"This comes as no surprise: It's a cliche that Superman's glasses are the most laughably ineffective costume ever, but who cares? Changing that part of the mythos would be like taking the stars off the American flag. So screw Suspension of Disbelief: Superman predates it. He's got a free pass to be wearing the same completely unbelievable disguise 70 years later."
A character uses a trope which may be cliche, discredited or even dead at this point, but is allowed because it's tied into the character's legacy. Using the trope during the creation of any more recent character however, is noticeably avoided. If the character's use of the trope slowly starts to disappear, they may have outgrown it.
It has a high chance of occurring with "classic" characters, but not necessarily their sidekicks. This usually happens with tropes that the character is tightly tied into, making it difficult to separate them from it, and where the basic idea of the trope isn't so stupid that the fans will be turned off by it. Attempting to take away one of these tropes may force the character into a Dork Age, or at least necessitate an Author's Saving Throw. Compare to The Artifact, where it seems like the creators have misgivings about them.
No relation to the Grandfather Paradox.
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Serendipity Writes The Plot can mesh with this trope fairly often. Sure, if the same work were created more recently, the director probably would have taken advantage of better special effects technology or whatever. But the results of the old limitations frequently end up an inseparable part of the work anyway.
The Coconut Effect: It would be very easy to record real horses...but people are so used to the sound of coconut halves banged together that it wouldn't be recognized for what it was and would "sound wrong."
It's also believed that having Foley artists create every sound effect for each work it's used in is more efficient than having to maintain a massive library of pre-recorded effects.
The lack of feathers on dinosaurs (or at least the ones that would have feathers) in media is probably because of tradition and the fact that that is how most people think of dinosaurs in spite of the recent scientific evidence.
The French "Banania"-brand powdered chocolate and its infamous stereotypical black guy. It had been removed for some time in the late eighties/early nineties, but it's back (albeit in more cartoony style).
Commercial jingles are also considered silly in modern times, except for products and services whose jingles are part of their legacy. Exceptions are also made for products that are supposed to be silly (soft drinks, for example) or that are almost exclusively aimed at children (like toys).
Another example of Clark Kenting: most Magical Girls can't get away without at least tinting their hair and parting it differently nowadays, but people actually complained that Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon made the girls look different when de-transformed, because the original Sailor Moon didn't do it. Of course, this problem doesn't exist in series where magical girls don't have secret identities to begin with. This was handwaved once in the Sailor Moon anime television series. The dub seems to bank on the familiarity of the audience with superhero logic, explaining the characters in uniform look like their past (otherwise identical) incarnations.
Clark Kenting in its original use is a major example, and tends to remain an iron-clad disguise that fools everyone. Although it has been handwaved in various ways, most of us just accept it after 75 years of Superman. Most superheroes created in the last twenty years have to maintain a more realistic disguise, especially since lately the chance of someone being a superhero seems much higher. It helps that most modern ongoing continuities go out of their way to have at least one incident where Clark Kent and Superman are seen together with the help of shapeshifting friends like Martian Manhunter.
Meanwhile, the Daily Planet and its way of running business becomes more and more antiquated as media evolve in the real world. Richard Donner, director of the first Superman movie, commented in an interview that in said film Clark Kent was originally going to work at a television news station like he did at the time in the comics, but they went with him as a newspaper reporter because it was much more a part of the public consciousness.
Domino Masks are another paper-thin disguise that some heroes still use despite offering little with which to disguise themselves. Robin and Green Lantern are probably the most well-known examples.
Robin is the only straight-up Kid Sidekick left in The DCU. This is usually justified as balancing out Batman's inner darkness, although the fourth incarnation of Robin, Damian Wayne, may very well be darker than Batman. However, the death of Damien (similar to the death of Jason Todd before him) has reintroduced the fundamental problem of the Kid Sidekick.
Underoos on the outside have fallen out of style for super heroes since the '60s. The DCU seems to have done away with them as of the New 52, though.
Green Lanterns do not always have a weakness to yellow things, but Sinestro just wouldn't be Sinestro without a yellow ring that is strangely effective against them. This has since been justified with the retconned existence of a spectrum of emotion (Red: Rage, Orange: Greed, Yellow: Fear, Green: Willpower, Blue: Hope, Indigo: Compassion, Violet: Love). He and the rest of the Sinestro Corps are literally using fear as a weapon.
This leads to a lesser-known retcon. Green Lanterns used to be selected because they were men without fear. However, if current GL's didn't experience fear at some level, then Sinestro's ring would be useless against them unless there were others around whom Sinestro could manipulate.
Well, since Sinestro's ring has no vulnerability to green, his ring wouldn't be any more useless against Green Lanterns than their rings are against him, even without the weakness.
Peter Parker's job as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle has also been under fire in the past decade, with the rise of cameras and video in phones as well as the decline in the print media industry. Recent adaptations feature this aspect of the character less and less and those that do are largely done so because of the legacy with a bit of lampshade hanging for fun.
The Martian Manhunter in DC Comics (and especially Justice League) is a man from Mars. Advancing science has long since discredited the idea, but he continues on, sometimes with retcons added, such as the explanation that he comes from the distant past, when Mars was more habitable. Note that this, too, has become outdated. The dates given (in the TV series) for Mars' habitability are too recent.
Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon is a Yellow Peril character who could never be created nowadays, but while various adaptations have made him white or green, they never can completely hide his origins, if only because they can't get rid of his obviously Chinese name. Witness how the attempt by the new Sci-Fi Channel series to "modernize" him has backfired ridiculously. Something a bit similar applies to many other supervillains like Iron Man's The Mandarin. Now and then people try to make them more presentable, but usually they revert to type pretty soon.
Mandarin managed to abandon his Yellow Peril persona successfully some time ago. So at least he has moved on.
Some characters rely on using an Iconic Item to be identified, like The Fourth Doctor's scarf, or Indiana Jones' hat; however, when said character has a Limited Wardrobe it becomes an Outdated Outfit by 20 or so years after their debut, like Jimmy Olsen's bow tie (Clark Kent did eventually ditch the fedora). Especially egregious if the series is set in the "present day". An especially bad case of this is the Swedish army-farce 91:an Karlsson, which started in 1932. The title character's blue uniform was outdated already at start (resembling the uniform the author wore when he served) and has been kept largely the same ever since, despite changes to camo since then. Especially egregious as all other characters have switched uniforms pretty much at the same pace as their counterparts IRL.
The famous Jughead Jones of Archie Comics still wears a stylized version of an old-time inverted fedora beanie as his trademark hat. This was actually a fashion among teens and mechanics of the 1940s (when the character debuted), but has since been something that just makes him a stand-out kook.
The Mexican comic character Memin Pinguin falls under blackface in modern times, but due to its popularity and impact in popular culture since being created in 1945, it is accepted there. Also do notice that even nowadays political correctness on racial issues isn't such a big deal in Mexico.
It would be extremely difficult to make an unironic hyper-patriotic American character and present him as a paragon of virtue and heroism and be taken seriously today. Captain America pulls it off, though, because he has the weight of history on his side (in more ways than one). It helps that his patriotism has been tested and modified into his famous motto, "I am loyal to nothing... except the [American] Dream." Another point is that Captain America is not loyal to the American government; his patriotism isn't "My country right or wrong". Put another way, if America decided to sponsor an anti-democratic coup somewhere, he'd not help (and might hinder) its efforts, because democracy is considered an American value.
For that matter, the "boy scout" hero in general is virtually extinct — except when used as a joke — aside from Captain America, Superman, and Captain Marvel, to the point where every hero is so messed up and their motivations so personal and complicated that the idea of heroes who are heroes just because they're decent people who don't want to waste their great power has become unique and thought-provoking in-universe.
While they are are many antiheroes running around now, Namor gets a pass by being around long before they were even popular. Also he's the original Flying Brick. He was flying before even Superman.
Tights in general. Modern superheroes still tend to wear them, but outside of comic books and animation, most adaptations will attempt to get around them unless the outfit is iconic that the character is drastically altered without it. For example, compare Spider-Man's outfit versus that of the villains in the first two films. Some characters, such as Batman, have their tights altered into a hardened suit of armor so that the character will continue to seem intimidating.
In Spirou and Fantasio, Spirou wore a ridiculous old-fashioned bellhop uniform for decades, even though it had been a long time since he actually worked as a bellhop. Modern version of the comic tend to avert, justify or lampshade this, though: for example, in the Le Petit Spirou strip comic we find out that Spirou already wore a bellhop uniform when he was a small child, and his mom, dad, and grandpa wear it too, though the reason for this family tradition is never really explained.
Nowadays, it would be unacceptable for the Arch-Enemy of a superhero to be anything but equal or greater in power than the hero. Lex Luthor still manages to be Superman's archenemy regardless. (It probably helps that Luthor is almost Superman's direct opposite —- Lex's Prideful Smart versus Superman's more Humble Brawn —- and that the conflict gets a lot of dramatic tension from the fact that Superman could kill his greatest enemy with a single finger, but that he explicitly chooses not to for moral reasons. And that any villain fitting the same profile would probably be accused of being a Lex Luthor ripoff. Also, the fact that the mega-business owner version of the character, with all his goon employees armed with the kryptonite powered technology and firepower he has had invented, helps make him a formidable threat.)
Averted TropeFor the Lulz in the wardrobe of Spanish comic-book Mortadelo y Filemón: Sometimes complete strangers mock at Filemón for wearing a bowtie, but he still uses it. Mortadelo's frock coat is part of the joke: Mortadelo, a veritable master of disguise, can wear whatever he wants - but his default choice is a ridiculously old-fashioned suit that emphasizes his physical defaults (baldness, lankiness). Word of God insists that Mortadelo's clothes were already obsolete in his first appearance - so the effect they cause in modern audiences is exactly the intended effect they were to cause in 1950s audiences.
A number of old Sci Fi stories retain some energy in their now old and tired plot devices by presenting them with an innocent earnestness from the time when they were new inventions. This one, for instance.
It would be hard to imagine someone less renowned than Agatha Christie getting a pass with modern readers when so many Unfortunate Implications are in her works. Christie toned it down later in life, but her personal prejudices clearly made it into her writing, and indeed sometimes become part of the charm. When reading her novels, watch for characters who aren't blueblooded but are trying to pass as high class; shortlist them.
