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Old Shame: Live-Action TV
Game shows are so prevalent that they have their own page.


General:

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 refused to re-air KTMA episodes after they left that station and requested Comedy Central cease airing Season 1 episodes shortly before Season 4. While some of these (especially the KTMA eps) had to do with the legal issues surrounding the movies in use that has plagued the series to this day, they admitted to this very trope in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, likening it to becoming a famous writer and then having an old classmate publish one of your shameful high school works. It's worth noting that several movies from the KTMA era were reused (with the rights properly attained this time around), essentially giving Best Brains a chance for a do-over.
    • Now that the franchise is dead, gone, and crystallized as a cult classic, series owner Jim Mallon has become a lot more liberal about putting KTMA snippets on the MST3K website and official DVD releases, likely because the odds of it doing any harm to the show's rep are minimum and fans are quite fascinated by them. Similarly, no prejudice is held against season one episodes when it comes to the DVDs and about half the episodes have been released. In fact, as of July 2014, every Season 1 episode has been on DVD (at least at some point).
  • In Brazil, famous children's television hostess Xuxa tried at all costs to retrieve old pornographic material involving her, which is understandable. After the advent of the internet, Xuxa successfully sued a big auction website to stop sales of a soft-porn movie with her, as well as a widely-circulated newspaper for showing a half-naked picture of her.note 
  • This post from Jack Coleman of Heroes, aka Noah Bennett, may utterly define this Trope.
  • Tina Fey apparently feels this way about the first episode of 30 Rock, saying "if I never see that pilot again, it will be too soon."
  • Joss Whedon has made every effort to ensure that the unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is never seen.
    "Ow! That was my favourite spine!"
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar would like to burn all the tapes from Girl Talk, a show she did when she was little.
  • In several episodes of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart refers to his previous film career in this manner. He seems particularly regretful over Death to Smoochy, as he said in his opening speech at the Oscars:
    "Tonight is the night when we celebrate excellence in film - with me, the fourth male lead from Death to Smoochy."
  • One episode of the Japanese TV series Ultra Seven features Monsters of the Week who resembled atomic bomb radiation victims, complete with scars and welts. Their plot was to suck blood from women and children in order to rejuvenate their polluted bodies. In the only country in the world to have nuclear weapons used on it, this sparked an obvious backlash (especially from real radiation victims, who were already suffering severe discrimination). Similar to the Pokémon incident above, the producers' reaction was to strike the episode from the canon and act like it never existed.
  • The Re Cut of Stargate SG-1's pilot was the result of Brad Wright viewing it again and realizing how much Old Shame was in it. To wit:
  • Bob Saget feels this way about his family-friendly roles in the late 1980s and early 1990s on Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos. He has since cultivated an image as an edgy, dark comic and has made a career out of Adam Westing his previous family-friendly persona by portraying a fictionalized version of himself that is drug abusing, foul-mouthed and sexually deviant in his stand-up.
    • Most of the people who starred in Full House don't particularly care about the show, though Bob Saget is definitely the most vocal about it!
    • Mary Kate Olsen pretty much hates having grown up as a child star and apparently refuses to do anything with Full House anymore-she apparently even told Ashley to turn off the TV when she saw her watching an episode once.
  • Speaking of America's Funniest Home Videos, that show has pretty much disowned the time from 1998 to 1999 that John Fugelsang and Daisy Fuentes hosted it (and brought it to just this side of cancellation, then demoted to a "special" show with rotating hosts, before returning as a regular series with Tom Bergeron). This disownment is evidenced by a retrospective episode of the Bergeron era, which brought back Saget but didn't even mention Fugelsang.
  • And speaking of Bergeron, he's ashamed of FOX After Breakfast, an attempt by FOX to re-create his earlier morning show Breakfast Time which aired on FX. The show was subject to much Executive Meddling which stripped Breakfast Time's good qualities. He says as such in the foreword to What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, where it ranks at #23.
