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"Doing an animated film is like building a cruise ship — you start it in one economy and finish it in another."
— Hollywood reporter Jim Hill (paraphrased)

The production period necessary for any given work varies depending on the medium. Obviously live television is instantaneous, while even live-action scripted shows can be filmed and edited within days. This puts certain works like animation at a disadvantage, as animation takes time. Good animation takes a long time. Even the simplest animated TV shows can see a production period of a year for a single episode with multiple episodes in production at the same time.

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While the structure of an animation pipeline can actually a boon in some casesnote , there is one major creative sacrifice those in animation must always make: the ability to be topical. That isn't to say a piece of animation that spent five years in development can't give an accurate picture of the social or political climate it is eventually released in, but due to the long lead time, it's much harder to be certain that whatever you're commentating on will still be relevant over a year later. The more specific the subject you want to reference, the more likely you'll find your audience baffled about why you're still talking about it when everyone else has moved on months ago, assuming they even remember it.

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Can result in Unintentional Period Piece if it ends up way behind on current events the time it is released and interferes with We're Still Relevant, Dammit! as it tries to be as close to current events as possible. Compare The Shelf of Movie Languishment.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens a lot in the Disney Animated Canon. Sometimes three to five years will pass between the initial announcement of a project and the theatrical release of the movie, thus occasionally having the final picture entering into a social or economic market for which it is ill prepared.
    • In the early 1990s it was not rare for Disney to include rough pencil tests and storyboards in the trailers for their movies, simply because there wasn't enough finished footage to make a complete trailer. This practice seems to have stopped, probably because it looks sloppy. The response has been to make initial teaser trailers merely describing the premise of the film using little to no footage from the actual movie; creating a custom short. Both Lilo & Stitch and The Princess and the Frog did this.
    • One of the reasons The Emperor's New Groove underwent a Retool was that it was locked into a 2000 release date thanks to a McDonald's tie-in, but by 1998 it was clear that the film in its then-current form wouldn't be ready by then.
  • Teasers for The Pagemaster were in theaters four years before the movie came out. This is because the film took three years to create. Shame that it ultimately wound up being a bomb financially, critically and among audiences.
  • This is one of the reasons (the other being heavy Executive Meddling in the version that eventually did get released) why people think The Thief and the Cobbler is a ripoff of Aladdin; it was released after it, but had actually been in development for so long beforehand that it's more credible to say that Aladdin borrowed from it than the other way around.
  • Jetsons: The Movie infamously replaced Janet Waldo (the original voice of Judy Jetson) with '80s pop singer Tiffany as a bit of Stunt Casting intended to draw in a teenage audience. By the time the film actually opened, Tiffany has long since fallen out of style (Janet Waldo didn't take it well, as she had recorded all of her lines prior but wasn't told she was being replaced, though she eventually let it go). In fact, the film took so long to produce that two of its lead actors died a year before it was released: this was the final acting role for both Mel Blanc and George O'Hanlon, the latter of whom passed away in the recording studio.
  • While they'd been notorious for their string of loose copycat productions of Pixar films, only once was DreamWorks Animation able to use this trope to beat another film to the punch: The Wild, an obscure co-production between Disney and an independent Canadian company, had been in the works for six years before DreamWorks made its pre-emptive strike with the suspiciously similar (and more heavily stylized) Madagascar. Like The Thief and the Cobbler example above, the end result was the movie in production first released after the film that borrowed its concept became hugely successful, resulting in the original being accused of being a ripoff.
  • The Emoji Movie was hit hard by this trope, with pretty much all the apps and slang featured in the film being already outdated again when the movie finally came out, despite it having a ridiculously short production time for a major studio animated film (from concept to final product in a mere two years). This was lampshaded in the Honest Trailer of the film.
  • In the original The Transformers: The Movie, released in 1986, Devastator, formed from a combination of the six Constructicons, was featured as the most powerful of the Decepticons. This was because when production began on the movie, there were no other combiners, but by the time the movie came out, others had already been introduced in the toyline and even featured on The Transformers TV show (which led to Devastator undergoing a severe case of Villain Decay). This is also the reason why the film doesn't really feature any of the characters who had become important in the second season (the sole exceptions were Perceptor and the Coneheads)note .
