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X Called; They Want Their Y Back

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Nate's prepping his Trash Talk the old-fashioned way.

Robert "Fish" Fishman: 1991 called, they want their teenage angst back.
Amelia: No, they just called again. They want that joke back.

A common put-down about how someone ran headfirst into Fashion Dissonance (or something related). Often it's something that is no longer fashionable, or that famously works for someone, but almost no one else.

"X" is frequently a time period, but it can be any person, place, or thing. "Y" is typically an unfashionable choice of attire, but also can be just about any object, statement, abstract concept, etc. A similar reformulation is, "Does X know you raided their wardrobe?"

Runs headfirst into Totally Radical nowadays. A common variation is to replace "They want their (word) back" with "They said you can keep the (word)" or "Even they don't want (word) back".

Compare If I Wanted X, I Would Y; Better by a Different Name.

Not to be confused with We Want Our Jerk Back!. See Mexico Called; They Want Texas Back and Russia Called; They Want Alaska Back

In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

  • An Australian ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken used the line, "The pigeons called. They want their lunch back."
  • American restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday released several TV advertisements regarding its image rebranding in 2007. One ad involved a spokesman removing a stained glass lamp from a restaurant saying: "The '70s called, they want their lamp back."
  • This picture posted on the Compare the Meerkat twitter feed.
  • A Nokia ad for their Lumia 1020 has the following from a Samsung User to an iPhone user: "2007 called. It wants its cameraphone back."
  • In a Super Bowl commercial, Radio Shack goes the Domino's Pizza route of Self-Deprecation with "The '80s Called. They Want Their Store Back." In The Stinger, Slimer appears in the newly remodeled store, and is dejected when he finds out he's too late. This one got an added level of Meta pretty quickly: by the next superbowl the company was in such dire straits, partly from spending millions to run this commercial during the Super Bowl, that they had to close thousands of stores in an attempt to prevent total collapse after filing for bankruptcy with the remainder being converted to Sprint stores. The 80's actually took it back with them, and now it's gone.
  • The product page of Apple's second generation iPhone SE, which has the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11 line, says "iPhone 11 Pro called. It wants its chip back."

    Anime & Manga 
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Rohan, seeing that Josuke is protecting himself from the effects of Rohan's Stand, Heaven's Door, by keeping his eyes shut, decides to press Josuke's Berserk Button to get him to open his eyes.
    Rohan: Someone called from 30 years ago, they want their hairstyle back!
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The dub provides this line when Rex and Weevil (literally) run into Grimo, the first bad guy of Season 4:
      Rex: Does the Grim Reaper know you raided his wardrobe?
    • And in Season 5, just before Joey's duel against the pink-haired Zigfried:
      Joey: Hey, buddy, Pinkie the Clown called! He wants his wig back!

    Comic Books 
  • Left 4 Dead Comic: Kenny Rogers' balls called. They want their hair back from your face...
    "So... You have a close enough relationship with Kenny Rogers' balls that they called you, huh?"
  • Spider-Man:
    • In one story, Peter is going undercover at a club for Vampire Vannabes. He dresses in what he thinks is appropriate goth-gear, only for an Edward Cullen lookalike to taunt "The nineties called, they want their vampire back!"
    • "Hitler called, he wants his look back." That was Aunt May from Ultimate Spider-Man. At J. freaking Jonah freaking Jameson.
  • In a story where he has Wolverine hostage, Deadpool taunts Daken like this ("It was 1986. It wants its hair..."). When he says "back", Daken has already chopped off his hand.
  • Vampirella vs. Fluffy the Vampire Killer:
    Fluffy: I'm Fluffy, I kill vampires, and the camel called.
    Vampirella: Camel?
    Fluffy: It wants its toe back!
  • Weapon Hex: Gavrill Kinney/Speed Weasel is a snarky hyperactive child.
    Gavrill (to Hellhound): What's with that sword? It's so big. You think people are gonna drive by and not see it? Hey, the big sword store called - they want their sword back. It's big.
  • Wynonna Earp: Waverly attempts this when shooting a squid-creature in Legends #4. She admits that she is not very good at snappy dialogue.
    Waverly: Hey cephalopod-face! Bic called, their supply chain wants more inventory!... Yeah, I know, but I'm not as good at the quips as you are.

