Saturday, December 02, 2006

TV Land's 100 Greatest Quotes & Catchphrases

I mentioned last week that TV Land has come out with their 100 Greatest Quotes & Catchphrases. Here is the complete list, in alphabetical order. And to answer your next question: No, I did not coin any of these 100 classic lines but have highlighted in red the ones I wish I had written. Tomorrow I present the great ones they missed.

-"Aaay" (Fonzie, "Happy Days")
-"And that's the way it is" (Walter Cronkite, "CBS Evening News")
-"Ask not what your country can do for you ..." (John F. Kennedy)
-"Baby, you're the greatest" (Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, "The Honeymooners")
-"Bam!" (Emeril Lagasse, "Emeril Live")
-"Book 'em, Danno" (Steve McGarrett, "Hawaii Five-O")
-"Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, "The Price is Right")
-"Danger, Will Robinson" (Robot, "Lost in Space")
-"De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, "Fantasy Island")
-"Denny Crane" (Denny Crane, "Boston Legal")
-"Do you believe in miracles?" (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics)
-"D'oh!" (Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons")
-"Don't make me angry ..." (David Banner, "The Incredible Hulk")
-"Dyn-o-mite" (J.J., "Good Times")
-"Elizabeth, I'm coming!" (Fred Sanford, "Sanford and Son")
-"Gee, Mrs. Cleaver ..." (Eddie Haskell, "Leave it to Beaver")
-"God'll get you for that" (Maude, "Maude")
-"Good grief" (Charlie Brown, "Peanuts" specials)
-"Good night, and good luck" (Edward R. Murrow, "See It Now")
-"Good night, John Boy" ("The Waltons")
-"Have you no sense of decency?" (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
-"Heh heh" (Beavis and Butt-head, "Beavis and Butthead")
-"Here it is, your moment of Zen" (Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show")
-"Here's Johnny!" (Ed McMahon, "The Tonight Show")
-"Hey now!" (Hank Kingsley, "The Larry Sanders Show")
-"Hey hey hey!" (Dwayne Nelson, "What's Happening!!")
-"Hey hey hey!" (Fat Albert, "Fat Albert")
-"Holy (whatever), Batman!" (Robin, "Batman")
-"Holy crap!" (Frank Barone, "Everybody Loves Raymond")
-"Homey don't play that!" (Homey the Clown, "In Living Color")
-"How sweet it is!" (Jackie Gleason, "The Jackie Gleason Show")
-"How you doin'?" (Joey Tribbiani, "Friends")
-"I can't believe I ate the whole thing" (Alka Seltzer ad)
-"I know nothing!" (Sgt. Schultz, "Hogan's Heroes")
-"I love it when a plan comes together" (Hannibal, "The A-Team")
-"I want my MTV!" (MTV ad)
-"I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl ..." (Larry, "Newhart")
-"I'm not a crook ..." (Richard Nixon)
-"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" (Vicks Formula 44 ad)
-"I'm Rick James, b****!" (Dave Chappelle as Rick James, "Chappelle's Show")
-"If it weren't for you meddling kids!" (Various villains, "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?")
-"Is that your final answer?" (Regis Philbin, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire")
-"It keeps going and going and going ..." (Energizer Batteries ad)
-"It takes a licking ..." (Timex ad)
-"Jane, you ignorant slut" (Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtin, "Saturday Night Live")
-"Just one more thing ..." (Columbo, "Columbo")
-"Let's be careful out there" (Sgt. Esterhaus, "Hill Street Blues")