  • This even happened to the BIONICLE movies despite their amazingly fast (or rather, rushed) production time, as they had gone into production before some of the characters' looks or the outcome of the stories were even finalized. This accounts for why certain characters look more like their toy prototypes than the versions sold in stores. The ending of the first film is a particularly huge mess, as both LEGO and the filmmakers reconfigured its climax after the voices had already been recorded, leading to crucial events going unexplained, explained events not happening the way they're described, and twists and character actions being utterly nonsensical.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet features a lengthy segment involving Baby Groot, who received a brief marketing frenzy after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; however, between the time this segment was written and the film was released, Disney largely moved on from the character and Avengers: Infinity War had featured him as an adolescent.
  • This ended up working in favor of Pixar's Coco, which featured a plot where a beloved celebrity (albeit a fictional one) is exposed for a terrible action...right as the #MeToo movement exposed famous actors, performers, and other celebrities for sexual misconduct.
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    Films — Live Action 
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) features characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, when the show in question ended three years before the film's release and when a new generation of the franchise had just begun.
  • The Chuck Jones animated segment in Stay Tuned had already been in production for six months by the time filming had officially commenced in October of 1991.
  • The Transformers Film Series had a different production timeline to the toys, which resulted in a number of discrepancies between the toys and how they were represented in the films. This was different from the norm, as the TV shows were typically developed in response to the toyline or more in conjunction. Optimus Prime got a major redesign about a year before the first movie came out and his major toy was notably different (mostly in the transformation scheme, but was close enough to be a decent figure for the character) while the original Megatron head design was redesigned after fan outcry four months before the movie and toys were set to release, but was a simple enough retool to get things in line by then. Later toylines like the Transformers Studio Series were able to boast about being more representative of the on-screen designs.

    Magazines 
  • In 2003, MAD released an issue that featured one comic that took potshots at the sitcom 8 Simple Rules. There is generally a few months for the magazine to go from concept to published issue. As a result, the issue in question ended up coming out a just few weeks after the sitcom's star, John Ritter, died suddenly due to an aortic dissection. It was awkward.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Newspaper comics are often written a long time in advance — usually around eight weeks for dailies and 12 weeks for Sunday strips — which can cause problems for more topical comics like Doonesbury, as lampshaded here.
    • Garry Trudeau works two weeks away from deadline, closer than any other syndicated cartoonist. He also has a hired inker, which cuts back on production time. Generally speaking, this keeps things relevant.
  • Fans of the bygone comic strip The Boondocks may regret that the TV series couldn't joke about current events nearly so much.
    • The lead-time in the comics was lampshaded shortly before the 2000 Presidential Election, where Huey laments that the candidate he was rooting for doesn't stand a chance. Aaron McGruder, meanwhile, keeps leaving comments at the bottom of the panels apologizing because he has to draw out the strips a couple of months in advance, so the polls may have changed in that time. Then at the end, it's revealed that the candidate Huey was rooting for was Ralph Nader, causing Aaron McGruder to admit that the polls for him probably didn't change after all.
  • The day after the final Peanuts strip ran in papers, For Better or for Worse ran a strip wishing Charles Schulz a happy retirement. The problem was Schulz died the day before his final strip ran, so he never got to see it.
  • The infamous "National Stupid Day" strip of Garfield ran on Veterans' Day 2010 and was immediately deemed offensive. Jim Davis apologized for the strip saying that the strip was drawn and written in advance and that his son is a veteran and he meant no disrespect.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was locked into releasing in February of 1994 due to a McDonald's promotion, but as the game expanded in scope and its lead time increased, it became clear that it wasn't going to be complete by then. Rather than delaying the promotion, Sega instead split the game into two parts, releasing the first half in February as scheduled and the second half in October.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • At the beginning of developing a Super Smash Bros. game, the team naturally decides on a project plan for the general concept of the game, which includes modes, changes to the battle system, and characters. The typical development cycle is a little above 2 years for each game, so the final product tends to feature characters or references that have become less relevant once the game is released (or completely lack ones that fans would expect). They do attempt to avert this by asking other Nintendo development teams about what they're working on, but since those projects are also in the midst of development, that can cause some issues in and of itself.
