Off topic: Prime-time vocabulary: the sitcoms impact and contribution to our vocabulary
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:51
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Nov 27, 2004

I read an interesting article at today.

Some excerpts from it:

Certain shows seem to be rife with addictive banter. Take "The Simpsons." The show, which can be seen Sunday nights on Fox, in reruns or on DVD, still has fans chanting, "Eat my shorts" or cheerily greeting friends with Ned Flanders' favorite, "Heididdily-ho!"

Even the folks at Oxford dictionaries are in the boob tube language business. In 2001, the definition gurus added "D'oh," Homer Simpson's famous idiom, to their online dictionary.

It's in these clever little sayings that an unexplored power exists. Why can we remember things like "Kiss my grits!" or "Homey don't play that!" when we can barely remember what we ate for breakfast?

Other shows have made indelible contributions as well, like J.J. Walker's popular "Dynomite!" on "Good Times," and the Fonz's unforgettable "aeeeyyyyyyy" on "Happy Days."

More favorites include, "Well isn't that special?" ("Saturday Night Live"), "What you talkin' about Willis?" ("Diff'rent Strokes") and "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do" ("I Love Lucy").

For nine seasons, the "Seinfeld" quartet and its offbeat gang of friends and family discussed close talkers, man hands, festivus, the Bro, magic loogies and double dipping, just to name a few.

"Seinfeld" terminology is so popular that several dictionaries have popped up on the Internet. One site, which calls itself simply, "The Seinfeld Dictionary," defines a "close talker" as: one who speaks to a person at point blank range (usually with both peoples' noses less than a foot away from the other). Festivus is described as: a make believe holiday made up by a bitter, bickering head of a family, who uses the holiday as his/her vehicle to attack those (and their employers) close to him.

Another favorite of "Seinfeld" junkies is "hipster doofus" -- a tall, lanky, goofball who suggests to his/her friends that they should park in a handicap spot, knowing full well that it is wrong.

While some phrases, like hipster doofus, are used to describe the gang, a good chunk of expressions were created to describe their endless supply of relationship woes. Terms like shrinkage, stopping short and being the master of your domain (which shall go undefined).

Time will be the ultimate test for the fantastic foursome and their witty dialogue. Twenty years from now will fans still be "yada, yada, yada-ing" through dinner dates? Will loyal viewers still accuse their friends of being an Anti-Dentite? And, will men ever be able to resist shicksappeal? Possibly. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

[Edited at 2004-11-27 10:54]

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Prime-time vocabulary: the sitcoms impact and contribution to our vocabulary

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