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Grandfather Clause

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"This comes as no surprise: It's a cliché that Superman's glasses are the most laughably ineffective costume ever, but who cares? Changing that part of the mythos would be like taking the stars off the American flag. So screw suspension of disbelief: Superman predates it. He's got a free pass to be wearing the same completely unbelievable disguise 70 years later."

A character uses a trope which may be clichéd, discredited or even dead at this point, but is allowed because it's tied into the character's legacy. Using the trope during the creation of any more recent character however, is noticeably avoided. If the character's use of the trope slowly starts to disappear, that character may have outgrown it.

It has a high chance of occurring with "classic" characters, but not necessarily their sidekicks. This usually happens with tropes that the characters are tightly tied into, making it difficult to separate them from it, and where the basic idea of the trope isn't so stupid that the fans will be turned off by it. Attempting to take away one of these tropes may force the character into an Audience-Alienating Era, or at least necessitate an Author's Saving Throw. Compare to The Artifact, where it seems like the creators have misgivings about them. Reimagining the Artifact and Evolving Tropes can be seen as compromises, where later creators keep the grandfathered tropes, but revise them to make them fit modern sensibilities. If an outdated trope or concept is met with disdain later in its life rather than allowance, then it's "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.

The name "Grandfather Clause" comes from the so-called "Jim Crow" laws passed in the American South at the end of the Reconstruction Era (the period following the American Civil War), which legally mandated racial segregation and sought to break the political power of Black Americans by depriving them of many basic civil liberties and legal protections. The Jim Crow laws included a number of legal measures that greatly restricted Black Americans' right to vote, forcing them to pay poll taxes (which were deliberately set at a rate that they couldn't afford) and/or pass "literacy tests" (which were deliberately designed to be impossible to pass) before they could cast a ballot. But since these measures would have violated the Fifteenth Amendment if they explicitly applied only to Black people, they were ostensibly written to apply to everyone. So to ensure that they didn't affect poor and/or illiterate white Southerners (like sharecroppers), most of them included a clause stating that a person was exempt from the new voting restrictions if their grandfather had been able to vote. And since most Black Southerners in the post-Reconstruction era were the grandchildren of slaves, well...

Nowadays, "Grandfather Clause" is more of a general term for clauses written into new laws or regulations that permit certain preexisting exemptions to remain under the updated rules. If someone is ruled eligible for certain privileges as a result of being exempt from updated restrictions, they're often said to have been "grandfathered in".

No relation to the Grandfather Paradox. Contrast Breaking Old Trends, where the Clause gets revoked for good.

See The Other Wiki article here.


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  • The usage of stereotypical black characters as advertising mascots, such as Uncle Ben's, Aunt Jemima and the "Y'a bon" guy for Banania (a French brand of powdered chocolate). Introducing such a mascot today would lead to a lot of controversy, but these companies still used their mascots for many years without much issue (although it does help that their later designs tried to minimize their historical stereotypical aspects, such as Aunt Jemima looking more like a housewife than a maid and the Banania guy being depicted as a cartoon). The Black Lives Matter movement eventually resulted in several such mascots (such as the aforementioned Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima) being dropped, however.
  • The jingle for Juicy Fruit gum, featuring lyrics such as "Take a sniff, pull it out, the taste is gonna move you when you pop it in your mouth!" Suffice to say that didn't sound nearly as bad in The '80s as it does now. The fact that such a stale theme song was still in use was satirised in the 2000s with a series of ads where the guy playing the song is attacked, or has his guitar smashed everytime he played the song. As of the 2010s, however, new commercials play that use the song unironically. Sometimes you just can't fight nostalgia.
  • Cereal mascots are generally wacky characters that are modeled after cartoon characters that would have had their shows aired on Saturday mornings (which cereal commercials would have also aired). By The New '10s, the Saturday morning cartoon block had largely been phased out in favor of channels dedicated to cartoons and most other TV channels have dropped that aspect entirely. Also, most western animations now have on-going stories and a structure to them beyond wacky hi-jinks. If they haven't been dropped by their respective companies, then cereal mascots are still wacky and silly as ever. As of 2019, however, cereal mascots are now becoming a Discredited Trope.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Most Magical Girls can't get away without at least tinting their hair and parting it differently nowadays, but people actually complained that Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon made the girls look different when de-transformed, because the original Sailor Moon didn't do it. Of course, this problem doesn't exist in series where magical girls don't have secret identities to begin with. The original English dub of the anime did their best to Hand Wave by banking on the familiarity of the audience with superhero logic, explaining their civilians selves look different from their transformed selves. Older Than They Think: The original manga has Sailor Moon and friends wear MASKS, albeit only when someone could see them.
  • In an age where keeping the Japanese names is generally done for the sake of accuracy, a number of Dragon Ball dubs keep the inaccurate names and terms that originated in the original syndicated Funimation/Ocean Group dub (Saiyan mispronounced as "say-an" instead of "Sai-an" or left as Saiya-Jin, Special Beam Cannon instead of Mankankosappo, Destructo Disk instead of Kienzan, etc.), which have become the default English localizations of those names, while new characters retain their Japanese names. With Dragon Ball Super, the series was being simulcast with subtitles, so any dub name changes would be known to much more of the audience.
    • Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai is a good example of this, as it reversed the majority of changes the old dub had included (such as Mankankosappo and Kienzan), but still kept many of the well known dub name changes (so Saiyan remains mispronounced, and Kaio still becomes 'King Kai').
    • Totally averted with Funimation's DVD subtitles, which (after fans complained about the first couple of discs) always use the original names. Viz's manga translation also uses the original names (so long as they're not Mr Satan).
  • Pokémon: The Series:
  • Early manga tankoubons tended to have covers with a plain background and text, as well as some sort of square or rectangular image showcasing the series. While covers have gotten more elaborate designs over the years and expand as far as the whole page, some series collections have grown to be more iconic with the old cover layout. This is why long-running manga like Osamu Tezuka Classics Collection, Dragon Ball, Super Mario Bros. Manga Mania, and Glass Mask can stay so recognizable long after their respective publisher templates have been retired.
  • The Pretty Cure franchise is one of the few Magical Girl series nowadays that still plays the whole premise more or less straight by the virtue of being quite the Long Runner (Futari wa Pretty Cure premiered back in 2004) only putting more emphasis on physical fightingnote  compared to most examples in the genre. The franchise has remained untouched by the trend set by the smashing success of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Quite the contrary, a entry in particular can be interpreted as a Spiritual Antithesis of Madoka: in HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, the characters can achieve their dreams without being punished for it, and they can act selflessly for others without expecting to benefit by it or suffering nasty consequences over it. Practically the polar opposite of how Madoka treated following one's dreams and being altruistic. Some go as far as saying that Happiness Charge stands as an indictment against Madoka.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! in just about every incarnation since the Battle City era has featured the theme deck as an important part of its design—both the card game and the anime almost invariably have characters or new sets sticking to some manner of archetype or theme. The big exception to this? Yugi himself, who played a complex blend of all kinds of cards with a mild focus on Dark Magician throughout the run of the anime. Even in modern appearances such as videogames or Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, while other Duel Monsters-era characters have shifted towards more defined themes, Yugi still tends to be depicted as playing a little of everything, even as the idea of "the best player in the world" using such a deck has become increasingly improbable.

    Comic Books 
  • Clark Kenting in its original use is a major example, and tends to remain an iron-clad disguise that fools everyone. Although it has been handwaved and mocked in various ways (even at DC), most of us just accept it after 80 years of Superman. Most superheroes created in the last few decades have to maintain a more realistic disguise, especially since lately the chance of someone being a superhero seems much higher. It helps that most modern ongoing continuities go out of their way to have at least one incident where Clark Kent and Superman are seen together with the help of shapeshifting friends like Martian Manhunter. Meanwhile, the Daily Planet and its way of running business becomes more and more antiquated as media evolve in the real world. Richard Donner, director of Superman: The Movie, commented in an interview that in said film Clark Kent was originally going to work at a television news station like he did at the time in the comics, but they went with him as a newspaper reporter because it was much more a part of the public consciousness. This has been helped by many news companies going digital and various locations still selling newspapers.
  • Domino Masks are another paper-thin disguise that some heroes still use despite offering little with which to disguise themselves. Robin and Green Lantern are probably the most well-known examples.
  • Superhero secret identities in general are becoming increasingly tougher to portray in a world of advanced modern surveillance techniques, forensics and social media. Most comics will either choose not to draw attention to it or will just handwave it by having magic or computer hacking keeping the hero's identity protected.
  • The Phantom is one of the few works of fiction which is still published that gets away with playing Mighty Whitey completely straight. The Phantom family have lived in sub-Saharan Africa for 21 generations, but all members of the family are still lily-white and there is no indication that any Phantom married a native woman (several Phantoms married South European, Middle-Eastern and Asian women, but there are no records of Phantoms marrying anyone from sub-Saharan Africa). Also, the Phantom is always smarter and tougher than anyone else, several traditional contests among the jungle tribes are to see which challenger comes in second behind the Phantom. That said, the portrayals of Africans has become a lot better since the early days of the comic.
  • After the 1960s (likely aided by the explosive popularity of Spider-Man), the Kid Sidekick as a concept was largely phased out in favor of the Kid Hero—most heroes who had sidekicks abandoned them, new young heroes were usually introduced as independent, and when sidekicks did pop up, they were usually peers of the hero in age and framed as partners instead. The main exception to this? Robin. To this day, young heroes are still introduced to assume the identity and act as sidekicks to Batman. Robin as a concept is just too iconic and independently popular to be removed entirely (largely for being what invented and popularized the concept in superhero comics), even if writers have retooled the concept regularly since then, often providing all manner of explanations for why the supposed grim loner is also the only guy who routinely teams up with a teenager in bright colors.
  • Underoos on the outside have fallen out of style for superheroes since the '60s. The DCU tried to do away with them as of the New 52, though, as have most films, however DC eventually put them back on Superman as of his 80th anniversary, since they were just so iconic.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: The oldest characters, despite some writers' attempts, have kept their capes because they've become iconic. Superman's brief cape-less split into two energy beings was met with fan scorn. While some members of the Batman family are capeless, Batman himself uses his cape as an instrument of his intimidation as well as theatricality and defense. Newer characters are often cape-less, moreso in Marvel than DC.
  • Black characters having "Black" in their name (e.g., Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Racer, Black Goliath, etc.) definitely wouldn't be seen with kind eyes in today's public. But, since those characters were the first Black characters in comics that weren't stereotypes, they're too important to be renamed or removed.
    • The Color Character overall have seen much less use in recent years. The only colours that still can be used without sounding corny are red and black (and to a lesser degree white and blue). However, names like the Green Lantern, Golden Glider, Scarlet Witch or Yellowjacket are still being used by characters created when those names were much more common.
  • Green Lanterns do not always have a weakness to yellow things, but Sinestro just wouldn't be Sinestro without a yellow ring that is strangely effective against them. This has since been justified with the retconned existence of a spectrum of emotion (Red: Rage, Orange: Greed, Yellow: Fear, Green: Willpower, Blue: Hope, Indigo: Compassion, Violet: Love). He and the rest of the Sinestro Corps are literally using fear as a weapon. This leads to a lesser-known retcon. Green Lanterns used to be selected because they were men without fear. However, if current GL's didn't experience fear at some level, then Sinestro's ring would be useless against them unless there were others around whom Sinestro could manipulate.
  • Doctor Doom:
    • He just wouldn't be Doctor Doom if he didn't refer to himself as "Doom" all the time. And besides, if your name was "Dr. Victor von Doom," wouldn't you do it too?
    • Also, his name itself. Doctor Doom is considered a serious villain, and one of the Marvel Universe's most prominent Big Bads. But had he been created later, it's very unlikely he would've been given a name as on the nose as Doctor Doom. However, since he was one of Marvel's earliest and most widespread villains, most people at this point are too used to it and trying to change it would incite a backlash. When it was announced that Fantastic Four (2015) would give him an Adaptation Name Change to Victor Domashev, They Changed It, Now It Sucks! led to his name being dubbed back to "von Doom" in the final film.
    • Another point: His medieval-looking armor. If created today, his armor would be considered Narm due to its seemingly outdated aesthetic, especially when compared to Iron Man. However, Doom has kept this look since the 1960s, and it's unlikely to change because it's so iconic.
  • Any character whose origin involves exposure to radiation. For new characters, Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke.
    • Spider-Man is the main exception, since "bitten by an unnatural spider" was the main point and whether the spider was radioactive or genetically modified (or appointing him as the avatar of the spider totem) didn't really matter. Now that modern continuity has two Spider-Men in the same universe, Marvel gets to have its cake and eat it, too: The spider that bit Peter Parker remains radioactive while the one that bit Miles Morales was genetically engineered. (This also explains why they have different power-sets.)
    • Likewise, the movie version of the Hulk averts this somewhat by combining radiation with several other factors — the gamma rays only break down his cells, the Nanomachines try to repair them, and his genes weren't really normal to begin with. In the comics, Immortal Hulk explicitly attaches a mystical element to the Marvel universe's gamma radiation to explain its unscientific effects.
  • Peter Parker's job as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle has also been under fire in the past decade, with the rise of cameras and video in phones as well as the decline in the print media industry. Recent adaptations feature this aspect of the character less and less and those that do are largely done so because of the legacy with a bit of lampshade hanging for fun. In current comics continuity, Peter's last stint of employment at the Bugle was as the science editor, a position much more in line with his academic and professional development.
  • Every year it becomes less and less plausible that Magneto can be a Holocaust survivor, with writers having to regularly de-age him through various means so that he doesn't become a decrepit old man. However, this aspect of his backstory is synonymous with the character and is unlikely to be changed anytime soon.
  • In the case of Marvel Comics, the fact that most of the comics and stories are set in New York City. While this was once innovative and radical as a concept, as society changes, it has raised its own problems.
    • During The '70s to The '80s, the era of The Big Rotten Apple, it made sense to exaggerate New York into an urban decadent city ridden with crime, poverty and bad housing, suffering under the influence of ghetto crime and The Mafia. But with gentrification between The '90s to The New '10s, the depiction of New York as a city riven by crime became a comic book convention. The real-life Hell's Kitchen became gentrified making Daredevil's and The Punisher's playgrounds into comic conventions.
    • Likewise, the high rent and student loans made Spider-Man, Normal and Ultimate, a little more unbelievable and the dilemma of constant city crime needing Spider-Man's constant attention no longer quite corresponded to reality. In the latter case, the recent comics have amended the situation by making Spider-Man into a licensed and paid inventor and scientist, and now that he's a businessman, his ability to afford rent in New York becomes far more believable in the climate of the current economy.
    • The Netflix TV series set in Hell's Kitchen had to even come up with an explanation as to why the MCU Hell's Kitchen is a crime-ridden place (in essence the damage from alien invasions and superhero fights scared a lot of people and money off, letting crooks take over).
  • Also on Marvel, there are the liberties taken with Norse Mythology in the Thor comics, up to and including Thor being blond when most versions of the myths describe him as a redhead - the look has stuck with him for so long and so successfully, that changing at this point would render him unrecognizable.
  • The Martian Manhunter in DC Comics (and especially Justice League) is a man from Mars. Advancing science discredited early 19th and 20th century ideas of Mars having canals and civilization (though microbial life at least in the distant past looks probable), but the character's backstory remains largely unchanged. Some continuities attempt to address this issue by establishing that J'onn is from the distant past of Mars (before the planet became uninhabitable), but still give dates far too recent to make the idea scientifically plausible. Other stories just say "screw it" and have the DCU version of Mars remain habitable on the basis that it's the Mars of a fictional universe and its planetary history (possibly even its size and composition) need not be the same as on Earth.
  • Some characters rely on using an Iconic Item to be identified, like the Fourth Doctor's scarf, or Indiana Jones' hat; however, when said character has a Limited Wardrobe it becomes an Outdated Outfit by 20 or so years after their debut, like Jimmy Olsen's bow tie (Clark Kent did eventually ditch the fedora). Especially egregious if the series is set in the "present day". An especially bad case of this is the Swedish army-farce 91:an Karlsson, which started in 1932. The title character's blue uniform was outdated already at start (resembling the uniform the author wore when he served) and has been kept largely the same ever since, despite changes to camo since then. Especially egregious as all other characters have switched uniforms pretty much at the same pace as their counterparts IRL. The famous Jughead Jones of Archie Comics still wears a stylized version of an old-time inverted fedora beanie as his trademark hat. This was actually a fashion among young men of the 1940s (when the character debuted), but younger viewers just think it's some weird crown. This at least was reinvented in Riverdale, where Jughead wears a knitted beanie with a crown-shaped outer flap. Indiana's hat shows us another way to deal with this: it would not age well today except with a certain bohemian crowd that Indy would be a bad fit for, but Indy's adventures take place between the 1910s and 1950s, with his age usually realistically reflective of his fictional timeline. If you leave Indy safely in the pulp era, the hat doesn't matter.
  • Mexican comic character Memin Pinguin and his mother resemble Blackface stereotypes from the Jim Crow era, but due to its popularity and impact in Mexican popular culture since being created in 1943 (when these stereotypes were still mainstream), it is accepted there. Also do notice that even nowadays, political correctness on racial issues isn't such a big deal in Mexico, so it is safe to assume that Memin would never become a Long Runner exceeding three-quarters of a century in a country like the US.
  • Shazam!
  • It would be extremely difficult to make an unironic hyper-patriotic American character and present him as a paragon of virtue and heroism and be taken seriously today. Captain America pulls it off, though, because he has the weight of history on his side (in more ways than one). It helps that his patriotism has been tested and modified into his famous motto, "I am loyal to nothing... except the [American] Dream." Another point is that Captain America is not loyal to the American government; his patriotism isn't "My Country, Right or Wrong". If America decided to sponsor an anti-democratic coup somewhere, he'd not help (and might hinder) its efforts, because democracy is considered an American value. This was explicitly shown in Chip Zdarsky's Spider-Man: Life Story, an alternate-universe miniseries that aged the Marvel heroes through real-world history. The US government sent Cap to Vietnam and he took the side of the country's civilians, fighting on their behalf against all the combatants, US and South Vietnamese troops as well as North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.
  • For that matter, the "boy scout" hero in general is virtually extinct — except when used as a joke — aside from Captain America, Superman, and Shazam!, to the point where every hero is so messed up and their motivations so personal and complicated that the idea of heroes who are heroes just because they're decent people who don't want to waste their great power has become unique and thought-provoking in-universe. Steel also gets a pass, but part of that is because he was made as a Superman substitute and specifically tailored to reject the Anti-Hero Substitute trope. Recently-created heroes can still conform to the pure "boy scout" tropes if they're young, e.g. Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.
  • Tights in general. Modern superheroes still tend to wear them, but outside of comic books and animation, most adaptations will attempt to get around them unless the outfit is so iconic that the character is drastically altered without it. For example, compare Spider-Man's outfit versus that of the villains in the first two Spider-Man Trilogy films. While Spidey sports a colorful, comic-accurate design, the Green Goblin has a suit of military body armor, and Doctor Octopus just wears a duster. Some characters, such as Batman, have their tights altered into a hardened suit of armor so that the character will continue to seem intimidating.
  • Similar to tights: legless leotards on superheroines. Save for characters whose design are specifically intended as a call-back to traditional superhero outfits, very rarely do new female superheroes wear leg-baring outfits due to how impractical and uncomfortable that actually would be, at the very least without some form of Lampshade Hanging. However, older superheroines tend to keep the look since it's so iconic to them, with Wonder Woman being the most notable example. While some AUs give her pants, she wears a skirt of pteruges over it now and wore the iconic bathing suit until 2014 or so, although she did actually start out wearing baggy shorts which gradually shrunk into the iconic look.
  • New female heroes rarely wear a Minidress of Power, but Mary Marvel and Supergirl keep wearing skirts because they made and codified the trope, respectively. Supergirl's skirt costume is iconic, and attempts to replace it with pants or a Leotard of Power have been short-lived and seldom well-received.
  • Most post-Silver Age characters with Alliterative Names, particularly from Marvel Comics (Stan Lee admitted to doing so because alliterative names were easier for him to remember). Today, giving characters such names would be considered campy at best and unimaginative at worst. However, many of Marvel's characters (e.g., Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, etc.) who were created during the Silver Age get passes because they have been around for so long, and their names are too recognizable to change. Deadpool (Wade Wilson), who was created in 1991, and Jessica Jones (who was introduced in 2001) are exceptions to this trope, the former possibly because he mocks so many superhero tropes, and the latter because of her Anti-Hero nature.
  • In Spirou & Fantasio, Spirou wore a ridiculous old-fashioned bellhop uniform for decades, even though it had been a long time since he actually worked as a bellhop. Modern version of the comic tend to avert, justify or lampshade this, though: for example, in Le Petit Spirou strip comic we find out that Spirou already wore a bellhop uniform when he was a small child, and his mom, dad, and grandpa wear it too, and even his teddy bear and fish, though the reason for this family tradition is never really explained.
  • One of the main jokes in Brazilian comic Monica's Gang is the protagonist being pestered by her male friends... even though in recent years it would be considered bullying (though the reply is what you would expect when bullying a Pintsized Powerhouse with a Hair-Trigger Temper). It possibly only remains without complaint from the Moral Guardians because the comic has been running since the 1960s. While even cartoon violence has been eliminated from the comics as of the late 2010s, the teasing remains.
  • A superhero created today using a costume-themed vehicle and gadgets would come off as lame and ridiculous except for a parody. Batman, however, is one of the few remaining superheroes that retains costume-themed vehicles and equipment due to him using them since near his beginning. There have been attempts to make the Batmobiles less gimmicky, such as the seventies' ones being Batman-colored stock muscle cars and the Tumbler from The Dark Knight Trilogy, but even these retain some bat motifs.
  • Averted Trope For The Lulz in the wardrobe of Spanish comic-book Mortadelo y Filemón: Sometimes complete strangers mock Filemón for wearing a bowtie, but he still uses it. Mortadelo's frock coat is part of the joke: Mortadelo, a veritable master of disguise, can wear whatever he wants — but his default choice is a ridiculously old-fashioned suit that emphasizes his physical flaws (baldness, lankiness). Word of God insists that Mortadelo's clothes were already obsolete in his first appearance — so the effect they have on modern audiences is exactly the intended effect they originally had on 1950s audiences.
  • Today, if a mainstream comic featured a rich white guy who's also a Supernatural Martial Artist superhero and protagonist of a Wuxia-themed comic that plays the Mighty Whitey trope entirely straight, it would likely cause groans at best, if not raise Unfortunate Implications to certain groups at worst. Iron Fist, however, retains his origin of being a wealthy and very white orphan raised by the mystical K'un Lun as their Chosen One entirely. He also retains his power set that involves using martial arts and supernatural chi, along with the fact this his costume is very much inspired by Asian kung-fu garb. Some even suggest that there is no way Marvel Comics would've allowed a character like Iron Fist if he were proposed today, where Marvel has made great efforts at diversity and authentic representation, as opposed to the '70s when kung-fu movies were popular and political correctness wasn't quite in yet. It should be noted that this has become a point of contention in the '10s, with some finding his character to be offensive for these reasons, and that his Netflix show was lambasted by some for sticking with his white origins, though it doesn't help that it was hit with massive backlash over the show's low quality in general. To Marvel's credit, later runs have attempted to play this down, by establishing Danny Rand as being part of a lineage, with many other Iron Fists of the past who are of Asian descent and considered Danny's equal. Along with the "Immortal Weapons", the counterparts of Iron Fist representing several other mystical Asian cities, who have similar skill in martial arts and chi (though each with different signature abilities). Still, it can't quite go away due to Danny's origins and character being specifically tied to this trope.
  • As a Long Runner, Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) predates many changes from Sonic the Hedgehog's later canon. It got away with many Early Adaptation Weirdnesses by virtue of Grandfather Clause. Some things were too vital to the story to remove:
    • Sally Acorn, Bunnie Rabbot and several other characters date back to Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and have never appeared in any other media since, yet they still appear here because they are core to the plot.
    • Sonic has family members and an origin story. In other media, most Sonic characters have Invisible Parents, but Sonic and his friends were given Canon Foreigner relatives (including parents) early in the Archie comics. Many were introduced before it became clear Cream was one of the few characters with a parent, while the others were allowed because of Grandfather Clause. Sega also doesn't allow Sonic to have an origin story, but the Archie's comics have a lot of flashbacks. This became averted when the comic got a Cosmic Retcon reboot starting with issue 252, with Sega enforcing mandates that prevented Sonic and co. from having family members bar Dr. Eggman and Cream (due to both having confirmed family members in the games), with the rest getting Exiled from Continuity. That said, in another example of this trope, Chuck still remained as Sonic's uncle, due to his longstanding role as such in the comics. However, due to the mandates, he would be reintepreted into an Honorary Uncle who had no biological relation to Sonic instead of the literal uncle he was prior.
    • The comics were the last media to refer to Mobius as such. Sonic's planet is either "Earth" or "Sonic's World". Likewise, Funny Animals have no name in game canon, but the comics call them "Mobians". Like the aforementioned case with family members however, this would become averted once Sega became more strict and began to impose more mandates with the reboot, with "Mobius" and "Mobian" being barred and getting quietly dropped from the comics as a result (though the term "Mobian" did get used in a meta sense in one of the volumes).
  • The first Robin, and later Nightwing, is named Dick Grayson. Back in 1940 — the year in which the character was created — "Dick" was primarily just shorthand for "Richard". Today "Dick" is most often used as a pejorative term for male genitals or an unpleasant man. Because of that, very few men named "Richard" go by "Dick" anymore (the ones who do are usually older men who've used it since before negative connotations became prominent, and even they aren't always exempt from ridicule). But since the name has been so deeply ingrained into the heads of comic book fans for over eighty years, it's highly unlikely that DC will change it — even to a different diminutive of "Richard", such as "Rick" or "Rich" — just to stop a few immature people from snickering upon hearing it.
    • Young Justice (2010) tries to justify this in its tie-in comic. In this continuity, the Flying Graysons also included Dick's uncle, a Richard who goes by "Rick." Dick was named after him, but went by a different nickname to avoid confusion.
    • At one point, the comics gave Dick amnesia, during which period he gave up being a superhero and went by "Ric." It was such an Audience-Alienating Era that most fans can't even say "Ric(k) Grayson" without sneering.
  • The Mandarin, the Arch-Enemy of Iron Man, in a similar fashion to Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, is a classic Yellow Peril villain who could never be introduced in modern times, especially since China (the Mandarin's home country) has become a virtual superpower in the 21st century. In spite of this, later writers and adaptations try to make him more presentable for 21st century sensibilities. However, the Mandarin's less than subtle name and Chinese heritage are so ingrained in his identity that it's difficult for Marvel Comics to dispose of these attributes. Not to mention, the Mandarin's status as Iron Man's Arch-Enemy precludes him from being Killed Off for Real or retired permanently, regardless of how difficult it is to really modernize him.
  • Many Millennials and Zoomers are turning against capitalism in favor of socialism, public perception of the rich is turning sour amidst a falling economy and numerous emerging scandals, and most professional writers in the present day have left-leaning political views. As a result, fictional characters who are wealthy (multi-millionaires and billionaires in particular) are seldom portrayed as good guys in modern storytelling. However, many comic book heroes such as Batman (who is the Trope Codifier for this archetype to begin with), Green Arrow, Scrooge McDuck, and Iron Man remain wealthy for both Doylist and Watsonian reasons. The Doylist reason is that because they were created back when the rich were viewed more favorably by society, and their wealthy statuses are so integral to their history that it would alter the plots of their comics drastically if they lost their fortunes. From a Watsonian perspective, the likes of Batman, Green Arrow and Iron Man would not be able to afford the equipment they need to fight criminals on an even footing (especially ones with superpowers since they are just normal non-powered humans) if they weren't billionaires. These characters, Batman and Green Arrow in particular, can continue to get away with being Honest Corporate Executives since that side of their character is mostly a front for their superheroics.
    • Related to this, Black Panther is another billionaire superhero who gets a pass from the backlash against such heroes. The reason is because he is not a white American businessman like Batman or Iron Man, but instead the King of the vibranium-rich Wakanda, making him too valuable narrative-wise to dispose of. Not to mention, Black Panther is Marvel's first black superhero to headline his own book, making him too culturally significant to retire in spite of growing negative sentiments against the wealthy.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Beetle Bailey characters have worn the same solid olive green (sometimes Sarge's is tan) uniforms since the strip began in 1950, no matter what the situation. Just during war games they put on helmets instead of caps.
  • Jon Arbuckle of Garfield is still wearing his "powder-blue Oxford shirt" and modest 1978 sideburns most of the time (though this could be due to Limited Wardrobe or Disco Dan).
  • Jason in FoxTrot continues to exhibit Girls Have Cooties due to the strip being around when the trope was still common. Newer works featuring kids (including comic strips such as Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Wallace the Brave) would feature boys and girls being friends without anyone finding it unusual. That being said, later FoxTrot strips downplay this trope heavily, likely because the author is becoming aware it's now considered outdated.
  • Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon is a Yellow Peril character who could never be created nowadays, but while various adaptations have made him white or green, they can never completely hide his origins, if only because they can't get rid of his obviously Chinese name. Witness how the attempt by the Sci-Fi Channel series to "modernize" him backfired ridiculously.

    Fan Works 
  • On the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanblog Equestria Daily, fan fiction set in the fanon universe Fallout: Equestria frequently contains X-rated topics and thus violates their content submission guidelines, but are still allowed because of how iconic in the fandom some of them have become (and because they skip the pre-readers entirely).
  • The Rugrats Theory is a by-the-book Darker and Edgier All Just a Dream fan theory about an innocent kid's cartoon. Most of these theories get scoffed at, but The Rugrats Theory is popular because it's one of the earliest, and inspired a lot of similar theories.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Not many film franchises go on long enough for this to kick in. Up until the later Pierce Brosnan films, however, it was in full force for James Bond — we knew the premises were ridiculous, the baddies were Card Carrying Villains, the sexual politics were absurd and horrifying (note ) Bond One Liners were worthy of an enormous Collective Groan... that's the point. It's James Bond, as formulaic as it seems. Then the late 90s incarnations flipflopped between Darker and Edgier and tongue-in-cheek Indecisive Parody, Die Another Day collapsed under the weight of its own Continuity Porn, and the Continuity Reboot kicked the whole thing squarely into part post-Bourne part novel Bond (though as of Skyfall and Spectre, the series is reinstating some of the old mainstays, including the slightly comedic tone).
  • This trope is why the only people who get a pass for using a Toothbrush moustache (a.k.a. Adolf Hitler's moustache) are Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy (in fact, a case can be made that Chaplin wore it first and Hitler merely (de)-popularized it). Unless, of course, an actor is deliberately parodying Hitler, which has become a lot more tolerable in recent decades but is often still frowned upon. Though Barty Crouch in Harry Potter got away with it, mostly because it's described as a "toothbrush mustache" rather than a "Hitler mustache," so a lot of people probably didn't realize what his mustache looked like. As evidence of that, people were quick to make Hitler comparisons with the movie version of the character.
  • In the years since Jurassic Park (1993) came out, new scientific discoveries have changed the accepted look of many dinosaurs, most notably with the fact that theropods such as T. rex and Velociraptor had feathers. However, Jurassic World didn't change the dinosaurs to fit these new discoveries in order to keep them in line with their looks in the previous films. This is even invoked and justified in-universe, with Dr. Wu pointing out that the park's animals are genetic hybrids built from various creatures rather than 'real' dinosaurs, and that they were designed to be marketable crowd-pleasers that matched the public perception of dinosaurs rather than scientifically-accurate representations of the actual animals. Jurassic World Dominion, though, does have feathered dinosaurs (albeit only in newly introduced species, with the Velociraptor and T. rex both still being under the clause), showing that this trope has limits. At the very least, more research has shown that T. rex most likely had feathers only as juveniles before shedding them when they reached sexual maturity.
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, may be the only movie to use Also sprach Zarathustra seriously since 2001 used it.
  • The idea of radiation creating monsters, a convention which was popular in the 1950s and 1960s when it was token Phlebotinum du Jour, has largely been discredited nowadays (as also noted in the comic book section). The Nuclear Mutant has been reduced to parody or z-grade movies, with more recent giant monster movies like Pacific Rim and Rampage using either the explanations of aliens or genetic engineering. The exception is Godzilla, being a Long Runner that was created when the trope was at its peak and born as an explicit nuclear allegory, who can continue using this origin straight because it ties so heavily into his characterization.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • The Living Dinosaurs trope (and the closely related Lost World trope) became much less popular in the 1980s and 1990s after new discoveries about the extinction of the dinosaurs made it harder to take seriously; the idea of dinosaurs surviving into the present day seemed a lot more plausible in a time when scientists believed that the dinosaurs gradually died out due to climate change, rather than being wiped out in a sudden mass extinction caused by an asteroid strike. Nevertheless, modern films generally get a pass to use the trope if they're adaptations or remakes of older works (like the 2005 remake of King Kong), homages to old-fashioned pulp sci-fi (like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), or installments in a long-running franchise where it's integral to the premise (like the later Godzilla movies).
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Nowadays, the term "transvestite" is seen as a slur against transgender and gender-fluid people. Nevertheless, the song "Sweet Transvestite" is simply too iconic to drop from the film.
  • In all Star Wars films made after the original, written text visible onscreen is always written with the fictional alphabet of "aurebesh" so as to avoid use of the Latin alphabet — which would amount to a tacit acknowledgement of Real Life Earth culture. One of the few exceptions is the famous "X-wing" fighter (and the Rebels' "Y-wing", "A-wing", and "B-wing" starships, which follow its naming convention), which has a Latin character in its name. But George Lucas and co. came up with the X-wing before they decided on that rule, and its name is way too iconic to change now.

  • The Otakon LARP has a rule that only Anime characters are allowed. Plus Final Fantasy characters. They were allowed when the LARP first opened, and while the rules have tightened up against any other video games, Final Fantasy is allowed on the strength of tradition.

  • A number of old Sci-Fi stories retain some energy in their now old and tired plot devices by presenting them with an innocent earnestness from the time when they were new inventions. This one, for instance.
  • It would be hard to imagine someone less renowned than Agatha Christie getting a pass with modern readers when so many Unfortunate Implications are in her works. Christie toned it down later in life, but her personal prejudices clearly made it into her writing, and indeed sometimes become part of the charm. When reading her novels, watch for characters who aren't blueblooded but are trying to pass as high class; shortlist them.
    • Perhaps helping the case is that her books can be seen as portraying the biases and prejudices the characters themselves would have had at that time. Many of her ensemble characters were of a similar class to Christie's own, so it's entirely feasible that they would have felt the same way regardless of the author's opinions.
    • There is one prominent exception to this particular Grandfather Clause: the title of the book And Then There Were None. Originally, it was published under the title of Ten Little Niggers. This was later changed to Ten Little Indians, before landing on a title which doesn't reference racial slurs in any way. This also goes for the nursery rhyme the title references, which plays a prominent role in the story. In current editions, the title "Ten Little Soldiers" is used for the rhyme.
  • Gilgamesh of The Epic of Gilgamesh gets a free pass to use many of the most stereotypical and overused tropes and cliches all in one main character. Why? Because in many cases he is the Ur-Example (almost literally; technically the "Uruk" example) of the tropes. No author today would get away with combining them all together in one character, but with him it just comes off as awesome.
  • In-Universe in Robots and Empire:
    • After the Auroran society refused to accept humaniform robots, the entire production run of fifty was mothballed. However, Daneel, who was already part of a prominent citizen's establishment, remained there.
    • Seems to be the case with the colonization treaty signed by Fastolfe. The treaty forbids Earth to settle worlds within twenty light years of Spacer systems. The first Spacer world is in the Tau Ceti system.The first colony of the new wave is Epsilon Eridani; not a third of the minimum distance away, even accounting that a few thousand years have passed. However, it has already been settled by the time the treaty was signed.
  • In-Universe example in the Discworld series, it's pointed out that after the Night Watch has grown from a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into an actual serious policing organisation Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs don't really fit in anymore. But they've both been with the force for such a long time (Colon has been a watchman for longer than Commander Vimes, and Nobby is only slightly more junior), and through thick and thin that even if they wouldn't necessarily hire any more Colons or Nobbs the ones they have aren't going anywhere.
  • Winnie the Pooh: The title character's name was originally drawn from an archaic expression of dismissal during Pooh's debut that has since fallen into disuse, leaving his name to become a well of juvenile Toilet Humour. Pooh is so well-known and beloved by now that there simply is no renaming him just to shut up all the prudes and immature jokesters.
  • In-Universe example in The Green Mile: in the Georgia Pines nursing home Paul Edgecombes is residing, Howland is among the five patients who are still able to smoke due to him entering when it was still allowed.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The name of the volcano where the Ring must be destroyed is called Mount Doom. No work nowadays would use a name like that seriously, but since the work codified the High Fantasy genre (and given the fact the mountain is located in the Trope Namer for Mordor), it's accepted.
    • Tolkien's writings on the evidently non-European cultures of Middle-Earth were the product of a rather old-fashioned man in the 40s and 50s trying to emulate how medieval Europeans wrote about foreign cultures: that is to say, a bit of a mess, with "the Easterlings and Southrons" being firmly aligned with Sauron, getting far less fleshed-out than their rivals, having few to no sympathetic representatives (or even named representatives), and receiving descriptions of how swarthy, squint-eyed, cruel, and even troll-like they were. Though Tolkien spoke against racism in his life (including famously disavowing anti-Semitism), and the narrative does make it clear that they were ultimately still human and caught in a war that many had no desire to be in, it's hard to imagine a modern mainstream fantasy work playing it as straight as he does. Nonetheless, adaptations and licensed or unlicensed works set in Middle-Earth tend to still run with Tolkien's descriptions (albeit perhaps expanding the other cultures to be somewhat less flat), simply because they come from a time when those tropes weren't as discredited and they're mostly all we have for a large swathe of the world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Many aspects of Doctor Who — both new and old — do this. From Timey-Wimey Ball to Space Is Magic to Planet of Hats to Limited Wardrobe... and the list just keeps going on. Nostalgia is one thing Doctor Who has in abundance, and they have no intention of giving it up. Most iconic must be the TARDIS exterior "disguise" as an old police telephone box of the sort which has long since become obsolete now the police use two-way radios or mobile phones to communicate, though it was at times justified by the "chameleon circuit" used to generate a disguise getting stuck. The box has now become more synonymous with the show than its original usage.
    • It's worth mentioning that the police box was already old-fashioned when the show first aired. The TARDIS disguised itself as a police box because it was hidden in a scrap yard. Thematically, this works quite well as the TARDIS is viewed as an antique by other Time Lords. It's even described as "scrap" at one point.
      Eleventh Doctor: "Every time the TARDIS materializes in a new location, within the first nanosecond of landing it analyzes its surroundings, calculates a twelve-dimensional data map of everything within a thousand mile radius and determines which outer shell would blend in better with the environment... and then it disguises itself as a police telephone box from 1963."
    • Jack Harkness' WWII-era Iconic Outfit is an in-canon example of this — though we do first meet up with Jack in the '40s, he's actually from the 51st century. Though he wears more modern clothing for the rest of series 1, after his return two years later and into his spinoff, Torchwood he keeps his braces and greatcoat. ("Period military is not the dress code of a straight man.") In a flashback to British India in 1909, he wears the uniform of a British Army captain of that era.
    • Doctor Who's extreme and distracting You Look Familiar right from the very early days - such as having Peter Purves play both a Wacky Wayside Tribe Eaglelander and the new companion Steven Taylor in the same story for no reason, or having the Chancellery Guard Commander who shoots the Fifth Doctor go on to play the Sixth Doctor - allowed it to carry on doing this in the new show, even though the No Budget that made this forgivable in the Classic days has been expanded to a level that this casting would be considered laughable. For instance, since 2005, two companions so far (Martha and Amy) and the Twelfth Doctor himself have been played by actors who first showed up in one-shot rolesnote .
    • The trope of the male, middle-aged Insufferable Genius and his sexy Closer to Earth female sidekick (and their UST) was very fashionable in the 00s, but fell out of fashion in The New '10s due to widespread criticism of the Unfortunate Implications. But Doctor Who ploughed on straight ahead with it, in part because the show has been doing this since the companion team was slimmed down into a single Parent Service female sidekick in 1970. The 2018-2022 period buckled the trend by teaming up the first ever female Doctor with three different companions, two men and one woman (which as previously mentioned was something of a throwback to the very first season in 1963), but the status quo returned after she left the show.
    • The classic series Blu-ray box sets are the last pieces of Doctor Who merchandise allowed to use the show's Chris Chibnall era logo past the broadcasting of his (and the aforementionned female Doctor's) final episode "The Power of the Doctor" in October 2022 and ensuing immediate rebranding for the reason of spine consistency on the shelves of home video collectors, the range's primary consumer base. The trailer of the Season 9 set, the first post-Chibnall release and the 13th season of 26 to be released, makes a point of opening with the first post-Chibnall show logo before showing the set's packaging with the same but now-outdated branding as prior releases in the range to drive home the grandfathering.
  • Today, by virtue of being a superhero, The Lone Ranger is the only western hero who can get away with all the more outrageous Western cliches such as wearing a white hat, riding a white horse, or Blasting It Out of Their Hands without irony.
  • Stargate SG-1: Stargate Command eventually advanced its technology to the point when it would be possible to retire Engaging Chevrons, but by that point it became a tradition (and in "Heroes", it was mentioned that the personnel liked Walter doing his job).
    • Stargate Atlantis, by virtue of being a new show, had a chance for a fresh start and didn't use it — which was, of course, given a Lampshade Hanging in the very first episode.
  • Actual Sentai series, such as Super Sentai or Power Rangers, are the only shows allowed to use the "Super Sentai" Stance with any attempt at seriousness. Any other work that tries to use the stance without it being part of an in-universe Sentai show had better be lampshading or making fun of it unless the producers want viewers to cry foul.
  • Speaking of Power Rangers, it's about the only series these days that can employ a Dub-Induced Plotline Change without being drowned in fan rage. These days, any show made in Japan will hit the Internet within five seconds of airing even if it's not simulcast, and localizers know that audiences demand a Truer to the Text localization, but Power Rangers continues to cut and paste Super Sentai footage into largely original stories because they've been doing it since The '90s.
  • Star Trek gets far more leeway than almost any other non-parody sci-fi show with many of the tropes it popularized because they are seen as intrinsic to the show's history: Planet of Hats, Proud Warrior Race Guy, Techno Babble, Space Is an Ocean, Humans Are Special, and all manners of Phlebotinum Abuse to name just a few. It is almost easier to name the Speculative Fiction Tropes Trek can't get away with by claiming "that's the way it worked for Kirk."
    • And then Deep Space Nine came along and deconstructed the hell out of Star Trek, which is the main reason behind its Broken Base. That and its suspicious similarity to another space-station-based series.
    • Outside of Speculative Fiction Tropes, there's Chekov's hideously bad Russian accent. In the 2009 film, he's played by Russian-born actor Anton Yelchin, who could have done a much better accent. But he didn't because it just wouldn't be Chekov if he didn't have a bad Russian accent.
      • Walter Koenig doesn't talk like that either, and he can do a very accurate Russian accent. Roddenberry told him to "ham up" the accent as much as he could, and it was more or less played for comedy. Koenig and Yelchin both thought the v/w mispronunciation was more typical of Polish accents than Russian ones. But Koenig says his father had a difficulty with v/w, and he based the accent on this (of course hammed up to 11).
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Started off with virtually no budget, so they had to use cheap props. Though once it became a massive hit, they still kept the sets low budget looking for the sake of tradition.
  • The modernization of the Sherlock Holmes stories in Sherlock led to a series of copycat series such as Elementary and Instinct, in which private individuals solve murders and other crimes, occasionally with the cooperation of the police. This continues even though even the most inexperienced of defence lawyers would have the work of a private consulting detective dismissed as evidence tampering, thus letting demonstrably guilty parties go free.
  • The Jiggle Show is a completely Discredited Trope today, but the Trope Maker Charlie's Angels is still pretty fondly remembered. Values Dissonance aside, the show is well-liked for its campy charm and for Farrah Fawcett's charisma, and it was popular enough to spawn two feature films in the 2000s, one TV revival in the 2010s (albeit a very short-lived one), and a 2019 film Continuity Reboot. Baywatch comes pretty close, though its sole film revival was an infamous critical flop (in no small part because it couldn't decide whether it was a parody of the original or a nostalgia trip for the original's fans).

  • While many musicians eventually face criticism for sounding the same with every album, there are some long-runners that are able to get away with never seriously deviating from their style, because it remains so unique and innovative that any significant change just wouldn't "sound right", which is seen whenever a New Sound Album by any established artist flops either commercially or critically - or both. Two particularly famous examples are AC/DC and Motörhead.
  • Any song written before 1970 with the reference of gay meaning jolly, fun, etc. is perfectly acceptable because it meant something different at the time. These days however if somebody used it in the same context it would be hard to take them seriously and might suggest something about the singer or songwriter's sexuality.
  • Similarly any song written before 1970 can get away with a man calling a woman their "little girl" without complaint. However if a modern song tried that it would probably suggest unfortunate implications of pedophilia.
  • Many acts with long discographies still use styles, gimmicks, and techniques which modern performers could not employ with a straight face. Being KISS or Wayne Newton is a great way to have an extremely long career. Imitating them is a great way to be ridiculed.
    • One of the best-known aspects of the career of Elton John, at least since 1972, especially onstage, was Elton's use of crazy glasses and flamboyant costumes, a gimmick he adopted at the peak of Glam Rock and kept intact until 1986. The peak of this tradition would have likely been the (in)famous Donald Duck costume he wore at his free concert at Central Park (the one which later became a Running Gag on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson). The tour of 1986 saw Elton sporting giant multicolored mohawk wigs, a Camp Gay "Ali Baba" costume, "Tina Turner" wigs, and, for his orchestral concerts in Australia, a "Chopin" costume complete with white wig, heavy white powder and a fake birthmark. Though Elton was only 40 at the time, he (and the press) came to agree that he had carried it far past the point of retaining his dignity, and he auctioned most of the costumes and glasses off in 1988 (after using them for the cover of that year's Reg Strikes Back album) and toned down his image. He still incorporates a relatively flamboyant look, but rarely to the point he did until The '80s.
    • Unless you don't really care about it, and/or manage to be successful with being gimmicky. Lady Gaga is living proof. People did eventually get burned out with her, so Gaga had to tone down the gimmicks and reinvent herself with a more realistic persona. Singers like Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have largely supplanted Gaga in the flamboyancy department, however.
    • Imitating KISS, and taking their gimmick to new levels, is what got acts like Slipknot, GWAR and Lordi their success.
  • It's not uncommon for artists that have switched genres (a singer switching from Country to Pop like Taylor Swift or LeAnn Rimes is a common one) to continue to be listed as the genre they started as, as long as their sound doesn't become too alien.
  • A singer or band (i.e. The Beatles) who started their career in teen pop music may, at least in a few years' time, change their sound, image, and/or lyrical or musical content as they grow older and they opt for a Darker and Edgier or Hotter and Sexier approach. The trope may still apply when they still have to perform their teen pop hits onstage, or should a portion of their fandom or marketing still contain traces of their previous image, and may provide Mood Whiplash if a Greatest Hits Album is released.
    • One interesting case in particular is Lesley Gore, who first became famous in 1963 at the age of 16, during the Girl Group Era, with hits such as "It's My Party", "Judy's Turn To Cry", "You Don't Own Me" and "Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows". She re-emerged on occasion after her hit-making period as a singer-songwriter, sporadically releasing albums and playing oldies reviews and the supper club circuit until her death in 2015. The jazz-influenced singer's more recent shows, often accompanied by an intimate jazz combo, were often a mixture of her 1960s hits, her own songs and an eclectic mix of cover versions, often of jazz standards like "How Insensitive", "Fascinating Rhythm" and "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square". She still, maintained, in spite of her eclecticism, that it would not feel right for her to do a concert without singing "It's My Party" or her other teen pop hits.
  • Hip-hop is unique among music genres in that rappers from previous decades are allowed to keep making new music in the "old-school" style that made them famous without being criticized for sounding stale. For instance, Jay-Z, Nas, and Eminem continue to perform '90s-style rap three decades later. It helps that at this point, their primary listeners are diehard fans from the '90s, and changing their style to current trends would reek of Totally Radical.

