Borrowed Catchphrase

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Lisa: Don't have a cow, man!
Bart: See? That's my expression.
Marge: Oh, you haven't said that in four years. Let Lisa have it.

The Simpsons, "Summer of 4'2""

A character reuses another character's Catch Phrase, possibly as an Ironic or Meaningful Echo. Often has a tendency to be mangled.

If the catch phrase is a Verbal Tic, this is Got Me Doing It.

If the catch phrase is less "borrowed" than "stolen out of the other character's mouth", it's Hey, That's My Line!. See also One-Liner Echo and Phrase Catcher.

Examples of Borrowed Catchphrase include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann combines this with Arc Words. "Just who the hell do you think I am?!" starts as Kamina's catchphrase, but after his death other characters (primarily Simon) start using it, culminating with the entirety of Team Dai-Gurren shouting it at the same time when the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann first appears.
  • In Prince of Tennis, in the bowling episodes, Ryuzaki sensei and Oishi are in a team and Echizen and Momo are in another. Ryuzaki and Oishi turn out to be pretty pro at bowling therefore start kicking everyone's asses therefore this dialogue results:

Oishi: Let's not get careless (Tezuka).
Ryuzaki: Mada mada dane (Echizen).
Oishi: DON! (Momoshiro).


Film[edit | hide]

Reggie: What were you thinking?
Todd: I guess I made an error in judgement.

Cap: Hulk. [points] Smash.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In A Dance With Dragons, when speaking to Jon Snow, the Evil Sorceress Melisandre appropriates the catchphrase of his deceased Action Girl girlfriend Ygritte (which is "You know nothing, Jon Snow.")
  • In The Dresden Files book Changes Dresden is in the middle of a fight and stops to complain that "someone was shouting 'fuego'[his trademark spell] and it wasn't me."
  • A frequent gag in later books in the Animorphs series was Marco yelling "Let's do it!" right before doing something suicidally dangerous, instead of Rachel. Rachel was not amused.
    • In one book, they swap catchphrases:

Rachel: This is insane.
Marco: I know, right? Let's do it!

  • Discworld has Nanny Ogg using Granny Weatherwax's "I can't be having with all this" line in Carpe Jugulum, after being forced to take on the role of the Crone due to Granny's Ten-Minute Retirement.
  • Probably half the cast has borrowed Honor's "Let's be about it" at some point, which she herself borrowed from her first captain.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • This is a Characteristic Trope on Arrested Development:
    • "That was a freebie", Maebe's phrase, was said by a different character in different circumstances each time.
    • "I've made a huge mistake", GOB's catchphrase (and motto, practically), is one that starts making the rounds similarly later in the series.
    • Michael's reaction of "Her?" to Anne is shared with the rest of the family.
    • After Gob fails his fire trick in front of the mentally retarded Rita, her response is an astonished "But wherever did the lighter fluid come from?"
    • Maeby's standard deflection of "Marry me!" was borrowed by Michael to use on a woman he suspected to be his sister (played by Jason Bateman's real-life sister, Justine Bateman).

Michael: That's wrong on... so many levels.

    • Oscar's "...dot com" following his cries of "I'm Oscar!" was later borrowed by the Saddam Hussein impersonator with "No scar! Dot com!".
    • Steve Holt's catchphrase of "STEVE HOLT!", complete with two raised fists, was borrowed in the same episode it was introduced by Maeby, who was hoping he would be cast opposite her. He gets it from his mother, "EVE HOLT!"
    • "The very fact that you call it that tells me you're not ready" in response to the phrase "Pop-pop" was used approximately once a season.
  • Lost: After Ben Linus is clubbed with an oar:

Frank Lapidus: I thought you said you trusted that guy!
Sun: I lied.

    • In season 6, after Jack and Desmond bring back the light:

Desmond: "But what about you, Jack?"
Jack: "I'll see you in another life, brother."

  • In Pushing Daisies, both Olive and the Narrator have said Emerson Cod's catchphrase of "Oh, hell no!"
    • At another point, one of the characters uses one of the Narrator's catchphrases.
  • Seinfeld. When Kramer and Jerry trade apartments, Jerry started talking about "Bob Sacamano" as Kramer usually does.
    • In another episode, Jerry dates a woman who is essentially a female version of himself. He starts getting creeped out when she uses his catchphrases "What's the deal with...?" and "That's a shame".
  • Mrs. Cunningham would, very occasionally and when she really thought he was in the wrong, tell Fonzie to "sit on it."
  • In House, Tritter uses House's Catch Phrase "Everybody Lies". Possibly done in order to emphasise that Tritter and House are Not So Different.
  • The A-Team: Other characters occasionally use Hannibal's 'I love it when a plan comes together'
  • Friends: Rachel (and a few others) have borrowed Joey's pickup line, "How you doin'?" upon occasion.
  • SG-1 seems to trade catch phrases more often than a group of elementary schoolers trade Pokémon cards. Notably, an alien boy who latches on to Jack complains "Oh, for crying out loud!" at least once, as does pretty much everyone else. Sam apparently picked up her early catchprase "Holy Hannah" from her father. The final scene of season ten has the whole team (except Teal'c) ending a conversation with exclaiming Teal'c's catchprase "Indeed". This makes this trope the second to last line in the series.
  • When James May does his first track test on Top Gear, they send him out in the Pagani Zonda F Roadster, a supercar that is insane by even supercar standards. He borrows Clarkson's catchphrase for the occasion:

