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Early Installment Weirdness
"It's like comparing season one of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to say, season five. The first season is still good, but they haven't quite hit their stride, yet."
"Oh please, Mandy. That didn't even look like us."
Long running series often have to experiment a little before they find their niche: sometimes there are concepts abandoned early on that were fascinating, because they were potentially
good ideas back then, or just clash so much with the later tone of the series
. In short, the first installment is a 'prototype', like a pilot of a first episode.
If the series is improved for abandoning
these elements, it often leads to a Growing the Beard
moment. For something similar applied to individual characters, see Characterization Marches On
. A specific sub-trope of this dealing with early installments resembling the real world is Earth Drift
. When early characters disappear entirely with no explanations, that's Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
. Might be the result of Plot Tumors
, Art Evolution
and Continuity Drift
There will always be some fans who view the current
incarnation of a series as They Changed It, Now It Sucks
When this happens to themes
that become popular after the fact because of a work, and are only actually codified elsewhere, it is a subtrope of Unbuilt Trope
Compare New First Comics
, Lost In Imitation
, and Adaptation Displacement
. Contrast First Installment Wins
. When a character displays this, it's Characterization Marches On
, when it essentially happens in reverse). May be the Oddball in the Series
. See also Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness
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- The first Chia Pet commercial lacks the famous "Ch-ch-ch-chia!"
- Billy Mays had a comparatively more normal voice in his early commercials, as opposed to his trademark exuberant delivery.
- The first HeadOn commercial didn't have "HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead." three times. It was actually people discussing the product, ending with "Should I know about HeadOn?"
- Dr. Brainstorm's first few appearances in Calvin And Hobbes The Series had him with unfocused gold eyes. He later gets Green Eyes (making him a Significant Greeneyed Redhead).
- Friendship Is Magic: The Adventures of Spike: The Previously On segments at the beginning of each chapter, and the stylized scene breaks, were both dropped at reader command after the first few chapters.
- Fanfics in general fall into this - as is the case with professional authors. Many fanfic writers' earlier fanfics might not resemble their later fanfics in terms of plot or format. This is understandable as fanfic writers often get tips from reviewers on how to improve, and will often use them.
- Comedian Jeff Foxworthy had several albums' worth of material from the 1980s, none of which were released until after his breakthrough in 1994 with You Might Be a Redneck If… The 1980s albums show him to be far more vulgar, and less reliant on his now-trademark Southern humor. Very early on, he didn't even have his famous "If you X, you might be a redneck" one-liners; instead, his signature joke early on was a story that worked in every letter of the alphabet (""A there, dudes! I'm gonna tell you a story you might not B-lieve. 'Cause you C, it's about this friend of mine, he's from D-troit…").
- Larry The Cable Guy's affected Southern drawl (he's actually from Nebraska) sounded radically different on his first album.
- The Cambrian Explosion.
- As far as humanity is concerned, the initial peoples did not build their own houses, instead residing in natural caves. They often painted in them. These paintings feature animals no longer around today. Law did not exist either.
- In their earliest form, the modern Olympic Games were a fairly low-key affair. They weren't heavily promoted (since most people couldn't follow them) and competitions were open to any amateur athletes who wanted to try their luck at the games—professional athletes were actually discouraged from competing, since they would have had an unfair advantage over the common citizenry (or, more cynically, to restrict the games to "amateurs" rich enough to pay for their own training without endorsements.)
- The 1900 and 1904 Olympics, in Paris and St. Louis respectively, were held as appendages to World's Fairs being held in those cities at the same time. They both took place over a series of months and were very low-key affairs. The St. Louis Games attracted very few international athletes, allowing Americans to win most of the medals.
- The Ancient Olympics. They had no female competitors, staff, or audience, they were explicitly pagan in nature, only a few Greek city-states participated in them, and they were performed in the nude. Instead of medals, people got wreaths.
- It's common to put up faces and guard bits of yourself when meeting new people, causing any early memories of spending time with your friends or acquaintances before you understand them to be this.
- Every religion discusses of a time like this.
- Originally, the Statue of Liberty was brown-gold. Now it's green, due to the copper accumulating a thick layer of verdigris.
- Every December (specifically the Monday following the second Wednesday in December) after a U.S. Presidential election, the members of the Electoral College assemble in their respective state capitals to decide who won the election. Or, rather, they met to decide it once or twice. When the constitution was written, people didn't actually vote for a President; they voted for an Elector, who was expected to exercise his own judgement in actually choosing who to place his vote for. Ever since, however, Electors have all been sworn to support a single candidate each, making the Electoral College a simple layer of abstraction in voting for the President mostly-directly. (Only in a few US states do the ballots even show the name of the elector along with the name of the candidate they're pledged for.) The EC vote is such a formality that many US voters don't even realize it exists.
- This actual system tends to make itself known whenever a) a candidate got more popular votes but lost because he didn't get enough electoral votes (most recently in 2000), or b) "faithless electors" who vote for someone other than who his/her state's voting populace picked.
- Similarly, U.S. political party conventions were initially serious affairs where elected delegates chose a candidate according to their own judgement. Now the candidate is determined before the convention with a series of statewide primaries, which is simply a pompous "coronation" ceremony for the winner.
- Picasso's early paintings were not cubism.
