On British TV in the 1960s, ethnic slurs were commonplace and seen as normal, while swearing of any kind was banned. These days, nobody thinks twice about swearing (after the watershed, anyway), but racial insults have completely vanished, except when used to show how unpleasant a character the speaker is.
A similar example is the '70s sitcom Mind Your Language, about a white British man teaching English to a class of foreigners. It features many exaggerated ethnic and national stereotypes, and is now widely held to be cringe-makingly xenophobic if not outright racist. At the time though, it was considered Fair for Its Day, since it featured several actors of colour in recurring roles.
The secret to Allo Allo is that due to the fact it was set in WW 2 France, the whole cast was of Western European origin (English, French, German), which removed any opportunity for the patronizing stereotypes which were typical when protraying people of Asian or African origin. It was also careful to lampoon the British (or at least the English) just as much as the French and Germans.
It Ain't Half Hot Mum does have a rather lovely moment where one of the Indian characters, who is otherwise enthusiastically in favor of the British Empire, even referring to himself and the Indians under the term "we British"note Despite what latter day revisionism would have you think, attitudes like this were not uncommon in many of the Colonies, though they were never a majority among the natives flat-out refuses to comply with a British character's order to find and destroy an Indian national flag that had been hoisted in the camp for a giggle.
A more general example, using the "death penalty" issue mentioned above: In American TV, someone who advocates the use of the death penalty may be a little more cynical and pragmatic than the other characters, but is usually credible and well-adjusted. In British TV, anyone who wants to "bring back hanging" is at best ridiculously behind the times. Most likely, they'll want to reinstate corporal punishment in schools as well, along with other supposedly Victorian institutions. At worst, they'll be draconian and narrow-minded in the extreme. British police dramas sometimes see a few exceptions, with the investigators of a particularly horrific crime resenting the fact that even if he's jailed, the killer still keeps his life. Sometimes, in the case of clearly insane serial killers, Karmic Death is employed if the writers honestly can't find a way to justify the murderer staying alive. Generally, though, capital punishment is viewed as a "step too far".
Another example of the American and Japanese gap, tokusatsu. Because of Japan's cute culture, Super Sentai works better when it's being lighthearted. The darker Power Rangers seasons are regarded much favorably than the comedic ones by Power Ranger fans
In one early episode, the Monster of the Week uses insults as a weapon — literally. In Shinkenger, the heroes are able to fight it because Yellow Ranger Kotoha was bullied a lot as a child and just got used to it, developing something of a low self-esteem in the process. In Samurai, Yellow Ranger Emily fights it for the exact same reason, despite the fact that most Americans wouldn't deal with bullying in such a passive manner; at the very least, the expectation is that she'd adopt a "Sticks and Stones" attitude rather than just saying "Oh well, I guess I am kind of clumsy and dumb."
Samurai also gives its heroines more stereotypical traits that Shinkenger didn't have, such as both female Rangers enthusiastically agreeing that every girl wants to get married (whereas only one character in Shinkenger expressed a desire to get married) or wanting to go shoe shopping on their day off.
The Overprotective Dad trope which still crops up in a lot of American TV doesn't translate too well across the Atlantic, presumably due to differences in attitudes towards sex and dating in the UK and USA.
A very minor example compared to others on this list, but viewer and player attitudes towards manipulative and cutthroat tactics on competitive Reality TV shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race have changed drastically over a relatively short period of time. Richard Hatch and "Team Guido" by today's standards used completely acceptable strategies for winning, but at the time (2000-2001) they were vilified as being unethical. Both Hatch and Team Guido were brought back on later All-Stars seasons, and left utterly in the dust by an entire field of competitors who had taken their behavior as a starting point and improved on it.
Guido did occasionally do stuff that still looks pretty bad, like collecting money from all the teams to buy tickets, and then threatening to tear them up when they didn't feel properly thanked.
There are also cultural differences here. While the Canadian version of the show tends to have the contestants working together more, the American version has more independent work.
This host's behavior on a Canadian game show may have been acceptable in the early '80s, but to present-day viewers, it seems incredibly creepy.
The word Goddamn isn't considered that controversial in the UK, as opposed to the US where (to conservative Christians) it is seen as blasphemous and extremely offensive. In the UK it can be heard on TV in the afternoon and isn't considered much worse than damn. If anything, it tends to be jarring to British ears because it sounds too polite to be a proper swearword.
The Andy Griffith Show: One first season episode had Ellie trying to make over a tomboy farm girl. Her not wearing makeup or dresses is treated like Serious Business, but can still be somewhat forgiven since wants to try those things out. The real Values Dissonance hits in the ending. Her father complains that she can't help with the chores dressed like that, until the farmhands start hitting on her. Andy then tells him that, since she's a girl, she isn't any good at hard labor (despite the opposite being shown about ten minutes earlier), but now that she's been made over, she can be used to land him a son-in law.
