top 25 TV putdowns

The BBC has an article today, detailing the top 25 tv putdowns, as chosen by the Radio Times magazine.

bbc link

Some of the list are worthy contenders IMO

but i bet dopers have some better options. Lets hear them.

Here’s my vote for the greatest putdown in TV history. It’s from the 1970s sitcom ‘Rhoda’, starring the limitlessly beautiful Valerie Harper. This guy wants to date Rhoda, but she’s not interested. She has tried to let him down gently, but he’s the relentlessly optimistic, cheerful type, and persistent. One evening he turns up at her apartment unexpectedly. Rhoda opens the door and says, “What are you doing here?”. Guy says, " I just thought I’d stop by and cheer you up". Without missing a beat, Rhoda says, “You cannot do both”.

I like the fact that it’s so succinct.

The Radio Times list is not very impressive. So calling someone a ‘stupid scouse git’ is a ‘putdown’? I don’t think so. It may be a fondly remembered phrase for those who like the Alf Garnett character and Warren Mitchell’s delivery of the lines and character, but it’s just a dumb insult.

I agree. Most of the ones on the list do nothing for me, though if I knew the context or the characters it might help.

My own list of classics would include
On Cheers, Frasier to Cliff: “What color is the sky in your world?”
and, though it’s more a rebuttal than a putdown, on SNL, Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtin: “Jane, you ignorant slut!”

And it’s been too long since I’ve seen the show, but I imagine Married With Children came up with something worthy of such a list.

Pretty lame list. Could really use a little Fred Sanford: “You’re so ugly, I should stick your face in some dough and make gorilla cookies!”

Jane you ignorant slut.
Well actually in the lines after that famous one were even deadlier.

Carla from Cheers could have the top 25 all her own.

Its the usual cheap spacefilling poll which blights british television in recent years…

They’ll fill five hours with people speaking about the results. Saves them making any new comedy programmes.

They seem to have got their usual selection of people who don’t the subject to vote on it…

As could Edmund Blackadder.

Blackadder to Prince George:

“Even when we were babies, I had to show you which part of the nurse was serving the drinks!”

To Mrs. Miggins:

“Mrs. Miggins, if we were the last three people on earth, I’d be starting a family with Baldrick!”

After stabbing Mad Prince Ludwig:

“I knew that Ludwig was a master of disguise, whereas Nursie is an insane old woman with an udder fixation!”

To Kate/Bob (about Baldrick):

“Kate, he looks like what he is-a dungball in a dress!”

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this one on both Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show, and it’s the perfect all-purpose line. As a compliment, it’s matchless; as an insult, it’s subtle and devastating.

From the great but forgotten TV show, Action. Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) has made a prostitute into a vice president of his movie production company. His assistant Stuart is upset.

Stuart: Your whore over there… . .
Peter: No, Stuart. Wendy is my prostitute. You’re my whore.

Another champion was Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development:

Lucille: [shrieking at a waiter] Take it back. If I wanted something your thumb touched I’d eat the inside of your ear.

[Lindsay walks into the Ten Commandments and breaks her shoe]
Lucille: They’re just heels, honey. They can only support so much weight.

My memory might be failing me here, but I think there was an episode of Cheers where John Cleese plays a marriage couselor. Sam and Diane go to him for a pre-marriage advice session and there is an exchange something like this:

Cleese: “…when I got divorced-”
Sam: “Wait, wait. You’re divorced, and you’re giving us advice?”
Cleese: “Yes, I feel that I learned a lot from my divorce and that it in fact made me a much better counselor.”
Diane, swooning: “You are the wisest man I have ever met.”
Cleese, deadpan: “High praise indeed.”

My favorite from Blackadder was Edmund rattling off a list of insults at someone (Percy, I think), including “You ride a horse slightly less well than another horse would.”

Futurama: Mother’s day

Prof.: I was out fleeing some robots, and the silvery moonlight glinting off their bloody claws made me think of you.

Mom: It’s … been a long time … You puss-dripping sack of double-smoked butt jerky!

My favorite is from MAS*H. I don’t remember the set-up but I do remember the zinger. Klinger responds to someone, saying, “If my dog had a face as ugly as yours, I’d shave its butt and teach it how to walk backwards.”

Frasier Crane, Seattle radio psychologist, once attempted a devastating retaliation on two radio characters (Carlos and the Chicken) who mocked him on the air. Frasier and Niles thank that Frasier’s use of his quotations reference book will make him invincible. What’s funny is not that the insults are that great, - what’s funny is that Frasier and Niles think that they’ve found the greatest of all put-downs!

I tried to look up the exact quote and found this at a TV script website:

Frasier: … I’ve decided it’s time to fight back. I was up to all hours last night crafting my response to those two idiots. I believe I have arrived at a masterful rebuttal.

Frasier and Niles cross to the table where quotations books are laid across the table along with Frasier’s speech.

Niles: I see your “Bartlett’s” is out. You’re not pulling any punches!
Frasier: Hardly. I go in swinging with La Rochefoucauld: “If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.”
Niles: [boxing-match style] Ouch!
Frasier: And when I’ve knocked them reeling, I go in with a jab of Dorothy Parker: “Wit has truth in it, wise-cracking is merely calisthenics with words.”
Niles: Pow!
Frasier: And when they’re bloody and against the ropes, I go in with the kill - [shadow-boxing] Twain, Wilde, Twain, Twain, Mencken!
Niles: It’s not a fight, it’s an execution!

One of my favourites, not on the list, is from a British sitcom but I can’t remember which:

It went something like - “Family braincell in use?”

As well as Blackadder, Fry and Laurie and Ab Fab, I remember 90s satirical sitcom Drop the Dead Donkey as having some scathing put-downs.

David Spade played as a movie commentator on SNL’s “Weekend Update” in one episode when he said, “I would’ve gone to see your movie but I was sick that day.” (or something to that effect). I don’t remember which movie he was talking about, but with the volume of crap that Hollywood churns out these days it could be just about anything.

Designing Woman episode "Punishing the Right People:

Julia: “Imogene, I’m terribly sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to move your car.”
Imogene: “Why?”
Julia: “Because you’re leaving!”
Imogene: “What are you talking about?”
Julia: “I’m talking about the only thing worse than all these people who have never had any morals before AIDS are all you holier-than-thou types who think you’re exempt from getting it!”
Imogene: “Well, for your information, I am exempt! I haven’t lived like these people! And I don’t care what you say, Julia Sugarbaker! I believe this is God’s punishment for what they’ve done!”
Suzanne: “Oh, yeah? Then how come lesbians get it less?”
Imogene: “That is not for me to say! I just know that these people are getting what they deserve!”
Julia: “Imogene, get serious! Who do you think you’re talking to?! I’ve known you for 27 years, and all I can say is, if God was giving out sexually transmitted diseases to people as a punishment for sinning, then you would be at the free clinic all the time! And so would the rest of us!”

While Zebra is right about Carla from “Cheers”, a putdown I always liked was from Steve Hightower of the The Steve Harvey Show . Hightower was a high school teacher, and he once said to his class about their low grades, “Those aren’t test scores, those are shoe sizes!”

The insane but curvaceous Marta is dancing in ST:TOS “Whom Gods Destroy.” Spock is asked if he enjoys her dancing, and offhandedly says it reminds him of the dancing of Vulcan schoolchildren.

And who could forget that Klingon officer’s description of James T. Kirk in TOS “The Trouble with Tribbles,” as a “swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood”?

Not as bad as calling for the Enterprise to be towed away by a garbage scow.

Or saying it should be hauled away as garbage.