Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
The 1970s bittersweet BBC sitcom Butterflies focused (as BBC sitcoms tend to do) on the usual sort of well-off middle-class family living in a nice part of London. Doormat housewife Wendy Craig is taken for granted by her husband and two teenage sons—who in the 1970s talked, at best, in teenage slang that was only 10 years out of date. Even in the late 1970s when most kids were getting into punk rock, the two sons stood out horribly as Teenagers That Time Forgot, talking hippie argot that would have been horribly stale and dated in 1967. They even dressed out of date for the time, too.
Whenever Frasier or Niles try to be "cool," this is inevitably the result.
Niles: Who was that babe-o-rama?
Frasier: Niles, please don't try to be hip. You remind me of Bob Hope when he dresses up as the Fonz.
Harper from Andromeda did this a lot. For example, when the Eureka Maru pulled the Andromeda free from the gravitational pull of a black hole that it had been trapped in for 300 years, Harper said, "I just wanna say this once: We rule." Apparently, he's their Surfer Dudethousands of years in the future.
On Gap, a few of the lead characters use Totally Radical slang, such as "dude", "totally", and "awesome". However, the offhand and casual way the characters use it makes it seem more believable.
Freaks and Geeks deliberately averted this trope by being set in the early 1980s (when creators Judd Apatow and Paul Feig were in high school) rather than modern times. Thus, there's a considerable amount of early-'80s slang used on the show. Fortunately, it's used very conservatively by most of the show's characters (except, of course, for Mr. Rosso).
Witness any depiction of the 1960s youth culture in Dragnet 1967.
"You're pretty high and far-out. What kind of trip are you on, son?"
The complete and utter disconnection of late-1960s/early 1970s television comedy from the sensibilities of the Baby Boomer generation was one of the things that spurred Lorne Michaels to create Saturday Night Live.
Rebellious urban teen sidekick Ace in 1980s Doctor Who. ("Gordon Bennett, what a toerag!") For once, not the fault of the writer, who based her original dialogue on actual teenagers he'd actually met, but of Media Watchdogs who decided that authenticity was no excuse for a TV youngster using that kind of language, thank you, and insisted it be Bowdlerised.
She also liked to say the word "ace" itself, which naturally leads to anyone not familiar with that slang term to think she's just saying her own name.
Russell T. Davies mocked this in his Doctor Who New Adventures novel Damaged Goods. When the Doctor returns to a rough 1987 urban housing estate, he expects another teenage girl to talk and act like Ace. She puts him straight.
The otherwise enjoyable late 1980s story The Greatest Show in the Galaxy features (and opens with) a rapping circus ringmaster whose rap falls somewhere between hilarious, and "Oh God, my ears". Fortunately, he's balanced out by the Circus of Fear and Monster Clowns. Even the Doctor (briefly) gets in on the act.
Parodied in School Reunion with "Correctamundo!" which the Doctor immediately swears off.
Parodied again in The Eleventh Hour; Having just saved the world in 20 minutes without a TARDIS or the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor gleefully bellows out "Who da man?!"... and sounds utterly Adorkable. Everyone stares at him in either scorn, pity or confusion, and he ends up sulkily declaring that he's never saying that again.
The audio specialCuddlesome has the Mark II's saying "like, totally," complete with American "dude" accents, in practically every. single. sentence.
Jo Grant, who talked like the writers' vague idea of how groovy young people talked in the 1960s, despite it being the early 1970s. (Or, depending on your view of UNIT dating, the late 1970s.)
Brand-new invented slang was one of the keys to the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has also helped prevent the show from becoming obviously (and painfully!) dated, as slang may change but the cadence and patterns mostly don't. The same can't be said for the show's abundant pop culture references, however.
Other well known examples from the franchise include "Morphenomenal!" from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and Alpha 6 in Power Rangers Turbo, who replaced his predecessor's "Ay-yi-yi!" catchphrase with "Yo, yo, yo". He quickly reached The Scrappy status and in Power Rangers in Space, he was damaged and repaired with speech circuitry made for Alpha 5. The result is largely an Expy of 5, though he still had 6's spunk: can you imagine 5 piloting the megazord himself while the Rangers are away?