    Comic Strips 
  • The title character of Big Nate engages in this on occasion, as shown with the page image.
    And might I add: Bozo the Clown just called. He wants his tie back.
  • The title character of Frazz once took a long bike ride on a chilly day, ending up with only the lower half of his legs windburned.
    Caulfield: [pointing to Frazz's white-and-red legs] Poland called. They want their flag back.
  • Get Fuzzy:
    • "Hilary Clinton called, she wants her manners back!"
    • Another example: "Chuck E. Cheese called. They want their band back."
    • Yet another example: "Voldemort sent an owl. He wants his bad manners back!"
  • One Foxtrot story arc had Paige's pink glitter pen accidentally put in the washer, causing it to bleed on Peter's sweatshirt.
    Jason: The Ice Capades called. They want their costume back.
  • In one Zits strip, Connie looks at Jeremy's room and says "The landfill called. It wants its reputation back".

    Fan Works 
  • Star Wars Fan Film The Formula.
    Tom "Servo": "It is pointless to resist?" Yeah, the Emperor just called. He wants his friggin' lines back!note 
  • Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show
    • This Abridged Series will probably single-handedly turn this into a Dead Horse Trope.
      Ino: Hey, Sakura, Christina Ricci called. She wants her giant forehead back, and her movie career.
      Sakura: Well, Renée Zellweger called. She wants her UGLY BLONDE BITCH FACE back! ...And her movie career.
    • "Spoof Movie no Jutsu"
      Filler Villain: Hey, David Bowie. The seventies called — they want their timely references back.
      Bowie-sensei: Oh yeah? Well, Advent Children called and they want their crappy villains back!
  • Firefly of "Firefly Says" manages to turn this around and burn the one who used it on her:
    Discord: The eighties called, they want their hair back!
    Firefly: [smug look] You know what they say, you can take the mare out of the eighties but you can't take the eighties out of the mare. Oh, and by the way, SARAH JESSICA PARKER CALLED, SHE WANTS HER FACE BACK!
  • The Harry Potter fanfic 30 Minutes II: The Gathering Storm, chapter 8 has this line in Harry's first potions class at Hogwarts, in reference to Professor Snape:
    Harry: [whispering] Johnny Cash called, he wants his wardrobe back.
  • The pro wrestling story, A Ring of Their Own, had FWF commentator John Bradshaw Layfield saying this during a match that began with Ivory giving Michelle McCool three armdrags in a row:
    John Bradshaw Layfield: 1987 called. They want their wrestling moves back.
  • Ponies One Half, chapter twelve: "Sonic called. He wants his theme song back!" It Makes Sense in Context.
  • ExceedinglyPeculiarChick pulls off an extremely funny one in her Percy Jackson crackfic "Baby Got Back" just after Leo Rickrolls every single person reading the fanfiction.
    Thalia: Leo, nineteen eighty-seven called. It wants its punchline back.
  • Alexander Creed: Similar to the Ultimate Spider-Man example above, Peter eventually tells J. Jonah Jameson, while quitting his job at the Daily Bugle, that "Hitler called and he wants his mustache back."
  • In Fight or Flyte after Loki makes an overly obscure reference to floppy disks while bantering, Tony retorts with "Ha! Nineteen eighty-five called, they want their joke back. And their bad hair."