Gilgamesh of The Epic of Gilgamesh gets a free pass to use many of the most stereotypical and overused tropes and cliches all in one main character. Why? Because in many cases he is the Ur Example (well Uruk example technically) of the tropes. No author today would get away with combining them all together in one character, but with him it just comes off as awesome.
The Doctor: "Every time the TARDIS materializes in a new location, within the first nanosecond of landing it analyzes its surroundings, calculates a twelve-dimensional data map of everything within a thousand mile radius and determines which outer shell would blend in better with the environment... and then it disguises itself as a police telephone box from 1963."
Jack Harkness' WWII-era Iconic Outfit is an in-canon example of this — though we do first meet up with Jack in the '40s, he's actually from the 51st century. Though he wears more modern clothing for the rest of series 1, after his return two years later and into his spinoff, Torchwood he keeps his braces and greatcoat. ("Period military is not the dress of a straight man.") In a flashback to British India in 1909, he wears the uniform of a British Army captain of that era.
Stargate SG-1: Stargate Command in eventually advanced its technology to the point when it would be possible to retire Engaging Chevrons, but by that point it became a tradition (and in "Heroes", it was mentioned that the personnel liked Walter doing his job).
Stargate Atlantis, by virtue of being a new show, had a chance for a fresh start and didn't use it — which was, of course, given a Lampshade Hanging in the very first episode.
Outside of Speculative Fiction Tropes, there's Chekov's hideously bad Russian accent. In the 2009 film, he's played by a Russian-born actor who could have done a much better accent. But he didn't because it just wouldn't be Chekov if he didn't have a bad Russian accent.
Any song written before 1970 with the reference of gay meaning jolly, fun, etc. is perfectly acceptable because it meant something different at the time. These days however if somebody used it in the same context it would be hard to take them seriously and might suggest something about the singer or songwriter's sexuality.
Case in point: Nirvana used the word in their song "All Apologies". So the line "everyone is gay" is heavily subject to interpretation.
Similarly any song written before 1970 can get away a man calling a woman their "little girl" without complaint. However if a modern song tried that it would probably suggest unfortunate implications of pedophilia.
Many acts with long discographies still use styles, gimmicks, and techniques which modern performers could not employ with a straight face. Being KISS or Wayne Newton is a great way to have an extremely long career. Imitating them is a great way to be ridiculed (Yes, it's not fair. But until a time machine is invented, that's the way it will be).
Though, to be fair, imitating Kiss (and taking their gimmick to new levels) is what got GWAR and Lordi their success. So, perhaps not.
Unless you don't really care about it, and/or manage to be successful with being gimmicky. Lady Gaga is living proof.
One of the most well-known aspects of the career of Elton John, at least since 1972, especially onstage, was Elton's use of crazy glasses and flamboyant costumes, a gimmick he kept intact until 1986. The peak of this tradition would have likely been the (in)famous Donald Duck costume he wore at his free concert at Central Park (the one which later became a Running Gag on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson). The tour of 1986 saw Elton sporting giant multicolored mohawk wigs, a Camp Gay "Ali Baba" costume, "Tina Turner" wigs, and, for his orchestral concerts in Australia, a "Chopin" costume complete with white wig, heavy white powder and a fake birthmark.. Though Elton was only 40 at the time, he (and the press) came to agree that he had carried it far past the point of retaining his dignity, and he auctioned most of the costumes and glasses off in 1988 (after using them for the cover of that year's Reg Strikes Back album) and toned down his image. He still incorporates a relatively flamboyant look, but rarely to the point he had since The Eighties.
It's not uncommon for artists that have switched genres (a singer switching from Country to Pop is a common one) to continue to be listed as the genre they started as, as long as their sound doesn't become too alien.
A singer or band who started their career in teen pop music may, at least in a few years' time, change their sound, image, and/or lyrical or musical content as they grow older and they opt for a Darker and Edgier or Hotter and Sexier approach. The trope may still apply when they still have to perform their teen pop hits onstage, or should a portion of their fandom or marketing still contain traces of their previous image, and may provide Mood Whiplash if a Greatest Hits Album is released.
The Beetle Bailey characters have worn the same solid olive green (sometime's Sarge's is tan) uniforms since the strip began in 1950, no matter what the situation. Just during war games they put on helmets instead of caps.
Jon Arbuckle of Garfield is still wearing his "powder-blue Oxford shirt" and modest 1978 sideburns most of the time (though this could be due to Limited Wardrobe or Disco Dan).
Professional wrestling has more or less abandoned the idea of outlandish gimmicks (and most who do are Put on a Bus in less than a year), but The Undertaker has been "The Deadman" for over twenty years, and when they tried to change that, it was met with negative reaction.
Certain finishing moves become mundane after a while; for instance, the basic DDT is used by many wrestlers, but generally no new guy is going to be able to use a simple DDT as a match ender. However, stars that used it as their finisher before it everyone started using (and kicking out of it), such as Tommy Dreamer, Raven, and especially the move's inventor Jake "The Snake" Roberts, still used it as a finisher.
Sometimes, a wrestler's theme music becomes so identified with the wrestler himself that changing it just wouldn't work. Shawn Michaels may have remained attractive, but "Sexy Boy" didn't really fit his gimmick in the last few years of his career. Not that anyone complained.
