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Anachronism Stew: Western Animation

Shows with their own pages:

Other Examples

  • King Arthur's Disasters plays Arthurian anachronisms for laughs; e.g., at one point King Arthur and Merlin land on the moon. At another, Arthur meets Don Quixote.
  • Dino Riders also had wildly anachronistic dinosaurs living next to one another (T. rex lived about 85 million years after Apatosaurus), and threw in a Dimetrodon (which died out 40 million years before the first dinosaurs lived) for good measure.
  • The Simpsons
    Bart: It's like a history lesson come to life!
    Lisa: No it's not, it's entirely inacc—
    Bart: Quiet, here come the ninjas!
    • And the credits mention Robot Zorro, among other strange characters. With James Earl Jones as the voice of the Magic Taco.
    • The ending rap playing over the movie credits also suggests that Zorro will "cut your butt from a '52 Ford."
    • In "Lisa's Substitute", Mr. Bergstrom asks the class to identify three things wrong with his cowboy outfit. Lisa points out his belt says state of Texas despite Texas not being a state yet, he has a revolver before it was invented, and there weren't Jewish cowboys. He says he was also wearing a digital watch and notes for the record that there were a few Jewish cowboys.
    • When the kids play Cowboys and Indians, Nelson fires with a "Killmatic 3000". Bart tells him they didn't have that back then and Nelson retorts "records from that era are spotty at best."
    • Played straight in the flashback episode "That 90s Show". It's supposed to take place in the early 1990s when grunge music came onto the scene, but it references pop culture from all over the decade. Homer is seen drinking Zima, which became popular around 1993, watches Seinfeld episodes from 1995/96, Sonic the Hedgehog's design from the 2000s is shown, people are shown browsing the Internet in the early 1990s, and songs from the late 90s are played. Homer also inspired Kurt Cobain, which means the episode should've taken place in the late 80s for that to happen.
  • In Cats Don't Dance, when the animals are on the out-of-control ark, they crash through a movie production in progress, which seems to be a nod to Cecil B. DeMille's version of Samson and Delilah. Except that the columns that Samson is pulling down are part of a Parthenon-style Greek structure, and after the ark crashes through the set, we get a gag shot of Danny and Sawyer suddenly wearing Egyptian costumes.
    • Well, old Cecil himself enjoyed serving up a good bowl of Anachronism Stew, especially in the name of Fanservice or Spectacle. Like the Art Deco sets in Cleopatra (although Art Deco itself was partly inspired by Ancient Egyptian finds).
      • Also, consider the fact that the movie is set in 1939, a time when Biblical epics were not in vogue. DeMille stopped making them shortly after The Hays Code went in effect, and would not revive them until the aforementioned Samson and Delilah about eight years later.
    • The ending credits which has gag movie posters of the main cast in various famous movies of the 20th century. Them starring in Beetlejuice is an eye-raiser considering the film's timeline is the 1930s.
      • The turtle probably would still be around for Beetlejuice if it had a real turtle's lifespan, but most of the others' careers shouldn't even have lasted out the 1940s.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a similarly deliberate example. Fedora-clad gangsters wield Tommy Guns and the buildings have an Art Deco style, but some characters, like Georgette Taylor, dress in 1960s mod fashion, while others like Blue Beetle wear contemporary 21st century clothing.
    • And then there are video games, cell phones, and computers.
    • Nobody ever calls attention to the race of characters like Firestorm, Vixen, or The Atom, which probably would've gone quite differently in the actual Golden Age. Similarly, nobody is surprised by the presence of female superheroes like Black Canary.
  • Both X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men portray Japan in a very bizarre light. They acknowledge that the country has modern technology and clothing, but feudalistic ninja are apparently everywhere, and everyone we see is obsessed with the Samurai code of honor.
  • Ice Age throws together many animals which did not coexist in either time or place (or both, such as the dodos). At the very least, they're all from after the dinosaur age, and most are from the actual Ice Age.
    • Except the sequel, which has dinosaurs (including the aforementioned T. Rex) that survived the KT Extinction Event (when the last of the dinosaurs died off). They suggest that there is only a small population, but the movie still takes place less than 2 million years ago, meaning that they're about 63 million years out of place.
    • The whole Christmas special is one anachronism stew to the point where one wonders why it even takes place in the pre-historic era!
  • The Flintstones, for the simple fact that humans and dinosaurs couldn't possibly coexist... this is due to Rule of Funny.
    • This, however, gets to the Point of Mind Screw when The Flintstones Christmas Carol takes place in 10 million B.C., which means 10 million years before the birth of Christ, Comically Missing the Point of the holiday existing in the first place.
    • This was also the basis of a Christmas-themed commercial for Pebbles cereal, which features Santa Claus, who urges Fred to share his cereal with Barney.
    • They also have a lot of modern-day technology, albeit in more primitive form.
    • They also speak modern English, even though Old English was first spoken in the Middle Ages.
      • Tex Avery's 1953 cartoon The First Bad Man is probably the Ur Example as it was one of the inspirations for the Flintstones.
  • In Gargoyles, the flashbacks set in and right after 994 AD (when the eponymous Gargoyles got stoned) have their problems. For one thing, the Normans, who conquered England in 1066, built the first stone castles on Britain since the 6th century, which would make the Gargoyles' home castle an impossibility.
