Steve Carell in 'The Office.'
26 Iconic TV Catchphrases For When You Don't Know What To Say

If you're going to be weird, you might as well have fun with it.

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Pretty much everyone wishes they always knew what to say in an awkward or painful situation, but seeing as most human beings don't have writers dictating their every word, they're often left a little speechless in some scenarios. When you don't know what to say, why not turn toward iconic TV catchphrases for some help? After all, these characters' quotes have become memorable for a reason.

Whether you love to rattle off "G.T.L" as a reminder of your to-do list or you ask your latest crush "How you doin'?" when they’re around, TV characters' go-to phrases are more influential than you may realize. Raven Baxter may have led to your unconscious habit of saying, "Oh, snap!" whenever something goes wrong, and you might use "yada, yada, yada" in regular conversation without even realizing its origins. If you can't relate to those scenarios, perhaps you've only recently realized pop culture has an answer for everything. In that case, you can try to expand your vocabulary by picking up on TV's greatest sayings, like, right now.

Comedy, drama, and reality shows have provided plenty of phrases that have since transitioned into the lexicon of ordinary life. If you're in the mood to liven up your conversations, check out the iconic TV catchphrases below for inspiration.


“Have Mercy!” (Full House)

Cool Uncle Jesse always knew what to say to his impressionable nieces on Full House, but when he was left speechless, this phrase fit just about every scenario. Feeling afraid? Romantic? Silly? "Have mercy" works for any and everything.


"Could I *Be*..." (Friends)

If you're picking up a hottie, you can whip out Joey Tribbiani's trademark "How you doin'?" pickup line. But if you want to contribute to a conversation in a different way, utilize Chandler Bing's quippy, self-deprecating comment. His friends mocked him for placing emphasis on certain words, but sometimes a special focus is just necessary in an awkward situation.


"Yada, Yada, Yada" (Seinfeld)

Chances are, you've used this saying without even knowing it got its start on TV. While Elaine utilized it to skip over recounting the more personal side of a relationship story, it also works for leaving out any types of extraneous details. Saying "yada, yada, yada," is the perfect way to reach your point a little faster.


"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" (Friday Night Lights)

Hopefully everyone has had an inspirational coach or teacher at least once in their lives. At the very least, they can quote that figure's words of motivation by heart. If not, Coach Taylor's trademark chant with his football team on Friday Night Lights provides a dose of inspiration essential in facing any obstacle.


"Did I Do That?" (Family Matters)

Steve Urkel is TV's most iconic nerd, and viewers can't help but love him and his mischievous trademark phrase of, "Did I do that?". Use it when you know you're at fault for something but don't want to fess up just yet. Perhaps your best Urkel impression will distract others just long enough for you to get away scot-free.


"That's What She Said" (The Office)

Michael Scott loves an unintentional sexual innuendo, so whenever one of his Dunder Mifflin employees uttered anything that could be interpreted dirtily, Michael would pipe in with his classic: "That's what she said!" This is another catchphrase you might have started using without realizing it was all over TV at one point in time. But after watching Michael Scott's delight in the saying, you certainly won't forget it.


"XOXO, Gossip Girl" (Gossip Girl)

Kristen Bell's sly and savvy narration of teen drama Gossip Girl is legendary on its own, but it’s her traditional sign-off that carries extra airs of mystery, sophistication, and nerve. In an everyday setting, latch it onto the end of your messages in the group chat when you and the squad are making plans or spilling tea.


"We've Got A Situation" (Jersey Shore)

MTV's Jersey Shore created gems like "Cabs are here!" and "Ron, stahp.” However, if you don't identify as a guido hanging out at the shore, the most applicable Jersey Shore saying works when pretty much any kind of "situation" arises.


"Make It Work!" (Project Runway)

With tight deadlines and limited resources, Project Runway challenges can leave contestants doubting themselves. Luckily, fashion expert Tim Gunn offered this phrase as words of encouragement whenever a designer doubted his or her abilities. Even outside of sartorial situations, hearing "make it work" is still an undeniable energy boost.


"Can You Believe?" (Queer Eye)

Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness is a goldmine of one-liners. But when he squeals, "Can you believe?" in that joyful way, viewers may feel like anything is worth celebrating. You can't help but feel a little more excited upon hearing this phrase, so take that as a sign to incorporate it into your daily life.


"Oh, Snap!" (That's So Raven)

Being a teenage psychic was tough for Raven Baxter, so when she found herself in a sticky situation, her go-to response was nice and concise. This saying has probably popped up in your everyday life more than any other TV phrase, so it's definitely iconic for a reason. Most people aren’t psychics, but we all deal with “Oh, snap!” moments.


"Sashay Away" (RuPaul's Drag Race)

Reality TV shows are known for their signature phrases upon an elimination. On RuPaul's Drag Race, a losing contestant is told farewell with the advice to "sashay away." Use this when someone is leaving the room and they need to put some pep in their step.