May : [voiceover] I think I know what to do at this point. [amidst engine noises] POWEEERRRRRRR!

  • Ashes to Ashes: The catchphrase "You are surrounded by armed bastards!" belongs to Gene Hunt, but Jackie Queen, upon leveling in badass borrows it in 2.04.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade: Final Chapter, Decade activates the Final Form Ride—All Riders, allowing the rest of the Riders to transform into their Final Form Rides (basically, a good guy version of One-Winged Angel). To do so, however, the Riders have to line up behind each other and activate the transformation of the one in front of them. They all say one of Decade's Catch Phrase throughout the whole sequence: "This will tickle a bit." Hilarity Ensues.
    • In the TV series (specifically, the Hibiki arc, Diend performs the requisite World of Cardboard Speech, usually given by Decade. When Decade comments on the theft, Diend completes it by taking another of his catchphrases:

"I was a passing-through Kamen Rider long before you came along! Remember that!"

  • In something of an inversion, Rio in Juken Sentai Gekiranger borrows Jan's Verbal Tic during his Heel Face Turn, to which Jan only chuckles.
  • In What I Like About You, Ben very hilariously uses Gary's "oh my damn".
  • Both Martha and Rose use the Tenth Doctor's "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" at least once apiece in Doctor Who.
    • Played one hell of a lot more darkly in "Midnight." The alien stealing the Doctor's voice, and with it his habit of saying, "Molto bene!" is all that gives it away and saves him from a horrible death. When Donna quotes it back at him at the end, his, "No... no, don't do that" is less "Running Gag" and more "PTSD symptom."
    • The Sontaran's last words in "A Good Man Goes To War" are "I'm a nurse". Said to Rory.
    • When the Doctor and River sorta wind up in the opposite end of each other's timelines, he has to borrow her catchphrase:

The Doctor: Spoilers.

    • When Amy kills Madam Kovorian she says "River didn't get it all from you, sweetie," borrowing River's Verbal Tic.
  • Many characters in True Jackson, VP borrow True's "You said what now?!" catchphrase.
  • On Angel, after making a violent prison escape, Faith asks if Wesley's okay. His response: "Five by five."
  • In an episode of Community when Jeff has to move into Abed's dorm. After awhile living there, Jeff borrows Abed's catchphrase "Cool, cool, cool".
  • Played With in Hogan's Heroes, when at one point Newkirk says "Formidable" while LeBeau says "Ruddy marvellous". Next second, they're both looking at the other with funny looks on their faces.
  • A TV Land commercial for Get Smart promoted the "Catchphrase Redistribution Service", showing a montage of scenes of other characters saying Max's catchphrases.
  • In the One Foot in the Grave episode "The Futility of the Fly", the West End backer looking at a play based on the Meldrews complained about the string of Contrived Coincidences and unexplained incidents. His final verdict was "I don't believe it."
  • Everyone on the Leverage has repeated Hardison's "Seriously?!" at some point.
  • In Fawlty Towers, "He's from Barcelona" is Basil's catch-all way of explaining Manuel's shortcomings. In the final episode, it's Sybil who says it.
  • In The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, the head of Sunshine Desserts has two yes-men: hip groovy Tony who constantly says "Great!", and neurotic David who constantly says "Super!". After Sunshine crumbles, they react thus to being reunited at Grot:

David (dismayed): Great.
Tony (dismayed): Super.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • A common trope in wrestling for heel wrestlers to steal, emulate or parody their babyface opponent's catchphrase in order to get under their [or the fans'] skin. Vice versa(face towards heel) is even not that uncommon.
  • Be wary of stealing The Rock's catchphrase in his presence, or he will let you know about it.
  • When CM Punk temporarily took Michael Cole's duties as relayer of the Raw GM's messages. "Sorry, I'm a little nervous, I've always really wanted to do this. I HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL!"

