Of the wide and diverse cast of ABC’s science-fiction fantasy show Lost, James “Sawyer” Ford was one of the most memorable and mysterious. The dashing rogue was known for his rugged good looks and unscrupulous nature. But one of his most unique calling cards was his various nicknames for the other characters.
Whether he was being an eager villain or a reluctant hero, Sawyer always had the Southern charm cranked all the way up and the witticisms never stopped. Some were hurtful, others just painfully accurate. We’ve cherry-picked the best of the dozens of Sawyer's nicknames for the show's castaways.
10 Sundance (Jack)
One of Sawyer’s defining traits throughout the show, if not his most defining, was his romantic rivalry with the show’s heroic lead, spinal surgeon Jack Shephard, for the heart of Evangeline Lilly’s less-than-angelic Kate Austen. With Sawyer’s past as a criminal often appealing to Kate’s own problems as a fugitive and sometimes outshining Jack’s appeals to her softer nature.
Needless to say, Sawyer had a great number of nicknames for Jack and this is definitely one of the nicer ones. You assume that the nickname Sundance is somewhat of a gibe at Jack’s less gunslinger-ish personality. But also, we suspect, because it would automatically make Sawyer 'Butch' Cassidy by association.
9 Jin-bo (Jin)
Proof that, while often sardonic, Sawyer was master of the off-the-cuff affectionate nickname. It is a little diminished by the fact Daniel Dae Kim’s character, Jin-Soo Kwan, didn’t really speak or understand much English throughout the show and definitely not near the beginning.
It was also probably just confusing on the basis of its similarity to the name ‘Jimbo’ (that the nickname is clearly a riff on) which is a Japanese surname (Jin is Korean). It is, however, still quite sweet in the fact that, in English, ‘Jimbo’ is a diminutive of Sawyer’s real name ‘James.’ So it’s a term of endearment that probably has some personal meaning to him.
8 Short Round (Walt)
Most of Sawyer’s nicknames for the youngest of the main castaways, 10-year-old Walter ‘Walt’ Lloyd, were references to notably small characters from popular TV shows or movies. Such as Tattoo from the TV show Fantasy Island (which contains another direct reference to Lost’s premise) and Gazoo from The Flintstones.
Short Round is a reference to Jonathan Ke Quan’s fondly remembered character of the same name from the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Like Walt, he was a helpful kid in the middle of a dangerous and mystical adventure. But we’re fairly certain Sawyer just called him that because he’s short.
7 Colonel Kurtz (Locke)
Another movie reference, Colonel Kurtz was Marlon Brando’s infamous character from Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now. The name of the character quickly entered popular culture as a byword for cult-leader-esque commandingness and psychotically singular vision. All in all, it’s not that bad of a description of John Locke.
The other de facto leader of the castaways, next to Jack and often in opposition to him, Locke was a tantalizingly enigmatic character. He was often supernatural in his beliefs and influence. But Locke had good reasons for his god complex. The initial plane crash onto the island gave him back the use of his legs after being paralyzed for several years. Not to mention his bizarre destiny and connection the island itself.
6 Kenny Rogers (Frank)
Most of Sawyer’s comparative nicknames are to fictional characters but the real-life ones are often the funniest and most accurately cutting. Frank Lapidus doesn’t enter the cast of Lost until season four but that doesn’t spare him from some of Sawyer’s most savage comparisons.
The comparison to famous musician Kenny Rogers is clearly a reference to actor Jeff Fahey’s beard and its prominence. Much like Kenny Rogers’, Frank’s beard is not a thing to be underestimated. The character was never originally envisioned with one and executive producer Carlton Cuse has mentioned that the producers only decided to keep it after seeing it for themselves.
5 Snuffy (Hurley)
A lot of Sawyer’s nicknames for people were fairly bigoted, ignorant and down-right hurtful. He very often made allusions to the weight of fan-favorite character Hugo ‘Hurely’ Reyes. Mostly because Sawyer knew that Hurley's laid back demeanor would prevent him from fighting back. So it’s nice to be reminded that his nicknames could often be complementary and endearing.
Snuffy is a reference to the beloved Sesame Street character Mr. Snuffleupagus. Apart from referencing Hurley’s warm and cuddly personality, it also draws attention to the elephant-like nature of both of them. Snuffy with his long trunk and Hurley with his long hair hanging down perfectly at the sides of his head like big ears, similar to those of an elephant.
4 Mr. Clean (Locke)
A much funnier comparison Sawyer makes to John Locke’s overall look and one of his best unequivocal putdowns. The comparison to the famous cleaning product mascot perfectly demonstrates how unafraid of Locke Sawyer really was. Locke could be a very intimidating guy and Sawyer’s lack of respect for him was always a welcome respite.
Locke’s friction with Jack’s style and direction of leadership was an almost-constant source of tension throughout the show. Even though Sawyer was always butting heads with Jack, it was quite clear that he’d ally with Jack over Locke and his authoritarian style in most situations. Sawyer’s background as a con-man no doubt made him all the less impressed by Locke’s new Island God persona. He could smell the tough guy act a mile away.
3 Reject from VH1 Has-Beens (Charlie)
Charlie Pace was the only real celebrity of the original castaways in Lost. Although, he quickly learns that his fame will be of no use to him on the island. As Sawyer likes to painfully remind him. Charlie was once in a popular band named Drive Shaft. But his rock star persona covers up his sense of inadequacy at the fact that the band was only a one-hit-wonder.
Despite his beginnings as a somewhat selfish heroin addict, Charlie goes on to become one of the most well-loved characters on the show. His final sacrifice being one of the most famous scenes from the entire series. That doesn’t mean that his ego didn’t need the occasional reminder of reality, though. And Sawyer was always on hand to deliver that.
2 Hobbit (Charlie)
Another great Sawyer movie reference and his most fourth wall breaking by far. It may even be the most fourth wall breaking moment of the show. This is because the actor who played Charlie, English actor Dominic Monaghan, was most well-known for playing Hobbit Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Like a lot of shows of its pedigree, Lost would often use movie references to draw attention to its own cinematic nature. Monaghan was one of the biggest names on the show. If not the biggest, at the time. So it was nice to hear an acknowledgment of that. Funnily enough, fellow main cast member Evangeline Lilly would become a major part of Peter Jackson’s following Hobbit trilogy years later.
1 Freckles (Kate)
Of all of Sawyer’s nicknames, no matter how complimentary or condescending, there was none more well-worn or well-loved as his nickname for Kate – Freckles. It may have just been Sawyer’s attempt at flirting to begin with but the name quickly became his special term of endearment for his will-they-won’t-they partner.
Sawyer and Kate never worked out as either of them would have hoped for. But there was clearly a lot of genuine affection between the two characters throughout the show. Beyond just physical attraction, too. Freckles endures to this day as one of the all-time great TV pet names.