9 Famous TV Catchphrases That Just Don't Hold Up Anymore
These phrases may have once been iconic, but in today's world, they just seem out of touch.
1. "Did I do that?" – Steve Urkel from "Family Matters" (1989-1998)
This catchphrase from Steve Urkel, the lovable yet insufferable neighbor on "Family Matters," was repeated every time he caused havoc. While it was funny in the '90s, it just wouldn't fly today. In the era of accountability and personal responsibility, blaming mishaps on clumsiness isn't as endearing as it once was. It's 2023, folks, time to own up to our mistakes!
2. "You got it, dude!" – Michelle Tanner from "Full House" (1987-1995)
When Michelle Tanner, portrayed by the Olsen twins, uttered this phrase on "Full House," it was seen as adorable. But in an age where we're striving to empower children with more than just cutesy catchphrases, it just doesn't hold up. Plus, the excessive enthusiasm for even mundane tasks feels outdated in today's world where over-scheduling and burnout are real issues.
3. "Bazinga!" – Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory " (2007-2019)
"Bazinga!" became an instant catchphrase thanks to Sheldon Cooper's unique character on "The Big Bang Theory." The phrase, used to signal that Sheldon made a joke, was endearing and funny in the early seasons. However, as the series progressed, "Bazinga!" lost its charm, seeming more like a tired sitcom trope than the charming quirk it once was.
4. "How you doin'?" – Joey Tribbiani from "Friends" (1994-2004)
While "Friends" remains a popular show worldwide, Joey's catchphrase "How you doin'?" used as a pickup line, has lost its luster. In a time where respectful and meaningful conversations are encouraged, Joey's smooth-talking phrase comes off as sleazy and insincere. Sure, it was all in good fun, but in the era of #MeToo and more enlightened attitudes towards dating, this one just doesn't age well.
5. "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" – Chris Robinson from Vicks Formula 44 Commercial (1986)
This catchphrase came from a cough syrup commercial featuring actor Chris Robinson, who played Dr. Rick Webber on "General Hospital. " It's been parodied and referenced in popular culture countless times. However, in the age of rampant misinformation and fake news, the idea of non-experts playing experts isn't funny – it's a real-world problem. This catchphrase, once amusing, now seems tone-deaf considering our current reality.
6. "Make it so" – Captain Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-1994)
The phrase "Make it so" became a trademark of Captain Picard's decisive leadership style on Star Trek. However, in a time when effective leadership is seen as more collaborative and less autocratic, Picard's go-to command comes off as an anachronistic echo of a bygone era. Today, it's about making it happen together, not just issuing orders.
7. "Aaay!" – Arthur Fonzarelli aka Fonzie in "Happy Days" (1974-1984)
Fonzie's cool-guy catchphrase "Aaay!" accompanied by a thumbs-up gesture was the epitome of cool in the '70s and '80s. However, the Fonz's brand of effortless, leather-jacket coolness feels a little simplistic in our current era, where complex, layered characters are the norm, and 'cool' isn't as easily defined or universally agreed upon.
8. "I've fallen and I can't get up!" – Mrs. Fletcher in LifeCall Commercial (1989)
Initially an emergency alert for senior citizens, the catchphrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" from the LifeCall commercial became a pop culture joke. However, today it feels crass and insensitive, especially considering our growing awareness and understanding of the serious challenges older adults face.
9. "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" – Arnold Jackson in "Diff'rent Strokes" (1978-1986)
Delivered by Gary Coleman's character, Arnold, this phrase became a staple of '80s pop culture. Yet, in an era where diverse representation and nuanced narratives are increasingly important, the idea of a catchphrase essentially built on the comedic appeal of a black child addressing a white adult by his first name seems oversimplified, at best.