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Subverted Catchphrase

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"I stand for truth, justice, and... other stuff."

A character appears to be setting up their catchprase, but instead says something completely different. Almost always a comedy trope, where the humor comes from subverting the audience's expectations.

Compare Catchphrase Interruptus, where the character starts to say their Catch Phrase but gets cut off partway through, Alternate Catchphrase Inflection where they do say their catchphrase but in a different tone of voice than usual, and Mangled Catch Phrase, where someone tries to imitate someone else's catchphrase but gets it all wrong.


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  • In the later years of Kenner's The Real Ghostbusters toyline, the iconic "Who You Gonna Call?" catchphrase was replaced with "You know who to call!" in TV commercials, considering that most people seemed to know the answer to said (rhetorical) question by then.

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is common on Pokémon: The Series where, quite often, Team Rocket will set up as though they're going to say their usual catchphrase, then replace it with a variation or completely different wording.
    • Pokémon the Series: XY: In XYZ28, when Team Rocket ambush Pikachu, the latter immediately tries to fry them. After several jolts, they were just about ready to cry "WE'RE BLASTING OFF AGAIN!!!" but Pikachu, due to a Heroic BSoD, doesn't have enough juice to send them flying. The Rockets immediately lost interest in him...
  • In, Gintama "Zura ja nai, Katsura da!" gets subverted plenty of times, always for laughs.
  • In the series finale of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    Simon: Of course! Who the hell do you think--
    Young Boy: [too busy drinking from a coconut to notice him] Yum-mee!
    Simon: Heh... no, I guess I'm nobody.
  • My Hero Academia: UA's catchphrase is "Plus Ultra," and it was popularized by one of the school's most famous graduates, All Might (he has his own catch phrase, but that's the school's). When he's announcing the end of the UA sports festival, he invites the entire audience to cheer one last time with him. But while everyone else yells "Plus Ultra," he yells "Thanks for the hard work!" (which is a common Japanese saying at times like this). The entire audience boos him for ruining his own catch phrase.
    All Might: But... they all worked so hard!
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Izumi Curtis, a skilled alchemist and the Elric brothers' teacher, introduces herself as "a housewife" when doing audacious things such as barging into Greed's hideout or sneaking up on a Briggs patrol. During the Final Battle, when Izumi helps open a path to central command, she says that she'd normally say that she's a housewife, but she feels like bragging a little, so she says, "I'm an alchemist!"

    Comic Books 
  • An unusual, very serious example, in Marshal Law. Marshal Law's usual catchphrase is "I'm a hero hunter. I hunt heroes. I haven't found any yet." At the end of "Kingdom of the Blind", he's standing in front of the dismembered corpse of his sidekick Kiloton, who was murdered by the villain.
    Marshal Law: I'm a hero hunter. I hunt heroes. I guess maybe I found one.
  • In Empyre, Thor frees himself, Captain America and Iron Man from Quoi's bonds after the latter tried to tempt them into joining in his mad plan. Shocked as the heroes are freed, Thor responds to Quoi's This Cannot Be! with "Verily. I say thee yea!”, an alteration on his usual "I say thee NAY!"

