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Condemned by History

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That font! That background! Those Dutch angles! That's so 1992.
"Only very rarely do you have a popular song that, in retrospect, pretty much everyone agrees was absolutely terrible."
Todd in the Shadows on "Afternoon Delight"

At some point in time, there was a thing—an individual work, the body of work of a particular creator/performer/artist, an entire genre, a trend in an art medium, etc. Whatever it was, this thing got very, very popular. But at some point, it just got too popular. It was talked about everywhere, with no water-cooler conversation avoiding the subject. It was overexposed until people got bored. It got so much publicity and so many bad imitators that there was plenty of time to notice each and every flaw and dissect them under a microscope. Soon, small insignificant flaws become regarded as unavoidable and unforgivable sins. Sometimes, it just takes a change in sociocultural attitudes for the thing to fall out of favor. The final tell-tale sign is indifference, ridicule, or even downright hatred — not just for the thing itself, as the people who like it often become the subject of nasty, highly-specific stereotypes. Simply mentioning that someone likes it online, even if meant completely sincerely, is considered trolling, at worst. At best, they're extremely out of touch.

Five or ten years later, almost nobody will admit that they ever liked this thing, and the only mention in the media will be cheap jokes about the fad, or comments that it "aged like milk". Retrospectives of the time in which it was popular will either point to it as a symbol of everything wrong with that time period's taste in its medium, or quietly skip over it and just pretend it never happened. It may get revived decades later as So Bad, It's Good or by Bile Fascination, but it's unlikely to be popular on its own merits ever again. In fiction (and Real Life), a Disco Dan is a rare admirer who refuses to accept the judgment of history and passionately holds on to the belief that the dead thing is still as big as it always was — usually with comical results.

When all of this has happened, that thing which was once so popular has become Condemned by History. Of course, twenty or thirty years later, the situation may change again. But if not, it will remain either scorned or simply ignored.

Sometimes caused by people saying that It's Popular, Now It Sucks! too much, but not always. At its height, these people usually exist, but are typically not very vocal. It's particularly common with things that never had a cult following to begin with — they went from nowhere to everything, and then back to nowhere, very suddenly. This is essentially Hype Backlash after something faded from popularity, while its haters remained active.

For a more detailed examination of the ways a work can become Condemned by History, see the Analysis page.

Compare Jumping the Shark, "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, Dead Horse Genre, Fallen Creator, Hatedom, Fair for Its Day, Periphery Hatedom, and Discredited Meme. Contrast Vindicated by History and Nostalgia Filter. Also compare and contrast Overshadowed by Controversy, where uproar sparked by or around a work is better-known — and, sometimes, actually more interesting — than the work itself, sometimes leading to the work and/or creator becoming condemned if the uproar is severe enough. If a single work is perceived as rendering something Condemned by History, it's a Creator Killer, Franchise Killer, Genre-Killer, Trend Killer, or Star-Derailing Role. Compare and contrast Unintentional Period Piece, when a work can be precisely dated to a specific era, but it may (or may not) have remained popular up to the present day. See also Character Perception Evolution for when a character's reception changes over time. This is also related to Discredited Trope, which is when a trope that used to be played straight in the past has become less so over time, as such tropes and / or prior works using them can be Condemned by History.

Important note: Real life examples require a 5-year wait before they can be added to the page. A show or other work which is currently in production cannot be an example, even if popular opinion has turned against it for whatever reason. A work that is merely forgotten is not an example. There needs to be noticeable backlash towards the work, show, or trend for it to count as an example. This is also not a place to be Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.

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  • Cigarette advertisements on television, movies, and radio. Incredibly popular and virtually omnipresent throughout the 20th century, they are nowadays looked back on as a symbol of how naïve people were at the time about the dangers of tobacco use. They are also seen as symbols of kitsch from the '50s and '60s. The knowledge that at least four of the men who played the Marlboro Man in advertisements later died of lung cancer wound up making Marlboro's ads in particular Harsher in Hindsight, especially knowing the lengths to which tobacco companies went to deny or downplay the health risks of smoking. These days, in the United States, the only places where you can advertise tobacco products are either on printed media like magazines, billboards, or the internet, and companies must put in a noticeable warning about the specific health risks involved. However, some jurisdictions went further and banned all tobacco advertising completely, such as in the United Kingdom.

    Fan Works 
Fan Fiction

  • Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness by Thanfiction was once one of the best-regarded stories in the Harry Potter fandom. It provided an intriguing Perspective Flip to one of the premiere offscreen moments of awesome in the series, namely the resistance to the Death Eaters by the students of Hogwarts in the final book, and the author gained praise for researching actual Child Soldiers to better be able to describe the students' plight. The hype, however, was not to last, and criticisms mounted over time, including, but not limited to: the Character Shilling of Neville as the leader of the resistance to the expense of Luna and Ginny (in the book, Neville himself says they shared leadership duties equally); the treatment of women, particularly the arc involving Lavender Brown being raped and the boys, not Lavender herself, punishing the rapists; the seeming disdain for the canon main trio Harry, Ron, and Hermione, whom various characters insult for not weathering the storm with them; the fact that the story kills off several characters confirmed to survive in canon despite claiming to be canon-compliant; and the repeated, unironic use of ethnic stereotypes, particularly of the Irishnote .

    Any fandom the story had was largely finished off when it came out that "Thanfiction" was actually Andrew Blake, a notorious Con Man who had, under his previous screen name "Jordan Wood", swindled many The Lord of the Rings fans out of money with the infamous Tentmoot convention that didn't even come to be due to its Troubled Production, and who is also known for seducing and abandoning women in real life. There are some good moments in the story and the story still has its fans, but they are mostly looked at with disdain and seen as willfully blind to the story's flaws.
  • When Frigid Winds and Burning Hearts started, the central idea of the story was rather new and interesting. However, over time, the fandom started seeing Celestia as more sympathetic. Now it is just another "Celestia is evil" story among many. Speaking of which, this version of Luna was once praised for being so different from other fandom versions, but now she's a borderline Scrappy. While it still has its fans, the story is not as well-liked as it used to be.

Modding tools and user-made levels

  • SLIGE, which stands for Space Llama Interment Gazelle Expert, was a random level generator written as a script file for Doom back in the nineties; it attained a following because of how simple it was to use in comparison to many other level editors available for Doom at the time. There even were modifications that allowed to utilize more puzzle-oriented elements and add different playstiles to the final maps. The level editor was doing good for a while — and, as it turned out later, too good for its own sake. It soon became common for the Doom mappers to try and pass the SLIGE generated stuff as their own, with one particularly notorious example winning the 2006 Worst Wad Cacoward, with the allegations of SLIGE involvement being one of many reasons for such due to its distinction mark (a level number) visible on every map from the start. The generated levels themselves featured the design style that is looked down upon by almost everyone in the modern Doom community, including long empty corridors and bland rooms with little creativity. The overall influx of randomly generated maps led to SLIGE related stuff not just making its way to the Top 10 Infamous WADs, but also getting forbidden to be uploaded on the online wad archive. As result, using SLIGE has become synonymous with showing lack of effort. Nowadays, when it comes to level generators, most people use OBLIGE and its successor OBSIDIAN which not only run on more modern computer systems, but also feature more options to play around and allow a wider use of tweak tools, whereas SLIGE has mostly faded into obscurity because of both bad publicity surrounding it and more advanced editors taking its place.