Although most radio stations wouldn't get away with it (due to Values Dissonance rather than legality issues or Ofcom codes), Real and Smooth's Real Radio network gets away with being a "best-of-both-worlds" mix of Heart and Capital, yet it remains male-slanted, and always has done since its launch in Wales in 2000 as Real Radio Wales, expanding to Yorkshire and Scotland in 2002, and then Northern England in 2008.
It is widely considered to be better than Heart and Capital which are seen as a crass, no-personality station by the public - who often have no other listening choices in many regions, like Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, Sussex. So in a way, the grandfather clause is good for British radio. Listeners prefer personality presenters and "local" radio (i.e. no syndication or very little), which is why the likes of Smooth Radio (Real and Smooth), Hallam FM (Bauer Media) and Stray FM (UKRD) remain widely popular (Global executives, take note of this, if you read it!)
It's not uncommon for a station dedicated to a certain genre(s) to play music they wouldn't otherwise if it's performed by an artist that has/had a following in their usual genre.
Until his death in 2009, most AM stations aired Paul Harvey without fail at 8:30am and noon and later on in the day "The Rest of the Story", even as the surrounding programming became coarse or partisan. A few chain stations canceled it earlier before his death by corporate edict, and found their ratings and standing immediately plunge among listeners for removing a longtime tradition.
Most "active rock" stations don't play music from before the mid- to late-'80s, but a handful of pioneering hard rock and metal bands from the '70s still get rotation. Black Sabbath is the band that most frequently gets grandfathered in, but Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Aerosmith might get a pass as well.
More objectionable bits in The Mikado are often bowdlerized out (several references to "niggers" in lyrics are usually removed), but the basic premise of Caucasian actors in whiteface, kimonos, and black wigs in a gross mockery of Meiji's Japan, remains intact despite how outrageously offensive the concept would be today. It should be noted that The Mikado is satire at its finest, using a patently absurd version of Japan to mock both general British culture and a faddish obsession with Japan that was sweeping through the county at the time.
It is recorded that when Prince Fushimi Sadanaru of Japan (a relative of the Emperor and a confidant of Crown Prince Yoshihito, who became Emperor Taisho) made a state visit to Britain in 1907, all productions of The Mikado were shut down for fear of offending him. This proved to be a mistake, since the Crown Prince had looked forward to seeing it. The Mikado is still very popular in Japan; evidently, the fact that the society is obviously more British than Japanese makes it easier to get Gilbert and Sullivan's point.
Most platformer heroes have stopped using the Goomba Stomp (or at least downplayed it considerably), but jumping is so much a part of Mario that he almost always has it as his primary ability in his games. Even when the games are RPGs. There's a reason the trope is called Goomba Stomp.
Speaking of Mario, there's the plot, or one might say there isn't the plot. While other veteran computer game series have been trying to make their plots deeper and more complex, the Super Mario Bros. series is still about the same Italian plumber rescuing the same princess from the same turtle-dinosaur creature. The RPGs, being games with a higher Story to Gameplay Ratio but having essentially the same plot, make fun of this. Every Mario RPG so far, besides The Thousand Year Door, has started with Bowser kidnapping, trying to kidnap, or at least planning to kidnap the princess. So far, only the original Paper Mario has had the main plot focus on this. And in Thousand Year Door, he objects to someone else doing it because it's his gimmick (and his love, but that's beside the point).
Even in the most modern Metroid games, Samus' missiles always cap out at 255, despite that number only arising due to hardware limitations in the original game. (Later Zelda games quickly did away with the 255 money Cap, for example) It's just always been a part of the series, and let's face it, any more would make 100% Completion even more insane that it already is...
Even the latest games today often ask you to "Press Start", before dropping you into the game or bringing you to the main menu interface, whether or not pressing other buttons would do the same thing. It's averted more and more often these days, but it's still tremendously common. Indeed, it can feel pretty weird to get to the title screen of, say, Super Paper Mario, and be told "Press 2", or having HeartGold and SoulSilver say to "Touch [the touch screen] to Start" despite the fact that pressing start works just fine.
Even the name "Start" for the button is a bygone relic, since it's main use now (and arguably even in the NES days) is actually to pause the game.
The classic Mega Man series exists on this trope. 9 and 10 feature all of the cliches that are featured in the rest of the series, including the eight robot masters, getting weapons from defeated enemies, moving on to Wily's fortress, Wily hijacking the plot, and even the 8-bit graphics and sound. Somehow, it works.
Current knowledge is that putting a Boss Rush in the main story is a poor design choice. The Mega Man games of all series can still get away with it, but since the Zero and Battle Network games the devs have liked to screw with the "classic" formula (although the trend to screw with the Boss Rush started in 3, where you fought the bosses from 2).
The Metal Gear series started as a ridiculous Action Hero game in the mid 80's. Starting with Metal Gear Solid in 1998, the series started to take itself seriously and both became a lot more grim and disillusioned as well as getting known for it's highly complex plot and deep and well written characters. Many of the mini bosses are so ridiculous they could be straight out of Batman & Robin and many of the sequences could be from cheap 80's action movies, but since those elements have been part of the series from the beginning, they were kept, similar to James Bond movies.
