Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Why Is This Man Named Haverford?

We recently started watching "Parks and Recreation," a show that I heartily endorse.

A character played by the very funny Aziz Ansari (who stole scenes in last year's "Funny People") is named "Tom Haverford." The origin of the Haverford name is revealed during an exchange with Leslie (played by Amy Poehler):
Leslie: You're not from here, right?
Tom: No, I'm from South Carolina.
Leslie: But you moved to South Carolina from where?
Tom: My mother's uterus.
Leslie: But you were conceived in Libya, right?
Tom: Wow. No. I was conceived in America. My parents are Indian.
Leslie: Where did the name Haverford come from?
Tom: My birth name is Darwish Zubair Ismail Gani. Then I changed it to Tom Haverford because, you know, brown guys with funny-sounding Muslim names don't make it really far in politics.


That leaves a lingering question for people like me, who went to Haverford College. Did the character take his name from the school? And does one of the "Parks and Recreation" creators or writers have a link to Haverford? (I haven't been able to find a connection.)

I now look forward to a TV character being named after Swarthmore — preferably something fitting, like a necrophiliac or serial arsonist. (Oh, snap.)