"Sweet Niblets!" (Hannah Montana)

What are niblets and why are they sweet? More than a decade after the Hannah Montana premiere on Disney Channel, I'm still not sure. Even so, the Stewart family's frequent exclamation is catchy and cute.


"It's A No From Me, Dawg" (American Idol)

There are several variations of former American Idol judge Randy Jackson's usual rejection, but the internet has mostly remembered his friendly but straightforward approach with this phrase. Nowadays, you can likely find it on Twitter as a user's response to some disliked announcements or updates. Jackson himself has even said it during Cameo appearances.


"D'oh!" (The Simpsons)

Did you trip in front of everyone or spill your coffee? Did you forget your phone at home or miss your train? No matter how you messed up, Homer Simpson's "D'oh!" is an appropriate reaction.


"It's Going To Be Legendary" (How I Met Your Mother)

Like Chandler's common phrase on Friends, Barney Stinson's use of "legendary" on How I Met Your Mother varies based on circumstance. It’s often drawn out to include Barney's other mantra of "wait for it," resulting in plenty of memorable punchlines. Nevertheless, the saying reminds viewers to see life as a treat that deserves to be lived excitedly.


"That's Hot" (The Simple Life)

Remember when Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were TV's most famous best friends? Their friendship has since cooled down, but in the early 2000s, the duo's televised experiences of working regular-people jobs often inspired Hilton and Richie to deem something "hot." However, saying this probably doesn't count as a Simple Life reference unless you can impersonate the gals' airy tones.


"Live Long And Prosper" (Star Trek)

Sure, copying the Vulcan salute can be hard. But even if you haven’t mastered that yet, you're likely familiar with this Star Trek exchange. Who doesn't want the encouragement that they have a long, successful life ahead of them?


"Your Next Stop, The Twilight Zone" (The Twilight Zone)

If life is feeling particularly zany, you may have entered the Twilight Zone, another dimension in which anything is possible. Even if you aren't familiar with the original series that aired from 1959 to 1964, Jordan Peele's new CBS All Access series of the same name has made the eerie theme tune and its often horrific conclusions especially relevant again. When things in the world feel bleak, try to lift the mood with this quip about reaching another dimension.


"Bazinga!" (The Big Bang Theory)

Steve Urkel walked so The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper could run. Sheldon said "bazinga” whenever he meant his previous comment as a joke. After all, you can only use "kidding" or "LOL" so many times before the conversation feels a little stale.


"I've Made A Huge Mistake" (Arrested Development)

Every now and then, people become so deeply embedded in a situation, they don't realize they’ve made a mistake until it's too late. Acknowledging you were wrong may be a little easier if you turn to the dry, matter-of-fact delivery of this Arrested Development phrase.


“Will You Accept This Rose?” (The Bachelor Franchise)

Since The Bachelor premiered in 2002, the reality dating empire has spawned plenty of iconic terms, from being “there for the right reasons” to “I’m not here to make friends.” But what could be more iconic than every lead asking their contestants if they’ll accept a red rose? Use this when you want to enjoy some reality TV nostalgia or playfully ask someone out on a date.


“It’s A Beautiful Day To Save Lives” (Grey’s Anatomy)

Between steamy hookups and tear-jerking twists, the Grey Sloan Memorial doctors somehow find time to perform miraculous medical procedures. This long-running medical drama can be credited with teaching the general public plenty about the medical field, and has featured loads of wild cases that have stuck with viewers over the years. In the end, Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd’s catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives,” sums up the show’s appeal perfectly.


“This Is The Bad Place” (The Good Place)

Spoilers for The Good Place Season 1! After the wayward, recently deceased Eleanor Shellstrop accidentally arrives in a heavenly afterlife, she soon discovers this isn’t the paradise everyone thought this was… they’re actually being secretly tortured in The Bad Place. Sure, fans may be on Earth, but if you’re having a crappy day, muttering “This is The Bad Place” can be perfectly cathartic.


“Treat Yo Self” (Parks and Recreation)

Life can be hard, and sometimes you need to engage in some good, old-fashioned self-care. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed perfectly in the “Treat Yo Self Day” episodes of Parks and Recreation, in which Tom and Donna encourage their friends to kick back and indulge themselves. Use this phrase to plan a relaxing day for your friends — you all deserve it.


“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” (The Brady Bunch)

Are you ever sick of hearing about someone? Whether it’s a sibling, a co-worker, or a self-involved friend, sometimes you’ve had enough and want to change the subject. If you’re ever feeling this way, take a page from put-upon middle sister Jan Brady and emphasize just how ridiculous it is to discuss them over and over: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”

You may struggle with being a witty conversationalist, but looking toward TV catchphrases may help you conquer those talking tidbits. Now, sashay away, make it work, and live long and prosper.

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