Are You Being Served?: Has many, many examples through the 1970s of poking fun at the culture or speech patterns of foreigners that today seem shocking in their prejudice.
Not to mention Mr. Humpfries. Possibly averted in that reactions from the other characters, if any, were generally incredulous, not homophobic.
The A-Team: Ethnic stereotypes were mainly found in the form of the bad guys (usually either loud, raucous, stupid Hispanic bandits in Latin America or New York-ish gangsters in L. A.) and some of the A-Team's disguises. Hannibal's most referenced comic disguise is a Chinese Launderer (who even appeared in the opening credits of the first season), and in another episode he us and Murdock once had to disguise himself as a Native American warrior, complete with whooping. While ethnic stereotypes may not be eliminated from media, such blatant examples would never show up on TV today, except in parody.
While even this probably wouldn't fly today, the trope got a cursory nod in an episode in the first season where Hannibal briefly disguised himself as a black bellhop. He and B.A. had a light-hearted exchange over the quality of it:
Hannibal: Remember, black is beautiful!
B.A.: Not on you it ain't.
Today, Hannibal probably couldn't constantly refer to the Girl of the Week as "lady" and Face probably couldn't get away with statement like, "You know these co-eds—lost without a man to guide them."
Hannibal dressed in blackface and Face telling Murdock "Now I'm about to chauffeur a spoilt heiress to some sandlot of a country so she can marry some guy with a towel wrapped around his head" wouldn't fly these days.
Banzai: This late-night show, a spoof on Japanese TV gameshows and the East Asian tendency to bet on just about anything, was cult viewing in Britain. Funny turned-up-to-eleven Japanese presenters presided over escalatingly ridiculous bets in a show deliberately filmed to evoke the worst excesses of Japanese TV, and it was viewed as light-hearted fun in the UK. Not so on export. Canadian TV was forced to pull the show on "racism" grounds after sustained protest from Far Asian ethnic minority groups, and Japanese-American protest killed both the original show and a local remake in the USA.
The show has an episode where a woman comes into the police station distraught and says she's been raped. When it turns out that it was her husband, it's treated as a big joke and she learns her lesson that she should put out. Words cannot describe how cringeworthy this is now.
Barney Miller also had recurring characters Marty and Darryl, an older gay couple complete with effeminate mannerisms (although Darryl was not as flamboyant as Marty) and "hand-crocheted sweaters". They were overdone even for the 70s, but to the show's credit, they were never ridiculed outright or treated any worse than any of the other "eccentric" characters in the station.
In direct contrast to Marty and Darryl, later seasons introduced the recurring character of Officer Zatelli, a Straight Gay uniform accidentally outed by Wojo. Tellingly, even the malevolent Internal Affairs detective lamely denies any wish to punish gay cops. Viewers can see little signs of social progress as the show goes on.
The second season episode "Heat Wave" is made of values dissonance from start to finish. The main plot mines its "comedy" from Wojo almost being raped while dressed in drag to catch muggers, and Detective Wentworth being offended that the would-be rapist pushed her aside. The main subplot, meanwhile, involves a battered wife deciding whether or not to sign a complaint against her husband, lots of jokes from Fish about how a relationship involving an abusive husband and a wife who just takes it "works," and a studio audience clearly rooting for her to drop the charges.
Bones: The premiere episode has several characters question main character Brennan about how she is dealing with her parents' murder, and admonish her for not sharing her feelings about it. In other countries (and even among many people in the U.S.) where more emphasis is culturally placed on privacy, even asking such personal questions would be considered incredibly rude behavior.
The Brady Bunch had an episode where Cindy is targeted by a bully because she talked with a lisp. The Bradys never thought to take the problem to the school, which is standard procedure today, and the boy's father thought it was normal for kids to pick on other kids. Sadly,some parents still do think that way, but it's highly likely that things in the episode would have been seen differently now, when bullying is taken far more seriously and more people are aware of the potential consequences. It's also worth noting that Peter could possibly have been suspended along with the bully for the fight, given many schools' no-tolerance policies about fighting these days.
Also, even though TV had gotten past the 'separate beds' thing by this time, it was apparently still taboo to show a toilet, as the kids' bathroom obviously lacks one.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Willow snap after Warren killed her girlfriend. She reacts by researching dark magic, healing Buffy (who was also shot), taking the bullet that was used and hunting down and torturing Warren, before he was flayed alive. The show treats it as Willow falling to evil, but for some viewers it was hard to see what exactly she did that was so wrong. The idea that torture is morally acceptable against bad people is definitely a modern issue of values dissonance, as some people think that makes perfect sense but others are absolutely horrified.
