Created By: the29thtman on December 2, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on August 4, 2016

Ascended to Catch Phrase

When a one-shot reference becomes a recurring catch phrase

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Trope
Some catch phrases were designed to be basic, fitting recurring situations. Others are based on a single line that the fans really liked. Writers hoping to please their audience may turn that line into a catch phrase for the show or character no matter how little sense it makes in context.

This is about the catch phrases that made sense in context the first time, but got repeated in situations where it didn't make as much sense. Compare to Ascended Meme, where it was an unofficial catchphrase first. Inverse of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, where the memetic Catch Phrase was never used in the original work.

Happens often in Fan Fiction, as fans reuse their favorite lines.

Too often to mention, advertisements repeat a line from a film or TV show so often viewers assume it is a catch phrase.


To avoid this becoming the same as Catch Phrase, please include how the original quote was specifically relevant to what was going on in your example. I removed examples that did not explain a relevant origin.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Haruhi Suzumiya. Tsuruya's "nyoro~n" inspired the doujin 4Koma "Nyoro~n Churuya-san" where Churuya, Tsuruya's smoked-cheese loving, fun-sized counterpart mutters the expression every time something goes wrong. Kyoto Animation actually made it official by animating the strip, in what is a doubly Ascended Meme.

Film
  • Die Hard's "Yippie-kay-ay, motherfucker" was a reference to him being a "cowboy" in the original. It was so quotable that an irrelevant variation was used in each film.

Literature
  • A Christmas Carol has Ebenezer Scrooge say "Bah, humbug!" to express his belief that Christmas and the shows of generosity and charity that those around him show around this time of year are a sham and that he is the only one being truthful in that he is being stingy and miserly as he is for the rest of the year. However, almost every adaptation of that story has had Scrooge say "Bah, humbug" at least twice.

Live Action TV
  • Dinosaurs had the baby say "Not the Mama!" to his father (Earl) in an episode where 'Mama' was gone. This was repeated as a generic insult to Earl in many later episodes.
  • The phrase 'You're surrounded by armed bastards!' is used once in the first series of Life on Mars. It's probably the most famous line of dialogue in the entire series, and was used with utter relish in subsequent series.

Professional Wrestling
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's most famous catchphrase came out of the same type of thing. He was spouting off about Jake "The Snake" Roberts and it took off.
    You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!

Western Animation
  • BeetleJuice's single reference to himself as "the ghost with the most" in the film became a catchphrase in the cartoon adaptation. His other catchphrase in the cartoon, "It's Showtime!" was used twice in the film and so is a more justifiable example.
  • On Madagascar, King Julien warns Mort "Do not touch the royal feet" on two occasions, both justified by Mort being scared. On the spin-off series The Penguins Of Madagascar, this has become a major element in the two characters' relationship, with Mort having a full-blown Foot Fetish and Julien not wanting anyone to touch his feet.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • December 2, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Many of The Rock's Catch Phrases were just stuff that came out of his mouth that the crowd responded to.
    • Stone Cold Steve Austin's most famous catchphrase came out of the same type of thing. He was spouting off about Jake "The Snake" Roberts and it took off.
      You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!
  • December 2, 2011
    Generality
    • BeetleJuice's single reference to himself as "the ghost with the most" in the film became a catchphrase in the cartoon adaptation. His other catchphrase in the cartoon, "It's Showtime!" was used twice in the film and so is a more justifiable example.
  • December 2, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    • The Simpsons has bart's catch phrase "don't have a cow man" and "eat my shorts"
    • In One Piece Luffy's catch phrase could be considered "I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass"

