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Robert "Fish" Fishman: 1991 called, they want their teenage angst back.

Amelia: No, they just called again. They want that joke back.
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A common put down about how someone ran headfirst into Fashion Dissonance (or something related). Often it's something that is no longer fashionable, or that famously works for someone, but almost no one else.

Runs headfirst into Totally Radical nowadays. Or in other words, "The Nineties called, they want their Me Me back". A common variation is to replace "They want their (word) back" with "They said you can keep the (word)."

Compare If I Wanted X, I Would Y; Better by a Different Name.

Not to be confused with We Want Our Jerk Back, or Mexico Called They Want Texas Back.

Examples of X Called. They Want Their Y Back. include:


Advertising

  • An Australian ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken used the line, "The pigeons called. They want their lunch back."
  • American restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday released several TV advertisements regarding its image rebranding in 2007. One ad involved a spokesman removing a stained glass lamp from a restaurant saying: "The 70's called, they want their lamp back."


Comic Books

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 "So... You have a close enough relationship with Kenny Rogers' balls that they called you, huh?"

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  • In one Spider-Man story, he's going undercover at a club for Vampire Vannabes. He dresses in what he thinks is appropriate goth-gear, only for an Edward Cullen lookalike to taunt "The nineties called, they want their vampire back!"
  • In a story where he had Wolverine hostage, Deadpool taunted Daken like this ("It was 1986. It wants its hair..."). When he says "back", Daken had already chopped off his hand.


Comic Strips

  • The title character of Frazz once took a long bike ride on a chilly day, ending up with only the lower half of his legs windburned.
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 Caulfield: (pointing to Frazz's white-and-red legs) Poland called. They want their flag back.

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  • Get Fuzzy: "Hilary Clinton called, she wants her manners back!"
  • One FoxTrot story arc had Paige's pink glitter pen accidentally put in the washer, causing it to bleed on Peter's sweatshirt.
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 Jason: The Ice Capades called. They want their costume back.

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Fan Works

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 Tom "Servo": It is pointless to resist? Yeah, the Emperor just called. He wants his friggin' lines back!

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 Ino: Hey, Sakura, Christina Ricci called. She wants her giant forehead back, and her movie career.

Sakura: Well, Renee Zellweger called. She wants her UGLY BLONDE BITCH FACE back! ...And her movie career.

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Films -- Live-Action

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 Robert "Fish" Fishman: 1991 called, they want their teenage angst back.

Amelia: No, they just called again. They want that joke back.

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  • A variation: from The Breakfast Club, Bender to Vernon; "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"
  • Esther from Film/Orphan gets this from a classmate about her old fashioned, frilly dress. "Oh, look. Little Bo Peep texted me. She wants her outfit back."


Live-Action TV

  • Subverted (but to make it funnier) in How I Met Your Mother. Marshall wants to wear some really tacky pants they called "Joey Buttafuoco pants". Ted says, "Bel Biv Devoe called, even they don't want those pants back."
  • Dancing With the Stars
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 Sonia Kruger: (about a wig) Willie Mason called. He says he wants his hair back.

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 Spinner: OK, I guess it's Straight Eye for the Gay Guy. OK... this... Enrique called. He wants his shirt back.

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    • Another good example is the Wild Teen Party episode where Manny asks an increasingly drunken Emma: "Does Mexico know you've taken all of their tequila?"
  • Kyle XY, episode "What's the Frequency, Kyle?":
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 Josh Trager: Hilary Duff called and she wants her shirt back.

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 Luke: Copernicus called; the universe doesn't revolve around you.

Joan: What a coincidence, because the dork police called and said they want their leader back.

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 Andy: Oh, by the way, 1985 called. It wants its car back.

Dwight: Well 1985 better have a time machine because I drive an '87.

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  • A variation in Seinfeld: "Hey, George! The ocean called, they're running out of shrimp." "Yeah, well, the jerk store called, they're running out of you!" "What's the difference? You're their all-time best seller."
    • Well the life support machine called...
    • And what made this a real kicker was that George had been saving this comeback up all episode, and had even gone so far as to recreate the original scenario where the first putdown had been used so that he could spring it. He wasn't prepared for a comeback to his comeback.
  • Scrubs had J.D. describe an elderly patient as a "neat old lady" and Turk tells him "the 1930s called, they want their lingo back." His repeated use of the trope in the conversation led to the page quote.
  • Full House:
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 Stephanie: Hey Kimmy, Big Bird called. He wants his legs back.

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 "Wonder Woman called, she wants her belt back."

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  • Frasier, to Niles: "Niles, I've got news for you -- Copernicus called and you are not the centre of the universe!"
  • Friends
    • Chandler tries it, but screws it up (a Throw It In, as Matthew Perry actually messed up the line):
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 Chandler: Donald Trump wants his blue blazer black.

Ross: What?

Chandler: Blue blazer back. He, he wants it back.

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    • Also from Friends, Chandler responds to Ross' new leather pants by informing him, "Tom Jones called, he wants his pants back."
  • From a special episode of American Idol:
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 Paula: (to Jack Black) The School of Rock called, they want their diploma back...