Power Rangers Ninja Storm had this. Getting beaten up was getting "worked" and pretentious bad guys were "posers" and so forth. That season has its own language. Power Rangers Dino Thunder continued it for the first two or three episodes, but eventually stopped and let it be Ninja Storm's "thing."
A Nicktoons advert for the series, listing the various features, includes "90's slang".
Averted in Summer Heights High. Chris Lilley, the show's creator who also plays the three main characters, is unnervingly accurate as the teenage girl, Ja'mie. The show uses up-to-date slang and teenage mannerisms, as well as employing a realistic level of coarse language (which, amongst hormonal teenagers trying to sound cool, is a lot).
Ja`mie: Oh my god, ties are so random. Like, what are they anyway, just pieces of fabric?
Parodied in an episode of NewsRadio: Bill is hired to advertise a malt liquor during news breaks, and adopts a "ghetto voice" during his ads, much to the chagrin of Catherine, who's usually as amoral as Bill is but draws a line here. Catherine ends up giving Bill a stream of "street slang" that she says will make the commercial seem more hip, that just makes him sound ridiculous ("It's got that upstate prison flavor that'll make your feet stank all night long!").
Also parodied in their BizarroIN SPACE! episode, where "Gazizzah", one of the made-up words, has become a common greeting.
The show Pizza is responsible for putting the phrase "fully sick" and "stooge" into the mouths of thousands of bogans. And Uncle Toby's, together with Thorpie, helped kill it. To elaborate for non-Australians: if you want to kill slang, put it in the mouth of a metrosexual swimmer in an advertisement for cereal.
In fact, 'fully sick' had and still has pretty common use in urban Australia, at least in Sydney. And to be fair, 'stooge' was more a personal catch-phrase of the main character.
Played with in an episode of How I Met Your Mother: When Robin dates an older man, his Totally Radical speech patterns (part surfer, part stoner) make him seem even older.
And the fact that the actor was in his 70s. Old Ted's voiceover indicated he was probably in his 40s, but that they all remembered him as an old man.
Parodied in thisArmstrong & Miller sketch. Have you ever asked yourself what it would be like if RAF pilots during World War II spoke like modern London teenagers?
In The Office (US), Michael frequently receives lessons in "black people phrases" from warehouse worker Darryl, never quite catching on that Darryl's just screwing with him.
"Dink and Flicka"
"Bippity boppity, gimme the zoppity."
Parodied in the first several season of The Red Green Show, with über-geek Harold trying to seem "cool" and "radical", but merely revealing himself as the dork he was. Red's own speeches to teenage viewers were ironically much more authentic, as he didn't even bother trying to relate to them in the same way and just talked like an ordinary middle-aged guy.
Season 1, episode 4 of Veronica Mars is one big long Totally Radical marathon. Veronica and Wallace go undercover to end a credit card fraud scheme perpetrated by a pair of nerds called the "Silicon Mafia" developing a new game which will "make Quake look like Asteroids." Part of their scheme involves tricking the evil nerds into believing they've been invited to a demonstration of The Matrix Online, which no one cared about in the first place. Apparently, it has "rag-doll effects." And "the physics engine is killer." The list goes on. And on. Also features a painful case of Pac-Man Fever. Fortunately, aside from this episode, Totally Radical is mocked and averted pretty thoroughly throughout the series.
Dark Angel has its share of examples, but one seems deliberate: it is perfectly in character for hyper-square Normal to name his messenger service—wait for it—Jam Pony.
Mercilessly spoofed in the short-lived Funky Squad, an Australian take-off of American '70s cop shows like The Mod Squad.
Parodied in Not Going Out: Lee has found yet another dead-end job, so Kate asks him if he bothered to look at some career leaflets she got for him. He dismissively says that they're all aimed at kids, citing a slogan: "Do you want a career, innit?" Kate reads the leaflet; the slogan in question is actually "Do you want a career in IT?"
