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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 a Dork Age, 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 can be seen as a compromise, 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 If an outdated trope or concept is met with disdain later in its life rather than allowance, then it's "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny.


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.
  • Commercial jingles are considered silly in modern times, except for products and services whose jingles are part of their legacy. Exceptions are also made for products that are supposed to be silly (soft drinks, for example) or that are almost exclusively aimed at children (like toys).
  • 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.

    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 twenty years 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.
  • 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, who keeps having young heroes 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, 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.
  • 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 Incredible 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. Modern Hulk comics have explicitly attached 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 Marches On, 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.
  • 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. Something a bit similar applies to many other supervillains like Iron Man's The Mandarin. Now and then people try to make them more presentable, but usually they revert to type pretty soon.
  • 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 1910's and 1950's, 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 where 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 is safe to that Memin would never become a 73-year-old Long Runner in a country like the US.
  • The Marvel family's transformation phrase probably falls under this. Back when the series was created, comics were brightly colored and silly and everyone had fun. Now that comics are a serious medium and not really appropriate for kids, seeing modern characters yell 'Shazam' in huge dramatic letters might be Narm if it weren't for this... and the fact that lightning bolts never stop being cool. On the other hand, you have Shazam's Arch-Enemy Dr. Sivana and his Defeat Catchphrase "Curses! Foiled Again!". In today's Darker and Edgier comics culture, it would be difficult for a modern villain to say this phrase with zero irony. Sivana can get away with this because of how the Shazam comics have been typically more light-hearted than most comics nowadays.
  • 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 Captain Marvel, 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. Today, giving character 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.) 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, is an exception to this trope, possibly because he mocks many superhero tropes.
  • In Spirou and 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.
  • 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. Immortal 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 things 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, 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.
    • 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".

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • 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 continue 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.

    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 an Adolf Hitler mustache are Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy (in fact, a case can be made that Chaplin wore it first and Hitler merely 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 the first Jurassic Park 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 hadn't changed 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.
  • 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 Nasty has been reduced to parody or z-grade movies, with more recent giant monster movies like Pacific Rim and Rampage either using the explanation 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 (well Uruk example technically) 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.
  • Robots and Empire contains an In-Universe example. 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.
  • In-Universe example in the Discworld series, it's pointed out that after the city watch has grown from a Rag Tag 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, 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. Regardless, 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.

    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.
    The 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 by having a prison guard 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 roles.
    • 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. Until the 2018 season teamed 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.)
  • 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 had better be lampshading or making fun of it unless the producers want viewers to cry foul.
  • 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." 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 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 in the case of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 90's-style rap three decades later. It helps that at this point, their primary listeners are diehard fans from the 90's, and changing their style to current trends would reek of We're Still Relevant, Dammit!.

    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 WWF is a law unto himself with 90% of the vote, answering only to stockholders, but has still been overruled and in one infamous angle fired by his board of directors), or no such board truly even exists (TNA has no clear or consistent hierarchy beyond Dixie Carter being the boss lady, but a nebulous board has still stepped in to "save" the company from her less enlightened decisions).
  • Certain finishing moves become mundane after a while; for instance, the basic DDT is used by many wrestlers, but generally no new guy is going to be able to 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, still used it as a finisher.
  • Sometimes, a wrestler's theme music becomes so identified with the wrestler himself that changing it just wouldn't work. Shawn Michaels may have remained attractive, but "Sexy Boy" didn't really fit his gimmick in the last few years of his career. Not that anyone complained.
  • The Undertaker has 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 the late 90's, especially old-timey and/or supernatural ones. But because of the Undertaker's popularity and longevity with the WWE, he's been allowed to keep his 1800's mortician/wrestling zombie schtick, as all attempts at updating the character, like making him a biker, never really caught on (though the biker look does come back from time to time, since it's a real-life hobby of his).
    • Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver managed to remain even after piledrivers were banned for most others (if it's not done perfectly, it can give the opponent a concussion and/or break their neck), because it's his finishing move and he's proven that he's skilled and experienced enough to do it safely. The Tombstone is also safer than a regular piledriver to begin with, though it's still just 'Taker (and his almost-as-experienced brother Kane) who gets to 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.

  • Although most radio stations wouldn't get away with it (due to Values Dissonance rather than legality issues or Ofcom codes), 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.
    • It is widely considered 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. So in a way, the grandfather clause is good for British radio. Listeners prefer personality presenters and "local" radio (i.e. no syndication or very little), which is why the likes of Smooth Radio (Real and Smooth), Hallam FM (Bauer Media) and Stray FM (UKRD) remain widely popular (Global executives, take note of this, if you read it!)
    • 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 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 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.