The way the sexual coercion and assault of male characters is treated. When Faith switches bodies with Buffy and has sex with Riley, it's Buffy (not Riley) who is supposedly the victim. And while it would be really difficult whether or not Spike and Buffy's sexual relationship had been entirely consensual, she does continue "playing with him" after he asks her to stop and another time (when she is invisible) she starts undressing him and forcing him to have sex with her. He seems to be happy enough to go along with this all, but it's still pretty creepy. And the whole thing seems to be presented as "female empowerment".
Riley is treated less sympathetically than Buffy because Faith was acting significantly differently to Buffy (Buffy wanted to wait before having sex with Riley after a bad experience earlier that year with another student) and Riley, who would have been aware of possession being possible, should really have noticed Buffy wasn't acting herself. That's got to make people wonder if Riley's only dating Buffy because he thinks she's hot.
The Buffy/Angel relationship, since she's sixteen and he's a few centuries old, it can seem manipulative rather than romantic.
Carrusel: David gives up his pet turtle so that a turtle soup can be made in order to cure Fermin from his illness. Carrusel took place in Mexico in 1989-1990. Not only sacrificing a pet turtle would have been unacceptable in the USA back then (and in the present day), but someone suggesting turtle soup as a cure to an illness would have at the very least raised a lot of eyebrows.
Also, all but one of the female characters in Carrusel were afraid of mice. The girl who was not, Valeria, was seen as gutsy and adventurous overall. In the USA, by 1989-1990, it would have been likelier to just have one individual female be murophobic, and the murophobia being seen as an irrational sign of weakness.
Clive James on TV, the ur-show behind Banzai, where the laconic Australian TV critic presented an hour of the very worst of other people's television, culled from no shortage of worldwide examples. Excessively sexual French and German adverts rubbed shoulders with American televangelists and especially James' bete-noir, Japanese game shows. Game shows where Japanese contestants were humiliated, psychologically assaulted and even physically tormented in search of a handful of yen. Clive James, a man whose father had been murdered by the Japanese in a WW 2 death camp, stopped short of any explicit statement of personal disdain. But a programme designed to reinforce the conceit of the British that they had the best TV in the world, and everyone else's was to varying degrees crap, or just plain weird... it is interesting that some of the examples held up as other peoples's crap in the 1980s, depths which British broadcasting would never ever plumb, such as Jerry Springer-type trashfests or all-night cheap quizzes that give up any pretence of broadcasting quality or excellence, are now staples of British broadcasting....
Columbo: In one episode, the title character, in using deductive reasoning to re-enact the scene of a crime, describes the socially acceptable way for a man to hit a woman: he doesn't punch her the way he would a man, he just slaps her across the face.
Community: Invoked when Troy and Abed, hosting a housewarming party in their new apartment, discuss a 1940s guidebook which they consulted for hints on how to act like appropriate hosts. The first piece of advice was "dress to impress." The second was "avoid touchy subjects like the Negro problem."
Degrassi High: Michelle's character arc no longer plays remotely like it did in 1990. She moves out of her house at age 16 to escape a reactionary father who doesn't want her to go out with friends after school, or to date (especially not a black boy). She has mixed feelings about him — he's a bully, but he means well and he has trouble changing his old-fashioned ways. Eighteen years later, when the standards of what's acceptable for American and Canadian teens have changed, he seems utterly evil, and his attempts to make peace seem like a Manipulative Bastard softening her up for the kill.
The Dick Van Dyke Show has Sally Rogers, who spends virtually the entire series trying to catch a husband, but failing because she is too forward and funny. An early episode, when she is talking brashly to Laura's meek cousin, has Rob opining that "any normal man would have punched her in the face." Yeesh.
Rob and Laura also had the separate beds similar to the I Love Lucy example.
Justified Trope in the episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood", set in 1913, deliberately use the mores of the time. Thus we have kind, sensible, eminently likable Joan Redfern matter-of-factly telling Martha that women will never be doctors, as well as Martha being subject to some minor racism from some of the students.
Not to mention that the Doctor in his human form thinks that allowing a bothersome student to be beaten by his classmates is an acceptable form of punishment.
The classic show has a few notable examples, particularly in its older episodes.
The serial The Talons of Weng Chiang features a Fu Manchu-like Chinese villain played by a Caucasian actor in yellowface with a campy Chinese accent. While this was still acceptable practice in the UK in 1977, television stations in America, Canada, and elsewhere which imported the programme found this problematic enough to refrain from transmitting the serial.
In the very first episode, 1963's An Unearthly Child, the Doctor explains the humans' disbelief of the TARDIS to his granddaughter thusly: "Remember the Red Indian. When he saw the first steam train, his savage mind thought it an illusion too." As though the "savage mind" business wasn't enough, "Red Indian" is generally considered a seriously racist epithet these days.
Emergency!'s main character John Gage is of Native American descent. In an episode called "Peace Pipe," one of the other main characters begins relentlessly mocking him because of this. Gage is clearly upset, but the entire thing is played for laughs rather than recognized as, at best, arrogant insensitivity, and at worst, blatant racism.