  • Brannon Braga, writer of the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode "Threshold", acknowledges it to probably be the worst Trek episode he ever wrote, referring to it as a "royal steaming stinker", though he was quick to point out that he'd also written over 100 Trek episodes and could be forgiven just one bomb. Despite this, the episode won an Emmy...for makeup. Braga had previously written and co-written some of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (such as "Reunion", "Birthright Part 1", "Frame of Mind", and "All Good Things"), so it wasn't a trend.
    • Ira Steven Behr is responsible for many of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's best-loved episodes, but also some of its most-reviled episodes. Of the episode "Meridian" in particular (essentially Brigadoon IN SPACE!), he later said, "I am a moron."
    • From the same series: Chase Masterson, who played the busty dabo girl Leeta, recalled meeting the show's star for the first time and repeatedly being addressed as "Kathy." It wasn't until she finally corrected him that Avery Brooks cited her virtuoso performance as "Kathy" in... an infomercial for a treadmill exercise machine.
      Chase: I got paid for being in it; what were you doing watching it?
  • Tina Louise did not play Ginger Grant on Gilligan's Island. Don't even try to talk to her about it.
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special, a quick exploitation TV one-off produced a year after the original movie was released. George Lucas has gone on record to say he would hunt down and destroy every last copy of the Special if he had the time and money, and virtually every actor who appeared in it (most notably Harrison Ford), just about refuses to admit it exists.
    • Patty Maloney is an exception, as evidenced by this interview.
    • Bea Arthur also reportedly enjoyed her role, but that may be because her scene in the bar was the only watchable part of the entire thing and she wasn't actually aware until after it was released that it had anything to do with Star Wars.
      • Besides the animated short introducing Boba Fett, of course.
  • While this show has been around a long time and fans have differing opinions on what seasons are considered good or bad, there is one thing Saturday Night Live fans can agree on: Season 6 (the 1980-81 season spearheaded by Jean Doumanian) was generally bad. So much so that, outside of a 60-minute Comedy Central rerun and a full 90-minute rerun on NBC, Season 6 hasn't aired in full anywhere in America, except for when it premiered in the early 1980s (Canada, on the other hand, did air all the episodes from Season 6) and it's highly unlikely that the episodes will be released on DVD now that Seasons 1-5 are out.
    • Season 11 (1985-86) also qualifies as an Old Shame, at least to current Simpsons writer George Meyer, ex-Simpsons writer Jon Vitti, and NBC executives, who referred to the entire season as a "horrible, horrible dream" at the beginning of Season 12.
    • Season 20 (1994-95) could be considered this in the eyes of Janeane Garofalo, who left mid-season after putting up with the "unfair boys' club" attitude of the cast and writers (in a comedy special, she compared being on SNL as being the Indian who gets the smallpox-ridden blanket from the white settlers) and Lorne Michaels (who cites the season as the closest he's ever been to being fired and having his show canceled).
    • All this said, you can watch the above seasons and all the other ones on Netflix, if you're so inclined. Unfortunately, the episodes are heavily edited, and some run less than 30 minutes.
  • ABC Family really doesn't want to be reminded they have to continue giving Pat Robertson and his 700 Club three hours a day on their network, along with one day in January for his yearly CBN telethon, just because some underling of Rupert Murdoch couldn't persuade him to give up the network completely. The network airs the show very reluctantly, putting disclaimers on before it stating that they don't support Robertson's views and refusing to put up anything identifying the channel as ABC Family. They also air the show at the most out-of-the-way, least likely to be watched times they can.
    • Why not just shut down the channel and debut a new channel with the exact same programing, slightly altered in times, on the same day? (This was, in fact, ABC's original intention, namely to rebrand the then-Fox Family as an ABC rerun farm and young-adult channel called XYZ. However, when they saw Robertson's contract stipulations were iron-clad, they realized the only way to break them was to completely start over and build XYZ from the ground up, which would put them in the very bad position having every single contract they have null and void and having to renegotiate with every cable system to get back on, which for any basic cable network would be a disastrous proposition.)
  • Sally Field hates The Flying Nun, pretty much dismissing it as I Was Young and Needed the Money.
  • Evangeline Lilly of LOST, The Hobbit and The Hurt Locker once did a phone-sex commercial.
