Girl: Sorry, I'm on a no-fathead diet.
A pick-up line is a flirtatious one-line conversation starter, typically used to indicate romantic interest. Well-written pick-up lines are flirty, but not creepy. Delivered well, they can be a humorous way to introduce yourself while making your interests clear.
Poorly written pick-up lines are none of the above. They may be overly sexual or crude. They may lack nuance or humor. Or it may be an otherwise decent line, but delivered in an off-putting way.
Some people have a knack for saying the right thing to make a good impression on someone who attracts their interest. Some people... don't. The really inept ones spout worn-out cliches, crude come-ons, and regrettable remarks that are more likely to result in a disdainful eye-roll, a quick retreat (possibly with a blatantly lame excuse), or even a Megaton Punch than a romantic encounter. This is almost always Played for Laughs, so it's a Comedy Trope. Expect any pickup line involving an Incredibly Lame Pun to generate a corresponding Lame Pun Reaction.
See also Compliment Backfire, if an otherwise decent pick-up line is delivered poorly.
No Real Life Examples, Please! This is not for criticizing people's pick-up lines.
Examples have been sorted in alphabetical order.
- This commercial for supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly has lame pickup lines actually working.
- Funky Winkerbean: One strip had Crazy Harry Lamenting his lack of success with women and Lisa offering to let him practice his lines with her. His first one, "So, got a name?" causes her to get up and walk off without another word.
- Jon Arbuckle from Garfield is characterized heavily by his terrible come-ons.
- The "Lame Pickup Line Spike" series of Image Macros takes an image of Spike and Rarity from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Boast Busters" and captions it with Spike uttering pickup lines that are lame.
- In Reality Is Fluid Gaarra uses a simple "Is this seat taken?" on Eleya, in a bit of a parody of their their original Introduction by Hookup.
Eleya: Really? You use that line on me, again?
Gaarra: It worked the first time, didn't it?
- In My Huntsman Academia, most of Izuku's attempts to flirt with Yang are hilariously cringeworthy at best, which he even acknowledges himself. His nervous and unconfident delivery doesn't help matters.
Yang: Don't be so stressed Iz-u-ku~ [leans forward so her breasts are directly within his line of sight] After all, you've taken me out to some place fancy... you're allowed to look~
Izuku: W-Well I wouldn't want to look too long... I mean, y-you're so... r-r-radiant I might just go blind.
- In Crazy Stupid Love, womanizer Jacob offers to teach nerdy Cal how to pick up women. Cue the terrible pickup lines Cal provides during his training phase.
- In the Hallmark film A Lesson In Romance, one of the supporting characters tries to pick up a girl in the library.
"If beauty were measured in trash, you'd be a landfill."
- In Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It there's a montage of bad pickup lines including the classic "Baby, you're so fine, I'd drink a tub of your bath water."
- Mario Bianchi in Skippy Dies frequently spouts these as part of his advice on how to get girls. Fortunately, all other characters promptly ignore him.
Excuse me, you are stepping on my dick. Do you get it? Because my dick is so long, it comes out of my trousers, and onto the floor.
- Used in a blackout sketch on The Benny Hill Show.
Benny: If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
Benny: [confused look]
- In The Big Bang Theory, Howard Wolowitz is full of these. Penny eventually loses it and calls him, mainly on his assessment of her as "doable".
- On Cheers, Sam Malone relentlessly hits on women with terrible pickup lines. While Rebecca was disgusted by Sam using them on her, Diane was more amused by the dumb women who fell for Sam's pick-up lines... often to immediately be swooned by Sam, who was only using them to prove she was no better.
- On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will uses a bad pickup link on a girl and gets a smart-ass remark in response, as seen in the page quote.
- House of Anubis: Alfie was slapped by a girl at the Halloween party after giving her a pickup line off-screen. When asked about it, it turned out to be the Incredibly Lame Pun of "Want a bite?" while showing off his fake vampire teeth.
- In the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook", most phrases get mistranslated as these.
Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?
If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
Drop your panties, Sir William, I cannot wait until lunchtime!
- Arnold Rimmer of Red Dwarf has a book of these, and breaks them out whenever there's a possibility of female company. "Parallel Universe" opens with him explaining to Lister a complicated line, which his female alternate universe counterpart tries on him when they meet.
- WKRP in Cincinnati: Johnny, Randy and Les follow Jennifer to a restaurant as she breaks up with a temporary boyfriend. They come over to cheer her up: Johnny and Randy give lame pickup lines. Jennifer asks Les for his; he smoothly sits down, picks up a drink, and says "Hello. I'm very wealthy."
- Frank Zappa recorded Dancin Fool during the disco craze. Desperate for a date, the Dancin' Fool haunts the discotheques despite being hopelessly inept at dancing. The song concludes with the Fool trying some corny pick-up lines on a barfly.
- Invoked in "Wanna B Ur Lovr" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. The song consists of nothing but cheesy pick-up lines, like "Girl, you smell like Fritos- that's why I'm giving you this hungry stare".
- In a MAD, Dave Berg Lighter Side, a father and son are out fishing when a girl shows up on a nearby dock. The boy says he'd really like to get to know the girl, but doesn't know what to say to her. His dad replies that he just go up to her and say "Didn't you and I go to school together? So he walks over to her and...
Boy: Didn't you and my father go to school together?
- There have been two rounds in I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue based on this. One was "themed pick-up lines" for a given profession or hobby (so for example, for birdwatchers "If I told you I knew Bill Oddie, would you hold it against me?") The other was suggesting replies to terrible pick-up lines:
Jack: Are you tired, because you've been running through my mind all night?