An even more outdated concept (still occasionally in use but becoming increasingly rare) is the level countdown timer, which had become pretty much obsolete by the mid-90s. Even games that are heavily grandfathered, such as the Mario series, have largely dropped the countdown timer, often for justifiable teams.
The score counter, while not being used as much as it once was, occasionally continues to pop up in newer games (although not necessarily always in the traditional way). However, it has found another purpose by changing the points to money or 'experience', and then having the player spend it on upgrades, weapons, health and so forth.
Sometimes when patching a game to fix a Game Breaker or a Good Bad Bug, the developers will let the players keep the old versions of equipment if it doesn't hurt other players. For example, when Gearbox nerfed The Bee in Borderlands 2, they didn't actually alter any of the shields already acquired - only new ones, that drop after the patch is implemented.
The Simpsons features a running gag where Homer strangles Bart. It's been played for laughs for almost two decades. While a Bumbling Dad on rivalshows may get away with some disturbing emotional abuse of his children, physical child abuse as comedy wouldn't be likely to fly as a running joke for most new series. (This might be a case of Popularity Polynomial, since cartoon characters strangling each other was something shocking in 1989, and now that animated series have become so realistic, it's taboo again.)
Even lampshaded in the episode "Behind The Laughter"
Homer: And that horrible act of child abuse became one of our most beloved running gags.
It helps that The Simpsons is not only a cartoon, but gave up even the pretense of being a "realistic working-class sitcom" ages ago. Other things about the setup are also grandfathered; Matt Groening admits that Marge being a stay-at-home mom doesn't really makes sense for their position in the economic climate of The New Tens, but she isn't going to change.
Many other details about the series have been grandfathered in from its 90s origins. For instance, Itchy and Scratchy airing on Krusty's network would have been obvious analogies in their day to Tom and Jerry airing on Bozo's network - only Itchy And Scratchy is absurdly gory instead of bloodless and cartoonish, and Krusty is an asshole instead of a loveable jester. These days, both Bozo and Tom and Jerry are largely gone, leaving Itchy and Scratchy a quaint relic of the time before Happy Tree Friends, and Krusty inexplicably popular in the face of countless Monster Clowns. But the kids gotta be watching something, so...
The Hobbit (1977) movie would never had the gall to write a song so utterly morbid, violent, and orc-like as "15 Birds", if the words hadn't been written by Tolkien half a century earlier.
American Dad! continues to feature the color coded "Terror Alert" indicator on the family fridge, despite the fact that the Obama Administration retired it. Perhaps as a satire of the changing attitudes of a new decade, the Terror Alert level was only on red, orange or yellow in episodes from the 2000s But in episodes from 2010 and onwards is either blue, green (two colors it never was lowered to in Real Life), or missing an arrow, they even had an episode where the color code changed to blue and everyone in the CIA acted like it was a major cause for celebration.
The Scooby gang and their outfits, especially Fred. While he did lose the ascot for awhile, it's back as of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and several of the recent movies, even though pretty much no one wears ascots anymore. But it's become such an Iconic Outfit for them that Warner Brothers seems loathe to get rid of it completely.
In that same vein, the Mystery Machine. A green colored van covered with flowers sticks out like a sore thumb in today's modern society, but because it's so associated with Mystery Inc., they can get away with it.
Likewise, Penny Arcade and other webcomics that started before 2000 can be excused for using the tropes that they popularized in the first place.
The SCP Foundation has 076 Able and 105 Iris - submitted early in the site's history, the quickly-growing community treated them as iconic, to the point of writing fanfic about them. As the site was restructured and formalized, the community shifted strongly against Common Mary Sue Traits, and formed a generally-accepted canon on how the Foundation treated its wards, both of which were at odds with the pair. Though their general Mary Sue-ness has been toned down over the years (Able is now a force of nature rather than an anti-hero, Iris's power is less Cursed with Awesome), their popularity (especially Iris's) has waned considerably over the years, and they would probably risk deletion if they were submitted today. However, they're considered too important to the site's history to let go. The creators of the site even created an Able limit: Able is exactly as Sue-ish as any character is allowed to be, and can stay, but anything more has to go. Probably the biggest sign of Grandfathering, though, is the tendency for reports involving them to call them by their real names rather than their numbers: a supreme faux pas from anyone else, but Able and Iris are too established in those names to stop using them.
TV Tropes Wiki
Many tropes on this wiki keep their names because people are used to them, even though they do not meet various criteria for descriptive names; some were created before those criteria were codified, while others probably just flew under the radar and became widely linked and well-known before anyone thought to apply those rules, but in any case the name is too strongly associated with the trope to be changed even though it's "bad". Here are some of the more notable ones:
If the Narm article were to have been created only recently, it would have been renamed very quickly. Same thing about a very old trope, Gilligan Cut. It's actually a pre-existing entertainment industry name, and one which is neither exclusive to Gilligan's Island, nor the only cut used there.
The Scrappy: Even though character-named tropes are heavily frowned upon since not everyone will get the reference, The Scrappy has held on since it's one of the most heavily-linked tropes on the site.
The Dragon: Not indicative of what that trope is at all, but it is one of the most linked tropes on the site. (Its usage in this context also predates the site.)
