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Fresh Living

Last night on “The Biggest Loser,” the phrase “Are you kidding me?!” was uttered no fewer than 5 times–3 of those by Kristin, who after breaking the record for most weight lost by a woman on campus, was ultimately voted off.

I like Kristin very much, but I would like to take this opportunity to publicly declare my dislike of “Are you kidding me?!”  We all have those phrases that get under our skin (sorry if yours is “under our skin”), and right now, “Are you kidding me?!” tops my list.

First, it’s grossly overused, much like the modifier “amazing” or the word “melty” (ok, so that’s only overused in Taco Bell commercials–but ew) or “literally” (incorrectly used, of course, a la, “I literally died”). 

Second, “Are you kidding me?!” is said with a tone that feels synthetic, like when a reality show contestant says it when they are presented with a challenge or twist in the game.  The disbelief inherent in the phrase just doesn’t ring true.  Did anyone really think that a reality show would just putter along with no twists and turns?  Does anyone really think that life will?

There’s just something fake about the emotions with which the phrase is usually delivered. In addition to the shock/disbelief, there’s a little bit of anger (the “k” in “kidding” is usually spit out forcefully) and a touch of glee (which the person is trying to hide under the shock and anger) all rolled up together.  It’s a summarizing phrase that summarizes too much, and I find the whole thing fairly exhausting. 

But maybe that’s just me; maybe I’m putting too fine a point on this whole thing.  I’ve certainly had “Are you kidding me?!” moments myself.  Whenever some crazy life thing happens about which I want to say, “There are exciting things about this, but also annoying and bizarre things about it,” though, I generally turn to the phrase “Come on!” (uttered using my best Will-Arnett-in-Arrested-Development impression).  Because, you know, “come on!”

Do you take issue with my “AYKM” critique? What phrases would you cut out of the cultural lexicon?   

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