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Monday, July 22, 2024

12 Sitcom Catchphrases That By no means Wore Out Their Welcome

Practically each sitcom catchphrase ever has adopted the identical trajectory. Whereas some writers have had the audacity of attempting to fabricate a personality’s catchphrase from the beginning, their origins are often unintentional — it’s only a significantly humorous one-off line that will get an enormous response. Then, after seeing that vast response, the writers work it into an increasing number of of the scripts, and it turns into a beloved a part of the character (and present). However inevitably, the catchphrase finally ends up being overused, and what the viewers as soon as regarded ahead to, they now dread.

“Did I do this?” Sure, Urkel, you probably did. You probably did precisely that, and we nonetheless hate you for it.

There have been a handful of instances, nevertheless, when a sitcom catchphrase has stayed contemporary all over the present’s run. I managed to seek out 12 of them, and no, I didn’t neglect to incorporate “Bazinga!”

‘Fairly Good. Fairly, Fairly, Fairly, Fairly Good’

Larry David’s catchphrase from Curb Your Enthusiasm originated organically within the present’s third episode. Misplaced on his method to a celebration with Cheryl, he will get out of his automobile and asks for instructions, solely to seek out out that the man he’s asking instructions from is somebody who already hates him from an earlier incident on the driving vary. After failing to get instructions, Larry returns to the automobile and Cheryl asks, “How did it go?” Mendacity, Larry drags out his reply: “Fairly good. Fairly, fairly, fairly, fairly good.”

The catchphrase has been repeated quite a lot of instances since — together with by different characters mocking Larry — however Larry himself by no means overused it, bringing it out about as soon as a season. Mix that with Curb’s low episode turnout (solely 10 per season) and its rare seasons, and Larry’s “fairly items” at all times remained fairly, fairly, fairly, fairly contemporary. 


After 7,000 episodes (or thereabouts), we nonetheless haven’t gotten uninterested in listening to Homer say “D’oh!” on The Simpsons. Whereas Bart’s early catchphrases like “Eat my shorts!” bought previous and had been retired, “D’oh” has continued to work as a result of it’s not some contrived phrase shoehorned into scripts, it’s a guttural, animalistic sound which means one thing unhealthy is going on to Homer.

‘I’m Listening’

The rationale why some catchphrases handle to remain contemporary is all about context. When it’s some pithy retort like “You bought it, dude,” the writers must forcibly manufacture dialogue with a view to get to that reply. In distinction, Frasier Crane’s catchphrase on Frasier was utilized in practically each episode, but it surely by no means bought tiresome as a result of it was used inside the context of his radio present, so there was at all times a pure motive for him to say it. 

‘It Stinks!’

Just like Frasier, movie critic Jay Sherman’s catchphrase on The Critic was one thing he used on his present inside the present. “It stinks” was his trustworthy feeling towards many of the films he was reviewing. That mentioned, “It stinks” in all probability by no means bought previous primarily as a result of The Critic lasted solely 23 episodes.

‘Hey Now!’

One other instance of a catchphrase for a show-within-a-show. What makes Hank Kingsley’s a bit completely different, although, was his clawing sense of desperation that compelled him to make use of it in his private life as effectively, lest you neglect that he’s on TV each night time.

‘Oh, My God! They Killed Kenny!’

Had South Park continued to kill Kenny in each episode for 26 seasons, the bit/catchphrase positively would have worn out its welcome. However by the point the present reached its fifth season, Matt Stone and Trey Parker misplaced curiosity in forcing Kenny’s dying into each episode, so they only stopped doing it. Kenny died “for actual” on the finish of Season 5, then he stayed useless till the tip of Season Six (when Stone and Parker lastly bowed to followers demanding Kenny’s return). Since then, Kenny has solely died sparingly, so it’s a pleasing shock when it occurs. As such, the accompanying “Oh my God! They killed Kenny” and “You bastards!” is a welcome a part of his occasional demise.


From the very first episode, each time Norm enters Cheers, he’s greeted with the entire bar shouting his identify. It by no means will get previous for a few causes. For one factor, it’s a single, unobtrusive phrase versus a complete phrase. For one more, it’s not Norm saying it. Had he introduced his personal arrival each time he sauntered into Cheers, we’d hate the man, however by everybody else saying it, it makes him additional endearing. Lastly, “Norm!” was at all times adopted up by a implausible little bit of joke writing the place somebody would ask Norm how he was doing and he’d give a humorous reply. My private favourite instance: 

Sam: Hey, what’s occurring, Norm?
Norm: It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I’m carrying Milk-Bone underwear.

‘That’s What She Mentioned’

Michael Scott’s “That’s what she mentioned” had all the trimmings of a nasty catchphrase, however staved off spoilage largely as a result of the writers of The Workplace at all times cleverly hid the setup, so that you virtually by no means noticed Michael’s juvenile reply coming. Plus, even if it was mentioned 40 instances all through the collection, that isn’t that a lot whenever you stretch it out over the practically 150 episodes that Michael appeared in.

‘Missed It By That A lot’ and ‘Would You Consider…’

The Sixties spy parody Get Sensible had quite a lot of repeated phrases, but two of its greatest by no means bought previous for differing causes. “Missed it by that a lot” is what undercover agent Maxwell Sensible would say when a bullet (or one thing comparable) missed him, however the phrase often adopted some huge, humorous bodily gag, versus the catchphrase itself being the joke. As for “Would you consider…,” this was a recurring gag for when Max was bluffing to a nasty man. Just like the jokes that adopted Norm’s entrances on Cheers, the “Would you consider…” bits had been at all times a variation on a theme, and so they had been at all times sharply written. Right here’s an instance:

Maxwell Sensible: You see the second I suspected there was one thing mistaken with this previous scow, I instantly telephoned headquarters, and I occur to know that, at this very minute, seven Coast Guard cutters are converging on this boat. Would you consider it? Seven.
Mr. Large: I discover that fairly arduous to consider.
Maxwell Sensible: Would you consider six?
Mr. Large: I don’t suppose so.
Maxwell Sensible: How about two cops in a rowboat?

‘You Large Dummy!’ and ‘This Is the Large One! You Hear That, Elizabeth? I’m Coming to Be a part of You, Honey’

One other present the place two catchphrases remained humorous was Sanford and Son. The rationale why for every was Redd Foxx. Foxx was by no means not humorous — whether or not he was calling his son a “Large dummy” for the two hundredth time or faking his two hundredth coronary heart assault, it at all times bought fun.

‘Good day, Newman’

As soon as once more, it’s all about context. On Seinfeld, Jerry didn’t say “Good day, Newman” in each episode. It was particularly reserved for episodes with Newman, and it was labored in naturally, as the best way Jerry greeted his archnemesis. Higher but, “Good day, Newman” was the setup, versus the punchline.

‘Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub’

Rick’s catchphrase from Rick and Morty solely works as a result of it’s form of an anti-catchphrase. For starters, he’s solely mentioned it a number of instances, and when he does, he actually calls it his “catchphrase” as a method of mocking irreverent catchphrases like “Yabba Dabba Do!” and The Large Bang Concept’s unbearable “Bazinga!” “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” is humorous as a result of it’s not a catchphrase, which, paradoxically, is what makes it such a superb catchphrase.

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