    • Using 2008's Brawl as an example, Zelda still has her alter ego Sheik as an alternate form despite no game other than 1998's Ocarina of Time at that point having her take on that appearance. However, Sheik returned because when Brawl entered development, 2006's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was still in early production and that team planned to have the character reappear.
    • Brawl also features basically no content from Super Mario Galaxy, which was released in November 2007, due to the two games having mostly-concurrent development cycles. It's only briefly mentioned in the game's Chronicle, and the game instead treats Super Mario Sunshine as the latest mainline Mario game.
    • During development of Smash 4, Sakurai decided against making Takamaru playable due to Western unfamiliarity. The game was being developed when Nintendo was making this less of an issue, as The Mysterious Murasame Castle was the subject of a Nintendo Land minigame and got an international release on the 3DS Virtual Console.
    • The base roster and first set of DLC for Ultimate were locked in before the release dates of ARMS and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so they had to compromise by representing them with Mii costumes, spirits, and music. Characters from both games were both eventually included in the second set of DLC.
    • In many cases, the DLC characters take years of negotiating to include, and as a result the included characters don't always correspond to current developments. For instance, Sora, who was released in 2021 but in negotiations since the Smash Ballot in 2015, only minimally references Kingdom Hearts III, which was released in 2019.
  • The October 2018 game Nickelodeon Kart Racers uses the old 2012 designs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not their Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which premiered in September 2018) designs. Oddly, the sequel still uses the 2012 designs, while 2021's Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and 2022's Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis use the 1987 designs, meaning Rise skipped appearing in video games entirely.
  • Garfield is included in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, but because Nickelodeon had yet to announce details about his Nicktoon adaptation, his moveset mostly references the newspaper comic, previous video game appearances, and Garfield and Friends. His inclusion in the game wasn't necessarily about promoting an upcoming show anyway; rather, it was simply because the devs wanted to include him.
  • When Halo: Combat Evolved released on November 15th, 2001, many interpreted the game's plot, with United States themed soldiers fighting back Scary Dogmatic Aliens who had recently attacked one of humanity's major colonies, as commentary on The War on Terror. Bungie shot down these assumptions by noting that the overwhelming majority of the game's development occurred before 9/11 (it had been in development since 1997).
  • As Marvel vs. Capcom 3 had its roster decided on before Super Street Fighter IV came out, its Street Fighter IV representative was C. Viper, being the closest of IV's newcomers to an Ensemble Dark Horse. After Super released, however, Juri overtook her, leading to C. Viper's inclusion feeling awkward by the time the game came out, and even more so after its Ultimate Updated Re-release.
  • A video game based on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was released for the DS and Wii on October 5, 2010. It used the clock-based format introduced in 2008...and retired three weeks before the game came out, in favor of one where the categories and money amounts were randomly shuffled.
  • Zig Zagged with Total War: Warhammer III. Given the five year Sequel Gap between it and the previous installment, several units in the game had their tabletop models updated by Games Workshop. While some (mostly among the Daemons of Chaos, who were introduced in the game) were able to use their updated modelsnote , a few units (Sigvald the Magnificent, Blood Knights, Black Coaches, and Lord Kroak) and were not changed due to a combination of already being in the game and having their models updated in the context of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar (e.g., in Sigvald's case his new model reflects his ascension into Daemonhood in the Age of Sigmar setting and does not reflect him during his time in the Old World). The most egregious case so far is Be'lakor the Dark Master, the Big Bad of the third game, who uses his original model rather than his updated model (which was revealed in March 2021, a month after the game's reveal) despite the fact that as a daemon his appearance would not have changed between the settings.

    Web Video 
  • Zero Punctuation dealt with this when Yahtzee made his "Top 5 Games of 2015" which also had a category for the five blandest games, which was similar to the "Mediocre Awards"Jimquisition had done around the same time.
    Yahtzee: Hmm, what's that? [Beat] Jim Sterling just did something like this? Well, it's a good thing everyone knows that I write these a few weeks in advance, isn't it? Otherwise, they might have accused me of ripping him off! And made complete fucking fools of themselves!
  • High Score was a shortlived animated series from Matt Wilson, originally competing with Homestar Runner. The characters were later redesigned for Bonus Stage, which used a simpler style in order to allow a faster release cycle, necessary for Matt to keep pace as the show's creator, writer, animator, voice actor (of pretty much every character barring a few exceptions toward the end of the show's run), sound designer...