An episode of Zoey 101 had stereotypical computer geeks saying stuff like "LOL!" These are typed expressions, though they're occasionally said out loud, either by the savvy in a spirit of ironic playfulness, or by the clueless through a lack of understanding. Guess which category the writers fell into. Same thing goes for alternate spellings of certain words, such as "pwn". Anybody who pronounces the p should be doing it in the most ironic/sarcastic way possible. It seems that nowadays pronouncing the p is okay so long as the word still rhymes with "own". What's bad is when characters spell out acronyms that can be easily pronounced - usually "Ell Oh Ell". Guys, it's "lol". Or "lawl", if you can't figure out phonetics. Also, no one ever says "OMG" out loud. Ever. Please stop.
The Season Two episode from Ugly Betty when Betty writes an article for "Hot Flash", only to have Claire edit the hell out of it to make it sound more "youthful". Betty herself is indignant, and to her chagrin every single person who talks to her about the article comments on it. ("...Natch?")
Spoofed in an episode of Hannah Montana; Miley goes to see a dentist, who greets her using a mish-mash of outdated slang. When Miley calls him out on this, the dentist says that he's just trying to be relatable, to which she quips, "To what, the 1970s?" The show also provides us with a use of pwned, pronounced with two syllables.
Two and a Half Men had an episode where Charlie invited his latest girlfriend (a near doppleganger for his own mother) and her two kids. Jake gives Charlie a series of advice on how to handle the kids: don't rub their heads, don't call them "little dudes", don't raise your hand and say "high five" and don't ask if they would like ice cream. When they arrive, cue Alan doing everything Jake had warned against, to the dismay of everyone around. Alan doesn't even notice and enthusiastically plows through the entire list.
In the early 1990s, Wheel of Fortune tried out a "Slang" category for some of its puzzles. Most of the slang used was dated, obscure or just plain nonexistent (e.g., OFF THE BEAM, LET'S CUT OUT OF HERE).
Road Rules (the bastard cousin of The Real World) had a season simply titled Road Rules Xtreme (yes, with an initial X). This aired in the Aughties. And replaced the standard intro ("Throw out your old rules, these are the road rules") for a crappy metal song where the only lyrics were someone screeching "LIKE A MOTHERF** KER FROM HELL!" The show went on hiatus for a loooooong time after that.
iCarly: For the most part the writers invent 'cool' words, but a few like 'nub' have crept on to the show.
The ridiculousness is compounded by the replacement of walkie-talkies with cell phones, which can communicate between a ship in space and an alien planet instantly. Better watch those roaming charges, unless SGC has a deal with Goa'uld Telecom.
The entire networkDisney XD is the nutshell example of this trope. Every boy in their advertising is shown skating or surface-medium-here-boarding 'to the max', entire programs are filled with 'radical'-ly outdated lingo, and the network's announcer screams in every promo like he's selling the Bigfoot show on 'Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!' at the Centrum, which ends with a program or a commercial for the channel's original programming receiving an odd Checkmark of Awesomeness punctuated by some form of "Yeah!" or "Yes!", even if it's a laughably and totally unradical film no one finds awesome like Arthur & the Invisibles or Brother Bear.
Thankfully, the "Yeah!" or "Yes!" has been removed recently in some of the channel's ads...
Motherfucking Tokyo Breakfast was one unpredictable nigga, nigga!! (An intentional example of this and a number of other tropes, of course, as it was part of a Canadian sketch comedy pilot that ultimately went nowhere.)
QI naturally does this throughout its 'Groovy' episode. Mostly it's either Stephen being incapable of uttering any kind of slang in any way that doesn't sound affected, or the panel mocking him for it.
The Inbetweeners is amazingly realistic in its portrayal of how British teenagers act and talk. This did get both series an 18 rating, though - presumably under-18s can't deal with hearing language they use every day.
A Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode The Beatniks was set in the 1950s. Ax-Crazy delinquent Moon makes the following threat, which was probably intended as a death threat, but was... phrased rather unfortunately.
Brazilian channel Rede Globo has this in the ads for its afternoon movies, with a vocabulary that rarely changes - the word "confusion" appears for almost every movie! An example would be along the lines of 'This wicked gang will get into much confusion!'
Speaking of Globo, they have a show called Na Moral (teen slang for "seriously"), a weekly show where guests debate current topics — most of them not entirely related to youngsters (such as abortion or separation of church and state), but they named the show as such in order to try to appeal to this demographic.
