While there have been thousands of sitcoms over the years, only a select few have generated catchphrases that pretty much the whole TV-watching country ended up adopting, if only for a year or two.
Television classics like “The Honeymooners,” “Happy Days” and “Seinfeld” ended up etching their place in catchphrase history, as did some lesser shows with funny sayings.
Read on for some of the top sitcom catchphrases of all time. (And if we missed some, tell us in the Comments section — maybe we’ll do another list!)
“Bang, zoom, to the moon, Alice!” – Ralph Kramden, “The Honeymooners”
Cast of the television series “The Honeymooners”: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph.
The hard-working husband Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason, always got into petty spats with wife Alice, played by Audrey Meadows.
Part of their memorable shtick came from Kramden’s playful banter towards Alice — and his will to shoot her up to the moon stands out as one of “The Honeymooner’s” most memorable quotes.
“Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?” – Arnold Jackson, “Diff’rent Strokes”
Gary Coleman, as Arnold Jackson, poses with on-screen brother Todd Bridges, who played Willis Jackson. Arnold would often ask his brother, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?”
The late Gary Coleman quickly became a standout on “Diff’rent Strokes” as Arnold Jackson with his pint-sized persona and charisma.
The child actor popularized the “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” remark — a quick and witty retort that was reserved for confusion Arnold faced at the hands of his older brother, Willis (Todd Bridges). The snappy question soon found its way into modern lexicon and stands as one of the greatest catchphrases of all time.
“Dyn-o-mite!” – J.J. Evans, “Good Times”
Jimmie Walker made it big playing J.J. on “Good Times.”
“Good Times,” which aired from 1974 until 1979, told the story of a low-income family finding the bright side of living in the Chicago housing projects.
J.J. Evans, played by Jimmie Walker, quickly rose to popularity with his “Dyn-o –mite!” catchphrase — an exuberant one-liner J.J. used in just about any situation.
“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” – Jan Brady, “The Brady Bunch”
The cast of “The Brady Bunch,” which features Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) to mother Carol’s (Florence Henderson) right and Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) to father Mike’s (Robert Reed) left.
Nothing screams sibling rivalry more than Jan Brady’s frustrations with older sister Marcia (Maureen McCormick).
Jan (Eve Plumb), the freckle-faced middle sister, would always express her annoyance with her pretty and popular older sister, who always received more attention. Interestingly, Jan shouting, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” became most popular after the show ended its run, before exploding in our current meme culture.
“Ayyyy!” – Fonzie, “Happy Days”
Henry Winkler as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli.
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
Henry Winkler’s iconic “Ayyyy!” with the accompanying thumbs-up sign became the universal shorthand for cool in the 1970s.
“Shazbot!” and “Na-Nu Na-Nu” – Mork, “Mork & Mindy”
Williams first became a household name in 1978 as Mork, the alien, in the hit ABC show “Mork and Mindy.”
Mork, an extraterrestrial played by the late Robin Williams, would utter the Orkan profanity “Shazbot!” in dire situations. Hailing from the planet Ork, Mork would also greet earthlings with “Na-Nu Na-Nu” along with a Captain Spock-style hand gesture.
“Norm!” – various, “Cheers”
Ted Danson as Sam Malone, George Wendt as Norm Peterson, Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli, Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd on the set of “Friends.”
(NBCU Photo Bank)
One of the biggest running gags on “Cheers” was everyone’s resounding love for Norm Peterson (George Wendt).
Whenever Norm would walk into the prominently featured bar, he always received a huge reaction with everyone shouting out, “NORM!” to welcome his calming presence.
“Hello, Newman.” – Jerry Seinfeld, “Seinfeld”
Jerry Seinfeld and his nemesis, Newman (Wayne Knight).
Nothing agitated Jerry Seinfeld more than the prospect of his pesky mailman, Newman.
