All of them.
November 25, 2016 8:53 AM   Subscribe

The writing staff of the comedy Workaholics has been compiling all of the worst lines you can possibly use in a show: How Many of These Joke Clichés Are You Guilty of Using?
posted by Room 641-A (112 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
We laugh because it's true.
posted by tspae at 8:58 AM on November 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


full body cringe
posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:02 AM on November 25, 2016


"I absorbed my twin in the womb"?
posted by Countess Elena at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's what she said!
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


heyooooooo
posted by palomar at 9:10 AM on November 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mix and match cliches.

Lady bacon
Sorry (on crack)
Who are you and what have you done with my science, bitches?
Ugh, I think I just came a little in my mouth.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:10 AM on November 25, 2016 [43 favorites]


Mr. Chandler: "It's just references. Who's getting these references?"
MC Chris: "A lot of people are! Everybody gets when you hear something you've heard before that's comedyyyy!"
posted by explosion at 9:11 AM on November 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


so then i sez to mabel, i sez...
posted by entropicamericana at 9:12 AM on November 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


$500 hasn't been an option on Jeopardy for 15 years, fucking casuals.
posted by phunniemee at 9:14 AM on November 25, 2016 [51 favorites]


It's like a glimpse inside the brain of Chuck Lorre.
posted by kewb at 9:19 AM on November 25, 2016 [25 favorites]


Those two boards and a laugh track is enough to reconstruct about 80% of The Big Bang Theory.
posted by metaBugs at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2016 [69 favorites]


On failure to preview: What kewb said.
posted by metaBugs at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2016


Some of these are, in the wild and used sparingly, fine? A kind of comedic shorthand. But yeah, you probably shouldn't get paid money for them.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


You can have my 'this is why we can't have nice things' when you pry it out of my cold dead hands. It's just way too useful and appropriate of late.
posted by Kinbote at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


For a while recently I was deeply concerned that NOT! had come back into fashion. This seems, thankfully, not to be the case, except among right-wing Facebook commenters, for some reason.

Fun fact: Chuck Lorre wrote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song, which, if you have ever heard it, is now in your head. Whatever else he has, he has a terrible power to create pop-culture virus.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Chiche! The Clichemeister! Clicherino! Makin' cliches!
posted by GameDesignerBen at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2016 [24 favorites]


I want to know who wrote nananananananana Batman! And whether they were paid
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:28 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I stopped reading that list because I want to be able to say things.

(I already have a hard enough time saying things to people without added shame for everything that is not new, novel, unique, innovative, avant garde, unprecedented, etc.)
posted by Horkus at 9:33 AM on November 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


This list is so fetch. Streets ahead even.
posted by bonehead at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2016 [17 favorites]


what's the story behind the url? mercury seems to be a postlight product, but i don't get why we're bouncing through there.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


In my big history of the New Yorker book they had a running gag, I think it was Benchley ? About someone who could only speak in cliches and they out him in various circumstances.

I should read that again, figure out what this list was for 1928
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Came to bash Big Bang Theory, but...too slow!
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:38 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Whelk, Dorothy Parker did something similar in "The Mantle of Whistler"
posted by Countess Elena at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2016


Why does the writing gradually deteriorate the further down the board
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2016


Yes, because BBT is the only show in the universe that uses trite and overused expressions. No other sitcom has ever been guilty of taking it easy.

Seriously, I don't get the BBT hate here. I'd think you would find it difficult to watch any American sitcom of the last twenty years and not come across several of these, even multiple times per episode.

Or is that the meta joke here, that the laziest, most unthinking MeFi post is a cliched complaint about BBT?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


BBT is something like the biggest comedy in the US right now and its merchandise and branding are ubiquitous. A lot of internet nerds also find the depictions of the characters insulting. Between the two, you're going to get a lot of hate for it on the internet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 AM on November 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Also I think you can basically blame all of these on Friends, if not in fact then at least in spirit
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:53 AM on November 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by ODiV at 9:55 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


[Fixed the link.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:56 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of Anchorman on here, too.
posted by HeroZero at 9:58 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't do a lot of writing for TV comedy series.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:01 AM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Link should be http://splitsider.com/2016/11/how-many-of-these-joke-cliches-are-you-guilty-of-using/

Oh, yeah, that's weird. Thanks cortex.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:08 AM on November 25, 2016


I'll buy that for a dollar.
posted by drezdn at 10:08 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Apparently for ever minor part Rebel Wilson is in, they just hire her to say one of these at random in between actual dialogue.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:13 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's like a transcript of the Rachel Maddow Show.
posted by notyou at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why does the writing gradually deteriorate the further down the board

I was wondering that myself. Some of the writing was so unreadable that I was only able to figure the sayings out because they're clichés.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe being in a writing team for a prolonged period ...does... things to you.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Jane Espenson is an amazing writer/person who has written for Battlestar Galactica, Gilmour Girls, Game of Thrones, Husbands and other stuff.