  • Disney and Power Rangers. The cheesy, bright kids show franchise was part of the package when they bought up Fox's kids programming and The Family Channel, and they clearly never were proud of it, to the point that they had no real problem eventually selling it back to Haim Saban and Shuki Levy. Several ABC affiliate groups like Hearst and Allbritton outright refused to carry it on their stations because of lack of educational value.
    • Interestingly, despite its Loads and Loads of Characters, there are very few actors who actively treat it as such. Danny Slavin is the biggest case; he only took the job to pay for law school and doesn't even think about it since. Others have had shame for it but most have come around to some degree, like Steve Cardenas (who originally refused to even mention it, but has since warmed up to it), David Yost (who didn't hate the show, but was understandably upset about getting gay-bashed behind the scenes) and Amy Jo Johnson, who is a pretty odd case (She doesn't seem to hate the show, but instead hated the typecasting afterwards. She'll be civil to fans who mention it, but generally doesn't like to bring it up. She's later mentioned that the reason she doesn't go to conventions or fan events is not because of disliking her role, but mostly because of getting freaked out in huge crowds and also not wanting to risk stalkers.) Considering the number of Ranger actors currently sits around 90, and growing each year, the fact that Slavin seems to be the only real case of Old Shame is pretty damn impressive.
    • Slavin's case is interesting; as detailed on Lost Galaxy's page there was a lot of Executive Meddling (especially for the team-up episode with Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) that understandably rubbed him the wrong way. Initially Slavin refused to return for the 10th anniversary episode "Forever Red", but changed his mind at the last minute as a favor to the producers. After this, though, he effectively retired from acting and has turned down numerous invites to Power Morphicon.
    • It may be that the Red Galaxy Ranger suit is just cursed. The actor who played Ginga Red (the Super Sentai counterpart to Slavin's character), Kazuki Maehara, seems to feel the same about the role. He is also retired from acting and like Slavin he refused to appear in the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger tribute episode to Gingaman, and only showed up when the cast and crew begged him to appear. As a result, he only shows up late in the episode. He seems to have gotten over it since; after the last episode of Gokaiger, he tweeted in-character as Ryouma that his ranger key had been returned to him.
  • Apparently, just about every one of the live actors involved with ALF, mainly since the puppet was treated better than the actors (the numerous trapdoors that they would use were time-consuming to reset, which gave the option of either exhausting your actors, or risking their safety by leaving them open). So much, that after the final scene of the final episode was shot, actor Max Wright simply walked to his car, drove off, and never spoke to any of the cast members ever again.
    • For what it's worth, even Wright seems to have softened a bit over time; in 2006, he was quoted as saying "It doesn't matter what I felt or what the days were like, ALF brought people a lot of joy."
  • Despite many fans who remember him in this role from the 1970s, Morgan Freeman prefers not to talk about his time as Easy Reader on The Electric Company or about being on that show in general. This didn't stop the Golden Globes for airing this before Freeman came up to get his DeMille award.
  • CBS seems to try to ignore the existence of the first season of Big Brother as much as possible, to the point of actually asking contestants in later seasons to not discuss it while on the show.
    • Interestingly enough, this was the only season that was close to the original (and wasn't as dependent on gimmicks as later seasons were).
  • Contrary to many rumors, Joe Odagiri doesn't directly hate talking about his stint as Kamen Rider Kuuga, but he has stated that he'd like to move forward as a more serious actor.
  • Seems to be the case with Dustin Diamond and Saved by the Bell. When the cast did a reunion for a magazine shoot sometime in early 2011, he was the only one who didn't participate (even Principal Belding was there) and instead released a book bashing the show. In an interview with TV Guide, Tiffani Amber-Thiessen said she thought this might have just been anger since he wasn't doing anything major at the moment, while the rest of the cast (except Lark Voorhies also), were. Diamond claimed in one interview that he didn't feel like he fit in with the rest of the cast, being the youngest of the actors playing students.
  • One of Peter Davison's (aka The Fifth Doctor) early jobs was a guest shot on The Tomorrow People, an episode known as "A Man For Emily." Let's just say it opens with a nearly nude Peter sagging in manacles against a wall and goes downhill from there. Peter expressed utter horror upon learning that the episode had actually been broadcast in the US.
