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Most Cliched TV (& Movie) Phrases

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Consider this halfway between "TV Tropes You Hate" and "'LITERALLY!' and Other Offenders on the Grammar Police Docket" What phrases and bits of language are SO stock, so overused, that you wince merely hearing them.


My first submission to our collection...

"It's bigger than you think, don't trust anyone".

I wonder exactly how many shitty shows and movies that cliche has been uttered in.  I just watched a episode of Designated Survivor from last month I hadn't gotten around to (it's fallen far off my list precisely because of how many cliches it delivers), and that lovely phrase is front and center.

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"We've got company." It always refers to hostiles. Just once, I'd like it to be used positively. "We've got company. They have beer and pizza. The cake guys will be along soon."

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From the "consciously re-appropriated from a movie quote" dept.:

You can't handle the truth!

The cliche here goes beyond the actual saying, and into the fact that TV shows (and even other movies) at some point started using a character deliberately quoting this line from A Few Good Men as a stock joke.  Making it into a double cliche (the phrase itself, and the character beat/plot point of someone quoting it).

Same situation: Say hello to my leeetle friend.

Edited by Kromm
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58 minutes ago, Brooklynista said:

"It is what it is."

The losing party in any court tv case.  But what the hell IS it??

Thank you! That phrase drives me nuts.


Here's some I can live without:

"It isn't you, it's me"

When someone wants an explanation for a break up:

"It's complicated."

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Dating reality shows: "We have a connection."

Competition reality shows:  Any sentence that includes the word "journey."  

If I took a drink any time a contestant/judge/pro on Dancing with the Stars talked about "the journey" I'd have to book my room at the Betty Ford Clinic by week 3.  

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Great Cthulhu, please take as victims of your insatiable thirst for souls the writers who use these phrases (and variations thereof):

"Let's do this!" - Heard in every action or police show made in the last 20 years.

"You have no idea./You just don't get it, do you" - Particularly stupid because it's often uttered when someone has specifically asked for the information that they "have no idea" about or asked for an explanation about what they "don't get".

"Is that all you've got?" - This has been popping up in bad scripts for at least 38 years (1979, Rocky II).

"Not on my watch!" - Frequently said by a character who isn't on any kind of watch.

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It isn't what it looks like. (Because explaining what it really is might prevent that upcoming series of misunderstandings.)

I'll explain later. (Used when an explanation is needed now in order to prevent future catastrophe.)

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oh, and "I know who did it. Can't tell you now but meet me at... and I'll tell you all". 

Followed by the person being killed before making it to the meeting. Or having made it to the meeting, but the other person was late for some lame reason. In that case, the person might still be barely alive, just enough to utter a cryptic nonsense (to the viewer) that will get the neurones of the one who finds that dying person all aflutter until they finally get what it means. Sometimes the cryptic nonsense is supposed to name to killer, sometimes it's just more of a Rosebud.   

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I have to intubate! (everything medical, from a broken finger to a brain injury. I make sure I have a pen now, to do just that in case someone drops in front of me)

- On three!
- Wait... on three or one two three go? 

(the hot head goes on one anyway)

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On 1/14/2017 at 6:33 PM, Silver Raven said:

It's quiet.  Too quiet.

(In reality shows): I'm not here to make friends.

Also on reality shows: I tell it like it is. (always said by someone who actually isn't truthful but uses that phrase to cover rudeness and insults)

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4 minutes ago, Bastet said:

"I'll see you in court."

Hey I just said that to someone.   Literally.   I say it A LOT.    Hmmm, cliched.   Need to work on that.

On reality shows "I'm really good at X" followed by a massive fail at X.

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22 minutes ago, merylinkid said:

Hey I just said that to someone.   Literally.   I say it A LOT.    Hmmm, cliched.   Need to work on that.

Oh, I've said it, but mostly as a casual remark to a colleague (e.g. differentiating between meeting beforehand or I'll just see you at the courthouse) or in jest, with the occasional, legitimate "Well, then I guess I'll see you in court" type thing when we can't reach an agreement.  I've just never routinely sneered it at opposing counsel like TV characters do.

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Stop the presses!

20 years in the newspaper business, I never heard that used (even on September 11) except as a joke or sarcastically.

The editors at your newspaper never make any mistake? I work for a newspaper and I've said it once or twice and my boss too. This is after finding we made some major mistake that we cannot allow to go to print.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Discussion of movie cliches always makes me remember Roger Ebert's review of Fast Five:  " Apparently some of these characters have had, in the past, long conversations about their goals, dreams, abilities and values, saving time at the present for terse verbal shorthand. When you hear as many as six words in a row, you suspect it's a tagline for a trailer ("We need to assemble a team").

Every time I think of one of these cliches now I can't help but  count to see if it is indeed, six words in a row.   

I'm not here to make friends!  Damn you look just like him/her! bingo.

This just keeps getting better and better!  One over.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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"I'll just see myself out" - Usually said after making a big speech/mess/company changing declaration.

"I can tell you, but then I'll have to kill you"

"What I am about to tell you should not leave this room"

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  • 3 weeks later...

On 1/25/2017 at 3:55 PM, Shannon L. said:

"Whatever it is, I didn't do it." 

A variant.

Various people (usually but not always a group of kids) are in a location together. Something happens and some kind of damage results. Someone who owns what was damaged, or is otherwise in some kind of responsible position walks into the room. The entire group, as one, each point to another person and say "he (or she) did it!"  Alternately, the entire group might point to a single individual, who may or may not have been the one who actually "did it" (usually these scenes hinge on the accident being due to multiple people).

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On 3/10/2017 at 0:30 PM, HunterHunted said:

"I didn't come here to make friends"

Worth pointing out that Kelly Wigglesworth on the first season of Survivor was the FIRST person to ever say this deathless phrase on a reality show - no surprise it was on season one of the FIRST reality show of the current era.

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  • SilverStormm changed the title to Most Cliched TV (& Movie) Phrases

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