The Worst Word in Any Script


I’m usually pulling a video or picture from somewhere else to feature on Unreality, but every so often a text article comes along that’s worth sharing. I found this piece from the New York Times to be particularly interesting, as it chronicles the rise of the word “Really?” as a hugely overused comedy trope and lame punchline. Think about it, how many bad shows have relied on it for a laugh when they didn’t know what else to say? How many good ones?

“The pilot of Showtime’s “House of Lies” last winter wasn’t four minutes old when Don Cheadle’s character, a high-priced consultant, spat a “Really?” at his father after Dad had criticized his child-rearing skills.

The military too. Last week’s premiere of ABC’s “Last Resort” had barely begun before a high-ranking officer threw a “Really?” at two subordinates who were goofing around. No wonder the whole submarine is now in the middle of a nuclear crisis.

And, yes, the plague has reached the highest levels of government. In the season finale of the HBO comedy “Veep” in June, what did Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Selina, the vice president of the United States, say to a staff member who had prematurely sent out a news release about his own promotion? “Really?” John C. Calhoun and who knows how many other oratorically inclined former vice presidents turned over in their graves.”

I highly recommend giving the entire thing a read. What’s that? You’re too lazy to read article more than 300 words long? Really?


  1. trashcanman October 4, 2012
  2. Bad Acid October 4, 2012
  3. Segashredder88 October 4, 2012
  4. Steve-O October 4, 2012
  5. Koze October 4, 2012
  6. Mr. Right October 4, 2012
  7. Deke October 4, 2012
  8. Chronoss October 5, 2012
  9. ChristianH October 5, 2012
  10. Charlie Ward October 6, 2012
  11. sam December 13, 2012
  12. Jason M July 17, 2013

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