In an effort to make Vanessa at least a little likable to the viewers the Gossip Girl writers gave her this gem of a line after a college party:
Vanessa: Hey Dan. Want to get together and download about the epicness last night?
In-Universe Liz Lemon's slang is sometimes treated as such, even though she makes up most of her own slang and what she uses is never particularly old—at least, not by this trope's standards. See the following exchange, from a 2010 episode.
Randy: But first, I am going to give my cool cousin a makeover!
Liz: Is it going to be "fierce"?
Randy: It would if it were 2006!
Jenna Maroney has issues.
Jenna: No more making fun of me when I misuse dated cultural references, okay? Are we cowabunga on this?
Uncle Morty's Dub Shack's Gag Dubs engage in the occasional parodic use of this trope... including a literal use when a mobbing scene is transformed into a mosh pit with the miracle of dubbing.
X-Play had, during its sketch comedy-heavy days, a character named Johnny Xtreme as a parody of the "so macho he bleeds testosterone" game hero. He would frequently engage in this kind of speech, as seen when he tries to come up with adjectives for his own video game:
"...Like 'XTREME!' And 'TO THE MAX!' How about 'SUPERFLUOUS!'? And 'BALLS!'"
Dr. Grant from Eureka. Justified because he's a time traveler catching up on 60 years of everything.
In Community, Pierce is determined to make the phrase "streets ahead" (apparently just meaning "good") catch on. And it actually has among the fanbase. In another episode, some teenagers and one of their mothers use "pwn" with no irony.
In an Australian TV retrospective about The Brady Bunch Eve Plumb remembers the writers would try to put in (then current) early 70s slang like "groovy" and "far out" in the kids' dialogue which always felt forced.
In one episode of Star Trek: Voyager the ship accidentally travels back to Earth in the year 1996, and Tom Paris uses his knowledge of 20th-century America to help the crew navigate 1996 L.A. At one point Tom helps Tuvok take data from an astronomer's lab, but the astronomer catches them. As they try to get out of the situation, Tom at one point says, "This lab is...pretty groovy!" Tom had a lot more instances of this trope over that episode, though it does make sense. If you go back to the earlier episodes that show Tom displaying his interest in the 20th-century, it would become apparent that he was much more interested in the earlier half of the 1900's than the latter half; though he was much more comfortable in 1996 than his fellow crewmates, he still wasn't completely in his element. The abovementioned astronomer even lampshades it near the end, when she notes that everything he says sounds "just a little bit 'off'".
The Muppet Show: Perhaps it is forgivable since the series was a "family" show in the most literal sense and was attempting to appeal to older viewers as well as kids. But that doesn't change the fact that this late '70s/early '80s variety show sometimes had some pretty blatant— and desperate— '50s and '60s slang peppered throughout (although, occasionally it was done ironically). One episode had the word "square" (as in "uncool") used not only twice, but in two separate skits!
An episode of Friends has a particularly desperate Joey going after a role intended for a 19-year-old, so he first practices being convincing with Chandler. "Sup with the whack PlayStation, sup?"
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has a non-grammar variant. It revolves around a late-night comedy sketch show which, like Saturday Night Live, is supposed to appeal to young people. The comedy sketches include references to Juliette Lewis, Pimp My Ride and a Gilbert & Sullivan parody sketch. The hosts and guests meanwhile include Rob Reiner, Sting, Felicity Huffman and Allison Janney. If that sounds like the painful efforts of a middle-aged man to appear in tune with modern youth, thats because it is.
In-Universe. Saul on Breaking Bad calls one of Walt's suggestions "what the kids would call an epic fail". Then Saul doesn't exactly seem like the type of guy who's up to date on modern youth culture (Or any culture for that matter). Otherwise this trope is averted with Walter Jr who is helpfully played by an actual teen.
The show's representation of drug dealers and the surrounding culture veers towards this trope on occasion. The writers seem to be under the impression that peppering every line of dialogue with the words "mad" and "bitch" is enough to make the dialogue sound convincing.
Australian kids network ABC3 loves to pepper its promotions with slang like "lol" and "amazeballs" to the extent that they decided to brand Xmas 2013 "Cray Cray Christmas!" They literally cram 'youth slang' into everything they can think of, including their website.