Anyway, she's been calling these 'clams' for years on her blog:
http://www.janeespenson.com/
Search 'clam' and a bunch of good stuff will turn up.
posted by Phreesh at 10:30 AM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Some of that other stuff for Espenson included being a lead writer/producer for Whedon's Buffy show and comic books even (as well as Angel and Dollhouse). I rather suspect she learned by doing.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I don't get the BBT hate here.

It sucks hot ass
posted by Greg Nog at 10:44 AM on November 25, 2016 [29 favorites]


I think the problem here is a lot of sitcoms try to force so many of those into jokes, particularly with laugh tracks, that as Workaholics is one of the few sitcoms that doesn't do them (I think), it's harder to pass these ones even as idioms. I've used a fair number of them in regular conversations, and wasn't even trying to be funny.
And of course, anything can become a tasteless joke if you put a laugh track on it.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:45 AM on November 25, 2016


Seriously, I don't get the BBT hate here.
It sucks hot ass
posted by Greg Nog at 1:44 PM on November 2


Hot, homophobic, sexist ass.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:49 AM on November 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


In addition, by conception, it's a minstrel/zoo show---point and laugh---straight up, as well as its obvious other short comings.

It's nothing at all like what physics grad students think like or care about (having been one). From the beginning it was all about lazy "4-eyes" caricatures and nothing else. There's no truth or insight at all.
posted by bonehead at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


I will note, however, that I've had success with several of these lines spoken under my breath at a well-judged time in staff meetings.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


(for reference, compare it to Real Genius, which, while a generation older, and much more exclusively male and white, does actually capture the experience a little bit, the pressures that students face and their fundamental ethical/political conflicts.).
posted by bonehead at 11:00 AM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm still using "Garbage people".
posted by cazoo at 11:06 AM on November 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also I think you can basically blame all of these on Friends, if not in fact then at least in spirit

Fine by me!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think that it's important to understand when to avoid clichés and why, exactly, they are not good. I've been thinking about this.

We want art to make us feel closer to other people (or to something else: the beauty of the universe, a point to our own lives, etc.). Bland repetitive words or situations dont come from other humans really thinking; they are not the kind of evidence we crave that we are not alone.
posted by amtho at 11:29 AM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Disappointed to see that "Who are you and what have you done with X?" wasn't on the list... until I noticed that it looks like it's one of the ones that's super-faded/partially erased (it's just above "That's not a thing" in the first pic).

However, I do think they missed this hacky construct (which isn't summarized quite as easily):

A: [something about X]
B: (excited) X? Really? Wow, that's amazing! (normal) What's X?
posted by mhum at 11:34 AM on November 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


Those two boards and a laugh track is enough to reconstruct about 80% of The Big Bang Theory.

probably the worst thing i have ever done in my entire life was to pityingly tell my friend that he didn't like TBBT because he wasn't smart enough to get the jokes
posted by poffin boffin at 11:42 AM on November 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


I just came in my mouth a little.
posted by rhizome at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2016 [11 favorites]




> What's X?
[     insert cliché answer here     ]
posted by farlukar at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


...they’ve also been compiling all of the worst lines you can possibly use in a show as well as a public service to all.

So what is their public service to all?
posted by TedW at 1:49 PM on November 25, 2016


this list reads exactly like a guy I follow on Twitter
posted by AFABulous at 2:02 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]




Twenty years ago, someone in the business declared that any sitcom that used "Ta-Da!" should be immediately cancelled. Yet one still hears it.
posted by Modest House at 2:31 PM on November 25, 2016


28 years old yt

I'm embarassed to admit that I use this trope....And I'm a grown-ass man.
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:41 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


> I'll buy that for a dollar.
$20, same as in town.
Clichés are everywhere.

Workaholics is on Comedy Central, so I'm surprised there isn't a section dedicated to everything on South Park to avoid. Which is EVERYTHING on South Park. But then. they probably have a separate whiteboard - or two, or three - with those.

I'm waiting for a comment on this from The Other Ken Levine, the 'showbiz insider blogger' who has been a writer and/or producer on M*A*S*H, Cheers and its spin-off Frasier, and a seeming-million other sitcoms but less so in recent years as he pursued his TRUE dream job, Baseball play-by-play (I blame much of the current cliché crisis on his withdrawal from that part of the biz.