  • Doctor Who:
    • To the shock of many fans, Douglas Adams viewed the unfinished but legendary Doctor Who story "Shada" as this, publicly stating that he'd only signed the release to allow the 1992 VHS issue of what was made to go ahead because he hadn't noticed that it had been included in a folder with a bunch of other routine paperwork.
    • Robert Holmes has said that "The Power of Kroll" was the least favorite serial he'd written for the show. He never liked doing "scary monster" stories, so right from the start he was wary of the premise that script editor Anthony Read gave him. He found the finished product dull and shakily executed.
    • Steven Moffat has regrets about the second episode he wrote during his tenure as executive producer, "The Beast Below". He's called it "a bit of a mess", citing the fact that he had too many ideas that would have been fine on their own, but having them all packed into a short 45-minute runtime didn't give them all enough time to properly stew or be focused upon.
    • Speaking of Doctor Who, Martin Clunes (of Men Behaving Bady and Doc Martin fame) is very embarrassed about his guest role in the 1983 serial "Snakedance".
    • Peter Kay has called his guest spot as the Abzorbaloff in 2006's "Love & Monsters" the one thing in his career that he regrets. While he had fun making it, he was disappointed by the finished product ("I'm a big green lizard running around Cardiff? Is that it?") and is aware that the episode is considered by some fans to be one of the worst ever.
  • Drew Carey is still extremely embarrassed by Geppetto, his 2000 TV movie musical adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio, which the American Whose Line Is It Anyway? cast frequently mocked him for.
    • The Drew Carey Show may have lampshaded this during a live episode, where the kid that played Pinocchio showed up in costume and asks how come he never wants to hang out with him anymore.
    • Speaking of Whose Line, performers Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie have said they don't watch their earliest appearances on the British edition because of how awkward and unfunny they were.
  • MTV prefers not to acknowledge the existence of The Brothers Grunt, due to the horrible reviews and ratings the show had (MTV viewers even started a campaign to get the show canceled). The only people that seem to remember it are fans of creator Danny Antonucci (who also did Lupo The Butcher and Ed, Edd n Eddy).
    • In a 1989 "decade in review" special MTV News named The Monkees as "most unnecessary comeback" of the 80s, despite the fact that it was MTV's airing of the sitcom's reruns that led to the Monkees' comeback in the first place.
  • Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune fame starred in a 1988 TV movie for NBC called Goddess of Love. When Wheel host Pat Sajak brought it up on an episode, Vanna just about physically tried to stop him from saying any more about it.
  • Drake doesn't like to talk about his days as Jimmy (or to some people, that black kid in a wheelchair) on Degrassi. This is a weird version of this trope of him, since that's pretty much the only thing he's known for other than rapping. When he was on MTV's When I Was 17, he didn't discuss it at all even though, again, Degrassi was the only notable thing he did when he was 17. His work is primarily distributed in the U.S., where Degrassi is far less popular than it is in his native Canada. It's actually quite understandable that he wouldn't bring it up given how his success as a rapper has largely overshadowed his acting career. Despite this, when Drake hosted Saturday Night Live on January 18, 2014, he admitted in his monologue that, yes, he was Jimmy on Degrassi (and that he was credited under his real name Aubrey Graham), and, in another old shame admission, he was the one who came up with "YOLO" meme and he's sorry for it, since it led to a lot of annoying family members and coworkers harassing people with that phrase.
  • Dave Chappelle absolutely hates Buddies, the short-lived Spin-Off of Home Improvement that he starred in as a young man. He even bashed it during an episode of Chappelle's Show, calling it "irrelevant and not funny."
  • Some performers are fine with their work for Sid & Marty Krofft Productions being brought up. And then there are Deidre Hall (Electra Woman And Dyna Girl) and Jim Nabors (The Lost Saucer)...
  • Ellen DeGeneres has several segments on her show that highlight the old shames of audience members, notably "bad paid-for photos" and "hot glam, girl!" featuring embarrassing studio photographs and glamour shots, usually taken in the 80s and early 90s.
  • Not only did Martin Shaw hate Lewis Collins, his co-star on The Professionals (and vice versa), he also hated the show itself to the extent of blocking repeats for years (he later relented upon learning that the widow of the late Gordon Jackson (who played their boss) was having money troubles; the series has subsequently been shown frequently on British cable television).