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  • Sometimes used by either Stacey London or Clinton Kelly on What Not to Wear to mock some of the outdated or unusual fashion choices made by the subjects of their show.
  • Kelso attempted this in the That 70s Show episode "Bye-Bye Basement". Fez walks in wearing a puffy shirt, and Kelso tries to make fun of him, but isn't very successful.
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 Kelso: Hey, uh, puffy-shirt guy called, he wants his puffy shirt back.

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  • Thirty Rock. Jack uses this line a lot on Liz.
  • Saturday Night Live
    • One skit from the early '90s consisted entirely of idiots doing variations of this joke at each other.
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 "Siegfried and Roy called, they want their relationship back."

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    • Another one featured a parody of The Weakest Link in which Anne Robinson's shtick devolved into nothing but insults.
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 "Fred Flintstone called, he wants his head back."

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    • In one of David Spade's "Hollywood Minute" segments from a mid-90's Weekend Update, Spade said of Skeet Ulrich, "Johnny Depp called; he wants his DNA back."
  • And speaking of The Weakest Link, this gem from the half-hour daytime edition with George Gray:
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 Gino: "The 70s called, they want their [sweater] back!"

George: "Now, that's not nice, not everybody can afford to shop at Pimps R Us!"

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 Castle: "Well, how about just a lowkey evening with your girlfriends? You guys can have a John Hughes marathon and fill out a Cosmo quiz.

Alexis: "Dad, the 80s just called, it wants its plan back."

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  • A Mad TV sketch during the California gubernatorial recall, with a confrontation between governor Grey Davis and would-be governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
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 Grey Davis(answering the phone mid-sentence): "What's that? Okay, I'll tell him." (beat) "That was Skeletor. He wants your wife's face back."

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Music

  • In the rap spoof "Iraq Without Me", Saddam Hussein plays this card in the middle of berating Osama bin Laden. "By the way, Castro called -- he wants his beard back!"
  • The title of a song by the Awkward Romance: "Judas Called, He Wants His Sense Of Loyalty Back".


New Media

  • "Hey, Jermaine Jackson called ... he wants his hair back"
  • A common response to a Wall of Text is "China called, they want their wall back."
  • The first image caption from the top down on the TF Wiki article for Crumplezone actually reads, "Trap-Jaw called, he wants his head back."
    Also, the first image caption from the top fown for the TF Wiki article for Bulkhead actually reads, "Crumplezone called, he wants his head back."
  • A common bumper sticker: "Your village called, they want their idiot back."
    • T-shirt variation: "Your village called, their idiot is missing."
  • The Doctor Who analysis blog TARDIS Eruditorum: A Psychochronography In Blue has a photo caption for K-9 and Company reading "The 1980s called. They said you can keep their bloody title card."
  • As a heckle from Cavalier Fan to San Antonio Spur Patty Mills on 2/25/18 at Quicken Loans Arena, "Mills Jamaica just called, they want their bobsledder back." A reference to the resemblance of Mill's hairstyle to Sanka from the 1993 Disney movie Cool Runnings.


Pro Wrestling

  • Circa 2001, Edge interrupted X-Pac, who was complaining about how he used to be a big deal.
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 Edge: 1998 called, they're sick and tired of you, so feel free to join us in the year 2001 at any time.

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Video Games

  • Ebaumsworld's game Avalanche routinely dishes out insults when you lose, one of which is "Your village called. They want their idiot back."
    • Drama Con used a variation of this for a T-shirt: "Your village called. They want their cosplayer back."


Web Comics

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 Vaarsuvius: Gordium called -- they have a knot that you may want to take a look at.

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Web Original

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 "Todd McFarlane called. Spawn wants his cape back."

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 "Final Fantasy IX called, they want their unexpected final boss back."

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 Nostalgia Critic: Hey, MC Hammer called. He's being outsucked.

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 Linkara: Oh, and by the way, George Clooney in Ocean's 11 called, he wants his fashion sense back

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Western Animation

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 Shoreleave: Waylon Flowers called, he wants his madam back. Boom!

Hunter Gathers: Oh yeah? Well The Village People called, AND THEY WANT YOU TO GO FUCKING KILL YOURSELVES YOU PRANCEY BASTARDS!

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 Lisa: Buckingham Palace called. They want their hat back.

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 Stan: Steve, a homosexual giant called, he wants his shirt back.

(phone rings)

Homosexual Giant: Sorry, false alarm, I found it under my couch...

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 Peter: Harry, Double Oh Seven called, he wants his life back.

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  • In Regular Show, using this phrase will literally send Y back to X. The whole plot of the episode was that Mordecai and Rigby, the lead characters, have cell phones from the 1980's. When they get a call that says, "The 80's called, they want their cell phones back!", since the two were holding the phone, they went back to the 80's. This was hilariously used at the end of the episode, where the two call their boss and (since they now know it's possible,) send the recliner he's sitting in back to the 1970's.
  • Played with in Archer:
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 "Hi, it's the 1930s. Can we have our words, clothes, and shitty airplane back?...Call you back, 1930s! And hey, watch out for that Adolf Hitler. He's a bad egg!"

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