A while ago I read this Onion AV Club article entitled "Simpsons Quotes for Everyday Use". And I wondered if anyone's response was similar to mine, being: Are you fucking kidding me? That's the best you can do? I mean, I realize mileage varies, since some people have seen certain episodes a zillion times while others have seen them only twice, but come on.
"Worst. Episode. Ever." is a given. Of course. Here are four I've either said, or my friends have said: "Everything's comin' up Milhouse!", "Lousy Smarch weather", "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others" (although much more frequently I go with "We must move forward, not backward, upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom", from the same scene), and "You shot who in the what now?" (which I always thought was "WHO shot who...", and indeed, a googling of the latter returns three times the results, so it seems to have morphed.)
The rest of those? I barely even recognize. Well, Boo-urns and Senor Spielbergo, those are very funny, yes, but they're not applicable to anything. They're not useful. The ANY key? That's not even a Simpsons joke! That gag's got whiskers on it!
Every day in America we see catastrophic lapses of journalism, but very few of them I can personally correct. I paged through the comments, and the relevant Wikipedia page, and a lot of my conspicions were susfirmed. I saw several specific phrases already on my list. WE CAN DO BETTER, PEOPLE.
So we'll start with the big, thunderingly obvious ones, and then drift towards things which I'm guessing are personal obsessions. What we are going for here, remember, is UTILITY OUT OF CONTEXT. A phrase that just reminds you of something funny doesn't count.
1. "But I don't even believe in Jebus!"
Homer, "Missionary: Impossible" (2/20/00)
Context: Homer, abducted to spread the gospel in South America, reveals he no longer knows how to pronounce his own deity. One of the Onion editors admitted this quote made the initial list but did not survive revision. How? EVERYONE knows about Jebus. This quote was out and about immediately, and long after it was popular to claim the shark had been jumped.
Real-life uses: Anytime Christians act as though everyone believes what they do. Gay marriage, evolution, holy wars. Essentially limitless.
2. "It's a perfectly cromulent word."
Miss Hoover, "Lisa the Iconoclast" (2/18/96)
Context: The non-word "embiggen", and by extension the myth surrounding Jebediah Springfield, is defended in the classroom.
Real-life uses: Anytime someone uses a word which is not a "real" word, but is formed according to the rules of English and has a clear and serviceable meaning. Given the abundance of synonymous prefixes and suffixes we have, this is incredibly common. Alternately, some like to use this to point out the meaninglessness of buzzwords and rhetoric.
3. "Me fail English? That's unpossible!"
Ralph Wiggum, "Lisa On Ice" (11/13/94)
Context: None needed.
Real-life uses: Relatedly to cromulence, this expression covers any other potential grammatical or syntactial gaffes.
4. "Ooh, they have the internet on computers now!"
Homer, "Das Bus" (2/15/98)
Context: Homer conducts research for his home business enterprise, CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet.
Real-life uses: Anytime someone inadvertently reveals a massive lack of comprehension regarding basic fundamental computer concepts. Likely suspects include your parents, your tech support clients and your president.
I would also like to point out here that although I am limiting myself to one quote per episode, "Das Bus" is a virtual quote FARM, containing all of the following, somewhat less useful candidates:
"I'm so hungry I could eat at Arby's!"
"We'll live like kings! Damn hell ass kings!"
5. "No TV no beer make Homer something something."
Homer, "Treehouse of Horror V" (10/30/94)
Context: Deprived of stimulus at a mountain hotel resort much like Jack Torrance in The Shining, Homer covers the walls with graffiti. Marge fills in the missing words, which are "Go crazy?" to which Homer responds "Don't mind if I do!" and begins chasing her with an axe.
Real-life uses: Anytime you're unfairly deprived of TV (especially The Simpsons), or unfairly deprived of alcohol, or just feel like freaking out about something.
6. "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter."
Homer, "Mountain of Madness" (2/2/97)
Context: Homer requests weekly updates on Bart's strong ideas about the uselessness of teamwork, sharing and tolerance.
Real-life uses: Anytime someone expresses a controversial opinion that you personally agree with.
7. "I'm disrespectful to dirt! Can you see that I am serious?"
-Mr. Sparkle, "In Marge We Trust" (4/27/97)
Context: A Japanese dishwashing detergent with Homer's face as its logo sends him a commercial with ludicrously inept subtitling.
Real-life uses: Anytime you wish to point out the psychotic overenthusiasm of Japanese pop culture. Our judges also would have accepted "Join me or die! Can you do any less?", "Misuta Supakura", or "AWESOME-AH POWAH!!!"
8. "There's a-doin's a-transpiring!"
Homer2, "Lemon of Troy" (5/14/95)
Context: Homer's Shelbyville doppleganger exhorts his son to witness the shocking theft of the lemon tree.
Real-life uses: Anytime ANYTHING AT ALL IS OCCURRING that you want someone else to come check out.
Do you see how these phrases are handier and thus FAR MORE PERVASIVE than most of what's in that article? Are you grasping the woeful inadequacy? Am I wrong, Dude? AM I WRONG!
Next time we will move on to ten more which might not be as familiar, but which have certainly stood the test of time for me and which I highly recommend.