More are available here.
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • It is recorded that when 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, all productions of The Mikado were shut down for fear of offending him. This proved to be a mistake, since the Crown Prince had looked forward to seeing it. 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, that 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.

    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, 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 heydey 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).
  • 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.
  • Even the latest games today often ask you to "Press Start", before dropping you into the game or bringing you to the main menu interface, whether or not pressing other buttons would do the same thing. It's averted more and more often these days, but it's still tremendously common. Modern PC games, for example, often implement it as "Press Enter" or "Press any key". Indeed, it can feel pretty weird to get to the title screen of, say, Super Paper Mario, and be told "Press 2", or having Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver say to "Touch [the touch screen] to Start" despite the fact that pressing start works just fine. Even the name "Start" for the button is a bygone relic, 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. Some browsers like Firefox have a "click to activate" security setting that requires the user to click on web-based applications before they will run, so many browser-based games begin with a "click to start" screen.
  • Command & Conquer is so well-known for its Full Motion Video cutscenes that when Command & Conquer: Generals didn't include them, there was a backlash (granted, the lack of FMV wasn't the only difference). FMV 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.
  • 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 can get away with using the Mayan Doomsday as a major plot point since the story revolves around a solar flare on December 21, 2012 that almost destroyed humanity only for Desmond Miles to do a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • 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. Strangely, this also applies to their breeding ability, as female Nidoran's evolutions remain sterile up through the modern games solely because they were unable to breed in the generation that introduced breeding — despite that only being because of a programming oversight.
    • Averted with FireRed and LeafGreen, where 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.
  • 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.
  • 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). 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.
    • 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.
  • 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, 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.
      • Even on their own, Squirtle and Ivysaur themselves qualify; it seems strange to add two more Generation I representatives that probably wouldn't be chosen as fighters without the Pokémon Trainer's gimmick, especially as the number of potential Pokémon keeps growing. But as mentioned before, Ultimate makes the effort of being the series' Dream Match Game, so it just wouldn't be complete without them.
    • 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 of characters have their voice portrayals adjusted to perfection 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, as their broken English is so iconic to their characters, they'd be borderline unrecognizable without it, especially the former two; while Terry Bogard carries this trait from his home series, Captain Falcon and Ness talk like this because it was from the first Super Smash Bros where these characters got their voices.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • SMG4 videos began as Machinimas of Super Mario 64 with subtitles that worked as lines of dialogue, that eventually evolved into actual animations using the SM64 engine 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 the SM64 engine 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, the SM64 engine would be dropped at this point.


    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, but in any case the name is too strongly associated with the trope to be changed even though it's "bad". Here are some of the more notable ones:
      • If the Narm article were to have been created only recently, it would have been renamed very quickly. Same thing about a very old trope, Gilligan Cut. It's actually a pre-existing entertainment industry name, and one which is neither exclusive to Gilligan's Island, nor the only cut used there.
      • 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 one of the most heavily-linked tropes on 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". This trope stayed under the radar for too long, and since basically ALL video games use it, it's been linked by lots and lots of articles. Most tropers believe the abysmal amount of work required to change the name of this trope is just not worth 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 satirises went under in 2010 as part of GM's infamous post-economic-collapse restructuring.
      • The Starscream: The trope is named after Starscream from Transformers. And like every other character-named tropes, not everyone has heard of Starscream's desire to usurp Megatron as leader of the Decepticons, and his movie incarnation didn't really have it. 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: 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 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.
    • 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.
    • The original Five-Man Band roles are mandated to be characters from the original Star Wars trilogy, even though they are no longer a valid example of Five-Man Band since The Leader replaced The Hero role (the latter of which has a picture of Luke Skywalker).
    • 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.
    • Laconic.Clarkes Law For Girls Toys is kept locked to retain text in colors that were disabled wiki-wide due to being hard to read. Colored text was disabled everywhere but the forums for a time, and later re-enabled on wiki pages, but with a limited set of easy-to-read colors, so this page is unique since it's the only place where you can see what the old colors, and the ability to use hex codes to add any color, looked like.
    • 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.
  • 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 Mary Sue 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 Mary Sue-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.
  • 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 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. Additionally, bands like Def Leppard are allowed on the site because they started out playing metal, which qualifies them, before moving to pop rock. 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.

