When the television became available in the early 20th century, who would have ever thought it could became such a vital part of pop culture and media coverage? These days the "Boob Tube" still holds power over even the most casual of viewers with its advertising campaigns and storytelling prime time shows.
The television is used to entertain as well as inform, and over the years thousands of shows were created to catch the attention of the public. Only so many shows are able to grab the love and approval of audiences, and even less than that stay memorable after years pass on. Here are a few examples of television quotes that stick in the minds of the viewers ... and occasionally even their hearts!
"Lucy, you've got some 'splaining to do!"
is one of the most iconic female comediennes in America, and it is no wonder. Her goofy slapstick blended with that winning smile, bright red hair, and sincere desire to make people laugh turned her into a classic television star. She starred in "I Love Lucy
" along with her husband Desi Arnaz
who played her husband on the show as well. Often Lucy would get herself into trouble and try to hide it from her exasperated husband. The line above he would bellow whenever he got a hint of her schemes, but it all lovingly worked out in the end.
"How YOU doin'?"
Joey Tribbiani was the lovable playboy with a heart of gold and a head of brick on the long running sitcom "Friends
." Played by Matt LeBlanc
, he had an eye for ladies of all types and sizes, and he was a successful seducer despite his lack of intelligence. Whenever he met a woman he thought was attractive, he'd give them a charming little head bob, a wink, and say "how YOU doin'" in a flirty way. Occasionally he'd even use it on his friends -- both male and female -- to cheer them up or if his charisma got too much to handle!
"De plane, de plane!"
Every episode of "Fantasy Island
" had a new set of guests, and the energetic voice of Herve Villechaize
would welcome them after a loud ringing of the bell and yelling this line so everyone knew there were visitors. As Tattoo, the sidekick of Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban
), Villechaize often stole the show with his smile, enthusiasm, and memorable French accent. When he was fired and replaced by a boring butler character, the show ended up finishing the very next season. Coincidence?
"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Ahhh, Gary Coleman
. He became quite a well known child actor at the time that "Diff'rent Strokes
" came out with him starring as Arnold Jackson. His line was not always restricted to his brother Willis alone, but occasionally thrown at other characters on the show as well. Coleman stayed on the show through all of the NBC seasons, and when they moved to ABC. The line never seemed to grow stale for the audience, but perhaps Coleman felt differently! In the Broadway play "Avenue Q" Coleman is an actual character in it, and he does mention the above line while deadpanning afterward: "It gets old!"
British comedian Hugh Laurie
, famous for "Black Adder," surprised his fans when he moved into the world of American medical drama as Dr. Gregory House. Starring on the hit show "House
," his character was quickly memorable for his acerbic wit, his negative if realistic view of the world, and the tragic injury that caused his permanent limp and pain killer addiction. Dr. House's motto is 'everybody lies' in relation to his patients, and their constant desire to hide secrets from him which could save their life. There is a very popular t-shirt for fans that states those two words bluntly, and it was even used by the cast of "House" to raise money for charity.
"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"
It is not easy for a middle child when the eldest sister is beautiful, perfect, and beloved by everyone ... just ask Jan Brady! She is played by Eve Plumb
in the "The Brady Bunch
" and in many ways Jan is one of the most relatable characters on the show. Nothing came easily for her, and she was constantly looking for a way to stand out in her family or to find her own identity. It did not help that her older sister Marcia Brady was popular and could do no wrong, so the phrase above was typically used whenever Jan got exasperated about Marcia's perfection.
"Oh my god! They killed Kenny!"
One of the first and most consistent jokes on the raunchy animated show "South Park
" was the frequent death of a main character Kenny McCormick. Voiced by Matt Stone
, most of Kenny's lines are muffled by his orange coat, which helps if the writers wanted to slip something inappropriate past the censors! In the first five seasons, Kenny dies almost ever single episode, and usually other main characters Stan and Kyle speak the above line. He permanently died for some time on the show but was eventually brought back and still occasionally is killed in a gruesome or callous fashion.