  • The toothbrush mustache was once a very stylish look for men like Charlie Chaplin during the early 20th century. Then along came a certain Austrian politician donning that style (which Chaplin himself famously exploited in The Great Dictator), and ruined it forever by association, to the point where the look is still widely known as the "Hitler mustache".
  • Excessive artificial tanning, be it from spraying or using a bed. Tanning had been very popular in the late 1960s and 1970s as well as the late 1990s, and it was especially huge in the 2000s when spray tanning was popular with celebrities to achieve that sun-kissed glow. However, some took the practice too far, resulting in no shortage of mockery. Moreover, thanks in part to an increased awareness of skin cancer and a resurgence of heavy makeup in the 2010s, tans are no longer seen as a prerequisite for beauty, as the popularity of pale-skinned celebrities like Christina Hendricks, Robert Pattinson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dita Von Teese, and Katy Perry has shown. Excessive tanning is now far more likely to be mocked than swooned over, becoming associated with former U.S. President Donald Trump and his orange-hued tan (something he often denied), the cast of Jersey Shore, and more humorously, the Oompa-Loompas. The Kardashian family eventually became the sole remaining celebrities to keep tanning so heavily, and it's a sign of how tastes of changed that their continuing to do so has drawn comparisons to blackface, in effect if not intent.
  • The leisure suit became popular from the 1960s through the '70s when the abundance of synthetic materials, cheap prices, and a dislike for formality made it the fashion symbol for men. Its height of popularity was during the '70s when it was frequently associated with disco culture. But when disco's mainstream acceptance died, the leisure suit went with it — and by the '80s, it was commonly considered emblematic of '70s kitsch. While disco itself saw a massive reappraisal in The New '10s, leisure suits remain associated with clueless fashion sense and uncool would-be ladies' men, as shown in works such as the Leisure Suit Larry video game series.
  • Mullets were a common haircut throughout The '80s that tended to show up on heroic characters in media of this decade. However, the '90s backlash against the coked-up excess of the '80s made the style a target of mockery, beginning with The Beastie Boys' diss track of the style in 1993 (which originated the word 'mullet'—though not the hairstyle itself, which had been around since the '70s). While the mullet has experienced a bit of a comeback in the early 2020s, the modern version is much more gradual and tends to be more just shorter in the front than in the back rather than being essentially two very different haircuts stuck together. Tellingly, a fictional character with a "classic" mullet will generally be depicted as stuck in the past at best and a lowlife redneck at worst these days.
  • The "conk" was a very common hairstyle among African-American men between the 1920s and 1960s, which was the result of a complicated (and hazardous) chemical straightening process. However, many prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement plain hated it, with Malcolm X proclaiming the style to be a means of black self-degradation. By the late 1960s, the Black Power movement promoted the Afro as a symbol of pride, and the "conk"'s reputation tanked among younger blacks. Later hair-relaxing trends such as the "Jheri curl" of the 1980s and the "S-curl" of the 1990s and 2000s faced similar fates after their peaks (the former is mostly remembered by Coming to America doing an unflattering parody of it in the form of the extremely greasy "SoulGlo", which is widely considered to have helped cause the "Jheri" to fall from favor).
  • The "heroin chic" style, as its name suggests, was characterized by traits often associated with heroin abuse, including pale skin, stringy hair, and a waifish appearance. Credited to the late supermodel Gia Carangi and sported by Kate Moss and Jaime King, the look was extremely popular in the early '90s thanks to the fading stigma against heroin, the drug's popularity in the grunge scene, and cynicism towards the sex appeal and vibrant fashion of The '80s. However, with the drug-related death of photographer Davide Sorrenti in 1997, figures such as then-U.S. President Bill Clinton and anti-drug activists began criticizing the fashion industry for glamorizing heroin, while King (Sorrenti's girlfriend) eventually went into rehab. The waning popularity of grunge and the rise of more conventionally attractive models like Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, and Tyra Banks meant that, by 2000, the heroin chic style was firmly out of fashion. The look has since remained dead in the water without a hint of a revival, with the models who popularized the look having since moved on and concerns about potentially glamorizing eating disorders making its emphasis on a very skinny figure no less questionable in hindsight.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Steven Seagal made a name for himself in the early '90s as the star of gritty action movies like Out for Justice and Under Siege, typically playing stoic badasses who fought against criminals and terrorists by using Aikido martial arts. With a string of box office hits under his belt, the media was quick to build him up as the next big Hollywood action star. However, Seagal started losing his box-office momentum in the mid-'90s following On Deadly Ground (his directorial debut) and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Critics began catching on to his limited acting abilities and film choices, and audiences gravitated towards similar but better-received films with Jackie Chan and Will Smith. His guest host appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1991 was widely panned, with many SNL cast and crew members, including creator Lorne Michaels, listing him as the worst guest host in the history of the show. His fate was sealed in the 2000s by a combination of reports about his abusive on-set behavior (most notably, multiple claims of sexual harassment), a pattern of lies about his life and career being uncovered, and his ties to organized crime, The New Russia's government, and Vladimir Putin, which put a dent in his "all-American badass" image. Another notable hit to his "badass" credentials was the growing disdain towards aikido itself; the system was meant for personal enlightenment and understanding nonviolence and is known for being largely ineffective for self-defense or combat sports, which is ironic when Seagal's onscreen fighting style was known for its brutality. Finally, Seagal went into a very noticeable physical decline (including some obvious weight gain) that made it harder to take him seriously as an Action Hero, especially as it took a toll on the fight scenes in his films; he famously used stunt doubles even just for shots of his character standing still.

    By the mid 2000s, Seagal had burned every bridge in Hollywood and retreated to doing Direct to Video flicks mostly filmed in Eastern Europe, which were slammed for their extremely repetitive nature, incoherent stories, frequent production errors, rock-bottom production values, and less-than-successful attempts at covering up Seagal's stunt doubles. Nowadays, Seagal is widely seen as a laughingstock, a product of '90s edge culture who lacked any of the charm or talent of his contemporaries. While other action stars of the era like Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White, and Jean-Claude Van Damme have experienced revivals and are still highly respected and popular among action fans, Seagal has not gained any such reassessment. Whatever praise his earlier films get these days usually concerns the style and technical competence supplied by the filmmakers behind them and the supporting casts, not Seagal himself.

Specific Films

  • The 1999 film American Beauty was a huge hit with both critics and audiences. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in what is still acknowledged as a monumental year for Hollywood, victories that were not at all as controversial even as it beat out now-classic films like The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense, and Being John Malkovich. Over the years, however, the film saw its reputation fall victim to being a product of its time. The 9/11 attacks and the Great Recession made the public considerably less interested in movies about middle-class white men bored with their lives. The #MeToo movement didn't do it any favors, either, making protagonist Lester Burnham's sexual interest in the teenage Angela look far more problematic than it did in 1999, especially after Kevin Spacey, who played Lester, was later himself the subject of career-ending allegations that he had molested young men and boys. By the 2010s, it was listed on more than a few "Most Overrated Films" lists, and it's now seen as one of the lesser films in director Sam Mendes' filmography rather than his defining achievement it once seemed it would be, to the point that Mendes himself stated that he thought it got too much praise at the time. On the film's 20th anniversary, Matthew Jacobs wrote in The Huffington Post:
    The profound ideas at which [this film] grasped now seemed passé at best and clueless at worst. Here was a saga about blue bloods, whose wealth, education, and good looks had bored them to the point of crisis. The class depiction at the center seemed more like low-hanging snark than trenchant analysis. In a roundabout way, Sept. 11 was the beginning of the end for this sort of movie, much like The Vietnam War luring 1970s Hollywood away from the once-prolific Western genre.
  • Upon the 1948 release of The Babe Ruth Story, the film was critically praised, and one would be hard-pressed to find a negative review, one of which was from soccer-loving England. William Bendix's star turn as was praised at the time, with one critic even calling his performance in the title role "flawless". However, time has not been kind to it. Viewers and critics in later years took a lot of issue with the film's rampant inaccuracies and maudlin tone. Bendix's portrayal of Ruth has been singled out for particularly harsh criticism. Not only are the film's attempts to pass a man in his forties off as a teenage boy extremely unconvincing, but the way Ruth gets characterized has been panned as both hagiographic and demeaning; more modern viewers generally take issue with such a legendary baseball player being depicted as a bumbling fool, viewing it as a grievous insult to the actual Ruth. Subsequent reviews have been overwhelmingly negative, and while it was nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers list, The Babe Ruth Story is more frequently seen on lists of the worst-ever sports films, biopics, and movies in general.
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first Epic Movie, the film that proved cinema to be a viable entertainment medium rather than a passing fad, and the pioneer of countless filmmaking techniques. Modern-day film scholars and critics are still more than willing to acknowledge this part of its legacy. However, the film's writing and story have aged so poorly that, today, it's only widely watched by film students (for the technical/historical aspects) and by people studying the history of racism. Specifically, it is a feature-length ode to the original incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan that is widely credited with sparking a revival of the organization in the early 20th century. note  It is now seen as typical of the highly negative "Dunning School" view of the Civil War and Reconstruction, which promoted open, virulent racism in the name of "reconciliation" between North and South after The American Civil War. While the film was condemned even back in the day for being racist (which led to director D. W. Griffith’s next film because he refused to accept the fact that the film was intolerant), it was still widely popular among racist audiences of the time until the Dunning School came in for broader critique in The '60s, thinning the number of interested viewers.
  • Garden State, much like American Beauty, was widely acclaimed and beloved when it came out in 2004 (even reaching 393 on Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time), but opinions of it have quickly soured over time, with many viewers actually embarrassed to admit they loved the movie in the first place. New criticisms of the movie include viewing the protagonist as whiny, unsympathetic, and dull, the handling of its themes as flawed and pretentious (especially with increasingly nuanced and sensitive portrayals of mental health in The New '10s), and Sam being a one-dimensional (and to some, annoying) Manic Pixie Dream Girl character. The only thing most people can agree stood the test of time was the soundtrack.
  • The Jazz Singer was a massive phenomenon when it came out, thanks to what was at the time a revolutionary breakthrough in the use of recorded sound. But now that synchronized dialogue in movies has become something to be taken for granted, you'd be hard-pressed to find any modern viewer who has a good word to say about it. As Tim Brayton puts it:
    It's as close as I can think of to a film whose appeal is almost solely historical, for a multitude of reasons: the unfathomable gap between the way that Jolson performs and the way anybody more modern than he by even just a few years does, including the dreadful fact of blackface; the drawling tedium of the hopelessly overbaked melodramatic plot, a silly and hokey thing even by the standards of backstage biopics; the incredible limitations of early sound filmmaking...
  • Upon its release, Jew Süss (1940) was a major critical and commercial success, grossing more than three times its budget and earning the top award at the 1940 Venice Film Festival. Opinions of it quickly soured in the aftermath of World War II and The Holocaust, however, for a simple reason: its rampant anti-Semitic content. Commissioned by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels for the explicit purpose of stoking hatred of Jews, the film's Villain Protagonist Josef Süss Oppenheimer is a purely malevolent Greedy Jew stereotype with no redeeming qualities, and every other Jewish character is also depicted in a resoundingly negative light. The film was screened for concentration camp guards and reportedly triggered multiple instances of anti-Semitic violence, which only further soured its postwar reputation. Today, the movie is seen not as a legitimate work of art or entertainment, but as a hateful screed that subjects an entire ethno-religious group to horrific demonization, and one would be hard-pressed to find anybody talking about it except in the context of bigotry and propaganda.
  • The 1998 comedy The Pentagon Wars, based on Colonel James G. Burton's 1993 non-fiction book of the same name about the Troubled Production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, was widely touted upon its release as a scathing indictment of the corruption within the United States' military-industrial complex. However, as time passed and people did actual research into the Bradley program, it was very quickly discovered that most of the events in the film and Burton's book were at best exaggerated and at worst completely fictional. While the film is still serviceable as an exaggerated farce satirizing government bureaucracy, as an actual historical work it's seen as heavily colored by Burton's biases and internal politicking within the military apparatus.
  • Upon its release in 1984, Revenge of the Nerds was a huge hit. For years after, it was fondly remembered as one of the great sex comedies of The '80s, and also one of the few canonical depictions of nerds as heroes in Hollywood movies. However, due to changing societal attitudes, the film has aged very badly. Not only does its definition of a "nerd" come off as antiquated, but the nerds' Wacky Fratboy Hijinx range from revenge porn to rape by deception. These are presented as heroic, which is seen these days as outright horrifying. It also doesn't help that the clearly-underage Harold was exposed to these various adult situations, which would be child endangerment. These days, nerds are more clearly defined in most works (e.g. The Big Bang Theory), and colleges will crack down on anything involving sexual harassment and assault. An attempted reboot set for release in 2007 (when raunchy comedies were making a comeback) was cancelled after the school where filming was meant to happen realized what the film would be, and quickly backed out. Opinions on Revenge of the Nerds have gone from celebrating it as a great sex comedy to reviling it as an encouragement of sex crimes, and call it everything wrong with '80s college sex comedies.note 
  • When Super Size Me originally released in 2004, it was a massive hit and was widely praised for illustrating issues with the fast food industry and its connection to the obesity epidemic by showing the ill effects of Morgan Spurlock eating nothing but McDonald's for a month. Its publicity allegedly led to McDonald's removing the "Super Size" option from its menu (though McDonald's officially claimed it was coincidental) and made it a staple of health classes in American schools. However, by the end of the decade, it began attracting increasingly vocal criticism for the veracity of its experiment, with people highlighting confounding details like Spurlock both having a history of alcoholism and having been a vegan prior to filming, and Spurlock's lack of documentation of what he ate to back-up his points. The response documentary Fat Head particularly brought the film's issues to the forefront by repeating Spurlock's experiment but failing to replicate its resultsnote . By the second half of The New '10s, Super Size Me became better known for its methodological flaws, and the withdrawal of its sequel, Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, from the Sundance Film Festival and YouTube Red in the wake of Spurlock's admissions to sexual misconduct only drove more nails into the coffin. While the film still has defenders who stand by its criticisms of the fast food industry even if they disagree with how said criticisms are presented, nowadays Super Size Me is typically mocked for both its Captain Obvious Aesop and its veracity issues when it isn't overshadowed by Spurlock's scandal, with the sequel regarded as the superior film.
  • When it was first released in 1958, White Wilderness was hailed as a masterpiece in documentary film-making, and went on to win both the Academy Award and Golden Bear for Best Documentary the following year. Nowadays, it's Overshadowed by Controversy, specifically for perpetuating the Suicidal Lemmings myth by shoving them off a cliff, drowning them on-camera and editing footage to make it look like natural suicide. Contemporary reviews and ratings for the film are harsher than at the time of release, in part because of the production crew's mistreatment of lemmings; one article in particular likens it to Nanook of the North, calling it an "ethically thorny landmark" in the history of documentary filmmaking. Disney has distanced itself from the film in light of this, removing it from Disney+ as of 2020.

  • The Black Tapes was once as widely beloved as other audio drama darlings such as Welcome to Night Vale and The Penumbra Podcast. It was one of the first fictional audio dramas of The New '10s to present itself as a real-life documentary and imitate True Crime podcasts, presenting itself as nonfiction through the use of heavy Kayfabe. At the time, this was a captivating mixture, helped along by the chemistry between the leads. However, opinion gradually turned against it, along with its siblings, RABBITS and TANIS, as they began to see it as an example of The Chris Carter Effect, growing tired of the podcast raising questions, and introducing mysteries and cliffhangers only to never follow up on them again. Opinion plummeted with the release of the final episode, which saw the main characters eloping to England with little foreshadowing, and few if any plot points being resolved. Nowadays, people rarely discuss it with the fervor it once elicited.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ashley Massaro was very popular when she was first introduced, winning the third WWE Diva Search easily by fan votes and was liked for her unique look. However, after a disastrous match at WrestleMania 23 with Melina, constant injuries, and fellow Divas such as Michelle McCool, Layla, Candice Michelle, and Kelly Kelly putting work in to become better wrestlers, audience opinion of Massaro turned sour. The final nail came when Massaro was exposed as possibly working for a high-class escort agency, and requested to be released in order to care for her daughter. While Massaro attempted to make a comeback on the indies, she eventually got a reputation for no-showing events she was advertised for. While some opinion on her has softened since her untimely passing, she's nonetheless remembered as a representation of everything that was wrong with the Divas division after Lita and Trish Stratus retired.
  • There once was a time where The Fabulous Moolah was the name synonymous with women's wrestling in America, where her 27-year long reign as women's champion broke records and paved the way for how women's wrestling is seen today as being more than just eye-candy. However, her legacy has since been shrouded in controversy, as allegations about her backstage antics — which included abusing trainees, embezzling money, using her influence to threaten promoters into not making them look strong, and sexual harassment, among other things — have made it more difficult to see her as the icon she once was, with many wrestling historians claiming her record-breaking run was mostly a sham thanks to her making legitimate competition rare. Many also feel like Moolah regressed women's wrestling as much as she innovated it, as her death-grip on the title made it difficult for other women to get over, and made the likes of Triple H and Hulk Hogan look generous.note  Even WWE, who have been known to put rose-tinted spins on controversial figures or events, have been forced to stay mum about her after sponsors threatened to pull out of WrestleMania if they continued using her name for their women's battle royale. While nobody will deny Moolah's historical significance in the industry, you will hardly find anyone sing their praises of her as a person; and unlike people like Chris Benoit or Dynamite Kid, who at least can be praised in terms of in-ring ability with some degree of caution despite their sordid actions and personality flaws, you'd be hard-pressed to find any praise for her in that department, either.
  • The Nexus. There was a time NXT as a show was not very well-likednote , but fans were of the opinion that if The Nexus was the goal all along, then the terrible show was worth it. The only wrestler who managed to look halfway decent was Daniel Bryan, who was actively buried on commentary. But after winning the contest, Wade Barrett unexpectedly turned up on the next WWE show leading all the other "rookies" on a rampage to destroy everything in their path out of retaliation for being put through such a terrible experience. It became the most positively-received WWE event of the year. The inevitable big showdown on pay-per-view ended with The Nexus suffering a humiliatingly anticlimactic loss, not helped by Daniel Bryan no longer being associated with it. CM Punk was added to the group to invigorate it, but fans ignored the "New Nexus" altogether and focused solely on Punk. Wade Barrett tried to duplicate The Nexus's initial success with "The Corre", and did a pretty good job until, once again, the big fight came on pay-per-view and The Corre were destroyed, losing all momentum in the process. NXT would eventually take on a standard wrestling show formula, becoming much more popular when it did, making WWE's first effort that much more hated. Overall, The Nexus went from being seen as a smashing success during their time active, to these days being seen as one of the biggest cases of wasted opportunity in WWE.
  • Although never a wrestler herself, Tammy Lynn Sytch became famous as one of pro wrestling's first big sex symbols, and is sometimes called 'The Original Diva'. While she didn't appear for a major company after WCW folded in 2001, she maintained a respectable career on the independent circuit and was even inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. Unfortunately, the following decade saw everything derailing for her. She was arrested no less than five times in the space of four weeks in 2012, and a sixth the next year. After doing jail time, it would be a succession of DUIs and failed stints in rehab (with a total of seventeen arrests in the 2010s). With her drug and alcohol problems, as well as simple aging, taking a toll on her good looks - she turned to adult entertainment and infamous Skype dates with fans to pay the bills. Not helping matters was her famously rude and outspoken personality - claiming she deserved all the credit for the women in WWE today, a well-documented feud with Sable (another famous primadonna) that made Sunny look like the unreasonable one. She also came under fire for body-shaming the likes of The Bella Twins, making her come across as the worst kind of Small Name, Big Ego who didn't have anything beyond now-faded good looks to back it up. With legal issues still continuing into the 2020s, she's become little more than a punchline, better known for her numerous legal issues and infamously poor attitude than her wrestling career.
  • WWE Tough Enough was a reality series that managed to last four seasons in its initial form: untrained rookies going through twelve weeks of training, with two winners earning a WWE contract at the end. Although the first season was popular, and its winners Maven Huffman and Nidia Guenard had a decent run with the company, cracks started to show by the second season. With the rise of the internet allowing smart marks to properly understand the business, the show's very concept would be illogical; it takes years to learn how to wrestle, and any contestants who won would be far too green to have a regular role on TV. This was demonstrated by what's known as 'That Jackie Gayda Match', featuring Season 2 winner Jackie Gayda botching nearly every move. While Season 3 did have a glimmer of hope in the form of one winner having a decorated career, the show's fourth season was largely seen as a joke and its winner got released mere weeks afterwards. There was an attempt at reviving the series in 2011 with a format that had potential, bringing in wrestlers from the indies with the necessary experience, but there was still a mixture of untrained contestants and some truly baffling eliminations.note  The winner was also an untrained rookie, who ended up getting released unceremoniously a few months later. A final attempt at a revival popped up in 2015, but it wasn't long before that too was seen as a joke, especially the decision to have the eliminations decided by public vote rather than skill. While Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville would still be signed and factor into the women's division, it was only after (following history) they had been repackaged completely. It's telling that the only person who was on the show that went on to be WWE Champion didn't win the contract on any of the four seasons. With three WrestleCrap inductions, Tough Enough is seen as a relic.
  • The WWE Diva Search was a gimmick thought up in 2003, but not fully executed until 2004; it was centered around various models, actresses, or other Ms Fanservices competing in a reality TV-style segment for a $250,000 contract. It didn't take long for the Diva Search to be torn apart by critics for its emphasis on Fanservice, and the eventual death of WWE's women's division as a result (and the castings emphasizing that contestants didn't need wrestling experience). While Seasons 1 & 2 were Critic-Proof, live audiences eventually turned on it too. WWE's switch to PG in 2008 and the abysmal ratings of the fourth season had it cancelled. A revival did happen in 2013 but that was more like a tryout camp, and the winners were sent to developmental immediately (plus it wasn't televised). There was a proper revival announced in 2015 as part of the WWE Network, but it never surfaced (due to WWE retiring the 'Diva' term). If the Diva Search is mentioned, it'll be to make fun of how moronic the concept was in hindsight.

Styles and Trends
  • In the 1990s and early 2000s, multiple baseball stars used performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids in order to boost their statistics. In 1998, Mark McGwire broke the season records for most home runs, kicking off the "home run derby" era of baseball, and Barry Bonds followed in 2001. It was an open secret that at least some of these high-performing athletes were utilizing banned chemical assistance to perform their feats, and while no one was exactly shouting "yay steroids!" in public, the audience's acceptance of their use and cheers of approval for their users amounted to a tacit endorsement.

    In 2003, however, the feds started investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) for supplying PEDs to baseball players, leading the MLB to set rules the following year to suspend players if they tested positive for PEDs. Originally, a player would be suspended for up to a whole year after four offenses, but the rule was quickly changed to a lifetime ban after three offensesnote . In his 2005 autobiography Juiced, former MLB star Jose Canseco admitted to using PEDs and accused several other players of doing the same. As a result, many of the top power hitters of The '90s, and a few pitchers such as Roger Clemens, saw their chances at the Hall of Fame plummet instantly. Most of these players had long since retired, and only a few lasted more than a year on the Hall of Fame ballots. These days, the era of rampant steroid use in baseball is considered a disgrace by most players and fans, and few will admit to having been okay with their widespread use in the sport.
  • Back in the 1960s and 1970s, due to rising inflation and construction costs, many US cities that had both National Football League and Major League Baseball Teams built "multi-purpose" stadiums to accommodate both of them. These massive concrete fortresses—dubbed "cookie-cutter" stadiums for both their circular shape and architectural similarity to each other—tried to please everyone, but the vastly different dimensions of a baseball field vs. a football gridiron only led to a miserable experience for fans of both sports (as well as the obvious logistical issues of converting the stadium's baseball field and football gridirons to one another, particularly when both football season and MLB playoffs began). Beginning in the mid-1990s, most cities began demolishing their cookie-cutters in favor of purpose-built stadiums for each sport, with some even being built next door to each other.note The last remaining venue to host both an MLB and an NFL team, the infamously-decrepit Oakland Coliseum, finally became baseball-only again when the Raiders relocated to Las Vegas for the 2020 seasonnote . To the extent that anyone today is nostalgic for the cookie-cutters, those stadiums are only fondly remembered for being home to the team's best years (e.g. the '70s Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium) and that's it. Other than that, they're only remembered as a failed novelty with no revival in sight.
  • In the National Football League, the idea of the hard-hitting "headhunter" safety is gone and certainly never coming back. For decades, as best exemplified by multi-time Pro-Bowlers like Jack Tatumnote , Rodney Harrison, and Roy Williams, these players would deliver bone-crushing hits to opposing receivers over the middle of the field as they attempted to dislodge the football or, at minimum, make the receiver hesitate when going for catches over the middle in the future. The league implemented numerous rule changes with player safety in mind, following the revelation that concussions lead to long-term chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in the late 2000s/early 2010s including the "crown of the helmet" rule and "defenseless receiver" rules, effectively banning this playstyle. The same playstyle that made Tatum one of the best safeties of his era made Vontaze Burfict the most fined player in NFL history, the only player to be suspended the remainder of a season for an on-field hit, and ultimately blacklisted from the league.
  • In Ice Hockey, there is a specific style of play called the "Neutral Zone Trap", where instead of attempting to attack the opponent's forecheck individually or take the puck in the defensive zone, all five players on a team will sit in the middle of the ice (The Neutral Zone) and attempt to force turnovers, prevent the other team from getting into their end without performing a "Dump-In" (where you shoot the puck behind the net and attempt to get it from there, often in a board battle), and in general prevent offense from occurring. While it had been around since the 30s and was occasionally used off and on by many coaches, it really came into prominence under Coach Jacques Lemaire of the New Jersey Devils, who won the 1995 Stanley Cup with it, and everyone began to Follow the Leader into making it an almost default style of coaching, creating the "Dead Puck Era". After the 2004 lockout however, both the league and the player's association began to have serious concerns about the lack of offense seen throughout the league as well as safety concernsnote , as well as a major rule change regarding 2-line passingnote  all but creating both a hard counter to the Trap and effectively ending it by the 2010s, as rule changes and advances in player talent had all but ensured that the traditional version of the trap is dead, and anybody who uses even a modified version of it, such as coach Guy Boucher, is often harshly derided as being boring.

Specific People

  • Cyclist Lance Armstrong is perhaps the biggest example of an athlete falling from grace in the 21st century. He was an American sporting hero at the Turn of the Millennium, having not only won seven Tour de France titles but having done so after beating testicular cancer. He used his profile to establish a highly successful charity dedicated to curing cancer, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, whose Livestrong yellow silicone gel bracelets became a ubiquitous fashion item mid-decade. However, it had long been rumored that Armstrong's cycling success was a bit less than squeaky-clean and that he had been doping his way to the top. When those rumors were confirmed in 2012, Armstrong was forced to step down from the foundation bearing his name, and the International Cycling Union (the governing body for the sport) stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles. Now, while he still has his supporters due to his charity work, a lot of people view him as an embarrassment to the sport as well as an utter scumbag, considering he sued people for defamation and won despite their doping claims eventually being revealed as the truth. A common joke was that the Livestrong bracelets should now read "Lie Strong".
  • Former hockey agent and lawyer Alan Eagleson is one of the most disgraced Canadians to have ever been involved with the sport. His downfall and condemnation were so spectacular that they make Lance Armstrong look like a saint by comparison. In his heyday, Eagleson was head of the National Hockey League Players' Association from 1967 to 1992, oversaw the iconic 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, and was a prominent member of Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party and its "Big Blue Machine" that dominated Ontario provincial politics for much of the 1970s and 1980s. In short, he was both a titan of Canadian hockey and Ontario politics. Come the 1990s, Eagleson was revealed to have been grossly corrupt, embezzling money out of everything, from the NHLPA's general revenues to players' disability and pension payments. The fallout was catastrophic: Eagleson was fined $700,000note  and served six months in prison on the charges that U.S. and Canadian prosecutors were able to make stick. He was able to dodge many of them through his political connections, including 34 counts of racketeering, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and fraud in the United States, where he managed to avoid being extradited until 1997. He was also disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario legal bar, unable to ever practice law again. Worse, his name became radioactive in the hockey community and Canadian society in general. He forfeited his membership in the Order of Canada, was forced to resign from the Hockey Hall of Fame after 19 players publicly threatened to resign from the Hall themselves if Eagleson himself was allowed to remain in it, and widely shunned by the Ontario high society that used to embrace him to the point where his wife couldn't even rent a one-bedroom coach house. He has since become a pariah in the hockey world where he was once nearly royalty.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Andrew "Dice" Clay fell off hard after his extraordinary popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His character of "The Diceman" was a Deconstructive Parody of the Greaser Delinquents of '50s pop culture, especially Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli from Happy Days, used as a way to point out that people who viewed the 1950s as some sort of American "golden age" were intentionally ignoring a lot of problems with Fifties culture. The Diceman played up every negative attitude from the '50s — he was a foul-mouthed, racist, homophobic, and ragingly sexist Lower-Class Lout who saw women as tallies on a score card and made a point of being as obnoxiously awful as possible, creating a unique image with his 50's pompadour, thick Brooklyn accent and black leather jacket. With some initial success coming his way, including his first record going gold and cracking the Hot 100 — a rarity for a comedy album — as well as becoming the first comedian to ever sell out Madison Square Garden, the Diceman had a meteoric rise.

    However, there was long-standing confusion as to whether the things that the Diceman said were what Clay actually believed, or if this was just an act. This confusion was not helped by Clay's commitment to staying in character every time he appeared on TV, even for talk shows and interviews. This eventually began attracting people who missed the fact that the Diceman was a parody, taking his sexism and racism at face value and applauding it, which aided in Clay's downfall. The backlash against the character eventually reached a point where Clay was banned from MTV, a rarity for the network in the 1990s. note  After that, Clay's popularity plummeted and never recovered. His attempts to recast himself as a family man didn't work, and his remaining albums failed to get even close to his initial success. While still around and experiencing a surprising amount of acclaim for major supporting roles in films like Blue Jasmine and A Star Is Born (2018), where he showed he proved himself a legitimately good actor capable of roles completely unlike his stage persona, the blurring between character and actor along with a much more progressive culture means that the Diceman's success is unlikely to ever be repeated.
  • For a brief time in the mid-'00s, Dane Cook was one of the most popular stand-up comedians in the US. He was one of the first entertainers to use social media (MySpace specifically) to build up a huge fanbase, comprised mostly of high school and college students. By 2005-06, he had gained over two million MySpace friends, and his 2005 CD Retaliation had gone double-platinum and became the best-selling comedy album in over thirty years. In 2007, he became the second stand-up comedian in history, after Andrew "Dice" Clay, to sell out Madison Square Garden. Then came the severe Hype Backlash from critics, who were not amused by his comedic style, which relied heavily on his manic energy and hip persona over the wit of his actual jokes. Hate for him came from within the stand-up community as well, with numerous accusations of plagiarism and joke theft (most notably of Louis C.K.). As Cook's fanbase outgrew him, many joined the ranks of his hatedom, and he came to be seen as the poster child for dumb college fratbro humor aimed at audiences that didn't know any better. Nowadays, few will admit to having been fans of his.
  • Bill Cosby was once known as "America's Dad" thanks to his family-friendly observational humor and good-natured works, his success with The Cosby Show paving the way for black actors, being one of the first black TV leads with I Spy, and creating the first animated series with a black cast in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Additionally, Cosby was praised for the lengths he took in making sure that black characters in his body of work were not stereotypes. However, there were always rumors that Cosby's wholesome image hid a much darker side. The first major backlash against Cosby came in 2004 when he made what's become known as "the Poundcake Speech", in which Cosby blamed the African-American community for their own struggles. Charitable interpretations saw it as a Creator Breakdown due to the murder of Cosby's son Ennis in 1997, but the speech left many fans disillusioned nonetheless, and some accused him of being a Boomerang Bigot. Things got worse in 2005 when Cosby was accused of sexual assault. While the accusation ultimately went nowhere, these two incidents had the American public wondering if Cosby's family-friendly persona was all just an act.

    In 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby out for his moral lecturing, and outright accused Cosby of rape. This set off a firestorm of allegations of sexual assault against Cosby from at least sixty different women, with many of these women claiming that Cosby had drugged them before sexually assaulting them. Netflix promptly cancelled his planned comedy special 77, TV networks pulled reruns of his shows, and he was ultimately convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018. Cosby would spend three years in prison before being let Off on a Technicality in 2021.note However, in 2022, he was found liable in a California civil trial for sexually assaulting a woman in 1975 when she was sixteen years old, awarding her half a million dollars in damages and further tarnishing Cosby's already-tarnished reputation. All of the moralizing and family-friendly humor in Cosby's works came to be seen as hypocritical and downright creepy, including a routine about Spanish Fly (an aphrodisiac and potential date rape drug), and clashing with Lisa Bonet (who played his daughter on The Cosby Show) for appearing in the sexually-explicit Angel Heart and posing topless in Interview magazine. Even with the overturned conviction, networks and streaming services refuse to touch anything involving Cosby with a ten-foot pole. Opinion on Cosby has generally gone from a trailblazer and a moral authority to a hypocritical pariah and sexual predator. As such, it's extremely unlikely that Cosby will ever regain the respect he once had.
  • Gallagher was one of the biggest comedians of the early 1980s for his large-scale prop comedy, zany aesthetic, and signature watermelon-smashing show-closers. By the end of the 1980s, the stand-up comedy boom died and tastes shifted to a more stripped-down and edgy tone. Gallagher was seen as a low-brow gimmick comedian of the past, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd admit to having been a fan. By the 2010s, his name resurfaced purely to become the subject of ridicule when online commentators started noticing that he was still performing in tiny venues, and his comedy had taken a bitter and overtly right-wing tone; Marc Maron attempted an interview with him on his podcast to address these claims, which ended with Gallagher storming out (the only time that happened to Maron). Gallagher and his watermelon smashing are often used as shorthand for hack comedy now, and upon his death in November 2022, social media was split between respectful tributes and people willing to Speak Ill of the Dead regarding his latter years.
  • Carlos Mencia was a popular comedian in the '00s, selling out massive tours and hosting the successful Comedy Central show Mind of Mencia. The entire time, though, Mencia was weathering accusations of plagiarism from all across the comedy world, which culminated in an onstage argument with Joe Rogan in 2007. Mencia was particularly accused of plagiarizing George Lopez, who utilizes similar topics and a style of humor; Lopez himself accused Mencia of stealing a significant amount of material from him (ironically, Lopez himself used a Taco Bell joke originally done by Ted Sarnowski that Mencia had gotten permission to tell but Lopez had not) and Mind of Mencia came to be seen as a poor man's Chappelle's Show, and was canceled in 2008. Mencia has not released a new special since 2011, and these days, he's mostly remembered as a joke thief and a one-note comedian. While Mencia did reprise his role as Felix in The Proud Family revival Louder and Prouder, chances of him regaining his former fame are slim at best.

    Tabletop Games 
  • When A Few Acres of Snow was released in mid-2011, it was a hit among players and reviewers alike thanks to its innovative approach of using deck-building in a wargame, and it even received several awards. Then a player discovered the "Halifax Hammer" strategy, which all but guaranteed a win for Britain. This discovery rapidly soured the game's reputation, with even the designer admitting that the game was "flawed" and trying to fix it. His attempts were unsuccessful, and the game was discontinued in 2015. While there are mixed reports from the few remaining players about just how powerful the Halifax Hammer is (some argue that it's Difficult, but Awesome and France has pretty good chances if it's executed incorrectly, and some claim it's not even good if the opponent knows what they're doing), this strategy and its perceived brokenness have undoubtedly ruined the game's reputation in the board game community as a whole.

Genres and Trends
  • Minstrel Shows were some of the most popular forms of entertainment in the 19th and early 20th centuries, being viewed as good, clean, light comedy. They were also very culturally significant as one of the first uniquely American forms of artistic expression. As times changed, however, the nasty racial undertones that lay at the core of the genre fundamentally discredited it after WWII. The practice of blackface — using heavy makeup on a white actor so that they can play a caricature of black stereotypes (or sometimes to sneak an actual black actor on stage, which couldn't be done prior)— has become a particular source of scorn. Today, it is only used in period works as either Deliberate Values Dissonance or shock comedy. A notable turning point was in White Christmas, the 1954 remake of sorts of 1942's Holiday Inn. Like Holiday Inn, White Christmas has a minstrel-show number; unlike Holiday Inn, the performers wear tuxedos, top hats, and gloves, but not black makeup.

Specific Shows

  • The infamous Happily Ever After version of Shakespeare's King Lear by Nahum Tate. The 1681 rewrite (which Tate boasted "rectifies what was wanting in the Regularity and Probability of the Tale") ends with the good guys surviving, Lear regaining his throne, and Edgar and Cordelia marrying. It proved popular with Restoration audiences, who hated Shakespeare's "Everybody Dies" Ending, which was purely Shakespeare's invention and diverged drastically from his source material, the Historia Regum Britanniae, where the legendary king's story had a cheerful conclusion. Tate's version completely eclipsed Shakespeare's King Lear for the next 150 years, enjoying hundreds of productions, while the original Lear languished in obscurity and went all but unperformed. In the 1830s reverent fans of the Bard began to restore Shakespeare's original ending to performances, and the Tate version gradually fell out of favor, increasingly derided by Victorian critics as sentimental and trite. Since the start of the twentieth century, the Tate play has only been revived a few times, and even then only as a quaint historical curiosity.

  • Fidget spinners have been around since 1993, but didn't start to gain mainstream acknowledgment until 2017. They were used by teenagers, especially neurodivergent ones, to cope with psychological stress and focus their attention in class. Because they eventually caused more slacking in classrooms than focus (in no small part due to people who didn't need them playing with them) and the rise of novelty fidget spinners that lit up and made noise, thus defeating the original purpose of them, they soon faded into obscurity. The many ableist memes centered around them didn't help. Many schools across the nation were forced to ban fidget spinners due to the disruption caused by them. As a result, fidget spinners are now seen as nothing more but an obnoxious fad.

    The only positive element of its legacy is that parts of the wave of imitators that followed, such as fidget cubes and eventually Pop-Its, were seen as viable alternatives, and the craze increased the awareness and practical use fidget toys in general. This helped normalize the use of non-fidget spinner fidget toys in public settings, benefiting those who genuinely needed them.
  • Becoming popular in The '60s, the game of Lawn Darts, also known as Jarts, were a staple of family fun in American suburbs for almost three decades. However, the darts this game was played with were large, heavy, and very sharp. Hospitals in The '70s reported thousands of Lawn Dart-related injuries and casualties. A seven-year-old girl was killed by a dart in 1987, causing their sale to be made illegal in the United States. While the game still has scattered fans, either in small private tournaments or with safer plastic versions, their reputation has changed from an Americana family classic to one of the most blatantly dangerous toys ever made.

  • GeoCities, which allowed many early denizens of the 'Net to make their own Web pages without needing to know how to use HTML. However, Sturgeon's Law was in full force, as seen in this article: "It didn't take long before this simple change altered the face of the internet. GeoCities gave everyone a place to call home and then proved that most of us don't really have a lot to say. It didn't take long before GeoCities became home to the bottom of the Internet. Crackpot theories. Inane ramblings. Worm distribution." and "I think that most people set up a GC page as a novelty and then abandoned it leaving a whole lot of cyber-trash behind. That kind of ruined the overall GeoCities vibe; it wasn't long before you had to muck through a few dozen one-offs to find a page that was regularly maintained and had good, interesting content." GeoCities was often seen as a haven of garishly colored pages full of blink tags and animated GIFs. Furthermore, the rise of blogging, as well as social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, rendered the concept of a free personal homepage obsolete, while those who still wanted to build their own websites moved on to more advanced tools.

    Despite this, GeoCities has undergone a reappraisal over time, especially with the aforementioned websites like Facebook gradually reducing user control and becoming more homogenized. Its uniquely bad web design is fondly looked back upon and associated with the trailblazing creativity of the early Internet. The closure of GeoCities in 2009 (and its Japanese counterpart in 2019) led to active attempts to archive the available content and a renewed interest in the personal freedom offered by the service. Its influence can be seen in works like Hypnospace Outlaw and fan-made revivals like Neocities.
  • MySpace was the social media platform in the 2000s, boasting over 60 million users at the height of its popularity and helping to catapult numerous musicians (most notably from the emo genre) into the mainstream. However, due to the rise of competing social media sites (especially Facebook) that generally had a more intuitive format than the rather complex MySpace, around 2008-09 the site began hemorrhaging users. Its users moved on to other platforms. After founder and unofficial "mascot" Tom Anderson was fired, the site went through a change in management in 2010, attempting to rebrand itself as a "Social Entertainment" site. The site tried repeatedly to reinvent itself and attract back users, but most of the changes were poorly received by the few users still sticking around. They were mostly roleplayers, who would end up also leaving MySpace for other blogging platforms like LiveJournal and Tumblr). After being bought and sold to a revolving door of companies and individuals, the site was retooled into a virtual Facebook copy. It also deleted all the existing blogs, comments, and messages (or at least making them inaccessible) without any prior warning whatsoever. This change did not amuse the remaining fanbase.

    MySpace is still around as a social networking site, albeit now with a heavier emphasis on music and entertainment. However, between the existence of Facebook (with Tom himself even stating that he much preferred it) and other competing platforms, MySpace's Glory Days are nothing more than a distant memory for many '00s kids. It soon became considered the Internet equivalent to a Dying Town. Anytime MySpace is ever talked about nowadays, it is ridiculed for its status as a breeding ground for Emo Teens, Attention Whores, and pedophiles. The final nail in the coffin occurred when a data purge removed almost everything uploaded between 2005 and 2016, including upwards of 60 million MP3 files. Even if people wanted to check their old MySpace page, they can't now.note 

    However, a combination of nostalgia, people wanting to see what they had missed during the heyday of MySpace, and being fed-up with Facebook's near-omnipresence and data-mining tactics and Twitter implementing many unpopular changes after Elon Musk's buyout have led a Swedish coder to create a Spiritual Successor dubbed Spacehey.

    Western Animation 
Genres and Trends
  • Ethnic and gender stereotypes or caricatures (along with cartoon violence) were very prevalent in cartoons made during The Golden Age of Animation or during World War II. Starting in 1968, these cartoons were increasingly censored in TV re-airings. Some of the cartoons that did contain stereotypes were banned altogether, such as the Censored Eleven, whose racism was too pervasive for anything coherent to remain should they be cut. The first to go were gags about black people, then one by one jokes about Asians, Native Americans, women, and the like all received informal bans. Today, the only cartoons that still use these jokes, albeit under a satirical hood, are adult cartoon series.

Shorts and Episodes of Concluded Series


  • Superfriends was the superhero cartoon during the 70s and 80s. For many years, it was what the majority of people imagined superheroes were like, was fairly well regarded among general audiences, and was one of Hanna-Barbera's most popular cartoons. However, as time went on, and especially as the superhero genre evolved, the flaws of the show have become more apparent; The show relied quite a bit on camp with repetitive and razor-thin plots, nonexistent characterization, poor animation (even by Hanna-Barbera standards), relied on Captain Ethnic heroes that exhibited some negative stereotypes, had Wonder Woman frequently sidelined and often only depicted flying her invisible plane rather than doing any real action, and Aquaman was consistently depicted as an Adaptational Wimp to the point it took decades for his reputation to improve.note  This series, together with Batman (1966), was largely responsible for the impression of mainstream audiences that the whole genre of superheroes was unworthy of being enjoyed non-ironically (with even the occasional well-respected adaptation like Superman: The Movie being seen as exceptions to the rule). The ironclad view of Superfriends and Adam Westnote  as the ultimate symbols of superheroes only began to be chipped away when the DCAU's Batman: The Animated Series began, which took a Darker and Edgier look at superheroes compared to most previous cartoons in a way that caused that show to become a huge hit. With superhero adaptations going mainstream in the 21st century thanks to various adaptations and reimaginings from DC and competitor Marvel Comics, Superfriends came to be seen as a relic of the past, which caused opinions to sour on the show across the board. Today, the cartoon is regarded as So Bad, It's Good at best, and is otherwise seen (especially by DC fans) as a stain on the reputation of the superhero and comic book adaptation genres — though DC does still reference it on occasion, such as gradually implementing all the Canon Foreigner characters into the main continuity.

  • Brutalist architecture, as explained in this article. Buildings in this style were designed so that form followed function. Their few windows and tons of unfinished concrete often made them look like fortresses, and they were indeed very durable and cheap to build. This led to the proliferation of brutalist structures in urban centers and on university campuses in the 1960s and '70s. However, while modernist structures from the same time period are still beloved today, brutalist structures are not. For many people, they evoked the image of flood channels and highway overpasses, and before long they came to be seen as blights on the landscape. Furthermore, while they were easy to build and keep standing, keeping them looking decent was a different story altogether, since unfinished concrete has a tendency to crack and stain very easily, especially in humid climates. What's more, those cracks could let water in and undermine the structure. The proliferation of brutalist structures in the Eastern Bloc also gave the style an indelible association with Soviet-style communism, leading many dystopian sci-fi works from the '70s and '80s to use such buildings as symbols of oppressive regimes. Nowadays, "brutalist" is often used as a synonym for any ugly concrete building or public space, and few people still defend the style. To add insult to injury, quite a few brutalist structures were built to replace either the function of a building of a previous eranote  of architecture or built in the place of a bombed-out or torn-down building of a previous style. Given that many of those styles have gained in public perception, just how anybody could ever consider this oppressive Soviet-style concrete hunk a better fit for the site/purpose than whatever it replaced is often another accusation leveled at brutalism, of which the style itself is innocent. It is unlikely that the building style will be respected or replicated again after the tragic destruction by fire of London's Grenfell Tower in 2017, where the poorly-done claddingnote  was blamed for helping the fire escalate.
  • Air-supported "domes" first appeared in The '70s after a demonstration by David H. Gieger at the 1970 Tokyo Expo of a fabric roof structure that was held up by air pressure. It was first used in a major sporting facility with the opening of the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975, followed by the Carrier Dome, the Minneapolis Metrodome and the RCA Dome, among others. By 1989, inflatable "domes" made up half of enclosed stadiums in the world. However, as quickly as these "domes" appeared they began showing flaws in their design. The Metrodome's roof had serious teething issues when it was first opened, with multiple incidents of the roof deflating or tearing in its first years of operation. More seriously, the roof of the Pontiac Silverdome collapsed completely following a heavy snowstorm in March 1985, necessitating a complete replacement with a new design supported by steel girders for $8 million only ten years into its service life (which was originally believed to be 20 years). While the incident didn't provide much disruption to the Detroit Lions who were in offseason, it forced the Detroit Pistons to play the remainder of their 1984-85 season at Joe Louis Arena and prompted their move to The Palace of Auburn Hills in 1988. The Silverdome incident brought a major reconsideration regarding inflatable roofs in major stadiums and new construction significantly declined. In the 1990s, many of these inflatable roofs started being replaced with metal roofs. This accelerated in the 2000s, as some of these stadiums were replaced in their entirety, such as the Pontiac Silverdome being replaced by Ford Field in 2002 and the RCA Dome in Indianapolis being replaced by Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008, both of which have metal roofs. The highly-publicized collapse of the Metrodome's roof after a heavy snowfall in December 2010, which prompted a chaotic rescheduling and relocation of that Sunday's Minnesota Vikings game to Ford Field in Detroit, brought renewed attention on the major vulnerabilities these roofs have and prompted many of the remaining "domes" to replace their inflatable roofs with metal ones, as well as bring about the Metrodome's replacement by the hard-roofed US Bank Stadium. While a few "domes" remain today (such as the Tokyo Dome in Japan), air supported structures are now mainly being used on a small, temporary basis and the idea of using an air supported roof on a major, permanent structure is now seen as a failed design idea.


  • The Chevrolet Vega was showered with praise by automotive critics when it debuted in 1970, and it was hailed as proof that General Motors could compete with Volkswagen and Toyota at their own game. However, the Vega had a multitude of engineering and build quality problems that made it notorious for rust, breakdowns, excessive oil consumption, and being a death trap in crashes. These flaws, which only became apparent after many people had their cars for a couple of years, turned the car's name into a byword for The Alleged Car and a symbol of GM's Audience-Alienating Era in the '70s. By the end of the decade, even many junkyards refused to take Vega cars, assuming that there were virtually no usable parts that could be stripped off of them. Nowadays, Americans remember the Vega as one of the worst cars ever built, a car whose initial praise is now treated with shame by the magazines which published the glowing reviews.
  • The Hummer. Created in 1992 as a civilian version of the military HMMWV (or "Humvee"), it soon became one of the most popular SUV brands in the United States, particularly after the launch of the smaller, cheaper H2 and H3 models. The original H1 model earned a reputation as the ultimate off-road vehicle and a straight-from-the-military Rated M for Manly super-SUV, while the H2 and H3 models modernized the design along with making it more affordable. However, even at the height of their popularity, Hummers were notorious for guzzling gas, making them the butt of jokes about Conspicuous Consumption and oversized SUVs. Sales for the brand started to tumble as a result of the oil crisis and recession of the mid-late 2000s when people generally had less money to throw around and tried to save on gas due to higher prices. Today, the brand is remembered as a poster child for the excesses of Turn of the Millennium consumerism. Only the original H1 model still gets any respect nowadays, and that comes almost entirely from upper-class (or nostalgic) off-road or military enthusiasts, while its H2 and H3 siblings are seen as pure style-over-substance road boats. William Clavey of Jalopnik, looking back on the H2 years later, described it by saying "If there’s an automotive equivalent to the phrase 'we’ve gone too far,' it's the Hummer H2."

