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Values Dissonance: Live-Action TV

  • 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. Humphries. 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.
  • Babylon 5 has a running joke in the first season where every time Talia Winters enters an elevator Mr Garibaldi is inside waiting for her with a happy grin. Talia actually comments on this and seems quite freaked out. In the mid 90s this might have seemed to just cast Garibaldi as playfully persistent if a little bit of a jerk, but rewatching it in the 2010s this actually comes off as downright creepy stalking and harrassment, especially given that Garibaldi is Head of Security and since he turns up every time Talia summons the elevator is presumably monitoring Talia's movements.
  • Bat Masterson note  had an episode where an adult female was subjected to corporal punishment note  for her crimes, which even in 1959 was common in prison. Today, that kind of punishment would’ve been grounds for a lawsuit.
  • Barney Miller :
    • 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.
  • Bewitched contained a lot of casual sexism, even as the show tried to be progressive in other areas (depicting Willie Mays as a warlock for example). Darrin and Larry are often rather chauvinist. In one instance, even Endora is convinced that Darrin is having an affair because his current client happens to be an attractive businesswoman, and presumably she could not imagine why he would wine and dine her the way he would a male client.
  • Blackadder an in-universe example comes in the final episode of the third series. The Duke of Wellington, who has been out of the country for many years, is shown to rather severely beat Prince George who is disguised as a servant when he makes several faux pas. Blackadder, who is in turn disguised as The Prince, chides him that servants are no longer treated so harshly in London society...and then proceeds to show him the correct way to beat a servant.
  • 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.
    • Making this more confusing is that over time the world has slid down the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism somewhat and justified revenge, torture and cold blooded murder is treated as more acceptable than it was before. For a comparison the infamous scene in Magnum, P.I. where Magnum murders Ivan was treated as shocking in the day and age where good guys simply do not kill, certainly not execute villains. These days they do it several times a year. Willow did this at a time where shows like 24 and films likeKill Bill really brought the Roaring Rampage of Revenge to the fore and in a lot of minds made the pre meditated slaughter of someone like Warren more culturally acceptable.
    • 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.
      • Be that as it may, the fact remains that if a female character had been in Riley's place, then no writer, director, or producer would even think of suggesting that she was in any way at fault, no matter the circumstances under which it happened. Nor would they have tried to depict her boyfriend, instead of her, as being the victim. There can be little doubt that Riley's gender was a decisive factor in the way the events were depicted.
    • 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 WW2 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 people'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."
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had an interesting case of values changing over a relatively short time. One of the first episodes (airing in 2000) concerned the case of a murdered college dean who had been killed by two of his female colleagues to stop him from releasing reputation-destroying information about them. The bloodcurdling secret? They're dating each other. In The New Tens, as gay characters become more mainstream in the media and the gay rights movement continues to pick up steam in Real Life, it's... doubtful that'd be considered something worth committing murder over.
  • Dead Like Me: Our heroine George spends the first half of the pilot endlessly complaining about her mind-numbing office job. Post-recession, her whining about having a job is rather less sympathetic than it used to be, especially since the best thing she has on her resume is "some college."
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who:
    • 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. Although the moral of the story is anti-racist, it's easier to see why they thought it was acceptable when one considers it was made at a time when The Black And White Minstrel Show was also being aired as "harmless" family entertainment.
      • "Weng-Chiang" even goes so far as to have the Doctor join in with the racist jokes. Tom Baker performs the lines with as much Punky Refuge in Audacity swagger as he can, as they were intended as a knowing part of the Yellow Peril Exploitation Film genre Pastiche (British audiences in the 1970s were exposed to this sort of fiction through constant Hammer Horror reruns). Modern audiences tend not to find it coming off as ironic thanks to all the other racist things going on in the story, and many people (like Paul Cornell) find it upsettingly out of character.
    • 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.
    • The First Doctor makes a rather racist comment in "The Feast of Steven" as a punchline to a comedy sequence. It would absolutely never be allowed on the screen today. It should be noted that "The Feast of Steven" was enjoyed at the time but is nowadays generally considered to be one of the worst Who episodes ever.
