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Anachronism Stew / Western Animation

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  • King Arthur's Disasters plays Arthurian anachronisms for laughs; e.g., at one point King Arthur and Merlin land on the moon. At another, Arthur meets Don Quixote.
  • Dino-Riders also had wildly anachronistic dinosaurs living next to one another (T. rex lived about 85 million years after Apatosaurus), and threw in a Dimetrodon (which died out 40 million years before the first dinosaurs lived) for good measure.
  • The Simpsons
    • Parodied in "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" when the family watches The Poke of Zorro in which Zorro fights The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask before challenging The Scarlet Pimpernel to a duel. When the Pimpernel runs away, King Arthur crowns Zorro the King of England.
      Bart: It's like a history lesson come to life!
      Lisa: No it's not, it's entirely inacc—
      Bart: Quiet, here come the ninjas!
      • And the credits mention Robot Zorro, among other strange characters. With James Earl Jones as the voice of the Magic Taco.
      • The ending rap playing over the movie credits also suggests that Zorro will "cut your butt from a '52 Ford."
    • In "Lisa's Substitute", Mr. Bergstrom asks the class to identify three things wrong with his cowboy outfit. Lisa points out his belt says state of Texas despite Texas not being a state yet, he has a revolver before it was invented, and there weren't Jewish cowboys. He says he was also wearing a digital watch and notes for the record that there were a few Jewish cowboys.
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    • When the kids play Cowboys and Indians, Nelson fires with a "Killmatic 3000". Bart tells him they didn't have that back then and Nelson retorts "records from that era are spotty at best."
    • Played straight in the flashback episode "That 90s Show". It's supposed to take place in the early 1990s when grunge music came onto the scene, but it references pop culture from all over the decade. Homer is seen drinking Zima, which became popular around 1993, watches Seinfeld episodes from 1995/96, Sonic the Hedgehog's design from the 2000s is shown, people are shown browsing the Internet in the early 1990s, and songs from the late 1990s are played. Homer also inspired Kurt Cobain, which means the episode should've taken place in the late 1980s for that to happen.
    • The series' Floating Timeline in general tends to make every character's past an anachronism stew if viewed in total. Homer, for instance, is supposed to be in his late 30s, which by present-day standards would mean he grew up in the early 1980s. Yet past episodes have depicted him being alive during the Kennedy administration, interacting with record players and black and white TVs, partying during the Moon Landing, etc.
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    • Mr. Burns, similarly, seems to have grown up in a mythical time period that's basically an anachronistic pastiche of various elements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • In Cats Don't Dance, when the animals are on the out-of-control ark, they crash through a movie production in progress, which seems to be a nod to Cecil B. DeMille's version of Samson and Delilah. Except that the columns that Samson is pulling down are part of a Parthenon-style Greek structure, and after the ark crashes through the set, we get a gag shot of Danny and Sawyer suddenly wearing Egyptian costumes.
    • Well, old Cecil himself enjoyed serving up a good bowl of Anachronism Stew, especially in the name of Fanservice or Spectacle. Like the Art Deco sets in Cleopatra (although Art Deco itself was partly inspired by Ancient Egyptian finds).
      • Also, consider the fact that the movie is set in 1939, a time when biblical epics were not in vogue. DeMille stopped making them shortly after The Hays Code went into effect, and would not revive them until the aforementioned Samson and Delilah about eight years later.
    • The ending credits which has gag movie posters of the main cast in various famous movies of the 20th century. Them starring in Beetlejuice is an eye-raiser considering the film's timeline is the 1930s.
      • The turtle probably would still be around for Beetlejuice if it had a real turtle's lifespan, but most of the others' careers shouldn't even have lasted out the 1940s.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a similarly deliberate example. Fedora-clad gangsters wield Tommy Guns and the buildings have an Art Deco style, but some characters, like Georgette Taylor, dress in 1960s mod fashion, while others like Blue Beetle wear contemporary 21st century clothing.