One-Winged Angel: A Trope of Legend. The name is a reference to Sephiroth's theme song from Final Fantasy VII. note Despite the fact that he had seven wings in his original appearance. It's not obvious by the title it's about a villain transforming. It resisted a attempt to give it a more descriptive name largely because of its large number of Wicks and this trope.
Underground Monkey: "It's a monkey, but it lives underground" is hardly a good way to imply "video game developers create a whole family of mooks by adding little modifications to a mook, hence getting a lot of enemy-variety cheaper". This trope stayed under the radar for too long, and since basically ALL video games use it, it's been linked by lots and lots of articles. Most tropers believe the abysmal amount of work required to change the name of this trope is just not worth it.
Epileptic Trees: This term probably won't make any sense at all for people who have never seen LOST, but it isn't likely to get a name change any time soon; besides, it fits the out-there nature of the Wild Mass Guessing it describes.
The name TV Tropes itself provides a simple example, as the main page explains: "The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media." This is probably the least likely name on the site to ever change.
Named after the common phrase for laws that grant exceptions based on past history. It's even a verb: "To grandfather" something means to not enforce a new regulation on something that was already in existence at the time the regulation was enacted for entities in that category, while new entities in that category would be subject to the regulation.
In turn, that phrase came from Jim Crow laws requiring things like literacy tests to vote but granting an exception to anyone whose grandfather was eligible to vote. Since all whites had eligible grandfathers and few blacks did (the American Civil War having been that recent), and the literacy tests were made very hard (and often rigged, one Alabama poll test question was literally: "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?"), it effectively meant "whites can vote and blacks can't" without outright saying so. This also had the "added benefit" of not allowing fresh immigrants to vote, another thing that the same type of people who created the Jim Crow laws were in favor of.
Ironically, this also means that the use of the term "Grandfather Clause" for anything other than the miscarriages of justice of the Jim Crow era is itself an example of the grandfather clause — if the term was coined today, would it really have neutral connotations?
This can also be used legitimately for good reasons and does not always have legal force. A club may decide to change membership requirements such that some of its long-standing members may no longer qualify, but they can be grandfathered in. For example, a fraternity may decide to only accept pledges who possess a certain GPA, but may retain members who were allowed in earlier. Likewise, a club whose membership is growing too quickly may decide to raise membership fees to raise revenue for the larger traffic and to reduce its applicants, but retain existing members at the cost they signed up for. Imagine a popular golf club which was growing too quickly, so members could not guarantee a tee time and the conditions on the course were wanting for a lack of maintenance. Likewise, a company offering a service in high demand may decide to raise prices, but may be legally required or find it prudent to grandfather existing clients in at their original rates, especially if they count on old clients to refer their new ones. This can also be used to keep key personnel during a transition. For example, a company providing emergency medical services may decide to hire only full paramedics in the future, but may grandfather in veteran EMT-Intermediates and Basics while they acquire the EMT-P credential.
It is very common in industries where employment practices have changed. As recently as the 1970s one of the most common paths to a career in journalism would be to leave High School and get a job in the office of a local newspaper, working your way up the chain and eventually being 'scouted' by bigger newspapers/tv stations etc. Today most tv stations and newspapers wouldn't consider hiring someone who hadn't graduated from a school of journalism, but many literal grandmothers and grandfathers remain on the payroll.
Due to the slow and steady "Degrees Creep", every large company would have a few older employees who are woefully undereducated compared to the newbies with multiple-university/professional/graduate degrees. However, what the oldies lack in formal schooling, they make up with experience.
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most dangerous races in Formula One history. Had it been proposed today, safety regulations would not allow it to be built. However, since it was one of the oldest grand prix in existence, it's still in the championship.
For fans of American Football, and the NFL in particular, do you think Green Bay, Wisconsin could pay for a franchise? Yet most Americans know of the city of Green Bay, and its Packers.
The Packers are a further example - they're publicly owned by stockholders. The stock has some pretty severe restrictions on it, and the team is operated as a not-for-profit company (legally, they are a for-profit company, but revenues that aren't being used to fund football operations are given to charity). The NFL doesn't allow teams to sell shares of NFL teams anymore—every team must have a fairly small group of owners (32 or fewer, very commonly only one)—but the Packers are still allowed to do thisnote Although they do have to get NFL permission before issuing any new stock, ensuring that the Green Bay Packers are unique in their league in regards to the ownership situation. Fans of other NFL teams whose ownership is deemed incompetent often lament the fact that they can't band together and buy the team in a Packers-style arrangement.
Wisconsin would probably still have a team, only based in Milwaukee (which is home to two other major professional sports teams note Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers and the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks) and not Green Bay. In fact, Milwaukee is officially considered part of the Packers market by the NFL despite falling outside of the 75-mile radius of Lambeau Field and the Packers even played a portion of their home schedule in Milwaukee from 1936-1994 due to Green Bay being too small to support a major sports franchise on its own. Even today, the Packers 'gold package' season ticket holders is primarily made up of fans from down state who had season tickets for the games that used to be played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
Also true of British and Irish international sports teams. Virtually every sport works by the rule of one team per country, and when countries split (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia) or unite (Tanzania, Germany) the teams follow. But Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland have their own teams in almost all sports, even though the countries are the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, because they began most international competition. The divided loyalties of Northern Irish people (see Stroke Country) complicate matters further.
