12 Catchphrases So Common You Almost Forget They Originated On TV

I understood that reference Captain America

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TV is amazing, and if you watch enough of it, things start to seep into your brain and never leave, until you’re just a walking, talking encyclopedia of references. What’s even better is when those references become so common and used by so many people in everyday speech that you hardly recognize them as references anymore. It’s just the way people talk.

The true sign of a classic TV series is one that provides you with a catchphrase so wonderfully suited to life’s situations that you almost forget it originated on a TV show in the first place. This post is a tribute to those shows and their fabulous quotes.

1. Treat Yo Self, Parks and Rec

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This is now my mantra. I want to order a second serving of fries at McDonald’s? Treat yo self. I feel like curling up in a snuggie and falling asleep to the sounds of QVC on a Saturday afternoon? Treat yo self. I want to binge-watch Parks and Rec all day? Treat yo self.

2. I Want To Go To There, 30 Rock

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I doubt a day goes by when I don’t at least think this about something. And what’s great about it is that it doesn’t have to be used to refer to a physical place. Sometimes I say it in reference to someone else’s food at a restaurant or a photo of Ryan Gosling.

3. How You Doin’?, Friends

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Be honest. Have you ever joke-flirted with someone and not used this phrase in Joey’s tone of voice? I didn’t think so.

4. Legen… Wait For It… Dary, How I Met Your Mother

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Just the “wait for it” part has taken on a life of its own, and people put it in the middle of any word or situation imaginable. If I’m being honest, it annoys me to no end. If I’m not being honest, it’s awesome and everyone should say it all the time.

5. Hug It Out, Entourage

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I never even watched Entourage, and use this phrase all the time. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was using it for at least a year before I finally realized what it was from. That’s a sign of a really far-reaching and accessible catchphrase.

6. Make It Work, Project Runway

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This is the ultimate motivational thing to say to someone, and it can be used in any situation, not just if you happen to be on a reality show competing with other fashion designers.

7. Yada, Yada, Yada, Seinfeld

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It’s just the perfect phrase to use when you don’t want to go into certain details of a story. A verbal ellipsis, if you will.

8. How Rude, Full House

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There really is no better way to tell someone they’re being a douche… without, you know, actually calling them a douche.

9. D’oh, The Simpsons

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I stubbed my toe on the foot of a table? D’oh! I said something really embarrassing on a date? D’oh! I want to tell you that you what you did was dumb? D’oh! The thing you use to make chocolate chip cookies? Dough. That one’s different.

10. Did I Do That?, Family Matters

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It takes me at least a full minute to even remember the title Family Matters (because I just think of it as the show with Urkel), so to remember this phrase and the way it’s said came from a show at all isn’t always easy. But I still use it all the time.

11. Is That Your Final Answer?, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

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Also known as the most stressful phrase in the history of television, it can be used to clarify your friend’s order when you go to pick up takeout, make sure that someone is being serious when they say they want to go out with you, or just generally freak an indecisive person out.

12. You Are The Weakest Link, The Weakest Link

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Anyone else remember when this was a show? I don’t think I ever watched it, and yet I still sometimes adopt a British accent and say it to my friends when they lose at board games.

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • Alana Vincenza

      “Treat yo self” truly changed the game.

    • jen27

      Not to be didactic, but “yada, yada, yada” has been around at least since the ’40s. Seinfeld might have made it into a joke, but the phrase was not an invention of theirs.

    • FauxRealFaux

      How you doin’ did not originate on Friends. It became popular thanks to Martin Lawrence on his highly popular show “Martin”.. “Let’s go there” started way before Tina Fey…

      Terrible list.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        No no, it’s ‘I want to go to there’, and Tina Fey definitely got it from her older daughter, Alice! She’s done interviews on it.

      • FauxRealFaux

        Welll, I was wrong about the Tina Fey quote.

      • M_G

        Can you prove “how you doin?” orginiated from Martin Lawrence? I Googled it and it only referenced Joey from Friends. Also nothing when I tried Googling the phrase with Martin Lawrence.

      • LIES

        No, she can’t, because she is lying her f*cking ass off. Martin did NOT originate any of these sayings. Pathetic list? More like pathetic response.

      • M_G

        Shhhh. Breathe. Breathe and shhhhhhh.

      • FauxRealFaux

        Ugh. Googling is always the source of lazy research. Yes, you googled it instead of watching the show “Martin” so you could actually hear characters from his show saying “How you doin’” in the same intonation and style that Ross copied on his highly overrated (and highly copied) show Friends. When I was in high school, my classmates and I constantly said “How you doin” to copy Martin.

        Wendy Williams followed suit and began to say “How you doin’” in the early 90s, on her syndicated radio show.

        Not sure if that’s “proof” enough for you I didn’t go the Google route. I’m avid “Martin” viewer since the 90s. I know my Martin quotes.

      • M_G

        True, I never watched Martin (hence the Google route). But fair enough. Maybe it just became popular when it was on Friends.

      • FauxRealFaux

        I’ve never watched Friends and had no idea that people were crediting Ross with that quote. I still usethe catchphrase with my friends complete with facial expression and they do the same.

        As far as”hug it out” Martin Lawrence used it in the movie “Boomerang”after his friends made up. ( rooftop scene). Martin used the catchphrase again on Martin in various instances that usually involved him alienated his friends.

      • M_G

        I’ve never watched Friends, either, but had only heard about this catchphrase in reference to that show, hence why I assumed. Truthfully, I haven’t seen, like, half of the shows mentioned on this list, so for all I know they could all be wrong.

    • FauxRealFaux

      Hug it out was also startrd by Martin.

      • M_G

        Again, proof?? Seriously. I cannot find any.

      • LIES

        I call BULLSH*T on this comment.