Millennials Would Totally Cancel Shows for Using These Classic TV Tropes

TV studios must adapt to changing audiences. Tropes audiences enjoyed only a few years ago no longer fly. 

Here are familiar tropes of yesteryear that modern audiences wouldn’t watch. 

Game Show Kisses

A game show host holds a microphone up to a contestant.
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Game show hosts used to kiss female contestants on the lips, not even caring whether she wanted it or not. 

That wouldn’t go over well today. 

“Joking” About Spousal Abuse

Carroll O'Connor, the actor who played Archie Bunker, in Los Angeles, 2000.
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Archie Bunker notoriously joked about what he ought to do to Ethel, and audiences worldwide laughed knowingly. 

Today’s audiences don’t find spousal abuse quite as funny. 

Predatory Men for the Laughs

Creepy looking man wearing sunglasses on a red background.
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Lots of sitcoms from the 70s portrayed sexually aggressive men as funny. They’d take making women uncomfortable to the extreme for the laughs. 

Outrageous Racial Stereotypes

A man and woman stand next to each other, both have their hands out, palms up as if to say "stop."
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Far too many shows relied on outlandish stereotypes for laughs. Though by the 70s and 80s, most avoided stereotypes surrounding black Americans, Asians were free game. Many shows had white folks acting as Chinese stereotypes in restaurants and laundry mats. 

Developing Female Characters

A woman sitting on the couch who looks like she's feeling sad, empty, and numb.
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Far too many shows rely on sexual assault for female character development. Soap operas are notorious for it, but you can see it even in modern shows like Game of Thrones

The “Very Special Episode”

A teenager comforting his sad friend.
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Some shows made deals with governments to cover heavy topics like drug use or teenage pregnancy to send messages to their viewers. Modern viewers would roll their eyes at such pandering. 

Gay Jokes

A man wearing a loud patterned shirt and a pink feathered boa.
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Sitcoms in the 90s or early 2000s went two ways with gay jokes. They either had an overly flamboyant gay character (caricature) everyone could laugh at or a straight character with “gay qualities” (we’re looking at you, Chandler!) everyone would laugh at. 

Body Shaming 

A mean man points and laughs at his girlfriend.
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Al Bundy is the poster boy for fat jokes, but Married with Children isn’t the only show that relies on body-shaming humor. Home Improvement and even House employed the trope on occasion. 

The hit movie The Devil Wears Prada made fun of this trope by having Miranda constantly call the tiny Andy “fat.”

Clip Shows

pointing remote at large television screen with numerous on screen viewing options
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The clip show was an inexpensive way for the studio to pump out content. In today’s age of on-demand television, a clip show wouldn’t have the same impact. 

All White Cast

A diverse group of college students sitting around a table at a library.
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Far too many shows set in major diverse cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles only featured white people. 

Friends and Seinfeld, both set in New York, had suspiciously few characters of color during their long runs. Modern audiences expect shows to be more inclusive. 

Boys Being Boys

A German bar featuring the Bro Code book created by Barney Stintson in How I Met Your Mother.
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Everyone loved Barney in How I Met Your Mother, but the character was awful. He constantly lied to women and tricked them into intimacy, but the show made it a gigantic joke. 

Howard’s creepiness in The Big Bang Theory was similar, but at least in that show, they generally acknowledged his behavior was creepy and wrong. 

Moronic Men

Man making a stupid face and pointing to his head as if to say "duh"
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Sitcom men are useless lugs. Raymond doesn’t do anything to help his overwhelmed wife, and Tim Allen can’t figure out how to wash the dishes when his wife is away. 

Modern audiences expect men to be better.