  • The Doctor Who analysis blog TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography in Blue has a photo caption for K-9 and Company reading "The 1980s called. They said you can keep their bloody title card."
  • Transformers Wiki:
    • The first image caption from the top down on the article for Crumplezone actually reads, "Trap-Jaw called, he wants his head back."
    • Also, the first image caption from the top fown for the article for Bulkhead actually reads, "Crumplezone called, he wants his head back."
  • In the first chapter of Spiders and Magic: Rise of Spider-Mane, Spider-Man is summoned to Equestria to fight a dragon, who happens to talks with a very deep voice.
    Spider-Man: Okay, first off, Darth Vader called, and he wants his voice back.
  • Harry Potter and the Gaining of Faith, when Buffy first sees the souped-up Trans Am Faith got from Quentin Travers.
    Buffy: Burt Reynolds called. He wants his car back.
    Faith: Who do you think sold it to me?
  • The Infinite Loops (Mega Man Loops): Variant in the fourth Battle Network chapter, where two of the Admins indulge in this:
    Apollo: The lovely Mayl and the enchanting Roll are raining on your villainous parade! [does Phoenix Wright's pose] Like a boss!
    Hephaestus: Apollo, Phoenix Wright just called. He's suing you for copyright infringement.
    Apollo: Wait, really?
    Hephaestus: No... No mortal has access to my office number and you know it. But I'll find a way to let him know you were ripping him off.
  • Novocaine:
    George: Harry, there's something you must know.
    Harry: What?
    George: I think Gilderoy Lockhart wants his hair product back.
  • Unity (Finmonster) gives us this quip by Link at Balthazar Bratt during the first fight with the Syndicate.
    Link: Hey, the eighties call, they want their... well, geez, everything back.
  • Cat Tales: Hugo Strange appears on the makeover show FAB!, and one of the show's team uses this line:
    "Ugh, Hugo sweetheart - 1967 called, they want their glasses back. Wonderful invention Dearie, they're called 'contacts'. Say it slowly with me: 'con-tacts.'"
    • For a variant, there's also the line "Somewhere in Minnesota an encyclopedia salesman is missing his sport coat…"
  • In The Potioneer's Assistant Rebrewed Draco is subject to a prank which makes him sparkle like the vampires in The Twilight Saga.
    Random student: Hey Draco, the Ministry Party Commission called, they want their New Year Ball back!
  • A Pinch of Salt, A Dash of Magic has a cobra portrait which insults passersby in Parseltongue.
    Cobra portrait: Oi, Ugly! Somewhere in France, a castle is missing a gargoyle!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Said to Joe Dirt about his mullet, "1976 called. They want their hair back".
  • At the end of Ocean's Eleven: "Ted Nugent called. He wants his shirt back."
  • The Rocker
    Robert "Fish" Fishman: 1991 called, they want their teenage angst back.
    Amelia: No, they just called again. They want that joke back.
  • A variation, from The Breakfast Club:
    Vernon: Any questions?
    Bender: I got a question: does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
  • Esther from Orphan gets this from a classmate about her old-fashioned, frilly dress. "Oh, look. Little Bo Peep texted me. She wants her outfit back."

