Top 10 Worst Lines of Dialogue on TV Shows
VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin
WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
These TV lines of dialogue are just the worst. For this list, we'll be looking at some bad TV writing, from laughable to cringe-inducing to just plain confusing. Our countdown includes "Gossip Girl," "2 Broke Girls," "Glee," and more!
Top 10 Worst Lines of Dialogue on TV Shows
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Lines of Dialogue on TV Shows.
For this list, we’ll be looking at some bad TV writing, from laughable to cringe-inducing to just plain confusing. There’s a lot of examples of great writing on television, but these aren’t it!
Before we get started, be sure to leave us a comment with the worst line of dialogue you can remember!
#10: The Subway Product Placement
“Hawaii Five-0” (2010-20)
Look, we understand that product placement is a thing that brings in a lot of money for shows, and we definitely don’t resent them for taking advantage of it. If Sonic Drive-In is going to pay “America’s Got Talent” to have all the judges drinking out of their cups then so be it. We won’t bat an eye! But, to basically insert a commercial for Subway into the script, like “Hawaii Five-0” did back in season 2… Well, that cringey, over-the-top advertising dialogue, that’s gonna get you a nice spot on this list! Hawaii Five-Oh-No-You-Didn’t!
#9: Clare Edwards’ Freak-Out
“Degrassi: The Next Generation” (2001-15)
We all know break-ups are tough. But they can be even more difficult to get through if you think that your ex has moved on while you’re still hurting. This is exactly where Clare finds herself after she and Eli break up on “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. However, rather than confront Eli in private, Clare decides to call him out publicly (and very dramatically), in front of everybody at Above the Dot. Say it with us: “Awwwkwardddd!” You gotta love the single tear sliding down Eli’s cheek though.
#8: Han Lee’s Comeback
“2 Broke Girls” (2011-17)
Part of the charm of “2 Broke Girls” is the quick wit and the one-liners. And, while Kat Dennings as Max is the queen of quips, the other characters have their share of great lines too! Well, sometimes they do. In season one, when Han tries to find an equally clever retort to Max’s “short and slow” play-off of “fast and loose”, it doesn’t quite land. The laugh track would have you believe his reference to one of the worst movies in the “Fast and Furious” franchise is a great comeback, but really, it feels pretty forced. Han is also South Korean, not Japanese, so the “Tokyo Drift” addition isn’t super relevant either.
#7: Chuck Bass’ High & Mighty Flex
“Gossip Girl” (2007-12)
In comedies, it’s funny when a character tries to portray themselves as cool, but says or does something decidedly uncool. But, “Gossip Girl” isn’t a comedy and Chuck Bass is definitely not playing it for laughs when he tries to intimidate Damien, whose father is a Belgian ambassador staying at Chuck's hotel. Claiming that even people in Europe know who he is probably isn’t the sharpest Chuck could have been. It’s a lame flex to begin with, but made even worse by the gravitas with which the line is delivered. It’s so ridiculous we ever get a little smirk out of Damien!
#6: The “I Guess I'm Just a Riddle” Line
“One Tree Hill” (2003-12)
We’re all for self-examination and for a character who can dig deep inside themselves in an effort to truly understand who they are. But, we’re also all for smart writing and natural dialogue. Peyton Sawyer’s description of herself in the first season of “One Tree Hill” is neither of those things. It’s just crass and kind of self-important in a weird, self-deprecating way. We’re not sure if the show’s writers were trying to play off the classic description of Nelson that a lovestruck Lisa provides in “The Simpsons” episode “Lisa's Date with Density”, or what. Either way, we prefer the “Simpsons” version.
#5: The Gold Stars
We’re not laughing, we’re not laughing… Okay, we’re laughing. Listen, we get Rachel Berry’s character; we get what they were going for… But we have to draw the line somewhere right? Rachel putting gold stars next to her name as a metaphor for her being a star is just… something else man. Hey, we love the confidence, but it’s just so ridiculously cringey. And this isn’t the first time we’ve had some stellar lines come from Rachel. You guys remember in the first episode, when she had this to say about her dating life?
#4: Ezra Fitz Proves Academic Smarts Don’t Equal Street Smarts
“Pretty Little Liars” (2010-17)
We don’t know his educational background, but we’re pretty sure that Mr. Wolf in “Pulp Fiction” doesn’t have a master’s degree in American Literature. And, yet, were you to get yourself into a situation involving a dead body in a car, we have no doubt you’d choose him to help clean up your mess rather than Ezra Fitz from “Pretty Little Liars”. That being said, Ezra is able to put Aria at ease regarding her dead body situation by reminding her of his higher-educational qualifications. What we’re most impressed with, though, is Aria’s ability to keep a straight face after he says it.
#3: Jessie’s Melodic Breakdown
“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)
One of the hallmarks of sitcoms of the 80s and 90s was the “very special episode.” This is the episode in a series that steps away from the regular laughable hijinx and takes on a darker, more important topic. For “Saved by the Bell” that episode comes in season two with “Jessie's Song”, in which Jessie Spano studies for midterms, forms a girl group, and becomes addicted to caffeine pills in an effort to do it all. The message of the episode is a great one but, unfortunately, it culminates in one of the most truly awful, yet iconic, lines in sitcom history.
#2: Grace Bowman’s Guileless Guilt
“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2008-13)
The original title for “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” was “The Sex Life of the American Teenager”. And, if you’ve seen the show, that probably doesn’t surprise you given how much intimacy and relationships play a part in the series. But, that’s not the problem. No, the problem comes from the terrible dialogue surrounding these conversations. When Grace Bowman links her father’s death to her defying decision to have sex with Jack, we get possibly the most uncomfortable line in the entire series. It might only be rivaled by Ben’s attempts to console Amy after she speaks less-than-nicely about herself. Are you guys swooning? We’re totally swooning.
#1: “We’re in the Endgame Now…” Wait, Wrong Franchise
Whether this is some fourth-wall-breaking shipping reference or a nod to the Avengers, we can’t be sure. Either way, it’s pretty terrible. Still, that doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise to the likes of “Riverdale”, a show filled to the brim with cringe-worthy lines. Take Archie’s speech about the highs and lows of high school football. Sure, we know how intense and important the game can be in the lives of the players and fans alike, as shown in “Friday Night Lights”. But this just isn’t it. Catch the players laughing themselves all the way to the bleachers with that kind of dialogue!