    Fan Works 
  • A list of riffs on Angel Investigations "We help the hopeless" slogan (second one down).
  • In the original Dante's Night at Freddy's, when preparing to beat Freddy with his own severed arm, Dante asks, "You ready, Freddy?"
    • In Animatronic Boogaloo, he gets two. When he asks the other animatronics who it is who trapped their souls in the pizzeria in a petty revenge scheme, he says, "It's not me." and hands the Marionette over to them to kill. Later, when delivering the mother of all threats to Freddy, he states, "You're. Not. Ready."
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation parody Fan Film Sev Trek: Pus in Boots, Captain Picard orders Worf to fire on the pustular alien vessel.
    Worf: But sir, there'll be pus everywhere!
    Picard: Make it flow!
  • All Mixed Up!: Under normal circumstances, when Olive and Otto enter Oprah's office, she tells them that something very odd has happened and they ask her what the problem is. However, when Otto poses the question to her, she tells him and Olive that she never said there was a problem, just that something odd has happened, and that he shouldn't jump to assumptions. In response, he becomes hurt and offended over her scolding and starts to protest before he's cut off.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fic The Voyorgy Conspiracy, Seven of Nine says, "I am Luscious of Borg. Your vagina will be double-adapted to service my own. Resistance is exciting."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Last Action Hero:
    • Early on, when Jack still doesn't believe he's in a movie.
      Jack Slater: I'll be back! Ha! You didn't know I was gonna say that, did you?
      Danny Madigan: That's what you always say!
      Jack Slater: I do?
    • And later in the same film:
      Jack Slater: You've seen these movies where they say "make my day," or "I'm your worst nightmare"? Well, listen to this one: Rubber baby buggy bumpers!
  • In Casper, Dan Aykroyd cameos as Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters to rid the manor of Casper's uncles, but gets overwhelmed, remarking "Who you gonna call?... someone else!" while running off.
  • The Disney-made Star Wars movies like to play with the series' usual Share Phrase "I've got a bad feeling about this." Rogue One has K-2SO cut off before he could finish, The Last Jedi gives the line to BB-8, and in Solo Han states that he has a good feeling.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), after taking a major hit in an Absurdly High Stakes Poker game, James makes for the bar to grab a martini. When asked if he wants it shaken or stirred, he snaps, "Do I look like I give a damn?"
  • Terminator: Dark Fate:
    • Played for drama when Carl (Schwarzenegger's character) muses on leaving his family and home behind in order to help Sarah, Grace, and Dani take down the Rev-9.
      Carl: I won't be back.
    • Grace subverts another catchphrase earlier in the film.
      Grace: Come with me, or you're gonna die in the next thirty seconds!

  • Animorphs: Played for drama a few times, mostly as a case of O.O.C. Is Serious Business.
    • One notable example: when Ax, after getting some orders from Andalite commanders after being stranded alone on Earth for a long time, decides to follow them instead of staying loyal to his new human team. When he realizes that this was a mistake, he reaffirms that Jake is his prince, and the only leader that he should be following. He's expecting Jake to respond with "don't call me Prince," their usual running gag. For the first time, Jake doesn't.
    • When facing the Howlers, Jake orders everyone to morph, realizing that Rachel and Ax are getting ready for combat instead of running. Ax (who ran away from the Howlers during the previous encounter) says he'll stay and fight, Jake then pulls rank on him:
      Jake: Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, you call me your prince and act like you mean it and I am giving you a direct order. Morph! Do it! Now!
    • Played for humor in one case when Ax and Jake are stranded on an alien planet. Jake follows up the usual "don't call me Prince" with "You can call me the Jake formerly known as Prince" (Ax doesn't get it, like most Earth humor). At the end of the book, Ax does in fact call him "the Jake formerly known as Prince", causing Marco (the official comedian of the group) to wince in horror at Ax making jokes, and Jake to look grumpy that no one thinks his jokes are funny.
    • Another instance played for humor: Marco jokingly bets someone money that Rachel is going to say "Let's do it!" so Rachel deliberately says "Let's go for it!", just to spite him.
  • Odd Squad Agent's Handbook:
    • Oprah leaves the reader off with a "Well, what are you waiting for? Go...turn the page." In the show the book is based off of, she would ordinarily say "Well, what are you waiting for? Go!"
    • The section on "Your Partner" has Olympia mention that if an agent didn't have a partner, Oprah would be saying "There you one are" instead of "There you two are".