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons plays with this. They often try to overdub relevant jokes after the finished animation is back from its overseas production.
    • They make it obvious on some occasions, such as the Super Bowl episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"; the names of the teams were only said once, with Homer's and Moe's mouths covered, and the overdub doesn't match the scene's audio. They also took some potshots at the then-current Lewinsky scandal, where the status of Bill Clinton's presidency was clearly overdubbed as well as the status of his marriage.
    • They try to overcome it with overdubs and lampshade hanging, but they still fall victim to this trope big time. Combined with the occasional tendency of episodes to air a season or more after they were completed — due to Fox's seasons and Simpsons production seasons not always lining up — this trope has (for instance) caused parody episodes to be released years after the works they were mocking. Case in point, "Simpson Tide", a parody of the 1995 film Crimson Tide, was first shown in 1998note .
    • In one episode, several Itchy and Scratchy cartoons are shown in quick succession, all parodying films at least a year old. Krusty then hangs a huge lampshade on it, asking why they're parodying movies that old, and saying that the animation took too long to make to get it out sooner.
    • One area where the writers are able to be consistently topical is in what Bart writes on the chalkboard for the intro to each episode, which the writers use to occasionally address various mistakes or controversies in the episode that aired the week prior, or jokes that otherwise reference real-world events.
    • "Bart To The Future" features a bizarre example looping from a straight example into an aversion, with an infamous joke about a Donald Trump presidency in the distant future. At the time the episode was made, Trump was seeking the Reform Party's 2000 presidential nomination. But by its premiere in March 2000, Trump already suspended his campaign. It became an aversion after he was actually elected president in the 2016 election.
  • South Park is a rare aversion. The Stylistic Suck design is so comically simple to animate with industry standard software that, once the show switched over to such programs rather than animating construction paper cutouts by hand, the production time for episodes slowly became shorter and shorter until the creators found that they were now putting together entire episodes from concept to final delivery in a mere six days.
    • The ultimate example of this is the episode "Christmas in Canada", which included references to (and images of) Saddam Hussein's capture three days after it happened.
    • South Park broke its own record with "About Last Night...", spoofing the results of the 2008 election and the ensuing aftermath that had happened the previous night. Of course they wrote it assuming Obama's poll lead would translate into victory in the election (which it did) and an easily reworkable plot in case he didn't (and banked on the assumption that if Obama didn't win, an episode of South Park would go ignored in the ensuing frenzy).
      • Similarly, the episode "Obama Wins!" aired the day after Obama's reelection, but the plot of the episode also dealt with The Walt Disney Company purchasing Lucasfilm, which had happened a week prior.
      • Likewise, the seventh episode of Season 20 was originally written under the assumption that Hilary Clinton would win in 2016. When Trump won instead, Matt and Trey had to completely rewrite (and presumably, reanimate) the whole episode in less than a day, as well as change the title— originally "The Very First Gentleman", it is now known as "Oh, Jeez".
    • Another example is the Quintuplets episode being rewritten after commercials aired to be about the Elián Gonzales situation.
    • When Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Person of the Year, the episode "The Hobbit", which had him accepting the award, aired the very same day of the announcement.
    • One episode spoofed Bob Saget's hosting style on America's Funniest Home Videos. By the time it aired, he was replaced by John Fugelsang and Daisy Fuentes.
    • After doing a two-parter episode ridiculing Family Guy, the creators were asked if they were prepared for a battle of wits between the two shows. They responded if the FG team did anything in response they would just let it slide, mostly because their production schedule is so much faster they would have too much of an advantage.
  • One episode of Robot Chicken did a Lampshade Hanging on this. During a spoof of the film Into the Blue - which consisted entirely of the characters making general statements about themselves (e.g. "I'm in a bikini!" "I do lots of situps.") and awkwardly-forced title drops - Seth Green (in stop-motion animated form) interrupted the skit to briefly explain how animation takes time and therefore some skits may be irrelevant, since they would have had next to nothing to go on regarding the film when they were actually writing it several months beforehand. He then went on to state (with obvious irony) that he was confident that by now, Into the Blue had become a box office hit and won several Academy Awards, then closed by apologizing for any inconvenience.