    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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The show features a running gag where Homer strangles Bart. It's been played for laughs since 1988 — back when TV censors were more concerned with sex and graphic violence than (relatively) more subtle sociopolitical content. While a Bumbling Dad on rival shows may get away with some disturbing emotional abuse of his children, physical child abuse as comedy wouldn't be likely to fly as a running joke for most new series. Even lampshaded in the episode "Behind The Laughter":
      Homer: And that horrible act of child abuse became one of our most beloved running gags.
    • In a way, The Simpsons has been the victim of its own success on that point. Back when "offensive" was the show's entire selling point, strangling a child was easy to shrug off as just a joke (albeit a sick one). But now that the show is beloved by viewers of all generations and even by some religious figures, they have to be at least a little family-friendly.
    • It helps that The Simpsons is not only a cartoon, but gave up even the pretense of being a "realistic working-class sitcom" ages ago. Other things about the setup are also grandfathered; Matt Groening admits that Marge being a stay-at-home mom doesn't really make sense for their position in the economic climate of The New '10s, but she isn't going to change.
    • Many other details about the series have been grandfathered in from its 90s origins. For instance, Itchy and Scratchy airing on The Krusty the Clown Show would have been obvious analogies in their day to Tom and Jerry airing on Bozo's Circus — only The Itchy & Scratchy Show is absurdly gory instead of bloodless and cartoonish, and Krusty is an asshole instead of a lovable jester. These days, both Bozo and Tom and Jerry are largely gone, leaving Itchy and Scratchy a quaint relic of the time before Happy Tree Friends, and Krusty inexplicably popular in the face of countless Monster Clowns. But the kids gotta be watching something, so...
    • The level of technology in the show seemed to have stuck with the series' late 80s/early 90s origins for quite a few years. Vinyl albums were commonly seen in episodes well into the 90s, plus there's the Simpsons family's dial-tuner TV set with rabbit-ear antenna. Homer's car also looks like it dates from the 80s.
    • Consider Bart's status as a "bad boy." In the show's early seasons, contemporaneous shows featured similar "bad boy" characters, and Bart fit right in. By The New '10s, when South Park is a Long Runner, shows have moved on and made Bart's worst behaviors seem almost quaint. Likewise, the police's Keystone Kops routine is quite old-fashioned, and the police force even has old revolvers, but in the late 1980's and early 90's it fit nicely with the show's comedic parody of old sitcoms. All that dated styling is now part of the show's milieu as The Simpsons has stopped being about parodying other shows and is now about parodying itself with bits of barbed satire thrown in. This is lampshaded in the "Cartoon Wars" story arc from South Park, where Cartman meets Bart Simpson himself. Bart brags about how much of a bad boy he supposedly is, citing the incident where he decapitated the statue of Springfield's founder. Cartman responds by calmly recounting the episode where he arranged the deaths of Scott Tennorman's parents, and then chopped up the corpses and fed them to the boy.
    • Many of the series' Funny Foreigner characters, such as Bumblebee Man, Groundskeeper Willie, Akira, Luigi, and especially Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, could arguably not be created in the more politically correct times that followed the show's debut. Though in later years, Apu has been the target of more and more complaints. Hank Azaria has even admitted that he sees where the critics are coming from, and has said he would be unhappy if there was a popular show that got away with having a stereotypical Jewish character.
    • Perhaps the earliest Simpsons example is the family's iconic hairstyles. When the cartoon was limited to just shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, the only characters were the immediate family. Their strange hair and yellow skin were just part of the stylized animation. When The Simpsons spun off into its own show, the yellow skin remained, but the new characters introduced had more normal hair. However, giving the Simpsons themselves normal hair (namely the kids, who have no drawn boundary between their skin and hair) would have made the characters unrecognizable, so the animators just stuck with it.
  • 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.
  • The Scooby gang and their outfits, especially Fred. While he did lose the ascot for a while, it's back as of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and several of the recent movies, even though pretty much no one wears ascots anymore. But it's become such an Iconic Outfit for them 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 colored van covered with flowers sticks out like a sore thumb in today's modern society, but because it's too iconic and it's too associated with the Scooby Doo franchise itself, they can get away with it.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
Named after the common phrase for laws that grant exceptions based on past history. It's even a verb: "To grandfather" something means to not enforce a new regulation on something that was already in existence at the time the regulation was enacted for entities in that category, while new entities in that category would be subject to the regulation.
  • 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.
  • A literal Grandfather Clause: Most people in the Western world younger than 70 years of age will be harshly reprimanded or at least mocked for Values Dissonance, while those in the twilight of their lives are viewed with tolerance (or sometimes condescension) for holding identical attitudes because "they don't know any better."
