“You’re Fired!” was the top phrase from the 2003-04 TV season, according to a language tracking group.
The phrase, uttered by Donald Trump on each episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” earned the top slot from the Global Language Monitor, a Danville, Calif.-based group that tracks and analyzes language trends.
The second spot went to “Mess O’ Potamia,” used on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to refer to the war in Iraq.
“Television has always had a disproportionate impact on culture, reverberating far beyond the confines of the studio world,” said Paul Payack, president of the GLM, in a press release.
“We’ve chosen the words and phrases most likely to have a lasting impact on popular culture,” Payack continued. “‘You’re Fired!’ is but one example that we hear repeated endlessly in the media and on the internet, while ‘Mess O’ Potamia’ more closely reflected world events.”
No. 3 on the list was “Girlie Men,” a catchphrase from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that moved from the political realm into TV legend when he used it at the Republican National Convention Aug. 31.
“God” grabbed the No. 4 spot, thanks to the popularity of CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia” and the mini-series “Angels in America.”
No. 5 belonged to “Wardrobe Malfunction,” the phrase singer Janet Jackson used to describe the Super Bowl halftime incident in which one of her breasts was exposed on camera.
Rounding out the top 10 were: “Infectious Disease” (from CBS’ forensic investigation show “CSI”); “OCD” (referring to obsessive-compulsive disorder on USA’s “Monk”); “The O.C.” (from a FOX show of the same name, which refers to Orange County); “Extreme Makeover” (made popular by the still-booming genre of reality shows); and “Grim Reaper” (from a Showtime original series).
The press release also identified several TV phrases as no longer hip, including “Fahgeddaboutit!” from the HBO series “The Sopranos.”
GLM released its “TeleWords” list to coincide with the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be televised by ABC on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET.
GLM also tracks buzzwords in other areas, including politics, sports, religion and the Internet.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.