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Muppet Wiki:Character Naming Conventions

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Muppet Wiki Policy maintains to avoid the creation of a character name for the purpose of an article title whenever possible. This page is meant to serve as a guideline to rational application of naming conventions beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unnamed Characters

There are many characters that exist in Muppetdom that don't have official names or titles. Some of the official names for characters are more titles then traditional names, such as The Swedish Chef, The Newsman and even Grouch Cop. But those titles have sources (such as on film, production credits, merchandise and other publications). However, what we want to do is prevent non-official unsourced names from being adopted by the fan community, especially when it involves a certain subjectivity or arbitrariness. A character such as Palace Guard may as well have been named "Royal Guardsman," "The Guard" or "Guardsman." When a characeter's official name is unable to be cited, a discussion should take place on Name That Puppet before the page is created – this could uncover an official title, lead to a pre-existing page for that character, or create a title that is unbiased and not misleading. Character pages with names that, in essence, we've created should include the "Unnamed Characters" category tag in order to flag the name as "unofficial." If later on a citable name is uncovered, the tag can be lifted and the page moved.

Err on the side of being conservative, yet accurate. An unnamed purple monster who plays a librarian should hold a name such as "librarian" or, if needed, "librarian (monster)" rather than "Monster Librarian," "Purple Librarian Monster," "Ugly Librarian" or even "The Librarian," Avoid unneeded descriptors in the title or the use of the prefix "The," as these tend to skew the title towards being interpreted as a proper or official name, rather then a self prescribed title applied by us (the exceptions to the "The" rule include band names, nobility or other characters of citable sources).

It is also important to note in the article that the character is unnamed, so as not to imply that "Messenger" is their official title.

Example: An unnamed Anything Muppet played the role of a messenger in the story, "The King and His Problem"...

Name Descriptors and Titles

Take for example the name of Kermit the Frog (which is the official title and name of Kermit, and has been used in tons of official works). Kermit's official name included "the Frog". However simply attaching "the Frog" to Bill, calling him "Bill the Frog" because he is a frog, changes the use of "the Frog" to a mere descriptor rather than its original use as part of a character's actual name. In Bill's case, his "real name" could be "Bill the Frog" (like Kermit) but it could also be "Bill Frog" (similar to Fozzie Bear), or it could be "Bill Finkelstein," or just plain "Bill." Since there are no sources for his full name being "Bill the Frog," we shouldn't assume things and change the character's name to fit our needs. The character should be titled "Bill" (the fact that he is a frog can be discussed in the article itself). If we would not rename characters to "Beaker the Lab Assistant" or "Fozzie Bear the Bear," we should not arbitrarily rename minor characters based on their roles, jobs, species or physical appearances.

If another character exists with the same name, a disambiguation label can be placed in parenthesis. To differentiate him from the elephant of the same name, Seymour should be titled Seymour (turtle) rather than renaming the character "Seymour the Turtle" or "Seymour Turtle." Our goal is to not rename or misrepresent a character's name.

It is always better to title a character "Fred" (or "Fred (the king)" if needed) rather than create the name "Fred the King" or "King Fred" if there are no sources to back up those labels.

Relationships

Many Muppet relatives have appeared (or been mentioned) that we don't have names for. We give relatives names based on their relation to others (i.e. Fozzie's Uncle where he's only referred to as "my uncle" by Fozzie or "your uncle" by Kermit). For a character such as Herry's Mother (could be called "Mrs. Monster," "Herry's Ma," " Herry's Mom," " Herry's Mommy," "Mother Monster"…). Unless there is official documentation for their name (such as Emily Bear, Grover's Mommy, or Daddy Snuffle) then we use the naming convention of being so-and-so's whatever (like Elmo's Mom, Cookie Monster's Sister or Fozzie's Uncle). Our current naming conventions use the full (and more formal) Mother, Father, Brother, Aunt, Grandmother, Dog... (unless we have proof of the character being Mommy, Pa, Bro, Auntie, Grandma, Doggy or whatever).

Caricatures

There have been several Muppets created as specific Muppet caricatures of individuals people (such as Juliet Prowse). Many times these characters are unnamed, or referred to by the name of their real-world counterpart (such as George Lucas, Woody Allen, and Tom Cruise). Our current naming conventions allow us to name them "Person Caricaturized Muppet" (such as Tim Curry Muppet or Paul Williams Muppet). This only applies to true caricaturized Muppets and should not be used for characters that coincidentally looks similar to someone or for non-caricaturized parodies based on a person.

Character Spelling

In general, print sources for the spelling of character names (credits, merchandise, books) are preferred. If a character is adapted from a pre-existing work, the spelling in the source text is acceptable and preferred over common fan spellings (such as "Billy Joe Jive" to "Billy Jo Jive"). Phonetic spellings should be compared to on-screen credits, as the ear can be misleading, particularly if common real-life naming conventions support the screen credit ("Audrey Molehill" versus "Aubrey Molehill"). This particularly applies to international co-productions and other shows that may use different spellings ("Elmonoske" versus "Elmonosuke"). However, while accent marks are encouraged, cyrillic and other alphabet languages are discouraged for the main title, but may be included within the article.

Sometimes minor, obscure, or one-time characters will necessitate phonetic spelling. In those cases, it's advisable to follow standard naming conventions in real life, or if uncertain, start a discussion on that article's talk page. In general, except in cases of an obvious typo, clearly misspelled name, or where an official source can be quickly cited in the edit summary, discussion on talk pages is encouraged, to avoid sudden character renamings of "Chermit the Frog" and so forth.

Characters with Multiple Names

Some minor characters may undergo name changes, especially when they were small parts and the name was in a piece of one-time throw-away dialog or as part of a gag or song lyric. (This is different from a recycled puppet, where it is the same puppet, but a different character - such as Jacques Roach and Yves St. La Roache). In the case of a "Same Character, Multiple Names" the most commonly used or popularized title should be used. If there is any doubt on what the title should be, discussion should be brought on the article's talk page as to what the character page should be title. The other names should also be noted on the page, as they are valued bits of information, and redirect pages could be set up if appropriate.

Example of this phenomena include: Maurice Monster who has gone by Maurice, Kermit the Gorf, Elmo Mondiporg and other names. As well as Mr. Johnson who has been titled Mr. Johnson, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Blue in the past.

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