Food and Drink

  • Zima was a clear alcopop beverage that showed up in the 1990s during the "clear craze", where beverage manufacturers had started selling clear drinks, such as Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear. Zima was marketed heavily by its manufacturer, the Coors Brewing Company, as a manly alternative to wine coolers for guys who didn't like beer. For a while, the drink became very popular — mainly among women in their twenties, to Coors' horror. The drink was also popular with teenagers due to an urban legend that Zima couldn't be detected on police breathalyzer tests. Coors then unsuccessfully attempted to sell Zima to the male demographic by releasing a bourbon-flavored variant. After a while, Zima began to gain a reputation as a "girly man" drink, becoming the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians. The drink's popularity plummeted after its first year, but it managed to linger for another decade before Coors quietly decided to discontinue domestic sales of the drink. The only place where Zima was bought was in Japan where it was discontinued in 2021 before being revived there in March 2023, although it was briefly brought back for sale elsewhere in June 2017. To this day, some men still make jokes to each other about Zima being a drink for wimps.


  • Richard Nixon was once widely respected and even admired. Even Democratic politicians generally saw him as a Worthy Opponent at worst and believed he was somebody they could work with. The high-water mark of his career came in 1972, when he won reelection to the U.S. presidency by one of the biggest landslides in history, carrying every state but Massachusetts and winning more than 60% of the popular vote. However, after the Watergate scandal broke, his reputation was left in ruins due to the revelations of (among other things) his interference with Democratic presidential campaigns, persecution of perceived "enemies", financial misconduct, and private racism and anti-Semitism. He was forced to resign two years later and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would admit to voting for him (a popular bumper sticker of the era read "Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts"), and these days Watergate defines his entire administration and has become idiomatic to the point that the "-gate" suffix has become shorthand for political scandal. His reputation only declined further post-presidency, due to his economic policies being seen as having negative long-term effects that plagued America for the rest of the 1970s, revelations that he used the State Department and the CIA to support and sometimes even install authoritarian regimes notorious for human rights violations, allegations that his drug policies were mostly an excuse to target political dissidents and racial minorities, and his campaigns' use of extremely underhanded tactics (most infamously exploiting racial tensions and sabotaging peace talks the Lyndon Johnson administration was holding with North Vietnam). While many historians still appreciate the positive aspects of his presidency (such as his foreign policy achievements and the creation of OSHA and the EPA), most nevertheless rank him as one of the worst presidents in American history, and his reputation as a Corrupt Politician is unlikely to ever fade.


  • Back in The '50s and The '60s, Aluminum Christmas trees were very popular in the United States. After 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas used them as kitschy symbols of the commercialization of Christmas, the general public came to view them as tacky and embarrassing, leading to their death by 1970. Today, they are almost entirely forgotten, except as an example of post-war kitsch. There's a reason why This Very Wiki uses "Aluminum Christmas Trees" to describe something that modern audiences cannot believe actually existed.
  • Traditional freak shows that let spectators Come to Gawk at people with handicaps, bizarre illnesses, and body distortions were viewed as a normal part of American culture from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. However, towards the end of the 19th century, the freaks' previously mysterious anomalies were scientifically explained as genetic mutations or diseases. This explanation gradually led to freaks becoming the objects of sympathy rather than fear or disdain, and laws restricting freak shows were passed. In addition, competition from TV and movies also hurt the freak show; people seeking quick and easy entertainment could just watch TV or go to a movie theater instead of paying to see freaks. The killing blow was the rise of disability rights and activists spreading awareness of these disabilities. Soon, people started viewing freak shows as profit-motivated exploitation of the disabled. Today, traditional freak shows are extinct, and Values Dissonance ensures that they are not coming back. There are still a few modern freak shows that exist, but they rely on quality performances from the freaks or make sure to portray the freaks in a positive light.
  • Kit Carson used to be seen by many Americans as a great iconic hero, famous for writing expeditions that covered much of California, Oregon, and the Great Basin area, which would give him national fame through those accounts and would be featured in numerous dime novels, books, movies, and TV series over many decades. In modern times, however, his legacy has been questioned, especially for his aggressive and violent actions towards Native Americans, with his accounts of the West being accused of contributing to the displacement, mistreatment, and genocide of Native American peoples. Nowadays note , he is mostly obscure and not widely talked about, by either historians, the public, or pop culture.
  • Thomas Edison used to be renowned as one of the greatest inventors of all time, as he was famously thought to have invented now-common items such as the lightbulb. However, in the past several decades, his reputation has been reevaluated after he was found to have taken credit for ideas from other inventors and patent his name on them (most notably Nikola Tesla). Nowadays, Edison is widely viewed as a plagiarist, and it would take a miracle for him to regain his former legacy.

In-Universe Examples:

  • Read It and Weep is about a girl named Jamine, who accidentally submits her journal in a writing contest. This journal contains a Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" Self-Insert Fic about Jamine's alter ego, Isabella, acting as a Bully Hunter towards the Alpha Bitch Myrna, who is based on a rival of Jamine. The book manages to win the writing contest and get Jamine adoration from the school. However, the true nature of the book is revealed when Jamine accidentally refers to the character of Myrna by the name of her real-life inspiration during an interview. This causes people to realize Jamine is a stand-in for Isabella and that every person in the book is characterized based on how Jamine perceives their real-life analog. This results in the book's reputation getting tarnished and turns Jamine into a pariah among her peers.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball with the Void, a pocket dimension where all of Elmore's mistakes are thrown away and erased from history. While more general things like failed products and extinct animals are present, cultural staples that were once popular like mullets, hippie vans, socks with sandals, disco, and Crazy Frog are shown to exist there as well.
  • Bojack Horseman: Horsin' Around was an extremely popular show in its day, lasting 9 seasons, skyrocketing Sarah Lynn's career, and making enough money for our titular character to have been living on the reruns' money alone for the last two decades. In the present day, the show is considered corny and outdated, and pretty much any character who isn't Bojack or Herb sees it as a mediocre sitcom from the 90's that just happened to be the start of the career of two very popular celebrities. By the end of its final season, once general audiences become aware of all the terrible things Bojack has done, Horsin' Around has become Overshadowed by Controversy to the point the planned Blu-ray releases had to be cancelled in favor of editing Bojack out of the series and releasing them as a new series called Around.
  • The Boondocks: Otis Jenkins, better known as Thugnificent, was a rapper who rose to fame with his big hit, club anthem "Booty Cheeks". Almost overnight, he became one of the most popular rappers in the country, and his entourage the Lethal Interjection Crew were very visible. While his narcissism, a very public feud with one of his neighbors, and a music video accused of promoting violence against the elderly made him a controversial figure, his career was still thriving. But then cracks began to show. When his popularity began to stagnate due to his complacency, he tried to give it a boost through a collaboration with two other members of the Lethal Interjection Crew and Gangstalicious on a remix of the latter's song "Homies Over Hoes". Once Gangstalicious was outed as a closeted gay man, however, the Lethal Interjection Crew cancelled the collaboration due to Thugnificent's obsession with wanting to protect his image. During Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he decided to present himself as a politically astute intellectual and activist who proudly supported Obama, making "Dick Ridin' Obama" with This backfired when he was humiliated by Bill Maher on national television, with it being revealed that he knew far less about politics than he claimed (when asked to name the three branches of the federal government, he thought one of them was the "main branch"). Still, the worst was yet to come. Thugnificent's long drought of musical output and hedonistic lifestyle began causing him financial difficulties that were only exacerbated by rising star Sgt. Gutter eating into his fanbase. To right the ship, he released his first album in four years, "Mo Bitches Mo Problems"... which flopped due to overuse of autotune, being humiliated in a beef with Gutter, and the perception that he'd become out of touch. After an attempted comeback failed to pan out because of his previous involvement in drug dealing, he retired from the music industry and became a UPS driver, while the former members of the Lethal Interjection Crew either got similarly ordinary jobs or turned to crime.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hype Reversion


"You Light Up My Life" Song

As Todd describes, the Debbie Boone song "You Light Up My Life" was the biggest song of the entire 1970s and even won an Oscar for Best Original Song... but is now widely regarded as one of the worst songs of all time.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / CondemnedByHistory

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