Everyone in-universe is aghast at the idea of a 40-year-old man living with his parents, and act as if it's the most embarrassing and pathetic thing a man could do...except that in many cultures, it's considered perfectly normal (and often fully expected) for the eldest child to do this.
The show, like many Baby Boomer shows, mocks the idea of an adult male enjoying comic books and sci-fi. Peter's being a comic book fan (essentially, his being One of Us) is treated as if it's some sort of horrible deformity or character flaw, and the in-universe characters and the presumably Boomer-aged studio audience members treat Peter's comic book fandom with derision. Younger generations don't place the same stigma against comics as the show apparently does.
Fawlty Towers is regularly repeated on TV today. It still today contains the classic dialogue where the elderly Major is getting nostalgic about a German girlfriend who he introduced to British culture, ie, cricket at Lords. He recalled he had to upbraid her about her use of unacceptable language.
She called the other team "niggers", Fawlty. I had to tell her off. (beat) I said "no, no, no, m'dear. You can't call them "niggers"! They're Indians, you call them wogs! The West Indians are niggers!"
Friends: Being a sitcom from the mid-90's, you can expect a lot of derogatory gay jokes. Especially during the first three seasons (often directed at Chandler).
Especially in the episode where Ross, Chandler, and Monica were telling each other embarrassing stories from their childhood. One of the first was Chandler drunkenly making out with a man dressed like a woman at a party. As the episode progresses, the stories get more and more humiliating (Chandler winning a Vanilla Ice look-a-like contest, Ross coming in fourth and crying and making out with the college maid, Monica being unable to tell time until she was 13 and eating a macaroni jewelry box after being sent to bed without dinner.) However, none of these simply compare to "Whatever, dude, you kissed a guy." That alone undercut everything else. This was even weirder because it was established in an earlier episode that Joey had made out with a "girl" who had the biggest adam's apple he'd ever seen... the audience and the gang knew exactly what that meant, but Joey didn't. Joey wasn't teased about that event, but Chandler was about his.
Another episode from season 5 stands out. The guys are taking a police car ride with Phoebe's current boyfriend Gary and Ross is giddy that since he's in the passenger seat, he could be called Gary's partner in crime. Annoyed, Chandler states "You know, that usually sounds cool when people say that. When you say it . . . it sounds gay." It's used in the context as a derogatory word and it's a small wonder it hasn't been edited in reruns. Considering Chandler is often Mistaken for Gay, this also comes off rather hypocritical.
Monica also once asks Chandler if he's gay simply because he was talking about a play he enjoyed.
Great Teacher Onizuka features a scene where Onizuka, in classic episode-climax speech style, tells his coworker Fuyutsuki essentially that it's her fault that another coworker drugged her and tried to rape her because she was leading him on. Fuyutsuki comes to school the next day in slacks instead of her usual business skirt. The Unfortunate Implications are toned down a bit by Onizuka telling her she looked cuter in a skirt, but still....
Gunsmoke had one episode in which Quint and Festus have to go to the next town over to buy supplies while playing a game of one-upsmanship on one another. While having a drinking contest at a saloon, and the inevitable Bar Brawl that followed, they meet a lovely young saloon girl who promptly (and separately) seduces both of them, telling them of an evil man chasing her and convinces them to take her with them back to Dodge. Along the way, the man catches up to them; he is apparently domestically abusive, saying the longer she resists coming back with him the more he'll "whoop" on her. Quint and Festus stand up to him, and despite normally being portrayed as decent fighters, get their asses handed to them. Eventually the girl turns on them(saying that two on one is cheating) and gleefully goes back into the arms of her lover, telling the two "It's not so bad; I really do love him! And he doesn't whoop on me too bad!" This was Played for Laughs.
Hey Hey, It's Saturday: The latest Values Dissonance scandal regarding Australia has been due to this one sketch of the Australian Expy of The Gong Show, where a group of performers did a blackface Jackson Five routine called the Jackson Jive. Two of the judges were Australian, and were longtime members of the judge panel. The third judge was Harry Connick Jr. While the two Australian judges had no problems with the skit (blackface has little stigma in Australia compared to America due to a lack of history surrounding the performance), Connick was not so happy with the act, to the point where if he knew that act was going to be on, he never would've been on the show in the first place.
Some of Hogan's more... aggressive actions towards women come off as creepy to modern eyes.
While Kinchloe gets his chance at two women, both of them are black. He almost never vocally shares the other inmates' interest in beautiful white women. This might also be an aversion of Politically Correct History, as it wouldn't be particularly smart for a black man to do so even among friends in that time period.
When Carter reveals that he is part Native American, LeBeau and Newkirk spend the rest of the episode mocking him over it, to his evident displeasure. Especially jarring given the show's generally respectful treatment of its African-American characters.