- The first three Cirque Du Soleil shows, including their breakthrough hit Le Cirque Reinvente, had traditional one-ring circus staging, going through one self-contained segment at a time with little thought to thematic bridges beyond a loose "whimsical-circus-star-for-a-day" conceit expressed mostly in the opening and closing sequences. Starting with their fourth show Nouvelle Experience, the ring and curtain at the back were eliminated from the staging and the thematic throughlines of each show became much more detailed. Performers were encouraged to create distinctive characters for themselves, and the resultant interactions between the characters helped informed how one act flowed into another, resulting in a far more theatrical approach to the circus format that came to define the company. Aestethically, the early shows also have simpler, less surreal costuming and music than later shows do (musically the Cirque shows evolve significantly with #5, Saltimbanco).
- The Soviet Union's New Economic Policy, in which small-scale private enterprise was allowed for 7 years in the 1920s.
- The universe directly after the big bang was a super-hot, super-dense miasma of particles, compared to the almost entirely empty cold vacuum it is now. Even the four fundamental forces were all just one "superforce".*
- The first FIFA World Cup in 1930 was entered by just 13 teams. The first winners, Uruguay, subsequently skipped the next two Tournaments and didn't play again until 1950 (when they won again!)
- As recently as the 1950 tournament, it was common for teams to drop out more or less at the last minute with no possibility of FIFA being able to find a replacement.
- In 1954, the 16 teams were split into four groups of four, as would be the case for the first round at the finals until 1982. But instead of playing all the teams in their group once, there were two seeded teams who played against two unseeded teams.
- In qualifying for the 1950 and 1954 tournaments, the 'Home Nations' of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (all of Ireland until 1950) were given two finals places between them, whereas Africa and Asia, two entire continents got just one between them.
- Until 1946, the England football team had no manager. The team was instead picked by a 'Selection Committee' chosen by the FA, who would also often send a prestigious English club manager (usually different every time) with the team to offer tactical advice. In 1946, this was made into a permanent position and Walter Winterbottom was appointed the first England manager. However, he still couldn't pick the team; that was left to the committee. In 1962 Winterbottom resigned and the FA offered Ipswich Town manager Alf Ramsey the job. He accepted on the condition that he could pick the team. The FA agreed, originally seeing this as an experiment that could be deemed a failure if Ramsey didn't get results. Ramsey went on to win the World Cup with England in 1966, and the practice stuck.
- Ironically, to this day Ramsey is the only England manager with a better win:game ration than the Selection Commitee.
- During the first two Space Shuttle missions the external fuel tank was painted white, to match the color scheme of the shuttle and booster rockets. From the third mission on it was left the reddish-brown color everyone recognizes.
- Many retail chains can go through this. For instance:
- Early J. C. Penney stores were far smaller than they are now. They sold only clothes, and were about the size that a dollar store would be today. No salons, bedding, or jewelry, not even the now-defunct auto parts, appliances, or sporting goods.
- Originally, f.y.e. stores were much larger, like Tower Records or Media Play (both now defunct). Some of them even sold books. Also, they had this colorful, wonderfully 90's logo. In 2001, the parent company began phasing out the superstores in favor of rebranding all of its smaller, often mall-based stores (including Record Town, Camelot Music, Strawberries, The Wall, Disc Jockey, and Coconuts) under the f.y.e. banner, also bringing in the current blue logo.
- The first McDonald's stores didn't have seating or drive-thru windows. The most familiar design with the red Mansard roofs didn't come along until the early 1970s. Very early on, they served hot dogs instead of hamburgers.
- Abercrombie & Fitch was originally a mail-order sporting goods and sportswear store dating back to the late 19th century. After languishing in the 1970s and 1980s under the ownership of sporting goods retailer Oshman's, it was reinvented in the 1990s as a teen clothing store by The Limited, who later spun it off.
- The first Old Navy stores were far larger and called Gap Warehouse.
- Early Walmart stores were about one-fourth the size they are now, with no auto repair, pharmacy, jewelry, restaurant, or groceries in sight. For many years, their logo used an old West-style font. There was no Sam's Club, either.
- And going a step further, early supercenters were called "hypermarts". Only a few were built before the Flawed Prototype was tweaked. For many years, those that had restaurants almost exclusively had McDonald's or Radio Grill; they didn't start partnering with Subway until 2007.
- Early Cracker Barrel stores had gas station/convenience stores, thus making them more akin to Stuckey's. They ditched the gas pumps during the 1970s oil crisis and focused on the restaurant/gift shop hybrid.
- Originally, Kentucky Fried Chicken was not sold at its own restaurants; instead, other restaurants could pay for the franchise rights to sell chicken made with Colonel Sanders's recipe. The first de-facto KFC opened in Utah in the sixties.
- Denny's was originally a doughnut shop called Danny's.
- Many early shopping malls were open-air concourses. They often featured a high number of service tenants (shoe repair, barber shop, etc.), a dime store, a supermarket (sometimes two), a drugstore, and maybe one department store. Overall, it probably would've had only 30 or 40 stores. One of the first malls to resemble what they look like now was Southdale in Minnesota, although even it had the aforementioned lineup. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the "dumbbell" mall (a huge concourse with a major department store at either end) became the default layout. As malls grew larger, supermarkets and drugstores became less practical tenants (why would you buy groceries at a place with 100 other stores?), while dime stores lost footing to discount stores such as Kmart (which rarely anchored malls except in smaller towns).