    Print Media 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Even when E\CMLL runs 300 shows a year and cross promotes with dozens of other enterprises, it can't drown out the fact lucha libre, and especially the wider pro wrestling business, has largely not adhered to its straight sport presentation. Closed fist strikes, illegally entering the ring and tampering with the opponent's ring gear are not particularly horrible offenses in most places. Still, Super Libres, which have long been among the tamest of no holds barred contests, and their annual cage of death, which doesn't seem that deadly without electricity, barbed wire, fire or provided weapons, are still enjoyed by the fans because of what they mean to CMLL specifically (plus failing to escape the cage can still kill careers).
  • Every last Brass Knuckle title and corresponding division in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling. The point of a Brass Knuckles title was to allow wrestlers to legally punch each other, sometimes to the point of actually discouraging grappling. But not only had disqualifications for punches become increasingly rare over the years (though Japan had more "Pure Wrestling" holdouts than most regions), FMW was the trope namer for Garbage Wrestler, as disqualifications for anything up to and including live explosives almost never happened. The brass knuckle belts were there mainly because fans loved them for the prestige they had become associated with over the years.
  • The National Wrestling Alliance is run by a board of directors, excepting times when they give emergency powers to a single "president". The board of directors are so iconic and such a convenient Plot Device that most promotions who leave the NWA keep using them to resolve inconvenient angles, even if the newer boards don't actually have the final authority in these splinter companies (Vince McMahon of the WWE is a law unto himself with 90% of the vote, answering only to stockholders, but has still been overruled and in one angle fired by his board of directors), or no such board truly even exists (Impact Wrestling had no clear or consistent hierarchy during it's TNA days beyond Dixie Carter as the boss, but a board would step in on occasion during some of the power struggles within).
  • Certain finishing moves become mundane after a while. For instance, the basic DDT was once considered a devastating finisher, but over the years, many wrestlers began using the DDT as a regular move that rarely, if ever, ended a match and those who wanted to use a DDT as a finisher began to modify the move in order to maintain credibility (e.g. Sting's Scorpion Death Drop reverse DDT, Mick Foley's double-underhook DDT, jumping DDTs, diving DDTs, etc.). By the early-2000s, it had gotten to the point where no new wrestler could use a simple DDT as a match ender. However, stars that used it as their finisher before it everyone started using (and kicking out of) it, such as Tommy Dreamer, Raven, and especially the move's inventor Jake "The Snake" Roberts, could still use it as a finisher.
  • Sometimes, a wrestler's theme music becomes so identified with the wrestler himself that changing it just wouldn't work. For example, Shawn Michaels may have remained attractive, but "Sexy Boy" didn't really fit his persona after he became a born-again Christian. Yet he kept using the song because it was too iconic to change.
  • The Undertaker had a couple aspects that wouldn't work for a younger wrestler new to WWE:
    • Outlandish gimmicks have been out of style in pro wrestling since at least the late '90s, especially old-timey and/or supernatural ones. But because of the Undertaker's popularity and longevity with the WWE, he had been allowed to keep his 1800s mortician/wrestling zombie schtick all the way until his retirement in 2020, as all attempts at updating the character, like making him a biker from 2000-2003, never really caught on (though the biker look did come back from time to time, since it's a real-life hobby of his).
    • Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver managed to remain even after WWE banned piledrivers starting in 2000. If not done perfectly, a piledriver can give the opponent a concussion and/or break their neck: an example of this is Owen Hart nearly breaking "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's neck with a sit-out version of the Tombstone during their match at SummerSlam 1997, from which Austin never fully recovered and ultimately had to retire in 2003.note  'Taker was allowed to keep using the Tombstone because A) it had been his finishing move since 1990note , B) he had proven that he was skilled and experienced enough to do it safelynote , and C) The Tombstone involves the attacker dropping to their knees instead of their backside, lessening the chances of any trauma to the opponent's head or neck. Despite the Tombstone being safer than other piledrivers, it was still just 'Taker and his almost-as-experienced brother Kane who got to use it. Now that 'Taker is retired and Kane is semi-retired, it's unknown if another prominent WWE wrestler will be allowed to use the Tombstone on a regular basis, especially since the move is so closely associated with the Brothers of Destruction that most up-and-comers wouldn't dare use it.
  • Mass violation on the part of wrestlers, as well as Executive Meddling forcing the bookers into corners, led to the code in Ring of Honor being rendered all but useless and done away with. Despite having little purpose left, it was brought back because fans wanted it back.
  • Not as dramatic, but ROH's pseudo-spinoff EVOLVE also ran into this. As FIP/Dragon Gate stable Premier Athlete Brand basically destroyed the idea of EVOLVE being a realistic, strictly regulated promotion devoid of pro wrestling cliches, The End Of Evolution was still treated as a serious feud ender, in spite of there no longer being anything to distinguish it from any other No-Holds-Barred Contest, because fans still reacted as if they were a big deal.
  • Despite WWE doing its best to avoid referring to itself as "[professional] wrestling" or its performers as "wrestlers" (instead preferring "sports entertainment" and "Superstars", respectively), WrestleMania retains its title likely due to it being considered too iconic to change. The "Mania" part is also considered a relic of the 1980s (i.e. Hulkamania) . If someone were to suggest the name "WrestleMania" for a wrestling event in the modern day, they'd likely be laughed out of the building. The event's longevity has ensured that the name isn't viewed as corny.

  • Although most radio stations wouldn't get away with it (due to Values Dissonance rather than legality issues or broadcasting authority codes), the UK's Real and Smooth's RealRadio network got away with being a "best-of-both-worlds" mix of Heart and Capitalnote , yet it remained male-slanted, and had done since its launch in Wales in 2000 as Real Radio Wales, expanding to Yorkshire and Scotland in 2002, and then Northern England in 2008. The format was seen to be better than Heart and Capital, which are seen as crass, no-personality stations by the public - who often have no other listening choices in many regions, like Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, and Sussex. Listeners prefer personality presenters and "local" radio (i.e. no syndication or very little), like RealRadio and other stations such as Hallam FM (Bauer Media) and Stray FM (UKRD), and they remain(ed) widely popular. In the end, however, Real and Smooth were bought out by Heart and Capital's owner, and the Real network was merged into Heart's network.
  • It's not uncommon for a station dedicated to a certain genre(s) to play music they wouldn't otherwise if it's performed by an artist that has/had a following in their usual genre.
  • Until his death in 2009, most AM stations aired Paul Harvey without fail at 8:30am and noon and later on in the day "The Rest of the Story", even as the surrounding programming became coarse or partisan. A few chain stations canceled it earlier before his death by corporate edict, and found their ratings and standing immediately plunge among listeners for removing a longtime tradition.
  • Most "active rock" stations don't play music from before the mid- to late-'80s, but a handful of pioneering hard rock and metal bands from the '70s still get rotation. Black Sabbath is the band that most frequently gets grandfathered in, but Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, and Aerosmith might get a pass as well.
  • In a similar case, alternative/modern rock radio generally doesn't play music from before The '90s, but some bands considered highly influential to alternative rock can still get airplay. The Ramones and The Clash are the most likely to be grandfathered, but The Pixies, David Bowie, Blondie, New Order, and (strangely) Bob Marley may get in as well.
  • Alternative radio is meant to play alternative/indie music that isn't, well, mainstream. It's its own format with its own hits that largely remains there. However, if an alternative hit ends up becoming a mainstream pop crossover, such as Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" and Lorde's "Royals", chances are it will still remain in rotation on alternative radio, despite the fact that it's not really "alternative" anymore.
    • Most popular "alternative music" in general. Most major rock bands to achieve radio success since the '90s have been labeled "alternative" in some fashion (e.g. Creed, Foo Fighters, Nickelback, Disturbed, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Three Days Grace, etc., basically any rock band that wasn't deliberately retro rock (and even sometimes them as well, a la Buckcherry and Wolfmother)), which completely flies in the face of what "alternative" rock originally meant. Following the indie boom in the 2000s and 2010s, "indie rock" (which originally meant rock music produced and released entirely independently and which often had a punk-esque DIY garage ethos) has played the role of "radio pop rock", further diluting the term. At this point, the genres and styles that alternative rock replaced are technically more "alternative" than alt-rock itself!
  • The Pogues song "Fairytale of New York" plays on the radio, uncensored, every Christmas in the UK and Ireland despite containing the words "slut", "arse", and "faggot". It's iconic enough that when BBC Radio 1 did censor it, they were hit with backlash and reversed it within the day.
  • Many American radio stations play "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" uncensored on Thanksgiving. The use of the slur "faggots" would normally incur an FCC fine, but no station has ever been fined for playing it. Arlo Guthrie has changed the line in live performances, however.

  • The roleplay Into the Black (from the creators of Darwin's Soldiers) had a gritty cyberpunk setting with a focus on realistic science and technology. Its sequel, Racing the Storm, had a new GM who introduced psionics and space ships and took an unpopular direction with the characters. When a new sequel to Into the Black was planned, the GMs specified that psionics were not permitted under any circumstances. The only exceptions were Lily North and Flora, characters from the previous role-plays whose abilities are heavily tied into their appearance and backstories.

  • One of the most interesting quirks about Microsoft Windows is that you can't name a file or folder "CON". That's because on Windows, "CON" is actually a reserved name for device filesnote . These device files were introduced in the DOS era, so that various devices could make use of them to communicate with the PC e.g. printers. Nowadays, modern devices — even printers — communicate with PCs using USB ports and protocols. You might think that with this in mind, there's no need for device files — but latest versions of Windows still retain the device files, because it needs to ensure backwards compatibility with old devices. This is why many companies and people — who still rely on old devices in their workflow — stick with Windows.

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  • Several Stadia (and parallels) often are beneficiaries of this sort of clause, likely because the leagues want to keep playing at iconic venues and the changes would require those venues to be either completely demolished or significantly altered.
    • The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most dangerous races in Formula One history. Had it been proposed today, safety regulations would not allow it to be built. However, since it was one of the oldest grands prix in existence, it's still in the championship.
    • Major League Baseball requires at least 325 feet of distance along each foul line to the nearest obstruction... except for fields that had shorter distances prior to 1958. Only two parks currently in use are that old: Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. The shortest distance in the latter, however, is 353 feet, so this exception presently only applies to Fenway's two foul lines: the left field wall known as the "Green Monster" (310 feet at its shortest) and "Pesky's Pole" in right (302 feet).
    • The Red Sox's rivals' old park was also grandfathered in: Old Yankee Stadium (built in 1923, demolished after 2008) had only 296 feet in right field. This was a point of contention with Charles O. Finley when he purchased the Kansas City Athletics in 1960. Finley wanted to bring the right field fence at Municipal Stadium in to 296 feet, but was vetoed by the American League, so he instead brought the fence in to the minimum 325 feet, had a line painted at 296 feet, and had his PA announcer declare that any fly balls landing in the zone between the line and the fence would've been home runs at Yankee Stadium. This practice would be ended rather quickly, once Finley realized that visiting teams were hitting far more to that area than the A's were.
    • In 2007 the International Cricket Council ruled that the distance from boundary to boundary of an international ground must be at least 150 yards square of the wicket and 140 yards straight (measured from centre of pitch), that square boundaries must be at least 65 yards (which allows the pitch to be a little off centre, because a cricket ground has several parallel pitches to allow grass time to recover), and that no boundary can be more than 90 yards from the centre of the pitch. However, all grounds that were built before 2007 are allowed to have shorter boundaries. A few grounds, such as Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, fall well short of the minimum.
  • For fans of American Football, and the National Football League in particular, do you think Green Bay, Wisconsin has a guy who could pay for a franchise? Yet most Americans know of the city of Green Bay, and its Packers... who are publicly owned by stockholders. The stock has some pretty severe restrictions on it, and the team is operated as a not-for-profit company (legally, they are a for-profit company, but revenues that aren't being used to fund football operations are given to charity; unlike other types of stocks, Packers stockholders don't get returns on the stock). The NFL doesn't allow teams to sell shares of NFL teams anymore—every team must have a fairly small group of owners (24 or fewer, with one principal owner holding at least 30% of the franchise)—but the Packers are still allowed to do thisnote , ensuring that the Green Bay Packers are unique in their league in regards to the ownership situation. Fans of other NFL teams whose ownership is deemed incompetent often lament the fact that they can't band together and buy the team in a Packers-style arrangement.
    • Another lesser-known NFL ownership example: The government of Harris County, Texas (home to Houston) owns 5% of the Houston Texans. The NFL officially banned governments from owning any stake in NFL teams in 2007, but grandfathered in Harris County's stake in the team.
  • British and Irish international sports teams present a unique situation: Virtually every sport works by the rule of one team per country, and when countries split (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia) or unite (Tanzania, Germany) the teams follow. But Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland have their own teams in almost all sports, even though the countries are the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, because they began most international competition. The divided loyalties of Northern Irish people (see Northern Ireland) complicate matters further.
    • Football (and futsal) is a rarity, in that Ireland is split Republic/North (the NI team stubbornly styled themselves "Ireland" until 1950), but there are separate Scotland/Wales/England/NI teams. Great Britain teams went to the Olympics 1904-72, but when amateurs left the Olympics, so did Team GB. At the Olympics in London "Great Britain" qualified automatically to field a team in every sport, leading to 'temporary' mergers of the Scotland, England and Wales teams in many sports. However as many other European countries resent the UK's current set-up resulting in 4 times as many votes in governing body forums and 4 automatic spots on the board of FIFA (as the 4 oldest associations) Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all refused to agree to a combined team, fearing it would set a precedent and FIFA would force them to permanently merge into a team dominated by English players. The Olympic teams ended up fielding teams with only English and Welsh players in the men's team, and only English and (two) Scottish players in the women's team.
      • There was a separate NI cricket team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games (the Republic of Ireland is not part of the Commonwealth).
      • NI volleyball team play in the European Small Nations division.
    • At the Olympic Games, there is "Great Britain" and "Ireland", and athletes from Northern Ireland can compete for either — even some from a Unionist/Protestant background, who feel stronger allegiance for Britain, have competed for Ireland because Team GB wouldn't take them.
    • In cricket, there is "England" (which represents England and Wales), Scotland and Ireland.
    • Unsurprisingly, Gaelic games use a single Irish team, who play Scotland in compromise rules shinty-hurling, and Australia in international rules football (a clumsy fusion of Aussie Rules and Gaelic football).
    • There is a single GB team in korfball, kabaddi, hockey, ice hockey, handball, volleyball, Aussie rules, but NI players are with Ireland.
    • In basketball, there are separate "Great Britain" and "Ireland" teams — the GB team was only formed in 2005, and England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland still play each other.
    • In rugby, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales have separate teams. Northern Irish unionists object to both the Irish tricolour flag and the Republic's anthem "Amhrán na bhFiann", so a special "Four Provinces" flag and a special composed anthem ("Ireland's Call") is played.note  Conversely, Irish players objected to the name "British Lions" for the four-team selection, so they're now the "British and Irish Lions".
    • A rare non-British/Irish example is the West Indies cricket team, who represent 10 independent countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago), 3 Crown dependencies (Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands), the US Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten (the Dutch half of St Martin) — 15 Caribbean "countries" in all, competing internationally as a single team. In fairness, all of these save Guyana, the US Virgin Islands, and Sint Maarten were all part of the West Indies Federation, which was a single country 1958-1962.
    • In 1999 Gibraltar, a tiny dependency of the UK on the edge of Spain, applied for membership of UEFA, the European football (soccer) governing body. Based on UEFA's membership rules at the time, there was nothing barring Gibraltar from joining. But Spain, which deeply resents British control over Gibraltar, threatened to withdraw from UEFA if Gibraltar were accepted. To keep Gibraltar out, UEFA altered its membership criteria in 2001 so that only independent states as recognised by the United Nations could become members, but granted an exemption to the five already-existing non-independent teams (the four British teams, plus the Faroe Islands). After a decade-long legal battle, the courts ruled that as Gibraltar had made their application before the rule change, UEFA had to allow them to join anyway, removing the original purpose behind the change. However, the new rules now act as a bar to places like Jersey, Guernsey and Greenland, who would probably have been allowed to join UEFA had they applied before the Gibraltar debacle.
    • Internationally competitive gymnasts usually compete as a unified team from Great Britain (Ireland not included), except at national meets (all four constituent countries have their own national championships, with an overall British Championships also held) and the Commonwealth Games.
  • The NHL mandated that new players wear helmets in August of 1979, but allowed players that were already playing without them to continue to play helmetless. Craig MacTavish was the last non-helmeted player to play in the NHL (he said it was "a comfort thing"). He retired in 1997. (A waiver provision was added in 1992, allowing younger players to go helmetless if they chose; as the only players that went helmetless after the provision was added were MacTavish and Brad Marsh, who also qualified under the 1979 grandfather clause, the provision was dropped in 1996.)
    • In addition to eliminating the waiver provision, the 1996 update to the helmet rules mandated that incoming players must wear CSA-certified helmets. Veteran players were still permitted to retain their non-certified Jofa 235 helmets, largely because it was Wayne Gretzky's helmet of choice. Only four other players at the time (Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, and Igor Larionov) still wore the 235 at the time, and by 2001, they had either retired, or in Larionov's case, switched to a certified helmet.
    • The NHL did something similar for visors beginning with the 2013-14 season. Again, those in the league already playing without visors are allowed to continue playing without them.
    • Likewise, the single bar facemask was officially banned by the NFL as of 2004, though it had been abandoned by every position except kickers and punters long before that. (QB Joe Theismann was the last non-kicker/punter to wear one when he retired in 1985.) Punter Scott Player was grandfathered and allowed to continue wearing just one bar until his retirement in 2008.
  • Major League Baseball retired the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in the major leagues, in 1997, but allowed players who were already wearing that number to continue using it. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who retired after the 2013 season, was the last remaining active player to still wear that number.
    • The grandfather clause was permitted even if the existing player wearing 42 was traded to, or signed with, another team, allowing a few players (Mo Vaughn, Jose Lima, and Mike Jackson) to wear 42 for multiple teams after 1997.
    • This also gets inverted on Jackie Robinson Day (15 April) as every player, coach, manager, and umpire wears #42 since 2009.
  • Another MLB example: The spitball was banned in 1920, but pitchers who specialized in throwing spitballs were allowed to keep doing so for the rest of their careers. The last spitballer was Hall of Famer Burleigh "Ol' Stubblebeard" Grimes, who retired in 1934.
  • Still another baseball example: The Hall of Fame and the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), whose members vote on recently retired players, agreed that starting with the election for the class of 2015, players would be eligible for election on 10 annual ballots instead of 15.note  The three players on the 2015 ballot who had already appeared on 10 or more ballots (Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith) remained eligible for the full 15 years as long as they got enough votes to stay on the ballot.note 
  • The NCAA has a couple of these clauses that relate to teams "playing up" — i.e., schools that are members of a lower division (II or III) but play select sports as Division I members. For background, the NCAA did not split into divisions until 1956, and didn't adopt its current three-division format until 1973. A decent number of lower-division schools had played at the highest level of certain "non-revenue" sports (i.e., those other than football and basketball) before either or both splits, and wanted to keep playing those sports at the highest level.
    • Grandfather Clause #1: In 2004, the NCAA specifically allowed eight Division III institutions to continue to play select sports in D-I and award scholarships in those sports; the latter practice is otherwise prohibited in D-III, whether or not a team "plays up". Each covered school could only award scholarships in one men's and one women's sport. Of these eight schools, five still play the covered sports in D-I; the other three have either moved the covered sports to D-III or dropped them entirely.note 
    • Grandfather Clause #2: In 2011, the NCAA cut off the ability of lower-division teams to "play up" in sports that had a championship for the school's own division. The teams covered by the 2004 grandfather clause, several playing in sports that did have D-III championships, were allowed to continue fielding their D-I teams, and all other schools that had been "playing up" were allowed to continue doing so.
  • The NBA retired Bill Russell's #6 leaguewide in 2022. Like above with MLB retiring Jackie Robinson's #42, the league has allowed all active players currently wearing #6 to continue wearing it for the remainder of the careers, although LeBron James chose to switch back to his old #23 in honor of Russell.
  • In 2002, the Houston Texans joined the NFL, leading to the league realigning from 3 divisions per conference (East, Central, West) to 4 divisions (East, North, West, South), that tried to balance out each team's geographical proximity with their historical rivalries. Thus, the Miami Dolphins are still part of the AFC East instead of the AFC South, with their division rivals being the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets, and the Dallas Cowboys are still part of the NFC East instead of the NFC South, with their division rivals being the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins), because each division's rivalries are so well-established and intense.