  • The British series 2DTV was an animated satire on the week's events, which obviously needed to be animated as quickly and cheaply as possible — and it showed. The basic idea was originally done with puppets as Spitting Image.
    • The same goes for the Finnish animated series The Autocrats, which was a CGI-animated series about the largely fictional lives of the members of the Finnish parliament. Since each episode had to be done in a week for the sake of staying topical, in the end the show was neither particularly entertaining or particularly well animated, the latter being particularly obvious.
  • Family Guy:
    • The episode "Ocean's 3½" managed to do a joke about Christian Bale's Cluster F-Bomb within two weeks after the audio was first released, by quickly animating a reel-to-reel tape player playing clips of said outburst interspliced with Peter Griffin's voice reacting to it. This was cut out in later airings of the episode and the DVD release, and was replaced with Quagmire's cutaway involving wanting to make an underwhelming thriller starring Jeff Bridges and Laura Linney.
    • They did something similar in "American Gigg-olo" with the Donald Trump tapes, dubbing it (and Peter's reaction) over footage of the bus. Like the above example, it too was cut from later airings of the episode and the DVD release, and was replaced by an animal sobriety checkpoint cutaway.
    • Played straight with "Hannah Banana", which aired two years after the event it adapts (the "Best of Both Worlds" concert tour that was notorious for selling out nationwide).
    • There's also the episode about Taylor Swift which mostly makes fun of her for only writing melodramatic breakup songs. That sort of joke was quite popular circa 2010-2013. However, the episode came out in 2016, by which point Taylor's 1989 album had subverted and lampshaded her old forumas to a sufficient point that most no longer saw them as relevant.
    • The opening to "The Juice is Loose" claims as much, stating that it was a "lost" episode from 2007, ostensibly because by the time it aired in March 2009, its subject matter - O. J. Simpson moving into Quahog and becoming friends with Peter, who then has to convince the rest of the town that he's not as bad as the 1994 murder trials made him out to be - was already dated, with Simpson having been jailed just a few months prior over armed robbery and kidnapping.
  • Admitted on the commentary track for the Futurama episode "300 Big Boys", which was about a big tax refund that, when it happened, was quite a big deal... but then came September 11th. By the time the episode aired in June 2003, viewers either didn't get or didn't care about the reference.
    • On the commentary for "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" the writers also admit that the joke they wrote in early 2001 about Florida being known for recounts was no longer as relevant by the time the episode aired in March 2003.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The second season finale cashed in on the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, by having its own wedding in-universe. Except the first season hadn't even aired its finale at the time. The two-part episode "A Canterlot Wedding" aired a full year later.
    • Rainbow Power ponies began appearing in the show's toyline a full year before the show itself would debut them in the Season 4 finale.
  • The Proud Family had an episode against music piracy, with the website at the center of it being heavily based on peer-to-peer file sharing site Napster (and The Matrix). By the time the episode came out, Napster (well, the original brand) was forcibly shut down just months prior.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • The Running Gag in "BBBDay!" is that the Titans can’t sing Happy Birthday to You! because it’s still under copyright. By the time it aired, a ruling lapsed it into the Public Domain, undermining the main joke of the entire episode. Later episodes have no problems singing the song.
    • "Hey You, Don't Forget About Me In Your Memory" was made with the intention of airing in February 2015 (the anniversary of the movie it spoofs). The episode aired in September of 2015.
    • "Teen Titans Roar" was a spoof of the Thundercats Roar controversy that happened in 2018, but, like the show it was based off, aired in April 2020, although Teletoon in Canada aired it earlier.
    • Similar to "Hey You, Don't Forget About Me In Your Memory", "Toddler Titans...Yay!", which spoofs Dora the Explorer, was probably written with the release of Dora and the Lost City of Gold in mind. It wound up being released in November 2020, a year and three months after the movie and at a time when Nickelodeon had taken the show off their channel's schedules.
    • "Cy and Beasty" was likely produced with the release of Tom and Jerry in mind, but came out in August 2021, six months after its' theatrical release.
