Best Sitcom Catchphrases, Ranked

Split image showing characters from Alice, Dfferent Strokes and The Office


In sitcoms, the main source of entertainment is dialogue. While an effort is always made to have the characters say something new and refreshing every single time, there is also strength in repetition. Hundreds of sitcom characters have thus developed hilarious catchphrases over the years, but only a few became key parts of pop culture.


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While it didn’t take long for characters from Diff’rent Strokes and The Simpsons to carve a spot for themselves in the history of catchphrases, others had to wait a long time before fans finally appreciated their words. No matter the duration, these pronouncements have now sunk into the minds of both sitcom fans and TV viewers in general.

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10 “Bazinga!”

Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

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Sheldon was not only one of the most self-centered sitcom characters but was socially awkward too, which explains why he thought pulling dangerous pranks on people and then shouting “Bazinga!” was a good idea. Still, Sheldon’s misguided actions in The Big Bang Theory always made for incredible laugh-out-loud moments.

The catchphrase was decent because it had a proper origin. When he was young, Sheldon bought a set of practical jokes from a company known as Bazinga Novelties. Its slogan was “If it’s funny, it’s Bazinga!” so Sheldon stuck with the phrase. Interestingly, none of Sheldon’s friends ever thought of the remark as hilarious.

9 “Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis?”

Arnold Jackson (Diff’rent Strokes)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Arnold making fun of Willis in Diffrent Strokes

A catchphrase is perfect when it becomes even bigger than the show. That’s the case with Arnold Jackson’s words in Diff’rent Strokes, which he would frequently repeat in order to express his skepticism about something his brother Willis said. Today, the phrase can be found in many other TV series and rap songs.

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Willis’ attempts to sound smarter than he actually was only made him incoherent and weird. And while everyone else hesitated to call him out, Arnold never missed the opportunity to let him know that he wasn’t making any sense. His facial expression whenever he asked for clarification from Willis was even more golden.

8 “Did I Do That?”

Steve Urkel (Family Matters)

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Whether it was creating robotic versions of himself or shaving peoples’ heads while they were asleep, Steve Urkel kept proving himself as one of the weirdest sitcom characters. Still, it’s these weird mannerisms that made him wildly popular and earned him a promotion to main character status in Family Matters.

Known for being a daredevil, Steve would only realize how foolish his actions were after they had caused great inconvenience to another character. And instead of apologizing, he would question whether it was he who was really responsible. So popular was the phrase, “Did I do that?” that it was included in pull-string dolls back in the early ‘90s.

7 “That’s What She Said.”

Michael Scott (The Office)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Michael showing his TV appearance as a child on The Office

Looking keenly, there are numerous little details that show just why The Office is one of the best American adaptations of British TV shows. For example, Michael Scott—the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch—constantly repeated the words, “That’s what she said!” which is actually a spin on the UK street phrase, “said the actress to the Bishop.”

The appeal of the catchphrase lay in the fact that Michael would use it during conversations where it didn’t fit. He brought it up during crucial company meetings and even when meeting potential investors. And despite being called out for it many times, he just couldn’t resist the temptation to repeat it.

6 “D’oh!”

Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)

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Homer’s brief catchphrase makes sense because he was never portrayed as intelligent. Any situation that requires him to think deeply has always ended up challenging him, which explains why his only reaction whenever he got injured or did something offensive was “D’oh!”

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Homer was also economical with this remark and was only heard saying it a couple of times in each season of The Simpsons. The scarcity, therefore, made it something worth looking forward to. It was even funnier when it was used to supplement the slapstick humor that either involved him knocking his foot or rolling over.

5 “You Got it, Dude!”

Michelle Tanner (Full House)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>“You Got it, Dude!”

In Full House, the ever-mischievous Michelle had a long list of catchphrases, ranging from “puh-lease” to “aw nuts,” but it was always “You got it, dude!” that triggered the most laughter. She would constantly say it to the grown-up men that she was friendly towards, notably her father, Uncle Jesse, and Joey.

Fans got a reason to crack up whenever Michelle said these words because it was obvious that the task at hand wasn’t an easy one. The men were going to struggle, something the little girl knew very well, yet she still found it appropriate to offer sarcastic encouragement.

4 “How You Doin’?”

Joey Tribbiani (Friends)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Rachel looking at Joey in Friends

Joey considered marriage distressing and constrictive, so he settled for a promiscuous lifestyle. His pickup line, “How You Doing?” thus became his catchphrase during his time in Friends. And as basic as it sounded, it always worked well for him because he always followed it up with a head nod and an interesting story.

The line sounded like something Johnny Bravo would, but it was so effective that it even led to him hooking up with Rachel, resulting in one of the weirdest sitcom couples. Outside the show, the catchphrase grew to be a conversation starter for people everywhere, including those that didn’t know about Joey.

3 “Nanu Nanu”

Mork (Mork & Mindy)

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Modern sitcoms typically play it safe by simply using humans as the main characters, but back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, all kinds of ideas were thrown out. The best one was definitely seen in Mork & Mindy, where the main character, Mork, was an alien from Planet Ork.

As expected, Mork preferred to use his native greeting instead of the one used by humans, so “Nanu Nanu” was born. Its appeal lay in its confusing nature since most people initially had no idea what he was talking about. On most occasions, Mork didn’t care to explain either. He simply found glee in watching others attempt to figure it out.

2 “Yada Yada Yada!”

Various Characters (Seinfeld)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>George talks to George Steinbrenner in Seinfeld

“Yada Yada Yada!” had been invented way before Seinfeld, but the sitcom popularized it by having several characters repeat it on the regular. It was mainly used to gloss over the unnecessary details of a story and was first heard from Marcy when she made up a story about a free massage.

Later, George and Elaine were also heard repeating it while telling their own lies. Eventually, the phrase would jump to numerous other shows and everyday conversations among ordinary people. Today, “Yada Yada Yada” is still as popular as ever.

1 “Kiss My Grits.”

Flo Castleberry (Alice)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Flo Castleberr saying her catchphrase (alice)

In Alice, Mel’s Diner waitress Flo Castleberry had a whole different idea of what customer service should entail. Whenever any of the customers or colleagues tried to argue with her, she would tell them to “Kiss My Grits.” Interestingly, it happened quite often.

Of all the people that got hit with the catchphrase, her boss, Mel, was the most deserving because of his sexism and avarice. This would often lead to a lengthier hilarious exchange where several other mean words were traded. Nonetheless, viewers were always left appreciative of the shade-throwing.

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