  • Sal And Gabi: In a scene from book 1, Salvatore "Sal" Vidón lets loose with a huge fart, in part because he needs to and in part to break the mood. After a moment, he and Gabrielle "Gabi" Reál have the following exchange, as Gabi pulls out her phone:
    Gabi: "Oh. I got a text."
    Sal: "Who from?"
    Gabi: "Your underwear. It wants to die with dignity."
    • Their also-present classmate Yasmany promptly does a spit-take, and then he, Sal and Gabi proceed to crack up laughing for the next ten minutes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted (but to make it funnier) in How I Met Your Mother. Marshall wants to wear some really tacky pants they called "Joey Buttafuoco pants". Ted says, "Bel Biv Devoe called, even they don't want those pants back."
  • Breaking Bad, in "One Minute", after Hank beats up Jesse so badly sending him to the hospital, Jesse's lawyer Saul Goodman mocks the bruises on Jesse's face.
    Saul Goodman: Rocky called, he wants his face back!
  • In an episode of Happy Endings: Dave has this line, which only he thinks is any good.
    Dave: Jealous called, they want much back so they can form the following sentence — "Jealous much?"
  • Dancing with the Stars
    Sonia Kruger: [about a wig] Willie Mason called. He says he wants his hair back.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation
    • Episode "It's Raining Men":
      Spinner: OK, I guess it's Straight Eye for the Gay Guy. OK... this... Enrique called. He wants his shirt back.
    • Another good example is the Wild Teen Party episode where Manny asks an increasingly drunken Emma: "Does Mexico know you've taken all of their tequila?"
  • Kyle XY, episode "What's the Frequency, Kyle?":
    Josh Trager: Hilary Duff called and she wants her shirt back.
  • Joan of Arcadia, episode "No Bad Guy":
    Luke: Copernicus called; the universe doesn't revolve around you.
    Joan: What a coincidence, because the dork police called and said they want their leader back.
  • In an episode of Hannah Montana, Miley and Jackson are making fun of each other's messed up hair from an earlier fight they had in the morning which damaged the bathroom. Miley sarcastically encourages Jackson that he is finally tall enough to ride the bumper cars while Jackson uses this trope.
    Jackson: (pretends to receive a phone call) Hello? It's the Bride of Frankenstine. She wants her hair back.
  • Criminal Minds, episode "Seven Seconds":
    Garcia: Believe me when I tell you the 1980s just called; they want their security system back.
  • The Office (US), episode "The Merger":
    Andy: Oh, by the way, 1985 called. It wants its car back.
    Dwight: Well 1985 better have a time machine because I drive an '87.
  • The Seinfeld episode "The Comeback" has this joke as a plot point: as George Costanza is stuffing his face with shrimp cocktail at a board meeting, a coworker tells him "Hey, George! The ocean called; they're running out of shrimp." note  It's not until long after the encounter that George comes up with his own response: "Yeah, well, the jerk store called; they're running out of you!" None of George's friends are impressed with the comeback ("There are no jerk stores!") and give him some other insults of the same nature he could use instead (i.e. "The zoo called; they want you back by 6.") George instead saves his comeback up all episode, flying all the way out to Akron, Ohio where the coworker had since moved, finding out where the guy works, and even going so far as to recreate the original scenario where the first putdown had been used so that he could spring it. He wasn't prepared for a comeback to his comeback. "What's the difference? You're their all-time best seller." A flummoxed George responds by saying he had sex with the other guy's wife (which was Kramer's suggested retaliation), only to find out that his wife is in a coma. After George is back in New York, he thinks of another comeback on the drive home from the airport and turns the car around again.
    George: "My wife's in a coma." Yeah? Well, the life support machine called and... ["Eureka!" Moment] Wait! YES! THAT'S WHAT I SHOULDA SAID!
  • Scrubs has J.D. describe an elderly patient as a "neat old lady" and Turk tells him "the 1930s called, they want their lingo back." J.D. goes on to say that the patient has "this incredible energy and...and warmth", to which Turk retorts "Dude, the League of Women Voters called and they want to know where to send your membership info." J.D. replies "You're using that 'somebody called' joke a lot."
  • Full House:
    Stephanie: Hey Kimmy, Big Bird called. He wants his legs back.
  • Oswald on The Drew Carey Show won a wrestling tournament, and the trophy is, well...
    "Wonder Woman called, she wants her belt back."
  • Frasier:
    • Frasier, to Niles: "Niles, I've got news for you — Copernicus called and you are not the centre of the universe!"
    • Frasier's comment to the teenage daughter of one of his dates in "Can't Buy Me Love".
  • Friends
    • Chandler tries it, but screws it up (a Throw It In, as Matthew Perry actually messed up the line):
      Chandler: Donald Trump wants his blue blazer black.
      Ross: What?
      Chandler: Blue blazer back. He, he wants it back.
      Monica: No, you messed it up. [Beat] You're stupid.
    • Chandler responds to Ross' new leather pants by informing him, "Tom Jones called, he wants his pants back."
    • Chandler sees Joey making an umpteen amount of jars full of spaghetti sauce so Chandler asks if Italy called and said they were hungry.