-"Let's get ready to rumble!" (Michael Buffer, various sports events)
-"Live long and prosper" (Spock, "Star Trek")
-"Makin' whoopie" (Bob Eubanks, "The Newlywed Game")
-"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! (Jan Brady, "The Brady Bunch")
-"Mom always liked you best" (Tommy Smothers, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour")
-"Never assume ..." (Felix Unger, "The Odd Couple")
-"Nip it!" (Barney Fife, "The Andy Griffith Show")
-"No soup for you!" (The Soup Nazi, "Seinfeld")
-"Norm!" ("Cheers")
-"Now cut that out!" (Jack Benny, "The Jack Benny Program")
-"Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!" (Stan and Kyle, "South Park")
-"Oh, my nose!" (Marcia Brady, "The Brady Bunch")
-"One small step for man ..." (Neil Armstrong)
-"Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" (Grey Poupon ad)
-"Read my lips: No new taxes!" (George H.W. Bush)
-"Resistance is futile" (Picard as Borg, "Star Trek: The Next Generation")
-"Say good night, Gracie" (George Burns, "The Burns & Allen Show")
-"Schwing!" (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, "Saturday Night Live")
-"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)
-"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids" (Trix cereal ad)
-"Smile, you're on `Candid Camera"' ("Candid Camera")
-"Sock it to me" ("Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In")
-"Space, the final frontier ..." (Capt. Kirk, "Star Trek")
-"Stifle!" (Archie Bunker, "All in the Family")
-"Suit up!" (Barney Stinson, "How I Met Your Mother")
-"Tastes great! Less filling!" (Miller Lite beer ad)
-"Tell me what you don't like about yourself" (Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy, "Nip/Tuck")
-"That's hot" (Paris Hilton, "The Simple Life")
-"The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" (Jim McKay, "ABC's Wide World of Sports")
-"The tribe has spoken" (Jeff Probst, "Survivor")
-"The truth is out there" (Fox Mulder, "The X-Files")
-"This is the city ..." (Sgt. Joe Friday, "Dragnet")
-"Time to make the donuts" ("Dunkin' Donuts" ad)
-"Two thumbs up" (Siskel & Ebert, "Siskel & Ebert")
-"Up your nose with a rubber hose" (Vinnie Barbarino, "Welcome Back, Kotter")
-"We are two wild and crazy guys!" (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as Czech playboys, "Saturday Night Live")
-"Welcome to the O.C., bitch" (Luke, "The O.C.")
-"Well, isn't that special?" (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, "Saturday Night Live")
-"We've got a really big show!" (Ed Sullivan, "The Ed Sullivan Show")
-"Whassup?" (Budweiser ad)
-"What you see is what you get!" (Geraldine, "The Flip Wilson Show")
-"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (Arnold Drummond, "Diff'rent Strokes")
-"Where's the beef?" (Wendy's ad)
-"Who loves you, baby?" (Kojak, "Kojak")
-"Would you believe?" (Maxwell Smart, "Get Smart")
-"Yabba dabba do!" (Fred Flintstone, "The Flintstones")
-"Yada, yada, yada" ("Seinfeld")
-"Yeah, that's the ticket" (Jon Lovitz as the pathological liar, "Saturday Night Live")
-"You eeeediot!" (Ren, "Ren & Stimpy")
-"You look mahvelous!" (Billy Crystal as Fernando, "Saturday Night Live")
-"You rang?" (Lurch, "The Addams Family")
-"You're fired!" (Donald Trump, "The Apprentice")
-"You've got spunk ..." (Lou Grant, "The Mary Taylor Moore Show")