    Doctor: This place is a madhouse, it's all full of Arabs! Come on, let's go.
    • The First Doctor finding Nero's sexual abuse of women funny and harmless (saying "what an extraordinary fellow!" as he sees Nero chasing an underdressed, screaming women down a corridor) is also something that would never fly in a children's programme nowadays. It works well today as Black Comedy, though.
    • In "The Celestial Toymaker", the King of Hearts casually uses an older version of the "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" rhyme which uses the N-word in place of "tiger". When the BBC released an audio reconstruction of it later (due to it being a Missing Episode), some narration is added in which has the effect of a Sound Effect Bleep.
    • You'll notice that the revival series of Doctor Who is much Hotter and Sexier, yet also a great deal less violent. This is partially due to how frequently the old series was criticised for Family-Unfriendly Violence (it was rarely gratuitous but was by a long way the most violent show on the BBC at the time), and partially down to the increased budget (People in Rubber Suits are expensive, and a bucket of chicken organs from the local butcher's is not), but mostly due to British culture moving over the course of the 90s to consider funny or cuddly sexual content more child-suitable than violent content.
    • The revived series makes a point to be more racially diverse and culturally open than the original. Rose (a white woman), is originally dating Mickey (a black man). Martha is a black med student. Jack is, well, Jack. This is lampshaded in the episode "The Sound of Drums", where the Master (currently Prime Minister of the U.K.) remarks that the Doctor's companions (Martha and Jack) "Tick all the demographic boxes."
    • There's an extremely upsetting moment in "The War Machines" where Polly and Dodo go to a club, where Polly acts as a kind of icebreaker. While being friendly to the patron Ben, a man pins Polly up against a wall and says some creepy things. She tells him "Please, take your hand away" in a firm voice, meaning he puts his other hand on her. Ben leaps out of his chair and beats him up on her behalf, but afterwards yells at Polly for it, telling her she should be careful who she encourages, even though she encouraged him in absolutely no way beyond being a pretty woman and existing. Ben, who makes other sexist comments throughout the story, was clearly intended to come across as a straightforward tells-it-like-it-is type, but modern audiences often find his sexism thoroughly unsympathetic. However, it's quite possible the sexism was Intentional Values Dissonance - Polly is shown to be exasperated by the patronising attitude her boss subjects her to at work, and the story is intentionally a period piece for the 1960s, making a point of using deliberately Zeerust-prone technology that works better than it has any business working. Also, the Doctor had been travelling around with companions from the future for a while, both of whom were shown to have no gender prejudices.
    • The Doctor threatening to give Susan a "jolly good smacked bottom" is pretty jarring, as popular attitudes towards childrearing have changed from a disciplinarian approach to a supportive approach, and because smacking was made illegal in 2004 (in any case that is not 'reasonable punishment', leaves a mark or is carried out with a belt or cane). It fits the Doctor's character as being old-fashioned and not a very good grandfather, but the fact that it's played for laughs is not possible today.
    • Jon Pertwee-era episodes often had an undercurrent of antifeminism, containing Straw Feminist characters and having the Doctor make supposedly devastating sexist putdowns of them. This is very uncomfortable today, seeing as the gains made by British feminists in the early 1970s (an act legally enforcing equal pay for performing the same job, entry to Oxford University and the London Stock Exchange, access to contraception, access to domestic abuse shelters, promoting awareness that performing unwanted sex acts upon women in the workplace is a horrible thing to do) are virtually universally agreed to be fair. Much of this was mollified by Tom Baker's era (because of changing political attitudes, the antifeminist script editor Terrance Dicks being replaced with the more feminist-sympathising Robert Holmes, and because Tom disliked playing Tall, Dark and Snarky and adlibbed his way out of his nastier scripted lines) but is still observable from time to time, Depending on the Writer.