But as for Big Bang Theory, it is, in its 10th year, still the #1 sitcom on American TV, which is past the expiration date on most comedies Ken Levine didn't write for, and it is considered the career apex of TV Evil Genius Chuck Lorre, who previously gave us Two and a Half Men, the prior 800-pound gorilla of sitcom clichés. Since BBT began with extremely clichéd characters: the insecure nerd, the overconfident nerd and the dumb blond; and has just kept adding cliché characters, mostly nerd clichés: the jewish nerd, the asian nerd, the girl nerd; the show is both the most obvious and most deserving target for anyone nerd-aware enough to be on MetaFilter.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:51 PM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


When a character makes a vague reference to, "That incident with [wacky noun] and a [wacky noun]" I check out and read a book. So lazy.
posted by sleepy psychonaut at 3:49 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


If this list was enforced by the mods, we'd reduce comment volume by 35%.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:00 PM on November 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


If this list was enforced by the mods, we'd reduce comment volume by 35%.

This.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:12 PM on November 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Has mashing up cliches become cliche yet? If not:

"I just threw up in my va-jay-jay"
"And By X I Mean Lady Boner"
"It's giving me all the white people problems"
"#DumpsterFire #GarbagePeople #TheStenchofBurningFlesh"
"I think that awesome sauce came out wrong" "That's what SHE said!"

Also I still like the Rick and Morty approach of liberally peppering cliches into horrifying or absurd situations.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:12 PM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Has mashing up cliches become cliche yet?

Jane Espenson calls that "breeding clams."
posted by Orlop at 4:21 PM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's missing "this is how you get ants." I am disappoint.
posted by shponglespore at 4:23 PM on November 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


WORST. LIST. EVAR.

*ahem* The ubiquitous Friends-originated(?) "threw up in my mouth" line is the one which always grates with me, yet you will pry "it's funny because it's true" from my cold, dead pants.

Of all the "*groan* Really?"s, the Bond film where Brosnan busts out the hoary "cunning linguist" "gag" reigns supreme in my mind.
posted by comealongpole at 4:29 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Grimgrin, does the Pope shit in the woods?
posted by comealongpole at 4:31 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Some of these aren't even jokes anymore. They're just part of the language now.
posted by yeolcoatl at 4:58 PM on November 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Jane Espenson calls that "breeding clams."

Her?
posted by Room 641-A at 5:01 PM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm embarassed to admit that I use this trope....And I'm a grown-ass man.

Lee and Herring's subsequent use ofbit as a recurring theme was exquisite, but that's more of a meta-joke.
posted by Artw at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have to confess: I wrote the "came a little in my mouth" line seven years ago and have yet to find a context in which to use it until Metafilter.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:30 PM on November 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mean Lady Boner

Well, user name of the day here.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:31 PM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Search 'clam' and a bunch of good stuff will turn up.

So in this old post from 2010 she talks about cases of Clams Casino, gilding the clam, whatever.

The first example is a Progressive ad with Flo, where she jokes, "I'm here all week," and follows up embarrassed with, "I will. That's my schedule."

That seems okay to me. But then a Simpsons example appears:
Moe tells a joke, gets no reaction from a crowd, taps his mike and nervously jokes, "Is this thing on?" Angle on Barney, who realizes the mike is in fact unplugged. He apologizes and plugs it in. Just as in the Progressive ad, the joke is saved by making it literal.
but like argh NO actually that doesn't save it, it makes it fucking awful.
posted by fleacircus at 5:49 PM on November 25, 2016


I want to know who wrote nananananananana Batman! And whether they were paid

The theme for the 1966 Batman TV show was written by ... wait for it! ... Neil Hefti. And yeah, he got paid for it.
posted by bryon at 6:01 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This list is so fetch. Streets ahead even.
posted by bonehead at 1:35 on November 26
You laugh, but it shattered my reality when an English guy I worked with a few years ago used the phrase "streets ahead" with zero irony to simply mean "cool" or "impressive"
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:10 PM on November 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dangit, in the past month or so I swear I saw a pre-Community use of "streets ahead," like, in a Simon & Simon. I didn't think I'd have an opportunity to reference it so I didn't take notes. I'll try to figure it out.
posted by rhizome at 6:23 PM on November 25, 2016


Don't worry they are adding a Metafilter board

What is this I can't even
Metafilter:
So much this
tldr
I will fight you
Surely this
But...
Plate of beans
Tilda Swinton
posted by solmyjuice at 6:42 PM on November 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


I feel like this list is so true, right?
posted by Flashman at 6:47 PM on November 25, 2016


Are we still doing "phrasing?"
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:03 PM on November 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


No, but really...how you doin'?
posted by the sobsister at 8:20 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


You laugh, but it shattered my reality when an English guy I worked with a few years ago used the phrase "streets ahead" with zero irony to simply mean "cool" or "impressive"

Imagine what it was like for me, an English person, to see it brought up in Community as if it were some weird-ass invented phrase, and not a normal thing that people have been saying for over a hundred years. Initially i thought the joke was not the phrase,which is obviously a real thing, but that Community existed in a reality that didn't have it.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:49 PM on November 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


Someone please point it out to me if I missed it, but was "[that is/is that/that's not] a thing" a 'thing' on this list?
God I hope so.
posted by wats at 9:12 PM on November 25, 2016


28 years old

Stewart Lee was at some point a young person.

