New TV Fad: Character Teams Named After Old Actors

A slow connection is my newest excuse for not having a long post today, but for a quick TV-related observation, how’s this: There are two popular comedies that have two-character teams named for beloved character actors of the past. First there was Sheldon and Leonard, named after Sheldon Leonard, the great tough-guy actor who became a successful TV producer. And now Modern Family has Cameron and Mitchell, named for Cameron Mitchell, an actor who was in absolutely everything ever made.

Is this a trend that has replaced the old joke of naming one character after an actor or musician, like Michael Bolton in Office Space or the character named “Mario Lanza” on the old Tony Randall Show? (This was a favourite joke of writer/creators Jay Tarses and Tom Patchett, who did another show with characters named “Steve and Edie.”) If so, I think I approve. It guarantees that the team will have names that sound good together, and it’s a cute shout-out to the three people in the audience who get the reference. Any other actors — actors whose first and last name could both be first names, I mean — you’d nominate for this treatment? I personally think I want to see a husband and wife couple named “Frank and Morgan.”

And to make this post seem longer than it is, here’s the original Sheldon Leonard doing the voice of a lazy cat in a Warner Brothers cartoon.