If there is any character more maniacally creepy and morally decrepit than Mr. Burns on "The Simpsons
," it would be a surprise. This is an old man who literally stole candy from a baby and barely lived to tell the tale! Harry Shearer
voices the antagonistic character who is Homer Simpson's boss. A rich and powerful man who does whatever he wants without any consideration for another human being, Mr. Burns is famous for muttering the word "Excellent" in a low tone and tenting his fingernails together. He usually does it whenever an evil plan is set into motion. He was voted by Wizard Magazine as the 45th greatest villain of all time.
"One of these days ... one of these days ... pow, right in the kisser!"
Technically "The Honeymooners
" only lasted 39 episodes before it was cancelled, but it has influenced a great number of modern sitcoms. Alice Kramden, played by Audrey Meadows
, was a surprisingly outspoken and quick mouthed female character for the 50s and would try to talk her husband Ralph (Jackie Gleason
) out of his plans for a quick buck. He often threatened his wife with physical harm, a fact which is not really funny today, but Alice barely blinked an eyelash at his words and continued being the way she was.
"Beam me up."
Despite belief to the contrary, the line was never "Beam me up, Scotty!" This catch phrase was made popular in the sci-fi series "Star Trek
" and spoken by Captain Kirk (William Shatner
). Scotty was the ship engineer, but it was the fans who started tacking his name at the end. Kirk came close once in an episode by saying "Scotty, beam us up." It was a concept used regularly in the show as a reference to when a character would get transported from the ship to the land or anywhere else. There are a dozen variations of the order in the "Star Trek" series.
"What's up, Doc?"
Bugs Bunny, what a maroon! Created in 1940, this cartoon bunny is famous for being on "Looney Tunes
." He has been voiced by several different people ever since. The first time he ever met Elmer Fudd and voiced the above line was in "A Wild Hare," and that same story was used years later in the common stories between Bugs and Elmer. In time Bugs used it when speaking to other people and would usually be chewing on a carrot, and sometimes leaning nonchalantly on another object. Bugs is a clever, mischievous and satirically written. He often broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the audience which made it very easy for everyone to root for him alone!
"No soup for you!"
It is strange to think that the Soup Nazi didn't show up on "Seinfeld
" until the seventh season, because the classic character is one of the most memorable on the sarcastic sitcom. The Soup Nazi makes amazing soup, but he is very particular about the rules in earning his food. George crosses the line when he does not get bread with his soup and is therefore told "No soup for you!" as he is cut off from the delicious meal. Larry Thomas who played the character was nominated for an Emmy and made a cameo in the series finale.
" is the place where everybody knows your name, and no one's name is better known than the character Norm Peterson, played by George Wendt
. A running joke on the show was that every time he entered the bar, he'd greet everyone and they would all yell in unison "Norm!" in greeting. He often joked around about his unseen wife, and he was known to have an enormously large tab at the bar. Everyone wishes that a whole crowd of people would shout out their name joyously upon entry, but only Norm got that special greeting. Lucky.
proves how cutthroat the business world can be on his show "The Apprentice
." It is in its eighth season now. Each year a group of contestants are picked from different backgrounds to compete for the chance to be Trump's personal apprentice. They all live in a home together, which typically causes drama for the camera to enjoy, and there are missions each episode to test their abilities and worth. Trump can fire someone without needing a final session with them, and he can also fire more than one person if they do not live up to expectations. He does so without a moment of regret and fires them in simple, direct, and cold way.
"Jane, you ignorant slut."
"Saturday Night Live" has gone through countless ups and downs and though it often moves through sketches faster than one can keep them in mind, there are a few that live on in memory years later and can still make a viewer laugh. One involved Jane Curtin
and Dan Aykroyd
in their parody of "60 Minutes." Curtin would play the liberal and Aykroyd would play the conservative, both sides represented as far more outrageous and comical than they were. Usually Curtin would calmly put her point first, and Aykroyd would viciously react to it. He began once with the quote above in a completely even tone, and it caught on as a regular phrase on their segment.
"Needs more cow bell."
- Christopher Walken
, "Saturday Night Live"
"Make it so!"
- Captain Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation
"If it weren't for you meddling kids!"
- Villains, Scooby Doo
- Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons"
"Pick me. Choose me. Love me."
- Meredith Grey, Grey's Anatomy
- The Fonz, Happy Days
What are your favorite TV quotes? Make a comment!
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer