The Tropes That Have Aged Poorly in Sitcoms From The 1990s and 2000s
Upon reflection some tv shows and movies of "a certain time" don't hold up to scrutiny.
And there are reasons.
We've grown A LOT as a society and that means the art reflecting it has evolved too.
This can make us torn between where we are as people and the pull of our nostalgia.
It doesn't mean we can't watch but it's all through a new lens.
Redditor Fracassi_Fanboy wanted to discuss the comedy shows of the past and the parts of their stories that can make us cringe. So they asked everyone:
"What's a common element from 90s or 00s sitcoms that has aged poorly?"
For me so much of it is production quality.
Good Lord we have come a long way,.
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"People living far beyond their means."
"Sex And The City comes into my mind."
"Everyone but Carrie was suppose to be wealthy in that show."
"Clip shows. I am doing a binge on Family Ties currently and they have about one clip show per year. Same premise every time: a visitor arrives and the family reminisces about previous episode."
"I hated these back then, and I completely skip them in the re-watch now."
"Clip shows are just a remnant of another era. People didn't regularly tape or rewatch shows that weren't in reruns, so they were a chance to revisit a pivotal scene or funny moment."
"Sometimes they were used to remind viewers of older plot points before they were brought up again. Sometimes episode production was delayed and they needed to put together an episode quickly/cheaply, or a show was nearing the end of its run and they wanted additional episodes for syndication."
"Sex being portrayed as a currency the wife doles out when she needs something from the husband or to reward him for obeying her."
"I wonder how much of this was pure tv show fiction and how much actually reflected peoples sex lives at the time because of how women's sexuality was handled back then?"
"Like I’m married now and my wife is nothing like these tv characters who apparently would opt out of ever having sex if possible. But maybe if she was born a few decades earlier she would’ve been raised to be ashamed of her own feelings and actually not enjoy sex. Who knows."
"The 'ugly' years for the gorgeous main character are usually just the actor in a fat suit and fake braces. Bonus points for glasses."
"Shows will still do this with the 'ugly' or 'nerdy' characters who are still crazy good looking. Elena in 'One Day at a Time' is a beautiful woman, but ya know, glasses and a pony tail."
"New Girl did a very poor job of trying to make Zooey friggin' Deschanel 'nerdy' because she has glasses and dresses 'quirky.'"
"Her glasses don’t even have lenses in them after the first couple episodes, because they wanted to show off her giant Bambi eyes."
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"I don’t know if this fits into this category but... their nice bedrooms!! The kids rooms are always HUGE! And so greatly decorated. I used to draw floor plans for my dream room at age 6! Lol."
"Mostly this is because they have to have room for the cameras of course."
Everybody's homes were really spacious. It's odd.
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“'Broke' characters or middle-class ones having really nice homes/apartments/being clearly comfortable."
Malcolm in the Middle managed this the best. Them not having any money was a pretty critical component of the show, even when it wasn't part of the plot."
"The incompetent dad. The dad is always portrayed as an idiot that can't do anything without the wife telling him how."
"That's because most family sitcoms in the 1980s-2000s were set up as a star vehicle for the comedian playing the dad. And "goofy idiot" is an easy sell for laughs. Ray Romano and Tim Allen and Jim Belushi and Kevin James (just as a small example) already had established comic personas as brash buffoons, and their sitcoms were designed to showcase them."
"The wife characters were there to be foils for the husband's hijinks, just beautiful plot devices for the most part."
"Just like how on I Love Lucy, Lucy was the fumbling buffoon who made everything spiral out of control and Ricky was there to pick up the pieces- the show was designed to showcase her. And why in Roseanne, Roseanne was far more likely to f**k up and have to learn a lesson while Dan said 'I told you so.'"
"The show was based on Roseanne' self-deprecating comedy. Or why Fran Fine is constantly making insane choices and misunderstanding things, but Mr. Sheffield stays cool and collected- the show was called The Nanny, not The Rich Widower."