  • More objectionable bits in The Mikado are often bowdlerised out (several references to "niggers" in lyrics are usually removed), but the basic premise of Caucasian actors in yellowface, kimonos, and black wigs in a gross mockery of Meiji's Japan remains intact despite how outrageously offensive the concept would be today. It should be noted that The Mikado is satire at its finest, using a patently absurd version of Japan to mock both general British culture and a faddish obsession with Japan that was sweeping through the country at the time.
    • Prince Komatsu Akihito, who saw an 1886 production, took no offence, nor did he find the depiction of the Mikado demeaning. Likewise, Prince Fushimi Sadanaru of Japan (a relative of the Emperor and a confidant of Crown Prince Yoshihito, who became Emperor Taisho) made a state visit to Britain in 1907, and all productions of The Mikado were shut down for fear of offending him. This backfired spectacularly since the Crown Prince complained that he had looked forward to seeing it, so a proscribed performance was staged for him (he was "deeply and pleasingly disappointed" that he found "bright music and much fun" instead of "real insults" to Japan). The Mikado is still very popular in Japan; evidently, the fact that the society is obviously more British than Japanese makes it easier to get Gilbert and Sullivan's point. In fact, there have been a few productions (including a filmed one starring Eric Idle as Ko-ko) that just gets to the point and puts everyone in British dress, and one college production that opted to go with having everyone dress as anime characters to get the satire across without being offensive.
  • The works of William Shakespeare may in many cases be saved due to this trope and his considered greatness as a playwright and influence on the English language and culture. For example, the ideal of submissiveness of women in The Taming of the Shrew or the fact that in Romeo and Juliet the heroine is only thirteen and already being considered for marriage, whilst rare and a plot point intended for drama even back then, would be virtually unthinkable in a modern play given present-day age-of-consent laws and attitudes/fears surrounding sex with the now-underage. In the former case, attempts are generally made to work around the awkwardness of such attitudes but in the latter, it often seems to go on with only the slightest of comment.

    Theme Parks 
  • Many parks keep attractions that are outdated by today's standards, in part for historical significance, in part for families and people wanting less intense rides, and in part because it's usually cheaper to maintain an old ride than to build a new one. The first and third categories definitely fit the bill. One example was formerly lampshaded on the Six Flags website.
    "In 1966, the summer debut of the Runaway Mine Train was an overwhelming success. By today’s standards, the height and speed appear pretty tame, but for the 1960s, it was state of the art."
  • Marvel Super Hero Island continues to exist at Universal's Islands of Adventure despite Walt Disney World being down the road because of this. The contract for Marvel's theme park rights as it was sold in the 90's is extremely favorable to Universal; they give the company full exclusive rights to use Marvel characters at parks "east of the Mississippi" in-perpetuity as long as those parks are in a state of good maintenance, and later as long as those characters had a presence in the park before the Disney acquisition. This is why Avengers C.A.M.P.U.S. only exists in Anaheim, and why Walt Disney World must make-do with secondary Marvel properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Big Hero 6 (the last one being heavily divorced from mainstream Marvel nowadays).

  • Bratz continues to play various facets of its 2000s-era image straight (e.g. the pre-Recession themes of flaunting wealth, nightclubs, partying and shopping, along with its reliance on 2000s fashion trends), likely because the line helped popularize the trend of "hip" fashion dolls that also relied on those ideals. In fact, there was considerable backlash from fans when MGA Entertainment tried to drop those themes in favor of emphasizing friendship and empowerment.
  • Transformers has a lot of designs that have remained the same in modern imaginings despite being clearly dated to the 1980s. While reboots tend to change things up, most revisitings of G1 feature things like Soundwave turning into a tape deck or Grimlock's very old-fashioned T-rex design.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is the only Mascot with Attitude allowed to play all of the facets of the trope straight, due to the fact that he solidified most of them. In fact, there was considerable backlash against the plots of games where Sega tried to change him up. (A lot of modern Sonic versions and adaptions play him as cool when in his element, but also as a somewhat dorkish Dumb Jock type when out of it—in particular, it gives a reason for him to have Tails as a Side Kick.)
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Most modern platform games have stopped using the Goomba Stomp (or at least downplayed it considerably), but stomping enemies is such an important part of the franchise, that Mario almost always has it as his primary ability in his games, even when the games are RPGs. There's a reason why the trope is called Goomba Stomp.
    • While other classic video game series have been trying to make their plots deeper and more complex, the Super Mario series is still about the same Italian plumber rescuing the same princess from the same turtle-dragon creature, and while there have been few games that have tried to avert this like Super Mario 3D World, the franchise always ends up returning to the same Excuse Plot in later installments. The RPGs, being games with a higher Story to Gameplay Ratio but having essentially the same plot, make fun of this. Every Mario RPG so far, besides The Thousand-Year Door and Paper Mario: The Origami King, has started with Bowser kidnapping, trying to kidnap, or at least planning to kidnap the princess,note  and in Thousand-Year Door, he objects to someone else doing it because it's his gimmick (and his love, but that's beside the point). Even the main series has made fun of the gimmick of the princess being kidnapped; Super Mario Sunshine lampshades this with a news report saying that Princess Peach has been kidnapped... AGAIN (emphasis theirs).
    • Video-Game Lives and time limits are holdovers from the heyday of the Arcade Game, and most modern platformers have abandoned them. Mario platformers not only keep both out of tradition, but harness them as a way of increasing difficulty (for example, New Super Luigi U gives players only 100 seconds to complete each stage). That said, the 3D platformers are slowly starting to drop 1-ups altogether as of the Nintendo Switch era, as Super Mario Odyssey and Bowser's Fury drop them in favor of having you lose coins upon dying instead, though these elements might be living on borrowed time in 2D platformers as well, since Super Mario Bros. Wonder has also dropped the timer entirely.
  • Metroid:
    • Even in the most modern games, Samus' missiles always cap out at 255, despite that number only arising due to hardware limitations in the original game. (Later Zelda games quickly did away with the 255 money Cap, for example.) It's just always been a part of the series, and let's face it, any more would make 100% Completion even more insane than it already is...
    • Samus' morph ball form also came about because of the hardware limitations making the developers unable to get Samus to crouch or crawl. Needless to say that these days, we have the technology, and yet the morph ball remains regardless.
  • For the longest time, games would ask you to "Press Start" on the title screen, even if any other button would accomplish the same goal. The name "Start" for the button is a bygone relic itself, since its main use now (and arguably even in the NES days) is actually to pause the game. The PlayStation 4 does away with "Start" and "Select" entirely. While the GameCube tried to remedy this by renaming the button "Start/Pause", the Wii ultimately ended up doing as the PS4 would later and ditched the button, replacing it and Select with + and -, respectively, which stuck with later Nintendo home consoles' controllers. Regardless, the tradition of pressing a button to start the game lives on. Most modern games will say "press any button to start", "click to start" if it's on PC, or "tap to start" if it's touch-controlled.
  • Command & Conquer is so well-known for its live-action cutscenes that when Command & Conquer: Generals didn't include them, there was a backlash (granted, the lack of them wasn't the only difference). Live-action cutscenes in big-budget games are largely discredited these days, but C&C got away with it into the start of The New '10s because it's tied to the series' history. The later installments of the Tiberium and Red Alert franchises see all number of familiar actors engaging in as much Ham-to-Ham Combat as possible (J. K. Simmons, Tim Curry, and George Takei as the leaders of the factions in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3). Indeed, Red Alert 3 has taught us that when your game has amphibious man-cannons that shoot trained attack bears with parachutes, you can get away with literally anything.
  • Mega Man:
  • The Metal Gear series started as a ridiculous Action Hero game in the mid '80s. Even as soon as Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake in 1990, the series started to take itself seriously, and both became a lot more grim and disillusioned as well as getting known for its highly complex plot and deep and well-written characters. Many of the bosses, however, are so ridiculous (from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty alone we have a fat guy in roller skates who plants bombs and drinks wine through a bendy straw, a literal vampire, a woman who dodges bullets just by being really lucky, and a former U.S. President in powered armor with tentacles and a pair of katana literally named "Democrat" and "Republican") they could be straight out of Batman & Robin and many of the sequences could be from cheap '80s action movies, but since those elements have been part of the series from the beginning, they were kept, similar to James Bond movies. Using a cardboard box to hide in — and having it work so well — is a part of the game's mythos from the very first game. It would be hard to imagine a newer stealth action game playing the "moving cardboard box" bit straight.
    • Many modern stealth video games give the player some sort of infinite use throwing item that can be thrown to distract enemies. The Metal Gear franchise has long allowed players to distract guards by throwing empty ammunition magazines, but the player was limited by how many magazines had actually been emptied by firing guns. However, the unlimited distraction item paradigm was embraced in Metal Gear Solid V. While other games have players throwing some sort of item the player character could presumably scrounge from the environment, usually rocks, the player character in Metal Gear Solid V has an unlimited, free supply of empty magazines, regardless of how little sense that actually makes, because empty magazines is what the franchise has always used for that function.
  • Every game in the entire Shin Megami Tensei series has the lead protagonist unvoiced or with barely any spoken dialogue. This is actually due to how the series was originally developed, where the games were driven from the player character's perspective and the original NES games were considered Dungeon Crawlers. Even with Shin Megami Tensei IV, which has every other character fully voiced some thirty years after the release of its ancestor of a game, the lead protagonist is silent. Additionally, Shiva is always fused the same exact way: Barong and Rangda. Even with Special Fusions existing, it's the only way to get him.
  • Some game players feel that games that give you a set amount of "lives" invoke this trope, especially when they act alongside quicksaving with no penalties to Save Scumming.
  • The score counter, while not being used as much as it once was, occasionally continues to pop up in newer games (although not necessarily always in the traditional way). However, it has found another purpose by changing the points to money or 'experience', and then having the player spend it on upgrades, weapons, health and so forth.
    • The score counter has actually found new life thanks to the introduction of leaderboards. While in the old games the purpose of the score was to either try to see if you can do better or compare with your friends, now you can compare your prowess against players from all over the world. Leaderboards are, more often than not, shown as a feature in a game's description.
  • Assassin's Creed is the only video game franchise that could get away with using the Mayan Doomsday as a major plot point since the first main Story Arc, spanning the first game in 2007 to 2012's Assassin's Creed III, revolves around a solar flare on December 21, 2012 that almost destroyed humanity only for Desmond Miles to do a Heroic Sacrifice. Fans playing III when it first came out joked about rushing to finish it before the apocalypse that was due to several months later.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine gets away with the Undead Horse Tropes of Real Is Brown, A Space Marine Is You, and a virtual Cliché Storm in part because the Warhammer 40,000 setting helped codify some of those tropes and was using others back when the NES was high tech. These tropes aren't quite dead yet, but they're being mocked and derided openly (not to mention it's kind of hard to avoid A Space Marine Is You when one of the factions in the story is popularly known as "Space Marines"). Cory Rydell and Grey Carter of Critical Miss explain fan reactions here.
  • Call of Duty and Battlefield are the only pulp-cinematic modern military shooters left in the market since they both codified the sub-genre to begin with. Said sub-genre has been heavily mocked and criticized for oversaturating the market for most of the The Seventh Generation to the point that no new original gaming IP can play it straight anymore, but since both franchises are massive juggernauts that defined the gaming landscape of the late 2000s to early 2010s, they get to stay without any mockery because gaming culture just wouldn't be the same without them. Even when some installments try to steer away from the formula, it only just gets met with indifference or backlash.
  • Sometimes when patching a game to fix a Game-Breaker or a Good Bad Bug, the developers will let the players keep the old versions of equipment if it doesn't hurt other players. For example, when Gearbox nerfed The Bee in Borderlands 2, they didn't actually alter any of the shields already acquired - only new ones, that drop after the patch is implemented.
  • In Diablo III, if you have any +% Magic Find gear from the 1.X days, better hold onto it!
  • Up through its fourth generation of titles, the Monster Hunter games still had maps that were made up of 8-12 discrete areas, with fixed-duration loading screens whenever the player passes between them. This was well into The Eighth Generation, where a lack of Dynamic Loading had long been considered a damning flaw. The developers went on record stating this was an intentional design choice: fleeing from one area to another was a tactic both players and monsters used to escape each other to recover (among other mechanics) and making the whole map one large field dramatically changes the flow of the game. It helped that the developers took advantage of the small environments to pack in exquisite amounts of detail, even when the system was living on Nintendo's handheld line (which weren't exactly graphical powerhouses). With the release of Monster Hunter: World, Capcom finally bit the bullet and modernized the series, prompting the development of a thoroughly predictable Broken Base over which game people liked more (and with Monster Hunter: Rise retaining the unified map design, it's confirmed to be a series mainstay).
  • Just Dance is the only game entirely dependent on motion controls that remains popular today. While once considered a revolution in gaming, they've fallen heavily out of favor due to the immense amount of Shovelware it produced. Today, motion controls are seen as a cheap gimmick and most games avoid it or at least downplay its presence (there's huge complaints whenever it's there). Just Dance is the exception, however. It became a big franchise while motion controls were still popular, and has become a staple of house parties all over the world. If a game like Just Dance were released today, it'd probably be dismissed as shovelware.
  • South Park made its name with Black Comedy humor that crosses line all the time, it's why the series is so popular to begin with. Naturally, when South Park: The Stick of Truth was released, that kind of humor carried over in-full. The most noticeable is the four classes you can play as Fighter, Mage, Thief and... Jew. Yes, there's a Jew class. It's been said that this is the only game that could get away with something like that.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue were among the first games translated into Italian and Spanish by Nintendo of Europe, so all the Pokémon kept their English names because it wasn't worth the effort to trademark new ones. Even after Pokémon proved to be a success, it would be weird if they suddenly started changing Pokémon names, so to this day, the only Pokémon with unique Spanish and Italian names are ones that are only known by codenames in-universe.
    • Across all games, only Pokémon that are fully evolved/don't evolve are capable of learning the moves Hyper Beam and Giga Impact by TM, meaning a Ralts or Kirlia can't be taught those moves but their evolved forms Gardevoir and Gallade can. The exceptions to this rule are Pokémon who have them in their level-up movepool (such as Larvitar) and Pokémon who were considered fully evolved in past generations but have since gained evolutions. Those Pokémon are still capable of learning Hyper Beam/Giga Impact despite technically not being fully evolved, just because they had always been able to. The Porygon family provides an extreme example, since Porygon itself was a standalone creature in Generation I. Generation II gave it an evolution, Porygon2, meaning both it and Porygon could learn Hyper Beam just because Porygon was always able to. Finally, Generation IV introduced yet another evolution, Porygon-Z, meaning that the whole line could learn Hyper Beam just because all members have been able to do so. note 
    • Despite newer games introducing Pokémon with considerable differences between their male and female forms in terms of appearance, evolutions, and even stats and movepools (Meowstic being a very good example), Nidoran remains the only Pokémon where the male and female are counted as two distinct species, because gender wasn't a statistic in Generation I and they were the only ones that varied in this regard. If they changed it, the whole Pokédex would have to be renumbered.
    • In the competitive meta for Pokémon Gold and Silver, there's a single Pokémon that completely overshadows the rest: Snorlax. It is so widely accepted as a Game-Breaker that it's regarded as the best pick even in the Ubers tier, where legendaries are legal, and it sees literally universal usage (as in, well over 95%) on serious teams in the standard Overused tier. In nearly every other meta since then, such a completely dominant Pokémon would be banned from Overused—however, at the time when the second-generation meta was solidifying, that idea simply didn't occur to anyone, as Ubers was regarded as a tier that existed just for the stronger legendaries, and banning standard-but-strong Pokémon didn't become accepted until Garchomp showed up two generations later. Hence, Snorlax remains unbanned in large part because people have long accepted that it being the best Pokémon is just a fact of the meta, and learned to play with that in mind. That said, there's an additional reason for this: Snorlax being so powerful means that it's highly effective at breaking stall teams, and when it's not available, then Padded Sumo Gameplay becomes far more likely to ensue.
    • In FireRed and LeafGreen, the lack of a special song for rival battles and Team Rocket battles is allowed because the games they are a remake of didn't have such songs to begin with. It was after the first generation that the main games started using customized Trainer Battle tunes for rivals and criminal gangs. HeartGold and SoulSilver, though, give Lugia and Ho-Oh special battle themes, whereas the original Pokémon Gold and Silver had generic wild Pokémon battle music for these legendaries note .
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduced brand new baby Pokémon to evolve into preexisting species, such as Munchlax, Bonsly, Mime. Jr, Happiny, and Wynaut. Their evolved forms will still hatch from Eggs unless the correct Incense is held by the parent—the only alternative use for the items is as a duplicate effect of a different item (for example, the Rock Incense needed to breed a Bonsly is otherwise a duplicate of the Hard Stone item). For those unfamiliar with Pokemon before the new babies occurred, seeing an evolved Pokémon—especially Snorlax—hatch from an Egg can be a bit of a shock. Though as of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, all Pokémon will now hatch from their lowest formnote .
  • Minecraft:
    • Minecraft's developer Mojang was bought by Microsoft in 2015. This means that a version of Minecraft on rival platforms is impossible — or rather it would be, if it weren't already released there. As a result, the non-Xbox/PC versions of the game are still supported despite being owned by Microsoft, because they were already on them when Mojang was bought out. Later on this was averted, as versions on Nintendo platforms (Wii U, New 3DS, and Switch) were released entirely after the buyout.
    • As of 1.11.1, no new bows can be enchanted with both Mending and Infinity (a rule made to prevent easy, endless flight). However, old bows enchanted before the update will still work.
  • This can happen in Fighting Games where some characters get different costumes, but others remain the same.
    • A specific example of this happening comes from Street Fighter V, where almost every returning character received a new costume except Ryu, Chun-Li, and Zangief (also arguably Rainbow Mika, who received only minor modifications from her original Street Fighter Alpha 3 costume; and later on Gill, Dan, Rose and Oro as well). Capcom deemed that their appearances were simply too iconic to alter, and as such they remain the same (for their default costume, anyway; Chun-Li has pretty much an Unlimited Wardrobe for DLC), while everyone else looks different (in varying degrees of Costume Evolution) but usually has a Nostalgia Costume available as DLC if players prefer their original/previous design. However, this clause is seemingly about to expire in Street Fighter 6, which finally gives Ryu and Chun-Li a drastic case of Costume Evolution - and even then their classic outfits are available as alternate costumes.
    • Another such example comes from Dead or Alive 5. The new graphics engine was hyped up before release, and to go with it were brand new costumes for almost every character. Except Kasumi, the lead heroine and icon of the franchise. Her costume remained almost exactly the same from previous games, primarily because her outfit was too iconic to the character to change or remove.
  • Speaking of Street Fighter, the limitations of the CPS-1 meant that all of the male characters in Street Fighter II had the same voice set and shared the exact same Death Cry Echo. Once Super Street Fighter II rolled around, the CPS-2 allowed for all of them to have new and improved attack calls and KO screams - except for Ryu, the franchise's mascot and protagonist, who merely had his voice clips remastered.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • It's the only Platform-based Mascot Fighter that gets taken seriously without any mockery whatsoever, since it codified the sub-genre to begin with (but wasn't the first one ever made, contrary to popular belief).
    • The Original Twelve note  fighters that appeared in the first Super Smash Bros. have gone on to appear in every sequel, even if their franchises get less relevant, their popularity declines or how much time goes by without a new game released in their series. With that said, Ness was almost replaced by Lucas in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Jigglypuff was almost cut from the roster of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • In Melee, Marth speaks in Japanese to reflect the fact that the Fire Emblem series had not been released outside of Japan. Brawl and 3DS/Wii U continue to have him do so despite Fire Emblem games already have international distribution, Marth having English VAs for a while, and later Fire Emblem protagonists to be playable in the series speak English. This was finally averted in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where Marth has English lines (provided by his then-standard English VA Yuri Lowenthal note ) in the game at last.
    • Dr. Mario gets to remain his own distinct character from regular Mario, despite Ultimate having introduced the concept of the Echo Fighter for clone characters. The reason being that due to Divergent Character Evolution since his introduction in Melee, his moveset is considered "too distinct" to be an Echo of Mario. Had Dr. Mario been introduced in 2018's Ultimate and not 2001's Melee, he most certainly would not have been anything other than an Echo, or even an alternate costume along the lines of Builder Mario or Wedding Mario for that matter.
    • Due to technical limitations, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U completely did away with transformations, making Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit Samus separate characters while removing the Pokemon Trainer alongside Squirtle and Ivysaur, putting in Charizard as a lone and fully developed character. Then, in Ultimate, where the theme is that everyone makes their return, Charizard was made part of the Trainer's set alongside Squirtle and Ivysaur once again. This despite Ultimate carrying on the tradition of not having transformations otherwise note , and in fact goes even further by taking out some of the Final Smash transformations (like Fox with the Landmaster). Because Pokémon Trainer had to be represented alongside Squirtle and Ivysaur, they got to return even though their stance system gimmick has been largely discredited, as it would be impossible to do the character properly without it. As a side effect, it ends up making Charizard feel less distinct because of this. Although Ultimate did away with the mechanic of Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon getting tired and having to switch every so often, so aside from cycling back to it after getting KOed, players can still play as their favorite 'mon.
    • The original reason Dark Pit was given his own position in the roster instead of being an alternate skin for Pit (as is the case of Alph and Olimar) was due to Pit using the Three Sacred Treasures as his Final Smash, and it didn't feel right for Dark Pit to use them as well. The very next game would, in an effort to keep Final Smashes quick and to-the-point, trade the TST for the Lightning Chariot, something the Dark Pit has used in canon. That said, it probably would seem awkward to renege on Dark Pit's character-hood now that they've coined the term "Echo Fighter" to describe last-minute Moveset Clones like him.
    • While many characters have their English voice portrayals adjusted as the series goes on, changing lines and actors as the current events and localizations see fit, Captain Falcon, Ness, and Terry are special exceptions that can be traced to grandfathering, as their broken English is so iconic to their characters, they'd be borderline unrecognizable without it, especially the former two; while Terry carries this trait from his home series, Captain Falcon and Ness talk like this because it was from the first Smash Bros where these characters got their voices.
    • Regarding the Pokémon's Palette Swaps, in the very first game, Pikachu and Jigglypuff had party hats and ribbons respectively as the basis for their alternate colors, as their colors were deemed too iconic to change and Shiny Pokémon had not yet been introduced. Melee continued the trend with Pichu - but Mewtwo received full-fledged color swaps. Brawl scaled back on this by both cutting Mewtwo and giving both the Pokémon Trainer and Lucario more subtle tints, only for the next game to have more distinct colors for Charizard and incoming newcomer Greninja, alongside bringing back Mewtwo via DLC. Ultimate followed suit with having Incineroar receive proper color swaps. Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Pichu? Still sporting accessories with only mild tints in their general colorization, simply because they started off with them.
  • The Unmoving Plaid shirt of Stan the Salesman in the Monkey Island games. It was initially a limitation of the computer hardware (and, presumably, the patience of the animator) in The Secret of Monkey Island. Later games appeared on computers that could handle moving plaid, but kept the look as an homage to the original, and even undertook the difficult task of incorporating it into the 3D games, since it was so iconic of Stan that it simply didn't look like Stan if it moved around.
  • Thanks to DLC, achievements, and online multiplayer, cheat codes are effectively dead for consoles. However, for the desktop computer market, it's common practice to leave the developer's console accessible, in the interest of facilitating Game Mod testing and provisional bug workarounds. Some long-running franchises that are known for their cheat codes, such as Grand Theft Auto, still use cheat codes for gamers to enjoy the heck out of them (although they will block achievements when used).
  • The Elder Scrolls using the Standard Fantasy Setting — elves, dwarves, wizards, and orcs chilling in an eternally medieval universe — which has been parodied and deconstructed to Hell and back over the last few decades, to the point that no original works can get away with playing it straight anymore. The Elder Scrolls, being such a Long Runner, tends to be safe from such ridicule. It also helps that, while the series started on a Standard Fantasy Setting foundation, Nirn has undergone so much Worldbuilding that very few of the Standard Fantasy tropes are played truly straight after the first few installments.
  • The main difference between Dota 2 and League of Legends as successors of Defense of the Ancients is which one kept the old quirks, glitches and mechanics of the original War Craft III engine: DOTA 2 ported them faithfully and unchanged, whereas LOL fixed them.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, despite being universally recognized as a realistic FPS, kept many old glitches from the old Half-Life: Counter Strike mod unchanged, as professional players have learned to exploit them and are now unable to forget them after so many years of practice. Unrealistic elements such as bunnyhopping, spray pattern control, jump direction control, boosting, move speed penalty or stutter stepping, are considered game mechanics that all high-ranking players are supposed to learn and master.
  • Most games that focus on cuteness are often viewed as So Okay, It's Average by western gamers and popular with critics but the Kirby series are still very well-regarded among even older fans around the world. The older games were a welcome break for many of the Nintendo Hard games at the time but even now, many teenagers and adult fans will gladly buy the new Kirby game. Even though most cute games will do their best to make it seem badass on the box art, all Nintendo needs to do is make Kirby look angry and even that is starting to die down.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link has always been a Heroic Mime, even when such mute characters are becoming a rare breed. When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made the jump to full voice acting (and even ditched the tradition of Hello, [Insert Name Here] out of necessity), Link was made The Quiet One justified by the plot. In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which is dubbed and lacks the plot justification, Link still communicates in Voice Grunting, just because having him speak would break series tradition.note  Hyrule Warriors tackled this by giving Link and Young Link a fairy companion, named Proxi, to speak for them; Toon Link has his sister Aryll speak for him, and Linkle breaks tradition by being very talkative.note 
  • Contra and its clones, even the ones made today, kept their "you touch ANYTHING and you die" rule despite many other run-and-gun platform shooters discrediting this entirely (such as Metal Slug, or even some of Konami's own works where an enemy actually has to shoot or stab you to kill you) in an effort to add a little more realism and to lessen the difficulty.
  • Only The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (a late 2014 release) could get away with using then-stale memes from 2008, such as Trollface or Shoop Da Whoop.
  • Players of Daytona USA discovered that downshifting to first gear will throw the car into a slide, making drifting around corners easier. However, attempting to do this while driving the new cars in Daytona USA 2 will cause the car to spin out. But if you're driving the Hornet Classic, you can downshift without penalty, because that car emulates the physics of the first game.
  • An example with games released in Europe, PEGI restricts simulated gambling to adult audiences only, but games released before then retain their original rating.
  • 2020's Microsoft Flight Simulator was released after Microsoft had switched to using the Xbox name for all of its gaming brands regardless of platform. The game still has "Microsoft" as an In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It title regardless because Microsoft Flight Simulator remains one of the biggest Long-Runners in all of gaming.
  • The Game Mod hosting website Nexus Mods announced that lifetime premium memberships would no longer be purchasable from August 3, 2021 onwards to compensate for rising operating costs. However, anyone who bought lifetime memberships before then would not have their perks revoked after that date.
  • The MMORPG RuneScape has an in-universe example of this. There's a quest called "The Knight's Sword" where the player is entasked with replacing a very valuable heirloom sword before its owner (a valiant knight) finds out it's lost. To do so, the player has to mine a specific ore to make the material in order to create a new sword. However, the ore in question, blurite, is considered very weak and useless for making weapons besides three things: the specific sword you need to replace, limbs for blurite crossbows, and blurite crossbow bolts. In fact, blurite items are considered so useless that you can't even sell them (not even the Grand Exchange accepts them for trade). The only reason why the sword is considered so valuable is for three reasons: 1. The sword was passed down for generations 2. The tribe with the knowledge to make them, the Imcando dwarves, was almost entirely wiped out and 3. The ore that is required to make them can only be found in one dungeon in the entire game, and it's defended by powerful ice warriors and ice giants making it difficult to mine without getting attacked. If it wasn't for these aspects, it would be downright embarrassing for the knight to own a prized sword made from such a weak and worthless material.
  • In the original Civilization, the leader of India was Mahatma Gandhi, who while very well known in western circles as a key figure in the struggle for modern Indian independence never actually held any sort of official office. If Gandhi were to have made his debut in a modern installment of the series, he would have more likely been implemented as a Great Person rather than as the leader of India, especially since India has had many potential leaders throughout its history. However, Gandhi has gone on to appear in every Civilization game since as the leader of India. This is perhaps due to his popularity among the player base, in particular due to the infamous "Nuclear Gandhi" meme, and due to his recurring appearances Gandhi has gone on to become the Civilization Series Mascot.

    Web Animation 
  • SMG4 videos began as Machinimas of Super Mario 64, that eventually evolved into actual animations using SM64 and editing techniques. Garry's Mod would also started to being used along with the SM64 engine, but as the years went by, Garry's Mod would become the main source for the animation, with SM64 only being used for the "classic" characters. This is due Super Mario 64 character models are seen as too essential for SMG4's animation style, that if they were removed, it would cause a negative reaction from fans, especially among veterans. This of course, only applies to the "classic" characters, as new characters (More specifically, every character after Meggy's introduction) can use original character models and get better animations without any inconvenience. In other words, if it wasn't by the "classic" characters, Super Mario 64 would be dropped of the series at this point.

  • The long-running Bob and George got away with such Sprite Comic cliches as an all-powerful Author Avatar and other characters that were mere recolors of existing sprites, absolutely No Fourth Wall, and comically one-dimensional characters (to be precise, one-dimensional versions of Mega Man characters) because it either started or popularized almost all of these tropes for webcomics. This also unfortunately leads to a tendency of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.
  • Likewise, Penny Arcade and other webcomics that started before 2000 can be excused for using the tropes that they popularized in the first place.
  • Another Gaming Comic
    • In one of the real-life Extras, the campaign GM has instituted a flat ban on dwarf PCs (finding them too powerful for his taste), but the one existing dwarf PC is allowed to stay in play until the GM finally manages to kill him.

