Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Familiar Quip

Families have in-jokes. Something Mom or Dad always says in a particular situation; a remark no one else would catch but the parents and kids look at each other knowingly. They're not always funny. In fact, sometimes they're groan-inducing. But everyone would miss them if they stopped.

Many of my favorites are borrowed from pop culture and films. For example, I can't leave our car in a multi-story parking garage without saying, "Everybody remember where we parked." The twist on one of the best lines from one of the best Star Trek movies is that it was itself a riff on the cliched command of families everywhere. That's why it was funny: it's one thing when Dad says it at the mall, quite another when Captain Kirk says it to his crew as they debark from an invisible spaceship. The fact that I've re-repurposed it to again apply to Dad in a parking lot is deeply meta, man.

Bonus points to this movie for "double-dumbass on you," which I don't use as often as I'd like. Also for "nuclear wessels" because one of my daughters works where they used to keep them.

"Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon." From Ghostbusters, this applies in real life both when advice is unnecessary ("look before you cross the street") and when it's woefully inadequate ("in case of major earthquake, avoid falling debris").

"Have fun storming the castle!" from The Princess Bride. Applies to the start of any endeavour, but best for one involving some distance or difficulty. This got used a lot when sending the daughters back to college after a break. Most effective when my wife and I hug and wave like Billy Crystal and Carol Kane.

"Not anymore." From The Pink Panther Strikes Again, best pronounced with an outrageous French accent. Applies to any situation in which something has been botched or destroyed, and someone utters a sentence that begins, "But that's . . ."

And I can't think of any word that's been more damaged by a single movie than "surely":

What're yours? Or is it just us? It's just us, isn't it . . .


Jim O'Kane said...

I'm not sure. I'll have top men look into this phenomenon.

Top. Men.

Brian Fies said...

"Top men." Excellent!

I just remembered another: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it." Five points to anyone who can name the source. One hint: I've been using it for more than 40 years.

Jim O'Kane said...

Now you're making me feel old. I laughed the moment I saw the quote. At least I'll know who to call when I'm threatened by a stranger.

Mike said...

If there had never been a Stan Freberg, my family would have never spoken a word to each other.

"Would you like to ... talk about it?"

"You out of luck today. Banks closed!"

"It's in. It's very in!"

"It's too late now. They're all started on their little nut cups out there."

"Talks up a storm with those wooden teeth of his, but, when it's time to put the name on the ol' parchmentoroonie, try to find him."

"We ... um ... we going out on that joke?"
"No, we do reprise of song. That help."
"But not much, no."

ronnie said...

It's not just you. Most of ours come from Gary Larson cartoons.

When we see somebody doing something smart: "Look what Thag do!"

When we see a dubious character: "How nature says: Stay away!"

Usually referring to Mojo: "He only has a brain the size of a walnut." (That's a paraphrase.)

Certainly many from The Princess Bride. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." This, usually when watching political speeches.

We also just use: "INCONCEIVABLE!"

Those are just off the top of my head.

ronnie said...

Oh, and of course, "Don't call me Shirley".

Brian Fies said...


Five points to Jim for recalling the outstanding "Super Chicken" and his manservant Fred.

I loved Stan Freberg but little of him stuck with me, I'm afraid, maybe because I had no one in my family to share him with.

Linda Wilhelm said...

"We're gonna need a bigger boat."

We get ours from Aliens
"You ain't reading it right."

Brian Fies said...

"Gonna need a bigger boat" is prime stuff! I'll look for opportunities to adopt it.

I need to watch Aliens again sometime. I don't think I've seen it since it came out.

Mike said...

"since it came out."

hee hee

ronnie said...

"We're gonna need a bigger boat" is definitely one of ours.

Another came to mind that we used just today: the Tinkertoy slogan: "It's a new toy every day." Usually used when something has failed, again. :)

Brian Fies said...

From the movie "Up," Karen adds: "Adventure is out there!" True dat.

Jim O'Kane said...

My family's most common movie quote comes from Lord Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: "Had your chance. Muffed it."