"The uptight, joyless mother."
"Smart, patient, gorgeous, and perfect wife with lazy, stupid, and fat husband. (Marge and Homer, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Tim Allen had two in Jill and his work husband Al)."
"Everybody Loves Raymond was every single thing that's wrong with that era of sitcom. Every. Single. Thing."
"That show makes me rage. Justice for Debra!"
"I remember seeing a comment about this show recently that brought up the interesting point how everyone on Ray's side of the family was the problem (not just the mother) and that Debra was a saint for putting up with them lol."
"The playboy character who makes elaborate schemes to get with women."
"I think I saw a blog one time that described how several of Barney Stinson’s schemes to get laid qualified as sex crimes."
"I got into a discussion with some friends about creepy womanizers in sitcoms, mostly who was worse, Barney Stinson or Dennis from IASIP. I firmly believe that if Glenn Howerton
Rob McElhenny played Barney everyone would look at the character way differently. But because it's NPH doing it, it's just considered wacky hijinks."
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"I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve never seen a single nun in my life. But somehow they’re everywhere in old sitcoms."
Nuns are funny. Let's keep nuns and lose almost everything else.
Some people will just believe anything.
And if you call a statement a fact long enough, many people take it as gospel.
Some facts are absolute truths, others can be malleable.
Lies are exposed.
And research is an actual art form.
Redditor OfficialVickiLuv wanted to share the truths we need to know, so they asked:
"What is a common 'fact' that you know is bulls**t?"
There is no such thing as an alternative fact.
So let's start there.
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"Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker."
"I used to believe this one. I was very disappointed when I learned it was BS."
"There are two kinds of thinkers: Right brain people are who are creative, and the people that use the left side who can do math."
"Try telling that to psychologists/psychiatrists who do research/clinical studies/trials. I’ve been denied dozens of times to partake in research studies revolving around mental health, specifically depression, and anxiety."
"Why did they deny me [even tho I was a perfect candidate]? Because I write with my left hand. And apparently it would make their study 'invalid' because they 'don’t want to interfere with results.'"
"Please tell me how excluding a large amount of people from a research study would somehow give you the correct answer for treating mental health for everybody?"
"That you have to wait 24 hours to report someone missing."
"Especially with children, the quicker the police can get to the 'crime' scene the fresher the evidence and easier to follow leads. I used crime in quotes because there could have been a crime or the kid might have just wandered off."
"But it's not just for kids though... If you know someone is a home body and never leaves home and you know something has happened, by all means call the police. Even if they like to take random trips, it never hurts to inform the law."
"Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis."
"Probably just normal. Cracks are just little bubbles of nitrogen that settle where there's space. They don't build up over time, once the space is occupied by a little bubble then no more can join it. A knuckle that hasn't been cracked in 50 years is the same as a knuckle that hasn't been cracked in a few hours."
Give a HowlAngry Wolf GIF by CuriosityStreamGiphy
"Alpha wolves being real. The guy who did the original study disproved his one study and gets mad when people get it wrong now... lol."
"Came looking for this, also extrapolating this BS to human beings and 'sigma,' go read. The articles are all available. It's nonsense that people still believe s* like this with access to everything in their hands."
The wolf pack is always ready.
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"A 'factoid' is an often repeated statement that isn't true, but is now believed to be true due to people saying it all the time. Its not a mini fact, or like, fun piece of trivia."
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The quote was made by Kellogg's to make people buy more cereal. If you search up articles that say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, most are sponsored by Kellogg's."
"I’m not sure Kellogg’s made it up. In my country there’s a saying that’s been around forever that alludes to the importance of breakfast that goes 'have breakfast like a king and dinner like a poor person.' Kellogg’s might’ve simply exploited an existing popular belief."
"Caffeine makes you short."
"This one makes me laugh. I've been drinking coffee since I was like 9 years old and turned out 190cm tall."
"Potatoes absorb toxins. The amount of people that believe putting potato slices in your shoes or wear them around your neck as a holistic medical treatment is shockingly high. It’s just oxidation."
"I recall seeing a antivaxx meme that said if you had to get a COVID shot to put a potato slice at the injection site to absorb all the toxins. I’m all for sharing that idea if it makes people get vaccinated."
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"Bats are blind."
"I remember getting into a really stupid argument shortly after high school with a friend over this who just couldn't believe that bats weren't actually blind."
"Fine. Bats are legally blind."
Now I've learned more.
Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below.
Movies can mold who we are.
Some stories caught on film leave an impression that we take with us through our dying breaths.
That's why the arts and artists are so vital.
But there are some movies and specifically movie moments that can be to much to rewatch.
We may love the movie, but a certain scene may always be on the fast forward list.
Sometimes it's all too real.
Redditor KentuckyFriedEel wondered what movie moments have left scars for life, so they asked:
"Which movie scene is really hard to sit through and watch?"
The death of Artax in 'The Neverending Story.'
Scared me for life.
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"Swingers. Mike calling and leaving messages over and over for the girl whose phone number he got at the bar."
"Never. Call. Me. Again."
"Trainspotting. Specifically the scene where they wake up from their drug induced haze to find the dead baby. The decomposition effect made to look like they neglected to check on her for DAYS... Then their best and only response is to shoot up and get high again. Dull the pain. Just tragic."
"A very good portion of the original French version of Martyrs."
"That movie is both the definition of gore porn, but also a solid story that makes sitting through how uncomfortable it is completely worth it. It’s unfortunate that Hollywood somehow made a mostly shot for shot remake and completely ruined the movie."
"My housemate and I watched Martyrs and spent like the next three days talking about it, that movie was INTENSE."
"Green Mile. I leave when Mr Jingles chases the thread bobbin, and again for the execution scene gone wrong. I've seen both scenes once. Don't need to see that again."
"The book is as heart-wrenching as the movie. It's my all-time favorite Stephen King book, but it's tough to get through."
"When I saw that execution scene as a kid I was at a friend's house and decided to go home right there. Came back next day to finish it though cause didn't wanna get made fun of."
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"Annihilation. The bear quietly screaming. ‘Help me.'"
"Absolutely not, thank you."
Never saw that one. Maybe I'll take a peek.
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"Hereditary. Watching the kid just pull up to the bed is pretty tough to watch. The scream by the mom the next morning is also pretty tough."
"I've never gone back and watched it again, because it skeeved me out so much, but that scene in Dr. Sleep, where the Shine Vampires are stealing all the shine from that kid through pain was ROUGH."
"I came here to say this. Jacob Tremblay practiced for months before the scene to be sure he could get it right. When the time came to shoot it he did so well that all the Shine Vampires forgot their lines and struggled to finish the scene. The first time I saw it was pretty traumatizing."
"The shower scene in Schindlers List. It took me years to get through it, even though it ends up just being a shower and not a gas chamber. Also the Tony episode on the new Dahmer series. I was hysterical watching it and feel sick thinking about how much real people suffered because of him."
"I watched Schindlers List for the first and only time a few years ago and couldn't stop crying after."
"The scene in the SpongeBob movie where SpongeBob and Patrick dry up."
"I know this guy that loved movies and would give me all these high brow recommendations. One Saturday morning, I decided I wanted to watch a movie and was considering one of his recommendations. I watched the SpongeBob movie instead. And I made the right choice. Saturday morning is for cartoons."
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"Saving Private Ryan - when the German soldier is plunging the knife into Mellish."
"For me it is when the medic is dying after attacking the machine gun nest. All those soldiers standing around absolutely helpless."
"Oh God don't get me started. Only scene from a movie that gets my physically angry."
All good movies. All to never watch again.
Every person, and every relationship, is unique, and that includes what makes each partner deeply and truly happy, or annoyed.
Since all of us have our little quirks, it makes sense that our partners would enjoy some of them but not others.
But it's hard to tell how each behavior will be received.
Redditor HotWife_Aisha asked:
"What quirky thing does your partner do?"
"She makes this cute nasally 'hmm' when I get in bed after she's asleep. I don't know why but it makes me happy."
It's the Effort That Counts
"My wife never screws a lid back on a jar. She just gives the lid a 1/100th of a turn so that it just sort of, kind of, possibly latches just long enough to make it halfway from the counter to the fridge."
"She hoards gas station cups. The disposable ones. That most people would throw away."
"She's not re-using them, either. She just empties them in the sink and then leaves them next to the sink."
"I regularly go in and throw them away, but I think my record disposal at one time was like 15. Just chillin' in our bathroom."
What Personal Space?
"My wife is native Italian."
"Italians are weird. It's like they have ZERO concept of personal space."
"I, am a New Yorker. Personal space, is our thing. You don't get too close... you don't rub up on people on the Subways... you leave a little space between the person you are talking to."
"Italians, will get up like nose to nose with you. Stand RIGHT behind you. Like leaving NO space."
"Often I will be in the kitchen, making tea or something and I turn around and BAM, it's like my wife wants to stand in my shadow. Or I am getting something out of the closet, and back up, and BAM, she is like right there... trying to become ONE with me or something... instead of walking around, and just leaving that inch or two of personal space to allow movement."
"All her relatives are like this too. When they talk to me, it's like they are standing on my toes... that close. Like, back the f**k up a step or two. D**n, it's creepy."
It Gets Better Before It Gets Worse
"Any recently decluttered area becomes new grounds for more cluttering."
His Version is Better
"He cannot properly remember the lyrics to any song. And he insists on singing it his way even after he’s been corrected about the lyric."
"He stutters for a word, and when I give him the word he's looking for, he says, 'YES! THAT!' and goes on with what he was saying."
"She literally cannot stop dropping and breaking things like plates, sunglasses, etc."
"She's a really talented athlete and smart to boot but oddly clumsy. I think it's cute... But it gets expensive."
Make It an Experience
"He likes a special kind of spoon for his coffee."
"About two years ago, when I realized that our set of cutlery was missing several parts (where the h**l do they go?!) I bought a new one, but since the old cutlery was alright, just incomplete, I didn't throw it away. Now we have two sets of cutlery in the drawer, but always use matching ones for the table."
"Before that, my husband had complained that sometimes he won't find a clean teaspoon because they were either dirty or in the dishwasher, so I bought a separate set of six teaspoons that look different from both of our cutlery sets."
"We have also a few of these teaspoons that you sometimes find in the big teabag boxes of Ahmad Tea, which I drink daily, as a freebie. So all in all, there are four different kinds of teaspoons in our household."
"He only uses the fancier ones from the second set of cutlery for his coffee, because they look nicer, he says."
"He's never asked me for it, but he did mention it once when he was making coffee for himself."
"Since then, every time I bring him coffee, I make sure that it's served with his favorite kind of spoon. He's over 60 and some would regard it childish, but what's the harm in considering his preference?"
"One day I went to kiss my wife and she just started breaking out laughing. She tried and tried to keep a straight face to kiss me back but couldn’t."
"When she could finally contain her laughter enough to talk, she asked, 'What if I just blew into your mouth when you tried to kiss me?'"
"Just the thought alone had her in stitches for a solid minute. Predictably, she blew into my mouth when I went to kiss her after this exchange. That was a couple of years ago and she still does it here and there, but not often enough that I keep my guard up. It catches me off guard every. Single. Time."
"Anyway, she’s hilarious and I love that she keeps me on my toes!"
Comfy Blanket Burritos
"She wraps herself in a blanket and adorably says that she’s a burrito."
Cute Ulterior Motive
"Every time SHE wants to do something, she will say it in the form of a question directed towards me."
"Like, 'Hey, do YOU want to have a bite of one of these cookies?'"