Anonymous said...

Hm, they attribute the "moment of Zen" quote to Jon Stewart, but I'm pretty sure Craig Kilborn used that line when he was the host of the Daily Show. Kind of a bad oversight there.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No possible logic to half that list:

the "moment of zen" quote, only available to the cable - package viewers, can just only come because its trendy now, not yet really catchphrase in the way of 100 greatest ever.

It is nowhere near having the cultural lasting resonance of "book em Danno", "Dyn-o-mite", "Baby, you're the Greatest", "Danger, Will Robinson", "Would you believe...","The thrill of victory, the agondy of defeat" and so on.

I refuse to believe anyone recalls "good grief" from TV. That is from a comic strip. They apply its classic status to tv, pretending to be heard as a catchphrase on tv. If anything, it would be "cowabunga!". Except no one SAYS that on the tv specials.

Clinton's "I did not have sex with ..." come on...MUST be on the list before Kennedy, as goes TV.

"Hey now" - Never. I was a big Larry Sanders fan, and hardly anyone I knew had HBO in that era. How can that show generate a classic line. Not possible. No one would know if I said Hank Kingsley.

"MAKING WHOOPEE"?? Bob Eubanks?! means these guys are just stoned making this list. That is so off as a classic anything.

Just test it, just asks someone who knows a bit of tv, try out "Book em, Dano", "Dyn-o-mite", "We are two wild and crazy guys","It takes a licking.." and then add "Making whoopee"! You maybe get Eddie Cantor -maybe.

Same with "Suit up" - Who watches THAT show? It should be something that has at least proven to LAST longer than a few years and returned as a recalled phrase.

"Yeah, that's the ticket", "The tribe has spoken","Is that your final answer?","Let's be careful out there", Welcome to the O.C., bitch"
"Well, isn't that special?" "Tell me what you don't like about yourself" "Denny Crane"... are just nonsense in relation to:
"come on down", "How Sweet it is" or "Here's Johnny","heh heh", "Space, the final frontier"...etc. You can see it just by comparing.

I mean, some of them from series like Nip / Tuck! Oh sure. No way they already qualified as "classic".
It's like discussing "thirtysomething" when it was being considered as great, remarkable tv - but today no one can recall any line from it, let alone the characters.

The list is just a sign of TVland trying to make contemporary classic already, and moving into VH1 territory.

Get rid of the last five years on that list, and really make a list that forces some better test of classic-status.

Although I certainly do, I don't believe anyone knows Jack Benny now, despite the fact that line is indeed classic for my generation, who would have put that today on a list that also has "nip/tuck". Makes no sense.

Odd that some show like "I love Lucy" or "Dick van Dyke" has no catchphrase. Perhaps there is a good sign of the days when they weren't necessary for a script to work.

Anonymous said...

I remember every kid in my grade school using this catchphrase:


from "The San Pedro Beach Bums" I hope it makes your list. It was a memorable line from a not so memorable show.

Eric said...

Not only did Kilborne originate "moment of zen" on the Daily Show, I believe he used it on Sports Center.

Diane said...

Great list, but it was almost ruined for me by its inclusion of a quote from Paris Hilton

VP81955 said...

I refuse to believe anyone recalls "good grief" from TV. That is from a comic strip. They apply its classic status to tv, pretending to be heard as a catchphrase on tv.

The same thing applies to "Now cut that out!" or "Say goodnight, Gracie." Both of those phrases originated on radio, and made the jump to TV along with their respective shows. When people consider the genius of Jack Benny, they primarily consider his radio work; the same thing applies, to a slightly lesser extent, to Burns & Allen (I say lesser because the TV show incorporated some unique elements, such as recognition of the "fourth wall").

Personally, I'm surprised "Get out!" (from "Seinfeld") didn't make the cut.

The Minstrel Boy said...

"i can't believe i ate the whole thing."

"you ate it ralph."

"i can't believe i ate the Whole Thing."

Anonymous said...

Ken, from your posts I gather you're not a huge fan of "Two and a Half Men." My wife and I find the show hilarious and the only "classic" live audience sitcom on tv worth watching. I think they came up with a brilliant one last week. Charlie's in bed -- he just woke up and his date chastises him for falling asleep while he was going down her, and he muses to himself "That explains why I dreamt I was kissing Abaraham Lincoln." Instant classic if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

I’d agree with Ahomer’s fine critique, and add the following…

I don’t know what criteria TV Land is holding itself to, but quotes from political events don’t really belong on the list, as they are hardly “scripted tv” (well, in the same sense that all of the others are.) This knocks out:

-"Ask not what your country can do for you ..." (John F. Kennedy)
-"Have you no sense of decency?" (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
-"I'm not a crook ..." (Richard Nixon)
-"Read my lips: No new taxes!" (George H.W. Bush)
-"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)

Firstly, there are many other ‘political quotes’ that are just as memorable, if not more so. But they belong in another list, like E! or Bravo’s “Top TV moments”, “TV Events”, or whatever they call them. Not “Lines”. They don’t fit in with the other 85% of the list.

Now, as to:
-"Denny Crane" (Denny Crane, "Boston Legal")
-"Suit up!" (Barney Stinson, "How I Met Your Mother")
-"Tell me what you don't like about yourself" (Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy, "Nip/Tuck")
-"Welcome to the O.C., bitch" (Luke, "The O.C.")