    Web Original 
  • TV Tropes:
    • Many tropes on this wiki keep their names because people are used to them, even though they do not meet various criteria for descriptive names; some were created and codified before those criteria were codified (or even before TV Tropes existed), while others probably just flew under the radar and became widely linked and well-known before anyone thought to apply those rules. It is explicit policy that an existing name can't be changed, even if it's "obviously bad", unless there is evidence that the name is causing problems, which is probably the only reason some of these stick around:
      • Narm: If the trope were to have been created only recently, it would have been renamed very quickly, as the name probably wouldn't make sense at all for people who don't remember Six Feet Under.
      • Gilligan Cut: This trope is actually a pre-existing entertainment industry name, and one which is neither exclusive to Gilligan's Island, nor the only cut used there, yet the name remains because of how iconic the series is.
      • The Scrappy: Even though character-named tropes are heavily frowned upon since not everyone will get the reference, The Scrappy has held on since it's heavily linked on the site, well-known outside of the site, and the name gives the sense of something being the "scrap" that you toss aside.
      • Xanatos Gambit. Yes, we know that not everyone's heard of the original David Xanatos (from Gargoyles), but since Xanatos Gambit is a Trope of Legend and the term has percolated through the rest of the Internet, it's not getting renamed.
      • The Dragon: Not indicative of what that trope is at all, but it is one of the most linked tropes on the site. Its usage in its original context (the penultimate challenge a hero must face before encountering the Big Bad) also predates the site.
      • One-Winged Angel: A Trope of Legend. The name is a reference to Sephiroth's theme song from Final Fantasy VII. note It's not obvious by the title it's about a villain transforming. It resisted an attempt to give it a more descriptive name largely because of its large number of wicks and this trope.
      • Underground Monkey: "It's a monkey, but it lives underground" is hardly a good way to imply "video game developers create a whole family of mooks by adding little modifications to a mook, hence getting a lot of enemy-variety cheaper", but despite how oblique the name is, it's thriving perfectly fine, so there's no call to change it.
      • Roger Rabbit Effect: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is not the first movie to blend animation and live-action, but it's one of the most well-known, so its name remains.
      • Epileptic Trees: This term probably won't make any sense at all for people who have never seen Lost, but it isn't likely to get a name change any time soon; besides, it fits the out-there nature of the Wild Mass Guessing it describes.
      • Hummer Dinger: The Trope Namer Hummer brand that the Hummer Dinger trope satirized went under in 2010 as part of GM's infamous post-economic-collapse restructuring. Since it still perfectly encapsulates the kind of gas-guzzling monster the trope entails, the name has been kept even as the Hummer brand has been revived for an electric truck.
      • The Starscream: The trope is named after Starscream from Transformers. Like every other character-named trope, not everyone has heard of Starscream's desire to usurp Megatron as leader of the Decepticons, and his movie incarnation didn't really have this trait. But the character from the original cartoon was so infamous for his countless attempts to overthrow Megatron (to the point that he declares himself leader after Megatron lost his voice) that his name has become synonymous with treachery. It also helps that there's not a single word that encompasses Starscream's power-hungry character (such as his open ambition, overly egoistic to a fault, seizing every opportunity to usurp his leader, failing miserably, and groveling for mercy).
      • The three members of the Freudian Trio: The Kirk, The Spock, and The McCoy. Once again, character-named tropes are generally frowned upon, but these three have stood the test of time due to how iconic the source material is and how well the characters in question embody the tropes named for them. Redirects to the tropes have been made based on the aspects of the human psyche each trope represents: The Ego, The Superego, and The Id, respectively. If this trio of tropes were introduced today, these redirects would probably be the actual trope names.
      • Knight Templar: A trope referring to characters who view themselves as heroic but are actually clearly evil... named for the historical organization of The Knights Templar—a complex, long-lasting group involved in events that are, to say the least, controversial and still widely-debated in their moral implications and justifications. Tellingly, as a morality-based trope, the page itself has a No Real Life Examples, Please! marking, meaning it would be impossible to list the Knights Templar as an example of Knight Templar. If the trope were launched today, there's almost no chance it'd last before it got renamed, for fear of sparking countless debates over whether the Templar were morally in the right for their entire history. But it's been around for so long and been so widely-linked that it's stood the test of time. It does help that even if you don't know the historical organization, the name does tend to conjure up the image of the kind of holier-than-thou warrior that the trope describes.
      • Voodoo Shark: A name that was coined before TV Tropes existed. Those who are not familiar with Jaws sequels have probably no idea what this trope is about.
      • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Many would be surprised the trope name is actually a reference to Freaks and Geeks, a show which not everyone has seen or heard of, but it isn't likely to get a name change any time soon; besides, it fits how the trope describes obsessive fan devotion.
      • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: The title does not describe the trope very well if you don't know the context (a character announcing their name before battle), but because it allows all four sentences of a memetic quote from The Princess Bride to have a page, it keeps its name. This is also the only reason the Hello! Just For Fun page exists.
      • Scunthorpe Problem: If this trope were made recently, it would have been renamed rather quickly as the reference wouldn't have made any sense at all to those who aren't computer geeks (especially British ones, as Scunthorpe is a town in North Lincolnshire, England that ran afoul of profanity filters in the early days of the world wide web, hence the name), but it's unlikely to get renamed any time soon, likely because the accidental embedded obscenity in the town's name helps describe the trope's central concept of profanity filter misfires.
      • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The trope is named for an incident where a magazine covering a Cowboy Bebop video game referred to Ed (who is a girl) not only by the name of the titular spaceship, but as a boy. Like a lot of tropes named after or incorporating the names of fictional works or characters, not everyone has heard of Cowboy Bebop, and the name might initially not make sense at all for those who are familar with how the trope works (a work or news media getting facts about another work wrong). But since the infamous magazine clipping the trope was named for is already an example of this trope, it has stuck, and since it's grown to become such a common trope on the wiki, it isn't likely to get a name change any time soon.
    • The images on the pages listed in the "Don't change the pic" folder on Image Pickin' Special Cases have been kept due to how long they've been on the page, and nobody can agree on a better image (some were kept by TV Tropes founder FastEddie's fiat). If added today, many of these would be pulled for not sufficiently illustrating the trope and/or bordering on Just a Face and a Caption. Similarly, the images in the "Pics from non-content policy compliant works" are allowed by staff clearance due to their age and a lack of better suggestions, even though works that violate The Content Policy are otherwise considered undesirable for page images.
    • True Art Is Incomprehensible was the only page allowed to use an animated GIF, due to having it before the rule forbidding them was established. It was kept until the 2021 server migration broke existing animated images.
    • The name TV Tropes itself provides a simple example, as the main page explains: "The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media." This is probably the least likely name on the site to ever change.
    • The self-demonstrating page for BRIAN BLESSED was still in the old Ptitle format until 2018, as the new version removed the ability to increase the font of text, so any edit of the article would permanently lose the formatting. Since we're talking about BRIAN BLESSED, it's important for him to have a huge font, thus, the page stayed Ptitle and locked, and as a result, had larger font until the 1.8 overhaul broke the larger font format completely.
    • Highly negative Audience Reactions such as The Scrappy, So Bad, It's Horrible, and Dethroning Moment of Suck would be rejected on-sight for being blatant Complaining About Shows You Don't Like if someone tried to propose them today. Because people like venting their hatred and we had looser standards in the past, the pages became too much of a prevalent part of the site to just remove, and so they are allowed to stay, albeit with strict limitations: Dethroning Moment is limited to one example per person per work, and the others are only allowed when it's clear that the vast majority of a work's audience think the example qualifies and there are no or very few people who actually like it.
    • Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard are highly subjective and controversial, and there has been a lot of conflict over who counts, to the point that all examples must be approved by a cleanup thread (and they still generate arguments to this very day). If they had only been proposed now, they would be discarded immediately.
    • Potholes to other tropes in page quotes are disallowed. Using the same quote on more than one page is also disallowed. There is one exception to these rules: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." is allowed to remain blue-linked on all four relevant pages explicitly due to the grandfather clause, moderator decision, and general popularity.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-076 (Able) and SCP-105 (Iris) — submitted early in the site's history, the quickly-growing community treated them as iconic, to the point of writing fanfic about them. As the site was restructured and formalized, the community shifted strongly against Original Character traits, and formed a generally-accepted canon on how the Foundation treated its wards, both of which were at odds with the pair. Though their general OP-ness has been toned down over the years (Able is now a force of nature rather than an anti-hero, Iris's power is less Cursed with Awesome), their popularity (especially Iris's) has waned considerably over the years, and they would probably risk deletion if they were submitted today. However, they're considered too important to the site's history to let go. The creators of the site even created "the Able Line": Able is exactly as Sue-ish as any character is allowed to be, and can stay, but anything more has to go.
    • Probably the biggest sign of Grandfathering, though, is the tendency for reports involving them to call them by their real names rather than their numbers: a supreme faux pas for anyone else, but Able and Iris are too established in those names to stop using them. In Able's case, at least, this has been justified in-universe by saying that the reason why SCPs are referred to by number is that it is important to dehumanize sentient SCPs to prevent people from interfering with their containment out of sympathy; since there's nothing remotely sympathetic about Able, it's OK to refer to him by name.
    • SCP-682's main gimmick is the Foundation trying to destroy it at all costs, constantly introducing increasingly convoluted and powerful means of killing it. This originated from a time when the general feel and standard practices of the Foundation were still being worked out. Today, many later stories and guidelines feature the idea that the Foundation will not try to destroy an SCP unless there's no other option to permanently contain it: even if the SCP in question is hostile to humanity, many such attempts just make things worse. However, the Foundation's singleminded desire to see the reptile burn is so iconic to the site that it sticks around. Some stories feature the idea that one of the reasons 682 is anomalous is the fact that people are so determined to see it destroyed.
  • In general, consensus is that no matter how dead a meme is to the public's eyes, the creators of the meme can still use it freely just because they were the people who made it in the first place.
  • The Metal Archives:
    • The Metal Archives does not allow most bands that fall under Alternative Metal and its various subgenres (such as Nu Metal, Funk Metal, and Rap Metal) on its website, as they don't consider them to be "metal" enough. However, bands that started out playing an "appropriate" genre but later shifted to one of those styles can still be listed. Two examples are In Flames and Lacuna Coil. This also goes for bands like Def Leppard, who started as New Wave of British Heavy Metal before shifting to Glam Metal. The basic rule is that you have to have at least one full album that's considered metal to be listed, so as long as you have one album playing an accepted form of metal, you're eligible regardless of your other material.
    • Though the site won't list artists the staff doesn't consider "metal enough," some bands, such as Arditi or Rush were accepted onto the site for their importance to the metal scene. A few exceptions were also made for side projects of predominandly metal musicians, such as Wongraven. Though no new exceptions are to be added, the ones already listed get to stay.
  • Unlike virtually every other Wiki, which semi-frequently promotes new administrators and desysops those who have not edited in a while (usually a year, as is the case on The Other Wiki), the Homestar Runner Wiki still has the same set of admins that it did in 2007, despite more than half of them having become inactive since then (not helped by Homestar Runner's hiatus). It is also one of the few Wikis that is still compatible with older browsers.
  • Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, one of the oldest online election databases, dates back to 1992 and is still actively updated. As 'blue Democrats and red Republicans' were only codified in the 2000 election, this website steadfastly sticks to portraying Democrats with red and Republicans with blue just because it always has, making it one of the very few sources to still do so.

    Web Videos 
  • Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall is one of the few individuals who can still wear his signature fedora unironically because it's part of his Iconic Outfit and taking it away wouldn't be right. That, and he started in 2008, at a time when the fedora was still considered retro and not commonly associated with jerkasses, particularly misogynists — both of which he's staunchly against. It would be difficult in this day and age for an Internet reviewer to wear a fedora with complete seriousness.
  • Discussed by YouTuber Gomotion in her Sonic PC Port review. Regarding how .exe games and small indie horrors invoke Addressing the Player for the sake of horror being very overdone, gomotion remarks that even PC Port is guilty of its use of the trope amid its authentic and deliberate Game-Breaking Bug in-universe and presentation of its grotesque horrors, but in the context of what its trying to be towards Sonic.exe, it'd be too important to leave out.
    gomotion: But especially in the context of what it's trying to be, I'd argue its too much of an iconic piece of Sonic.exe to leave out of a fleshed out reimagining. Same goes for some familiar music here and there, as well as the Kefka laugh.
  • Trying to create something that involves Slender Man anytime after 2014 is guaranteed to be met with disapproval from the Internet. Not only because people were tired of the character by this point, but because of the infamous stabbing incident that happened that year, which heavily soured interest. However, the biggest and longest running projects associated with Slendy such as Tribe Twelve and Everyman HYBRID get some leeway in this area because they started way back in 2010, when Slender Man's popularity was just rising.
  • James Rolfe admits in The Making Of An AVGN Episode that, while swearing is an Angry Video Game Nerd tradition that he has to keep going, it's exhausted its vocabulary. He even states outright he far prefers it when he's reacting with facial expressions without swearing and finds that to be something he's much better at, and only really keeps the swearing up since fans expect it.

    Western Animation 
  • Recent Disney TV shows based on Winnie the Pooh give it a Setting Update. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is vaguely set in The '80s, and My Friends Tigger & Pooh is definitely set in the 21st century. Honey, however, still comes in stoneware pots, rather than glass jars or squeezy bottles.
  • American Dad! continues to feature the color coded "Terror Alert" indicator on the family fridge, despite the fact that the Obama Administration retired it. Perhaps as a satire of the changing attitudes of a new decade, the Terror Alert level was only on red, orange or yellow in episodes from the 2000s. But in episodes from 2010 and onwards it's either blue, green (two colors it never was lowered to in Real Life), or missing an arrow; they even had an episode where the color code changed to blue and everyone in the CIA acted like it was a major cause for celebration.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • The gang's outfits, especially Fred's, became horribly outdated just a few years after their introduction. While Fred did lose the ascot for a while, it's back as of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, even though pretty much no one wears ascots anymore. It's become such an Iconic Outfit for Fred that Warner Bros. seems loathe to get rid of it completely. Shaggy's shapeless jeans and t-shirt are a G-Rated Stoner classic even today, but Daphne's and Velma's outfits were supposed to convey Daphne's fashionable persona and Velma's geekiness. Nowadays, both outfits would make their wearer look more like a hipster.
    • Likewise, the Mystery Machine. A green and teal colored van covered with orange flower decals sticks out like a sore thumb in today's society, but because it's so iconic to the Scooby Doo franchise, the design has remained unchanged.
    • The "Scooby-Doo" Hoax formula has long been considered trite and ridiculous, and no mystery-solving show today would dare use it seriously. But with how integral the trope is to the franchise, it still remains in use. It helps that even the franchise itself doesn't play it completely straight anymore, often parodying, lampshading and deconstructing it, and there are occasions when the monsters will turn out to be Real After All.
  • Muppet Babies (2018) is the only modern cartoon allowed to play the Spinoff Babies straight since it was its predecessor who codified it in first place. Straight attempts at this by other franchises after the 2000s are often frowned upon by many due to how cliché and ridiculous the premise is.
  • Bulldogs have largely had their aggression and large size bred out, and have had their position as the stereotypical Angry Guard Dog usurped by Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and German Shepherds. Despite this, bulldogs from classic cartoons, like Spike from Tom and Jerry or Hector from the Sylvester and Tweety shorts, still appear prominently in their respective franchises. It should be noted that Tiny Toon Adventures had a Pit Bull instead of a Bulldog, reflecting the changing stereotypes on dogs.
  • The simplistic designs of the veggies in VeggieTales were due to the limitations of CGI technology in the early 1990s, and to this day they remain looking largely the same as they did back in 1993 in spite of how much CGI has advanced since then, even within the show itself. This is likely due to the characters' designs being seen as too iconic to change at this point, as attempts by the show's creators to update them for The New '10s (for the Netflix spin-off Veggietales In The House) received a negative response and led to them later scrapping the redesigns in favor of slightly-touched up versions of the characters' original 1993 designs.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants premiered in 1999, at a time when Zany Cartoons with Negative Continuity ruled the day. Fast forward 20+ years later, when more continuity-driven cartoons are now the norm, and SpongeBob is still actively on the air with essentially the same brand of undersea silliness it debuted with.
  • Blue's Clues & You! is one of the only modern preschool cartoons that can get away with Fake Interactivity (which has become less popular and common over time) today, since its predecessor was the one that made it popular to begin with.
  • El Chavo Animado:
    • The show kepts many jokes from the original series due to Grandfather Clause. Running Gags such as Don Ramón hitting El Chavo in the head and pinching Quico in the arm would be seen as child abuse if they weren't trademark jokes of El Chavo del ocho. That said, as the series went on, all the slapstick humor has diminished until it was completely removed from the series (including slapstick that did not involve the children), with very few leftovers of this remaining such as Don Ramón getting hurt for laughs.
    • Likewise, almost all the acceptable targets from the original series are still here due to Grandfather Clause. Jokes about Señor Barriga and Ñoño's overweight, Prof. Jirafales and Don Ramón thinness (and the former's tall height) and Doña Clotilde's old age would be seen as body shaming if they weren't also trademark jokes of El Chavo del ocho, and unlike the previous point, these ones stuck around for the whole show.