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds Faith will end up in a bank vault, as Buffy sets about rescuing her she will say "Bored now," Willow's evil Catch Phrase, however she doesn't try and kill Buffy this time.
  • One mission in Saints Row might have the Boss say "I love it when a plan comes together." That mission is when she is at the controls of a tank, falling through the sky, after the plane it was on blows up.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Charlotte teases Jonathan a couple of times by turning his catchphrase, "No problem", back on him.
  • In Metroid: Other M, this trope coincides with Moment of Awesome: "Any objections, Adam?"
  • After being royally defeated by Ezio in Assassin's Creed II, Cesare Borgia of all people borrows his nemesis's secondary catchphrase (take back Roma) when trying to win himself support.
  • Quite a few Super Mario Bros. characters have copied Mario's "Let's-a-go" and "Mama mia!" Luigi's been using them less in recent games, however.
  • In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story Varil explains his presence in one scene by that Sakuro told him about the situation and told him to not "underestimate the ability of a Craftlord to gather information", a play on Varil's regular claims about the Gold Guild's (headed by his father) ability to gather information when asked how he knows about events he wasn't involved in. The significance of this line is easily lost because Varil's use of the statement is restricted to walks at night, when most players spending this time with the girls.


Web Original[edit | hide]

Bandit Keith: You're not American! You're not even Wearing a Flag on Your Head!
Joey: You're right! I must have left it back home... in America!

  • Derek the Bard often borrows Linkara's "because poor literacy is *KEWL*" catchphrase during the books he's reviewing.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • As the show went on, other Beast Wars characters started picking up Megatron's "yesssssss" when referring to him. Ditto for Primal's "That's just prime."
  • This occurs at the end of Turtles Forever, as the 1988 and 2003 turtles say goodbye to each other by trading catchphrases. Another example occurs in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 episode "Turtle X-Tinction", where Serling uses the phrase "It's Serling time"—borrowed from the turtles' own "It's ninja time!"—before embarking on his mad dash to save Cody.
  • Penny from Inspector Gadget uses her uncle's "Wowsers" once or twice, thought it's usually not Played for Laughs when she does it.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Hail, Doofania!" does a role reversal for the title characters and Dr. Doofenschmirtz, so Phineas delivers Doof's "...the ENTIRE TRI-STATE AREA!" and "Bless you, Perry the Platypus!", while Doofenschmirtz does Phineas's "I know what we're going to do today!", "Aren't you a little old to be..." "No. No I'm not". His daughter also takes on Candace's role, including her outfit and catchphase "Mom! Mom! You gotta see this!" Vanessa also adapts her father's catchphrase in another episode: "Thank you, Perry the Platypus!"
    • Also, Isabella's catchphrase "Whatcha doooin'?" is borrowed by a few other characters, but she's very protective of it. She elbows Buford in the ribs when he starts to say it, and can sense it being used across town. (However, she's doesn't mind when Phineas says it to her.)
  • The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan episode "The Eye of the Idol" has Scooter and later Anne borrowing Stanley's "Wham bam, we're in a jam!". Two episodes later, Henry uses it to make fun of Stanley when he fails at doing a magic trick with the stocks, and Flip says it in the following episode.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, while laying in bed during a BSOD episode, Ed Bighead says "Garbage day is a very dangerous day".
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko normally had a monopoly on honor related phrases, save for the first episode of the final season, in which Aang, believing he had failed the world, mentioned that he needed his honor.
  • Throughout The Simpsons, when things go south, members of the title family tend to borrow their patriarch's "D'oh!"
  • In a couple of Looney Tunes shorts Daffy Duck uses Sylvester's catchphrase "Sufferin' Succotash!".
    • On a episode of the game show Press Your Luck, one of the questions was which character used that catchphrase. The show had Daffy as the correct answer, which was incorrect. All three contestants were invited to come back on the show because and this and in the next episode Mel Blanc calls into the show as Sylvester and complains that Daffy is always stealing from him.
  • A couple of times in South Park Stan and Kenny have said Cartman's "Screw you guys, I'm going home!"
    • On a few occasions someone else like Cartman or Grandpa Marsh have said Stan and Kyle's "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!"
  • In the Dastardly & Muttley episode "Who's Who?," Dastardly gets amnesia, leaving Klunk to run the Vulture Squadron. After yet another operation fails, Klunk says Dastardly's line of "Drat and double drat!"
  • Danger Mouse lampshades this in an episode of his show:

Penfold: Good grief!
D.M.: Penfold! That's my line!

  • Normally, when Johnny Test does a parody, Johnny's the one to catch on with a "Now where have I seen this before?", but in the The Cat in the Hat parody, when Bling-2 shows up, Dukey delivers the line.
  • Yogi Bear makes a swipe using his signature rhyming in Yogi's Treasure Hunt, with apologies to Mr. B. Bunny:

Yogi: At the risk of stealing a line most appealing: "What's up, Doc?"

  • In the 2010 Pound Puppies series, Lucky's "Go dogs, go" catchphrase is borrowed twice: First by a cat (Who replaces "dogs" with "cats"), and again by a puppy who aspires to be a sled dog.
  1. Literally "Want to try dying once?", dubbed as "Perhaps it is time to die?"