When Life Gives You Lemons
...Don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'm the man who's GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!"A phrase said by some characters to show how optimistic they are. Even if something horrible has happened—being given the metaphorical lemons—one can still try to make the best of it. The typical answer is to say "Make lemonade", but this is easily parodied to emphasize really how unfunny the character is. Or how unhinged they are. Just as easily turns into Metaphorgotten, or Popular Saying But.
— Cave Johnson, Portal 2
open/close all folders
- Powerthirst: "When God gives you lemons, you FIND A NEW GOD."
- Ron White (from Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again): I believe...if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And then try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
- Bo Burnham: I'm a realist. I try not to romanticise reality. You know? When Life gives you lemons... you probably just found lemons.
- Sarah Silverman: When life gives you AIDS, make Lemon-AIDS.
- Henry Rollins: When life hands you a lemon, say "Oh yeah, I like lemons. What else you got?"
- (Don't remember name; blonde woman.) "When life hands you lemons, add tequila, salt, and Triple Sec and make Margaritas."
- Red Meat:
Bug-Eyed Earl: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you poop, make poop juice.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
Susie: When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.Calvin: I say, when life gives you a lemon, wing it right back and add some lemons of your own!
Dogbert: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.Dilbert: I'm allergic to citrus.Dogbert: When life gives you lemons, swell up and die.
- Snuffy Smith:
Snuffy: If life gives ya lemons, make lemonade!! If it gives ya apples, make cider!! punkins? Make pie!! Avacados? Make guacamole!! Cucumbers...Jughaid: Okay, okay, Uncle Snuffy, I get yore drift.
- Get Fuzzy
Bucky Katt: When life gives you lemons, chuck 'em at dogs.
- It Sucks to Be Weegie! includes the following line in one of The Teasers: "When life gives you lemons... be thankful it didn't give you rocks."
- This is basically the life philosophy of the Apple Pie Family in the Pony POV Series Dark World Arc, especially Apple Pie. Their reaction to horrible circumstances (which, obviously, abound in Discord's Villain World) is to do their mourning and continue on, making the best of anything they can. She apparently learned this from her grandmother...before said grandmother was turned into a dragon (which in this world isn't THAT bad of a thing to happen actually).
Apple Pie: When life gives ya lemons, don't throw 'em back, and don't try to burn life's house down with a combustible lemon. Ya'll be left with nothin' except yer pride, which ya can't eat. Or ya'll be hated by everypony who actually LIKES lemons. And ya'll only get squashed by the skyscraper sized angry mommy-lemon as it falls on ya anyway.
- Better Living Through Science And Ponies includes the following line:
GLaDOS: Life has been giving me lemons... and by letting you go I tried to make lemonade. A simple, sweet answer. Now... now I’m going to take life’s lemons, turn them into combustible lemons, and then burn you alive with them. Just like Cave Johnson would do... now that was a smart human.
- In the Naruto Groundhog Peggy Sue fanfic Reload, Naruto acquires the mentality of a Mad Scientist (with the manga's chakra-based seals being his favored approach) with a flair for the dramatic, declaring himself a magician and performer of the impossible. His twist on the phrase? When life gives you lemons, squeeze them and make champagne. Let the morons around you gape like children in a circus and break their heads how the fuck you did it, while your sexy assistant robs them blind with a smile.
Films — Animation
- In Hoodwinked! Boingo tells the Wolf and Twitchy that he knows a shortcut to get to Granny's place:
The Wolf: Yeah, big surprise party. You know how to get there?Boingo: Oh, yeah. In fact, I know a shortcut.The Wolf: [to Twitchy] You hear that? He knows a shortcut.Boingo: You go over the woods and through the river... no, you don't want to go through the river. You'll get all wet.The Wolf: You see, Twitchy? You get lemons, you make lemonade....[Cuts to the Wolf and Twitchy trudging through a dark, flooded cave]The Wolf: ....and then that lemonade turns bitter, ferments and turns to pig-swill. Never trust a bunny with directions, Twitchy.
Films — Live-Action
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Surfing Instructor: When life gives you lemons, just say "Fuck the lemons" and bail.
- Home Room
Deanna Cartwright: "When life give you lemons... make lemonade."Alicia Browning: That is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.
- Dinner for Schmucks
Barry: When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Unless you don't have any water or sugar. And then you just eat the lemons, and the rind will give you diarrhea.
- Josie and the Pussycats
Josie McCoy: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when the going gets tough...Melody Valentine: The tough make lemonade!