    Real Life 
  • The phrase came from Jim Crow laws requiring things like literacy tests to vote but granting an exception to anyone whose grandfather was eligible to vote. Since all whites had eligible grandfathers and few blacks did (The American Civil War having been that recent), and the literacy tests were made very hard (and often rigged, one Alabama poll test question was literally: "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?"), it effectively meant "whites can vote and blacks can't" without outright saying so.
  • The prefix e- for computer-related things will get you ridiculed now. Only email and perhaps ebooks can really get away with it. Perhaps this is because i is the new e.
  • Alcohol and tobacco are more physically damaging and addictive than several illegal drugs. In fact, it's often been said that if they were discovered today, they would be classed as Class A (highly illegal) drugs and banned in the UK. The reason they haven't been is because they've been around longer and are a big part of mainstream culture. Ironically enough, alcohol was outlawed in the United States during The Roaring '20s (it didn't stick, obviously; besides the fact that most drug prohibitions are extremely difficult to enforce, alcohol, unlike most other drugs, is made from ordinary foodstuffs like grains and fruit, so it's virtually impossible to prevent people from getting the basic ingredients) and tobacco is currently being denounced as a pariah at the same time that marijuana is gaining acceptance.note 
  • Pets. There is a well-defined set of "normal" pet animals which have been part of human existence for years (if not millennia), and legislation and customs are always written around the assumption that people are entitled to buy and own these animals. Outside that well-defined set, just watch the people start to stare and the legal compliance issues start to mount. Case in point: Ferrets. They're the 3rd most popular pet in the US, yet you seldom see them in the media and laws and regulations prohibiting their ownership abound. Some animals, such as raccoons, are considered wild animals (even if born in captivity) and not possible to tame properly after a year or two, and as such, some states allow them as pets, and some don't. In Russia, however, there are no laws against it, so raccoons are surprisingly popular pets (as evidenced by all the Russian YouTube videos on them).
  • Israel inverts this regarding German travel: any German old enough to have been of legal age during World War II (born before January 1, 1928) must get a visa and submit extra paperwork to prove that they weren't members of the Nazi Party and/or participants in Nazi atrocities. All other Germans can travel visa-free.
  • Vermont Maid brand pancake syrup has not been manufactured in Vermont for decades. If it were a new product, its makers would face a lawsuit from the state Department of Agriculture.
  • The Atholl Highlanders are the last feudal-style aristocrat's private army existing in Europe, under the personal command of the Duke of Atholl and not a part of the British Army in any capacity. They exist for reasons that more or less boil down to "Queen Victoria thought it was cool". Luckily the army only sees ceremonial guard duty as it would presumably cause havoc trying to fit it into modern international law.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Negro College Fund both retain terms for black people in their names that were perfectly acceptable when they were founded, but are considered racist today.
  • The U.S. Constitution requires that the president be a natural-born citizen, OR was a citizen of the U.S. when the Constitution was adopted. The first nine U.S. presidents were born in American states when they were still British colonies. A few say the peculiar phrasing is due to Alexander Hamilton's presidential ambitions, since he was born in the British West Indies and had a strong influence on the final form of the Constitution; it's not clear how much credence to give this, and in any case he never even sought the presidency as he died in his mid to late forties in 1804. More likely to have been in the minds of the framers of the Constitution was that in 1787, the United States had only existed for 11 years and thus it was impossible for anybody to meet the age requirement for the presidency (at least 35 years old) and also be a natural-born citizen.note 
    • The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which set terms limits on the presidency, has a unique grandfather clause. It specifically exempts the then-sitting president Harry Truman from the term limit - in fact the exemption is described at greater length than the term limits themselves. However, Truman—who made some highly unpopular (but historically well-regarded) decisions respecting The Korean War and other matters—was extremely unpopular going into the 1952 election cycle, and bowed out of the '52 race for the Democratic presidential nomination in favor of Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, rendering the whole matter moot.
    • The 17th Amendment to the Constitution made it so that senators would be elected directly by the people of the states they represent instead of by the state legislatures as had been the case previously. The same amendment also includes a provision that this would not impact the terms of senators who were already in office when it was ratified. As such, although the amendment was ratified in 1913, it wouldn't be until 1919 that the Senate was composed entirely of senators elected directly by the people.
  • In 2005, when polygamous marriages were banned in the French territory of Mayotte, any person born before 1987 (for men) or 1990 (for women) were allowed to contract such marriages; this possibility was closed in 2011, when this island became the 101st département.
  • During the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, certain firearms made before the ban's enactment were legal to own. Automatic weapons that were manufactured and registered before the Firearm Owners Protection Act (enacted May 19, 1986) may legally be transferred to civilians (any automatic weapons manufactured after that date can only be transferred to government agencies, or to private businesses licensed to handle them). Similarly, and until the United States Supreme Court voided the law, handguns were totally banned in Washington, D.C., except for former cops and those holding these weapons since before 1977. This is primarily due to the Article I, Section 9 prohibition on ex post facto ("after the fact" or retroactive) laws. Generally, a law that makes something stricter needs to exempt anything that was more lax before then.
  • In 1899 and 1910, the U.S. Congress passed laws placing severe restrictions on the heights of buildings in Washington, D.C. in response to local outrage over the construction of a 12-floor, 165ft tall hotel in 1894. However, pre-existing structures like the Washington Monument (555ft tall) and the Capitol (289ft tall) were exempt from the law, and to this day remain dominant on the D.C. skyline due to the complete lack of skyscrapers. This has led to a popular misconception that the law specifically prohibit buildings taller than the Capitol, but in reality, D.C. height restriction laws have never referred to either the Capitol or the Washington Monument.
  • In 2013, Tennessee enacted a law requiring that beverages labeled as "Tennessee whiskey" be made in the state, meet the legal definition of bourbon whiskey, and use the Lincoln County Process (in which the whiskey is filtered through, or steeped in, charcoal before being bottled for aging). The law specifically allows Benjamin Prichard's Tennessee Whiskey, which does meet the definition of bourbon but does not use the Lincoln County Process (the fact that Prichard's is the only distillery actually in Lincoln County makes this funnier), to continue to be labeled as such.
  • British Law (and by extension, Commonwealth law) takes this as the default position when dealing with the effects of a law repeal. This is justified, as these countries would routinely repeal old laws that no longer have any use except wasting space on their Statute Books and confusing lawyers. But to avoid unwanted consequences of these repeals, this trope is applied. Representative of their legalese for this is Article 16 of UK's Interpretation Act 1977:
    [W]here an Act repeals an enactment, the repeal does not, unless the contrary intention appears, (a)revive anything not in force or existing at the time at which the repeal takes effect; (b)affect the previous operation of the enactment repealed or anything duly done or suffered under that enactment; (c)affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred under that enactment; (d)affect any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of any offense committed against that enactment; (e)affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment; and any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the repealing Act had not been passed.
  • One example that gets a lot of public interest are transferable machine guns in the United States. Machine guns are considered illegal in the United States without a very special licensenote , machine guns registered before 1986 have been grandfathered in and can be bought and sold by anyone who passes a background check.
  • Liverpool, UK was renaming several city locations like streets that were named after famous people who dealt in slavery. However, City Council eventually had a thorny problem with Penny Lane, which was named after James Penny, a wealthy slave ship owner. They decided that since The Beatles made it famous with the eponymous song, it would be better to keep it as is for the tourist traffic.
  • There are a handful of paragraphs from the Weimar constitution of 1919 still in force in the current constitution of The Berlin Republic. They are even introduced in the form, "The paragraphs (Numbers) are part of this Basic Law". They mostly concern the relationship between church and state. Similarly, several treaties entered into by Germany's constituent states and the German Reich prior to 1945 explicitly remain in force despite a general policy of non-continuity between pre-1945 Germany and post-1945 Germany.
  • A town in Washington State called Bainbridge Island passed a law making it effectively impossible to open a drive-thru fast food restaurant within the city limits, which covers the whole island, in order to protect local businesses and maintain an artsy, backwater feel (the island is a minor tourist spot due to being on the other side of a scenic ferry from Seattle). A lone McDonald's which opened off the main road through town prior to the law passing was allowed to stay, but is not allowed to update its appearance like other McDonald's and is therefore exempt from this company rule.
  • Another example of McDonald's exempt from this rule is the handful of restaurants whose original franchise agreements were with the McDonald brothers themselves (rather than Ray Kroc), such as the 4th location in Downey, California, currently the oldest location still in operation worldwide. Their agreements did not have the mandatory updating clause and are allowed to stay as is, with many stores qualifying for spots on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In the Canadian province of Ontario, before December 2015, all bottled wine must be sold either directly by the winery that makes it, or by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). The sole exemption is given to the Wine Rack, which existed before the legislation was put in place. This became moot in December 2015 when Ontario grocery stores can legally sell bottled wine.
  • Stephen Hawking's famous near-monotone voice synthesizer. Even though the technology has improved considerably since he first got it in the 1980s, he turned down many offers to improve and humanise the voice, saying that it's become the voice that people expected him to have, even getting it trademarked. And of course it is recognized the world over. It also helps that the actual voice of the synthesizer was based on that of Dennis H. Klatt, a dear friend of Hawking's who made the voice synthesizer for him:
    Hawking (On getting his voice upgraded): Thank you, no, my late friend Dennis' voice IS my voice.
  • Houses, mines, farms, and ranches that previously existed in areas that have since been declared parks or protected areas are often exempt from regulations covering the rest of the area.
  • Native peoples, or people that live a traditional lifestyle, are often exempted from hunting or fishing laws that apply to outsiders. For instance, native tribes of Alaska and northern Canada have limited allowances for hunting whale, even though whaling is hugely illegal in both countries.
  • Though the Electrical Code of both Canada and the United States is amended and updated every four years, there exists a grandfather clause rule that states if something was up to code at the time of installation it remains so even if changes to the code render it a code violation. Unless the job is modified or renovated after that (then it must meet the new code requirements) or if it's a specific exception to the rule due to being unsafe (such as Knob and Tube wiring), of course.
  • The United Kingdom does not include the country's name on postage stamps that it issues. It was the first country to ever issue them and as such at the time, this was not necessary. In 1874, the Universal Postal Union codified this by exempting the United Kingdom from its rule which stated that a country's name had to appear on their postage stamps, with a profile of the reigning monarch being all that was required for to identify the UK's stamps. Due to this grandfather clause, the UK remains the only country in the world not required to name itself on its stamps.
  • Speaking of postage stamps, this trope is essentially the reason why USA stamps say "Forever" rather than the price of the stamp. In 2007, the cost of stamps went up to 41 cents just a year after going up to 39, requiring the use of 1- and 2-cent stamps to make up the difference. Consumers as well as the USPS saw this as an annoying inconvenience, so later that year the postal service came up with Forever Stamps instead. A USA stamp marked "Forever" will always match the current value of stamps regardless of when it was purchased; a book of stamps from ten years ago is still fully sufficient postage today.
  • While the Fatburger brand name seems like a Refuge in Audacity take on the obesity epidemic that's implicated other fast food establishments, the franchise has actually kept that name since its founding in 1947,note  well before obesity had become as serious and prominent as it is now.
  • Coca-Cola:
    • The drink's recipe includes, well, coca. Coca is a plant under very heavy restrictions, as you might know its other notable use by the name of "cocaine." Because Coca-Cola is the only remaining product from when cocaine was regularly used as an ingredient, Coca-Cola has a deal with the US government that allows them to use imported coca leaves, remove their cocaine content, and then turn them into flavoring for their drink—something that they can really only do because they were making Coca-Cola long before cocaine fell under serious scrutiny. Ironically, this means the whole "Secret Ingredient" thing is rather pointless; even if a company knew the formula, they wouldn't be able to legally make or market a knockoff without obtaining a similar deal...and if you've managed to cut a deal with the US government to import coca leaves into the country, making soft drinks is probably the last thing on your mind.
    • In the early 2000s, Coca-Cola came up with a new diet formula that tasted much closer to the regular than Diet Coke. But by that point, Diet Coke had been around for over twenty years and had become popular in its own right because of its differences: it's less sweet and lighter on the stomach than regular Coke. Since the company knew they couldn't replace it without causing a backlash (having learned their lesson with the "New Coke" fiasco in the '80s), the two sugar-free soft drinks are now sold side-by-side as Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (formerly "Coke Zero," though that's still its nickname).
  • From April 2020 to September 2020, the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (basically electroshock devices) could still be used on students who managed to get a physician's note for this.
  • This has happened with building codes. One common example was when sprinklers were first mandated in public buildings. Buildings that were already built were sometimes exempt from having to install sprinklers, partly due to the cost of having to remodel the building to install them. Sadly, this sometimes led to tragedies when fires that could have been easily put out by the sprinklers had nothing to stop them. The Our Lady of the Angels school fire in Chicago is a prime example.
  • On January 1, 2017, the border between the states of North Carolina and South Carolina was slightly adjusted. Several businesses which found themselves on the North Carolina side of the state line were allowed to continue operating as if they were in South Carolina.
  • After KFC opened a location on Bermuda, the island passed a law to keep other fast food chains off the island. The only exception was a McDonald's on a military base, which was deemed to be officially owned by the US. After it closed, the KFC became the only fast food chain in all of Bermuda.
  • Some chain stores keep older variants of their business model around, either to keep the trademark alive, or because the location is still successful despite predating the current business model. For instance:
    • BP still operates some gas stations under the Amoco and Standard names (they bought Amoco in 1998, and Amoco was named Standard prior to 1985). Notably, the "Largest Amoco Sign" in St. Louis, Missouri, a local landmark for decades, stood over a BP station for a while until the station was flipped back to the revived Amoco brand.
    • JCPenney still operates its very first store in the tiny town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. Though cramped and antiquated, it serves as a reminder of the chain's humble beginnings (and likely thrives due to a combination of history and lack of competition).
    • Walmart, despite having spent most of the 21st century adopting the "supercenter" format (i.e., department stores that also have a full grocery line), still maintains a number of non-grocery stores. These are largely very early stores in smaller towns where they likely would not have the room or demand for a Supercenter (particularly in and around their home base of Arkansas), or near existing grocery stores that have no-compete clauses.
  • In 1984, New York's LaGuardia Airport implemented a Sunday-Friday perimeter rule banning all nonstop flights of more than 1,500 miles. Denver became the only exception to this rule as it was the only city with nonstop service to LaGuardia at the time that was more than 1,500 miles away.
  • The Nene Valley Railway is the only heritage railway in the UK to have an official replica of Thomas the Tank Engine that is not affiliated with current Thomas & Friends owner Mattel, largely thanks to this clause, as the NVR's Thomas replica had received permission and Approval of God from The Railway Series creator Wilbert Awdry in 1971, years before the TV show and the Day Out with Thomas events were established (in fact, Awdry is the one who named the engine Thomas). Because of this, the NVR's Thomas is exempt from the mandates Mattel imposes on other heritage railways officially using Thomas replicas (for example, his face is based on his original Railway Series appearance instead of the depiction in the TV series) and remains the only heritage railway to use Thomas regularly instead of special Day Out with Thomas events. Hit Entertainment (Thomas' owner before Mattel) did try to sue the Nene Valley Railway in 2005 due to alleged copyright infringement, but the lawsuit was dropped after they found out about Awdry's involvement.
  • Officially, the member states of The European Union are allowed to add one language per country to the list of the EU's working languages. However, there is one exception to this: English, which is only the official language of Ireland and Malta, both of which have their own languages (Irish and Maltese) included on the list. This is due to the United Kingdom having been a member state until 2020 and having been the one to add English to the list in the first place in 1973. By 2020, English had become the common lingua franca of the Union overall (if not global affairs, thanks to both the United Kingdom and the United States) and would be difficult to cut from the list.
  • Some airlines in small and/or less-developed countries continue to make use of airliners that have been all but retired from civilian and/or passenger use in the rest of the world. For example: Iran's Saha Airlines continued to operate flights with Boeing 707 aircraft all the way until 2019, when their last operating 707 (and the last operating in civilian use in the world, period) was destroyed in a wreck near Karaj.

Alternative Title(s): Grandmother Clause, Grandparent Clause