I am shocked, and feel a little betrayed really.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:34 PM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


As a result, Allen thought she'd made a terrible mistake in agreeing to appear in the movie; she didn't realize those scenes were supposed to be bad and badly directed.

Ha ha, what a lady boner!
posted by rhizome at 11:45 PM on November 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


The theme for the 1966 Batman TV show was written by ... wait for it! ... Neil Hefti. And yeah, he got paid for it.

Do you think it was a Hefti sum?
posted by crossoverman at 3:05 AM on November 26, 2016 [10 favorites]


"... as the bishop said to the actress!"
posted by h00py at 5:17 AM on November 26, 2016


Who is the AD WIZARD that came up with that one?
posted by cnanderson at 5:21 AM on November 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new catch-phrase overlords.
posted by cnanderson at 5:46 AM on November 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "I'll buy that for a dollar."

Was that up there?! That's from an archeological dig of the ancient ruins of the RoboCop franchise.

For my money, "Wait, What?", and "By x I mean y" cover so many situations.
posted by xtian at 6:46 AM on November 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


For my money, "Wait, What?", and "By x I mean y" cover so many situations.

MeTa
posted by TedW at 9:37 AM on November 26, 2016


"Wait, What?"

Actually, The Good Place is using this (and sometimes just "What?") as an occasionally recurring line to close out an act. It's kind of adorable.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:56 AM on November 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like to mash up clichés. Here's one:

Shit happens then it rolls downhill.

Here's another one:

When life gives you lemons, squeeze the lemon till the juice runs down my leg.
posted by BentFranklin at 10:11 AM on November 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Surprisingly not listed: "X is my new band name," my personal peeve lately.

although I confess to having leaned upon it a few times myself, so let he who is without sin etc etc
posted by churl at 11:16 AM on November 26, 2016


Since, "...that's what she said!" dates back to Shakespeare, I believe this brilliant crew may have torn off a chunk somewhat greater than themselves. Also, where's, " Wassuuuup?"
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:08 PM on November 26, 2016


"he who is without sin" is my new band name.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:24 PM on November 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


"He who is without sin" is an okay band name.

"He who is without sin etc etc" is a great band name.
posted by RobotHero at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


"He who is without sin etc etc"

Ahem: "He who is without sin yada yada yada"
posted by Room 641-A at 2:04 PM on November 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


"He who is without sin yada yada yada feat. not that there's anything wrong with that"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:09 PM on November 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


“Cray-cray in the vajayjay”: the new “insane in the membrane”?
posted by acb at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh man, Dave Barry ran the band name thing into the ground 25 years ago. It's one reason I lost interest in reading him. So now, whenever someone says "x would be a good band name" or some variant, my first thought is "are you some sort of Dave Barry wannabe?"
posted by TedW at 5:13 PM on November 26, 2016


"Dave Barry Wannabe" would be a g—
posted by cortex at 6:00 PM on November 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


THEY'RE NEVER GOOD BAND NAMES
posted by churl at 6:26 PM on November 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not with an attitude like that, they're not...
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:44 PM on November 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


And anyway, what else are we supposed to do with those odd little turns of phrase that catch the ear - just let them slide by into the bit bucket? No!! Waste not, want not, I say!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:46 PM on November 26, 2016


Legal cannabis strains are stealing all the good band names anymore. It won't be long until "Bonkers McGillicuddy" is the only band name left.
posted by rhizome at 12:28 AM on November 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


rhizome, earlier I was thinking that Durban Poison would be a great band name.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:31 AM on November 27, 2016


Well, that it sounded like a band name, anyway.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:32 AM on November 27, 2016


rhizome, earlier I was thinking that Durban Poison would be a great band name.

Didn't Tricky use that one for a record sometime in the late 90s?
posted by acb at 6:25 AM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


To be sure, any name with "poison" in it is probably not going to be used for pot, so bands can keep that whole category. I have not seen a strain named "CC DeVille" yet.
posted by rhizome at 11:24 AM on November 27, 2016


I could only picture David Spade saying these.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:32 PM on November 27, 2016


"- then I got off the bus...."
posted by comealongpole at 4:43 PM on November 27, 2016


In addition to getting off the bus I like the TMWRNJ take on "Like ____ on acid".
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2016


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