What Have You Done for Me Lately?
"What has Sheraton done for you lately?
What has Sheraton done for you now?"
— TV Jingle from 1970s ad campaign for Sheraton hotel chain
A classic Stock Phrase
with a number of familiar variations. Generally it's a witty remark on the part of the protagonist, when the villain starts listing all the good things they've done
. Sometimes it's played for comedy, and the villain (or whoever's holding the Idiot Ball
) comes up with good, concise, and valid answers. The latter version tends to happen more in pastiche.
Can be the Lampshade Hanging
if the Ungrateful Bastard
is called on their behavior. Might be a sign that the character is outliving their usefulness
or is not appreciated back at home
Compare It's All About Me
, which has the same self-centered connotations.
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- Used frequently in The Boondocks.
Riley: What's Granddad done for me lately?
Huey: He gave you life.
Riley: What's he done for me lately?
Huey: He got you a Playstation for Christmas.
Riley: It's March already! What has he done for me lately?
- The entire Marvel Universe has had this since Civil War started. Every event in the past fifty years in Marvel? Took place within roughly the last fifteen in Comic Book Time. They were still cleaning up from Galactus' last attack when they beat the Human Torch into a coma. The public turns on superheroes so fast that it's a wonder any of them even cared enough to fight.
- Issue 1 of the comic Blood Pack, have this line said by a general about the main characters:
Yes, they saved the planet months ago, but what have they done for us lately?
- The MAD spoof of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets featured this. As in the book, the students are growing suspicious of Harry. Harry points out that he saved them all last year, and the respond with the trope.
- There was a hotel commercial with the Jingle "What has Sheraton done for you lately / What has Sheraton done for you now?" then they probably got Fridge Logic and realized if their customers thought about it, they'd go to either a better class of hotel for the same money, or another chain which offered the same class of accommodations for less.
- A variation, and Deconstructive Parody, of this showed up in Monty Python's Life of Brian when the Jewish freedom fighters were arguing about the advances brought to Israel by the Roman Occupation.
Reg: But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, peace!... Shut up!
- In Undercover Brother, the protagonists are discussing which party a black general might run for president under. One suggests he could go Republican, and Conspiracy Brother rants, "Name one thing the Republican party has ever done for black people!" Smart Brother answers they were the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves. Conspiracy Brother then refines his protest: "Okay, name two things lately!"
- Real Genius:
Chris: I have advanced your project more than any three students on campus.
Jerry: That was yesterday. What have you done for me today?
- Kurt Vonnegut has Winston Niles Rumfoord in The Sirens of Titan use this line with the Tralfamadorian messenger Salo, and referring to it as an old joke, and not a very good one.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, Miles, thinking of the costs the Barrayaran government incurs in funding his alter ego Admiral Naismith, notes that the day that Naismith cannot provide an answer to that question is the day he ceases to exist.
- The BBC has a series of serious documentaries called "What The [Inhabitants Of Time Period] Did For Us."
- Janet Jackson's song of the same name isn't the Trope Namer - it's an old saying - but it's catchy enough that it could have been.
- A guest on Radio 4's Quote Unquote mentions that her father, who was a rabbi, used to say that "people never ask their rabbi 'what have you done for me?' but 'what have you done for me lately?'"
- Naturally, it's also a lengthy bit in Eddie Murphy's stand-up special Raw.
- What Have the Unions Ever Done for Us?
- In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Dr. Gero tries inverting this into What Have I Done To You Lately? in order to weasel out of a beating when the heroes catch up to him.
Dr. Gero: What have I ever done to you?
Piccolo: Pretty sure you vaporized half a city.
Dr. Gero: I meant recently!
Piccolo: That was an hour ago.
Dr. Gero: Semantics!
- Appears in The Simpsons: When Bart gets a job as his assistant, Krusty doesn't remember him. Bart reels off the number of times he's saved his career/life, Krusty replies:
Krusty: What have you done for me lately?
Bart: I got you that danish.
Krusty: And I'll never forget it.
- Also in an episode featuring the family pets to a large degree (beginning with Snowball 2 saving Homer's life but focusing on the relationship with Santa's Little Helper).
Homer: (referring to an excretion in his lunchbox) It was probably that stupid cat.
Marge: That cat saved your life.
Homer: What has he done for me lately?
Marge: He woke you up when you stopped breathing last night.
Homer: Yeah, but he ate the last can of tuna.
Lisa: Dad, you ate the last can of tuna.
Homer: Everyone's against me.
- Also in a Treehouse of Horror episode when Krusty ruins mural that Maggie likes. This makes Homer and Maggie very upset, which leads to this exchange between Krusty and his agent right before Homer murders Krusty.
Krusty: (on the phone with his agent) Entertain the Troops? No way! What have they ever done for me?!
- In one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, after Squidward started freeloading off of Spongebob after getting into an argument with Mr. Krabs. Spongebob becomes so fed up with Squidward's attitude that he forcefully drags Squidward back to the Krusty Krab just in time to hear Mr. Krabs say this:
Mr. Krabs: (on the phone) Donate to the children's fund? Why? What have children ever done for me?
- And of course, there's Janet Jackson