    • And then there are video games, cell phones, and computers.
    • Nobody ever calls attention to the race of characters like Firestorm, Vixen, or The Atom, which probably would've gone quite differently in the actual Golden Age. Similarly, nobody is surprised by the presence of female superheroes like Black Canary.
  • Both X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men portray Japan in a very bizarre light. They acknowledge that the country has modern technology and clothing, but feudalistic ninja are apparently everywhere, and everyone we see is obsessed with the Samurai code of honor.
  • The Flintstones, for the simple fact that humans and dinosaurs couldn't possibly coexist... this is due to Rule of Funny.
    • This, however, gets to the Point of Mind Screw when The Flintstones Christmas Carol takes place in 10 million B.C., which means 10 million years before the birth of Christ, Comically Missing the Point of the holiday existing in the first place.
    • This was also the basis of a Christmas-themed commercial for Pebbles cereal, which features Santa Claus, who urges Fred to share his cereal with Barney.
    • They also have a lot of modern-day technology, albeit in more primitive form.
    • They also speak modern English, even though Old English was first spoken in the Middle Ages.
      • Tex Avery's 1953 cartoon The First Bad Man is probably the Ur-Example as it was one of the inspirations for the Flintstones.
  • The Jetsons TV movie Rockin With Judy Jetson has 1980s fashion and music styles suddenly trendy in a world that supposedly takes place 100 years in the future.
  • Played with in Regular Show. The show is supposed to take place in the present day, but at the same time seems like it never left the 1980s and occasionally seems like it takes place in the future. All of the video games are 8-bit and the Power Glove is seen as a new invention while smartphones exist at the same time, the characters used Laserdisc while VHS was the current video format format until DVD was introduced a couple seasons later (with Blu-ray and online streaming showing up even later), and the final season had the characters living on a futuristic space station with hover boots and sentient robots.
  • In Gargoyles, both the flashbacks and the "present" have their problems. For one thing, the Normans, who conquered England in 1066, built the first stone castles in Britain since the 6th century, which would make the Gargoyles' home castle (built in the tenth century) an impossibility. For another, people still haven't invented anything like the Steel Clan or Xanatos' winged, Rocket-Powered Armor, making them an impossibility in the 20th century as well.
  • The "Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space" film from Home Movies is possibly the most Anachronism Stew-y cartoon ever made. For example, the 3 main villains are George Washington, Pablo Picasso and Annie Oakley, who try to destroy the human race by killing their hostages: Shakespeare, Oliver Twist and the Mermaid Queen.
    • Another Home Movies episode takes place at a medieval fair where Brendon and Jason put on a play about the friendship of King Arthur and Robin Hood... and the episode is titled 'Renaissance'. It invokes the Rule of Funny showing Brendon's grasp of history, but it's also typical of these fairs.
    • In yet another, Melissa once portrays Susan B. Anthony as a gun-nut. The 'B' stands for 'Bitchin''.
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has alarms, modern plumbing, a production of The Pirates of Penzance, mentions of peanut butter, fast food, an airhorn, etc.
    • Most of this is lampshaded in the character commentary.
  • Ratatouille is supposed to be set after DNA paternity tests' discovery (after the 1990s). But all the technology shown are so old-fashioned (Ego uses a typewriter, for instance, and nobody carries a cellphone), that some French reviewers believed the movie was supposed to be set in the 1950s.
    • Though considering all the audience saw was a very select group of very, very eccentric people, it could just be their oddities. Ego especially seems like a character who'd dislike a computer.
  • Every episode of Dino Babies had the characters retelling a famous story set millions of years in the future.
  • One episode of Ruby Gloom has a cameo by one of Misery's ancestors who started the Great Fire of London. As you recall from your history lessons, that was in 1666, but the character is wearing a medieval costume complete with tall pointy hat.
  • Extremely evident in The Transformers where the robot modes of all the Transformers (especially those of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream, and Soundwave) resemble their eventual Earth modes even in the distant past and on planet Cybertron. The vehicles' modes were alien, but in robot mode, Bumblebee has a Volkswagen roof for a chest and front for feet four million years before there would be such a thing as a Volkswagen.