  • The "Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space" film from Home Movies is possibly the most Anachronism Stew-y cartoon ever made. For example, the 3 main villains are George Washington, Pablo Picasso and Annie Oakley, who try to destroy the human race by killing their hostages: Shakespeare, Oliver Twist and the Mermaid Queen.
    • Another Home Movies episode takes place at a medieval fair where Brendon and Jason put on a play about the friendship of King Arthur and Robin Hood... and the episode is titled 'Renaissance'. It invokes the Rule of Funny showing Brendon's grasp of history, but it's also typical of these fairs.
    • In yet another, Melissa once portrays Susan B. Anthony as a gun-nut. The 'B' stands for 'Bitchin''.
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has alarms, modern plumbing, a production of The Pirates of Penzance, mentions of peanut butter, fast food, an airhorn, etc.
    • Most of this is lampshaded in the character commentary.
  • Ratatouille is supposed to be set after DNA paternity tests' discovery (after the 1990s). But all the technology shown are so old-fashioned (Ego uses a typewriter, for instance), that some French reviewers believed the movie was supposed to be set in the 1950s.
    • Though considering all the audience saw was a very select group of very, very eccentric people, it could just be their oddities. Ego especially seems like a character who'd dislike a computer.
  • Every episode of Dino Babies had the characters retelling a famous story set millions of years in the future.
  • One episode of Ruby Gloom has a cameo by one of Misery's ancestors who started the Great Fire of London. As you recall from your history lessons, that was in 1666, but the character is wearing a medieval costume complete with tall pointy hat.
  • Extremely evident in The Transformers where the robot modes of all the Transformers (especially those of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream, and Soundwave) resemble their eventual Earth modes even in the distant past and on planet Cybertron. The vehicles modes were alien, but in robot mode, Bumblebee has a Volkswagen roof for a chest and front for feet four million years before there would be such a thing as a Volkswagen.
    • It doesn't stop once they get to Earth. The toys came first, and before the TF universe was created, they were originally designed for a toyline where humans would pilot Humongous Mecha so there was no need to make them vehicles you could find around town. So Astrotrain turns into a steam locomotive.
  • The time setting of Alfred J. Kwak is considerably vague. In general it seems to take place somewhere during the 20th century, but among other things Professor Paljas has access to advanced supertech, and a mediaeval Middle Eastern kingdom also seems to exist.
  • Despite taking place in the 17th century, Albert the Fifth Musketeer has shown bolognese sauce, bowler hats, steel frying pans, and umbrellas, which were more common two centuries later.
  • Almost avoided with the original Land Before Time. The characters include such species as, among others, Triceratops, Saurolophus, Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus. So far so good, all are from late Cretaceous North America. Granted the protagonist, Littlefoot, is a Jurassic Apatosaurus, but audiences can just pretend he's an Alamosaurus. But then there's the introduction of Spike the also Jurassic Stegosaurus, and at one point in the film there is the brief appearance of a...Permian Dimetrodon?? *Sigh*. And that's not even taking into account the sequels, which bring up a whole different mess!
  • Double Subversion in Adventure Time. At the beginning of the series, it looks like a massive anachronism stew: a show taking place in the medieval ages, with princesses, knights and swords, mixed up with actual technology, computers and robots. After a while, it's reveled that The show doesn't take place in the past, but in the distant future, after a Nuclear War. So yes, the technology is justified... but what's up with the princess thing, anyway?
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines presumably takes place during World War I. In the Magnificent Muttley episode "The Masked Muttley," Dick Dastardly is seen watching television. Some three decades before it became commercially viable. Then in "Aquanuts," Muttley is left to wash the dishes while Dastardly, Klunk and Zilly go to see a surfing movie which wouldn't be in vogue for another six decades.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Prehysterical Hare" begs the question, how did movie film exist in B.C. days?
    • Paleontology also seems to exist, as the filmmaker implies that the culture is aware of dinosaurs and mammoths and their having gone extinct before the film's creation.
    • Two other cartoons also set in One Million BC, "Prehistoric Porky" and "Daffy and the Dinosaur" not only show dinosaurs existing alongside large mammals, but show the two coexisting trillions of years ago. Quite an accomplishment, seeing as the Universe is only around 14 billion years old.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is stylistically set in what looks to be the 60s or 70s, so vinyl records and the like have their place, but such futuristic marvels like cassette players, compact discs and cellphones make appearances. Despite the presence of Laptops, desktops by in large are bulky and resemble computers from the early 80's.
    • An in-universe example occurs when people attend a Ren-Faire as pirates.
  • Time Squad uses this trope to its advantage. Almost every historical figure they come across are involved in activities that will not be invented in hundreds of years after their respective time periods. For example, Kubla Khan is a nerd who obsessively reads comic books. And Eli Whitney creates a horde of robots who all have the ability to decipher what is human flesh and what is not. The show's creator, Dave Wasson, didn't call his show "The C student's guide to history" for nothing.

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