A couple weeks ago TV Land released a list of what it considers to be the 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases of all time. And, TV Land being a niche cable network, it will count down the list over five nights starting Monday, so it’s helpful that the folks there have gotten around to putting the list in numerical order.
No. 1 — Ed McMahon’s "Heeeere’s Johnny!" introduction of Tonight Show host Johnny Carson — is a pretty good choice. And as a whole, the list is pretty inclusive, with everything from "D’oh!" (No. 6) to "Good night, and good luck" (No. 41) to "I can’t believe I ate the whole thing" (No. 62).
That said, I have no idea what "That’s hot" (Paris Hilton on The Simple Life, No. 86) is even doing on the list, nor why "You’re fired!" is as high as No. 3, while "Welcome to the O.C., bitch" wallows way down at 83rd.
A bigger problem, though, is the way the list is built. The bulk of the list is made up of catchphrases and tag lines, which by their very nature tend to get less interesting/funny/worthwhile the more they’re used. And the non-repeated quotes (the O.C. line is an exception) tend toward special events (Neil Armstrong’s "One small step for man …," Al Michaels’ "Do you believe in miracles?" call at the 1980 Winter Olympics).
That means the eminently quotable Seinfeld, The Simpsons and Cheers (not to mention newer shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Office), get shortchanged. I think I could come up with a list of 100 great lines just from Seinfeld ("The sea was angry that day, my friends — like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.") and The Simpsons ("To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems") alone. I feel like there might be more than six good quotes from Saturday Night Live‘s long and storied history (or at least a couple of different ones — and where the hell is "Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!")
I’d also like to know who it was that decided the order of the list. I figure it’s some guy — some guy named Gabbo.
Your thoughts on the list? Any obvious omissions? And what would you place in the catchphrase pantheon?