as well, and clearly did respect her – but he had no sense that it might be inconsistent with that respect to refer to her as “Dr Alice” rather than “Dr Roberts.”

  28. Jennifer Kesler says

    Gategrrl said:

    Some of the strongest women I’ve ever known were Korean. They put up with a LOT of crap.

    It’s sad to think we’ve somehow built a civilization in which these two sentences make sense together, consecutively. Because they really shouldn’t. (But I know it’s true.)

    I’m sure I don’t understand all the cultural nuances there, but it sounds like a Korean woman goes through her marriage having no respect and possibly having to take a lot of abuse, then suddenly she develops a daughter-in-law who has no respect and no choice but to take her abuse. Which sounds like a recipe for cyclical abuse.

    Sunless Nick, I wonder if the producers of the broadcast thought she needed to be made more “cute” so she wouldn’t put off misogynistic listeners with her highly suspect degree-vagina combination.

  29. says

    Thankyou for this post. I was in a critiquing session, reading a science fiction story (which was written by a woman but picked by those who didn’t know her surname as being written by a man) and noticed that the only characters in the story described physically (if only incidentally) were the women, and that while the men were called by their surnames, the women were referred to by their first. I’d recently read this post and it really struck me, particularly as it was a quasi-military context.

    I mentioned it to the author first (to make sure she was happy with me bringing it up in critique, because I didn’t want to embarass her), who was quite surprised because it was something she had *not* thought about or done deliberately (which knowing the little I do about her I believe) and was also interested to notice it, so there was an animated little discussion at our end of the table :)

    When next I see her I’m pointing her in the direction of The Hathor Legacy – I think she’ll appreciate it.

  30. Jennifer Kesler says

    Thanks for pointing someone new our way, Kathleen!

    I know it’s possible to do these things unconsciously because I’ve done them. They’re programmed into us from an early age, so it’s a process of un-learning. Which is harder than learning.

  31. says

    The thing that my wife and I always noticed about Alias was how often, whilst on a secret mission, the spies would call out to each other by their real names: “Look out, Vaughn!” “I’m coming, Sydney!” etc. Sometimes they did use code names, such as “Mountaineer,” but that often fell apart during the heat of the mission. It seemed like they didn’t put their, y’know, aliases to good use.

  32. Lea says

    This is one of the few interesting things about the tragically post-feminist, proto-Ally McBeal Lois and Clark; as a team of reporters, they were known as “Lane and Kent,” and when they married, Lois didn’t change her name. Lois Lane is Lois Lane, the name itself is too iconic (and alliterative) to change.

  33. Patrick says

    One thing I love about the Lois-Clark marriage in the comics is that the fact that she wasn’t changing her name never came up. And it made perfect sense on all fronts – professionally, her name was important, personally, it reflected her ideals (and Clark’s), and from a narrative standpoint it was part of her iconic character.

  34. firebird says

    I’ve always thought that using people’s last names to call them by was a guy thing. I find it irritating to refer to people by their last name only (e.g., Vaughn, not Mr. Vaughn, which I just find distancing) especially in novels where the name switches back and forth (because I get confused). In my personal experience, guys call each other by their last names and women are called and call everyone by first names. Because I can’t imagine feeling comfortable with someone calling me by my last name, I have never felt discriminated against that people do it. :-)

    But now I’m going to notice all the time and see it everywhere I expect. As to changing last names, my life has been confusing in that I was born out of wedlock so that I never had my father’s last name, instead getting my mother’s maiden name, which was changed when she married my step dad by adoption…and none of the three names is amenable to using as a name. I have often wanted to change my adoptive name, but I don’t know what I would change it to. I don’t believe in marriage anymore, so I don’t think I would get married so that is a moot point.

    It is interesting to have the Social Security office person say, “Did you get married? Oh, wait, you were eight. I guess not.”

  35. says

    It’s late in the day, but I just have to bring up another example of this: the late 70s-early 80s British scifi show, Blake’s 7. This was something of an anti-Star Trek, where the main baddie, Supreme Commander (later President) Servalan, was a ruthless, power-hungry, brutal, and kinky woman. She was also the only major female character to be known by her surname; in fact, the audience is never told what her first name is.

    In contract, the varied female ‘good guys’ were always known by their first names, as was the cowardly non-threatening male lead.

  36. Patrick J McGraw says

    This is one of the things I really like about The Mentalist. Teresa Lisbon is either “Lisbon” or “Boss.” Grace Van Pelt is always “Van Pelt.”

  37. MaggieCat says

    I like that too. I actually do a double take on the rare occasions that somebody calls Van Pelt by her first name because it takes forever for me to figure out who they’re talking about (yes, I keep expecting it to be Lucy).

    On the other hand it means the straight/white/male lead is always called ‘Jane’.

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