Popular Saying, But...

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is what happens when someone takes a well known phrase or saying, and then decides that it doesn't convey quite as much information as it needs to. So the speaker adds a little bit on the end, usually with the modifier "But", usually either Completely Missing the Point or totally reversing the original meaning of the phrase.

Related to the Ice Cream Koan, but differs in that while the first part of the phrase is valid, the second part is clearly tacked on by the speaker. Often said by a Seemingly-Profound Fool in some of his more fauxlisophical moments.

Examples of Popular Saying, But... include:

Comic Books

  • Spider-Man: When life gives you lemons... squirt them in somebody's face and run like hell.


  • Ron White: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, then find someone whose life has given him vodka and have a party.


Live-Action TV

  • News Radio: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then throw it in the face of the person who gave you the lemons until they give you the oranges you originally asked for.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but a fifty foot fall will kill y'all!
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Stasis Leak" has:

Holly: What I'm saying, Dave, is that it's better to have loved and to have lost... than to listen to an album by Olivia Newton-John.
Cat: Why's that?
Holly: Anything's better than listening to an album by Olivia Newton-John.

  • In Camera Cafe, Paolo always repeats twice the first part of the proverb he's about to say. For example: "An apple a day... an apple a day".
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun": When life gives you lemons...just shut up and eat the damn lemons.


  • The Babyshambles song "Sticks and stones" has the following chorus: Sticks and stones may break my bones/Oh but your words, they really hurt.


  • When life gave Chuck Norris Lemons, he made orange juice.

Video Games

  • Katamari Damacy: Love makes the world go round... But Manners keep you from getting motion sickness.
  • Portal 2 : "When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'm the man who's GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!"

Web Comics

  • Achewood: Eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away... but throwing it at him works better!

Web Original


Junior: We have a saying where I come from too; God save the Queen.
Bug: Oh, good.
Junior: Lucky for me, God Is Dead.


Western Animation

  • Rocket Power: Blood is thicker than water... But not nearly as refreshing.
  • Clone High: When life gives you lemons, you CLONE those lemons and make SUPER LEMONS!
  • Phineas and Ferb: Blood is thicker than water. But mango chutney is thicker than blood.