“Shut The Front Door!”


The other day I posted a query on Twitter.

The question was, “Will someone please tell me why ‘shut the front door’ is the biggest runaway phrase right now?”

Moments after I sent the tweet, a gentleman replied that he had just heard it on the TV show Castle. And when I replied asked but why has it become so popular and why now?  He replied, “a polite alternative I guess.”

It appears he’s not so off.  To take it a step further, where did it start and why?

The phrase has yet to garner a page on Wikipedia but has earned a place on UrbanDictionary.com as a “more publicly acceptable and FCC-friendly version of  S.T.F.U. originally coined by Buckethead on WJRR Radio” which broadcasts out of Orlando, FL.

I first noticed the phrase from the Oreo Fudge Creams commercial and naturally when writing this post went to YouTube to embed the link (above). The delivery and timing in the Oreo commercial is stellar and the first time I heard it I laughed out loud. But since then the phrase has been in the TV show Castle, the movie Bad Teacher and a host of other TV shows. And of course wouldn’t know it, someone on YouTube has kindly edited together a series of clips of it being said and the enterprising individual is making t-shirts with the phrase.

The phrase is obviously intended to show genuine surprise as the contestant from So You Think You Can Dance legitimately is.  However, now it seems that the phrase has lost its punchline.

I’m still curious though… why has the phrase taken off with such abundance and has it moved into the mainstream lexicon as a “polite alternative?”  Will it stick around for a while or is it already on its way out with its overuse in mainstream media?  What if anything might replace it?

What say you?

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  1. When I was in college some decades ago when young ladies were expected to be polite and we were not necessarily, we would post notes around the dorm to remind ourselves before going home that instead of saying “s…t” we might say shoot or instead of “f…k” we might say phooey. Hopefully we would catch ourselves in time to change the word mid-speak. I am not a purtitan though really old by some standards. I am still a ’60’s kid in my soul. So I am interested when my own kids now caution me to clean up my language in the prescence of their kids. Hence the idea of saying shut the front door seems like a parental version of doing what my college classmates did many eons ago–then to protect our parents delicate ears and now to protect their kids. So that is my take.

  2. Tom says:

    It means “SHUT THE FUCK UP”

  3. Jax says:

    Stacy from What Not to Wear said it a while ago. Way before that Oreo commercial. I am not sure that she coined the phrase or anything. But, it is the first time I ever heard it. And since then, I have heard it quite a bit. It makes me cringe because I feel as if people say it expecting to sound witty, but they just sound like a copy cat to me.

  4. Nancy Forbes says:

    Herd Rachel Zoe Say it like5 yrs ago,that was the first time I had ever herd the expression.

  5. Amber M. says:

    In highschool we started using that phrase in 2004 And it really caught on by 2005. SoCal

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  7. Jarett says:

    I can tell you this is absolutely true I kid you not! About eight years ago or so my sister’s boyfriend and my family were sitting around the tv talking and watching wife swap I believe the show it was and the lady was yelling at the other husband and so he stormed out so she yelled “shut the front door! ” she kind of accidently Stuttered. After this was said I brought up to my sister’s boyfriend while every one was laughing how it sounded as if she were going to say “shut the f… Up” every one agreed well I had thought that was the end of it I went to bed woke up next day and as a joke ray sisters boyfriend was telling me that well he was my Idol when I was a child so I of course went to school copied him and then other kids started copying me with the saying then I started hearing it in towns over then after a year I had heard it in TV you can believe me or not but this started from I think the show was called wife swap where she accidently Stuttered prior to saying front door. And we took it from there

  8. Perfik says:

    The phrase originated on the British TV show One Foot In The Grave in 1994.

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