  • From a special episode of American Idol:
    Paula: [to Jack Black] The School of Rock called, they want their diploma back...
  • Sometimes used by either Stacey London or Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear to mock some of the outdated or unusual fashion choices made by the subjects of their show.
  • Kelso attempted this in the That '70s Show episode "Bye-Bye Basement". Fez walks in wearing a puffy shirt, and Kelso tries to make fun of him, but isn't very successful.
    Kelso: Hey, uh, puffy-shirt guy called, he wants his puffy shirt back.
  • 30 Rock. Jack uses this line a lot on Liz. In one episode, the writers discover that recordings of Jack's voice are being used for a Synthetic Voice Actor, which they prove by asking it to say the following line:
    Robot voice: Liz. Lesbian Frankenstein wants her shoes back.
    Liz: Oh my god, it is Jack.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • One skit from the early '90s consisted entirely of idiots doing variations of this joke at each other.
      "Siegfried and Roy called, they want their relationship back."
    • Another one featured a parody of The Weakest Link in which Anne Robinson's shtick devolved into nothing but insults.
      "Fred Flintstone called, he wants his head back."
    • This was basically the catchphrase of David Spade's "Hollywood Minute" segments from a mid-'90s Weekend Update. For example, Spade said of Skeet Ulrich, "Johnny Depp called; he wants his DNA back."
  • And speaking of The Weakest Link, this gem from the half-hour daytime edition with George Gray:
    Gino: The '70s called, they want their [sweater] back!
    George: Now, that's not nice, not everybody can afford to shop at Pimps R Us!
  • From Castle:
    Castle: Well, how about just a lowkey evening with your girlfriends? You guys can have a John Hughes marathon and fill out a Cosmo quiz.
    Alexis: Dad, the '80s just called, it wants its plan back.
  • A MADtv (1995) sketch during the California gubernatorial recall, with a confrontation between governor Grey Davis and would-be governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
    Grey Davis: [answering the phone mid-sentence] What's that? Okay, I'll tell him. [beat] That was Skeletor. He wants your wife's face back.
  • From an episode of The Jerry Springer Show that made it into the ads on at least one channel:
    Dad: [to a son who won't shave and has long hair] GEICO called; they want their caveman back!
  • The Stinger to an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has Maddie trying out different outfits to London's "talking mirror".
    Mirror: Honey, the '80s called. They want their clothes back!
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Drew did this a couple of times in reference to Ryan's shoes.
    Drew: That was the Ringling Brothers; they want their shoes back. Emmett can't go on without his shoes.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Space Children", Mike's reaction to the title of the short film Century 21 Calling is "Ooh, they want their little gold jacket back."
  • Used and then lampshaded on Psych. Gus is upset because Shawn took him away from his poached egg.
    Shawn: Dame Judi Dench called, she wants her breakfast back.
    Gus: [incredulous] Did you just do the "something called it wants its something back" bit?
  • How to Be Indie: In "How to Put Your Best Foot Forward", Indy is wearing her brother's AJ's hand-me-down shirt that is way too back for her. Marlon says "The Western hemisphere called. It wants its shirt back".
  • Kimmy of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt finds a creative way of coming back to this:
    Xanthippe: Hey Kimmy, 1996 called, it wants its clothes back.
    Kimmy: Hey Xan, 2090 called, you're dead and you wasted your time on Earth.
  • On NCIS: New Orleans, LaSalle finds a picture of Percy in a yellow, feathery bridesmaid dress.
    LaSalle: Big Bird called, and he wants his feathers back.
  • In one episode of Will & Grace, Grace arrives at Will's office sporting a long, black leather coat; Will quips, "Terrific. Everybody from The Matrix called. They want their coat back."
  • In the Comedy Central Celebrity Roast of David Hasselhoff, a comedian uses this joke against Roast Master Seth MacFarlane:
    The creators of South Park called: they want their everything back!
  • In the Black Lightning episode "The Book of Secrets Chapter Four: Original Sin", Gambi gets defensive about Jefferson's original costume. Jen asks if it was so great, why he doesn't still wear it, and Anissa replies "'Cause George Clinton called, asked for it back."
  • On CSI: NY, when Jo is looking at VHS tapes for information on a suspect early in season 9, Danny says “Jane Fonda called. She wants her workout videos back.”
  • Subverted in The Good Place when Trevor runs into Michael wearing a fedora and a trenchcoat.
    Trevor: Sweet outfit. Dick Tracy called. He said you're a buttface and he's been plowing your mom.
    Michael: Yeah, well Dick Tracy called me too, first. And he said he was about to call you and say a lie about me that was actually true about you, instead.
  • Without a Trace: In "Two of Us", a girl disappears on prom night. The last person to see her handed her a glass of alcohol laced punch, and then added more alcohol at her urging. She then downed the whole cup in a single draught, causing him to remark:
    The navy called. They want their sailor back.

