9 Catchphrases From Your Favorite TV Shows

Wednesday, December 42 min read

"Yabba-dabba-doo!" For as long as there’s been television, there have been catchphrases that have made their way into the common vernacular. Here are nine of the most famous words and phrases from the small screen.


Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory used this quip throughout the series’ 12-season run to cap off any joke or prank he got up to. It comes from the word "zing," but was given some added pizzazz with a few extra letters. It's the most famous catchphrase from the show.

"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"

Jan Brady, the middle sister on The Brady Bunch, had the last laugh after all. While this catchphrase was shorthand for how she was always in the shadow of her older sister’s bright spotlight, it has remained one of the most memorable parts of the show.

"It’s gonna be legen … wait for it … dary"

Neil Patrick Harris’ womanizing city slicker Barney was always up for one-upping plans on How I Met Your Mother. This running gag ran throughout the series as NPH kept coming up with even more creative ways to top his own saying. Equally memorable? “Suit up!”

"How you doin’?"

Friends was full of catchphrases and memorable moments, but this machismo-loaded pickup line from Matt LeBlanc’s lovable flirt Joey Tribbiani is a fan favorite. Despite its fame, over the course of the show’s 263 episodes, Joey uttered it only about 20 times. Maybe even more famous? “We were on a break!”

"What you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?"

This verbal eyebrow raise comes from Gary Coleman’s precocious orphan Arnold Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes. The Willis in question, for those who've forgotten, was his older brother, whom Arnold often questioned or challenged.

"How rude!"

From DJ’s “Oh my-lanta” and Michelle’s “You got it, dude!” to Uncle Jesse’s “Have mercy” and “Watch the hair,” Full House was packed with catchphrases. We’re giving the blue ribbon to middle sister Stephanie’s sassy declarations of universal rudeness.

"Did I do that?"

First, the facts: Steve Urkel was never meant to be a regular character on Family Matters. But Jaleel White was so on point as the nerd next door, he became a staple on the sitcom. And so did his catchphrase, often uttered after yet another disastrous mishap.

"Yada, yada, yada"

Seinfeld episodes can often be drilled down to a single word or phrase – "Puffy shirts!" "Parking lots!" – and "Yada, yada, yada" is no exception. It’s basically a verbal ellipsis … designed to gloss over something you don’t want to get into, to the chagrin of George Costanza.


Homer Simpson’s exclamation of frustration has gone down in the history books as one of television’s greatest expressions. Say it, and anyone will get that you’re commiserating with Springfield’s dopiest resident on The Simpsons.

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