- Sky High
Layla: When life gives you lemons...[tries to grow a lemon, but produces an apple instead]Will Stronghold: Make...apple juice?Layla: I can't make lemons. I don't know why.
- Hobo with a Shotgun
Drake: When life gives you razor blades... you make a baseball bat covered in razor blades!
- The line was uttered by G2 in Inspector Gadget 2 when she received Gadget's glitchy programming chip while fighting some mooks.
- The one-liner:
When life hands you lemons, squeeze them between your bitter fingers and then throw them at the wall.
- Soon I Will Be Invincible
Doctor Impossible: When life gives you lemons you squeeze them, hard. Make invisible ink. Make an acid poison. Fling it in their eyes.
- Deep Thoughts By Jack Handy gives us this one:
If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the lemons (maybe by shoving them down his throat).
- From the Anita Blake series.
Anita: When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your damn lemons.
- A variant of this happened with the March 1980 edition of Australian car magazine Wheels, when it controversially declared "No Car of the Year" for 1979, with the front cover featuring a giant lemon on four wheels. This prompted Ford Australia to hit back with an advertisement for its then-latest model Falcon, depicting a page full of literal lemons with popular car brands printed on them and declaring, "There are times when being a lemon is not a bitter experience at all".
- In The Romulan Way Leonard McCoy quotes the saying to Arrhae t'Khellian, who is actually a surgically altered Federation Deep Cover Agent on Romulus. Arrhae says she prefers the Romulan version because it has more dignity: "When a sword is shattered, take the fragments back to the forge."
- Used in effect by Hu Chang in Catherine Ling: What Doesn't Kill You. When a triad burns down his folk medicine shop in Hong Kong, the ever-optimistic Hu's first response is to go digging through the ashes to see what new and useful compounds the fire turned his stock of herbs and chemicals into.
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Tibby's father, Henry Rollins, stated "When life hands you a lemon. Say. 'Oh yeah. I like lemons. What else ya got?'"
Live Action TV
- 3rd Rock from the Sun
Harry Solomon: You know, Dick, when life gives you lemons, just shut up and eat the damn lemons.
- Veronica Mars, episode "Look Who's Stalking"
Veronica: So my Grandma Reynolds was always saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I wish she was still alive because I'd really like to ask what she suggests for when life gives you chlamydia.
Bill: Dave, haven't you ever heard the expression, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then throw it in the face of the person who gave you the lemons until they give you the oranges you originally asked for"?
- Malcolm in the Middle:
Hal: I always say, when life gives you lemons - make lemonade. You got any lemonade?Waiter: No, sir.Hal: [disappointed] Aww. [brightening up] Got any lemons?
- The original, KTKA public-access version of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 theme used this phrase verbatim.
- Crow also used "You find a new God" variant listed in the advertising section.
- Modern Family:
Phil: When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like "What?!"
- My Family (no relation):
Susan: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Ben: What do you make if life gives you crap?
Nick: Crap mice. (they look at him like he's crazy) Put a toothpick in, and you've got a little tail.
- In the theme song to The Andy Milonakis Show, whenever life gives him lemons, he makes beef stew.
- Penny Arcade Adventures: The prison guard in number 2: "When life gives you dungeons, you make dungeonade." Your character takes time to reflect on how awful this joke is.
- In Portal 2, Aperture Science's Cave Johnson says the original cliché line in response to his fatal illness. Then, after thinking about it, he realizes he's got a better idea:
Cave Johnson: All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade.
Cave Johnson: Make life take back the lemons back!
Cave Johnson: Get mad!
Cave Johnson: 'I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?!'
GLaDOS: Yeah, take the lemons...
Cave Johnson: Demand to see life's manager!
Cave Johnson: Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS!
GLaDOS: Oh, I like this guy.
Cave Johnson: I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!
GLaDOS: BURN HIS HOUSE DOWN!... Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!
- Earlier in the game you can rescue a "different" turret from the "Turret Redemption Line". She foreshadows much of the game- among her lines is "Get mad" and "Don't make lemonade".
- Guild Wars 2's "Hey Bookah!" fake advice column has a letter from an engineer saying he invented a "Lemonade Turret". Problem is, the lemonade tastes like gunpowder and machine oil. Bookah, a member of the often-arrogant Asura race, insists that only the "small-minded and pedantic" would insist lemonade taste like "outmoded versions". He further recommends proper marketing; it's not a lemonade turret, it's a turret with "fresh, lemon-scented ammunition".