Football (and futsal) is a rarity, in that Ireland is split Republic/North (the NI team stubbornly styled themselves "Ireland" until 1950), but there are separate Scotland/Wales/England/NI teams. Great Britain teams went to the Olympics 1904-72, but when amateurs left the Olympics, so did Team GB. At the Olympics in London "Great Britain" qualified automatically to field a team in every sport, leading to 'temporary' mergers of the Scotland, England and Wales teams in many sports. However as many other European countries resent the UK's current set-up resulting in 4 times as many votes in governing body forums and 4 automatic spots on the board of FIFA(as the 4 oldest associations) Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all refused to agree to a combined team, fearing it would set a precedent and FIFA would force them to permanently merge into a team dominated by English players. The Olympic teams ended up fielding teams with only English and Welsh players in the men's team, and only English and (two) Scottish players in the women's team.
There was a separate NI cricket team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games (the Republic of Ireland is not part of the Commonwealth).
NI volleyball team play in the European Small Nations division.
At the Olympic Games, there is "Great Britain" and "Ireland", and athletes from Northern Ireland can compete for either — even some from a Unionist/Protestant background, who feel stronger allegiance for Britain, have competed for Ireland because Team GB wouldn't take them.
In cricket, there is "England" (which represents England and Wales), Scotland and Ireland.
Unsurprisingly, Gaelic games use a single Irish team, who play Scotland in compromise rules shinty-hurling, and Australia in international rules football (a clumsy fusion of Aussie Rules and Gaelic football).
There is a single GB team in korfball, kabaddi, hockey, ice hockey, handball, volleyball, Aussie rules, but NI players are with Ireland.
In basketball, there are separate "Great Britain" and "Ireland" teams — the GB team was only formed in 2005, and England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland still play each other.
In rugby, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales have separate teams. Northern Irish unionists object to both the Irish tricolour flag and the Republic's anthem "Amhrán na bhFiann", so a special "Four Provinces" flag and a special composed anthem ("Ireland's Call") is played.note When Ireland plays at home, both anthems are played, with "Ireland's Call" being last. Outside of Ireland, only "Ireland's Call" is used. Conversely, Irish players objected to the name "British Lions" for the four-team selection, so they're now the "British and Irish Lions".
A rare non-British/Irish example is the West Indies cricket team, who represent 10 independent countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago), 3 Crown dependencies (Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands), the US Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten (the Dutch half of St Martin) — 15 Caribbean "countries" in all, competing internationally as a single team. In fairness, all of these save Guyana, the US Virgin Islands, and Sint Maarten were all part of the West Indies Federation, which was a single country 1958-1962.
In 1999 Gibraltar, a tiny dependency of the UK on the edge of Spain, applied for membership of UEFA, the European football (soccer) governning body. Based on UEFA's membership rules at the time, there was nothing barring Gibraltar from joining. But Spain, which deeply resents British control over Gibraltar, threatened to withdraw from UEFA if Gibraltar were accepted. To keep Gibraltar out, UEFA altered its membership criteria in 2001 so that only independent states as recognised by the United Nations could become members, but granted an exemption to the five already-existing non-independent teams (the four British teams, plus the Faroe Islands).
After a decade-long legal battle, the courts rules that as Gibraltar had made their application before the rule change, UEFA had to allow them to join anyway, removing the original purpose behind the change. However, the new rules now act as a bar to places like Jersey, Guernsey and Greenland, who would probably have been allowed to join UEFA had they applied before the Gibraltar debacle.
The prefix e- for computer-related thing will get you ridiculed now. Only e-mail and perhaps ebooks can really get away with it. Perhaps this is because i is the new e.
A literal Grandfather Clause: Most people in the Western world younger than 70 years of age will be harshly reprimanded or at least mocked for Values Dissonance, while those in the twilight of their lives are viewed with tolerance (and sometimes condescension) for holding identical attitudes because "they don't know any better."
Alcohol and tobacco are more physically damaging and addictive than several illegal drugs, in fact, it's often been said that if they were discovered today they would be classed as Class A (highly illegal) drugs and banned in the UK. The reason they haven't been is because they've been around longer and are a big part of mainstream culture.
Pets. There is a well-defined set of "normal" pet animals which have been part of human existence for years (if not millennia), and legislation and custom are always written around the assumption that people are entitled to buy and own these animals. Outside that well-defined set, just watch the people start to stare and the legal compliance issues start to mount.
Case in point — Ferrets. They're the 3rd most popular pet in the US, yet you never see them in the media and laws and regulations prohibiting their ownership abound.
The NHL mandated that new players wear helmets in August of 1979, but allowed players that were already playing without them to continue to play helmetless. Craig MacTavish was the last non-helmeted player to play in the NHL (he said it was "a comfort thing"). He retired in 1997. (A waiver provision was added in 1992, allowing younger players to go helmetless if they chose; as the only players that went helmetless after the provision was added were MacTavish and Brad Marsh, who also qualified under the 1979 grandfather clause, the provision was dropped in 1996.)
