Fandom Language and Their TV Origins

To the casual viewer, phrases from some of our favourite TV shows may get used in passing, or as a joke. To those in fandoms (the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc., regarded collectively as a community or subculture), those same words become codes, identifiers of fellow fandom members when out there In Real Life (IRL). Either way, with the influence, the power of suggestion that our TV shows have over us, the language we hear on our screens has become part of our vocabulary too; who says watching TV isn’t educational?!

Let’s take a look at some of the words and phrases we use that have their origins in TV-verse.


GIF via Giphy

The beacons are lit

Okay, so that’s from a film/book rather than anything on TV, and we’re sure you’ve already seen this meme about the pale person at the beach, but that’s sort of the point we’re trying to make. We take the phrases and words we’re presented with in fiction, and apply them to our everyday lives.

As we’re already in the land of fantasy, we’ll jump straight from Middle Earth to Westeros itself. New Game Of Thrones fans will start with the old faithful quotes: Winter Is Coming for something ominous on the horizon (or a day when our bosses are actually in the office), and you know nothing, Jon Snow, for, well. When someone knows less than they think they do. Once you’ve been watching a while, words are wind becomes a thing to say to people who are all talk, because it’s true; words are empty unless you mean them. And if you’re loved up, that person is your sun and stars, and it is known – as in, everyone knows about it. Just hope that the wedding doesn’t turn into a red wedding

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The Simpsons

When it first aired back in 1989, no one would have expected that The Simpsons would still be running all these years later, or that it would prove to be an eerily-accurate soothsayer for many of the things we’ve witnessed since that very first episode. Another thing we have to credit The Simpsons with, is adding to our vocabulary. We’re fairly sure everyone has uttered eat my shorts or ay caramba because of this show, and don’t even pretend you haven’t dropped the occasional d’oh. But there are other words as well: the filler word diddly was brought to you by Flanders, Ms Higgens gave us cromulent – fine, or acceptable – and Bart is most responsible for the phrase craptacular: how did we even speak without this adjective in the past?


GIF via Giphy

Of the paranormal

Specifically, of Buffy and Supernatural, because honestly; if you left us to it, we could be at this all day about all the shows we like. Both the Scooby Gang and Team Free Will are often seen going into research mode when the latest apocalypse is coming (that’s hit the books for the rest of us). Both shows have characters that could at times be accused of being in denial-land, yet even those saving people and hunting things sometimes need a break, and are jonesing to have a little fun. They’re also all unfairly dollsome (attractive), and have been known to say bite me when they’re telling people to go to hell. In fact, these two shows have so much in common that we’re sensing either a missed opportunity for a crossover, or a conspiracy in the midst… **inserts X Files theme**

The Fun Stuff

Because it’s nice to put a smile on peoples’ faces, so we’re combining two of the happier shows for this one, namely Parks and Recreation and Friends. I love you and I like you might be the most adorable love confession ever, we are all April when we say I don’t want to do things. I want to not do things, and it’s near on impossible to be anywhere without hearing treat yo self said by someone.


GIF via Giphy

And finally, Friends, because where would we be without them? From Joey’s how you doin’, to Janice’s oh my god, this show had a phrase for everyone. Joey shared the most with us, actually, which is ironic, since Joey doesn’t share food, but he did impart the wisdom of the meat sweats. At least we now have a name for that gluttonous feeling after lunch. Ross tried, as Ross always did, with his unagi, which for him meant state of awareness, but for us, is actually sushi. Chandler contributed could I be anymore… which, c’mon, we’ve all used at some point. But the final spot has to go to Phoebe, winner of everything, who taught us not to be talked into doing things, with: I wish I could but I don’t want to.

We didn’t even get to Star Trek, did we? Oh well, that’s enough fandom speak for now: live long and prosper!