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team: Hannibal is prone to saying, "I love it when a plan comes together." In the episode "Skins", B.A. (who has crippling aviophobia) insists initially on going on the plane without sedative, not wanting the client, who he's falling for, to think he's afraid. However, mid-flight, he freaks out and the team has to sedate him anyway, whereupon Hannibal gives this variation on his catchphrase:
    Hannibal: I love it when B.A. comes together... to sleep.
  • There's a serious example as the very final line of dialogue on The Bridge (2011), when Saga, having resigned from the police force, answers her mobile phone with only her name and no "Länskrim Malmö".
  • In the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson automatically, and indeed compulsively replies to anyone asking him about his supposed vacation in Tahiti with "It's a magical place". Shortly after he's discovered he's been given Fake Memories, and what T.A.H.I.T.I. actually is, he meets Sitwell, who says "I never asked you, how was Tahiti?" and bluntly replies "It sucked."
  • Late in the run of Classic Concentration, contestants started saying "I'd like to solve the puzzle" once the board was at a position where the rebus was solvable.
  • In Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa, Himura usually says "This crime is not beautiful" when he's solved the case. However, in "ABC Killer", where he's taken a personal investment in the case, he's even more scathing when he figures out the criminal.
    Himura: This crime... is ugly.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019)
    • On Earth-167, Clark Kent has given up his superpowers and married Lois Lane. At the end of their scene they walk off hand-in-hand to deal with a mess their kids have made.
      Clark: This sounds like a job
    • In truly epic fashion, Oliver Queen utters his catchphrase "You have failed this city!" for the last time as he finishes off the Anti-Monitor, putting an appropriate spin on it in the process.
      Oliver: You have failed this Universe!
  • Doctor Who:
    • Upon entering the TARDIS for the first time, most characters feel the need to point out that it's "Bigger on the Inside". A few don't: Clara calls it "smaller on the outside", Wilf "thought it would be cleaner", Rory figures out that "it's a different dimension", The Brigadier insists it's an illusion and scolds the Doctor for wasting UNIT funds and equipment, etc.
      The Doctor: Well, Sergeant? Aren't you going to say "it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside"? Everybody else does.
      Benton: Well, it's... pretty obvious, isn't it?
    • "Tooth and Claw" features an appearance by Queen Victoria, and Rose spends a large portion of the story trying to get her to say "we are not amused". The inclusion on this list should be some indication of her success at this.
    • On multiple occasions when several characters, usually various incarnations of the Doctor, see a new location or a new version of an old location, like a new console room, they'll say "You've redecorated! I don't like it." This has been subverted twice:
      • In "School Reunion", before the Running Gag really caught on, when Sarah Jane gets to see inside the TARDIS for the first time in decades, she says:
        Sarah Jane: You've redecorated!
        The Doctor: D'you like it?
        Sarah Jane: I... I do.
      • In "The Ghost Monument", the Thirteenth Doctor finally finds the TARDIS again after having been separated from it for a while, and says of the new console room, "You've redecorated! I really like it!" And, on a related note, when new companions Graham, Ryan and Yaz see the inside of the TARDIS for the first time, none of them say "It's bigger on the inside."
    • "Utopia": When Chantho shares her tragic backstory, Captain Jack ends up having to remind the Tenth Doctor to say sorry afterwards.
    • "Forest of the Dead" has one only noticeable in hindsight. River Song is a time traveller who meets the Doctor out of order, and this story (along with first part "Silence in the Library") is his first time meeting her, but her final chronological appearance.Pedantry  In her later appearances, River and the Doctor usually have an exchange where she says "I hate you!" and he responds, in an affectionate tone, "No you don't." Here, River says "I hate you!" and the Doctor responds, dismissively, "I know!"
    • Used for heartbreaking effect in "Hell Bent" when the Doctor sees Clara's message for him on the TARDIS blackboard. It starts with "Run you clever boy..." but ends with "and be a Doctor" instead of "and remember". This is especially sad because the Doctor has lost his memory of Clara and will never be able to remember her.
    • In the classic series, Daleks could be neutralized by messing with their vision, leading to frequent shouts of "My vision is impaired! I cannot see!" In the new series' "The Stolen Earth", Wilf tries to shoot one in the eye with a paintball gun - and the paint immediately boils away.
      Dalek: My vision is not impaired!
  • The Golden Girls:
    • Some episodes will toy with Sophia's "Picture it; Sicily, 1922" by having her list other places and/or dates. In one instance, she started a story that took place in 1852, leading to this exchange:
      Dorothy: Ma, I am not in the mood, and besides, you weren't alive in 1852.