When life gives you lemons, shoot them back at life at high velocity.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising:
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, when you're sent to go deal with Cicero, Festus Krex has this to say.
"When life gives you lemons... Go murder a clown."
- Antichamber: In real life: as stated by Alexander Bruce, the non-Euclidian spaces of the game came about after accidentally programming the Unreal engine that created a rendering bug, which he then expanded upon to create the full game.
- One of the possible messages displayed by the fortune-telling machines in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth:
When life gives you lemons, reroll!
Sizemore: When life gives you crap, make Crap Golems, right?Bogroll: If I only could, sir. I'd have a regiment.
You'll be doing one thing then something else hits you just like that and you roll with it. That's what you do when life hands you lemons. You sure as fuck don't make lemonade because who the fuck knows where that fuckin' shit comes from? It's squeezed out of miracles is where.
- In an early Penny Arcade, Gabe tells a badly-injured Tycho "You know what they say, 'when life gives you shit...'" to which Tycho angrily replies "'Make shit-aid?' What?!" Gabe admits he's still working on it.
- A Mad Scientist from Cyanide & Happiness knows what to do:
"Lemonstein": So I discovered that when life gives you lemons... You give those lemons life!
- Captain SNES: Kefka, somehow being Not Quite Dead, explains "There's an old saying about what to do when life gives you a lemon. Burn down every lemon tree in the world."
- Quoth Shamus Young, in his comments about this Stolen Pixels: "You know what they say, 'When life gives you lemons, complain about it on your blog.'"
- According toMountain Time, when life gives you lemons, you either invent a lemon particle collider and see if you produce lemon strangelets, or send them to a lemon sex party.
- The story Take A Lemon, takes its title from this phrase. It's the Arc Words recited between two sisters when something really bad happens and they then do a little speech about how they will make what ever lemon into lemonade. Story contains no Lemon though.
- Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "other days", Strong Bad is seen acting as a motivational speaker, giving out the advice "When life throws pies at you, you make yourself a tall, cool glass of pie-monade!"
- From Part 69 of the Game Grumps Let's Play of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):
- One Photoplasty entry on Cracked offered up an especially subervsive variation: "When life gives you lemons, you better hope life gives you sugar too, because lemonade tastes like shit without it."
- Grumpy Cat has been used in several macros that twist this comment. An example:
Grumpy Cat: Unless life also gives you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck.
- When life gives you lemons, BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!!
- Clone High, episode "A.D.D.: The Last 'D' Is for Disorder"
Scudworth: When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super lemons.
Angelica: When life gives you lemons, make applesauce.
- Transformers Cybertron:
Bud: When life gives you lemons... make orange soda!
- In the finale of Kim Possible, Ron thinks Drakken is being too negative:
Ron: Oh, complain, complain. You know, when life gives you lemons—
Drakken: I COMPLAIN ABOUT THE LEMONS!
- In one episode of The Brak Show, Brak gives us this advice:
- The Amazing World of Gumball: When Nicole tries to make Gumball a winner in "The Fridge", she gives us this line:
Nicole: What does a winner do when life gives him lemons?!
Gumball: Uhh....make lemonade?
Nicole: No, he squeezes them right back into life's eyes!
- She then orders him to squeeze those lemons in her eyes.
- These quotes are attributed to the Pines family of Gravity Falls;
Dipper: "When life gives you lemons, extract the juice and use it to draw a treasure map in invisible ink. That really works! Seriously!"Mabel: "When life gives you lemons, draw faces on those lemons and wrap them in a blanket. Ta-daaa! Now you have Lemon Babies."Grunkle Stan: "When life gives you lemons, call them 'yellow oranges' and sell them for double the price."
- The Hey Arnold! episode "Eugene, Eugene" had Eugene play a character in a musical also named Eugene. One of the musical numbers went a little something like this:
Eugene: (singing) When life gives you lemons, dance! Dance like there's a muskrat in your pants!
- One episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Shaggy and Scooby are on the run from a monster (As per usual) and run into a stable in hope of finding horses to escape on. Instead they find golf buggies
Shaggy: Ah well, when life gives you lemons...(Cut to them driving away manically on a golf buggy)Shaggy: Drive those lemons!
- "I'll Fly" from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (the Rainbow Dash solo song from S5E5) begins by Rainbow singing these lines:
When life gives you lemons
You can make lemonade
But life gave me Tank here
And my choice has long been made