  • In the rap spoof "Iraq Without Me", Saddam Hussein plays this card in the middle of berating Osama bin Laden. "By the way, Castro called — he wants his beard back!"
  • The title of a song by the Awkward Romance: "Judas Called, He Wants His Sense of Loyalty Back".
  • Referenced in Mexican hip-hop band Molotov's song Frijolero, about racial and political tensions across the border. In the final English stanza of the song:
    Why don't you look down to where your feet is planted, that U.S. Soil that makes you take shit for granted, if not for Santa Ana just to let you know that where you're standing would be Mexico!
  • Spray have a message for all synth-based bands, themselves included: "Sparks Called and They Want Their Ideas Back".

    Print Media 
  • Entertainment Weekly has a few examples in some pages, including the "Bullseye" sections.
    • One "Bullseye" section (Issue # 1315, June 13, 2014) says, "Mary Stuart Masterson called, Mackensie. She doesn't want her haircut back."
    • Another "Bullseye" section (#1505, March 9, 2018) says of Barbra Streisand in her black dress: "A haunted abandoned jazz club from the 1920s wants its headliner back."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Circa 2001, Edge interrupted X-Pac, who was complaining about how he used to be a big deal.
    Edge: 1998 called, they're sick and tired of you, so feel free to join us in the year 2001 at any time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Small Folk invokes the trope in its prelude fiction, thus acknowledging that some of the popular subcultures parodied by the game's "cliques" are a little dated.
    "The sixties and the nineties called and they want their dialogue back," said a third voice.

