->''Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow,"\\
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;\\
But I can tell you, Anyhow\\
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!''
-->-- '''Gelett Burgess''', ''Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue''.

They say that you have to do bad work before you can do good work. Not just one piece of bad work, but ''[[SturgeonsLaw tons]]'' of it, some so bad that it puts ''Literature/TheEyeOfArgon'' and ''Film/BabyGeniuses'' to shame.

Whether it's {{fan fic}}tion or original published work, some really bad stories have been written (this goes for other art forms too, sometimes just as badly). And even though you have to do bad work before you can do good work, the bad work still exists and [[MyGreatestFailure the creator has to deal with it]]. Sometimes it's published to wither and die on its own; most of the time, it isn't.

But sometimes [[SoCoolItsAwesome the work was good]], yet those in control would rather let it rot in a back vault forever while pulling down any and all online copies. For example, not many people know that a famous early-television personality hosted [[ThePriceIsRight a mega-popular show]] for five years, or that [[WheelOfFortune another mega-popular show]] had anybody at the helm other than the current duo. Sometimes, the shame happens because a work was FairForItsDay, but contains [[ValuesDissonance concepts, themes]], or [[OnceAcceptableTargets character archetypes]] that [[SocietyMarchesOn simply aren't considered acceptable in the present]] (that, or the work [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop espouses values that were unacceptable even at the time the work was created]], because [[CreatorBreakdown the author was in a REALLY bad mood that day]]). Another possible reason is that the work heavily promotes a viewpoint that its author no longer holds.

If the creator tries to [[CanonDiscontinuity erase any trace of its existence]], shies away from it, moves on to the next question when it's brought up, or otherwise just tells people not to care about it, it's an Old Shame.

One of the leading causes of DeadFic: authors express intent to finish their old work, read through it as a refresher, and can't get past the first chapter because of how bad they think it is. In fact, the vast majority of fan fiction in general becomes this after the author gains some age and perspective. This is commonplace at the start of someone's fan fic writing career; the author will want to write a really good fight scene or really interesting plot, but their inexperience in writing leads to plot holes and {{Mary Sue}}s. Then, as the writer gets better and looks back on his old work, they'll cringe as they realize how bad it was; naturally, they may want to [[BrainBleach erase all memory of it]].

It stands to reason that this trope is not [[TropesAreFlexible all black and white]], there are hundreds of ways someone can regret the work they did and much of it may not have anything to do with the final product. An Old Shame may come from having bad memories of the TroubledProduction, loving the experience but perplexed at the direction it took or greatly disliking the {{Typecasting}} (or other attention) they received after the fact. It's actually rather common to make [[FireForgedFriends extremely close friends]] while working on an infamously bad tv show or movie.

Compare CreatorBacklash, where the work in question gained popularity but earned the ire of its creators anyway. Contrast DeaderThanDisco, where it's the ''fans'' who don't ever want to remember they liked this work. See also HamAndCheese, where an individual in a movie he/she knows will at some point become Old Shame decides to have fun with it, and TookTheBadFilmSeriously, where an individual doesn't even seem to realize the movie is awful and gives all they have. The motivation behind many an OrwellianEditor. Compare GrowTheBeard. IWasYoungAndNeededTheMoney is an extreme example. Generally the opposite of FirstInstallmentWins, it can be the source of NeverLiveItDown. ArtEvolution is a visual example of this: there's no faster way to embarrass a webcomic artist than pointing to something early in their archives. Compare BleachedUnderpants, which this may overlap with. If a work the creator is ashamed of becomes their biggest hit, it's MagnumOpusDissonance.

'''It should be noted''' that ''characters'' within a work of fiction can also see something in their past as an Old Shame. Such cases would be categorized under OldShame/InUniverse, and thus should be linked as such on a work's trope when it applies within the work itself.
* OldShame/AnimeAndManga
* OldShame/ComicBooks
* OldShame/FanFiction
* OldShame/{{Film}}
** OldShame/FilmAToF
** OldShame/FilmGToL
** OldShame/FilmMToS
** OldShame/FilmTToZ
* OldShame/{{Literature}}
* OldShame/LiveActionTV
** OldShame/GameShow
* OldShame/{{Music}}
* OldShame/NewspaperComics
* OldShame/ProfessionalWrestling
* OldShame/TabletopGames
* OldShame/{{Theatre}}
* OldShame/VideoGames
* OldShame/WebAnimation
* OldShame/{{Webcomics}}
* OldShame/WebOriginal
* OldShame/WesternAnimation
* OldShame/RealLife
* [[OldShame/InUniverse In-universe Examples]]