I don’t have as much a problem as Ahomer does with their “newness”, as much as I don’t think that these are at all well-known or memorable. Has anyone anywhere, but the most devoted fan, ever “quoted” these lines? If someone in the office used it, would you even recongnize?

-"Gee, Mrs. Cleaver ..." (Eddie Haskell, "Leave it to Beaver")
This isn’t a real “quote”. It is certainly evocative of the very-memorable and well-known Haskell, and people understand you when you describe someone as an “Eddie Haskell”. But this “quote”? Its quite a stretch.

-"The truth is out there" (Fox Mulder, "The X-Files")
Is this the only “quote” that isn’t really a “quote” of dialogue from the show? Its fkashed at the close of the show’s opening titles, and it neatly encapsulated the ethos of the show, but it ain’t spoken as a “quote”, and that sets it apart from the others.

And, as to:
B&B’s Heh-heh

Don’t feel too bad about not having written those “lines”, Ken.
As I don’t have to remind you, “D’oh!” was – and has been ever since – scripted as “annoyed grunt”. The “quote” “D’oh!” is entirely an invention of the sctor, Dan Castellaneta. (Even you must allow that this is one of those *rare* instances in which the performer is due the originating credit rather than the writer).
Likewise, B&B’s laugh was scripted as “they laugh”, and it was brought to life by Mike Judge – also, fortunately, the creator, writer, and performer. Since then, it was scripted as “Heh-heh”.

As Ahomer mentioned, the Simpsons really lacks for these types of “catch-phrases”, which are, truth be told, very hacky in scripted comedies. There’s Burns’ “excellent”, Nelson’s “Haw-haw!”, Ned’s “Hiddily-ho!”, but Bart has made more meta-comments on how he *hasn’t* said “Cowabunga”, “Don’t have a cow”, and “I didn’t do it” than he has actually *used* any of these phrases (only twice, for the first two, actually). Pretty amazing, for a show 382 eps-strong.

However, I take this issue w/ Ahomer: “Hey now!” deserves to be on the list. People now use it who have no idea of its origins. The same holds true for many others on the list, which is almost true immortality.

Anonymous said...

I think Lou Grant's line is the greatest -- especially in its context: Mary finds out Ted makes more money than she and demands a raise.

Lou: (admiringly) You've got spunk...

Mary smiles, takes the compliment.

Lou: (serious).. and I hate spunk!"

Anonymous said...

I swear, the second I heard the "spunk" exchange (no "and," BTW), I knew that I'd be watching that show as long as it was on the air.

Only time one line in a pilot hit me that hard.

(My favorite pilot ever was the "Due South" Paul Haggis, who used to be quite funny)

Anonymous said...

GW - I can not but admire your arguments and historical references, and will start trying out "hey now".

A succesful catchphrase is really that moment a line enters into popular conciousness and burrows in, rather than a line that can be recalled from a show. That there could be so many from the Simpsons alone, that's kind of scary Bart can even comment on the phenomena.

I was actually thinking "cowabunga" as from Peanuts. Wasn't that Snoopy's call to arms as a surfer? Or did I transpose that from Simpsons, or did they appropriate it from Peanuts?

I love the idea that "heh heh", the Beavis and Butthead signature, that has taken on the aural familiarity equivalent of the Nike Swoosh, is just originally written in the script as "they laugh". It says alot.

Still, I am left with the sense a significant part of the better sitcom-world, many popular shows in the 60s, did not have any remarkable catchphrase, compared to the next decade where so many reside.

And before, the ones mentioned that we know from the 50s, were in fact, as mentioned elsewhere in the comments, carry-overs from radio where the language had to stick.

Mike Barer said...

I don't think "that's hot" belongs with any TV classics. If some heavy set chick from the Bronx said it, noone would notice.
How about "here come da judge" from "Laugh In"

Anonymous said...

"Mom always liked you best" was from the Smothers Brother's act. Besides, how can you not have these lines from "Star Trek?"

"She's dead, Jim."


"I'm a Doctor, not a..."

Anonymous said...