How I Met Your Mother: the premise is that the episodes are stories that one of the characters is telling to his future children. It's assumed the children are young, because all profanity and drug use are edited out (smoking weed, for example becomes "eating sandwiches"). However, sex is openly and casually discussed.
The children aren't that young, they're likely only in their early teens, and most have already had at least some sexual education. And there really isn't a lot being censored by Future!Ted, most of it relating to his past drug use and more extreme sexual situations.
When Lucy is pregnant, not only did they not use the word "pregnant", but in the episode where Lucy's trying to get the message across to Desi that they're having a baby, she looks to be about 5 minutes away from going into labor, which makes it all the weirder that it takes him so long to get it. To go a step farther, in one episode Lucy intentionally gets sunburned so that Ricky will be less likely to hit her when he finds out about her latest clusterfuck.
Ricky would also frequently make somewhat casual threats to punch Lucy in the nose (Similar to Ralph Kramden's "One of these days, Alice..." rants.) He never did it, and it was usually just a lot of bluster, but nowadays, even jokingly threatening to punch your wife just doesn't happen.
Due to period censorship, Lucy and Desi's bedroom has separate beds and their bathroom has no toilet.
Inspector Rex is an Austrian cop show with a Heroic Dog and a massive amount of Mood Swings, and some relatively harsh crimes (murder, sexual violence, even child porn in once instance). Not to mention a certain amount of swearing (German translations of "shit" and "asshole", for example) and quite a lot of nudity of the not-so-innocent variety, i.e. peep-shows, pornos on TV, etc. Guess among whom the show was very popular, at least in Austria? Elementary school children. To be fair, though, the violence wasn't very graphic (it aired a couple of years before CSI).
Believe you me, by Austrian standards, it's pretty tame. Also, kids tend to just watch the dog.
In episode 284 (Potato Battle), Canadian challenger Michael Noble created an appetizing lamb-and-potato dish and started to lay it out, casserole-style. To this American viewer's eyes, this was completely normal (and the dish looked awesome). The Japanese panel, on the other hand, reacted with dismay at the presentation, as if none of them had ever even seen a casserole before. (Noble lost, leading many to believe it was that moment of dissonance that cost him the battle).
Another sort of values dissonance could be seen between the way the original Iron Chef is judged versus the judging on Iron Chef America. Apparently in Japan, watching celebrities eat is a big entertainment deal, and a lot of TV focuses around this, so naturally the judges on the original show are almost always celebrities, with the very occasional actual food critic thrown in. The American version seemed to think that maybe, y'know, food critics should judge a cooking competition, and the ratio of critics to celebrities is usually flipped. When ICA has more than one celebrity judge, one of them will usually have some gourmet cred (Ex. Jeri Ryan and Lou Diamond Phillips are both restaurateurs).
Just who qualifies as "celebrities" is sometimes a bit off, too. Actors, singers, and athletes, sure. But politicians and fortune tellers?
Similarly, the Iron Chefs seemed to get the benefit of the doubt on the original, leading to some absurd win percentages (including Kishi outright rigging battles to avoid OT by randomly docking a challenger point whenever possible). This went away in the American version, and the IC's winning percentages dropped since fairness trumped deference. It makes the Japan-esque winning percentages of Batali and Symon all the more impressive.
When Iron Chef is shown in Australia it sometimes has a "contains scenes that may disturb some viewers". This is because the people on the show have no qualms about doing things like chopping up a live octopus that is still crawling around on the cutting board and trying to escape. Also, French actress Julie Dreyfus flatly refused to taste a challenger's dish because it contained whale meat. In episode 73 (Stingray Battle), Chef Noboru Inoue — boss and mentor to challenger Yoshihide Koga — spent almost the entire show standing on the sideline, getting drunk on red wine. The camera even catches him punching assistants on two separate occasions. On an American production, any one of those examples would've seen Inoue quietly hustled backstage — at a minimum. And most of the footage would probably never make the airwaves. Here, the attitude of the commentators was "mildly scolding". The loss of dignity seemed more important than the fact that there's a drunk guy on the floor punching people.
JAG is an interesting example showing change over the lifetime of the show. In early seasons, the presence of female pilots (or women in general) on warships was controversial. It was the subject of the pilot movie, and they had Raye "Zap" Hollitt playing one of the pilots, apparently because only a woman built like a bodybuilder could realistically be expected to survive on a warship. Not only would this seem dated a decade later to the audience, but female pilots and ships crew eventually became totally unremarkable within the show itself.
"Johan En De Alverman", a Flemish children's show featuring a white man dressed as a Native American character.
Little House on the Prairie ran in the 1970s and early 1980s. The show's aesops are a hybrid of good country living and 1970s values. In the show, it was not polite to make fun of poor people, but it was okay to punch a girl in the face if she said or did something you didn't like — and there was no consequence for doing so.