      Sophia: What, we can't learn from history?
    • One episode lampshades this:
      Sophia: Picture it; Sardinia, 1932.
      Blanche: I thought these stories of yours always took place in Sicily.
      Sophia: What, a person can't go away for the weekend?
  • How I Met Your Mother: Barney occasionally does this with his "legen—wait for it—dary" catchphrase.
    • When Barney finally gets to meet with his long-lost father, he tells the gang a fake story about how awesome his dad is, ending with a variation on "legendary".
      Barney: You are legen—wait for it—daddy. Legendaddy!
    • In another episode, Robin mentions that she and Barney watched a movie last night.
      Barney: It was Legend— wait for it —s of the Falls.
  • Occasionally done for laughs on Jeopardy! when someone hits a Daily Double. Instead of saying the typical "I'd like to make this a true Daily Double", one contestant said, "I'd like to solve the puzzle." The requirements for answers being a question have also been abused for jokes, such as "What be ebonics?"
    • Contestants on other shows have to be reminded that they're not on Jeopardy! (Gambit, Win Ben Stein's Money) after answering a question in the form of a question. Ben Stein makes a causer of this infraction wear a dunce cap.
  • Kamen Rider Wizard usually proclaims "The finale!" before he unleashes his Finishing Move against the Monster of the Week. However, when faced with Phoenix, a villain with Resurrective Immortality, the only solution is to Rider Kick him into the sun where he'll endlessly die and reincarnate, never able to escape. As he does this, Wizard darkly declares "For you, there is no finale."
  • The first season finale of Letterkenny does this to the town greeting of "How's it goin'?" "Good'n'you?" "Not's'bad".
    Wayne: How's it goin'?
    Tanis: Good'n'you?
    Wayne: *Beat* Deadly.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Murdoch Knows Best", Murdoch and Brakenreid are investigating a murder at what turns out to be the home of Special Agent Terrance Myers. Myers — or, rather, "Lyle Anderson" — insists that his spy career is kept so seperate from his civilian life that it couldn't possibly be connected, telling them "This is assuredly not a matter of national security." ( He's wrong.)
  • On the "North of 40" segment of The Red Green Show, Red dispenses advice to his fellow middle-aged men, and closes off with the line "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together." In one episode, Harold subbed in for Red on this segment, and ended it with "Remember, you're on your own. Don't push it."
  • Mr. Belding, the resident Reasonable Authority Figure in the original Saved by the Bell series, has a self-enforced version of this in the Saved by the Bell: The New Class series, which starts with him saying ""Hey, hey, hey —"note  before immediately ending with his high-pitched "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!", which is his Signature Laugh from the original series.
  • During the "Precious Roy Home Shopping Network" segments on The Sifl and Olly Show, the main characters' pitch for the product usually has the following exchange:
    Sifl: Oh, dude, you know the problems I've been having with X.
    Olly: Yeah, you've got some serious-ass X problems.
    • One time, during a segment advertising "Chicken Flavored Air Conditioning", this happened instead:
      Sifl: Oh, dude, you know the problems I've had being stuck in the back seat of a police cruiser.
      Olly: Yeah! (Beat)
    • And another time, when Olly is suffering a nervous breakdown during an advertisement for a "Disaster Suit":
      Sifl: Hey, Olly...Olly! You know the problem's I've been having with natural disasters!
      Olly: (still crying)'re doomed!
  • From Star Trek, Spock tends to find things "Fascinating."
    • "The Squire of Gothos", McCoy and Spock have this exchange regarding Trelane's seemingly magical abilities:
      McCoy: Does your logic find this fascinating, Mr. Spock?
      Spock: No, "fascinating" is a word I use for the unexpected. In this case, I should think "interesting" would suffice.
    • A similar thing happens in "The Ultimate Computer":
      McCoy: Please, Spock, do me a favor, and don't say it's "fascinating".
      Spock: No. But it is... interesting.
  • Star Trek: Picard
    • In the first episode, Jean Luc Picard goes to the replicator and orders "Tea. Earl Grey ... decaf."
    • The established catchphrase of an Emergency Medical Hologram on activation involves asking the patient of the "nature of the medical emergency". In the episode "Nepenthe", Jurati tries to commit suicide via lethal injection, causing the EMH to activate when her lifesigns drop.
      EMH: What is the nature of your... oh, bloody hell!
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, E20), the Sam in the Wishverse does not respond with "jerk" when Dean calls him "bitch". Instead, Sam seems hurt and then confused when Dean tells him what he was supposed to say.
  • Fez of That '70s Show is prone to saying "Good day", to which another character protests, "But, Fez..." and he replies, "I said, 'Good day'" and storms off. On a few occasions, however, he subverts the expectation by either not responding to the "but" line in the same manner, or else replacing "good day" with another phrase, often something to do with candy or women.