    • It doesn't stop once they get to Earth. The toys came first, and before the TF universe was created, they were originally designed for a toyline where humans would pilot Humongous Mecha so there was no need to make them vehicles you could find around town. So Astrotrain turns into a steam locomotive.
  • The time setting of Alfred J. Kwak is considerably vague. In general it seems to take place somewhere during the 20th century, but among other things Professor Paljas has access to advanced supertech, and a mediaeval Middle Eastern kingdom also seems to exist.
  • Despite taking place in the 17th century, Albert the Fifth Musketeer has shown bolognese sauce, bowler hats, steel frying pans, and umbrellas, which were more common two centuries later.
  • Almost avoided with the original The Land Before Time. The characters include such species as, among others, Triceratops, Saurolophus, Pteranodon, and Tyrannosaurus. So far so good, all are from late Cretaceous North America. Granted, the protagonist, Littlefoot, is a Jurassic Apatosaurus, but audiences can just pretend he's an Alamosaurus. But then there's the introduction of Spike the also Jurassic Stegosaurus, and at one point in the film there is the brief appearance of a-Permian Dimetrodon?? And that's not even taking into account the sequels, which bring up a whole different mess!
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines presumably takes place during World War I. In the Magnificent Muttley episode "The Masked Muttley," Dick Dastardly is seen watching television. Some three decades before it became commercially viable. Then in "Aquanuts," Muttley is left to wash the dishes while Dastardly, Klunk and Zilly go to see a surfing movie, which wouldn't be in vogue for another six decades.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Prehysterical Hare" begs the question, how did movie film exist in B.C. days?
    • Paleontology also seems to exist, as the filmmaker implies that the culture is aware of dinosaurs and mammoths and their having gone extinct before the film's creation.
    • Two other cartoons also set in 1 Million B.C., "Prehistoric Porky" and "Daffy and the Dinosaur" not only show dinosaurs existing alongside large mammals, but show the two coexisting trillions of years ago. Quite an accomplishment, seeing as the Universe is only around 14 billion years old.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is stylistically set in what looks to be the 1960s or 1970s, so vinyl records and the like have their place, but such futuristic marvels like cassette players, compact discs and cellphones make appearances. Despite the presence of laptops, desktops by in large are bulky and resemble computers from the early 1980s.
    • In the flashback sequences that take place almost twenty years ago, the original Mystery Inc. wore outfits circa 1950s or 1960s, but on the other hand, Fred Jones Sr. dressed a loose business casual (white button shirt with blazer) that wasn't popular enough until the 1980s or 1990s.
    • An in-universe example occurs when people attend a Ren-Faire as pirates.
  • Time Squad uses this trope to its advantage. Almost every historical figure the trio come across are involved in activities that will not be invented for hundreds of years after their respective time periods. For example, Kubla Khan is a nerd who obsessively reads comic books. And Eli Whitney creates a horde of robots who all have the ability to decipher what is human flesh and what is not. The show's creator, Dave Wasson, didn't call his show "The C student's guide to history" for nothing.
  • Fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have noticed that the exact tech level in Equestria is rather undefined, even with the presence of magic. The early writers wanted to keep it low-tech, but later writers sneak things in. A good example is the train in "Over a Barrel", which has a proper locomotive but is pulled by a team of ponies; in later episodes, trains run by themselves.
    • Handwaved in the comics, which explain that a lot of Equestria's technology was taken from parallel universes.
  • The short film Prehistoric Beast has a Tyrannosaurus Rex fighting a Monoclonius. The two species did not live during the same time in the Cretaceous period.
  • The Daltons mentioned Laurel and Hardy and the Tour de France, as well as showing modern-looking bras, robots, and a boy dressed in the style of someone from the late 20th/early 21st century and other things for the sake of being more relatable to the target audience. The show is set at the end of the 19th century.