In addition to eliminating the waiver provision, the 1996 update to the helmet rules mandated that incoming players must wear CSA-certified helmets. Veteran players were still permitted to retain their non-certified Jofa 235 helmets, largely because it was Wayne Gretzky's helmet of choice. Only four other players at the time (Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, and Igor Larionov) still wore the 235 at the time, and by 2001, they had either retired, or in Larionov's case, switched to a certified helmet.
The NHL will do something similar for visors beginning with the 2013-14 season. Again, those in the league already playing without visors will be allowed to continue playing without them.
Major League Baseball retired the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in the major leagues, in 1997, but allowed players who were already wearing that number to continue using it. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who retired after the 2013 season, was the last remaining active player to still wear that number.
The grandfather clause was permitted even if the existing player wearing 42 was traded to, or signed with, another team, allowing a few players (Mo Vaughn, Jose Lima, and Mike Jackson) to wear 42 for multiple teams after 1997.
Starting in 2009, every player, manager, coach, and umpire has worn 42 on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson's MLB debut. (If a game on that day is rained out, the teams and umpires involved will wear "42" uniforms at the next opportunity, typically the following day.)
Major League Baseball requires at least 325 feet of distance along each foul line to the nearest obstruction...except for fields that had shorter distances prior to 1958. Only two parks are that old: Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. The shortest distance in the latter, however, is 353 feet, so this exception only applies to the left field wall known as the "Green Monster" at Fenway (310 feet at its shortest).
Old Yankee Stadium (built in 1923, demolished after 2008) was also grandfathered in at 296 feet in right field. This was a point of contention with Charles O. Finley when he purchased the Kansas City Athletics in 1960. Finley wanted to bring the right field fence at Municipal Stadium in to 296 feet, but was vetoed by the American League, so he instead brought the fence in to the minimum 325 feet, had a line painted at 296 feet, and had his PA announcer declare that any fly balls landing in the zone between the line and the fence would've been home runs at Yankee Stadium. This practice would be ended rather quickly, once Finley realized that visiting teams were hitting far more to that area than the A's were.
Another MLB example: The spitball was banned in 1920, but pitchers who specialized in throwing spitballs were allowed to keep doing so for the rest of their careers. The last spitballer was Hall of Famer Burleigh "Ol' Stubblebeard" Grimes, who retired in 1934.
Similarly to baseball, but more recent: in 2007 the International Cricket Council ruled that the distance from boundary to boundary of an international ground must be at least 150 yards square of the wicket and 140 yards straight (measured from centre of pitch), that square boundaries must be at least 65 yards (which allows the pitch to be a little off centre, because a cricket ground has several parallel pitches to allow grass time to recover), and that no boundary can be more than 90 yards from the centre of the pitch. However, all grounds that were built before 2007 are allowed to have shorter boundaries. A few grounds, such as Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, fall well short of the minimum.
An almost literal one, unusual in that cases before the cutoff date must follow stricter rules: Germans enjoy visa-free access to Israel... except those old enough to have been of legal age during World War II (born before January 1, 1928). They have to get a visa and submit extra paperwork to prove that they weren't members of the Nazi Party and/or participate in Nazi atrocities.
Examples from biology:
The biological class of reptiles. Under modern cladistic criteria (a significant minority of scientists still use the old classification system), a taxon has to include all species deriving from a common ancestor. Reptiles don't because they lack the dinosaur-descended birds (together forming the sauropsides)note though some question whether dinosaurs were actually reptiles at all and the therapside-descended mammals (all together forming the hyperclass of the amniotes). From a scientific point of view, reptiles as a class have been discredited, but reptiles are still taught as a biological class vis-à-vis to the other three among the tetrapodes.
Similarly, there's fish. Basically, the closest we can get to a useful definition of fish is something like "anything that has a spine that isn't an amphibian, reptile, bird, mammal, or member of some extinct species that doesn't count because it has limbs or something".
Vermont Maid brand pancake syrup has not been manufactured in Vermont or contained any real maple syrup from anywhere for decades. If it were a new product, its makers would face a lawsuit from the state Department of Agriculture. And Now You Know why it's never been expanded beyond Original Flavor.
The Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan MPVs still survive, despite crossover SUVs being the replacement de facto for minivans. No rules prohibit minivans, only cultural trend.
Salford City Council get away with using streetlights over 20-30 years old due to the fact they fit in with the 1960s - 70s housing scheme and "Acacia Avenue" look/vibe, even though new regulations would not allow them these days due to safety concerns - and UKAstle.co.uk will probably mention this at some point. New Urbis Sapphires (which look sort of like alien eyes) have started being used in some part of Walkden, but they're not widely used due to various reasons.
The single bar facemask was officially banned by the NFL as of 2004, though it had been abandoned by every position except kickers and punters long before that. (QB Joe Theismann was the last non-kicker/punter to wear one when he retired in 1985.) Punter Scott Player was grandfathered and allowed to continue wearing just one bar until his retirement in 2008.
The Atholl Highlanders are the last feudal-style aristocrat's private army existing in Europe, under the personal command of the Duke of Atholl and not a part of the British Army in any capacity. They exist for reasons that more or less boil down to "Queen Victoria thought it was cool". Luckily the army only sees ceremonial guard duty as it would presumably cause havoc trying to fit it into modern international law.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Negro College Fund both retain terms for black people in their names that were perfectly acceptable when they were founded, but are considered racist today.