  • Eminem likes mixing up Slim Shady's famous "Hi! My name is..." catchphrase from "My Name Is".
    • In "Any Man (Fucking Crazy)":
      Hi! ...Something's not right, I'm sorry. I'm mentally retarded. Slim Shady... I think that's my name.
    • In "Business":
      Introducing the star of our show, his name is... Marshall!
    • In "Rain Man":
      Hi, my name is... I forgot my name!
    • The music video for "When I'm Gone", intended to retire the Slim Shady character, opens with a dark-haired Eminem at an addiction support group saying, "Hi, my name is Marshall Mathers".
    • In "Hello", Shady signals his turn for the Darker and Edgier by greeting us with uncharacteristically formal language.
      Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shady. It's so nice to meet you.
    • In "Hell Breaks Loose":
      (chkka-chkka-chkka) What's my name?
    • "Rhyme or Reason" has a clever variation where Slim raps back and forth with a sample from The Zombies's "Time Of The Season":
      "What's your name?" "Shady." "Who's your Daddy?"...
    • In "Evil Twin", Eminem summons Slim, who greets the other personality in the only way the legendary homophobe of rap could ever do:
      Eminem: Evil twin, please come in; what was your name again?
      Slim: Hi! Faggot.
    • In "Marsh":
      I'd like to introduce myself: Hi! there, bitch, my name is Marsh an' I'm out this world
    • In the unreleased song "Angry Blonde":
      Hi! My name is, I'm famous, now come git some of this platinum dick.

