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What Have You Done for Me Lately?

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"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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  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 they respond with the trope.
  • The entire Marvel Universe has had this since Civil War (2006) 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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?

    Fan Works 

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Without using the phrase verbatim, hockey enforcer Ross Rhea warns his up-and-coming rival Doug Glatt that his fans will inevitably do this in Goon (2011):
    Rhea: Let me tell ya somethin', kid. Everybody loves their soldiers until they come home and stop fighting.
  • 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!
  • 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?
  • Said word-for-word at the end of Super Troopers 2 where, after Archambault has given an impassioned speech about how he was wrong about the Americans and you think they've become Fire-Forged Friends, they learn the takeover isn't happening and immediately begin fighting once more:
    Rabbit: Hey! We just saved your lives do you remember that?!
    Bellefuille: Yeah but we have an expression here. "What have you done for me lately?"
  • 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!"

  • There are many variations of Why God Will Never Get Tenure, but most if not all of them include "he created the world, but what has he done since then?"

  • A recurring phrase in The Silence of the Lambs is "gratitude has a short half-life." Ardelia Mapp first says it to Clarice Starling as a warning that she risks falling behind on her Academy training while helping Jack Crawford on the Buffalo Bill case, and a reminder to use that gratitude while she can to avoid being held back. Crawford himself repeats the advice after the case has been solved and the would-be victim - the daughter of a US Senator - has been rescued. He points out that the Senator could be a useful ally to Clarice if she's willing to take advantage of her goodwill.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The BBC has a series of serious documentaries called "What The [Inhabitants Of Time Period] Did For Us."


  • 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?'"

    Video Games 
  • In Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile, you play as the city's ruling dynasty and have a Prestige score that naturally degrades over time, requiring a steady stream of monuments and exploits to prevent your educated elite from packing up and leaving.

    Web Comics 
  • Happened in 8-Bit Theater at least once directly (a particular one is Black Mage asking this of Red Mage, whose Cloudcuckoolander traits tend to have several rather unpleasant consequences for the party for every act of competence he has).
  • Happens to Gwen and Bun-Bun in Sluggy Freelance.
    Gwen: Why won't you help me?! What did I ever do to you?!
    Bun-Bun: The question you should ask is, what did you ever do for me?

    Web Video 
  • 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!
  • Homestar Runner's Strong Bad (in puppet form) hosted a behind-the-scenes video on the production of the series' DVD, and at one point he runs into Mike Chapman taking a coffee break; he demands Mike get back to work. After receiving a litany of answers on what Mike's been doing (including inventing Strong Bad in the first place), he asks what Mike's done lately; Mike suggests the cup of coffee in his hand, but Strong Bad can't take it on account of being a puppet and storms off.
  • In the Nostalgia Critic's Monster Squad review, he forms his own squad based on 80's movies with no girls allowed. Tamara is obviously excluded and spends the episode trying to get in. Since she's locked outside the room, she's the only one able to fight back when a 'reality monster' attacks. At the end of the episode, she makes a final plea for acceptance, stating that she destroyed the monster. The boys want to know what she's done for them lately, and when she points out that it just happened, they insist she provide an example she can prove.
  • What Have the Unions Ever Done for Us?

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
    • In an episode featuring the family pets to a large degree (beginning with Snowball II 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.
    • In a Treehouse of Horror episode when Krusty ruins a daycare mural that Maggie likes (because they hadn't paid to use his image). This makes Homer and Maggie very upset, which leads to this exchange between Krusty and his agent right before Homer accidentally 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?