How about the Law & Order intro - "In the criminal justice system..."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of your excellent work. I usually lurk, but I feel it’s essential to speak out on important issues.

“You rang?” should actually be attributed to one of the greatest sitcom characters of all time (IMHO), Maynard G. Krebs.

Lurch was okay, but Maynard’s “You rang?” bits were classics. RIP Bob Denver. Like, I’m getting all misty.

maven said...

Some of these so-called "catchphrases" really seem strange on this list. I agree with most of the posters today that political phrases shouldn't be on this list...but should have it's own separate one.

I'm surprised that nothing from "The Steve Allen Show" made the list...remember Louis Nye's Gordon Hathaway (Man on the Street): "Hi Ho, Steverino! Or Bill Dana's: "My name Jose Jimenez."

Anonymous said...

Did anyone mention "To the moon, Alice"

My Fave Ralph Malph Line was "You're such a Potsy"

And personally, I'll always love Joe Flaherty's obscure line from SCTV's Count Floyd..."Ooooooh, scary, kids" and Bob and Doug's "Take off, eh!"

Anonymous said...

Exactly how does the "spunk" exchange qualify as a catch phrase? It was used once. Lou Grant didn't go around telling people over and over again they had spunk and he hated spunk. It was one line from the pilot episode. That a catch phrase does not make.

Mike Barer said...

I had to look twice but I can't believe they ignored Jack Webb's "just the facts, maam".

Mike Barer said...

Another ommitted one--"Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!"
Of course, there was this rather obscure show host named Ed Sullivan and his phrase was "a Really Big Shew"!
Radar O'Reilly could always change the subject on Mash with a simple "choppers!"
Now that's hot!

Anonymous said...

"benson said...
Exactly how does the "spunk" exchange qualify as a catch phrase? It was used once. Lou Grant didn't go around telling people over and over again they had spunk and he hated spunk. It was one line from the pilot episode. That a catch phrase does not make."

The list was titled "100 Most Memorable Catchphrases and Quotes." Obviously the Spunk exchange comes under the heading of "And Quotes". And who doesn't enjoy a good spunk exchange?

"Here Comes Da Judge" came from Pigmeat Markham's Burlesque act, resurrected by Laugh-In.

Mike Barer said...

Ed Sullivan introducing a rock band..."and now for you youngsters"

Anonymous said...

If were are talking TV-themed quotes, I would like to add...

"That's Rhythm Heritage, with the theme from S.W.A.T, which of course spells M*A*S*H"--10Q's Beaver Cleaver

Anonymous said...

From SCTV:

"Blowed up good. Blowed up REAL good!"


Anonymous said...

I'm just trying to figure out why "I'm Rick James, b****!" had to be censored and "Welcome to the O.C., bitch" didn't. Other than that I don't care enough to really go through the list closely. I don't think the political stuff belongs on this list, and am glad South Park got at least one mention.

Anonymous said...

one of them they missed was from full house: You got it dude, and how rude. and from futurama bite my shiny metal ***.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still going to defend "Suit up" or "Hey now", consider these:

"It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it."
"You are the weakest link. Goodbye!" (How in the world is "You're fired" number *3* and this not there at all? This was big.)
"Lucy, you got some explainin' to do."
"I'd like to buy a vowel."
"Sha-ZAM!" (Gomer Pyle, not Captain Marvel)
"Nanoo Nanoo"
"This tape will self-destruct in ten seconds."
"Kiss my grits."

In addition to ones that have already been mentioned such as "Here Comes The Judge" and "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" Yet they found room for "Tell me what you don't like about yourself" and "Welcome to the OC, bitch?" Whatchoo talkin' bout, TV Land?

Anonymous said...

Are these available as video?

Unknown said...

I've never seen the 1977 sitcom where this might have originated, but have heard this in a movie " Football, You Bet!" What movie?!

Anonymous said...

"Whatch you talkin' 'bout Willis"

Anonymous said...

"Football, you bet" was from the san Pedro beach bums

Anonymous said...

San Pedro Beach Bums. 1977 show. It was on for a dozen episodes, and people quoted it for a dozen years, just like “Baseball been berry berry good to me.”