    • There's a pretty uncomfortable part in "The Ark in Space" where the Doctor explains his plan to see the dead Wirrn's memories through connecting psychically to a part of its eye. He relates it to something that "Gypsies" used to believe. Compare and contrast to a scene referencing this in the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Crimson Horror" where the Doctor points out that the belief is rubbish without linking it to a specific racial epithet.
  • As pointed out by Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall, the 1967 version of Dragnet was very much a product of its time, and there are occasions that will make modern viewers wince. One example given is a scene where the main heroes talk about homosexuality as a "major societal problem" on par with things like drug abuse. With LGBT people no longer being Acceptable Targets like were back in the 1960s, this of course comes off as pretty homophobic by modern standards.
  • 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.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond:
    • 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.
    • And that's not even getting into the show's use of Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male; Debra's treatment of Ray (often involving things like GroinAttacks, Ray being tossed against bookshelves, and tons of condescending verbal abuse) are treated is being A-Okay and lovably wacky, while if Ray ever complains in the slightest about Debra, then he is treated as being "obviously wrong" in-universe, while Debra is portrayed as being some sort of martyr.
  • An in-universe example from Fawlty Towers is the classic dialogue where the elderly Major (who is slightly senile and blissfully unaware of the faux pas he's committing) is getting nostalgic about a girlfriend who he brought to a cricket match at Lords. He recalled he had to upbraid her about her use of unacceptable language (there's some real dissonce here as well: today the subject is probably too sensitive even to joke about):
    "She kept referring to the Indians as niggers. 'No, no, no,' I said, 'the niggers are the West Indians. These people are wogs.'"
  • 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.
  • As one of the first mainstream depictions of a Jewish family from a Jewish perspective, The Goldbergs (the 1920's-1950's series, not the current one) likely had quite a few even for its contemporary audience. Fleeing the Nazis is a perfectly normal explanation for why a distant cousin is Irish and doesn't elicit any reaction, while a woman finding out that neither the male nor female potential name for her grandkid is going to be after either of her late parents or her late in-laws is treated as if her kid had dismembered her dog right in front of her (the plot was resolved when her son-in-law explained that they had just chosen Americanized translations of the names). Another plot that had a similar level of anguish was when Sammy discovered that his new girlfriend had escaped from an asylum and that he would have to mislead her into returning for her own good (the episode ends with him getting off with her early to presumably live on the run, but the next episode is no longer extant).
  • 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.
    • Another episode had Rose practicing abstinence due to a tradition/superstition in her hometown; Miles, her long-term boyfriend, uses a variety of "blue-balls" style excuses and harassment to cajole her into it. When it doesn't work, he throws a temper tantrum and dumps her, and in the end, Rose is the one to apologize. For all the progressive attitudes this show had in its day, its ideas about rape and sexual pressure were some of the only areas where the characters' ages seemed to inform their values.
      • To be fair, Rose never told him why had she was no longer having sex with him and it is her refusal to tell him coupled with his belief that she is actually seeing another man that drives him to leave her. While it doesn't completely excuse Miles' childish behavior,it's implied that his attitude would have been different had she been honest with him in the first place.
  • 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.
  • Hogan's Heroes:
    • 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.
  • In The Honeymooners, Ralph threatens to hit his wife every time they have a fight. Those who watch the show will know that his threats were empty and he'd never carry them out, but there is no way a modern sitcom husband could get away with even an empty threat of domestic violence.
  • 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—which he might see as embarrassing—and more extreme sexual situations.
  • I Love Lucy:
    • 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.
  • Iron Chef:
    • 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. (Or, if you really dare, on DVD...)
  • Malcolm in the Middle was a series in the 90s that had a massively dysfunctional family (immature father, overbearing mother, the youngest and oldest brother causing destruction and mayhem inside and outside the home, and the middle child who gets ignored, tormented at school, and sometimes joins in on the antics of the other brothers). What would have been seen as hilarious and possibly normal for some people back then would have people in today's time wondering why no one had called social services on the parents.
  • 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 friend of 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. This was of course done deliberately for shock value, but the dissonance is much more glaring today than it was in the early 70s.
  • 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.) Against that though, the tradition of the new father handing cigars to everyone at the workplace almost fails to rate a mention.