  • FOX celebrated its 25th Anniversary in April 2012, which doesn't seem too out-of-place except for the fact the network actually debuted six months earlier (October 9, 1986) with The Late Show starring Joan Rivers. Okay, so the show had a rather tumultuous history until it was canned in mid-1988, but ignoring the first six months of your network to establish a "fake" start date falls squarely into here.
    • However, only the O&O's actually tried to promote that show, while the network struggled to string enough affiliates between October 1986 and April 1987 to get the network going before the primetime launch. There were even cases where seeing the iceberg ahead, some stations like WCGV in Milwaukee would only affiliate with the network if they didn't have to air The Late Show, while Omaha's KPTM outright refused, not wanting to endure the wrath of local legend Johnny Carson (who blacklisted Joan Rivers from Tonight, a rule that lasted until Jimmy Fallon buried the hatchet in 2014). Desperate to have as many affiliates as possible when the network launched in primetime, Fox allowed stations to avoid carrying it. Most sources thus call April 1987 the actual start of the network, and regard The Late Show as a Fox syndicated production instead before then.
  • When you star in a TV series that has your name in the title - for the sake of argument, let's call it David Cassidy: Man Undercover - and you still don't discuss it in your autobiography... yeah, shame of oldness.
    • David did, however, discuss the series in his VH1 Behind The Music special, claiming he felt embarrassed at his talk show appearances promoting the show, humorously lampooning his attitude that he be taken as a "SERIOUS artist".
  • Nickelodeon has tried to deny the existence of Cry Baby Lane in the past, a movie that was banned due to its terrifying content.
    • The network has also denied requests to release their first major show (Pinwheel) on DVD, saying they'd rather leave it as a distant memory.
  • The very first pilot for The Aquabats! Super Show! in 1998 is regarded as an old shame by the band. "No one wants it, not even The Aquabats".
    • The Aquabats! have never made the 1998 pilot available for public viewing, and probably never will.
  • If you want to stay on Jane Leeves' good side, never ask her about her appearances on The Benny Hill Show.
  • Teri Garr guest starred as Roberta Lincoln in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode/Poorly Disguised Pilot "Assignment: Earth". She had a very uncomfortable time during filming (which included sexual harassment), to the point that she refuses to discuss Star Trek in any way and does not attend Star Trek conventions.
  • Kirk Cameron really feels bad about getting Growing Pains castmember Julie McCullough fired for posing for Playboy due to his religious views, as well as the controversy surrounding it, which he blames on lack of maturity.
  • Melissa George's time as Angel on Home and Away, based on this, may be a mashup of Old Shame and Berserk Button.
  • Everyone on the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation feels this way about S1 E4 (also known as "Code of Honor"), an episode so charged with racial stereotypes and Unfortunate Implications and outright racism that it's kind of hard to watch. The plot is that there is a planet of aliens who look exactly like humans of African descent and dress in a mix of stereotype of what Shaka's warriors might wear and leopard-skin hot pants. This would be bad enough. However, the leader of these tribes is a somewhat sexist man who falls for blond-haired Lt. Yar, kidnaps her, and tries to get his "number one wife" killed via a duel with Yar. Their society actually follows tribal-style concepts of status and honor, including a "counting coup." And the Enterprise crew can't simply decide to have no part in any of this nonsense because the people of this planet have a vaccine which is vital to the survival of another planet, but are so wrapped up in their contests of honor that they will not release it until the Enterprise crew plays along. So you have African stereotypes kidnapping a pretty white woman to marry her, necessitating the pretty white woman's companions to try to save her while she has to fight an enraged, jealous African female. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
    • For what it's worth, the aliens weren't written to be black in the script. The original director insisted on casting them this way, and proceeded to show himself to be such a horrible racist that he was quickly replaced.