Love Thy Neighbour was screened on British TV at about the same time (early 1970s), a jolly sit-com for all the family. The premise for this laugh-fest was that a West Indian couple moved in next door to a white couple, the male half of whom was somewhat intolerant of black people and who expressed his tolerance in throwaway epithetic one-word descriptions of his darker-skinned neighbour. The West Indian had an equally colourful set of words for his white neighbour, and much hilarity ensued as the odd couple were generally thrown together in comedic and instructional situations where they each realised they needed the other's help to get out of deep doodoo. Meanwhile the two wives just got on with it and were friends over the back fence. While not completely as horrendous as it's been painted and in some respects wickedly funny, it could never, ever, be commissioned or broadcast today... examples exist on YouTube if you want to judge for yourself.
Mark Twain: Invoked by Tina Fey in her acceptance speech for the Mark Twain prize.
"I hope that, like Mark Twain, people one day look back at my work and say, 'Wow, that is actually pretty racist.'"
Mastermind is a popular UK quiz show, where people really have to study to be able to answer questions. Only the person who makes it through the first round, the semi-finals and wins the finals gets a prize: an engraved glass. Little time is spend on the candidate him/herself. In the Netherlands, not far from the UK, the format completely flopped. The public was upset that non-winners didn't get anything, and they wanted more details of the candidates' personal lives.
Merlin: Inverted Trope. By modern standards, Uther is a ruthless tyrant. By general medieval standards, he would be considered rather benevolent.
Modern Family: Gloria takes Lilly to get clothes and "hairings". Mitch agrees to this, not understanding that Gloria intended to pierce his child's ears. Gloria, being Columbian born, cannot understand Mitch's shock when his daughter returns with earrings.
Another episode had Jay talking about his college years and stating how great that time period was. Gloria points out that things were great back then...unless you were a woman, black, Hispanic, or gay.
Monty Python's Flying Circus isn't immune either. Watch the Erizabeth L episode, where Italian director Luchino Visconti is revealed to be a Japanese imposter with a drawn-out Japanese Ranguage joke and Terry Jones in yellowface; he then does it again in blackface, when he plays an African impersonating another Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni.
The name given to the mother of the Secretary of State for Overseas Affairs, who is just about to make a major speech about Rhodesia in the Commons but wouldn't mind a cup of tea first, is Mrs Nigger-Baiter. By logical extension, this is also the minister's name....
Mrs. N-B was actually the FRIEND of the mother in the sketch (the character who exploded.)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Values Dissonance is frequently called out and Lampshaded, where Joel / Mike and the 'bots will riff on a movie for the horribly dated or inappropriate attitudes it displays. This is particularly prevalent in their riffs on informational short films from the '50s, where the crew will mercilessly mock the film for its outdated attitudes to family life, gender politics, racism, social behavior and so forth.
This reached an apotheosis with the short film Catching Trouble (episode 315). Filmed in 1936, it presents a lighthearted look at Ross Allen, who captured animals for his zoo - with his bare hands. This involved poking them with sticks, knocking them out of tall trees - by cutting the trees down - and trapping them in a bag, with the help of "his faithful Seminole". On one occasion he starts a small forest fire in order to drive out a snake, and eventually he grabs two bear cubs who scream in a particularly pitiful way (their mother is strangely absent). Then one of the cubs attempts to escape from the boat by swimming, but as a camera just happens to be underwater, it seems clear that he was provoked into jumping off the boat just so that he could be recaptured. Joel and The Bots became audibly upset over the course of the film, culminating in Joel apologising on behalf of humanity.
A second apotheosis came with A Date With Your Family, a short film from 1950 which was intended to teach kids how to have dinner with their parents. The film's portrait of family life circa 1950 - in which everything has to be arranged so that the father will not be upset when he returns from a hard day at the office - exactly fits the modern stereotype of that era. The narration, which was delivered by Hugh Beaumont, gave such as advice as "pleasant, unemotional conversation helps the digestion", and observed that "these boys greet their Dad as though they were genuinely glad to see him, as though they really missed him". The narrator further points out how the mother and sister of the family "owe it" to their menfolk to be attractive and charming, and encourages the son to compliment the ladies' cooking as "this will make them want to continue pleasing you."
While not quite as jarring as the above two, the Union Pacific safety film "Days of Our Years" features a segment where a husband drops his wife in labor off at the hospital, and is then encouraged by the doctors to go on ahead to work while they take care of business. (This was during a time when women were kept sedated during childbirth, so it's not like the husband's presence would have meant much to the wife either way.)
The Odd Couple, in one episode ("The Pig Who Came to Dinner"), featured a guest appearance by Bobby Riggs in which he played up his misogynistic public image. If similar statements had been made about blacks, for example, they would never have been tolerated, but women were apparently Acceptable Targets and Riggs' bigotry was largely played for laughs.