    Video Games 
  • Normally, Strong Bad's bad movie character Dangeresque says that things are not dangerous, they're Dangeresque! In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Dangeresque sees some objects on the floor that people could possibly trip over. He's asked if it seems...dangerous? His response? "I would say they are dangerous. Yes."
  • Telltale Games typically emphasize player choice and underscore decisions that might come back to haunt the player with "[Character(s)] will remember that" notifications.
    • Midway through The Wolf Among Us, one encounter with the drunk, furious and high as a kite Grendel ends with Gren passing out, marked with the notice:
      Gren won't remember this.
    • Tales from the Borderlands sees Telltale playing a lot with their signature notices, e.x. marking the action of slapping an NPC with "Shade's face will remember that" and one of giving an order to Rhys's Loader Bot with "Loader Bot will store that in memory".
    • Minecraft: Story Mode parodies it as well — after you create a Secret Handshake for your team, you get a notification that "No one will remember that."
    • After an especially emotional scene in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, the message is "Rocket will never forget that."
    • Batman: The Telltale Series has a particularly funny example late in the second season.
      Joker totally forgot to remember that.
      • Like the Guardians of the Galaxy example, the series has a few moments where the player can reaffirm Bruce Wayne's friendship and/or loyalty to someone, which will prompt a "(Person) will never forget that" message.
  • Played for drama in Metal Gear Solid 4. "The world needs only one Big Boss!" has been a catchphrase of his clone sons Solidus and Liquid Snake in their infighting for the past 4 games. As he lays dying in the final clone, Solid Snake's arms, Big Boss himself says:
    The world needs only one... No, the world would be best without Snakes.
  • 007 Legends had a moment where Pussy Galore tells James that she didn't catch his name, to which he replies with a short 'James Bond'. The fandom was not amused.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Gatekeeper, a nameless soldier who guards the front gate of the Garreg Mach monastery, almost always begins conversations with "Greetings, Professor! Nothing to report!", with two exceptions. In Chapter 6, when Flayn is missing and Byleth is questioning everyone in the monastery for leads, he says, ""Greetings, Professor! Today...there is quite a bit to report!" In Chapter 12, if the player did not choose to join Edelgard in the Holy Tomb, he says, "Greetings, Professor! Something to report!", with the "something" being the Imperial Army invading the monastery.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic does this a lot.
    • Every once in a while, instead of his normal catch phrase ("I remember it so you don't have to."), he'll say something else instead, generally indicating the covered work is really bad instead of just plain old bad. One example comes at the end of his review of A Kid in King Arthur's Court, where he hits himself with a book in an attempt to forget the awful movie. As a result, he finishes by saying "I remember it so you don't Blue's Clues." Perhaps his most extreme example is The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, where he just holds his face in his hands.
    • Another example occurs in his top eleven lists ("Why top eleven? Because I like to go one step beyond.") In Top 11 Disney villains: "Why top eleven? If you don't know by now, kiss it." And in Top 11 Coolest Clichés: "Why top eleven? Because I have my own cliché that'll never die."
    • His "Top 11 Most Awkard Christopher Walken moments" contains one, too, where his catchphrase is finished by a clip of Walken in a gypsy hat muttering "beyond", which leaves the Critic momentarily stunned.
      Nostalgia Critic: You know why.
    • NC has gotten a lot of use out of a clip of M. Bison turning around and shouting "OF COURSE!" whenever mention is made of taking over the world. When he dons Bison's trademark outfit in Kickassia, Chris Larios asks if he's planning to take over the world, and he turns and shouts, "NATURALLY!" However, after a few more tries, Larios does get him to deliver the line he wanted. But only by asking him if the outfit gets him laid.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
  • In Two Best Friends Play: Captain America: The First Avenger, Matt spends the entire video avoiding his "AMERICA!" catchphrase despite Pat's goading, to the point where he even avoids saying Cap's name. Until the very end, that is.
  • Welcome to Night Vale has a subverted Phrase Catcher example. To wit, local farmer John Peters is referred to as "John Peters — you know, the farmer?" almost every time his name is said- except once:
    Cecil: John Peters — you know, the impostor?
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd turns his "What were they thinking?!" catchphrase on himself in "AVGN Games" when he sees the over-the-top death trap he made up during his Super Pitfall review made into a real trap in Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures.
    Nerd: I can't even blame anyone but myself! I came up with this! What was I thinking?!
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings:
    • The series' most famous catchphrase is the Screenwriter, when asked about a seemingly big problem, saying "Actually, super easy, barely an inconvenience." In one pitch meeting, however, the Screenwriter says "super difficult, very much an inconvenience." In another he says "Actually, yeah a little..."
    • Usually, every episode starts with the exchange "So, you have a/an X for me?" "Yes, sir, I do!" The Transformers Pitch Meeting subverts this, instead starting with the following:
      Producer: So, you have a movie for me?
      Screenwriter: Oh... actually no, sir, I don't.
      Producer: Oh, you don't?
      Screenwriter: No, I was told you were looking for "feature-length commercials with kind of a storyline".
  • Sanders Sides: When Deceit disguises himself as Logan in "Selfishness v. Selflessness", the former ends up flubbing the latter's "FALSEHOOD!" catch phrase as "LIES!"
  • Concerning the usual YouTube spiel of "be sure to subscribe, like and comment" and "if you have any recommendations, send us", one video where the reviewers for the second time did a marathon of bad shark movies for Shark Week had this:
    Comment, if you've seen any of these shark movies, why have you done this? And if you have any recommendation of shark movies for us, please don't do it!