    Video Games 
  • Ebaumsworld's game Avalanche routinely dishes out insults when you lose, one of which is "Your village called. They want their idiot back." Dramacon used a variation of this for a T-shirt: "Your village called. They want their cosplayer back."
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle Josuke Higashikata (from part 4, not the other one) has a counter move where, if he gets hit while fixing his hair, a small cutscene will play with his opponent insulting his hairstyle. A few characters have insults that fit this trope, but Okuyasu's insult in the English version fits the best.
    Okuyasu: Nice haircut! Welcome to, like, 20 years ago!
    Josuke: The Hell did you say about my hair!?
  • In League of Legends, Ryze's Season 6 rework adds this line when he taunts an opposing Aurelion Sol:
    Space called, it wants its arrogant jerk back.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: If Iron Fist ends up facing Chun-Li, he will say "Daughters of the Dragon called, they want their everything back."
  • In Spiritfarer, when Anthony gets bored with talking to Stella about Beverly, he says, "The Renaissance called, they want their hat back."

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Case 5 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, when Apollo and Dhurke get lost in a very deep cave with no apparent way out:
      Dhurke: [...] It's just a bit of bad luck. That's all.
      Apollo: A bit? Murphy called. He wants his law back.
    • In Episode 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, during Hugh O'Conner's breakdown and "confession" that he used a body double during the mock trial so he could kill Prof. Courte, the entire courtroom believes he's insane and not a genius:
      Apollo: Yeah, the funny farm just called. They want their "genius" back.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in The Venture Bros. episode "The Invisible Hand of Fate":
    Shoreleave: Waylon Flowers called; he wants his madam back. Boom!
    Hunter Gathers: Oh yeah? Well the Village People called, AND THEY WANT YOU TO GO F*CKING KILL YOURSELF YOU PRANCY BASTARD!
  • The Simpsons:
    • Said to Marge, commenting on her hairdo:
      Lisa: Buckingham Palace called. They want their hat back.
    • In a Halloween Episode, Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, a mummy and a werewolf try to play the For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself trope but a bully tells them Turner Classics department called asking for the costumes back.
  • Subverted in American Dad! when Stan sees Steve wearing a ludicrously oversized shirt:
    Stan: Steve, a homosexual giant called, he said he wants his shirt back.
    Homosexual Giant: False alarm, baby. It was under the day bed. Sorry for the confusion. Gotta go, I blamed a lot of people for this one, mmm-hmm.
    Stan: ...Turns out he found it.
  • MTV's CGI Spider-Man: The New Animated Series has this in "The Party", as Harry is drinking a martini.
    Peter: Harry, Double Oh Seven called, he wants his life back.
  • Rick and Morty: The episode "Raising Gazorpazorp" features Rick use this joke against Jerry. Equally amusing is Jerry's pathetic attempts at a comeback, using the same formula.
    Rick: It looks harmless now, but it could grow into something dangerous.
    Jerry: Just like Insane Clown Posse.
    Rick: Yeah, good one, Jerry. 2003 just called. They want their easy target back.
    Jerry: Hey uh... 1995 called! They want their "Certain year called wanting its blank back" formula back!
    Beth: Why, Jerry, why expend the effort?
  • In Regular Show, using this phrase will literally send Y back to X. The whole plot of the episode "Prank Callers" was that Mordecai and Rigby, the lead characters, have cell phones from the 1980s. When they get a call that says, "The '80s called, they want their cell phones back!", since the two were holding the phone, they went back to the '80s. This was used at the end of the episode, where the two call their boss and (since they now know it's possible,) send the recliner he's sitting in back to the 1970s.
  • Archer:
    • Played with (takes on a new meaning when you consider Archer's Ambiguous Time Period):
      Sterling: Hi, it's the 1930s. Can we have our words, clothes, and shitty airplane back? [...] Call you back, 1930s! And hey, watch out for that Adolf Hitler. He's a bad egg!
    • Upon learning how slow a rigid airship can be:
      Archer: Hello, airplanes? It's blimps. You win.
    • After seeing Cyril's pocket watch:
      Archer: Grover Cleveland called. He wants his watch back. ... He left two non-consecutive messages.
  • Back at the Barnyard: In "Dummy and Dummier":
    Mr. Jinx: Hey, Peck, some tree fungus just called. It wants his personality back!
  • Mission Hill: Done by Andy, while Kevin is concentrating on his homework (by constantly saying "Bling blong").
    Andy: Hitler called, he wants his haircut back.
    Andy: [goosestepping, heiling and with his finger of his upper lip] I vant mien hiarcut back!
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, Squidward gets one in when talking to a dour old woman in a frumpy black dress.
    Squidward: Okay. But first let me call the mortician and tell him his uniform's been stolen.
  • Parodied in the Uncle Grandpa episode "1992 Called". Pizza Steve tells Uncle Grandpa "1992 called, they want their pants back", which turns out to be literally true.
  • Teen Titans (2003): In "Revved Up", Ding Dong Daddy taunts Cyborg with "The junkyard called! They want their scrapheap back!".
  • In a mock behind-the-scenes episode of Family Guy in which Peter gets fired and David Spade gets brought in to play his replacement, at a script read one of his first lines is, "the decade called, they want their object back."
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Yang loses his emotions, and the first one Yin manages to restore is his sarcasm. He immediately appears as a judge on an American Idol expy, and tells a little girl "a sick cat called, it wants its yowl back."

    Real Life 
  • During the 3rd 2012 presidential debate, held on Oct. 22, 2012, Barack Obama told opponent Mitt Romney, "The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War's been over for 20 years." The comment was in reply to a statement Romney had made on March 26 of that year in an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN. In the interview, Romney stated, "Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. They — they fight every cause for the world's worst actors."
  • Meme inspired by the polar vortex that brought subzero temperatures and windchills to the American Midwest and East in the winter of 2014: "Antarctica called. It wants its weather back."
  • A common bumper sticker: "Your village called, they want their idiot back."
  • From a Wiwibloggs review of the song "Contigo" by Mirela, one of the hopefuls to represent Spain in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest:
    They called from 2002 and asked us to send their song back.