Sitcom Catchphrases You'll Never Forget As Long As You Live
Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson, Todd Bridges as Willis Jackson on 'Diff'rent Strokes' -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
There's nothing like a sitcom catchphrase to breed familiarity with a character, and on a sitcom that connection between audience and character is key. So many of them come to us reflexively -- it's hard to imagine Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners, Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes, or Flo from Alice without thinking of the characters' famous and oh-so-repeatable lines. Situation comedies go away, or go into re-runs on obscure cable TV channels, and as humans we are bound to forget many basic things as our memories fail in our later years. But we won't ever, ever forget these -- sitcom catchphrases are with us forever.
'You Wanna Go To The Moon, Alice?'
The Honeymooners show takes place mostly in Ralph and Alice’s apartment where Ralph and Alice get into a lot of “discussions.” Sometimes these discussions take place over some get-rich-quick scheme that Ralph and his best friend, Ed have cooked up. When Ralph gets upset with Alice, he likes to use the catchphrase “You wanna go to the moon, Alice?” He likes to think he has the upper hand; but, in reality, it’s Alice who gets the better of him usually by making him feel dumb.
'Mel, Kiss My Grits'
The show called Alice is set in a local diner called “Mel’s Diner,” where three waitresses work for a stingy boss named Mel. After her husband's untimely death, Alice and her son move to Phoenix, Arizona from New Jersey where she ends up at Mel’s Diner, which is where the show begins. Mel is not only the owner but also the cook, whose food gets criticized by everyone. Flo, one of the other two waitresses who work there, is a Southern girl with a Southern accent and always seeking a man. Vera is the other waitress, who is a bit of a scatterbrain as well as a neurotic. The three of them become fast friends who stick together against Mel whenever necessary. Flo simply tells him “kiss my grits.”
'Missed It By That Much'
On Get Smart, Maxwell Smart is a bumbling detective who works as a secret agent, referred to as agent 86, alongside his partner, agent 99. They both work for the organization CONTROL which is for the US Government and their enemy counterpart is KAOS. The entrance to CONTROL is through a phone booth that goes underground and then through many automatic steel doors. Max has all these secret gadgets that he uses for the job such as his shoe-phone. When Max messes up during one of his assignments, his catchphrase is “missed it by that much.” Agent 99 usually helps him get out of sticky situations where he has fouled up as she is really the smart one.
'Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?'
Diff'rent Strokes is a show about a rich businessman and widower with his teenage daughter, Kimberly who end up taking in two black boys from Harlem. He eventually adopts them. In this show, there are not only laughs but heart-warming episodes too. Arnold, the youngest boy, looks up to his older brother, Willis for advice and leadership. The two really stick together. When Arnold doesn’t understand something or just disagrees with him, he will use the catch-phrase “Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?”
'Live Long And Prosper'
Yeah, yeah, we know: Star Trek is not a sitcom. We're making an exception for this one. Star Trek is a favorite of many as not only a show but also numerous movies, spin-off series, and even hobbyists who collect anything Star Trek. One of the main characters, Dr. Spock, is a Vulcan who supposedly has no human emotions. For someone with no emotions, he seems to somehow be able to muster up feelings whenever certain occasions call for it, especially if Captain Kirk is in some sort of trouble. Of course, there appears to be no love lost between him and Dr. McCoy (Bones). When it comes right down to it though, they really do like each other. Dr. Spock’s catch-phrase and motto is “Live long and prosper.” This catch-phrase actually came from Leonard Nimoy’s (Dr. Spock) childhood memory where he saw the hand gesture as a blessing in a Jewish service. It had a major impact on him so he never forgot it, not knowing he would one day incorporate it into his part on Star Trek.
'Sit On It, Potsie'
Happy Days was a show about the 1950s and 1960s with a group of students that mostly hung out at Arnold’s, a restaurant with a jukebox and pinball machine. Richie and his friends, Potsie and Ralph would hang out there after school, along with Fonzie, a “hood” who would join them later. Fonzie was the cool one who always helped them out of jams when the local bullies came around. Somehow, for various reasons, Potsie got coined with this catch-phrase that everybody would use on him, “Sit on it, Potsie.” Sometimes, the phrase would be used on other members of the show but it was usually Potsie.
'Oh, I'm Coming To Join You Elizabeth! This Is It – This Is The Big One!'
Sanford And Son was hilarious. Sanford and his son, Lamont, owned a junkyard in Watts which was a poor section in Los Angeles. Fred G. Sanford (Redd Foxx) was a widower and had a heart condition - at least he claimed to. Anytime he got upset, especially with his son, Lamont, he would call out to his deceased wife and say, “I’m coming to join you Elizabeth!” Sometimes (in fact, a lot of times), he would just be using his so-called heart condition as an act to get Lamont to do what he wanted.
'Did I Do That?'
Family Matters started out as a show about a police officer and his family but it didn’t take long before the focus was more on the neighbor, Steve Urkel. He became the hit of the show with his quirky ways and humor. His famous saying on the show was “Did I do that?” It was just the way he said it that made it so funny as well as the way he wore his pants high up on his waist.
These shows and many more have brought us laughter, one-liners, and catch-phrases that will keep us in stitches for years to come.
Tags: Kiss My Grits | Missed It By That Much | Popular Lists Of Everything From The Groovy Era | Straight To The Moon | The 1950s | The 1960s | The 1970s | TV In The 1950s | TV In The 1960s | TV In The 1970s
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