Seinfeld would always reference Newman, played by Wayne Knight, even in situations that did not involve the postal worker — and whenever they crossed paths, you could hear the disdain in Seinfeld’s voice as he spit out a spite-filled, “Hello, Newman.”
“You got it, dude.” – Michelle Tanner, “Full House”
Michelle Tanner doing her signature thumbs up, which coincides with her catchphrase, “You got it, dude.”
The precocious Michelle Tanner (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) was one of the brightest spots of “Full House.” With her adorable youthfulness and mischievous attitude, Michelle made her presence known with her plentiful catchphrases.
With her impeccable chemistry with father Danny (Bob Saget), Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and family friend Joey (Dave Coulier), Michelle shared plenty of, “You got it, dude” moments with those around her.
“Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” – Ricky Ricardo, “I Love Lucy”
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who played husband Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy,” during a photoshoot.
Lucy and Ricky’s marriage set the standard for television marriages at the time. Ricky’s exasperated reactions to Lucy’s hijinks — including the timeless, “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” in a thick Cuban accent — made for some of the most reliably humorous moments on the ground-breaking show.
“Did I do that?” – Steve Urkel, “Family Matters”
Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) played the ultimate TV nerd on “Family Matters” from 1989 to 1998.
Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) was always up to something on “Family Matters.”
Though incredibly smart, he was a little too smart for his own good and often did more damage instead — leading to many, “Did I do that?” moments. His elongated delivery of his catchphrase made his clumsy antics even more hilarious.
“Hey hey hey!” — Fat Albert, “Fat Albert”
Fat Albert was known for his catchphrase, “Hey, hey, hey!”
Fat Albert’s (voiced by disgraced comedian Bill Cosby) wholesome greeting of “Hey hey hey!” became a household catchphrase during his time on television from 1972 to 1985.
“You big dummy!” — Fred Sanford, “Sanford and Son”
Demond Wilson as Lamont Sanford and Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford on the set of “Sanford and Son.”
(NBCU Photo Bank)
“Sanford and Son” was one of the first sitcoms of its time to feature two black men in lead roles.
In breaking down major color barriers, Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) and son Lamont (Demond Wilson) shared a unique chemistry on television. Fred would often get into small confrontations with Lamont, leading to his frustrated retort: “You big dummy!”
“How you doin’?” — Joey Tribbiani, “Friends”
Pictured: (l-r) Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani.
(Jon Ragel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The extremely promiscuous Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) always used “How you doin’?” as his go-to pickup line, to much success. Joey’s pickup line soon became one of the most popular quotes from “Friends” — ones that fans still use today, even though the show wrapped in 2004.
“That’s what she said.” — Michael Scott, “The Office”
This undated image released by NBC shows Steve Carell as Michael Scott in a scene from “The Office.”
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) had an extremely odd way of making viewers and his office coworkers cringe on-screen.
Part of Michael’s awkward actions was his penchant to interject the phrase, “That’s what she said,” into very inappropriate moments that he felt had sexual double entendres.
“D’oh!” — Homer Simpson
Pictured: (l-r) Maggie, Marge, Lisa, Homer and Bart Simpson from the animated series, “The Simpsons.”
Why is Homer Simpson always in pain?
Homer’s “D’oh!” catchphrase is often used whenever he gets injured or knows he has done something stupid. The catchphrase became so well-used that it was eventually added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001.
“Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!” — Stan and Kyle, “South Park”
Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick attend The Paley Center for Media presents special retrospective event honoring 20 seasons of ‘South Park’ at The Paley Center for Media on Sept. 1, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
During the earlier seasons of South Park, it was a running gag to kill off main character Kenny, only for creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to bring him back in the next episode.
Whenever Kenny would die a painful death, Stan would exclaim, “Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!” followed by, “You b——s!” from Kyle.
Kenny was briefly killed off for good near the end of season 5, before ultimately being brought back permanently in season 6. He has, however, died, a number of times following his return to the show.