  • Though (like its source novel) Around the World with Willy Fog is set in 1872, the Statue of Liberty (completed in 1886) can be seen in the opening titles. Also, at one point, Bully comments that Dix "thinks he's Sherlock Holmes", even though the first Sherlock Holmes story was not published until the 1890s.
  • King of the Hill in the episode "Yankee Hankie", it is implied that Cotton Hill has videotapes of Hank from when he was a young child along with ones of Little Hank. One slight problem - Hank was born in the mid 1960's, years before any form of home recording came onto the scene. In 1970 Sony released the U-Matic system, but it was expensive and it is unlikely Cotton would have bought one, moreover the tapes looked way different than the ones stacked on Cotton's shelves (they were bigger and more like a cartridge). Cartrivision was released around 1972, but it was built in a TV set, was also too expensive and the black and white camcorder attachment wasn't common and was also very expensive. Practical home video recording came in 1977 with Betamax and then VHS, but by then, Hank was a teenager and camcorders for those formats weren't around until the early 80's.
    • It's possible he meant video transfers of old 8mm home movies.
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight features Alexander II of Scotland, as a prince and young man, during the imprisonment of Richard I of England in Austria. Alexander wasn't born until 1198, a year before the death of Richard.
  • Ready Jet Go! lampshades this during the planetarium show, which includes Pluto as a planet, after it had been demoted, something Sidney points out.
  • The setting of Mighty Magiswords is Medieval overall, but it has fast food joints, robots, a couple of episodes involve vlogs, and there are spectacles that make people talk like radio DJs. Played for comedic effect in the case of the last one (which also mentions barbecues).
    Hooded Lady: "I've gotta be ready in time for my drive-time show! I got traffic and weather on the 8, buddy!"
  • The town and transportation shown in Spirit: Riding Free seem to be based around the mid-1800s, like that of the movie. However, the everyday wardrobe worn by Lucky, Pru and Abigail look very 21st century, though they wear dresses from the said time period on fancy occasions.
  • Based on the architecture and clothing, the kingdom of Mewni in Star vs. the Forces of Evil seems to be based around medieval times, but the also apparently has cell phones, photo booths, robots, rock concerts, washing machines, and very modern English.
  • Despite The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! showing the world with otherwise modern vehicles, clothes, and technology, the NYPD is shown as wearing pre-1970s style uniforms and the blue with white accents paint job on their cars from the 1970s-1990s.
  • Samurai Jack is filled with this on top of Fantasy Kitchen Sink. Jack's equivalent of feudal Japan seems to have coexisted with medieval England, the Vikings, classical Greece and even ancient Egypt. Even in Aku's Bad Future, much of Earth is primitive to various degrees; one episode can feature twenties' gangsters, one features two bounty hunters on a Wild West-esque train, one episode featured cavemen, and almost every episode will have robots in it.
  • The Little Rascals has the look of the late 1930s, given that the Hanna-Barbera animators created the character models by tracing photographs of the Our Gang child actors. But in "Trash Can Treasures", Buckwheat acquires a microcomputer. Another short is titled "Rock & Roll Rascals", though that type of music wouldn't exist for two more decades. They also have commercial television, and push-button traffic controls are mentioned in "The Zero Hero".
  • Recent Disney TV shows based on Winnie-the-Pooh give it a Setting Update. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is vaguely set in the '80s, and My Friends Tigger And Pooh is definitely set in the 21st century. Honey, however, still comes in stoneware pots, rather than glass jars or squeezy bottles.
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight features Selina singing "Can You Tame Wild Wimmen?", a song that wouldn't exist until the 1900s and Bruce mention learning an escape trick from Houdini when Houdini would've been a teenager in the Victorian era. On the commentary, writer Jim Krieg and producer Bruce Timm freely admitted to do this, and using the Elseworlds Alternate History premise to justify it, saying in the universe of the film, the song came around earlier and Houdini was born earlier than in our world.


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