  • It is very common in clubs and industries where membership/employment practices have changed. A club may decide to change membership requirements such that some of its long-standing members may no longer qualify, but they can be grandfathered in. For example, a fraternity may decide to only accept pledges who possess a certain GPA, but may retain members who were allowed in earlier. Likewise, a club whose membership is growing too quickly may decide to raise membership fees to raise revenue for the larger traffic and to reduce its applicants, but retain existing members at the cost they signed up for. Imagine a popular golf club which was growing too quickly, so members could not guarantee a tee time and the conditions on the course were wanting for a lack of maintenance. Likewise, a company offering a service in high demand may decide to raise prices, but may be legally required or find it prudent to grandfather existing clients in at their original rates, especially if they count on old clients to refer their new ones. This can also be used to keep key personnel during a transition. For example, a company providing emergency medical services may decide to hire only full paramedics in the future, but may grandfather in veteran EMT-Intermediates and Basics while they acquire the EMT-P credential. And as recently as the 1970s one of the most common paths to a career in journalism would be to leave High School and get a job in the office of a local newspaper, working your way up the chain and eventually being 'scouted' by bigger newspapers/tv stations etc. Today most tv stations and newspapers wouldn't consider hiring someone who hadn't graduated from a school of journalism, but many literal grandmothers and grandfathers remain on the payroll. However, what the oldies lack in formal schooling, they make up with experience.
    • The US Military has many of these, due to constant regulation changes and manning cutbacks/additions. For instance, the minimum rank needed to retire (hit at least 20 years total active service) for enlisted members has gone up in most cases (the Navy used to be E5, and has been E6 since the mid-2000s; the Marine Corps recently raised it from E6 to E7). However, those that joined before a certain cut-off date are exempt. Various other programs for retention, force changing, etc., often use this clause for certain members.
  • 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).
  • An unusual one, in that cases before the cutoff date must follow stricter rules: Germans enjoy visa-free access to Israel... except those old enough to have been of legal age during World War II (born before January 1, 1928). They have to get a visa and submit extra paperwork to prove that they weren't members of the Nazi Party and/or participants in Nazi atrocities.
  • Examples from biology:
    • The biological class of reptiles. Under modern cladistic criteria (a significant minority of scientists still use the old classification system), a taxon has to include all species deriving from a common ancestor. Reptiles don't because they lack birds, a type of dinosaur (together forming the sauropsides)note  and the therapside-descended mammals (all together forming the hyperclass of the amniotes). There's also the fact that crocodilians are classified as reptiles despite being more closely related to birds than to other reptiles. After all, they're clearly not birds themselves and they have scales, so by default they're called reptiles. From a scientific point of view, reptiles as a class have been discredited, but reptiles are still taught as a biological class vis-à-vis to the other three among the tetrapodes.
    • Similarly, there's fish. Basically, the closest we can get to a useful definition of fish is something like "anything that has a spine that isn't an amphibian, reptile, bird, mammal, or member of some extinct species that doesn't count because it has limbs or something". Though there are some subcategories that can be defined properly, such as bony fish (including e.g. salmon) and cartilaginous fish (including sharks and rays).
    • Even at the highest levels of classification this is rampant. Prokarya (monera) are basically all cellular organisms which aren't eukarya (hence including both true bacteria and archaea, which turned out to be in several ways as different to each other as they are to the eukarya). Amongst the eukarya, the protista are basically defined as any eukaryote which isn't a plant, animal or fungus.
  • Vermont Maid brand pancake syrup has not been manufactured in Vermont or contained any real maple syrup from anywhere for decades. If it were a new product, its makers would face a lawsuit from the state Department of Agriculture.
  • The Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan MPVs still survive, despite crossover SUVs being the replacement de facto for minivans. No rules prohibit minivans, only cultural trend.
  • Salford City Council gets away with using streetlights over 20-30 years old due to the fact they fit in with the 1960s-70s housing scheme and "Acacia Avenue" look/vibe, even though new regulations would not allow them these days due to safety concerns - and will probably mention this at some point. New Urbis Sapphires (which look sort of like alien eyes) have started being used in some part of Walkden, but they're not widely used due to various reasons.
  • 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 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 16th 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 girls) 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 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, 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.
  • 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:
    Hawkins (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 US 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 has become as serious and prominent as it is now.
  • Coca-Cola'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". (Early recipes flat-out included some cocaine content.) Because of this, 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 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.)

Alternative Title(s): Grandmother Clause, Grandparent Clause


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