  • December 2, 2011
    Waterlily
    I've heard that Al from Home Improvement was only supposed to say "I don't think so, Tim" only once but it got such a big laugh from the audience that it became a catchphrase.
  • December 2, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    • Bugs Bunny's catch phrase in Looney Tunes was "ehh...whats up doc?". Sylvesters was "suffering succotash". Tweety's was "I think I see a putty tat".
  • December 2, 2011
    morenohijazo
    I think this is tropable, but it will give us many problems. Sometimes there's no consensus whether something was intentionally planned by the authors or not. The regular discussions with the Accidental Nightmare Fuel and High Octane Nightmare Fuel are a proof.
  • December 2, 2011
    the29thtman
    good point. I had heard from director's commentary (or maybe this wiki) verification of my original examples. I'm going to reword the definition to be more specific and the examples will have to be redone.
  • December 2, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    A Christmas Carol has Ebenezer Scrooge say "Bah, humbug!" to express his belief that Christmas and the shows of generosity and charity that those around him show around this time of year are a sham and that he is the only one being truthful in that he is being stingy and miserly as he is for the rest of the year. However, almost every adaptation of that story has had Scrooge say "Bah, humbug" at least twice.
  • December 3, 2011
    TonyG
    • Po says "Skadoosh" exactly once in Kung Fu Panda. Thanks to its constant use in trailers and merchandise, it has been raised to the level of catch phrase, even though he doesn't say it any more often in either the sequel or the TV series that followed.
    • On Madagascar, King Julien warns Mort "Do not touch the royal feet" on two occasions, both justified by Mort being scared. On the spin-off series The Penguins Of Madagascar, this has become a major element in the two characters' relationship, with Mort having a full-blown Foot Fetish and Julien not wanting anyone to touch his feet.
  • December 3, 2011
    azul120
    • Haruhi Suzumiya: Tsuruya's "nyoro~n" inspired the doujin 4Koma "Nyoro~n Churuya-san" where Churuya, Tsuruya's smoked-cheese loving, fun-sized counterpart mutters the expression everytime something goes wrong. Kyoto Animation actually made it official by animating the strip, in what is a doubly Ascended Meme.
  • December 5, 2011
    MorganWick
    matsuiny2004, this is not just Catch Phrase. Please explain how your examples fit this specific trope.
  • December 5, 2011
    abloke
  • December 5, 2011
    Twilord
    That reminds me, is there a version for when this happens to a character in Fan Fiction? I mean I know people who don't like Stargate but know the line "Undomesticated Equines could not remove me" but not the name Teal'c.
  • December 5, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    There's Beam Me Up Scotty, for when a lined never uttered by the character becomes their catch phrase. "Elementary, my dear Watson" is a good example.
  • December 5, 2011
    TheChainMan
    Guy Shishioh says "Don't call me mister, I'm only 20 years old!" twice, in the first and third episodes. All the Shout Outs to him use the line.
  • December 7, 2011
    the29thtman
    @Tony G turned Kung Fu Panda reference to general statement on advertising causing this @Twilord ditto for Fan Fiction

    @The Chain Man is that a Catch Phrase or a meme?
  • April 25, 2013
    helterskelter
    • Doctor Who has had all three Doctors say a phrase only a couple of times, to then be attributed as their "catch phrase". Nine had "Fantastic!", Ten had "Allons-y", and Eleven had "Geronimo".

    It should be noted that Catch Phrase itself should go through a massive clean up, as people are guilty of this trope and consistently apply memorable phrases said once or twice as an actual catch phrase.
  • April 25, 2013
    CaveCat
    • In The Lion King, Timon first used the term "mook" in the scene where he, Pumbaa and Simba were looking up at the stars in the sky. In the television series that followed afterwards, Timon practically used "mook" in almost every episode.
  • April 25, 2013
    Elanchana
    More Doctor Who examples that might be more relevant:
    • The phrase "Bananas are good" was only said twice in the new series, yet it is a very popular saying within the fandom.
    • "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" is considered the Third Doctor's signature line, though he only said it once.
  • April 25, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Bugs Bunny's Catch Phrase has been confirmed in interviews to have happened by pure chance. It first occurs in Fred "Tex" Avery's A Wild Hare from 27 July 1940. Avery attended North Dallas High School, where "What's up, doc?" was a common greeting. Its use in this cartoon was meant to be a one-time character development moment: Bugs remains unperturbed while having a firearm aimed at his head. The strong audience reaction caught everyone, including Avery, by surprise. Thus, this event was too resonant with the public not to be exploited. As further proof: the next two Bugs Bunny cartoons after A Wild Hare were produced separately from Avery's unit, and do not feature this phrase; they also feature Bugs Bunny closer to his Screwy Squirrel persona.
  • April 25, 2013
    Arivne
    Added Namespaces and italicization to OP work titles.

    How To Write An Example - Keep It An Example says that general statements about media aren't examples and belong in the description, so I moved the general statements under Advertising and Fan Fiction to the description.
  • April 25, 2013
    Chabal2
    Yu Gi Oh Abridged: Seto Kaiba's "Screw The Rules I Have Money" was said once, but was so associated with him it became one.
  • August 4, 2016
    DAN004
    • Kantai Collection: Inazuma's "nanodesu" has only appeared in one or two lines in the game, but fanworks often depict that as her Verbal Tic. Subsequently the Yon Koma and Anime adaptation runs with it.
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