      • At the 2013 Edmonton Expo, Garrett Wang (known for playing Ensign Kim on Star Trek: Voyager) claimed that the reason he didn't watch TNG was because of that episode. He had missed the first few episodes because he was just starting college at the time the show premiered, and the first episode he saw was "Code of Honor." He was so offended and appalled by it that he decided not to watch it again. Every time he tried to catch the show in its run, the episode that played was "Code of Honor." He would end up watching the entire show later as Voyager began production.
  • Denis Leary admitted that he made a big mistake by arguing with Greg Giraldo on Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn.
  • Larry Hagman admitted to disliking the Dallas reunion movies, as did Patrick Duffy.
  • One of David Letterman's first tv roles was on The Starland Vocal Band Show, an embarrasingly bad show made to cash in on the success of the band. Reportedly Letterman (as well as the SVB for that matter) left the show off his resume.
  • Dana Carvey said that he thought One Of The Boys (the sitcom he did with Mickey Rooney) was terrible!
  • James Cromwell does not look back on his tenure on 24 with much fondness. He hadn't seen the show beforehand and only took the job at the urging of his agent, claiming it would make him more well known, and because he was being offered a lot of money for it. He hated how the show glamorized torture for information, and hated playing a character with no redeeming qualities.
  • Nick Kroll has made fun of Cavemen in his stand-up.
  • Rob Schneider said he didn't care for his sitcom, Rob, and thought it could have been executed better.
  • The creators and cast of Farscape acknowledged the poor quality of the first season episode "Jeremiah Crichton" to the point that some DVD issues include a commentary entirely devoted to apologising for it and trying to explain how it got so bad.
  • J. Michael Straczynski has offered to personally apologize to all Babylon 5 fans for the episode "Grey 17 Is Missing." He's stated that he was very sick with the flu, and took a lot of medication for it while writing the episode, and as a result has almost no memory of the actual writing process. He also claimed that a lot of the episode sounded better on paper.
  • Every episode of Before They Were Famous hosted by Angus Deayton opened with an advert that Deayton would rather pretend didn't exist. Most of the other clips were, presumably, Old Shames for the people involved as well, although we don't learn their reactions (except, In-Universe, Nick Hancock; The Stinger of the first episode was Hanckock accosting Deayton in the BBC carpark and punching him for repeatedly showing a particularly goofy moment from Hancock's early role in a series of cheesy beer ads).
  • The BBC would love to disassociate themselves from any show that starred TV presenter Jimmy Savile in it (who was posthumously revealed to have been a rapist and a pedophile). This is particularly bad for Top of the Pops, where not all of Savile's introductions can be simply cut away, and "Jim'll Fix It", a children's show where most of the funny and amusing footage will forever be tainted by memories about the person who presented them.
    • Even references to Savile have been banned. A repeat of an old episode of the children's show Tweenies in which one of the characters dresses and acts like Savile was accidentally shown again recently and caused a stir among viewers. The BBC apologized for the broadcast and vowed to never show it again.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: John Cleese once said he felt that too many episodes in the series were recorded cheaply and quickly, while they could have been a lot better. Therefore he isn't particularly fond of most of them. This also shows on the DVD "Monty Python: John Cleese's Personal Best" where the amount of sketches he seems to like is far lower, compared to the "Personal Best" DVDs of his fellow Python colleagues. The other Pythons are far more proud of the series in general. It must also be mentioned that Cleese felt particularly bored with the format, even in the first season, gradually getting worse after the third one. So many of his embarrassing feelings might stem from the fact that he didn't enjoy it that much anymore near the end. In "Life and How To Survive It," Cleese also said that only after Graham Chapman died he suddenly realized, remembering the series, that he never had so much fun during a project in his life.
  • Carol Burnett did not have fun making Stanley, mostly because Buddy Hackett kept stepping over all of her lines.
  • Angus T. Jones felt regret over doing Two and a Half Men because he felt they made too much light out of serious issues in the world — he even made a whole video criticizing the series.
  • Tom Chapin, brother of musician Harry Chapin, recalls his series Make a Wish which aired on ABC Sunday mornings as "a show for six-year old speed freaks."
  • Jason Momoa is not proud of his stint on Baywatch because it led him to hardly be able to get any work for a long time.
  • Tim Burton regrets the TV movie adaptation of Hansel and Gretel he made back in the early 80's and refused to release it until just recently.

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