Barry: It was full of wide-open spaces.
- Cyrano de Bergerac is full of pick-up lines of varying quality. Cyrano being quite clever in his word play, is helping someone with terrible pick-up lines woo a woman Cyrano fancies, but does not believe returns his affection.
- Deponia has Rufus try a classic.. too bad that she really did fall from the sky:
Rufus: Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?
- Happens offscreen in Fire Emblem Awakening, during supports between Maribelle and Olivia. Seeing Olivia's crippling shyness, Maribelle takes it on herself to cure her by pushing her to start a conversation with some gentlemen. Trouble is, as Maribelle later finds out, the lines she taught Olivia to that end were, in fact, mens' pickup lines. Whoops!
Olivia: So all those lines you made me say were...
Maribelle: Completely inappropriate for women of our station, yes.... Especially the wolf whistles.... And the bit about his legs "going all the way up."
- In Liberal Crime Squad, the game actually includes a warning about bad pick-up lines in the disclaimer. Sure enough, they are indeed awful. They are effective in-game however.
WARNING: The scope of this game is narrower than that of real life. We have attempted to include foul language, graphic violence, politics, religion, sexual references, adult situations, narcotics, prostitution, bodily functions and bad pickup lines...
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush can use the "pick up" action (usually for picking up objects) with Kate Capsize. She's not impressed.
Guybrush: You know, they call me the Bone Master.
Kate: I'm surprised anyone calls you at all.
- Lampshaded and Justified in the original No One Lives Forever: In Berlin, all of Cate's (male) liaisons have cheesy pickup lines as their Spy Speak signs, while Cate's exasperated rebuffs are the countersigns. After exchanging them, both parties frown and ask themselves "Who Writes This Crap?!".
- in Star Trek Online the card for the duty officer provides the response, but not the line itself:
Noratti: Awww, is that your best line?
- In the Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3, Garrus, with Shepard's prompting, hits on a female diplomat in a nightclub. If Shepard pushes Garrus towards paragon suggestions, Garrus will give a creepy analysis of her personality and call her an alcoholic. If Shepard pushes Garrus toward renegade suggestions, the diplomat seems honestly worried that Garrus plans to kill her and bury her in his basement.
- Shingen from Ikemen Sengoku seems to make it his mission to use the cheesiest pickup lines imaginable on the female main character. Much to the MC's dismay/exasperation, he's good-looking and charming enough that his pickup lines still work on her even though she knows how ridiculous they are.
Shingen: You see, something fell when you walked by. It was me. I fell in love with you.(AND the really hot guy just said the cheesiest pickup line I've ever heard.)Shingen: You've stolen my heart. But don't worry, I won't charge you with theft. It clearly wanted to be with you. Do with it as you like.(What IS this? Am I seriously getting hit on 500 years in the past?! The more pertinent question is, why are these eye-roll worthy lines working on me?)
- Parodied in the Asdfmovie7. A man says to a woman, "Hey, baby, are you an angel? 'Cuz I'm allergic to feathers." [vomits on her]
- Jaune Arc of RWBY is often commented at whenever he uses terrible pick-up lines, usually on Weiss.
- In Strong Bad Email "animal", a Powered-by-the-Cheat version of Homestar mashes up two common pick-up lines for humor on the dance floor of a deep-sea Fangly Fish:
Hey baby, do you have a phone at your house?
- In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage tries to start a relationship with White Mage by using pick-up lines such as "Do you come from Venus? Cuz your ass is OUTTA THIS WORLD!", resulting in White Mage hitting him with a giant hammer again and again.
- The hero of Loading Artist in this strip is using Innocent Innuendos for picking up girls which apparently doesn't get him anywhere. In another strip he resorts to If I Can't Have You... after delivering another pathetic pick-up line.
- A recurring theme in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. A couple of examples:
"Hey, baby, are you death?""What?""Because I hope you come for me soon."
- A man goes around using a stupid pun as a pickup line, because it once worked. It turns out the one woman it worked on intentionally acted like she was extremely aroused, just to see what he'd do in response. Ironically, long after ruining his life, she realises what the pun meant and thinks it's really funny.
- "Pickup line 2": Jumping straight into Black Comedy:
- Invoked in The Best Worst Pick Up Lines! by Matt Santoro. Matt gives the audience pick-up lines like, "Ah, damn, girl, did you fart?! Because you just blew me away."
- Invoked in 100 Worst Pickup Lines by Mr Repzion. Daniel, Matt, Rob, and Scott all take turns listing these, such as "Are you a sergeant? Because you're making my private parts stand right up!".
- The American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Hong Kong Nights" features a string of these volleyed back and forth between Jake's grandfather and Councilor Chang in a flashback to when they first met in the early 1970s.
Lao-Shi: Somebody call Heaven, because the guards are missing an angel!
Councilor Chang: Is there an airport nearby, or is that just my heart taking off?
Lao-Shi: If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put "U" and "I" together.
Councilor Chang: If you were words on a page, they'd call you "fine print".
- In Family Guy episode "Fore Father", Quagmire teaches Chris pick-up lines but Chris delivers it poorly on a test subject.
Chris: [to a girl on the street] You dropped something. My jaw. Ha ha ha ha.
- Zap Brannigan of Futurama has a book of bad pick-up lines, which he loans to Kif for a date, with instructions to read as many as he can as fast as he can. It goes badly.
- Kim Possible: In the episode "Partners", Dr. Drakken charms DNAmy into working with him, using the old "Were you injured when you fell from heaven, for surely you must be an angel?" line. Thanks to DNAmy's saccharine personality, it actually works.