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • On an episode of Regular Show, Muscle Man subverts his "MY MOM!" catch phrase:
    Benson: Muscle Man, have you seen Pops at all today?
    Muscle Man: Yeah, and you know who else has seen Pops today?
    Benson: (dryly) Who, your mom?
    Muscle Man: I wasn't gonna say that! Why does everyone always think I'm gonna say "my mom"?
    • And a Double Subversion, when asking if they know who taught High Five Ghost his mechanic skills:
      Muscle Man: You know who taught him? My Uncle John. He's a mechanic [...] You know who taught him? MY MOM!
  • At least once on Adventure Time, Finn and Jake have subverted their "What time is it?" "Adventure time!" exchange.
  • Pinky and the Brain:
    • In the episode "That Smarts", the Brain's attempt to make Pinky smarter eventually leaves them both stupid. They attempt their usual Every Episode Ending:
      Pinky: Whaddya wanna do tonight, Brain?
      Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky.
      Pinky: What's that?
      Brain: ...I have no idea.
      Pinky: Poit.
      Brain: Narf.
    • There are also two or three occasions when Pinky actually is pondering what Brain is pondering, instead of giving his usual response of "I think so, Brain, but..."
  • In episode 10 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Scooby is locked up in an animal asylum, framed for attacks made by a robotic lookalike. Shaggy is despondent, so Velma attempts to cheer him up by wolfing down a sandwich and saying "Relma Delma Doo!"
  • In the cold open for the movie Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, when a horror novelist (and Expy for Stephen King) helps the Scooby Gang take down a crook in a ghost mask, the crook grumbles, "And I've have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling...writer!"
    Shaggy: Like, that's a twist.
    Fred: Yeah, but at least he didn't call us "kids". I hate that.
  • Phineas and Ferb loves to play around with its Once an Episode running gags, and character's catch phrases are no exception.
    • In "Oil on Candace", after Dr. Doofenshmirtz gets a dressing-down from his old "mad science" teacher, Perry assures him he's still a Worthy Opponent, and Doof says "Thank you, Perry the Platypus!" instead of "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"
    • In "Toy To The World," when the executive asks if Phineas and Ferb are a bit young to be making toys, Phineas seems surprised at the question and replies in the negative.
    • Also in "Flop Starz", when asked if he and Ferb are a little young to be pop stars, Phineas replies, "No."
  • Futurama:
    • Farnsworth sometimes does this with his "Good news, everyone", instead saying something like "Bad news, nobody" or "Good news, no one."
    • In "Law and Oracle", after Fry leaves Planet Express to join the police, Farnsworth stops saying "Good news, everyone." When asked by Amy, he admits that he only said it to make Fry feel better about his nowhere job as a delivery boy.
    • In "War Is the H-Word," Zapp Brannigan accesses Bender's software for a list of his most frequently-spoken words. It initially looks like the top 5 will be his catchphrase "bite my shiny metal ass", but there's an unexpected replacement in the list.
      5. Bite
      4. My
      3. Shiny
      2. Daffodil
      1. Ass
    • In "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", when Bender realizes the Robot Devil played him, Bender prepares to tell him "Bite my shiny metal ass!" But since he traded away his "crotch-plate" for an air-horn, Bender realizes mid-sentence that he doesn't have an ass anymore and it comes out as "Bite my shiny metal... oh, NO!"
  • Quest from World of Quest subverts his "X. I hate X."
    Quest: If you hadn't saved him, we wouldn't have needed his help.
    Nestor: I... I...
    Quest: A runt without words. I like a runt without words.
  • In the 2 Stupid Dogs cartoon "Love", Mr. Hollywood only delivers the first half of is catchphrase "Isn't that cute? But it's wrong!" He then makes an Aside Comment pointing this out.
    Hollywood: Hah! Bet you thought I was gonna say it was wrong, didn't ya?
