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September 4, 2015

Greatest '80s TV Catchphrases, From 'Cheers' to 'Ninja Turtles'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Mar 25th 2011 9:00AM
'Perfect Strangers'We're sure all kinds of awesome things happened on March 25, 1986, but could anything rival the series premiere of 'Perfect Strangers'? Don't be ridiculous!

It's been 25 years since 'Perfect Strangers' introduced us to Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) from Mypos and his Chicago cousin Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), who charmed audiences with dances of joy and classic Balki-isms for eight seasons.

With Balki's "Don't be ridiculous" (only to be said with a heavy accent, please) ringing in our heads, we got to thinking about other awesome '80s TV catchphrases that TV fans adopted in their real lives.

Sadly, after the '80s, TV catchphrases started to die out a little. Sure there's Joey's 'Friends' favorite "How you doin'?", Barney's 'How I Met Your Mother' "Legendary" go-to, and the 'Seinfeld' classic "Yadda, yadda, yadda," but new taglines are few and far between, while these old standards still bring back great memories.

Without further ado, let's take a walk down TV memory lane with some of our favorite '80s TV catchphrases. D'oh! Did we forget yours? Chime in with a comment.

"Did I do that?"
Steve Urkel (Jaleel White), 'Family Matters'
This list wouldn't be complete without including 'Family Matters,' which was actually a 'Perfect Strangers' spinoff. Whooooaaaa mama, was Steve Urkel ever a slogan machine! But his most classic catchphrase is best said with pants hiked up and glasses just so: "Did I do that?"

'Don't have a cow man!," "Eat my shorts!," "Ay, Caramba!"
Bart Simpson (voice of Nancy Cartwright), 'The Simpsons'
Confession: When 'The Simpsons' first premiered, I owned a "Don't have a cow, man" t-shirt. And I wasn't alone. Bart Simpson's devil-may-care attitude spawned some amazing sayings, not to mention a signature dance (you know you did the Bartman), and he's still spouting wisdom today.

"Let's be careful out there."
Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad), 'Hill Street Blues'
Taglines aren't reserved for sitcoms alone -- a more serious saying for sure, the sergeant's parting pep talk words were a mainstay for the cops of 'Hill Street Blues.'

"You got it dude."
Michelle Tanner (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen), 'Full House'
Oh cut it out -- we all know that 'Full House' was fond of catchphrases but "how rude" is it to snub Stephanie's signature line? Not at all. Sorry, but nothing can top the adorableness of miniature Michelle flashing a big thumbs up when delivering this line.

"Na-nu, Na-nu"
Mork (Robin Williams), 'Mork & Mindy'
Eyyyy, whoa! A spinoff of 'Happy Days,' 'Mork & Mindy' had instant catchphrase appeal simply because Mork wasn't from around here. His home planet Ork had some interesting customs, including a hand gesture and silly-sounding words as a greeting. Na-nu, na-nu to you, too.

"I love it when a plan comes together."
John "Hannibal" Smith (George Peppard), 'The A-Team'
The A-Team's unorthodox leader, Hannibal had the uncanny knack of getting them out of even the most dangerous of situations. Plan or no plan, all it took was a puff on that signature cigar and a twinkle in his eye to know that his catchphrase was coming.

"I kill me."
ALF (voice of Paul Fusco), 'ALF'
When he wasn't eating something gross, trying to catch the family cat or waxing poetic about Melmac, this Alien Life Form was cracking jokes, often for his own entertainment, followed by these three simple words.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'
Technically we owe this totally tubular catchphrase to Michaelangelo, the nunchucked, orange masked turtle with a penchant for pizza. The comic book-turned-animated series-turned-feature film spawned several slogans for righteous dudes everywhere, but "Cowabunga" epitomized the turtles' 'tudes.

"Whatchu talkin' 'bout Willis?"
Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman), 'Diff'rent Strokes'
There were plenty of shenanigans happening in Mr. Drummond's Park Ave. penthouse when Arnold and Willis Jackson moved in, but even in the most serious of "very special episodes," the cherubic cheeks and serious face of Gary Coleman could make you smile with this sassy retort.

Norm Peterson (George Wendt), 'Cheers'
Who doesn't want to go where everybody knows their name? No matter who was in charge at Cheers, the gang was always glad when Norm came to claim his seat next to Cliff at the end of the bar.

Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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Dwayne Johnson

Ok , goodtimes was in the 70s, so was Happy days. The quote I remember was was Ralph threatning to send her Straight to the moon. but Since the honey mooners are timeless.(they were brought back in the 80s the Lost reels)
I LIKE THIS THREAD ! In case I don't see you Later , Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night. I said Good Night Sir!

April 05 2011 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
318 north

some of these are from the '90's

April 01 2011 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. V

I remember and loved, Flo's " Kiss My Grits" from Alice.

March 28 2011 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


March 28 2011 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have to point out an omission here. Everyone my age knows that "Cowabunga" originated on the Howdy Doody Show back in the '50s. I think it was Big Chief Rain in the Face who used to say "Cowabunga, Clarabelle!" to the clown. But that phrase was heard on Howdy Doody quite a bit.

March 28 2011 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

AND where is Captain Picard's "Make it so?"

Very poor list without that one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 28 2011 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Captain Jean-Luc Picard's "Engage!"

March 28 2011 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

cowabunga was used in the 50s on howdy doody

March 28 2011 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

cowabunga was used in the 50s on howdy doody

March 28 2011 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you're gonna have na nu- na nu.You can't foget "Sit On It"

March 28 2011 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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