    • The short advertising a home economics major for female college students took quite a few hits. While most of the short is rather progressive in asserting that most of its graduates went on to have careers, the hosts audibly booed when the short gushed over a graduate who took on the "full-time career" of being a housewife.
  • 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.
  • In the 1970s cop show Police Woman, Fair Cop Pepper Anderson's male colleagues keep complimenting her on her good looks, beautiful eyes and so on. Today this would at best be considered very unprofessional behaviour, and at worst sexual harassment.
  • 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.
  • Revolution:
    • 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.
      • Mind you they are called out for it every so often, Tom Nevil for instance has no problems calling Miles out for having an affair with his sister in law. Its most likely a demonstration of how order has collapsed in the black out.
  • 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 look 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 refusal to save populations threatened with natural disaster in the episodes "Homeward" and "Pen Pals" due to being prewarp, so doing so would violate the Prime Directive. Kirk would not approve...
  • Star Trek: Enterprise doesn't have the Directive yet, but the crew still makes some pretty dissonant noninterference decisions:
    • The first season episode when Archer decides to let an entire race die out because it was "nature's plan."
    • The second season episode when everyone agrees that extending the right to an education to the third-gendered cogenitor on an alien ship, discriminated against because of its gender, is a horrible idea.
  • Star Trek Deep Space 9:
    • Numerous in universe examples between the various alien races that inhabit the series. A particular is when Miles O'brien is put on trial in a Cardassian court. The Cardissian justice system is based around the notion that the state is infallible and therefore anyone accused must be guilty and the entire trial process is nothing more than an elaborate prelude to confession and sentencing. To them the notion that anyone who is guilty might escape justice is barbaric. Mile's attorney is down right flummoxed when Miles tries to put any form of defense and is horrified when he winsthe case.
    • The show presents an uncomfortably realistic view of the morality and ethics of warfare that would seem objectionable to audience members. Almost all of the main characters are shown doing underhanded deeds in the name of victory. Up to and including atttempted genocide on the part of the Federation.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • 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 were Fanservice, 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.
      • When Star Trek: The Next Generation first started, the showrunners put both genders in skirts. It didn't really work, and by the third season the skirts had been dropped altogether.
    • 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.
  • The Thorn Birds: When it first aired in 1983, a great many viewers were upset at its depiction of a Catholic priest falling in love with a woman and eventually consummating his relationship with her. Other viewers lauded said depiction. Oddly, all of these people seemed to overlook the Unfortunate Implications of the fact that said priest had known this woman since she was a child and had a hand in raising her.
  • Torchwood Actually uses time travel to explicitly call this out on a couple of occasions.
    • In the episode "Captain Jack Harkness", Jack and Toshiko are transported back to WWII, where Jack meets the real Jack Harkness that he originally stole the identity of (as described in Doctor Who). It turns out that the real Jack is gay, and as to be expected in the 1940's, in denial about it. Both Jack's are massively attracted to each other, and Torchwood's Jack knowing that the real Jack is destined to die the following day, dances with and shares a passionate kiss with his namesake before returning to the 21st century.
    • In "To the Last Man", Torchwood has been keeping a young WWI soldier in cryogenic suspension since the war, taking him out annually for checkup, because they know he will be crucial to resolving some temporal crisis. The tragedy is that they removed him from a military hospital, where he was catatonic from shell shock. When they return him to his own time he will revert to that condition, and be executed by the military for "cowardice", as shell shock (PTSD) was not recognized as an actual medical condition at the time and soldiers who suffered from it actually were executed.
  • 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.
  • The Wild Wild West:
    • 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.
    • All that said, there are exceptions such as Laurette in "The Night of the Winged Terror, Part 2," Posey in "The Night of the Poisonous Posey" and most dramatically Astarte in "The Night of the Druid's Blood," who's not only caught but will, it's implied, hang for her crimes. And Jim makes it clear he isn't sorry.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Herb's constant pursuit of Jennifer would very likely result in a sexual harassment suit nowadays.
  • 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.


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