Top 10 Catchphrases Kids Today Don't Recognize

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Top 10 Catchphrases Kids Today Don't Recognize

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
Young whippersnappers these days just don't get it. For this list, we'll be looking at popular taglines that were once as common as coffee, but now are unrecognizable to most youth. Our countdown includes Gettin' Jiggy, Where's the Beef?, I Want My MTV, and more!
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Top 10 Catchphrases Kids Today Don't Recognize


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Catchphrases Kids Today Don't Recognize.

For this list, we’ll be looking at popular taglines that were once as common as coffee, but now are unrecognizable to most youth.

Do you have a favorite, old catchphrase? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Gettin’ Jiggy

Anyone born into the new millennium will likely have difficulty narrowing down where this one is from. Then hip-hop artist, now actor, Will Smith released his song “Gettin’ Jiggy wit it” in January of 1998. Both the tune and accompanying video became a huge hit that year, prompting countless fans to “get jiggy.” The meaning behind it has changed slightly as the years have progressed. The term really was more about being completely uninhibited in how one dances in public. Just let it all out there like no one else matters. Today, some folks take it to be a more intimate term, but either way, it still reminds us of that song.

#9: What’s the 411?

Long before text messages and online communication, people used their phones to actually, you know, talk. And when there was no Google, people could dial 411 on their phone, and someone on the other end of the call would help them find the number for a person, or business. 411 became synonymous with “getting information.” Naturally, those who had grown up with the free service started using the term in everyday language. “What’s the 411” became ubiquitous for asking someone for more details about any given subject. Although the service still lives on, the saying has seen better days.

#8: Where’s the Beef?

When McDonald’s and Burger King are your two biggest competitors, what do you do to stand out from them? You poke a little fun at the size of the buns in your new ads. Wendy’s released a commercial in 1984 where a senior citizen sees so much bread for their burger and asks the question: [“Where’s the beef?”]. The saying stuck amongst consumers but not just in regards to the size of a burger. It became synonymous with looking far beyond the superfluities and getting at the heart of a subject. Rarely heard today, the saying lives on through memory and the wonders of YouTube.

#7: Take a Chill Pill

Long before Taylor Swift told us to calm down, people were using plenty of different idioms to try and temper their agitation. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was fairly common to hear someone tell you to “take a chill pill” when you’d get a little too anxious, upset, or irritable. It was a staple of the era, especially given how ADHD had become far more prevalent at the time. Interestingly enough, however, a recipe for a real chill pill appeared in multiple books in the 1870s, which were allegedly used to treat fevers. Maybe one of those could have been used to dial someone down when needed.

#6: All That and a Bag of Chips

What do sick, dope, goat, and lit have in common? They’re all variations on a theme of being awesome. Where kids today might say something like “Man, that’s totally sick,” there was a time when a bag of Doritos almost conveyed the same thing. “All that and a bag of chips” was frequently spoken by teenage kids of the 1990s when referring to things that were simply the best of the best. It seemed that anything that was great, was somehow made even better by adding a potato-flavored treat to it. We don’t make this stuff up. We just list them.

#5: Whatcha Talkin’ ‘bout, Willis

It was 1978 and NBC rolled out a new TV show called “Diff'rent Strokes.” It told the story of two African-American boys who went to live with a widowed, well-to-do Caucasian man. The late Gary Coleman played Arnold, the young boy who often was the center of many episodes. He’d often snap back at his brother, saying, [“Whatcha talking about Willis?”], when he’d be confused or misunderstand something. Coleman would become well-known for his character and the catchphrase. Fans of the show years later would recite the quote whenever someone would make an incomprehensible comment. It’s one of the older phrases on this list, but still brings a smile to those who remember it.

#4: Whassup?

Now here’s one we’re sure a lot of people were glad to see fade into oblivion. Made famous through a series of Budweiser commercials from 1999-2002, this one was borderline annoying to some. A clearly exaggerated version of saying “what’s up,” the big gag here is how long you can drag on the “up” portion of this phrase before it’s gone too far. Amazingly, it’s something that has found its way into the mainstays of pop culture, and is still seen occasionally today. It’s been parodied and redone multiple times including spots on “The Simpsons,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and even “The Office.” Yet, hardly anyone born in the 21st century will understand what they’re saying.

#3: I Pity the Fool

Quick trivia question: Who is Laurence Tureaud better known as? If you guessed, Mr. T, you’d be right. Appearing as Clubber Lang in “Rocky III,” his famous catchphrase almost comes off as a throwaway line while being interviewed before a match. The quote stuck with him and Tureaud has been using it ever since. Often misinterpreted, T has gone on record clarifying it’s about showing mercy, and not anger, but can easily be taken for the latter given who’s delivering the line. It’s become such an iconic part of his image that he had it trademarked so no one else could make use of it.

#2: Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon?

You know you’ve spent your advertising money well when even 40 years later, people still remember a single commercial. As one fancy car pulls up to another, one rider asks the other, [“Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon?”]. The high-end Dijon mustard company had been in business for more than 100 years before this famed commercial cemented them into the history books. Forever associating the brand with wealth, the slogan remained a heavy part of their advertising campaign for several years, including a new version released in 2013. It surely isn’t part of your daily vernacular but is certainly something far more obscure than some on this list.

#1: I Want My MTV

It was 1981 when “Music Television” debuted and aired “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. In much the same way that the MP3 changed music listening habits, so did MTV when they brought videos into our home. Within a year, the station’s new slogan, “I want my MTV” helped influence thousands of young music listeners to tune in and see the latest and greatest videos. It helped MTV become the place to be for all aspiring musicians. You weren’t going to get anywhere unless you had a video on MTV. The catchphrase was even included in the Dire Straits song, “Money for Nothing.” Alas, you could argue that YouTube killed the music video network, along with this saying.
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