Only Fools And Horses: Del's homophobia, which was Played for Laughs in a way that reflected society's attitudes at the time the early seasons were filmed. Interestingly, the show noted the change in opinions - Rodney is much more accepting, and calls Del out when he suspects that he could have gotten Aids from an effeminate hairdresser.
On The Buses has one episode where the main characters Stan and Jack notice that their homemade beer makes Stan's sister and brother-in-law so out of their minds that they want to have sex with each other, even though they normally don't. So they decide to make some more and get the women at their work so out of their mind that they will have sex with them, not really knowing what they are doing. This is treated as harmless fun rather than rape.
Patrulla Fronteriza: Prohibido Pasar: More fun with Latin American Values Dissonance! This show on The National Geographic Channel. A reality show about the patrols of the USA/Mexico border and their heroic fight against the evils from the outside. Currently on air in National Geographic Channel Latin America. If you don't get it, just ask how many Latin Americans have relatives living illegally in the USA.
"Pipo De Clown", a Dutch children's show was very popular in from the 1950s until the 1970s, featured a white man dressed as a Native American, speaking in child like sentences. Nowadays this seems horribly racist.
QI, a British panel show, had an episode discussing a man from Japan who survived both bombings - a man who took a train from Hiroshima to Nagasaki just in time for the second blast. Most Brits wouldn't have thought twice about it. Interesting figures from even the grisliest chapters of history are routinely discussed, lampooned, and milked for laughs on the show, all in the name of being interesting. To us, it's actually quite cosy comedy, and the clip no more harmful than anything else they've broadcast. Some Japanese media networks, however, disagreed, and the very existence of such a conversation - not broadcast in Japan, incidentally - was reported as an abomination, as it broke a cultural taboo. To some of the people of Japan, the subject's off-limits to the whole universe. To the UK, it's just quite interesting. It should, however, be pointed out that there are plenty of people from Japan commenting on that video that they don't see what the fuss is about.
All the more interesting when you consider an earlier segment, which features far more jokes at the expense of the Japanese accent and culture, if anything you would expect that segment to have offended Japanese people, but instead a far milder one caused controversy, despite mainly discussing how extraordinary it was that the japanese trains were running the day after Hiroshima, which the panellists said would never happen in London.
Doesn't come up nearly as often as it should, but seen briefly in "Sex and Drugs" when Aaron confronts Charlie about helping Drexel, who's growing opium poppies, kill the neighbor Bill O'Halloran who's been burning his fields. Although opium would be useful in this setting as a source for morphine, Drexel is behaving like a stereotypical drug lord — ruling with violence, exploiting young women, and living in as much opulence and decadence as the setting can afford. That his neighbor — described by Drexel as a no-good drunkard Irishman — was a police officer pre-blackout only highlights the situation:
Aaron: We shouldn't be trying to kill him, we should be sending him a fruit basket!
The Mathesons have a different approach to marriage and relationships. Ben Matheson was in a relationship with Maggie Foster ("Pilot"), even though his wife Rachel Matheson is revealed to be still alive ("Chained Heat"). In that case, it could be said that he thought she was dead, and the fact that both Ben and Maggie got killed off renders that issue moot ("The Plague Dogs"). Later on, Rachel and Miles Matheson are having sexual tension between them ("The Stand"), and a flashback reveals that the two of them had a brief and ugly fling (it's assumed that Rachel was married when that happened), and Rachel regrets it ("The Longest Day"). Miles Matheson is quite the Casanova, especially when he has sex with his ex-girlfriend Nora ("The Love Boat"). The episode "Home" reveals that Miles had a highschool fiance named Emma, but she had sex with Monroe while Miles was sleeping, and this resulted in Emma giving birth to Monroe's son. Perhaps the Mathesons believe in polyamory.
Scandal: Abby, on Stephen: "I don't understand why a successful, charming man like him, with a good job, needs to sleep with whores." Abby is hardly an innocent, nor Stephen's actual wife.
SCTV: Dave Thomas did at least two characters in yellowface. Thomas played Lin Ye Tang in multiple episodes, while playing Tim Ishimuni in 3.