"Or, 'Babe, do YOU want to try this wine?'"
"I don’t actually think she realizes she does it every time."
"To clarify, this isn’t a bad thing. It just makes me laugh every time before I inevitably say, 'Yeah, sure.'"
That One Time...
"When she’s telling a story and says 'the other day,' it can mean any time from this morning to five years ago."
"He talks to himself. Homeboy's internal monologue is external."
"It's kinda nice never having to wonder what he's thinking."
The Good Outweighs the Bad
"The annoying thing: uses every knob as a hanger for some bag or kitchen towel. Every time I have to use a drawer, I have to move something."
"The cute thing: she is very excited about the little things in life. We went on a walk today with rain boots to jump in each puddle on the way."
Every person has their own little set of quirks that makes them truly themselves.
Some of these actions might prove to be annoying to some people, but to just the right person, it might prove to be their favorite thing about their other half.
The amount of shows that have aired in the history of television is a lengthy one, and the ones we know of are the ones that have been picked up by the networks.
There are tons of other ideas that have been pitched that have not seen the light of day and some that have been produced and presented as pilot episodes but eventually scrapped due to a variety of reasons.
The ones that have come to fruition but caused an uproar were mentioned when Redditor Future-Game asked:
"What is the most controversial TV shows of all time?"
Shows pushing the envelope were so risqué. Some aged well over time. Others didn't.
"I don't know about all time but the time it aired here in Canada, the original Degrassi High series. They covered so many topics that weren't really covered on mainstream shows back then. Even still somewhat taboo today. And everyone my age watched it and talked about it the next day."
"When Ellen Degeneres's character came out as gay on her sitcom, there was a f'king firestorm."
"Believe it or not the comedy SOAP was highly controversial when it premiered in the late 70s. It's done by the same people who did GOLDEN GIRLS. SOAP is so tame by today's standards a ten year old could watch it."
"I like South Park as an answer, but if we are talking about pushing boundaries, Chappelle's show at least deserves a mention. The Black, White Supremacist alone was wild to see on TV, and it was the first episode of the show to air."
Reality bites. So did these reality competition shows.
Trash Talk Show
"Jerry springer, what a sh*t show."
When Looks Are Everything
"The Swan - a show about generally average, everyday women with low self esteem (due to a variety of factors), receiving plastic surgery and whole makeovers. Every episode would feature two ladies and a "winner" would be decided between them. At the end of the season, all of the winners would be put in a pageant to compete and see who would be dubbed 'The Swan'"
"Takeshi's Castle / MXC wasn't exactly controversial at the time, but the production of that show seems awfully exploitative by today's standards (and for the English dub, horribly stereotypical and downright racist at times). We've since watered it down severely with versions like Wipeout, but the real ones know what the lineage of shows like that is."
Ultimate Exploitation Of Privacy
"Big Brother. How about we mix the worst people with the most exploitative form of entertainment whilst also casually normalising invasion of privacy."
Just because it was family friendly didn't mean everyone approved.
"Sesame Street - When this show debuted in 1969, TV channels in the southern US refused to air it because it’s racially mixed group of children playing together was too controversial."
Beavis And Butt-Head
"Surprised I haven't seen Beavis and Butt-Head on this list yet. When it came out everyone was freaking out."
"Southpark, we went from outrage at Bart saying "eat my shorts" to Cartman feeding children their parents."
"I mean swearing on TV was less prominent , then Southpark pushed that forward quickly as well, all of a sudden "A**" and "Bullsh*t" were on standard TV."
Every now and then a show comes out and sends audiences clutching their pearls.
But sometimes, even an episode from a relatively tame TV show can send viewers reeling with topical moments.
Examples of this include the much-hyped same-sex kiss on Melrose Place in the 90s that was ultimately edited to imply the act and the One Tree Hill arc that explored school shootings–which was considered daring and admirable at the time for addressing a malaise that continues plaguing the US today.