Reality TV catchphrases are more pop culture one-liners

Those one-line phrases competition-based reality TV shows use to send contestants home aren’t just written on a whim, according to a Newsday investigation.

For example, the paper reports that “it took weeks” for Project Runway producer Shari Levine and others to come up with Heidi Klum’s line “You in, oh you out.”

Levine says that a show’s catchphrase is “just very quickly a visual moment or a sound moment that encapsulates lots of aspects of the show. It’s a water-cooler buzz moment.”

Despite producing The Weakest Link and Average Joe, Stuart Krasnow says he wants catchphrases to go away. “It feels more hokey. They remind the audience that there’s something contrived going on. … When you add a structural element to a show that’s about people kind of running amok … it brings you down to earth in what I’m not sure is a good way,” he said.

Most bizarrely, Newsday’s Amisha Padnani asserts that “sometimes the only reason people will watch a show is for the elimination line.”

Really? People watch just to hear Donald Trump say “You’re fired,” and that’s all they care about? Who are these people, and are they allowed to operate motor vehicles?

Let’ just say: They’re outta here [Newsday]
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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.