  • King of the Hill episodes apparently took a while to make, considering that they were airing hand-drawn episodes until its eighth season in 2003, where they switched to digital ink and paint (for reference, most cartoons were digitally animated by 2000). Then there's the episode "Lost in MySpace" which dealt with the Strickland Propane crew discovering MySpace. This episode was written in 2004, but didn't air until the end of 2008, when MySpace was declining in popularity. Fortunately, this is Truth in Television, as small rural communities like Arlen are often behind the times and don't embrace modern trends until after they've been established as commonplace elsewhere.
  • Subverted with the Gravity Falls episode "Soos and the Real Girl", which has a climax involving a bunch of robots at a Chuck E Cheese-esque restaurant being possessed and attacking the heroes. Many fans understandably took as a Shout-Out to Five Nights at Freddy's, a horror game series that had just sprung up in popularity at the time. It was a pure coincidence.
  • The first episode of The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper had a gag where Elvis' ghost goes to haunt Lisa Marie, presumably for marrying Michael Jackson. By the time it aired, Lisa Marie and Michael had been divorced for a month.
  • Fudêncio e Seus Amigos is another aversion, due to the show's Limited Animation. Episodes were written only one month before release and finished the day before broadcast, so they could discuss then-recent events in episodes, such as the 2009 season having episodes about Michael Jackson's death and the Swine Flu pandemic shortly after they happened. Some seasons, however, finished episodes at least four months before broadcast, and the third season had almost all of its episodes made by February 2007, when the episodes themselves aired in May and December.
  • When it was announced in 2018 that Star Wars: The Clone Wars was being revived for a seventh season, accusations were lodged at Disney that the company was only bringing back the series to distract from the recent Broken Base receptions of The Last Jedi and Solo. However, when the Clone Wars announcement was made in the months following the latter release, the reveal trailer featured fully-animated footage from one of the episodes, indicating that the revival had been planned for some time and was already in development .
  • Lampshaded in Animaniacs (2020). In the "Catch Up Song", Yakko sings about the Presidents of the United States that came after Bill Clinton, mentioning George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Hillary Rodham Clinton's loss to Donald Trump. Yakko stops the song briefly to point out that at the time the song was written in 2018, Trump was still in office, thus they had no idea if Trump was still President in November 2020, when the series finally aired on Hulu. The Warners then decide to spend the next few verses making wild guesses about what else may have occurred in those intervening two years.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball gave an in-universe example in the Christmas episode "The Lie". With Elmore suffering from post-Christmas blues, Gumball makes up another holiday on the spot which is Christmas in all but name and the rest of the town goes along with it. That same night, his family settles down to watch the "Sluzzle Tag" special, a hastily cobbled-together few seconds of two CG-animated skeletons which abruptly cut off mid-sentence.
    Announcer: "Unfortunately, animation is a lengthy process and that's all we've had time to make. Jolly Sluzzle Tag."
  • This was one of the big reasons why American Dad! underwent reverse Issue Drift and moved away from topical political satire and more towards over-the-top and relatively apolitical Farce. The showrunners stated that it could take upwards of two years from an episode being written to being broadcast, which forces episodes to be written in a more timeless manner. They cited a joke made early on in the show's run about White House counsel Harriet Miers that was so outdated by the time it actually aired that the showrunners themselves forgot who she was and had to look it up online.
  • The Fairly OddParents episode "Certified Super Sitter" has Timmy's parents making a reference to the Vine app, a short-form video hosting service. The reference quickly became a case of We're Still Relevant, Dammit! in addition to this trope, as the service was discontinued the day before the episode's original broadcast.
  • Arthur:
    • The special "It's Only Rock 'n Roll", guest starring the Backstreet Boys, has a 2002 copyright date, but was presumably produced sometime prior to then given that the Backstreet Boys are shown in their white outfits from the cover of their Millennium album, which was already close to four years old by then. Not to mention the fact that the Boys were on hiatus at the time the episode was broadcast.
    • The Very Special Episode made in reaction to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy disaster, "Shelter From The Storm", featured a hurricane called Hurricane Sadie and came out in 2015, which was 3 years later. In comparison, "April 9th" only came out a year after 9/11.

 
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Catch-Up Song

The Warners explain everything that's happened from the moment their show ended until the present year of 2020. Problem is, this episode was written in 2018, so they have to take some liberties to fill in that two-year gap.

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