Like any good suburbanite, I used to babysit as a teenager. I never really enjoyed babysitting because I felt weird bossing around kids who I wasn't related to, and because I always felt nervous that I was responsible for these tiny, reckless humans. But the main reason I ended up boycotting the idea of watching children so parents could take the minivan out for a hot date night at Scalini's had everything to do with a dog that I once encountered — a dog named Morgan.
Can I state a fact? Morgan is simply not a dog's name. It is a name for humans (male or female) only. On — Ly. I still remember the moment I walked inside the house (I had acquired the gig from a friend and not yet met the family), and the young girl I was meant to keep alive for the next few hours started laughing when she heard my name. "That's a dog's name! That is my dog's name." I spent the rest of the evening seated on a couch next to Morgan (the four-legged one), mulling over the absurdity of giving a Jack Russell Terrier such a recognisably human name. And you know what else is a name for humans only, too? Justin Bieber. Yet, Bieber is the name of Simon Spier's dog in the new-age John Hughes-inspired flick Love, Simon. Bieber!
The first time Simon talks about his dog, an element lifted from the novel it's based on, I looked at the person seated next to me, a coworker, who knew immediately this would set me off. I am a fan of Bieber, much like I am a fan of my own name. So I immediately went on the defence. "Justin" is barely a dog name. "Bieber" is definitely not. "Biebs," no. Once I got used to it ("I have to take Bieber on a walk, Mum!"), I realised that this had good potential to play into the plotline. Maybe Simon's first crush would be Bieber, and that is why he named his dog that. It's a little odd, but it tracks. He is a worthy first crush, I'd say.
But later on, it doesn't go anywhere. It's just... the name of his dog. And everyone accepts it. (His actual sexual awakening comes in the form of Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.) There are many wonderful things about Love, Simon: the heart-warming friendships, the charming family, the themes of self-love. And there is one bad thing: the under-used punchline, Bieber as a Dog.
I'm here to say this: don't do this kids. Give your dog a dog name. Your babysitters will thank you.