Don't get me wrong. Television in the '90s was
great. Like, braingasm, laugh-out-loud, warm and wonderful. But a big part of that was something that had nothing to do with those things you see critics commenting on in our current Golden Age of Television. (Namely, character development, larger themes, plot twists.) Nope. You're still obsessed with TV from almost three decades ago because of all the '90s TV catchphrases you will never forget. I don't know what happened. Did we stop caring about parroting one stupid phrase over and over? Or did we just stop watching television with the ability to lodge one line in our brain forever?
You know, the kinds of shows that bury themselves so deeply into your subconscious that, when your dad asks who wants orange soda at Thanksgiving, you find yourself half-singing "I do, I do, I do!" a la Kel Mitchell. Well, anyway. While these shows may be mostly long gone, the catchphrases will live on as long as you're at a loss for something witty to say and default to an automatic phrase. So forget hitting up Urban Outfitters for an ironic '90s tee, and try one of these catchphrases on for size instead.
1 "D'oh!" ('The Simpsons')
Homer's go-to phrase for anytime his life goes wrong (which happens a LOT) works because it's succinct but sticks in your head.
2 "I'm The Baby, Gotta Love Me"
The sad thing is that you do. It's that easy. Adorable catchphrase + adorable face = you're sold. It also makes you nostalgic for the decade where dinosaurs were so en vogue that you got a whole TV show about a dino family.
3 "Damn Good Coffee!" ('Twin Peaks')
The entire show conspired to create a whole new generation of coffee addicts, with multiple references to the beauty of coffee in each episode. But Agent Cooper's inevitable "Damn good coffee!" or variations on that line ("That is — excuse me — a
damn fine cup of coffee") was the phrase that really sealed the deal. 4 "Oooh! What Does THIS Button Do?" ('Dexter's Laboratory')
Kid scientist Dexter's worst nightmare was his sister, Dee Dee, who was continually asking what buttons did and then pressing them — to disastrous consequences — before Dexter had answered.
5 "How YOU Doin'?" ('Friends')
Joey's pick up line quickly became the world's pick up line. As the video above shows, nobody is impervious to a heavily emphasized how
you doin'. Not even you. 6 "You Got It, Dude" ('Full House')
Michelle was easily the most adorable kid in the house, especially when she said this catchphrase. It could have come off as dismissive, but somehow always remained charming coming from her.
7 "Coming Up Next... On Sick Sad World" ('Daria')
The best program that never existed, show-within-a-show
Sick Sad World was Daria's number one choice of entertainment. And with coverage like "Diary of a mad steak knife" who could blame her? 8 "Who Loves Orange Soda? Kel Loves Orange Soda. Is It True? Mmmhmmm. I Do, I Do, I Do-ooo" ('Kenan & Kel')
You thought Kel's best friend was Kenan, right? Wrong. Kel was firmly committed to exactly one thing in this world: orange soda, baby.
9 "Oh My God, They Killed Kenny" "You B*stards!" ('South Park')
Establishing the show's macabre humor,
South Park drew attention to its habit of inventively killing off one of its main characters each episode by having either Stan or Kyle (or occasionally Cartman) react to his death in exactly the same way. 10 "A Baby's Gotta Do What A Baby's Gotta Do" ('Rugrats')
Tommy Pickles wasn't just the bravest baby in town; he also had the best catchphrases. (Don't forget his other go-to line "Hang on to your diapies babies, we're going in.")
11 "Isn't That Special?" ('Saturday Night Live')
A surefire way of baiting your parents was to respond to any words of advice or encouragement with your best imitation of the Church Lady from
Saturday Night Live. 12 "You Know What I'm Sayin'?" ('Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air')
The joy of this catchphrase was how flexible it was; you could use it to tell your family a shocking story and get away with the adult content, or you could use it to flirt with someone.
13 "Is That Your Final Answer?" ('Who Wants To Be A Millionaire')
This launched in 1999 in the US, so it just about makes the cut. If you were hooked on
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you'll know that this was the question host Regis Philbin always posed to the plucky contestant before accepting their answer. It was a canny strategy for creating great television, because it always made both the viewer and the contestant sweat.
So if you're stuck for a phrase — to annoy, to flirt, to proclaim your love of orange soda to the world — try one of the above. Who knew that '90s TV was a treasure trove of wit and wisdom?
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