Last Updated on May 9, 2023
Cartoons have a way of getting under our skin, and staying there. They’ve been influencing us from our childhood and continue to do so. If you’ve already read the blog on Cartoon characters that have completely changed the way we look at things , you won’t need convincing when I say this.
1. This point was brought into my focus the other day once again when I heard my preschooler yell out “Swiper, no swiping!!” with all this might even as his mom (that’s me) tried to sneak away a chocolate from his chocolate tray (I might be a mom, but I have my weaknesses, sigh! ;p) This phrase, for those of you ignorant to the world of preschooler television
the alternative babysitter for every distressed mom, is from the cartoon series “Dora the Explorer”. Every time Swiper, the fox tries to steal something that Dora or her companions have, kids all over the world religiously shout out “Swiper, no swiping!!” along with Dora and Boots. But this is not the only instance of cartoon having made their way into our regular lives. Need examples? Here are some iconic ones:
2. “Yabba dabba doo!!” : Who knew words shouted out by a middle-aged, overweight, uncouth caveman would become a universal way of expressing achievement and exhilaration? But that is exactly what Fred Flinstones’ “yabba dabba doo” did. Yes, you can say “yahoo” or “yippee” or “yay” but nothing says excited jubilance like these three meaningless words.
3. “What’s Up, doc?” : Now, this is a phrase you’ll see being used everywhere: in the saloons, at the markets, in friendly conversations, by your boss…This phrase finds its way as a conversation starter..even if the people using it have never seen the Bugs Bunny Show. Fun, casual, irritating, naughty or cheerful, this catchphrase has many more uses in our dialogues today than the creators of the show may have ever imagined!
4. “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat”: If we’re speaking of Looney toons, can Tweety be far behind? She has a speech impediment that makes her mispronounce some letters. It is actually cuteness overdose and many a girl in an attempt to sound cute has tried to ape her impediment, and failed miserably. Ah, well, there can only be one Tweety but we can always honor her by imitating, rearranging or completely butchering this cartoon catchphrase, can’t we?
5. “ …if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.” : The complete phrase is something like “I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!” and if you know that this is from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You, very good! Your childhood was also filled with a lot of weirdly entertaining programmes that now help you cope with life! 🙂 But seriously, Scooby Doo is one of the most unforgettable dogs of any cartoon series and every time a series would sign off with the villain saying this phrase, you’d know another fun adventure with this lovable canine has come to an end. And now as a grown up, you use the same phrase without mercy on unsuspecting kids who type away at your laptop and end up deleting your precious project files.
6. “By the power of Greyskull, I have the power!” : Every young boy or girl dressed up as a warrior needs a battle cry. What do you say when you have tied your mom’s favorite bedsheet as a cape on your shoulders, have used the special china bowl as a helmet and are now ready for the battle using your elder sister/brother’s comb for a sword? A warrior has to say something and this cry from the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe seems perfect.
7. “The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!” : OK now this one is slightly more, for want of a better word, intellectual, than the last and less universal. But if you’ve seen a few episodes of Pinky and the Brain, the temptation to say this every time someone says “What do you want to do tomorrow night?” is really difficult to resist.
8. “Ooh! What does this button do?” : Dee-dee from Dexter’s Laboratory immortalized these words. If you are ever in a situation when your friend has a costly, geeky gadget, there is nothing like this phrase to set his heart beat soaring. Asked innocently, it spells disaster like no weather report would. The viral video Dumb Ways to Die even used a modified version of the same sentence to induce humor…and of course it clicked!
Cartoon cathcphrases have become so much ingrained in our daily lives that we hardly ever notice them. We mix and distort them at will without batting an eyelid. For a moment, sometimes subconsciously, they bring back memories of entertainment, adventure or a wonderland we so crave. They add wit, they add spice, they add humor to our lives. We use them to compliment and also to insult.
Do you have a favorite cartoon catchphrase? Do share it with us.
9. And as Porky the Pig would end it “That’s all folks!”