Skins has a somewhat...casual attitude toward teenage sex, which significantly freaks out the leftpondian audience; British viewers, on the other hand, view it as merely as an over-the-top if, at heart, accurate depiction. Particularly, the U.S. version of Skins had to change the resolution of the Hot for Student relationship in the first season. While the British don't exactly lodok kindly upon student-teacher romances, in America the cultural taboo against it is so strong that even a neutral portrayal (as the original British version gave) would be seen as irresponsible. So in the American version, we see Chris and Tina's relationship get found out, and Tina arrested and fired with a promise never to contact Chris again. In the original, Chris simply realized that Jal was better for him than Angie (the character on which Tina was based), and they both moved on.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard's Prime Directive-driven refusal to save populations threatened with natural disaster in such episodes as "Homeward" and "Pen Pals" is considered by some to be equivalent to refusing to help the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
The treatment of women can feel sexist to the modern viewer, despite the fact that the show was usually pushing standards of equality that were radical for the time. ("But there was prejudice on Earth once! I remember reading about it in a history book!") In fact, the only reason there wasn't more obvious gender equity on the original Enterprise was Executive Meddling by nervous suits who thought the very presence of females would imply rampant promiscuity among the crew. Though according to producers who worked on the series, even though Gene Roddenberry did want more female characters, it was less in the name of real, honest gender equity and more in the name of skirts and tops that exemplified the Theiss Titillation Theory (there's a reason a Trek girl is that trope's image). But hey, at least they were there and (sometimes) involved in the plot.
Also, the miniskirts come across today as making female officers seem less professional than the male officers and more like sex symbols. While they wereFanservice, the miniskirt was also a symbol of female empowerment and liberation.
A reason women were treated as mostly eye-candy on the original series might have to do with the poor reaction of test audiences to the original pilot, "The Cage", in 1964. Gene Roddenberry claimed that a lot of women objected to seeing a woman in a position of authority (Number One, played by Majel Barrett), and the fact that the female crew members wore pants.
Also in "The Cage", somewhat jarring to modern viewers might be Captain Pike's unwillingness to allow, and discomfort with having a woman on the bridge (when a female yeoman comes up to deliver a report)... with the exception of Number One, that is.
The original series also has McCoy constantly insulting Spock's Vulcan heritage by calling him such things as "you green-blooded Vulcan" or "you pointed-eared hobgoblin". In real world terms, this is essentially the same thing as racial insults and shouldn't HR be doing something about that? Within the show, it's considered a harmless part of Spock and McCoy's Vitriolic Best Buds relationship.
Watching Ourselves, a documentary about the history of television in Scotland, lampshaded this. In one clip from an old documentary about glue-sniffing, a father quite casually mentions beating up his son, who couldn't have been much more than eleven or twelve, in front of the police:
"No one seems to care about the wee boy getting battered. Thankfully some things in Scotland have changed for the better."
Who's the Boss?: This trope applies to the title, as it would never even occur to most viewers nowadays to question whether a live-in housekeeper could presume to be the head-of-household's "boss", merely because the employee happens to be male and the employer happens to be female. Indeed, few of the show's once-groundbreaking role reversals would raise an eyebrow today.
More than once a villainess is given much a lighter punishment than her male counterparts such as Morn in "The Night of the Flying Pie Plate," who gets a lighter sentence than her other conspirators, or even allowed to walk away scot-free, apparently simply because she is a beautiful woman. This is compounded at the end of "The Night of the Red-Eyed Madmen," when the villainess gives a rather insightful, moving speech about how she'd only wanted to be seen as more than "just a woman." This small step forward is promptly ignored in favor of having her and another woman fawn over a new dress and begin discussing how to look their best when the train pulls into Carson City.
The entire last scene of "The Night of the Firebrand" just drips with misogyny, as West and Gordon decide that Vixen O'Shaughnessy's punishment (for helping mastermind an attempted massacre at a military fort and a coup against Canada) is to be "forced to return to the feminine fold" so that she will "leave the fighting to us," by which they mean they're just going to make her return to the ladies' finishing school she escaped from. When she objects and goes into a Character Filibuster about all the wrongs that still need fighting against in the world, West basically gives her a Vulcan nerve pinch (a Running Gag in this episode) and reflects that he'd better tell the school's headmistress how to do it.
"The Night of the Tycoons" romps home with the gold in Misogynistic Episode Writing; other episodes have female villains, but there's an unpleasant tone throughout the episode suggesting women have no business being in charge of huge corporations, capped off by its tag scene with Lionel's fiancee Kyra booted off to the kitchen and Jim telling him he's got to keep these women in their place.
Z Cars, a British cop-soap serial which ran in the 1960s-70s and which by today's cop-show standards is exceedingly tame, once ran an episode where the cops had to bust a child-porn ring engaged in making dubious home movies. The series screened in the early evening, just after teatime. In the 1970s, long before the emergence of the modern frenzied hysteria about paedophilia, this passed by a British TV audience without undue comment.
On Golden Girls, which ran in the '80s and early '90s, the exact circumstances of Dorothy's first sexual experience fluctuate a little in each retelling because they're being described as part of a joke, but today, we know that she's describing a date rape. At one point she even says she was completely unconscious during the sex and suspects Stan must have drugged her, and her mother outright says she never believed her. For women who were growing up during the 50's, it's not any more alarming than "Baby It's Cold Outside", but nowadays it's a lot closer to gallows humor.