  • At the end of one episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, Nick Diamond, who seems unhurt despite a tumble from the announcers' booth (a Call-Back to a previous episode) asks Johnny Gomez if he can say the closing line this time. (Which is, "Good Fight, Good Night.") Johnny approves, but Nick is clearly a little dizzy from the fall and instead says, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"
  • Kim Possible:
    • In "Team Impossible", when Kim showed up just in time to see an already-defeated Drakken getting hauled away in handcuffs by Team Impossible.
      Drakken: KIM POSSIBLE! YOU THINK YOU'RE ALL THAT... but they are!
    • In the Grand Finale when he thinks she's been killed, he briefly mourns her, declaring her a Worthy Opponent and admitting "you were indeed 'all that'."
  • The Venture Brothers immediately set up "Go Team Venture" as the catch phrase of Hank and Dean Venture; it is always said while they press their fingers together in V shapes. The show also immediately set up the gag that the brothers are almost the only ones around that don't find it super-annoying. The exceptions are:
    • In "Return to Spider-Skull Island", the boys renounce their family and run away from home. On the road, they feel the need to express their solidarity to one another, so they begin with "Go Team", but after a beat they conclude lamely with "guys" and "brothers".
    • In "Momma's Boys", when Hank hatches a plan with Dermott and Gary, not Dean, those friends consummate the plan by pressing their fingers together. Hank thinks better of it.
      Hank: I— I can't do it. It's too watered down.
  • In Transformers: Beast Wars, Rattrap frequently complains that "We're all gonna die." and someone else always responds "Shut up, Rattrap." The response gets subverted twice; once when Rattrap sarcastically says the line himself before the others could, and once during the Darkest Hour in the finale:
    Rattrap: We're all gonna die.
    Rhinox: ...Yep.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Team Homer", Springfield Elementary institutes school uniforms, which begin sapping the students' creativity and drive. At one point Nelson attempts to deliver his signature laugh, but trails off halfway through because he can't remember it anymore.
      Nelson: Haw...ho?
    • In "Burns Baby Burns", we meet Burns' illegitimate son Larry, voiced by Rodney Dangerfield. Unlike most of Dangerfield's characters, he never says his signature catchphrase "I don't get no respect".
      Larry: I tell ya, I get no regard. No regard at all. No esteem, neither.
  • Animaniacs sometimes uses "Hello, nurse!" as a Mad Libs Catchphrase where "nurse" is replaced by something else. In "Piano Rag" Yakko is running away from her and says, "Goodbye, nurse!" with the same inflection before slamming the door in her face. The remake mostly retires the gag, but brings it up in a subverted fashion.
    Dot: {to each of her brothers, in a calm deadpan} Hello, nurse. Hello, nurse.
    Yakko and Wakko: Hellooooooo, doctor!
  • The Mask: The titular hero utters the catchphrase "SSSSMOKIN'!" but changes it to something else depending on the circumstances:
    • He gets himself out of a washing machine and is soaking wet? SSSSOAKIN'!
    • He faces the villain while having a deathly cold? SSSSNEEZIN'!
  • Harley Quinn (2019):
    • Darkseid frequently utters his famous catchphrase of "Darkseid IS!", and then continue it with something completely mundane.
      Darkseid: Darkseid IS... late for a meeting.
    • Played for Drama in "The Runaway Bridesmaid". After having his wedding raided by the GCPD, realizing that Ivy loves Harley, not him, and yet she still asks him if they can continue the wedding, Kite Man gives his "Hell yeah!" catchphrase an understandable spin:
      Kite Man:
  • When the Wonder Pets! hear that an animal is in trouble, Ming Ming the Duckling declares "This is serious!" On a couple of occasions, particularly trivial "emergencies" have had her declaring it isn't.


Sardinia, 1932

Blanche lampshades the new location of Sophia's Sicily stories.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / SubvertedCatchphrase

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